Title: High Heat
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Hotshots, #2
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Carina Press
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. Don’t miss the Hotshots series from Annabeth Albert: Burn Zone, High Heat, and Feel the Fire.
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/high-heat-annabeth-albert/1135613570
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/high-heat/id1491922759
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_High_Heat?id=q8XEDwAAQBAJ
“Hey! I thought I told you to lie on your bed.”
Thump. Thump. Wagging her tail, she gave him a canine grin.
“That’s the people bed. Yours is over there.” He pointed at her bed. “Go lie down.”
Helpfully, she scooted over about ten inches but oth¬erwise didn’t seem inclined to budge.
“Five minutes, okay? Five minutes and then you’re going to your bed.” Sitting next to her, he adjusted the bed’s angle. Replacing his previous cheap king set with this setup had been a bit of a splurge, but it beat the rental hospital bed he’d had at his dad’s. He was a big guy. He needed his space. And he was not prepared to share that space with a stubborn pooch.
“Go lay down,” he tried again after giving her some pats, but all she did was move to the foot of the other side of the bed. Yawning and out of energy, he was no match for a stubborn dog. “Fine, fine. Let’s not tell Rain that you rejected his bed selection.”
Usually nights were hard—his pain level tended to spike at night in unpredictable ways, his sleep could be
fitful, and his mind raced through hundreds of dismal scenarios. He’d never had an anxiety problem before the accident, but lately, calming down at night was particu¬larly problematic. If he was physically exhausted, it was easier, but then physical tiredness tended to mean more pain, which meant more sleeplessness, which meant more time for worries to charge back up.
But that night he didn’t even need to play on his phone and was asleep even before he could try again to get Cookie to move. The next thing he knew it was morning—and not crack-of-dawn morning either, but a sunny eight o’clock. A banging noise was coming from the front door.
Had to be Rain come to walk the dog. And sure enough, his phone was full of several missed messages from Rain asking about a time to come over.
“Coming,” he hollered. Hell. No time to get dressed. Letting Cookie lead the way, he used the crutches to get as far as the wheelchair, then switched to the faster method to get to the door.
“Oh, good! You survived the night!” Rain greeted him cheerily. “And uh—wow. Um. You need me to wait a minute?”
Rain’s gaze was riveted to Garrick’s chest in a blatantly appreciative way he hadn’t experienced in months. Damn. Felt good. Too good. And his shorts were hardly designed to conceal his body’s reaction to Rain’s attention if his dick decided to power up like it had last night. Abruptly, he spun away from the door. “Come on in. Sorry. We slept late. Like ten hours. I can’t believe it. That never happens to me.”
“You must have needed it. Did Cookie stay in her bed all night?”
“She stayed quiet,” Garrick hedged, not wanting to hurt his feelings by telling him Cookie had rejected the bed but also not wanting to outright lie either. “She must have needed the rest too. You want to take her out? I’ll find both a shirt and her medication while you’re gone.”
“Sounds great.” Rain bounced on the balls of his feet before fetching the leash from the key rack where he’d hung it the night before. His hair was still up, but messier than the day before, and he was wearing silver shorts and a close-fitting pink T-shirt with several members of that pony show Garrick’s sister’s kids liked, and Squad Goals written under the ponies in swirly script.
“No job interview today?”
“Nope. Didn’t want Miss Cookie feeling bad about being the only one in pink. I figured we could match. And I told you. I like it.” Rain’s eyes were defiant, daring Garrick to object.
“Hey, you wear what you want to wear.” Without coffee on board, he was struggling to sound support¬ive and not lecherous, because damn. Rain looked good in pink, all warm and glowing. It made his eyes more golden, and somehow the contrast with his sharp jaw did all sorts of interesting things to Garrick’s insides. While his taste in partners could be eclectic, the one unifying feature was usually confidence, because there were few things sexier than a fearless person who knew themselves and what they wanted. He’d already noted Rain’s innate confidence the day before, and today’s outfit choice only made him that much more appealing.
“Good.” Rain clipped the leash to Cookie’s collar. “We’ll be back.”
While they were gone, Garrick found a T-shirt of his own, black and plain because he didn’t have the same need for sparkle as Rain, but man, did he appreciate glam in people who enjoyed it. As he made the coffee, he watched Rain and Cookie coming up the sidewalk at a decent trot, Rain’s mouth moving like he was talking to the dog. Cute. So damn cute. And so very off-limits.
Copyright © 2020 by Annabeth Albert
I am LOVING this series!
Garrick Nelson was injured on the job at a pivotal moment in the first book ( Burn Zone ), but if you haven’t read that one yet, you should have no problem jumping in (see what I did there? ;)) here. High Heat takes place months later, when the most intense of Garrick’s rehab is behind him–though he still isn’t close to where he wants to be, back on his smoke jumping crew. He’s determined to make it back, though–and no one can tell him he won’t. For now he’s stuck in limbo, doing his physical therapy and isolating himself from much of his former life, seeing his dad weekly and his neighbors occasionally.
Enter Cookie, a stray dog, who decides to adopt Garrick and Rain Fisher, the grandson of Garrick’s closest neighbor, who makes it his personal mission to make sure Cookie has found her forever home. Soon the two men are spending more and more time together–on-to-the-next-adventure Rain asks for Garrick’s help with a training regimen in exchange for help with Cookie–and their attraction to each other becomes harder and harder to ignore.
I adored Garrick and Rain together–they were fabulous! Rain’s upbringing and personality made him more sensitive to the needs of others than most people, and he was the perfect guy to be there for Garrick in many ways as he came to terms with his disability and the possibility that it might be a permanent thing. Rain himself is just so unabashedly, well, 100% himself, and he did a great job of drawing Garrick back out into the world of the living. And got him started knitting, of all things. (OMG! I loved that part…) Truly, I couldn’t put this one down–I read it in a single day, and I regret nothing!
There’s a teaser chapter for the next series book ( Feel the Fire ) at the end of this one, because Ms Albert clearly wants to make sure that we are counting the days until its release…
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
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 children.
Connect with Annabeth Albert: