Where there’s smoke there’s fire and Lauren Blakely provides plenty of heat in her friends-turned-lovers story, “BURN FOR ME”
Welcome to Hidden Oaks, a small California town known for its Spring Festival, delectable wines and scorching hot firemen. Hottest among them, is Smith Grayson, star of the Hidden Oaks Volunteer Firefighters Calendar, whose alluring looks and wicked talk are enough to banish the reserve of the strongest woman
Though we are given many examples of the true depth of Smith’s compassion, he has burned his way through the hearts and beds of many of the women of Twin Oaks. One exception, of course, is his long-time friend, Jamie Lansing. A smart, loyal and deeply romantic woman, Jaime is not immune to the charms of a dashing fireman. Yet, in the wake of her sister’s painful divorce from a devil-may-care charmer, Jaime has sworn off the temptation of smooth-talking men – even those with whom she feels an emotional connection – in favor of the intellectual love embodied in the sonnets she adores. But we already know, we cannot chose who we desire
After a slow dance turns into a blistering trist, Jamie is convinced that the only way to extinguish the desire ignited in her bones is to submit to her curiosity. Proposing an unconventional solution to their chemistry – one week of no-string-attached passion – Jamie hopes to let the fever run its course. However, the more she insists that she will not – cannot – fall in love with a man like Smith, the more convinced he becomes that he is the only man who can win both her body and her mind
Exceptionally well-written, Lauren Blakely infuses “BURN FOR ME” with stirring and believable emotions. From Jamie’s early self denial, to her fear of being used, to her final realization that “they” have become “we,” the reader connects emotionally with the heroine
Furthermore, while Smith’s rationale for failing to return Jamie’s first confession of love may leave the reader shaking their head in frustration, his coarse and rugged character is excellent as both a complement and foil to Jamie’s quest for ideal, romantic love
I especially enjoyed that Jamie is not treated as too old-fashioned in her desire for tender love and, while Shakespeare’s works make an appearance in the story, her surrender is no Taming of the Shrew. Nor is this a story about a woman who changes a playboy into an ideal lover for, as we are reminded, “love is not love which alters where it alteration finds.” Instead, it is a story of a modern woman whose understandable fear of heartbreak has blinded her to the different ways that romance can appear in our lives – and who is blessed to have the best love right beside her all along
A steamy, yet sentimental, pleasure to read, I recommend this story to anyone who needs a little heat to get them through a chilly night.