The first book in the Hot Shots: Men of Fire series, published April 28, 2009.
Genre: contemporary romance, with firefighters!
Maya Jackson doesn't sleep with strangers. Until the night grief sent her to the nearest bar and into the arms of the most explosive lover she's ever had. Six months later, the dedicated arson investigator is coming face-to-face with him again. Gorgeous, sexy Logan Cain. Her biggest mistake. Now her number one suspect in a string of deadly wildfires.
As leader of an elite fire-fighting crew in Tahoe, Logan won't back down from a blaze - or from a woman. Maya Jackson may have seduced him once, but it'll be a cold day in hell before Logan lets down his guard again. But nothing can douse the sparks between them – not even the killer hot on their trail…
Maya Jackson is an arson investigator, and you could say she was born for the job. Both her father and her brother are firefighters; her father was a hotshot, fighting the wildfires in nature for six months a year, leaving her mother waiting for the phone to ring. A few months ago, he died of lungcancer. And now she has gotten the call that her brother has been killed in a fire. They don’t know if it is arson or an accident, but her brother is gone now, forever. And cleaning out his apartment in Lake Tahoe is more than she can handle at the moment. Maya is not used to drinking alcohol, but now she really needs something to get her through the bout of grief. She sets out running, and when she stumbles upon a bar, she keeps knocking until someone opens the door, and pours her a drink. But the hot and sympathetic bartender distracts her even more, and she almost has sex with him then and there.
Now it is six months later, Maya has sworn of firefighters as boyfriends forever, she cannot go trough such grief again, and firefighting is a very dangerous job. Her boss has sent her back to Lake Tahoe, where some of the biggest wildfires are raging through the forest. And the person they suspect to be an arsonist is the leader of the hotshots, a man named Logan Cain. When Maya arrives in town, she still can’t bear to see the beauty of the place, all she can think of is her brother. So after checking into the hotel, she immediately sets out for the station house, determined to talk to this Logan Cain, and put him on suspension, until his name is either cleared, or he is under arrest. But Logan and his crew are out on the mountain, running for their lives as the raging fire has almost caught up with them. Maya is holding her breath when she sees three men running up the mountain, trying to outrun the fire. They have such a little chance to make it, if only they can reach the rocks.
Back in the firestation, Maya discovers that Logan Cain is not only one of the men who just outran the fire, he is also the man she almost had sex with six months ago. The man she could not forget. But she is here to do a job, and her feelings and emotions have no place here. Logan is furious when she tells him about the suspicion that he is an arsonist, and that he is on suspension. His men need him on that mountain, leading them, fighting the fire! Maya doesn’t let him intimidate her, not even when he pushes her boundaries, and brings up their little encounter in the bar. While he tells his men about her, Maya slips out to go ask questions about him. And the one man who will have the most to tell, is the man who took him in when Logan was only 17 and in trouble. But shortly after she has arrived and asked Joseph some questions, Logan comes in after her, and makes her stop. Joseph clearly is not well, the house is a pigsty, and his memories come and go. But when they arrive back in town, her hotel is on fire! Someone has set her hotel room on fire, leaving her a threatening note in a firebox. Apparently, someone wants her gone, or death. And still Maya will not back down, she will find out who the arsonist is, and arrest him.
After seeing Logan in action, it is hard to believe him to be the arsonist, but Maya has a job to do. She can’t go after her gut feelings, she has to collect evidence. Especially now a young firefighter is mortally wounded in the hospital, after someone spread gasoline all through the forest, in the parts where they would logically be working next, trying to contain the fire. Maya sees his grief, and really feels for the young man. If he survives this, he will be in severe pain for months to come when his skin grows back. Then the arsonist strikes again, almost killing the both of them with a carbomb in Logan’s car. This has become personal, but who is it?
The fire closes in on them, and the arsonist is watching them, can they outrun the fire, and discover the arsonist before they are toasted themselves?
A very fast paced, action filled story. With lots of heat, both from the fires and from the heat between Logan and Maya. Thrown together they have little choice but to trust eachother and work together to find the arsonist before more of his men, or they themselves, are hurt or killed. Maya keeps fighting the attraction between them, as it is just not possible to get involved with her major suspect. But when she knows he is innocent, and a good man, she cannot fight it any longer. But still it is a bad idea, she doesn’t want to fall for him, doesn’t want to wait for the fatal phonecall. He risks his life on a daily basis, and likes it. Needs it. She really cannot handle that, after dealing with the loss of her father and her brother. But Logan does not only think her the most beautiful woman he has ever met, and as a hot shot, he is used to his share of beautiful woman throwing themselves at him. He knows she is the one, and he wants her, and no other. He also knows he has to go slow with her, or she will run.
I liked both Maya and Logan, they are committed to their jobs, and are compassionate people, caring for others. The one thing that really was getting boring, was the constant thinking about the other, how beautiful / handsome he / she is, the sex they had, the sex they want to have. No matter what they were doing, that kept repeating over and over, and it really was too much to my taste. It made me skip the actual lovescenes, as I had had enough already. But I kept reading for the suspense and the intrigue, and that was masterly done, even though I did figure out who the arsonist is early.
I already have the other two books in this trilogy, and will certainly read them.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian