After the Fire

After the Fire (Through Hell and Back #2) - Felice Stevens 4.5 stars

[a:Felice Stevens|8432880|Felice Stevens|] has quickly become a must read for me. I liked this one even better than [b:A Walk Through Fire|23622300|A Walk Through Fire (Through Hell and Back, #1)|Felice Stevens||43014008]. If you haven't read that story first, then stop here because there will be spoilers and you really can't go into this book without having read the first.

Jordan was not very likable in A Walk Through Fire, but losing his fiance Keith so suddenly and violently at the end of that was gut wrenching. After the Fire picks up nine months after that event and Jordan is continuing so spiral into his grief and depression, using Xanax and alcohol to numb his feelings as he holes up in his home. Lucas Conover was Keith's financial adviser and a part of a foundation that Keith set up to help keep kids away from guns and drugs, with Jordan to be a board member. Lucas is also one of Ash's foster brothers and he has been ignoring all of Ash's attempts at contact, still reeling from being left behind when they were teenagers. Jordan and Lucas meet and bond over the foundation, but as their attraction simmers, neither believes there is any real future for a relationship in their lives.

Both Jordan and Lucas have serious issues. Jordan has stopped any counselling and has not dealt with his grief or his feelings of resentment and blame towards his best friend Drew for his role in the events leading up to Keith's death. His drug dependency is growing and affecting every aspect of his life. Lucas is dealing with his inability to trust and the shame of what he had to do to survive after being beaten and abandoned by his abusive foster father, as well as the loss of the foster brothers he loved and his fear of what happened to the youngest brother Brandon.

The story was very emotional and the chemistry between Lucas and Jordan was amazing. Nothing about them getting together was easy, but they manage to really bring the other back to life. All of the characters from the first story are back, including Drew's amazing grandmother, and Drew and Ash are important parts in this story as well, not just mere background. There are also a few new characters, the one stand out being Tash, who hopefully will be playing a lead role in the next book, as Lucas and Ash continue to search for Brandon.