Tag Archives: friends to lovers

Burn For Me by Lauren Blakely Needs the Warning Label “Hot Firefighters Barely Contained Within”

9 Jun
Burn for Me (Fighting Fire #.5) by Lauren Blakely (Entangled Brazen, June 9, 2014)

Burn for Me (Fighting Fire #.5 – Jamie and Smith) by Lauren Blakely (Entangled Brazen, June 9, 2014)

“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.

The New York Firefighters calendar features the city’s finest in front of historical backdrops and a portion of the proceeds benefit the Burn Centers of New York.

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! 🙂

Friends to Lovers (Internet Start Up Style) with Joan Kilby’s Mad About You

1 Apr
Mad About You by Joan Kilby (Entangled Indulgence, March 31, 2013)

Mad About You by Joan Kilby (Entangled Indulgence, March 31, 2013)

Friends to lovers is my favorite trope – I’ll rarely ignore a book which indicates this is the romance theme – and if you throw in a geeky hero or heroine, I’m toast.

Veteran category romance writer Joan Kilby manages just this balance, giving readers in Mad About You the story of quiet accountant Cassy Morris who agrees to temporarily move to Seattle to help her best friend from grade school, the multi-millionaire Scott Thornton. Voted Seattle’s sexiest bachelor he needs her to not only fend off the women who keep throwing themselves at him but to also help him get his nanotechnology startup in financial order while vetting angel investors so he can beat a rival to the patent punch.

Complications naturally arise – both of them find the other incredibly attractive and always have – and it’s not long before they are pondering the fact that no previous girlfriend or boyfriend worked out because who they were really waiting for was each other. Yet acting on their attraction could not come at a worse time, with Scott’s estranged father attempting a reconciliation, dealing with a temperamental Australian billionaire, and juggling their fake engagement to keep vipers at bay.

Joan Kilby does an excellent job transmitting the weight of all these tensions (there were times reading I felt a physical heaviness in my chest) but she shines in her characterization. Scott is no typical geek – yes, he’s a genius, but he’s also a mountain bike enthusiast and works out constantly, hence his awesome body. No wonder the Seattle ladies go crazy for him! Yet, he’s still vulnerable at thirty to his father’s abandonment, and facing that issue is undeniably painful. He’s an introvert and it’s obvious the balance Cassy has played in his life since grade school. She’s got some risk-taking issues, making her pursuit of Scott all the more brave and gut-wrenching. Learning to stand up for herself and not settle as she has been in her career and romantic relationships is heartening to watch, particularly when Scott is busy earning the Captain Oblivious award.

I was fortunate enough to hear from Joan Kilby, who agreed to answer a few questions. Based on her cupcake answer, she’s a long lost sister of mine!

1.    Is friends to lovers a favorite theme for your writing? Why/why not?

Friends to lovers is definitely a favorite theme of mine. Maybe I’m drawn to these types of stories because that’s how my husband and I got together. We were living in a group house with mutual friends for a whole year before we got together romantically. At first I thought he didn’t like me! Later I found out he was a shy because he was attracted. Then we both went traveling, separately, and returned home within a few days of each other. I’ll never forget the first moment we saw each other again. It was like a scene from a movie. Time seemed to stop as we saw each other through new eyes. Not long after, on New Years Eve, we kissed for the first time. And the rest, as they say, is history.

In terms of writing a friends to lovers story, I enjoy exploring new aspects of the couple’s relationship and how they discover things they never knew about each other. There’s a lot of vulnerability and bravery involved in the big leap from being ‘just friends’ to admitting they’re in love. What if the romance goes bust and they lose their best friend in the process? In Mad About You, my hero, Scott, has abandonment issues so the possibility of losing Cassy from his life is really scary. As for Cassy, she can’t conceive of life without Scott.

2.    Why do you think readers can’t get enough of millionaires?

I think millionaires are the modern day equivalent of a Prince Charming. The fantasy appeal is that they have the money and the power to sweep the heroine away from her life of drudgery and into a magical new existence. Of course, a modern heroine is independent and fully able to provide for herself, but it’s still nice to know that if she needs him, the hero can protect her…and keep her in glass slippers for the rest of her days.

There’s also the underlying assumption that if he’s that rich it must mean he’s smart and has a strong character. Clearly not every rich person is nice or good but usually in a romance novel, a millionaire has done something impressive to earn his wealth. In Mad About You, the hero, Scott, has invented something with the potential to change the lives of everyone in the whole world for the better, not just the heroine.

3.    Your favorite cupcake/icing combination?

Great question! Devil’s food chocolate cupcake with salted caramel frosting. Yum!

Thanks, Joan! Keep in mind that Mad About You is currently at the low price of $.99 in keeping with Entangled’s fabulous new policy of an initial low pricing to reward on the ball buyers, so take advantage of this colossal bargain and pick up a great new book.

Happy reading!


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