HOT FOR FIREMAN – Jennifer Bernard
Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel
, Book 2
Avon Romance
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-208897-0
June 2012
Contemporary Romance

San Gabriel, California – Present Day

Over a year and a half ago Ryan Blake was a proud fireman with the San Gabriel Fire Department, one of the famous Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel.  Then a stupid mistake of his had him being suspended, and he has spent the time ever since at odd jobs and doing landscape work.  After spending the past months thinking of how his hot temper and inability to follow rules destroyed his life, he is ready to meet with Captain Harry Brody about getting another chance.  But before he has his interview he decides a drink is a great idea, and goes into the Hair of the Dog, what could graciously be called a “dive”.  After a fight outside the bar, Ryan meets Katie Dane who is currently running the bar for her father after his heart attack.  Katie might be odd, but Ryan loves her spunky spirit and quickly volunteers to be a bartender after her usual bartender flakes out on her.  Little does he know what plans she has for the Hair of the Dog.

Katie's father had a heart attack, and she was the one picked to run the bar while her mom and dad went to Mexico so he could recuperate.  Unfortunately, the insurance umbrella payment of $10,000.00 is due by the end of the month, and her only regular patrons are a bunch of retired men called the “Drinking Crew”, all of them carrying a tab.  After Katie looks for her father's papers and sees the bar is insured for a million dollars (that dump?) she talks to her old boyfriend, Doug, and decides if the bar burns down it would solve her family's problems, get rid of the bar, and provide extra money for her mom and dad so they can retire.

For some reason, every time Doug tries to burn the bar down, Ryan happens to come in early and puts out each of the fires.  Ryan can't believe so many fires are occurring at the bar, even as Katie decides maybe it isn't such a good idea.  But when Katie finds out Ryan used to be a fireman, instead of dropping the idea, she decides to continue her arson.  I just couldn't believe Katie wouldn't know everyone would wonder about all the fires if the bar burned down, and she never thinks that someone could get hurt or the fire could spread to neighbors.

Jennifer Bernard presents us with two characters with totally different life experiences.  Told from each of their points of view, Katie grew up with a loving family.  Though her sister tries to get her to dress better and wear makeup, Katie accepts that she's short and just doesn't have time for makeup.  Katie was going to graduate school before her parents dropped the Hair of the Dog bar in her lap after her father had a heart attack.  Nobody else helps her, and with no business or bartending background, she is sort of like a fish out of water, with the business going quickly downhill.  Ryan Black grew up with a father who was an anarchist and no mother.  Needless to say Ryan felt no affection or love from his father and at nineteen entered the San Gabriel Fire Department where Captain Brody became his mentor.  Spending the past year and a half away from firefighting hasn't been as hard as he thought, despite the fact he was born to be a fireman, and knows it in his heart.

Secondary characters fill the pages with their uniqueness and importance to the story.  Katie's parents' attitude about the bar are behind her crazy idea to burn down the bar for the insurance money.  Captain Brody and his wife Melissa (FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME) are Ryan's connection to his old life and remain true friends.  And we must not forget The Drinking Crew, all of the old men who met at the Hair of the Dog everyday for drinks.  Doug is Katie's old high school sweetheart with whom she has been trying to break up, and he gets mixed up in her plan to burn down the bar, and then everything gets out of hand.

HOT FOR FIREMAN continues the Bachelor Fireman of San Gabriel , and a hunkier bunch of men it would be difficult to find.  Katie and Ryan both find it hard to accept that they have fallen in love, let alone admit it to each other.  Ryan's struggle to get back to the Fire Department and Katie's struggle to keep the family bar in the black will capture your interest and have you rooting for both of them to achieve their dreams.  This is the second book in the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel, following THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME (May 2012) featuring Captain Brody. SEX AND THE SINGLE FIREMAN will be available in February 2013 and is sure to be just as appealing as the first two stories in the series, and I look forward to reading it.

Carolyn Crisher