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New Release Review: PLAYING WITH FIRE by Kate Meader (Hot in Chicago #2)

Playing with Fire
by Kate Meader


From popular romance author Kate Meader comes the second novel in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!

As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…

Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken…

I love the firefighting Dempseys!

Honestly, while reading each book in the series, I think this one’s my favorite! and the Dempsey it’s about becomes my new favorite Dempsey–so I should probably just give in and say they’re all my faves, I suppose. Wyatt’s story’s next (Sparking the Fire)–can’t wait!!!) and what are the chances I won’t love it too? Yeah, pretty much nil…clearly, resistance is futile! 😉

Alex–or Alexandra, as Eli likes to call her–and Eli’s story was so much fun to read. I’d been looking forward to it since the two of them showed up together on the page the first time (Flirting with Fire, when Alex was taken to the carpet for destroying the car of Eli’s biggest political supporter (she was totally justified, IMHO), an incident that was mentioned in the first passage I highlighted in this book. Alex is on yet another soon-to-be-disastrous first date at the time:

“You know how the news blows stuff out of proportion,” she said, adding the half shrug Alex Dempsey 2.0 would use. That Alex was more dateable. More lovable. Less likely to use the Jaws of Life on the personal property of anyone who pissed her off.

Of course, it isn’t actually possible for any Alex to be more lovable, as her “posse” (AKA Team Get Alex Laid: her youngest brother Gage–Melting Point–and friends/future sisters-in-law Darcy and Kinsey–Rekindle the Flame and  Flirting with Fire–already knows. It’s going to take Alex a while to figure out, though, that the right guy for her is going to be the one that’s going to take her exactly as she is.

One thing she’s sure of is that that guy isn’t going to be mayor Eli Cooper.

She’d be wrong, of course. Because Playing with Fire is an example of the best kind of enemies-to-lovers story. Even when these two are driving each other crazy they have absolutely amazing chemistry going on.

…suddenly, his mouth was on hers again, that wickedly talented mouth that he should never, ever use for speech. Just pleasure. That’s all that stupid, annoying, sexy mouth was good for.

When the two of them end up in the same press conference together, all of Chicago can see how the sparks fly between the two of them, and they’re in a fake relationship–for the good of Eli’s re-election campaign–faster than you can say hell, yeah:

“It’s called a publicity stunt. God knows why, but people like us together. They like that sassy mouth of yours. They like the soap opera quality of our history. There’s even a poll going on the names of our children. Sophie will be the first woman president of the United States, while Joshua will fight brush fires in California.”

“That’s…that’s ridiculous. There’ll be a woman president long before that.”

Seriously, every moment these two are on the page together, it’s golden–the chemistry, the sexy banter, the almost-made-me-spit-out-my-iced-tea quips. Even when Eli’s doing his convincing impression of an a$$hat, he’s hot. And funny.

“You can rest assured your medal from the Order of Chivalry is in the mail.”

“Must everything be framed as a battle, Alexandra? I was merely being polite and walking you to your door.”

She huffed her annoyance. “You wouldn’t do it for a man.”

“I might. If he was puny or was carrying Super Bowl tickets and looked like he might be mugged at any moment.”

(Though, really, isn’t that just a sad commentary on all of her dates lately? Isn’t being walked to the door a good-date requirement? I’m with Eli on this one, though I get why Alex is frustrated by the gesture, especially from him.)

But oh, Lord, Eli Cooper could walk me to my door any time.

Especially after the absolutely to-die-for epilogue. (Sigh!)

Alex’s brothers are out in force in this novel, standing up for their sister and glaring daggers (and occasionally more) at Mr. Mayor on her behalf, being overbearing as only big (and even so-called little) brothers can. Kinsey and Darcy are like the sisters Alex never knew she was lacking. Besides the sassy, snarky, chemistry-driven amazeballs nature of this series, the family dynamic really makes it what it is. Playing with Fire would work fine as a standalone, sure–but do yourself a favor and read the other three books in the series first, just because they’re amazing.

Now, excuse me while I go back and re-read all of my highlighted passages.

Several times. 🙂

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

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