Author: Clare London
Publisher: Jocular Press
Cover Artist: Meredith Russell
Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 06/26/2015
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
Blythe Harris was taking his first flight to the USA and hopefully a whole new client base for his bespoke upholstery business. An adventure for him, he was both nervous and excited to attract the attention of a handsome steward. Things might have gone further – if Flight HA1710 hadn’t failed.
Marc Stafford is a self-confessed player, and he used his charm to seduce his cute passenger. But in the aftermath of the crash, he’s struggling to recover his confidence. The TV declares him a hero for saving passengers, but at night his nightmares trigger painful flashbulb memories of the crash.
In an Irish hospital, Bly realises that although his broken leg will recover, his career may not. And in Chicago, Marc can’t face returning to work. Neither of them can shake off the memory of their brief, sexy encounter. Both of them need to be with someone who understands exactly what they’ve been through. And on a middle ground they can make all their own
Flashbulb by Claire London is book 3 in the Flight HA1710 series which shows how one traumatic event affects various people caught up in it. The series spans six books, all written by different authors.
Blythe Harris, first-time flyer and nervous passenger is on his way to Chicago to try and expand his small home furnishing business. On the flight he meets airline steward Marc Stafford. Instant chemistry flares up between the two men as Marc tries to relax Blythe by flirting with him during the hour-long delay on the tarmac, an attraction which ends up as a quick and hot and hand job in the plane toilet before they became airborne. The two men tentatively agree to hook up again in Chicago after the flight but all that is forgotten when shortly after take off the plane crashes. Blythe is knocked out and he wakes up in hospital with a broken leg. Marc in the meantime becomes the hero of Flight HA1710 after helping passengers from the wreckage, going back into the downed plane time and time again with no thought to his own safety.
Marc flies back to Chicago after the accident while Blythe recuperates in hospital in Ireland. Neither man gives the other man more than passing thought of ‘what if’ until Marc impulsively flies to Ireland and turns up on Blythe’s doorstep. Marc has been having nightmares and what is known as ‘flashbulb’ memories and in them Blythe is always just out of reach. Blythe is also not recovering well, his leg is healing nicely but for some reason he now has problems with his hands and he’s worried about his business. Maybe the two men can help each other heal, maybe just being with someone who went through the same experience will be enough to mend Blythe’s hands and chase Marc’s nightmares away.
With Flashbulb Claire London has managed to produce a very well rounded story. The characters of Blythe and Marc are well-developed as we follow them through the traumatic events. I also liked how we got to see Marc’s relationship with Darcy the purser who died in the crash. At the beginning of the story Darcy is not portrayed as a nice person and I thought it was a lovely that in a way she is redeemed at the end, and like Marc I found myself feeling very sorry for her.
There is a lot of angst and soul searching going on throughout the story. Marc has PTSD and survivors guilt, especially over the death of Darcy even though there was nothing he could have done nothing to stop that. Blythe also has PTSD but his symptoms manifest as a psychosomatic hand problem which I think is linked into whether things can ever go back to the way they were before.
Flashbulb isn’t all dark though, its also full of laughter and fun, caring friends and family, and not to mention hot sex. Ultimately it’s a story of two men who went through the same traumatic event and came out stronger on the other side. The crash changed both men, make them look at their lives in a different way, challenge what they wanted and ultimately it gave both of them the strength to build the future they really wanted.
I thoroughly enjoyed Flashbulb and I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series which is Fallout by Meredith Russell. .
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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