Title: High Heat (Hotshots #2)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Published: July 2020
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA+
I received a copy of High Heat from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Annabeth Albert’s Hotshots series continues—the emotions and intensity of Chicago Fire with the raw, natural elements of Man vs. Wild.
Smoke jumping is Garrick Nelson’s life. Nothing, not severe injuries nor the brutal physical therapy that follows, is going to stop him from getting back with his crew. But when a lost dog shows up on his front porch, he can’t turn her away, and he can’t take care of her on his own. Thankfully, help comes in the form of his new sexy, dog-loving neighbor. As they work together, trying to re-home their little princess, Garrick can’t resist his growing attraction for the other man, even though he knows this guy isn’t the staying type.
Rain Fisher doesn’t take anything too seriously. He dances through life, one adventure at a time, never settling in one place for too long. When his hot, conveniently buff, neighbor shows up on his doorstep, dog in tow, Rain’s determined to not just save the adorable puppy, but her reluctant owner as well. He never expects their flirtation might tempt him into stay put once and for all…
Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts. Don’t miss the Hotshots series from Annabeth Albert: Burn Zone, High Heat, and Feel the Fire.
After surviving severe injuries in the line of duty as a smoke jumper, Garrick Nelson is trying to build himself back up to the same strength level as he was prior to his injuries in order to get back to work. Despite needing the aide of crutches or a wheelchair to move around, he’s determined to get back to work, and a chance encounter with an injured dog leads him to cross paths with Rain Fisher, the grandson of one of his elderly neighbours. Unable to stop from helping the injured dog, Garrick finds himself taken in by Rain’s irrepressible nature and, despite his apparent flightiness, Rain might find himself a place to call home.
Annabeth Albert is always a sure bet for me (and I’ve reviewed so many of her books now), so it’s a no-brainer that I enjoyed High Heat. Sitting down to read one of her books is like coming home – I’m familiar with her writing style, I trust the way she builds relationships between even the most unlikely of characters and I enjoy the emphasis she places of characters’ jobs (because that’s an important part of many people’s lives).
Garrick and Rain are both delightful characters, and this age-gap romance with a bit of kink thrown in for good measure, is a lot of fun, even while it does have some deeper underlying storylines. Garrick is struggling with the new reality of his life, and in denial about how much of a recovery he’s truly going to be able to make, and Rain is just so open an earnest – a true grumpy and sunshine character trope. Their relationship isn’t easy, and it takes work, but they persist at it because they recognise in each other something that they need in their life.
I liked how Albert spent time unpacking Garrick’s injuries and his response to them. Being a smoke jumper was a huge part of his life and being unable to access that anymore meant that he’s closed himself off from the people he called friends. Rain helps him to see that he needs those connections with others. Likewise, the focus on Garrick’s rehab and the impact it has on him physically is important – and Albert takes something that others might find embarrassing to discuss and lays it out there for what it is without judgement.
It was a great read, and I enjoyed being back in the Hotshots world again.