Where There’s Smoke (Susan May Warren) – Review

4-5 stars

Publisher’s Description

She’s a smokejumper afraid of fire…
Kate Burns is a legendary smoke jumper, known for her courage and willingness to risk everything to get the job done. Only she has a secret, one she won’t admit to anyone.

He can’t forget the love they once shared…
Supervisor Jed Ransom commands the Jude County Smoke Jumpers with a reputation as a calm, level-headed leader. Kate is the only one who’s ever gotten under his skin.

They must face the flames together…
A raging wildfire in the mountains of Montana brings Kate and Jed together to train up a new team of jumpers. Suddenly, they must face the past they’ve been running from and the secrets that keep them apart. When an arsonist goes after their team, Kate and Jed must face their deepest fears—and learn to rely on each other as they fight a blaze that could destroy them all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seven years hadn’t dented his stun power.  Dark, shorter hair than she remembered, the slightest disobedient curl at the temples.  Wide shoulder, tapering down to a lean torso, arms that filled out his yellow Nomex shirt, lean legs that had once chased her down, saved her life.
Yes, Jed Ransom knew how to destroy a woman, make her hand over her heart with one soul-piercing look.
She’d thought the past seven years had healed her, remade her, and that she wasn’t the same young jumper who ignited at the sight of him striding across the tarmac.
Kate could still remember the sound of his voice in her ear.
Apparently she was wrong.
More, she could swear she could still read his mind, because his parting epitaph from seven years ago rose inside her, soft, dark, and deadly.  Stay away from me, Kate.
He planted himself in front of her, breathing hard.  Sweat trickled down from his temple, his face just a little white.  He didn’t bother to whisk the sweat away or even glance at Pete, and when he swallowed, hard, she recognized his telltale attempt to rein it all in.
Look who was a little panicked.  Interesting.
Kate couldn’t help it.  “Hey, Jed.”
His blue eyes narrowed.  Then, as quiet as smoke, he leaned forward and whispered in her ear, the heat of his breath on her skin.  “You just don’t know when to quit, do you?”
Actually . . .
He kept his voice low, however, for her ears only.
“Well, I do.  Kate Burns . . . pack your bags.  You’re fired.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My review
Well.  There’s only one word for this novel:  Smokin’!  From the first word to the last.  If you like your romantic suspense with plenty of genuine emotional tension, some sizzling kisses, and a decent whack of adrenaline, then this is the series for you.  I didn’t need quite so many references to Jed’s muscled torso, and the couple’s physical attraction and emotional angst were conveyed with less subtlety than I generally enjoy, but then again, Jed and Kate are intense by nature.  They work in an intense environment, and they’re carrying some intense emotional baggage.  The fireworks were probably inevitable. Still, I was pleased to see an equally strong emotional element to their attraction, not to mention compelling personal and spiritual struggles for each of these characters to work through. If these didn’t exactly temper the other side, they at least balanced it out!

There’s a bit of background to the events that take place in this novel, the basic details of which emerge through the early chapters.  I’m definitely not a fan of info dumps at the beginning of a novel (or anywhere else, for that matter), and I’m glad Susan May Warren didn’t do that here.  Even so, I couldn’t help feeling that the background information was just a little too piecemeal in the beginning.  Then again, maybe the exhilarating action at the beginning distracted me from assimilating it as well as I could have . . . quite possibly . . .

In any case, here are the basics:

Smoke jumping has always been Kate Burns’ life.  Her father, Jock Burns, was legendary in the smoke jumping world and the apple of his eye does not want to leave the tree, let alone fall far from it.  Well, metaphorically speaking!  But risking your own life and watching your daughter continually risk hers are two very different things, and Kate’s father refuses to let her train and jump with his crew.  So she sets out to forge her own path into the smoke jumping world, a move that ultimately creates a rift between Kate and the two men she loves most in the world.

Jed Ransom knows exactly why Jock Burns didn’t want his daughter on his smoke jumping crew.  It’s the same reason he told Kate to stay away from him after their harrowing experience seven years ago.  Being responsible for someone’s life is hard enough, but when it’s someone you love, and risk-taking is in their blood . . .  That kind of pressure makes it hard to keep your head in the game.  He might not be able to stop her, but it doesn’t mean he has to watch.

As the novel opens (after an intense, but brief, prologue), Kate is preparing to jump at her father’s memorial service, along with the surviving members of her father’s smoke jumping crew: Connor Young, Reuben Marshall, and Pete Brooks.  Ten months ago, under the leadership of her father, the rest of the Jude County Smoke Jumpers lost their lives in Eureka Canyon when fire overtook them.  Even now, it’s difficult to understand how it happened.

Despite having her own demons to overcome – like not reconciling with her father before his death and a fear of fire – Kate’s determined not to let her father’s legacy die.  She’s come back to train a new group of recruits.  The only problem is, Jed Ransom is the supervisor and, well, they never did clear the air between them.  And Kate’s somewhat unorthodox memorial jump doesn’t exactly start them off on the right foot!

It’s an action-packed read, no doubt about it, with fire-fighting action and recruit training integral to the story, not to mention the suspense plot that’s introduced (which I suspect will span the series, since it doesn’t resolve in this book).  But all that aside, it’s also a book with heart and soul, as Jed and Kate confront their past and their fears and decide whether these will dictate their future.

Needless to say, I’m eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

Buy from:                               Amazon.com                               Amazon.com.au

Release date:  31 May 2016
Pages:  217
Publisher:  Susan May Warren Fiction
Author’s website:  http://www.susanmaywarren.com/

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About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
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3 Responses to Where There’s Smoke (Susan May Warren) – Review

  1. Pingback: Playing With Fire (Susan May Warren) – Review | Fiction Aficionado

  2. Pingback: Burnin’ For You (Susan May Warren) – Review | Fiction Aficionado

  3. Pingback: Best of 2016! | Fiction Aficionado

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