Title: Shift’s End (Smoke & Bullets #3)
Author: A.R. Barley
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: August 6th 2018
Page Count: 262
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
With a couple failed marriages under his belt, Captain Jack Tracey knows how tough it is to balance a personal life with his job. But nothing in his long career has prepared him for the moment Diesel Evers walks into his firehouse. Sure, Jack’s contended with cocky young recruits before, but this seriously hot hotshot rookie is poised to crash and burn. With early retirement in sight, Jack can’t afford to get involved with a subordinate.
Having transferred to Jack’s house after a disastrous relationship, Diesel isn’t looking for another commitment. But that doesn’t mean he can’t have a little fun with his sexy silver fox of a new boss. Sometimes you have to bend the rules a bit…or shatter them completely.
With an unidentified saboteur endangering his squad, Jack doesn’t want to draw any more heat, but Diesel is too damn tempting to deny. Indulging their desires feels worth the risk—until trouble on the job lands Jack in the hospital, forcing them both to decide what’s worth fighting for.
This book is approximately 63,000 words
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!
Carina Press acknowledges the editorial services of Deborah Nemeth
I liked this much, much better than the first two books in the series. It made up for most of my previous niggles.
The characters were a lot more interesting and well-rounded. I liked Diesel but I loved Jack. Being inside his head was a delight. He’s this grumpy, forty something, twice divorced guy who has no time for bullshit anymore. His POV also had a weird sense of humor that made reading his thoughts so much fun.
The mystery sucked me in. When it’s revelation time, things fizzled a bit, but the twist in the end, although a little far-fetched, saved the day.
The steam level is low to moderate but the existing sex scenes are pretty hot and there is a lot of UST. I liked how the romance progressed. It was not just lust and later love. Jack provided stability and emotional safety, something that Diesel needed desperately.
For those who don’t like big age gaps, this might not work for you. There is a 20 year age gap here (Jack is 46 and Diesel is 26)
I really liked Jack’s relationship with his son and ex wife (bonus points for a kick ass female character who is an ex without being a bitch).
I ‘ve said before that the action scenes in these kind of books are favorite parts for me and this story was no exception. Plenty of firefighting action!
What was a little off for me was the pacing. I felt that the characters spent too much time inside their own head instead of interacting with each other. It made things too slow for me.
Overall, I like this installment a lot better, with Jack being the star of the book.