Title: Hot to the Touch
Series: A Brotherhood by Fire #1
Author: Jaci Burton
Format: Paperback/eBook, 336 pages
Publication: May 7th 2019 by Berkley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon |B&N
Source: First To Read
Rating: 2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Love burns white-hot in this first scorching romance in an all-new trilogy about a family of firefighters from the New York Times bestselling author of the Play-by-Play novels and the Hope series.
Firefighter Jackson Donovan doesn't look back--as a rule. So when his past comes roaring back to life in the form of not-so-damsel-in-distress Becks Benning, the last thing he wants to do is relive old times. No matter how tempting she makes it seem...
Now thanks to his 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.
Becks 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 and if Jackson doesn't want to recall old memories, she'll just have to help him make new ones. Because now that she's found Jackson again, she's not letting him go.
The first in a new series following three firefighting brothers, Hot to the Touch was a steamy fast paced read. After his parents were killed in a car accident, Jackson was sent into the system, only to become a teenager living on the streets. He finds himself a sort of leader trying to take care of kids younger than him but really bonds with two other boys, Rafe and Kal. When a firefighter ends up rescuing them one night, they finally find themselves adopted and in a happy home but Jackson still bears the scars of those early years.
Rebecca “Becks” had a crush on Jackson when they were homeless kids and missed him when he and his “brothers” disappeared. When fate brings them back together, she finds herself attracted to the man. With some matchmaking brothers, healing old wounds, and sexual tension, two former homeless kids may just get their happily ever after.
I enjoyed the set-up of Jackson and his brothers being rescued by a firefighter only to be adopted by him and grow up to work along side him. In order to create some tension between Jackson and Becks, the author had him being unnecessarily rude and short to her. His poking at her for cleaning and cooking while she stayed at their home (she loses hers after a fire) was forced and had him coming off more of a jerk than grumpy teddy bear. His supposed reluctance to love anyone (he seems to have no problem loving his brothers and parents) was dragged through the whole story and only overcame/worked through at the very, very end (90ish%). I'm not even sure I understand the big deal about him not wanting to discuss and/or wallow about his past as a homeless kid.
Becks was a positive character with her raising herself up to become a business owner. However, I felt like her character was never really delved into. She ended up being adopted by a good family but there's no foundation felt from that and her journey from doodling artist to tattoo business owner delivers no emotional impact. She still visits her old stomping grounds and brings essentials to homeless kids but they are such short scenes that they never fully make an impact.
The romance between the two definitely had their steamy moments but since the emotional components weren't fully there for me, I had a hard time connecting. I got from both of them that they found the other sexually attractive and some emotional carryover from Becks' childhood crush but I was never able to feel their connection. Jackson's “don't ever want to talk about the past” dominated the story and it kind of felt like we were spinning our wheels for the majority.
The writing style had a lot of short sentences, which I think hurt the flow for me. The characters also felt very surface, their issues are stated but never expanded on, delved into, or flushed out, making this feel a little dry. There was also an inclusion of a secondary character that is probably being set-up to be a heroine in a future book and her actions felt over-the-top and forced to try and create some friction. The outline and character issues were there but the depth behind them wasn't, this was a fast read but not particularly engaging.