Series: Hotshots #3
Published by Carina Press on 26th October 2020
Buy on Amazon
Fire behavior specialist Luis Riviera goes where his job takes him. But when he’s assigned to an arson investigation in Central Oregon—the place he left his broken heart twenty years ago—he’s afraid of being burned all over again.
Tucker Ryland had planned to join his first love, Luis, in LA after high school graduation, but life got in the way. Now a fire management expert and a divorced father of teen twins, Tucker’s thrown for a loop when he finds himself working side by side with his Luis, now all grown up and more intriguing than ever.
Though consumed by a grueling fire season and family responsibilities, the two men discover their bond has never truly broken. Tentative kisses turn to passionate nights. But smoking sheets aside, old hurts and new truths stand in the way of this time being the start of forever.
‘Feel the Fire’ is really that second-chance romance done in a way that those who are wary of this trope would find themselves warming to. Luis Rivera and Tucker Ryland had left each other in the dust nearly 20 years ago as teens but a secondment to central Oregon sends Luis back to the place where it all began—and as luck would have it, straight into Tucker’s path.
The fire case in itself secondary; in fact, it’s there to support how Luis and Tucker connect again, how they find a new admiration for the ways in which they’re good at their jobs and pretty much, the very driving force that brings their second-chance to fruition.
All throughout ‘Feel The Fire’ I was simply struck by how mature everything was, or at least how maturity rang out through both protagonists in every move that they made or almost everything that they said—right down to the compromise that came up at crunch time. There’s that clear contrast between the idealistic teenage romance and the slightly more cautionary grown-up way they approach each other as they both own up to their mistakes and then find their own dreams again.
It’s slow-going however only for the reason that Annabeth Albert presents their steadily-growing romance as a realistic one, interspersed with moody teenagers and their own growing-up issues. For this reason the story did feel as though it was heading nowhere at times and I did get somewhat bored with the domestic antics that Tucker was facing even as Luis’s time in Oregon was coming to an end. Long and short of it, ‘Feel the Fire’ is a solid one, well-written with rounded characterisations; it’s ordinariness and relatability perhaps, would be its greatest draw, with situations that mirror the frictions and the ever-changing dynamics of work and family. I wish it’d clicked a little more snugly for me despite my recognition that there’s nothing at all wrong with the storytelling, just that it came up somewhat lacking in the end instead of leaving me breathless.