Title: Rhino Ash (Saturday Barbies #2)
Author: Lindsey Black
Publisher: Netherwood Press
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary, Firefighters/Police
Page Count: 276
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Blurb: Ashley Jameson always tries to do the right thing, but that’s hard when your nephew keeps eating crayons, your niece is dressed as a pudding and your obnoxious older brothers crash the church’s Sunday brunch with the guy you’ve been crushing on for five years. Going to work to fight fires is a welcome relief from family obligations, until the Riot Squad arrives to investigate and Ashley once again finds himself dealing with his siblings. Oh … and Finn Hale.
But Finn’s dark past continues to haunt him. As work gets increasingly busy with a string of arson attacks on illegal immigrants, Finn steps in to be the shoulder Ashley needs to lean on, but Ashley struggles to do the same for the man he loves. Juggling family and work can be difficult, but Ashley soon discovers that the real challenge is when it’s not a struggle at all … because you’ll do anything for the ones you love.
Book two in the Saturday Barbie series. I’ll note: I have not read book one and I didn’t feel lost reading book two. Book two will spoil some aspects of book one, so if that is a concern, start with Fishy Riot.
Book blurb does a pretty good job summing up the premise of Rhino Ash. Ashley is the youngest in a family comprised of a paramedic (sister Hayley), Riot Squad Police (twins Taylor and Clay), a Doctor (Brayden) and a Firefighter (Ashely). He is convinced his family doesn’t understand his desire to be a firefighter and wishes they weren’t so protective, obnoxious, and weird.
Then there is Finn Hale. Finn works with Taylor and Clay and has been Ashley’s crush for years. A random encounter at a bar leads to each man finally taking the next step – yup. Finn likes Taylor right back.
I really enjoyed the romance in Rhino Ash: unrequited crushes coming to fruition, a slow dance of mental and moral support, sex coming later. Much to my surprise and delight – much later. There was lots of falling into bed, but for comfort, which I find so much more emotionally engaging than the screwing like little bunnies every available chance.
Finn has secrets Ash’s brothers know about, but they encourage Ash to find out for himself. There is the expected concern Ashley feels, but the author adroitly avoided going down the angsty route.
I found Ashley’s quirky family delightful. The kids added just the right amount of humor, Ashley’s mother is a hoot, and the whole sibling dynamic is just fun.
Where I struggled with the book was the injuries – and this is something that I’ve found is an issue across all genre’s, not just GLBTQ romance. Finn’s injury that precipitated Ash and Finn connecting – he was stabbed in the leg and nicked an artery. I found it a tich implausible that Finn would be up and moving as much as he was, much less running. I’m going on the assumption there would be internal stitches? Yes? Finn pulled his external stitches that Brayden so helpfully fixed (sans painkiller), but what about the internal damage to said artery and muscle?
There were a couple other injuries that had me going…hmmm, but I’ll leave it at that one. The injuries were the main thing that had me bumping the rating down.
This next complaint is totally my quirk and something I’ve acknowledged before: the Best Friend(s) who HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING! They want all the sordid details from what kind of boxers they were wearing to the graphic sex details! No no no! Gah! So not cool and an overdone trope.
Other than the medical details and the Bestie Needs to Know All, I enjoyed this book immensely. I loved the character development, the family was a hoot without being over the top, and the subject matter interesting. I’ll go back and read book one and look forward to the next in the series.