The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel , Book 1
Avon Books
ISBN  978-0-06-208896-3
May 2012
Contemporary Romance

San Gabriel, California – Present Day

Melissa McGuire is lured to a Bachelor Auction of hot firemen by her Grandma Nelly.  Nelly has researched the men carefully and has a purse full of money to bid on Number Five, Ryan, with the twinkling blue eyes.  Three thousand dollars buys him, but Melissa is aghast when she finds out what her grandmother has done, but it's for the widows and orphans, what else can she do but go along with Grans?  Melissa prefers the artsy types, film makers, sculptors, men she can spend the night talking deep subjects with.  As a news producer, her main job is to keep Ella Joy, the 11 o'clock anchorwoman, happy.  When Grans admits the bachelor auction date was for herself, Melissa is appalled.  But the real date, Ryan, is afraid of going on a date with a 70-year-old woman, and his fire Captain comes to his rescue and takes his place.  When Harry Brody comes to the front door, Melissa is attracted right away, even though this idea of a date with a macho fireman is against everything she believes in.

When Ella Joy gets the story of the bachelor firemen of San Gabriel , she is bound and determined to get herself seen in the midst of them.  A fire at the City Hall and meeting Melissa's old mentor leads her down the slippery slope of sleeping her way to the top.  She's beautiful and knows she deserves to star in Los Angeles and have a retinue cater to her every want.

Rodrigo is a boy living in the foster care system whose foster mother beats him and the other children in the house, and she gives bribes to his social worker.  Can an email to someone at the news station help him?

Fire Captain Harry Brody helps Ryan out when the teasing in the fire station gets to him.  Harry has been divorced for two years after his wife Rebecca left for a flip-flop making surfing teacher.  Obviously the bachelor curse of the San Gabriel fire department extends to him; he's probably not going to ever find happiness with a woman, but the smart mouth of Melissa sure intrigues him and makes him smile.  It's even more confusing that the physical connection sparks between them.  But when Ella Joy wants to film her “making” Thanksgiving dinner for the firemen, it seems like things go from bad to worse at the fire station.

Jennifer Bernard is a new name in contemporary romance, but she has really nailed this story to perfection.  Told from many different points of view, the writing is sassy and funny, and yet there is an ex-wife returning, an anchorwoman willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead, a grandmother trying to settle her granddaughter as she feels death slowly overtaking her, and a small boy caught in the foster system.  Here each person has a clearly defined mini story integrated into the whole. THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME keeps you on your toes as you see which direction each situation will go.

Secondary characters are plentiful and insanely interesting.  There's Melissa's father Haskell, a drunk most of her life, but trying as hard as he can to stay sober.  Nelly McGuire is Melissa's grandmother who is living with an advancing disease and feels death nipping at her heels.  Her talks with her late husband Leon involve the best way to help Melissa find a man worthy of her.  Ella Joy is the anchorwoman determined that her star needs to shine in Los Angeles .  She is determined to use everyone to make sure a job worthy of her abilities awaits her brilliance.  And also there's Rodrigo, a child in the foster system who contacts Melissa about his situation and could be an important story for her.

THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME was absolutely sweet, funny, and emotional as all the parts wove together in a tapestry.  Melissa is sure Harry is too bossy and masculine for her, and Harry is sure he could never get along with a woman who has to correct everything he says, yet when they touch it tingles, and the sexual attraction is not to be denied.  The second book in the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series comes out in May and will feature Ryan Blake, the best looking fireman to hold a hose in San Gabriel .  If you love quirky characters and snappy dialogue, THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME will light your fire.

Carolyn Crisher