A Spark of Romance – ARC Review

52844577._SY475_A Spark of Romance
by Jamie K. Schmidt
Release Date:  June 18, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Number of pages: 163
Source:  ARC from publisher
Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating: PG
Read 6/28/20 to 6/29/20


Is she out of reach?
Fire Chief and former Army sergeant Kayleigh Baker is determined to save Mulberry’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display. She doesn’t want to disappoint the kids and the fireworks are a bittersweet memory of her mom’s last summer. As the town prepares for the summer parade and picnic, Kayleigh works to convince her former high school crush — now the straight-laced police chief — to help her cause.

Does he stack up?
Police Chief Liam MacAvoy doesn’t like the chaos the fireworks cause for his department and can’t hide his relief when they’re cancelled. But now he’s got the woman he’s been in love with for as long as he can remember asking for his help. How can he say no? What he’d really like is to show her that fireworks and town traditions are not the only things worth fighting for.

Can the boy next door and the town hero find the courage to finally seize their chance at love?

This story was absolutely NOT what I was expecting from this author. Granted, I haven’t read but 4 or 5 of her books. But every one of the previous stories I’ve read by her have drawn me in, kept me turning pages, had heat coming off the pages, and left me wishing the story never ended. I’m so sorry to say that wasn’t the case with this one.

In the beginning, I could feel a bit of the chemistry between Kayleigh and Liam. Unfortunately, instead of building as the story progressed, it fizzled. I think it was the fact they these two never stop fighting! Seriously…NEVER. Now, to each their own. I know couples that thrive on fighting/arguing over every little thing. That’s not my preference in a romantic relationship, but it works for them. The problem is, I didn’t feel as though either of these two got anything but hurt feelings and discontent from their arguments. There was no rush or sense of accomplishment. Plus, it kept them from moving their relationship from the friend zone into something deeper.  The reader is supposed to believe these two have always loved and cared for each other but have been too afraid to speak up. But, since they never interact without some sort of squabble popping up, that connection gets lost in the shuffle. The negative encounters this couple had far outweigh the positive encounters. So, how is any sort of relationship being built? As the reader, I was told they love one another and that they are meant for one another, yet I’m never shown that.

There were things I loved about both Kayleigh and Liam. I also had issues with them both, especially Kayleigh.  They are both so stubborn that it became a problem instead of a cute and/or admirable quality. Mostly with Kayleigh. Not only was she stubborn, it also seemed like she was on the verge of running away every time things got tough or weren’t going her way. Fine, if there is character development and the readers learn more about the motivation. Or even if it’s just used to drive the story forward. But no, it happened numerous times with no resolution at the end as to what the actual issue was. It didn’t change the course of the story one iota. 

While I mostly read the type of romance stories that have me giving them at least an R rating, and more often than not an NC-17 or even XXX, I have no issues with love stories that are behind closed doors (so to speak). With this author, my experience has been some pretty risqué and steamy scenes so I had to really contemplate if my problem with the lack of intimacy was because I expected it in something she wrote or if it really was something that was missing from the story. I’ve come down on the side of it was missing. You guys, there is not a kiss between these two as adults until the last page. I hate giving spoilers, you know that, but I have to tell you that. The. Last. Page. There are a few hand grazes and such, but all things that can be construed as comfort from a friend if you didn’t know that Liam and Kayleigh had romantic feelings for each other. I almost rated the story as G, but settled on PG since there is some language and undertones here and there.

Now, this story was definitely written as though it could be a novella to introduce a new series. We meet a lot of characters (who I mostly liked better than Kayleigh) and learn a bit about the town and surrounding areas. It would explain (to a certain extent) the lack of depth in this story. Oddly enough, I would most likely read another book if this is a series. And I’m not going to give up on this author at all. Like I said, I greatly enjoyed the previous books I’ve read by her. I’m hoping this was just a fluke. I have to tell you, it has confused me greatly.

2 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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