Book Review: Flare Up by Shannon Stacey

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Sexy firefighters are always fun to read about, and this book was no exception! Shannon Stacey definitely knows how to turn up the heat (pun intended!) and get readers excited about the buff, alpha men in this series. The relationship between our hero and heroine was well developed but largely off screen, so to speak. I felt like a prologue was needed in order to help the reader understand the couple's past sooner. It took me a while to understand what exactly had happened between them and why they were in love. Since the love was already there at the start of the book, I didn't get to see the romance bloom, which is half the fun.

The last person Grant Cutter expects to carry out of a burning building is his ex-girlfriend, Wren Everett, but that is exactly who he finds in his arms. Thinking Wren had left Boston five months ago when she abruptly ended their relationship, Grant is stunned, confused, and hurt. As she recovers with mutual friends, it soon comes to light the real reason why she left him, and Grant must reconcile his heartbreak with his protective instincts when it comes to Wren. Their relationship may have ended, but his feelings for her never died. Now he must decide if their love is worth a second chance.

Both characters were engaging and unique, and I loved seeing their interactions with each other. However, as mentioned above, having the romance develop prior to the book's first page made it hard to really connect with them as a couple. Instead of showing their love develop, we were told about it, and that takes some of the enjoyment out of the romance. Wren's reasoning in leaving Grant was also confusing - here you have this strong firefighter surrounded by other strong men, but you don't trust that he can protect both himself and you from your ex? It was eventually explained, and the reader starts to understand where Wren's fear is coming from, but it was a little too late for me. I enjoyed seeing them fall in love again at Grant's parents' house, which was probably my favorite part of the book. That's where the emotions really flowed from the pages, and I could feel their love. I wish the rest of the book had more of that. The book seems like it could be enjoyed as a standalone, but I suspect it may have been better had I read the previous books. Maybe I would have felt more connected to the characters had I done so.

I have read Shannon Stacey before, and she is consistently a solid read. While this book wasn't my favorite, it is still one I would definitely recommend. It certainly sparks my interest in reading the other books in the series!

**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**

#contemporary #bookreview