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Snowflakes & Fire Escapes Kindle Edition
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Snowflakes & Fire Escapes was a novella originally included in an anthology of stories from several authors, accounting for its brevity. It is the story of Grace, the daughter of a mobster, whom we first meet when her car, which is older than she is by a few years, breaks down after transporting her (without permission) out of the small town of Snowflake, where she has been relocated by Witness Protection for her own safety. In alternating scenes from Grace' s past and present-day life, we learn of her lonely and restricted past existence in Hell' s Kitchen and its single joy - her relationship with Cody, the boy who had been her best friend, soul mate and love for most of her life; of the shell of a life she now leads in Snowflake, just as restrictive and without her "bright, particular star" to give it meaning; and the circumstances (as far as she is aware) that led her from the one to the other. While short, it is a satisfying stand-alone story. It is told from Gracie' s POV; personally, I would have liked to get to know Cody a little better as well. Perhaps that is a story for the future...? hint hint JMD....
If you have not read J.M. Darhower, Snowflakes & Fire Escapes can serve as a quick, inexpensive introduction. If you like that, jump into some of her other excellent books as well (Monster in His Eyes or Sempre perhaps to start?). You won't be sorry.
Grace and Cody started as forbidden friends then evolved into secret lovers. What I loved best about this story was how they felt about each other. They were each others one and only, no matter how long they were apart. The intensity of Cody's love for Grace, got to me. He would do anything for her including putting his life at risk. While Cody was a man of few words, when he talked about his love for Grace, it moved me. When Grace asked him if he was faithful to her his response was, "I love you Grace Elizabeth Callaghan. Nobody else. Nobody else gets me. Nobody else can have me. I'm yours as long as you want me."
I wish a few things were different. It would be a better story if it were longer including that it would give the romance more time to build. Also they could spend more time together. They were apart at least 1/3 of the story, which I did not like. Also the smex scenes were very YA. I will admit to wanting more hotness in my stories than this had. There was the potential for sizzling love making scenes for several reasons including that they gave their v-cards to each other. The author could have made that scene passionate and romantic but it just wasn't. It was mediocre. While the story had a HNF ending I wanted it to have a HEA one.
So we have Grace Callaghan, a young girl with an overprotective father. Her dad, Connor Callaghan, is connected to the Irish underground - not a guy you want to cross. Grace is best friends since birth with Cody Moran. Cody's dad is the boss of the Irish, also not a nice man. The setting is Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan. Grace and Cody have had a special, but guarded friendship and as they hit they upper teens, their friendship blossoms into more.
I felt gut punched when I got toward the end of the book - in a good way - obviously from my 5 star rating. Darhower blew me away, once again, with a complex story and a cast of complex characters. I fell in love with Grace and Cody. Highly recommended!