You don’t have to look much farther than a calendar shop to realize that women think firefighters are sexy. Bella Andre fully understands the attraction to firefighters in Wild Heat and creates a truly delicious hero, but missteps in a few other areas.
Arson investigator Maya Jackson has been surrounded by firefighters her whole life – and witnessed the heartbreaking side of the profession as well; her father died of lung cancer, and her brother died while trying to put out a fire in Lake Tahoe. Overcome with grief over her brother’s death, Maya goes to an empty bar and turns to alcohol for comfort. Alcohol, and a really, really hot bartender. They almost have sex before she flees, neither of them exchanging names.
Six months later, Maya is investigating a wildfire in Lake Tahoe. An anonymous tip points the investigation at Logan Cain, one of the premier firefighters, known as “Hot Shots.” And, as it happens, he is the man in the bar from that afternoon. They’ve both been thinking about each other for the past six months, but the reunion isn’t what either expected. Logan is offended at the idea of being accused of arson, but he’s also afraid that his aging foster father, a former Hot Shot and in denial about his dementia, was setting fires on accident. Maya doesn’t want Logan to be the arsonist either, especially since it’s soon clear that their chemistry hasn’t diminished. Unfortunately, a lot of evidence points his way. However, as the arsonist escalates the attacks, things become deadly, and he begins to target Maya and Logan, they must team up to find the true arsonist, and stop him before someone dies.
Logan is wonderful. I have doubts that someone of his sheer attractiveness actually exists in real life, but this is a romance novel—we can fantasize. However, on top of his rippling muscles, he’s also just a really good guy who rose above a rocky past. Ms. Andre’s treatment of firefighters sometimes comes a little too close to hero worship, but at least she makes it justifiable in showing his bravery, loyalty, and heroism.
Maya is a slightly less adept at her job. It’s clear that the author has extensive knowledge of fires and firefighting procedure, but I wasn’t as sure about her experience in arson investigation. Maya just didn’t seem that competent. It’s not that she was dumb at all, nor did she come close to TSTL territory. I just didn’t always understand her conclusions, and she sometimes appeared a little bit unprofessional. I liked her as a character, though. I found her emotions believable and sincere, and she and Logan certainly had chemistry.
The plot is fast-paced and exciting, but the ending left a little bit to be desired. It was a surprise, but parts of it were a bit unbelievable. I think the author decided to make the villain as crazy as possible, but it went a bit over the top. It was an interesting twist, though, that tied in well with one of the overall themes of the book.
Wild Heat was a suspenseful, romantic story that did show the level of research performed by the author. Despite its issues with plausibility elsewhere, Ms. Andre knew about fires and firefighting, and that, in combination with a really hot hero, made for an interesting and sexy read.