Review: Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle

fan the flamesReviewed by Joanna

Rory runs a gun shop and lives in a secret underground bunker beneath it. Her parents, now deceased, were total whacks who home schooled her and trained her in how to shoot a gun and survive a zombie apocalypse before she could even walk. Now they’re gone, she sells guns to the local factions whilst keeping herself to herself.

Ian, a super-hot firefighter and a biker gang member, has liked Rory since they were kids, but it’s only recently they’ve been able to be friends. Her parents didn’t trust the world and kept her away from the sweet boy who once gave her a cupcake. Ian’s like for Rory is way bigger than he can tell her, as he knows she’ll run a mile if he comes on too strong. But he’d defend her to his last breath and sheesh, if I were her, I’d let him.

Rory is so cute; she’s tough and self-sufficient and can talk guns till the cows come home, but she’s also completely socially awkward and has no idea know how to handle Ian flirting with her. But then when someone starts sneaking around outside her property at night, he doesn’t hesitate in making her take his help.

And it’s a good thing he did, as the problems escalate with Rory and the gun shop being targeted by bad guys. Rory’s forced to move into Ian’s house for a couple of days – a place with windows, something she’s never lived with, having been brought up in a bunker. She’s freaked out; he’s reassuring and manly, and the little touches and looks between them are lovely. I love the whole ‘we can share a bed as friends’ trope.

In the background, there’s a continuing murder investigation going on around the dead headless guy Lou found in book one. It’s not strictly necessary for you to read the first book, as you can pick up enough here to be up to speed. But you should, as Callum and Lou are a great couple. Callum’s just as sexy and gentlemanly as Ian, and Lou’s a hoot, so I recommend you go check them out.

Ian becomes a suspect in the investigation which mixes things up a bit and tests his loyalties between his biker background and his legit paid job. Side note: the fire crew is as funny as anything – they call Ian ‘Beauty’ and made me laugh loads with their shenanigans. This is a humorous and light-hearted book.

The romance is steady with lots of tension, though little action, for ages. I didn’t mind this as Rory needed to come out of her shell, and it wouldn’t be realistic for her to want to jump into bed right away. When they kiss properly for the first time, it’s hotter than you sometimes get when an author throws people into a fast clinch. And when they finally get down to business, it’s not closed door, but it’s not too graphic either. It’s good. Enough said.

Overall, I liked this book, maybe slightly less than the first, but enough to want to read the next. The pace felt a little slow in the first half but that’s my only real criticism. I liked both the H&H, I was invested in their HEA and there was enough threat and drama to keep the pages turning.

If you love snowy little towns, cozy neighborhoods and slow ‘n’ sweet romances, this is for you.

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Fan the Flames
by Katie Ruggle
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

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