by Kate Meader
Series: Hot in Chicago #1
Published by Tantor Audio on February 2, 2016
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Firefighters
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Savvy PR guru Kinsey Taylor has always defined herself by her career, not her gender. That is, until she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to be with her fiancé, who thought she wasn't taking her "job" of supporting him in his high-powered career seriously enough and promptly dumped her for a more supportive and "feminine" nurse. Now, as the new assistant press secretary to Chicago's dynamic mayor, she's determined to keep her eye on the prize - and she certainly doesn't have time for men.
But that all changes when she meets Luke Almeida, a firefighter as searingly sexy as he is quick tempered. He's also the second oldest of the Firefightin' Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service - if Luke's antics don't get him fired first. When Luke goes one step too far and gets into a bar brawl with the Chicago Police Department, Kinsey marches into Luke's firehouse and lays down the law on orders from the mayor. But at Engine Co. 6, Luke Almeida is the law, and he's not about to let Kinsey make the rules.
I enjoyed Flirting with Fire, but there were some things that prevented me from loving it more. This is the first book in the Hot in Chicago series, which follows a family of firefighters. The main romance is about Kinsey and Luke, but there are also subplots involving two other couples: Alex (Luke’s foster sister) and Eli; as well as Gage (Luke and Alex’s foster brother) and Brady. Confused yet? I know I started to feel lost after a while, just because there are so many different characters and various plots running around. So, it was hard for me to focus on the main characters because of all the other things going on at the same time.
First, Kinsey and Luke. Kinsey is a public relations whiz who works for the Chicago mayor (Eli). She’s called in to help in the aftermath of a brawl between Luke (a firefighter) and a detective on the Chicago police department. Luke is pretty unapologetic about his role in the fight–for reasons revealed later on–but Kinsey has to do some major damage control so that Luke doesn’t get into more trouble than he’s already in.
Kinsey had her heart broken when she discovered that her fiance was cheating on her. Her ex is a HUGE jerk who couldn’t handle the fact that Kinsey is a strong, intelligent, independent woman. She knows what she wants and isn’t avoid to voice her opinions. Even though Kinsey knows she’s better off without him, it’s natural and understandable that she’s still hurt and trying to heal from his betrayal.
At first, Kinsey and Luke don’t like each other at all, but that initial dislike is based more on their first impressions of each other. Soon, they realize that they’re quite attracted to one other. Even if they shouldn’t pursue a personal relationship because of their professional situation, they do anyway–purely on a physical level, at first.
Meanwhile, Alex (Luke’s foster sister) is a fellow firefighter who ends up landing in her own hot water. This trouble puts her at odds with the mayor (Eli). The two appear to be enemies on the surface, but it’s obvious that there’s an attraction and they’re clearly going to end up together. (The next book is Alex and Eli’s story.)
In addition, Gage (Luke and Alex’s foster brother) is yet another firefighter who’s looking for love. Gage’s portion of the story is an m/m romance. He meets and crushes hard on Brady, a chef, which surprises him since he’s normally used to casual hookups. But once he meets Brady, he suddenly finds himself wanting much more.
Phew! I understand the need to set up the forthcoming books in the series, but there’s just so much going on here. I found it really tough to focus on the main story (Kinsey and Luke), even though I enjoyed their romance quite a bit. Their love scenes are smoking hot, pun not intended but appropriate.
I read the audio version of the book and honestly, I’m not sure if the story would have been more or less confusing if I had read the print version. Actually, I wouldn’t have minded a shorter book if it had focused on just one couple instead of multiple ones. As I mentioned, even though I liked the writing overall, I felt that the story arc was unfocused and had a tendency to zig-zag. Nevertheless, I plan on reading the next book in the series since I do enjoy the author’s writing style.
Rating: 3 stars