Author: Nora Roberts
Publication: Putnam Adult; 1ST edition (April 12, 2011); PB Jove (April 3, 2012)
Description: The number-one New York Times-bestselling author delves into the world of elite firefighters who thrive on danger and adrenaline--men and women who wouldn't know how to live life if it wasn't on the edge.
There's little as thrilling as firefighting--at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are in Rowan's blood: her father is a legend. She's been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home--even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering.
Fortunately, this year's rookie crop is one of the strongest ever--and Gulliver Curry's one of the best. He's also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary and a winter job at a kids' arcade.
Everything is thrown off balance when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year's tragedy. Rowan knows she can't complicate things with Gull--any distractions in the air or on the ground could mean the end--but if she doesn't find someone she can lean on, she may not make it through the summer. . . .
My Thoughts: This book kept me up reading until late into the night. I just couldn't put it down until I knew who the villain was and until the romance was resolved. I have never read anything about smoke jumpers and found the background of this romantic suspense novel fascinating. The idea of jumping out of an airplane into the wilderness to fight forest fires is amazing.
Our heroine is Rowan Tripp. She is smart, fit, confident and a veteran Zulie (smoke jumpers who work out of Missoula, Montana). The rest of the crew are her family and she is the daughter of a legend among smoke jumpers. Father and daughter have a great relationship and it has been just the two of them as a unit since Ro's mother left when she was a baby. Ro does have some abandonment issues and doesn't have any confidence in the idea of lasting love. She also has a policy of not hooking up with anyone she works with.
Enter Gulliver Curry. Gull is a rookie in the camp this season but a seasoned fire fighter. He is also strong, confident, smart and very funny. He takes one look at Ro and knows that he wants to get to know her. He has the self-confidence to persist with her and not be put off by her determined efforts to keep them apart. It helps that he can more than hold his own as a fire fighter. He is also the product of a loving family since he was taken in by his aunt and uncle when his parents were killed when he was very young.
But this isn't just a relationship story. There is also a mystery. It seems that someone is out to avenge the death of Rowan's partner. He died when he directed his parachute into the fire on one of their jumps. Rowan feels guilty and has nightmares because she was there and could do nothing to save him. Now camp cook Dolly is back with a baby she says is his and a strong hatred for Rowan. After she vandalizes Rowan's room she is fired and then soon she is found dead and burned in the forest. Rowan is the one who finds her body while her crew is fighting the fire the murder set to cover his crime.
Then there is more vandalism and another murder and gun shots fired at Ro and Gull. Tensions build as the police and other law enforcement agencies try to solve the crimes. The tension is very strong in this story. The conflict with trying to do a very demanding difficult job while being concerned for her personal safety puts a lot of pressure on Ro and Gull.
Adding to the pressure is the fact that Rowan's dad has started a new relationship with a new woman in town. This also rocks Ro's foundation as it has never happened before. She also has to deal with jealousy. I liked the way Gull used humor to help her adjust to the changes in her life.
I recommend this story to lovers of romantic suspense but who don't want a sweet romance. This is a romance that catches Ro unaware. It sneaks up on her and changes her life.
"You can sleep in my room tonight." He hitched a bandanna out of his pocket, used it to wipe the blood from her face. "But everybody who sleeps in my room has to be naked."I bought the hardcover when it came out and then lost it in my TBR stack. You are in luck because the paperback comes out this coming week. You can get your copy here.
She huffed out a tired breath. "I'll bunk with Janis until I get it cleaned up. She has the naked rule, too."
"Now that was just mean."