On Duty (Smoke & Bullets #1)

Title:On Duty (Smoke & Bullets #1)
Author: A.R. Barley
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: December 18th 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 202
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5


Number one rule for a firefighter: never take your eyes off the flame. Male/male author A.R. Barley is back with a new contemporary romance series.

Former marine and seasoned firefighter Troy Barnes has always kept his sex life on the down low, until he takes back-to-back hits: physically injured in a suspicious warehouse explosion and emotionally blindsided when he’s ditched by his boyfriend. When a flirty young paramedic offers him a place to crash, Troy’s not so willing to give in. He’s never needed help before. But if anyone can break through his tough-guy act, it’s Alex Tate.

Alex has crushed on Troy since the minute he saw him. Now here he is, stripped of his turnout gear and recuperating in Alex’s bed. The tattooed hero may be a fantasy-come-true, but Alex wants more than rebound sex—and he’s not sure Troy’s ex is gone or forgotten.

As each night brings them closer together, Troy realizes there’s more to Alex than he’d ever imagined. And with an arsonist loose in Manhattan, neither he nor Alex realizes just how combustible things are going to get.

This book is approximately 64,000 words

Carina Press acknowledges the editorial services of Deborah Nemeth

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

I have mixed feelings about this one. Some things I liked, some others felt a little bit awkward.

What I liked:
-I loved the slow building connection between Troy and Alex. Lately I ‘ve been reading more and more books where the romance happened out of nowhere and the words “I love you” felt alien. This is not that kind of book.
-It was also not a stereotypical kind of book. What with Troy being a muscle hunk and Alex a feisty little blond with lime green toenails I was expecting…differently. Well, Troy and Alex were a surprise in and out of bed.
-I liked the mystery with the arsonist and I totally didn’t see it coming.
-Some people might find it boring but I LOVE all the paramedic and firefighting action. Whether it’s depicted accurately, I don’t know, but I enjoyed it a lot. Third Watch is my favorite show ever!
-It’s also a very inclusive book. As I’m writing this review, I have already read the second book, and I have to say that there is a great bi and trans representation.

What I didn’t like:

-Ian. OMG I hated that fucking asshole! But what I hated even more was Troy’s reaction to him. I can’t believe he still wanted to be friends with that jackass after what he did to him and after trying to use him as a booty call while waiting for his GIRLFRIEND to have HIS BABY! This ruined most of the story for me. My rating would have been higher if it wasn’t for this.
-The story was trying to be too many things at once. A little bit of suspense, a dash of YA plot line e.t.c That would have been ok but it stole time from the romance.
-There are some issues with the story’s continuity. Sometimes I felt lost inside a character’s head, trying to make sense of all the rumbling or waiting for an answer that never came.

Overall, it was ok but I could have enjoyed it much more. I’ll stick with the series.

Smoke & Bullets Series

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Mother, wife, teacher and READER. I read MM almost exclusively. My kindle is my best friend and the most important thing in my life after my son. My poor husband... I read MM romance almost exclusively. As a reader I don't have any hard limits except incest. I like Contemporary and Historicals and I rarely read Paranormal unless recommended...