I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hot to the Touch by Jaci Burton
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Berkley Books on May 7th 2019
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Melting the Ice, All Wound Up, "Hot Holiday Nights", Unexpected Rush
First in the Brotherhood by Fire contemporary romance series revolving around three self-proclaimed brothers who made good and became firefighters in Fort Lauderdale. The couple focus is on Jackson Donovan and Becks Benning.
For a character-driven story about fire, Hot to the Touch is so wooden. It’s all tell, and I found it very hard to finish. To be honest, I’m not sure why I did. Except.
I liked the story concept, kids in a bad situation who make good, which is why I upgraded it to a “2”. If only Burton had managed to infuse any excitement or enthusiasm in this. Everything was so happy-happy, well, except for that blackmail Becks was pulling on Jackson. That was a pisser.
“Own your happiness as well as your sorrow. It makes you who you are.”
It’s a dual third person point-of-view from Becks’ and Jackson’s perspectives, so we learn what they’re feeling and thinking, experience scenes where they’re present. I do like Becks’ thought that “she was worthy, and [that] her parents hadn’t been worthy of her”, although it’s sad about her fear of loss.
It is sweet that the boys landed so well, and I love the sound of the house their mom gave them, that the boys live and work together.
Burton managed a few conflicting issues: that Jackson is Rafe’s and Kal’s boss, the friction Becks negatively generates with Jackson, Jackson’s avoidance of his past, Becks’ stance against dreaming, and the stupid aspect of the running away meme — gimme a frickin’ break. As for Becks’ “confession” at the end…a little quick, wasn’t it? Which makes it a lame move, IMO.
I was a bit confused about when Becks opened her shop. Burton had her having a first day and then a few chapters later, she was opening her new shop.
It began in 2005, the rescue of three homeless boys and their introduction into a better life.
A life that leads to careers in firefighting just like their dad. A career that leads to battling a smoky fire at Becks’ tattoo shop and two of the brothers recognizing a long-lost friend.
Now thanks to Jackson’s two interfering brothers, Becks is living with them while she looks for a new place and tries to pick up the pieces of her tattoo business that went up in flames. Which means a grown-up, smokin’ hot Becks is in his house, sharing meals, and digging up old wounds. And despite his better judgement, the more time he spends with this smart, artistic, incredible woman, the more he wants her in his bed — and his future.
As for Becks, well, she’s always had it bad for Jackson. Unfortunately for her, not much has changed — he’s still honorable, hard-working, sexy as sin — and closed off. But there’s more than one way to get to a man’s heart.
Rebecca “Becks” Benning had been homeless with the boys and is now a successful tattoist with a love for writing poetry. Skin Deep is Becks’ business. Apprentice applicants include Hwan. Martin is a talented tattooist, as is Don, a friend of Becks’. Margie Vasquez, a commercial real estate agent, is Becks’ best friend…who has lousy parents.
Jackson Donovan was the leader of their homeless band that included his “brothers”, Rafe and Kal. They were lucky to be adopted by Josh, a battalion chief at Station 6, and Laurel Donovan, a social worker, after the fire. Jackson is now a lieutenant at Station 6.
Carmen is the boys’ next-door neighbor; Jimmy is her grandfather.
Fellow firefighters include Tommy Rodriguez; Ethan Pressman (he’s married to Penny); Ginger Davidson; Mitchell Hendricks, who is in the middle of a divorce; Callie Vassar (an ex-girlfriend of Jackson’s); and, Zep. Captain Kendall Mathias is in charge. Lieutenant Leo Stockman is Jackson’s next-shift counterpart. Miguel Acosta and Adrienne Smith are partnered up as their EMTs.
Tomas is Tommy’s grandfather and the family operates a family restaurant and bar near the beach.
Their fellow homeless, 2005…
…included Greg, Amy, Littles, Melinda, Red, and Mason.
Today’s homeless kids
Lexie; Red is now Old Red, and he, Miss Peggy, and Mason are still homeless; Aria; Georgia is their leader; and, Eddie.
Dave was Becks’ jerk of a landlord. Bethany and Henry were lousy foster parents. Rosie had been a good foster mother to Becks. Tandy is only one of Rafe’s girlfriends. Tina is the woman who mentored Becks in the art of tattooing. Jessie, an exotic dancer planning on a law career, is one of her repeat customers. Hailey is a new customer. Ellen Grayson is another real estate agent.
The Cover and Title
The cover is mostly black in its background and Jackson’s fire gear with its fluorescent yellow stripes and red suspenders dangling below that gorgeous six-pack. The text starts with a red testimonial to the right of Jackson’s neck. Below his waist is the author’s name in a pale yellow, just below that is an info blurb in white, and just below that the same yellow for the title. A red band, just big enough for the series information in white is below that.
The title is all about the sizzle between Becks and Jackson, Hot to the Touch.