Title: On Fire (States of Love)
Author: Alicia Nordwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 26, 2016
Page Count: 137
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Nothing beats getting out of the concrete jungle and into the quiet of the forest. Website designer Scottie Ness is taking a well-deserved vacation from the grindstone, and he plans to spend it in the solitude of Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest around Mt. Adams. He’s prepared for everything—except the lightning storm that traps him in a wildfire.
The firefighter who rescues him sustains serious injuries and ends up in the hospital. Jax Quintero might be abrasive, but the guy saved his life, and Scottie wants to thank him. As they spend time together during Jax’s recovery and exploring the state’s landmarks when he’s released from the hospital, Scottie discovers there’s more to Jax than a smart-ass adrenaline junkie. Jax reassesses his opinion of Scottie as an arrogant city boy who has no business in the mountains. Though Jax’s wounds prevent them from taking things as far as they’d like for a while, they can’t deny the heat building between them—and this is one fire they don’t want to put out.
States of Love Series – Washington State.
This novella length story flows along much like those streams in the Pacific Northwest – sometimes a bit turbulent, sometimes happily burbling. On Fire starts out a bit turbulent as Jax’s hotshot crew is informed that there is a civilian camping in an area a backburn was scheduled for, and Jax is pissed he has to save a pansy-assed city boy from his own stupidity. Scottie, in his defense, did everything he was supposed to, but just ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both men end up in the hospital.
What I enjoyed about this book was the relationship wasn’t based on “insta-love” or even “insta-sex”. It wasn’t enemies to lovers, but two guys who got off on the wrong foot (knee perhaps?) and come to a mutual understanding, before being able to move forward – but not into bed.
In a genre where so many relationships and plots are based solely on sex, this was a bright little gem. Too often I find myself cringing as incapacitated person on painkillers in the hospital is getting his rocks off. Ah, no. Which is why I applaud how Ms. Nordwell handled Jax’s knee injury so deftly indeed.
Jax and Scottie dated. There was wooing, and pursuing, and moments of lancing pain when something got bumped the wrong way. It made the characters feel more real and human, it made their dates all that more realistic, and it made the romance all that much more enjoyable because the reader can watch that turbulent mountain stream start to turn into a burble.
I also admit, I liked the tour of the space needle and the Pike’s Place. Oddly, I enjoyed the struggles navigating a city the size of Seattle, of parking in a tourist area with someone who is mobility challenged – very nice touch of realism!
Simply, I liked Jax and Scottie and I appreciated watching the relationship unfold.
My one quirk with the story was at the beginning – understanding that setting back burns is based off humidity levels, wind conditions, and weather forecasts…if Scottie dropped his location information off at the Ranger Station and the fire crews were planning on burning that area that week, I did find it a bit implausible that the crews wouldn’t check in with the station before setting torch to duff OR that area would be closed to camping/hiking and signs posted.
But hey, being a bit of a nitpick.
Go grab a Starbucks and enjoy!
State of Love series