Monday, January 16, 2017

Flirting with Fire (Hot in Chicago #1) by Kate Meader

* * * 1/2

The first installment in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series from Kate Meader that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!

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 fiancĂ© 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: no time to feel inferior because she’s a strong, kick-ass woman, and certainly no 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.

Hot-headed firefighter butts heads with authority. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. But what if that authority comes in the form of an attractive, no-nonsense representative from the Mayor's office? Maybe not quite so disastrous.

Kinsey has been given an assignment by the Chicago Mayor and that is to turn a negative incident involving two city departments into a positive for the City and for the Mayor's eventual re-election bid. The recent Chicago transplant is looking forward to the task to keep her mind off of the debacle of her engagement. Nothing like throwing yourself into your work. But then she comes face-to-face with Luke and soon realizes that he presents a lot of work. He's gruff, rude and condescending. Thankfully she doesn't scare easily. She'll get it done, no worries. She just has to make sure not to fall for Luke in the process. While he doesn't care for the politics, Luke does have to acknowledge that he helped make a mess of things and will have to work with Kinsey to correct his mistakes. Kinsey being a smart, attractive women certainly helps matters though he doesn't want to get involved because that's not his schtick. It's only a question of time before these two go at it but whatever they decide affects their careers and their personal convictions.

There's substance to these characters making them more than just one-dimensional fantasies. They're flawed - Luke's initial condescending attitude and arrogance towards Kinsey in the first few pages irritated me so badly that I didn't know if I could manage the rest of the book but there was something there that made me stay. Then there is also the beautiful discovery underneath - what drives Luke, what matters to him. Learning that changed my mind about him. I liked Kinsey's quest to redefine herself and her goals after her breakup. Her self-analysis is refreshing because it can't be easy to admit the bad decisions. There's also depth to the story so it's not just about two people falling in love. The story encompasses other aspects of their lives (friends and family), their past, present and future. I just felt that I was painted a big picture while simultaneously zeroing in on Luke and Kinsey in their bubble.

This is my first Kate Meader novel and I liked it! Side note: my daughters seemed to enjoy the blurb on the back, "a man this smoking should set off alarms". Have I mentioned they're teenagers and general pains in the backside? Anyway, Flirting with Fire is pure pleasure and escape and I'm looking forward to making my way through the rest of the Hot in Chicago series!

~ Bel

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