THESE AIRBORNE HEROES BATTLE MORE THAN FLAMES
The elite firefighters of Mount Hood Aviation fly into places even the CIA can’t penetrate.
FROM WILDFIRE TO GUNFIRE
Master mechanic Denise Conroy-with a reputation for being as steel-clad as the aircraft she keeps aloft-shuns useless flyboys who don’t know one end of a wrench from the other.
Firehawk pilot Vern Taylor-known for unstoppable charm and a complete lack of mechanical skills-proves his talent for out-of-the-box thinking with every flight. He’s a survivor and a natural-born heli-aviation firefighter.
When Denise and Vern crash together in the Central American jungle with wildfire on one side and a full-fledged military coup on the other, their newly forged partnership is tested to the max. They have each other, but not even their formidable skills combined can protect Denise and Vern from the conflagration sweeping the jungle…and their hearts.
Source: ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley
I had no idea this was the tenth book in this series (according to the author’s website) when I started reading, but I’m glad I didn’t know because I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near it – and that would have been a shame. So if you’re new to this series but the idea of heli-flying firefighters intrigues you, then pick this up because it stands alone just fine. Especially if you love strong female characters – they are everywhere.
I absolutely loved that about this book. Not just Denise, but the other Firehawk pilots and various other characters scattered about. These women are strong and intelligent and every bit as capable as the men they hang out with. And Denise is a fine example. Sure, she’s not the most feminine of women, but there are reasons. She’s an incredible mechanic and knows exactly what to do when faced with a damaged helicopter, but her social skills are less adequate. A little bit shy, a whole lot awkward, this is a woman who lost her mother at a young age, has a strained relationship with her father and had an absolute douchebag for a previous boyfriend. So when Vern shows interest in her she simply doesn’t know what to do about it.
Ah, Vern, I loved Vern. He’s a fantastic pilot and an all ’round charming guy, but he’s also secure enough in his own skin to be able to support Denise and buoy her up, rather than pull her down to score points, even if he can’t quite work out what she’s doing with him. The scenes where Denise drives him around were some of my favourites. Vern’s great on his own, but I really loved the way he treats Denise, how he sees her and encourages her without ever making her feel inadequate. The pair of them are wonderful to read about.
As for the plot, well, there’s plenty of action and adventure as you might expect with this setting. There’s also a lot of tech-jargon, which was almost overwhelming at first. Fans of the series will likely be used to it, but if you’re new like me stick with it if you can because it does get easier to follow and it definitely helps set the scene. The pace of the story did feel a bit stretched at times, with the firefighting scenes becoming almost dull in their routine repetitiveness. With the romance seeming to mostly wrap up by around two-thirds through the action towards the end takes over everything and the story loses focus a bit.
Clearly existing fans of the series will make lots of connections, which will probably please readers enough not to mind the strange undermining of tension. I don’t know, for such a serious plot, the last section in Central America fell a little flat for me. There is danger, but I wasn’t feeling it so much, and since most of the romantic tension was gone by that point I didn’t feel like I had as much of a stake in the story as I had earlier. So I kept reading because I wanted to finish, rather than because it gripped me. Things are a little rushed and a lot is left unexplained, making certain moments seem rather far-fetched. But hey, if you’ve got this far then just enjoy the ride.
Overall I really enjoyed this one. The romance is sweet, the hero is likeable and a good, talented guy and the heroine is great. If you like action with your romance, don’t particularly enjoy overblown language or in-depth sex scenes, then you should like this. If you’re looking for strong capable women, then I think this series will definitely have plenty to offer you. This might have been my first Firehawks book, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last.
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