“I’ve had enough hot firefighters,” said no romance reader, ever.
There’s a reason for that. While your local fire station might abound in earnest, married volunteers fighting a middle aged sag (and we still admire them), in romance fiction, firefighters are 99% single, with rippling abs and need to use the wipers on the fire truck in order to swipe away the rain of panties as they progress to the nearest three-alarm burning building.
In Lauren Blakely’s first novel of her new Fighting Fire series, Burn for Me, not only do we have the incredibly hot Smith Grayson, firefighter and construction worker, but he happens to be the good friend of bar manager Jamie Lansing. Smith wants Jamie but knows they are very different people – she’s a wine and poetry type while he loves beer and dirty talking during sex. When they give into the mutual heat in the storeroom of Jamie’s bar, it’s wonder they don’t set all that alcohol on fire with the sparks between them. Smith is elated that Jamie seems to get off on his brand of sex and wants to start a relationship, but that’s where he hits a stumbling block.
Jamie likes Smith – really likes him – but she’s can’t walk through their small town without seeing one of his ex-girlfriends. Since her sister is barely recovering from a disastrous marriage with a serial cheater, Jamie is hesitant to be with someone who hasn’t been all that interested in a relationship so far. Yes, she wants him so much her teeth ache, but she finally hits upon the compromise that they could have a wild, no strings affair for a week and get each other out of their system.
Smith is a little hurt that Jamie doesn’t seem to believe he wants something more but he’s happy to use her suggestion of a week of sex to show her how great they can be together, providing she agrees to a real date at the end of it. She doesn’t seem to realize that the other women he’s dated didn’t work out because he’s had his eye on her all this time, but he’s willing to do whatever it takes to show her. When it becomes clear there isn’t a lot of trust on her part, Smith has to decide if he wants to walk away before he really gets hurt or take a chance to prove that he and Jamie are in fact a perfect fit.
I always love the “friends to lovers” trope and my first Lauren Blakely novel was no exception. Since this is a novella, there wasn’t a ton of real estate for her to develop the story, yet she drew compelling characters with a conflict I was really worried they weren’t going to overcome. I did wonder about a couple of points. Smith wasn’t a manwhore like Jamie’s brother-in-law, he was a serial dater, so I didn’t really understanding the cheating fear, it seemed like she should be more worried that he would move on to someone else quickly. My impression was also that they lived in a small town, yet there was zero worry about people seeing them together. Considering how much kissing and sexy shenanigans they got up to around town and on their “date,” I really had to wonder that both of them didn’t receive a decent amount of interest from their friends and acquaintances in that time. Hmmm.
This novella was an excellent setup for the next installment in the series, which will feature Jamie’s hot boss Becker and her best friend, Megan, who is moving home after a really horrible relationship. I’m looking forward to reading it based on how much I enjoyed Burn for Me. Another great point to note (besides Entangled’s great $.99 intro pricing for new books) is that Lauren Blakely is having a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $25 Victoria’s Secret gift card and 10% of the proceeds from Burn for Me will benefit the National Volunteer Firefighter Support Fund, a charity that provides financial relief for first responders when they are the ones being affected by a federally declared disaster. Yet another reason to enjoy this novel – you’re actually helping others while enjoying firefighter sexy times. Life is good.
Grab yourself a tall, cold glass of water and be ready to put out the fire that Burn for Me will start. Happy reading! 🙂