Book Reviews

Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs 4) by Ariel Tachna at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Cowboys / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 02-October-2013

Book Blurb

Thorne Lachlan knows a thing or two about getting himself safely out of a blaze. For years he fought in the world’s hot spots, a Commando with the Australian Army. Now, retired, he fights flames for the Royal Fire Service. When a grassfire brings him to Lang Downs, the next sheep station in danger, Thorne meets Ian Duncan and sparks fly that neither man can put out. But both men have ghosts from the past that stand in the way of moving beyond mutual attraction.

While Thorne longs for the home he could share with Ian at Lang Downs, he fears his own instability might make him a danger to others. And Ian’s always believed that the foster care nightmare he escaped before coming to Lang Downs would make any relationship impossible. Trust doesn’t come easily to Thorne or Ian until the fire’s aftermath forces them to see past the scars keeping them both from healing.


Book Review

We can't run away from our fears. They follow us wherever we go and if we try to ignore them, they continue to gain strength and, if we're not careful, will strangle us. Sharing our fears helps drain their power away, but, it takes real courage to admit we need that kind of help and even more to seek it. Thorne Lachlan of 'Conquering the Flame' is plagued by PTSD from past battle experiences. Before he comes to Lang Downs, he tries, unsuccessfully, to manage it by himself. After becoming emotionally invested in Ian and the rest of the people there, he realizes that it's not just himself that he will endanger if his illness gets out of control. 

Even before Thorne meets the folks at Lang Downs, he's protecting them by fighting a raging fire that is threatening the station. He has long ago given up on the idea of ever belonging anywhere and is resigned to living by himself. Lang Downs is like an oasis in the desert to a loner like him; he's instantly attracted to the people there, especially Ian Duncan, to whom he feels a strong attraction. The more he learns about the community, the more awed he becomes. He's never been anywhere that people are as accepting and forgiving as they are here. When Macklin offers him a position, the draw of the settlement is too strong to resist. Unfortunately, Thorne's nightmares, anxiety attacks, and flashbacks are frightening everyone around him and possibly putting them in danger, especially Ian. Thorne tries to control his outbursts, but after a particularly bad episode, he finally finds the courage to admit that he can't do it alone.

Ian is quiet and tries to stay in the background, but he's always right there when he's needed. Even after several years, Ian's past sexual abuse still has him in its powerful grip. He's convinced that he's unworthy of a relationship and, even if he did manage to have one, will be unable to maintain it because of his aversion to physical intimacy. He never expects to meet someone like Thorne, with his infinite patience and understanding. Ian knows that Thorne is working hard to earn his trust and he wants to believe him when he says that he's interested in more than physical gratification. Ian realizes that he loves Thorne and wants to give him the pleasure he deserves but is still unable to do so. Thorne displays an amazing amount of self-control and Ian slowly begins to relax and becomes more trusting. They are having a good time just being together, taking baby steps toward a more loving relationship until Ian tells Thorne about what happened to scar him so badly. Thorne loses control, angry at Ian's abuser not at Ian, but the look on his face terrifies Ian who barricades himself in the bedroom. At this point, it's either face the fear or walk away from each other.

It was good to see Caine and Macklin and the gang at Lang Downs. It's a truly special place, epitomizing the concept of home for everyone living there; the doors are always open for one more. Ariel has done a marvelous job portraying the anguish and fear existing in both men and how it affects their relationships. Only an enduring love, like they have, can heal such agony, while allowing the couple to live without trepidation. Thanks, Ariel, for a great return visit to Lang Downs. I'm looking forward to the next story in the series.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 254 pages/88213 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 27-September-2013
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
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