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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Scorch is the second book in the Firefighters of Montana series, written by Dani Collins. Having returned from Florida after the shocking death of her firefighting husband, Russell Edwards, Jacqui is met at the airport by Vincent Kingston, who had been her husband’s best friend for as long as she could remember. Things are already complicated: Vincent is in the process of buying Jacqui’s house, which carries painful memories of the man she’d loved. The sale had been spur-of-the-moment and would not only benefit Jacqui. With Vincent being in the middle of a messy divorce, he had already settled in, making the house his permanent new home. Things are about to get tense, not to mention extremely awkward, when Jacqui changes her mind about moving and returns to her old job at the forestry service in Montana. Vincent suddenly finds himself homeless, while Jacqui discovers an undeniable attraction for Vincent and cannot keep her eyes off him. Slowly, Vincent’s feelings are returned, but he knows that he is unable to act on them without betraying Russell’s memory. There is also the fact that Jacqui is still emotionally vulnerable, missing Russell desperately. As both tackle their emotional boundaries, life around them at the station continues, with firefighters and smoke jumpers putting their lives on the line every single day.
Dani Collins’ follow-up novel to Smolder is fluid, perfectly engulfing the previous story line with her own. Well-written, Scorch brings together two people who are grieving and had made a snap decision about selling the family home (and ownership of the dog) while Russell’s widow had fled Montana and every happy memory of her husband that she had ever known. I like that she felt skeptical about her husband’s replacement, Sam, who, although having problems of his own, welcomed Jacqui’s return to her old job. Holding with the tradition of the Firefighters of Montana series, the emotional and physical text did not reach overly sexual levels, thus maintaining the series’ high quality and family values. Friendships and relationships are pushed to the absolute limit through a mutual tragedy, with each scene written as realistically as the next. I thoroughly enjoyed the deep, emotional story of Russell, Jacqui and Vincent, which had only barely been touched on in the first book. If you enjoy your romance with a touch of irony, drama, tragedy, suspense, action, humor and stubbornness, you will definitely enjoy Scorch. I recommend, however, that you read this series in its proper order of release so that you can fully come to know and understand each of the characters involved.