A Lick of Flame by Cathryn Fox
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: Short Story (105 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia
Where there’s heat, there’s a smoking-hot firefighter.
Boys of Beachville, Book 2
No man lights Madison Kelly’s fire quite like Sean Adams, the firefighter she’s been hired to guard during the Boys of Beachville calendar shoot. Though he stars in her hottest, steamiest fantasies, he’s the last person she’s going to tell. An accident left its mark on her, body and soul. But when she catches Sean looking at her like she’s water for a man dying of thirst, she wonders if it’s possible he might see the girl beneath the scars.
Ever since he pulled Madison from the fire that injured her, Sean’s been hot for her. Too bad she clearly has no interest in him—or so he thinks, until he sees a spark in her eyes that says she burns for him as much as he does for her. No more tiptoeing around the matter—a blatant seduction is in order.
Soon they’re igniting the sheets, but come morning Madison’s old fears and insecurities threaten to snuff the flames to ashes. Except Sean’s fuse has been lit, and he has no intention of letting her put it out. Ever.
Strong, independent, and trained, Madison is more than capable of holding her own against any type of threat; however, those threats against the heart are another matter. When she’s assigned security detail for Beachville’s notorious bad boy, her former cop instincts warn her not to get too close, but her duties to protect him demand otherwise. It is when her guard is down with the belief that he couldn’t possibly take interest in someone with both physical and emotional scarring that he takes advantage. For someone who is used to relying on her gut instincts, Madison is troubled by what they are telling her to do now – trust the playboy and give in to the demands of her body.
Their first meeting is forever seared into Sean’s memory as he remembers rescuing a broken Madison from a fire. Her job may have put her in harm’s way and his job was to take her out, but the recovery left him wanting the one woman who doesn’t want him. Madison may be the only woman capable of seeing the real Sean and there is a curious depth to her that makes him want to know more. Now it’s her job to protect him, but Sean is determined to take charge and show her there is more to him than his groupies and she deserves everything he has to offer including his heart.
While this story may the second in the Boys of Beachville series, each can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. In this story, a celebrated firefighter meets his match in a former cop. I loved that the female lead was also a uniformed professional and that they take turns essentially rescuing each other on different levels. There is so much potential for a higher level of angst in this story that I couldn’t help but feel a bit cheated. The restricting length of the story does a two-fold job of keeping a fast moving pace, but it felt hindering in the character, romance, and plotline development aspects. It was easy to connect with the characters and their situations, but overall I just wanted more and for their journey together not to have been quite so easy.
An extremely easy on the eyes read that wasted no time getting to the sexy core of the story. The BDSM theme is only slight in that the heroine’s hands were tied, so readers not into hardcore BDSM shouldn’t be afraid to give this one a go. There is also a potential exhibitionism scene with a risqué roof romp, which was absolutely sinful in the best possible way. The alternating point-of-views is very well done and served to magnify the sexiness.
There are more Boys of Beachville yet to discover and I would absolutely recommend this series to erotic romance readers in need of an easy, racy read.