Tuesday, November 24, 2015

ARC Review: CONTROLLED BURN by Shannon Stacey

Heat Exchange
by Shannon Stacey
Boston Fire, Book 2

Rick Gullotti lives the good life. He fights fires, dates beautiful women—though none long enough so they cast wistful glances at jewelry stores—and has great friends. And thanks to helping out the elderly couple who own his building, his rent is low. But when concerns about their health lead him to contact their only son, his life starts getting away from him.

Jessica Broussard has no interest in leaving sunny San Diego or her cushy corner office for Boston, but her father—who happens to be her boss—dispatches her to deal with the grandparents she's never met. She's unprepared for the frigid winter, loving relatives who aren't the monsters she's been led to believe, and the hot, scruffy firefighter who lives upstairs.

At first, Jessica is determined to get back to her comfortable life as quickly as possible. All she has to do is talk her grandparents into selling their monstrosity of a house and moving to a retirement community. But she underestimates Rick's dedication—and his considerable charm. Nobody's taking advantage of his friends on his watch, even if that makes the tempting southern California girl with the long legs his adversary. Unfortunately for them both, the only thing more urgent than the matter at hand is their sizzling chemistry, and it's quickly becoming too strong to resist. 

Jessica Broussard 
Rick Gullotti 

Heat Exchange, the latest book in the Boston Fire series, is a nice contemporary romance featuring a Boston fire fighter and a smart, savvy business woman from California.  

Jessica Broussard did not know she had grandparents. Her father has been alienated from his parents for many years and has refused to speak of them. By accident, Jessica picks up a phone call and it changes her life. Rick Gullotti is a seasoned fire fighter and confirmed bachelor. Recently, he has been wondering why women keep telling him that he is not marriage material. Never having cared before, as a more mature man, he begins to question if he is content to be single for the rest of his life. 

The best part of the story are the characters. I like the maturity of Jessica and Rick. Both are established and successful in their fields. Neither are overly needy. The attraction is immediate, but it's not insta-love. The relationship develops as the couple gets to know each other within the context of her helping out her aging grandparents. It's becoming increasing difficult for Jessica's grandparents to maintain and live in the family home. Jessica is present to help offer options. Rick is a tenant and part-time handy man and full-time friend to the aging couple. Rick and Jessica both have her grandparent's best interest at heart, although they may not agree to the solution. There is mature dialogue and serious conversations. In fact, I would've like to have had a little more witty banter between the two, but that's just a personal preference. 

My biggest critique is that this story is suppose to be about firefighters.  Although it takes place around firefighters, but there is not enough fire fighting.  And because much of this story takes place away from the station, fire fighting becomes not even secondary, but tertiary to the the story.  I want to glean more insight into that profession. 

In A Nutshell: 

I did not experience anything earthshaking or eye-opening, but there is kindness and sweet in the story and that makes it a nice addition to the Boston Fire series. 

Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.  I was not paid for this review. 

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