Review: Controlled Burn by Shannon Stacey


Title: Controlled Burn (Boston Fire #2)
Author: Shannon Stacey
Date of publication: 24 Nov 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

My rating: 3 stars


Rick Gullotti lives the good life. He fights fires, dates beautiful women—though none long enough so they cast wistful glances at jewelry stores—and has great friends. And thanks to helping out the elderly couple who own his building, his rent is low. But when concerns about their health lead him to contact their only son, his life starts getting away from him.

Jessica Broussard has no interest in leaving sunny San Diego or her cushy corner office for Boston, but her father—who happens to be her boss—dispatches her to deal with the grandparents she's never met. She's unprepared for the frigid winter, loving relatives who aren't the monsters she's been led to believe, and the hot, scruffy firefighter who lives upstairs.

At first, Jessica is determined to get back to her comfortable life as quickly as possible. All she has to do is talk her grandparents into selling their monstrosity of a house and moving to a retirement community. But she underestimates Rick's dedication—and his considerable charm. Nobody's taking advantage of his friends on his watch, even if that makes the tempting southern California girl with the long legs his adversary. Unfortunately for them both, the only thing more urgent than the matter at hand is their sizzling chemistry, and it's quickly becoming too strong to resist.

Mini Review

I'm a fan of Ms Stacey's Kowalski family series - sweet, sexy romances with great side characters and family/friends atmosphere.

I was excited to try her new series and while this book was nice, it didn't wowed me. I expected a lot more of the story and felt disappointed in the ending.

This is a tender, somewhat tame love story of Rick, a firefighter in his late thirties who is already starting to think of settling down and Jessica, a corporate woman, who dreams of belonging and having a family (not just husband and kids but rather, more than a distant father). They meet when she turns out to be the granddaughter of his landlords, a girl they didn't know existed.

It's a slow burn romance and the main conflict is based on the fear of both Rick and Jessica that  the other having ulterior motives, trying to cheat Jessica's grandparents of their house.

The plot is not particularly complicated - there is some action, some drama, very law level angst but not real pull or chemistry for me. I didn't find the story very compelling and a lot of it required too much suspended belief for a contemporary romance novel. 

On the other hand, I liked the mature characters and how they acted their age, they knew who they were and were comfortable with themselves. They went into the relationship with open eyes, there were not lies and misunderstandings, just working out of the issues between them.

The ending is my biggest niggle with this story. It's a HEA of sorts but it felt like things were left in the middle of nowhere. It's no secret I love a good epilogue, but even without one, I want to story to feel complete, even it the characters get just a HFN ending. 

Purchase links: Amazon | iBooks |B&N | Kobo

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