Series: Boston Heat #1
Published by Entangled Publishing on March 27th 2017
Buy on Amazon
Ex-Army Ranger Erik Grady lives for the job. So when his chief at the Boston Fire Department offers him two choices—mandated therapy for supposed PTSD or a permanent desk job at the station, he reluctantly agrees to see a shrink. Only this doctor is unlike anything he expected. Female and curved in all the right places? Check. Hotter than a four-alarm fire? Check. The kind of woman that can heat his blood in and out of bed? Check, check. And oh, yeah, he just happens to have first hand experience...
Of all the men to walk into psychologist Olivia Jones' office, why did it have to be him? Her one-night stand isn't playing by the rules of just. One. Night. She’s had her heart broken in the past, and no way is she going there again. And now he's blackmailing her into three dates? Well, if that's what it takes to make him see a different therapist, fine. She can handle it. So what if the chemistry between them is combustible? She's a professional, damn it. She'll date Mr. I'm Too Sexy For My Bunker Pants. But it won’t end in the fun he expects.
It’s time to see how much heat this fireman can take...
It’s a one-night stand that should have had both parties going away satisfied. But coincidence (or the unlikeliest chance) has dictated that Erik and Olivia are going to meet again as therapist and patient as Erik works out his PTSD issues before getting cleared for active duty in the fire station. Early on, Gina L. Maxwell establishes that we’re looking at a firehouse of skirt-chasers and players—only the extent to which they tom-cat around varies—and it becomes clear that we’re going to see fireman after fireman take the fall when they meet their women.
I’m going to say right out that this was a difficult book to read and an even harder review to write, especially when I found myself struggling at every turn of the page as it began with a compendium of clichés. My own, deep scepticism about deep and lasting emotional connection developing after exploring physical attraction aside, it was the way both Erik and Olivia were portrayed that nearly had me running for the hills.
But perhaps, this disconnect exists only on my part, judging from the other reviews of this book.
The sex is hot, detailed and graphic. Erik’s the dirty-talking alpha, wild in bed and predictably, able to give Olivia the hottest night of her life as he uses his well-developed appendages with great expertise. They find each other beyond sexy and get it on too easily. But…what then? Maxwell’s investment in Erik’s and Olivia’s overwhelming physical attraction to each other had a 2-fold effect on me: it’s well-written—though filled with porn-like clichés in so many parts—but emphasised the sexual connection they had for most of it that I ironically had difficulty seeing past this to any compatibility that they might have had outside the bedroom.
Erik pursues Olivia based, apparently, on her hotness factor after he decides that their one-night stand can actually become much more. I couldn’t quite understand this, let alone get behind Erik’s idea that their a one-night stand was actually fate in action. Suddenly he wants a chance with the reluctant doctor when he never quite wanted with other women (the reason isn’t quite given except that she made him way hotter), then pursues her with single-minded determination until she gives in, then betrays that trust in the end when he uses sex to punish her for wanting to stick around. PTSD gets the better of some people, I understand, and it forms the major conflict towards the end of the story, but the inevitable blow-up and the resulting grovelling all come as predictable elements of a well-worn formula that I was simply left underwhelmed by the end of it.
There are other issues that I had with the story, not just with the characters, but with the patient/therapist rules that both Erik and Olivia skimmed over. On the one hand, I understand that it’s fiction, where most things can happen and will happen without too many consequences. But Erik’s cocky open talk about their hook-up with her boss/uncle made my jaw drop (not in a good way), not just because of the sheer professionalism, but that I really, really couldn’t see this happening at all in any alternate universe where people/characters could get away with it. On the other hand, Erik’s passive-aggressive brag about how he wants Olivia while insinuating about the number of hose hunnies waiting for him in bed felt patronisingly insulting somehow, even if it’s Maxwell’s way of showing how big a decision it seems for him to commit himself to one woman right now.
I wished I could have liked this more; whether I’d continue with the series is still a huge question mark, but I suspect I’m looking forward to seeing some kind of equality been the H/hr where the latter doesn’t crumble like dust in the wind at the drool-inducing sight of bulging biceps and rock-hard abs…and vice-versa. Whether the rest of Boston Heat continues in this vein, well, is still up in the air, innit?