Title: Burning For You
Series: Man of the Month #1
Author: Michele Dunaway
Format: eBook, 207 pages
Published: April 7, 2015 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Mark your calendar: The Man of the Month series is back—with a sexy new hero who will definitely heat things up...
The Man of the Month The last thing Taylor Krebs wants is a man. Her crazy, possessive ex-boyfriend has caused her enough drama to last a lifetime. Putting drama and men behind her she focuses on her fledgling photography business. That is, until gorgeous fireman Joe Marino—otherwise known as Mr. September on the Sexy Public Servants Charity Calendar—walks into her life. Joe wants Taylor to photograph burn victims pro bono for a book he’s spearheading for the Burn Recovery Support Group...and he’ll do everything in his power to persuade her to take on his cause.
Taylor soon finds out that she isn’t immune to Joe’s persuasive charms—both professionally and personally—and soon they are burning up the sheets. But will Joe’s secrets and Taylor’s need for quiet stability tear them apart? Or will this Man of the Month also end up being Taylor’s love for all days?
Taylor has been struggling to make ends meet with her waitressing job, trying to make it as a full time photography business, and finishing up grad school. Getting a job taking pictures of local hunks for a charity calendar not only is going to help her make rent this month but when Mr. September steps up in his fireman gear, it fuels her fantasies. Mr. September turns out to be Joe and he wants to hire Taylor to take his family photos and while Taylor can sense it isn't a completely altruistic move, she accepts. Joe is attracted to the pretty photographer and when they have a serendipitous second meet up, he witnesses a sensitivity in her that would be perfect for a side project he has in the works. Joe and Taylor both have a jam packed life and some baggage but both also can't quite let go of the other.
Coming in at a little more than your average novella, this was a quick lighter read. The issues that our leads deal with, Joe's guilt and shame about his scars and Taylor's stalker boyfriend are heavy topics but there was decidedly a lack of substance to this story to make the reader feel their heft. The characters flickered from one issue to the next, Taylor takes pro bono pictures for parents of stillborn babies, Joe's in this big boxing tournament, Taylor is trying to get her professor to accept her finally project, Joe working on getting a picture book of burn victims published, and Taylor is being bothered by her stalker boyfriend again. Add in Taylor and Joe trying to form a relationship and there ends up being too much and not enough as the emotional aspect got left out more than once.
Taylor and Joe both veered into too good to be true territory with their actions throughout the book which made them less interesting and pretty one dimensional. Together they lacked a spark and excitement that usually draws me in; their interactions were ok if not a little rushed. Ninety percent of their romantic interludes are clean, where we get the, albeit "tiny", orgasm from just kissing but then a switching of gears towards the end of the story where the door to the bedroom gets cracked open. It didn't completely feel like a smooth transition as the tone already had me locked in for a more subdued story.
Secondary characters play a stronger part in this story as they push our leads together and while some were nice additions, others made moves that were annoying in their obvious attempt to push angst onto our couple. Taylor's mom gives information to her daughter's stalker ex-boyfriend and doesn't tell her, Taylor's friend contacts Joe regarding an issue she doesn't have the full details about, and Joe's sister shares personal information about him to Taylor. Each character claims they are doing the right thing, even if our leads wouldn't agree and I had a couple "with friends like these I wouldn't needn't enemies" moments. This brings me to an action and decision Taylor did towards the end of the book that I thought was a complete breach of Joe's trust and was smoothed over way too quickly. If my heroine and hero don't respect each other's feelings or thoughts, it pretty much kills the romance for me.
The cover and blurb for this book had me thinking it would be a sexy fun romp but it was more of a bland, at times felt forced, and cleaner (there are two bedroom scenes at the end) story. If you don't mind the issues I listed and want a non-taxing quick read about a fireman, then checking out if this author's style is for you could be an option.