by Annabeth Albert
Release Date: April 27, 2020
Publisher: Carina Press
Book #1 in the Hotshots series
Number of pages: 336
Source: ARC from Netgalley & Carina Press
Contemporary Romance M/M
Read 4/22/20 to 4/23/20
Introducing Annabeth Albert’s Hotshots series—the emotions and intensity of Chicago Fire with the raw, natural elements of Man vs. Wild.
Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts…
Smoke jumper Lincoln Reid is speechless to see Jacob Hartman among his squad’s new recruits. Linc had promised his late best friend he’d stay away from his little brother. And yet here Jacob is…and almost instantly, the same temptation Linc has always felt around him is causing way too many problems.
Jacob gets everyone’s concerns, but he’s waited years for his shot at joining the elite smoke jumping team, hoping to honor his brother’s memory. He’s ready to tackle any challenge Linc throws his way, and senses the chemistry between them—chemistry Linc insists on ignoring—is still alive and kicking. This time, Jacob’s determined to get what he wants.
Close quarters and high stakes make it difficult for Linc to keep his resolve, never mind do so while also making sure the rookie’s safe. But the closer they get, the more Linc’s plan to leave at the end of the season risks him breaking another promise: the one his heart wants to make to Jacob.
Title: Burn Zone
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Hotshots, #1
Length: approx. 90,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Carina Press
eBook On-Sale: April 27, 2020
eBook ISBN & Price: 9781488057045, $4.99 USD
This is a new-to-me author and, let me tell you, I’m very happy to find she has a decent size library for me to delve into. I loved this book and want to read more, more, more. There were butterflies and heat, I felt angst and joy. Everything I want from my romance books I got.
Although Lincoln is 10 years older than Jacob, there’s a definite feeling that Jacob is older in the ways of the world. Linc had a rough childhood. Once he found people that were kind and giving he kept himself in that bubble. Sure, when he grew up he struck out on his own and traveled to different places to hone his firefighting and lifesaving skills. But he didn’t bring that life into his life in Painter’s Ridge, and vice versa. Linc didn’t venture outside of the community of firefighters, regardless of where he traveled. While Jacob is one of those guys who’s never met a stranger. He is the life of the party, kind to all, and open and honest about who he is. That puts Jacob at an advantage when it comes to being true to himself and his heart. Linc just isn’t quite there yet.
Watching the back and forth between these two is (forgive the pun) fire. They heat up the pages of this book in an amazing way. Jacob worries about proving himself to Linc and the other firefighters, while Linc does all he can to be what he thinks those around him want to be. Yet when they’re together, all of that falls away. They calm each other and in ways nobody else can.
I’m beyond curious as to how Linc’s best friend (Jacob’s brother) Wyatt is viewed by others. It’s obvious his parents adored him and it seems possibly even put him on a bit of a pedestal, but we don’t hear from the other siblings or his wife very much. I understand, to a certain extent, why Linc stayed loyal to Wyatt even though it seems Wyatt would not have done the same for Linc as they got older. But what about his wife? Did she only get the kind side of Wyatt? Did she ever speak out about his beliefs and actions toward Jacob and Linc? I don’t know that any of these questions will be answered in this series, I doubt they will be since the series is about the firefighters and not Jacob’s family. Just thing that had me curious I wanted to express.
I’m a huge fan of firefighter stories. I’ve read some disappointments in the past that seemed to skew what these men and women do to a ridiculous extent. Since I hadn’t read this author before I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now, I’m no fire jumper expert so I may be way off base here, but I felt she handled the firefighting aspect of this story beautifully. It wasn’t too detail laden to be boring, but I got details that were interesting and helped me to see what the day to day is for these characters.
Now that I’ve found a great new-to-me author, I can’t wait for the next story in this series. This book is amazing.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**
[…] Linc ended up heading outside to the firepit like he hadn’t known all along where he was headed. Jacob was just working on lighting the thing as the evening temperatures dropped.
“Need a hand?” he asked, squatting down next to him.
“Yours? Always.” Jacob was far too flirty for his family being close by, but Linc liked the warmth in his tone too much to call him on it.
“Here.” Linc handed him some kindling. Same as with the baby, they worked together silently, doing this task like they’d done it a thousand times before, when the reality was that the firepit had always been Wyatt’s domain, not Jacob’s. He liked working alongside Jacob, something that had both annoyed and buoyed him the last week, the way Jacob could often read his mind, anticipate what he was about to ask.
And somehow once the fire was going, they ended up the only two out there in the big wooden chairs, alone but not really. They sat in a companionable silence for a while before Jacob shifted, leaning forward, voice a bare whisper. “You know, I’ve been thinking—”
“Please don’t.” Linc wasn’t trying to be funny. The look on Jacob’s face, at once mischievous and earnest, so damn appealing, both turned him on and put him immediately on edge.
“We need to get this—” Jacob gestured between them “—out of our systems. Once and for all.”
“No.” It didn’t work like that, and it spoke to how damn young Jacob still was that he thought it did.
“Hear me out. One night. Then we can concentrate on work after. Put it behind us. Take away the mystery maybe.”
Linc snorted. It might be simply curiosity for Jacob, but it sure wasn’t for him. “It wouldn’t work.”
“Maybe not, but I at least want to try. You don’t?”
“I’m not an itch you scratch once.”
“That sure of yourself, huh?”
More like he was that sure of Jacob, but he said nothing, just stood. His no might be firm now, but he wasn’t made of iron either. Enough wheedling from Jacob and he might get twisted up enough to agree to that ridiculous plan.
“Night. You have a nice time now with your family. And see you tomorrow. At work.” He chose his words carefully, reminding them both about the two big reasons they couldn’t do anything foolish.
“Just think about it,” Jacob urged.
“It’s cake time!” someone called from the house, saving Linc from answering. But he would. He’d think about it all right. He’d think about it tonight, alone in his bed. And probably tomorrow, in the shower. And he’d want it, just like he had for years now, every cell in his body aware of what he could have but wouldn’t allow himself. Lord, how he’d want it, especially now that Jacob had made this diabolical little offer. One night.
And it didn’t help that a small piece of himself kept whispering, It might work. Never know. It could work. That part was wrong, of course, but it spoke to his want, wormed its way into his thoughts until he wasn’t sure how long his willpower could hold out.
About Annabeth Albert
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.
Connect with Annabeth Albert