Pure Heat

M. L. Buchman
Pure Heat
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Release Date
May 2014
Romantic Suspense/Mystery

These daredevil smokejumpers fight more than fires.

The elite fire experts of Mount Hood Aviation fly into places even the CIA can't penetrate.

She lives to fight fires

Carly Thomas could read burn patterns before she knew the alphabet. A third-generation forest fire specialist who lost both her father and her fiancé to the flames, she's learned to live life like she fights fires: with emotions shut down.

But he's lit an inferno she can't quench

Former smokejumper Steve "Merks" Mercer can no longer fight fires up close and personal, but he can still use his intimate knowledge of wildland burns as a spotter and drone specialist. Assigned to copilot a Firehawk with Carly, they take to the skies to battle the worst wildfire in decades and discover a terrorist threat hidden deep in the Oregon wilderness—but it's the heat between them that really sizzles.

Book Review by Delta (reviewer)
Apr 17, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
82 people found the following review helpful
Adding fuel to a fire is dangerous, which is exactly what Steve and Carly do with their relationship in PURE HEAT, the first book in the upcoming Firehawks series by M. L. Buchman. You'll get an education on both firefighting and flying in this novel, not to mention a good love story.

Former smoke jumper Steve "Merks" Mercer has had a tough time reconciling his passion for fighting fire with his useless leg after having it blown out in an accident. Fortunately, Steve gets a spot with Mount Hood Aviation as a drone specialist, using his unique smoke jumper knowledge to fight wildfires from the sky. Even though he can no longer get up close and personal with the fires, the flames he ignites with colleague Carly Thomas are worth it.

Otherwise known as "The Flame Witch," Carly had been involved in firefighting since before she could walk and is now the lead spotter for the flying arm of the Oregon wildland firefighters. Having lost her dad and her fiancé to fires, Carly keeps herself emotionally safe by blocking most people from getting too close. Then she meets Steve. There's something about the physically damaged Steve that calls to her emotionally damaged side, and before long, they've breached each other's defenses.

As the couple battles wildfires, they'll have to come to terms with the heat generated between the two of them. Can Steve see past his disability and learn to love fighting fires from the sky? Can Carly let another man who answers the call of the flames into her life...and her heart?

PURE HEAT is book #1 in the upcoming Firehawks series and starts out with a bizarre salute to the 80's. With Steve's entrance in a classic Trans-am bursting out 80's rock music and "drifting" into a parking spot, I immediately became confused about the setting of this book. Some of the dialogue and clothing described (a scrunchie? really?) were straight out of 1986, but upon further review, it is confirmed that this is indeed a current setting, just with characters whose personalities are stuck 30 years in the past. Now this would be fine, amusing even, if not unfortunately combined with excessive euphemisms, puns and jargon relating to fire and baseball that had me rolling my eyes almost constantly.

Steve pretty much ran the bases as far as personality goes. Is he the cocky player or the lovesick quiet hero? There's never really much past the surface of Steve, other than his feelings about his accident and his leg. I would've liked a lot more depth to him. Carly's character was well written with a solid background and current emotionally troubled elements that made her more relatable for me. She came off as a confident and capable woman who doesn't want to endure pain from a man again, but is willing to open herself up anyway when the right guy comes along. I wish the sex scenes weren't so glossed over; I think that a hot encounter or five would have spiced this book up enough to get a higher rating from me.

A lot of the dialogue felt rather pretentious to me instead of down-to-earth like you'd expect when reading about firefighters, and a lot of the time, PURE HEAT honestly felt like a training manual for helicopters or a how-to guide on fighting fires. The acronyms and jargon were tough to follow and really get into. That said, the last 1/3 of this book was so much better. The author really hit his stride and the book became much cleaner and better developed. This is when the danger/suspense element picks up and Mr. Buchman did a better job of drawing me in and making me feel invested in these characters and the total outcome of their story. I'm hoping now that the boring explanations about Mt. Hood Aviation are out of the way, Mr. Buchman will streamline future books in this series and compel the reader to feel invested. Because the last portion of PURE HEAT was a pretty good read, I may take the chance on a future installment in this series.
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