Controlled Burn by Shannon Stacey, narrated by Tatiana Sokolov

Controlled Burn audioWhy I read it:  I’m a fan of both the author and the narrator so I bought it.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  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.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Alas real firefighters don’t walk around in their turnout pants and no shirt. And, the firefighters I’ve actually seen in action, are mostly not as hot as the ones on book covers. They do exist though – I’ve seen the calendar. The firefighters in Shannon Stacey’s Boston Fire series however are the real deal. I enjoy their camaraderie and closeness and their sensible approach to a very dangerous job. Work health and safety is not seen as sexy but there is something awesome about a guy who does the right thing and doesn’t showboat. Rick Gullotti is a lieutenant in the Boston Fire Department. He’s not a grandstander after glory. A good day for him is when they put out the fire, save the people (and animals) and his team get home safe. It’s competence porn at its best.

Rocky Retreat by Vivian Arend, narrated by Tatiana Sokolov

RockyRetreatAudio-222x222Why I read it:  I’m a fan of the series and buy these whenever there’s a new one out. Rocky Retreat is a novella length audio I’ve had on my TBL for a little while.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Finding white-hot love in a white-out…

Eight months ago, Lee Coleman met the woman of his dreams…then lost her to another man. He buried his disappointment by throwing himself into work on the family ranch, but when a winter storm leaves him stranded, Lee finds more than shelter in the rustic safety of a hunter’s cabin—he finds a second shot at love.

Rachel Malone’s heart has been broken and stomped on by her cheating ex, and she’s determined to never fall in love again. But a rebound fling? Doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, especially when she’s snowed-in with a gorgeous, sweet-talking Coleman.

Despite their off-the-charts chemistry, Lee makes it clear he wants more than a temporary romp. In fact, he’s made it his mission to put a smile back on her face, even if it means taking it slow and resisting the scorching heat between them. This time around, he wants forever, while Rachel is positive that forever is a fool’s dream.

Lee can’t wait to prove her wrong…

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Rachel Malone is licking her wounds after finding out her husband of only six months had been cheating on her for at least five of them. She takes a few days off to regroup, staying in a remote hunter’s cabin. When Lee Coleman is stuck in a storm and takes shelter in the same cabin they are forced to hang out together for a few days, until the weather clears enough for them to get safely down the mountain. Lee has had a thing for Rachel since he first met her but because he’s 24 and she’s 33, she shrugged off his advances, thinking they weren’t serious. Lee realised his mistake (ie not persisting) when Rachel married douchebag Gary. Now that Gary and Rachel have split, Lee sees his chance and he’s not going to make the same mistake twice.

Rocky Mountain Romance by Vivian Arend, narrated by Tatiana Sokolov

Rocky Mountain Romance audioWhy I read it: Someone linked to the audiobook on Twitter and I one-clicked that sucker straight away.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads) Second chances are the sweetest—and the hottest.

It took a spectacularly embarrassing break-up to knock Steve Moonshine Coleman off his lazy butt. In the ten months since that night, he’s changed his ways, and now that Melody’s back in town, it’s time for this sweet-talking cowboy to convince her to get back in the saddle with him.

A return to her veterinary position in Rocky Mountain House was always in the cards for Melody Langley. Getting back together with Steve? Never part of the plan. He had lots of potential but zero ambition, and there’s no way she’ll accept anything less than a man who can keep up with her, in and out of bed.

But the new-and-improved cowboy is impossible to resist, so Melody issues a challenge. Three months to prove he’s reformed. Three months of Steve orchestrating one sexual indulgence after another—wicked distractions from the old boys’ club Melody faces at work and Steve’s growing responsibilities.

He’s got one shot to prove with more than words what’s in his heart and soul.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I’ve been enjoying this series mostly on audio – Rocky Mountain Freedom isn’t out yet so I read that one – and I was happy when I saw there was a new book out.  Not only that, it’s a bit longer at more than eight hours of listening.  Steve Coleman hasn’t featured strongly in the series previously.  He was playing guitar and singing with the band at Trader’s Pub a while back when a woman dumped a pitcher of beer on his head but other than that, he was mostly unknown to me.  (There’s a family tree on the author’s website which is helpful. Go here.)

Rocky Mountain Angel by Vivian Arend, narrated by Tatiana Sokolov

RockyMountainAngelWhy I read it:  When I listened to Rocky Mountain Rebel recently, I realised I had accidentally skipped this book.  So I bought it and rectified the lack.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Allison Parker needs a convincing excuse to come home to Rocky Mountain House, a hopelessly romantic reason that won’t let her mother suspect the truth—that Allison has discovered Mom is keeping a terrible secret from the family.

Gabe Coleman is struggling with two of the roughest parts of ranching: dealing with his bull-headed mule of a father and making enough to pay the bills. When his old friend Allison offers to help him develop his ideas for organic ranching—in return for pretending to be her fiancé—it sounds like the perfect set-up.

Yet the deception leads them in an unexpected direction, where their shared daily hells are erased by nights of heavenly distraction. It’s not supposed to be real, but once the gates are opened, there’s no denying they’ve found in each other a little bit of paradise.

To break free of the past and face the future, though, will take more than temporary pleasures. It’ll take putting their hearts on the line.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I enjoyed this one and I say this fondly: the set-up is a little fairly unbelievable. Allison’s mother is very ill but doesn’t want to tell the family. Someone has told Allison and she wants to come home but doesn’t want to let on that she knows. So, plan A is “pretend to be engaged to Gabe Coleman”.  Not, “I got retrenched from my job so I thought I’d come home for a while” or something else a little more realistic. Because what we want is the two protagonists in close proximity so the business of falling in love can begin, I could overlook some of the logic problems here. Gabe, to his credit, does at least think about what the deception might mean for his relationships with his (very large) family.  At base, there is a longstanding connection and attraction between the pair and the rest is just excuses. However, once the proximity begins, things progress a lot more believably.  There was a definite chemistry between the pair and but for logistics (they lived in different towns, Allison wasn’t planning on coming back and Gabe is very tied to his land), they would have started dating a year before I think.

Rocky Mountain Rebel by Vivian Arend, narrated by Tatiana Sokolov

Rocky Mountain RebelWhy I read it:  This is one from my personal library.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Vicki Hansol made different choices than her less-than-reputable mom and sister, yet her fiery temper has left her branded with the same town-bad-girl label. When she desperately needs a change of scenery, her get-out-of-town-free ticket arrives—and requires that she face down one of her deepest fears.

Easygoing Joel Coleman has nothing to complain about, but he’s never really done anything to brag about either. The youngest member of the Six Pack Ranch is looking to make some changes in his life that include stepping out from under his twin brother’s shadow.

So when the bold beauty with the smart mouth approaches him with a proposition, Joel is intrigued. Her request for him to teach her to ride soon takes on a whole new meaning. All that passion in his arms, his bed, in the barn . . . hell, anywhere he can get it? Bring it on.

But tangling the sheets leads to unanticipated complications, and by the time the dust settles, everything family means is going to be challenged.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I do like those Coleman boys.  *fans self*  Joel and Jesse are the twins in the family, with Joel the younger by about 30 minutes.  In previous books, we have seen Joel and Jesse “double teaming” various happy, consenting girls but Joel is finding he wants to step out of that now that they’ve finished college.  He wants to have a girlfriend rather than just hookups and he doesn’t want to share with Jesse anymore.

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