Thursday, July 30, 2020

High Heat by Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert’s Hotshots series continues—the emotions and intensity of Chicago Fire with the raw, natural elements of Man vs. Wild.

Smoke jumping is Garrick Nelson’s life. Nothing, not severe injuries nor the brutal physical therapy that follows, is going to stop him from getting back with his crew. But when a lost dog shows up on his front porch, he can’t turn her away, and he can’t take care of her on his own. Thankfully, help comes in the form of his new sexy, dog-loving neighbor. As they work together, trying to re-home their little princess, Garrick can’t resist his growing attraction for the other man, even though he knows this guy isn’t the staying type.

Rain Fisher doesn’t take anything too seriously. He dances through life, one adventure at a time, never settling in one place for too long. When his hot, conveniently buff, neighbor shows up on his doorstep, dog in tow, Rain’s determined to not just save the adorable puppy, but her reluctant owner as well. He never expects their flirtation might tempt him into stay put once and for all...

Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts.

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!

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Carina Press—Harlequin

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

High Heat is the second book in the Hotshots series. I feel that it could be read as a standalone without much issue.

Smoke jumping changed Garrick Nelson's life. His energy is all put toward jumping again. He's made remarkable strides but it's still hard for him to ask for help or depend on anyone else. When a strange dog shows up on his porch, he knows he has to find the owner knowing he won't be able to care for the pupper on his own. When he stops at the neighbor's house, hoping she can help, what he isn't expecting is the hot, dog-loving grandson that answers the door.

With the help of Rain, Garrick learns more about himself and taking care of a sweet pupper than he ever thought possible.

I loved everything about this read. Garrick was angry about giving up being a smoke jumper but something about Rain made him realize that there was something more important. The chemistry and Rain's free side made this such a delicious read! I can't wait to see what comes next for this series!!

3.5 stars of sweet heat

This is the second book in the series, and I would recommend that you read them in order, as the characters do flow through – and you get to see how Garrick was injured. That said, this would stand alone too.

Garrick being injured was an important moment in Burn Zone, and as he hadn't been painted in the warmest light, it is interesting to see him as he recovers, and how he deals with losing his playboy reputation and his much loved career. We join him already back at home, more than six months after the accident, and whilst he mainly uses a wheelchair, he can use crutches for a short distance. He is going to high intensity physio, and still believes he will return to smoke jumping. Sadly, I think it was clear that was incredibly unlikely from the outset, and I kind of felt pity for him, rather than hope.

His life definitely improves when he finds an injured dog, and that he has a new neighbour for the summer, as Shirley has her grandson, Rain, staying. They immediately fall into a very comfortable friendship/relationship looking after the dog and spending time together. I felt that the issues caused by Garrick's injury were dealt with both sympathetically and with good humour, and Rain's choice of underwear certainly raised the stakes.

There are enough fires, uniforms, as well as lacy undergarments and Cookie the dog to give a reader a very pleasurable read. I look forward to seeing who comes next, and seeing how this romance develops.

3.5 stars

This is the story of Garrick, an adrenaline junkie smoke jumper coming to terms with life changing injuries. And it’s the story of his neighbour’s hippie grandson, who might just change Garrick’s life even further.

At the start of this book, Garrick is frustrated and pretty miserable. His recovery is taking longer than he expected and he hates his reliance on others. He can’t picture a future without smoke jumping. This story is as much about Garrick’s personal journey as it is a romance. Rain explodes into Garrick’s life with an explosion colour – and a rather large dog. If Garrick’s life needs Rain’s infusion of joy, Rain needs someone to belong to and a reason to stay.

This is a slow, tender romance. It’s slow enough that I kept getting distracted and putting it down – something that doesn’t usually happen with this author’s books. The first book in this series focused more on smoke jumping action while this book only provides a few firefighting scenes. With Garrick recovering from a spinal injury, the sex isn’t completely conventional but there are some steamy scenes and a little bit of kink.

There are lots of things I really enjoyed about this book but sections of it did drag and I had to push myself to finish it. It might just have been me in the wrong frame of mind, but I usually devour Annabeth Albert’s books and I didn’t quite connect with this one.

High Heat is the second installment in the Hotshots series, and can easily be read as a standalone. However, if the reader wishes to know how Garrick's accident occurred, it happened on the pages of Burn Zone. There is also a cameo featuring Linc and Jacob.

High Heat had it all, everything to trap me into a book. Lost puppers with hurt paws. A yummy age-gap between a pansexual injured firefighter and a shimmering young neighbor, who just so happens to be intrigued by going into firefighting himself.

Garrick has a positive outlook on his injuries, because he won't accept anything less. Living alone in his own home, after recuperating with his father, he's struggling to do things by himself but has the determination to get things done. Garrick's biggest issue is that he's a workaholic with nothing to do, while also too proud to bother his friends and coworkers for help.

Rain is staying with his grandmother, a person who was told needed his help but won't accept it. He's living life on his own terms, on the cusp of making major decisions on what to do next. A natural caregiver, sweet sunshiny personality, he needs someone to help.

Then there is Cookie, the sweetest pup on the planet, who brings Garrick and Rain together.

Through helping one another, both around the house and as a trainer, Garrick lets his walls down enough to let Rain in, age-gap part of the hesitation. They find that their new jobs complement one another, ending with a scary scenario that was both emotional and heart-pounding for the reader.

High Heat had it all, everything that should have made it one helluva page-turner, with light and fluffy emotions and obvious lust, but I just couldn't connect. I wanted to love it, but I felt from the beginning that I was already at the ending. Too fast, too soon. I don't know. Not forced, necessarily. But too easy, too lighthearted, too fluffy. I didn't feel as if they had to do anything to be together but be together, and I need a little bit more angst, as if the characters have to earn it.

My favorite parts of the novel featured Cookie and Garrick's dad, those are the scenes when I actually felt something.

Recommended to fans of the author, especially those who enjoy light and fluffy.

Avid Reader☆☆☆
M/M Romance

Garrick is at home after suffering a pretty severe injury during his job. He isn't used to having so much time for himself and he finds that he's impatient with his physical therapy. And while he likes spending the time with this dad, he also can't wait to get back out on the line. When an injured dog finds its way to Garrick, he knows that he might be in over his head. Cookie is the dog that wins his heart, despite him not wanting the connection.

Rain is staying with his grandma next door to the hunky firefighter. When he sees that Garrick is in need of help due to his injury, Rain volunteers. Rain is fun, sweet, and slightly shy. He sees Garrick before his injury and likes what he sees.

These two have a slow burn relationship. There is an age gap and while they do want a relationship, Garrick also doesn't want to hold Rain back. Rain wants to help his grandma, Garrick, and everyone else, but is also needing to make some pretty big life decisions for himself too.

It was a sweet story, but I just was very disconnected from the characters. I think it was more surface romance than a true, deep romance from my point and I wished it had more depth.

Also Available in the Hotshots Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Carina Press—Harlequin

For reviews & more info, check out our Burn Zone post.

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Connect with Annabeth

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Annabeth's Angels Facebook Fan Group

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of High Heat (Hotshots #2) by Annabeth Albert to read and review

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