Saturday, October 29, 2016

ARC Review: Arctic Fire by Keira Andrews

When two strangers are trapped in a blizzard, heat rises.

Haunted by what he lost in Afghanistan, Captain Jack Turner is at a crossroads. While the last place he wants to go is the Arctic, at least the routine mission gets him out from behind his new desk. But he starts off on the wrong foot with the Canadian Ranger guiding him across the forbidding and dangerous land, and Jack would rather be anywhere than sharing a tent with Sergeant Kin Carsen.

The Arctic is in Kin's blood, and he can't seem to leave the tundra behind. He wishes he could live openly as a gay man, but the North isn't as accepting as the rest of Canada. Although he's lonely, he loves his responsibility as a Ranger, patrolling the vast land he knows so well. But he's on unfamiliar ground with Jack, and when they're stranded alone by a blizzard, unexpected desire begins to burn. Soon they're in a struggle to survive, and all these strangers have is each other.

Note: This gay romance features emotional repression, hurt/comfort, adventure on the tundra, and love where you least expect it.

Arctic Fire first appeared in the military bundle Unconditional Surrender in 2014.

Jweel's rating:

Arctic Fire was originally published in the Unconditional Surrender Anthology, so if you have that anthology, you've already got this story.

I loved that Keira Andrews was able to make this novella seem like a touch of a slow burn while actually having some heat (without insta-love). And the ending is an HFN, which seems authentic to the time span in which the story takes place (just a few days). I thought Arctic Fire was a gorgeous story about two men who never thought they would actually find a connection, and finding it anyway, when and where they least expected it.

The entirety of the story in Arctic Fire takes place in a part of the world that is probably very beautiful in its starkness, and that I hope to never see in person (I don't deal well with cold). I looked up Nanisivik and Arctic Bay in Nunavut Province, on Google Maps, though, and wow. I had not realized that people actually lived that far north. But I digress, as usual.

Captain Jack Turner, 36, has spent most of his military life in Afghanistan, where his last tour ended with him in the hospital and some members of his team dead. And since he's been back on active duty, he has felt adrift. Not really wanting to be anywhere and not really caring about anything. His commander sends him up to Nanisivik to evaluate if a base is needed there. He agrees to go (not that he has any choice), but he feels it is a waste of time.

Sergeant Kinguyakkii "Kin" Carsen, 33, was born and raised in Nanisivic, and though he went south to go to college, he came back home to teach and live. He's somewhat at odds with himself, because he is gay and doesn't feel he would be accepted if he were out, so he's resigned himself to a life of loneliness. But the Arctic just speaks to him. His blood sings its songs and he cannot imagine himself being anywhere else.

Jack and Kin do not get off on the right foot, at all. Jack has a way of always saying the wrong thing. It's really uncanny. But out on patrol, they learn they actually have stuff in common, like a love for Star Wars (the original 3, not the new ones) and astronomy. They find common ground and then, of course, each other.

The steam level is light to moderate, but their chemistry can be seen from space. I liked the MC's and the story and I hope their HFN eventually turns into an HEA (in my head it sure does). I definitely recommend Arctic Fire.

Review copy of Arctic Fire was generously provided, by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

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