Title: Heat Under Fire (By Fire #4)
Author Name & Publisher: Andrew Grey (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 27th, 2013 — 122 Pages
Justin Briggs can shout out directions all day on his job as a traffic cop, but put him in front of a hot guy, specifically firefighter Rock Sparks, and he clams up.
Rock finds Justin confusing. While saving a busload of children hanging off the edge of a highway overpass, the cute rookie is cool and confident. But when Rock tries to chat him up, he stutters and chokes. Frustrated, Rock teases Justin, and boy, is his temper hot.
Though Rock and Justin share a steamy kiss, Justin keeps his distance, still tongue-tied. Then, when Justin is injured on the job, Rock takes him to the hospital, and some of the barriers start to crumble. But getting his enigmatic boyfriend to open up brings up more questions about Justin’s past.
**AUDIOBOOK REVIEW**I have to say this was one of my favorite stories by Andrew Grey so far. I loved the police officer/paramedic dynamic along with just everything about these two men. They were sexy and both were trying to do their jobs while this wild attraction was between them.
I HATED what we find out late in the story that has to do with Justin. I felt so bad for the guy because I know that stuff like that really does happen and it’s so infuriating.
There is a lot of action packed into this short story, but then there can be a lot of action packed into the lives their profession puts them in so I didn’t have a hard time with it.
A great, sexy little read.
I really enjoyed the narrator that did this book as he made it fun to listen to!
Triggers: Nonconsensual aversion therapy, homophobic family
Justin is a police officer who seems to be coasting through his life. He has always had issues with speaking to men who he found attractive and therefore, he feels that there is something inherently wrong with him. I really liked his characters – self-giving, kind, humanitarian and despite his “disability”, he doesn’t give up hope.
Then you have Rock. He is a self-assured EMT who seems to pop up wherever Justin in. We don’t know too much about him, only that he is good at his job and seems to be somewhat attracted to Justin. I do wish that we knew more about him – this story was mainly about Justin.
When the two of them have to interact for work, things are smooth sailing. However, when Rock confronts Justin, due to Justin’s inability to speak to guys he’s attracted to, Rock takes that to be either a brush off or that Justin is homophobic.
We catch a glimpse of Rock’s personal life through his friends, but that is so brief that it doesn’t really offer much insight.
Justin and Rock seem to have chemistry, but more than that, they have a connection through their desire to help others.
Justin’s family…Man did they make me so angry. Nothing in his past suggested that his family was so devious. I wanted to smack Justin’s shoulder when he let his mom and sisters boss him around and say, “man up!” However, I did like to see him grow over time. He was able to take more responsibility for his life.
Overall, this was a sweet, short story about two co-workers who become lovers.
The opening action sequence in this novella is fantastic. A rookie traffic cop finds himself saving a school bus full of children as the bus hangs over the side of a bridge. So, a little unbelievable but I loved the part where he falls into the arms of the handsome firefighter…
And then the story seems to hurtle out of control. Neither Justin nor Rock can stay out of the hospital. I hate it when authors use hospital stays as plot devices and here, in a very short novella, the emergency room seems to have a revolving door.
There are far too many things happening in this story. By the time I met the man using aversion therapy and hypnosis as a ‘pray the gay away’ conversion tool, I was ready for the story to end. Sadly, there was still a bout of crazy angsty misunderstanding, another high speed car chase and another hospital stay to make it through before the end.
Andrew Grey is usually a slightly predictable but reliably good story teller. This lacked the emotional depth of most of his writing and it really didn’t work for me.
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation. Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.