Title: Fire Thief
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Length: 3,600 words
Publisher: JCP Books
Genre: m/m contemporary
Is seeing really believing? Hank would never dream of coming on to the most striking guy at the bar—but it’s his lucky night since Thomas, the burgundy-haired vision in black lipstick and mirrored shades, takes it upon himself to make the first move.
While the encounter itself is mind-blowing, the hot-and-heavy grapple in the janitor’s closet isn’t the only way in which Thomas blows Hank’s mind.
Hank’s out with his friends at a bar. He’s had a few beers and heads out to the toilet. On the way back he’s waylaid by Thomas, a guy who Hank had been checking out all evening. Hank thinks Thomas is way too cool for him, but Thomas seems to have other ideas as he drags Hank into a janitor’s closet for some down and dirty.
On the surface this is a just an erotic quickie with a twist. Set mostly in the dark grungy environment of a janitor’s closet, the sex on its own is enough to grip hold of your emotions and draw you into the story. However, this is JCP and as well as the sex there’s a lesson in Greek mythology and a message about looking below the surface. It’s amazing really how much there is here, crammed into such a short format, but we get a real sense of Hank’s low self esteem – “No one ever just simply noticed me, not without a significant amount of flattery on my part, and extensive plying with drinks” – and utter delight that someone as hot as Thomas wanted him. It added a note of pathos to the story and lifted it from just a steamy and seamy encounter. We also get a twist I didn’t see coming which provides a lightbulb moment, making some of the more obscure things said by Thomas suddenly make a whole more sense. I found myself immediately re-reading so I could pick up on any missed nuance to the story in a second read.
As I said, the sex is hot, but JCP has this ability to use language and make it so much more than plain sex. I was reminded of how much I love her writing just by the phrase:
His fingernails dug into my hips, ten bright points of pleasure.
which seemed to encapsulate that scene entirely. Rough and quick but full of mutual pleasure.
As with all good stories the end left me wanting more. A second encounter showing the slight shift in the power dynamic would be interesting to read, I think. Let’s hope the author has more up her sleeve with these characters. Highly recommended.