Title: Sweet Fire
Author: Sarah Brady, Shannen Brady
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 2, 2015
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Between Homeland Security’s Gifted Agenda and the bigotry of a fearful populace, having paranormal Gifts is a dangerous thing. Pyrokinetic Aaron Flores knows firsthand how difficult it can be to control his power. Still, he runs his bakery and never gives up on finding his Happily Ever After. When Aaron’s cousin asks him to check on her former EMT partner, Aaron’s chance has finally arrived. He’s determined not to let anything stop him from catching (and keeping) his man.
Ramón Del Rio spent three days at the tender mercies of HOMSEC agents when his former partner was taken. He wants nothing to do with a Gifted guy, but Aaron is nothing if not persistent. He’s a pastry chef, after all, and the way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach. The physical passion they share is the icing on the cake. Just when Ramón decides that having Gifts might not be a deal breaker, someone close to Aaron decides his fire needs to be put out—permanently. Ramón will have to face his fears to save them both.
The jacket blurb puts all this emphasis on Homeland Security, but in the body of the story, HOMESEC was the big bad government agency in the background. Other than feeling some disquiet about Homeland Security behaving like the FBI or CIA during the Cold War, they weren’t the main emphasis.
Aaron comes from a family of Gifted – those people who have some kind of extra ability. His cousin is a Healer, his sister a Seer. He’s a pyrokinetic. They know to keep their heads down and stay out of site and out of mind.
Ramon is a paramedic who worked with Aaron’s cousin – the Healer – and was forcibly interviewed by the Evil HOMESEC prior to the story starting. Because of his forced three day interment, Ramon wants to protect his sister and nieces. His sister is portrayed as the typical female nosy busy-body who pushes her gay brother about his relationships (or lack thereof) and wants to know all the juicy sex details. Seriously? *I* don’t want to know about my brothers sex life. Gross!
And this is where things didn’t quite match – supposedly Aaron knows to keep his Gift under wraps as much as possible, but as soon as he meets Ramon, he’s making all sorts of quips about setting things on fire. Ramon was forcibly interviewed for three days in secret by Homesec – but his sister came right out and said other than being worried and later, spied on, they never threatened her or the girls. And I’m sorry, the supposed interrogation techniques just didn’t work for me, and thus my unease.
Another disconnect – Aaron sister’s (the Seer) gift doesn’t work at long distances. So she’s calling Spokane from Cuba with a warning? Does it or does not work long distances?
Then there is The Big Misunderstanding. Aaron was angry, he turned that anger, and his gift, on Ramon. Instantly everyone warps to “we broke up”, “he’s not returning my calls”, “I’ve screwed up and thrown everything away!” The authors did cover all the bases from why calls weren’t being returned (broken phone) to working extra shifts, so this is totally my quirk, but I really don’t like Big Misunderstandings and I didn’t care for this one.
It was during the Big Misunderstanding where the predictable plot played out. Despite the predictability, I did enjoy how the resolution played out.
So despite my grumbles, this occupied a quiet evening. While the idea of the “Gift” isn’t new, it was done in a refreshing manner. The boys are hot, the baked goods low calorie (because I couldn’t taste any) and the book left me with warm fuzzies. It is, ultimately, a feel good story.