Wednesday, June 16, 2021

ARC Review: Up in Smoke by Annabeth Albert

Up in Smoke (Hotshots #4)From the blurb:

Three Men and a Baby meets Backdraft with explosive chemistry and heartfelt feels.

Freewheeling smoke jumper Brandt Wilder thrives on adrenaline. He’s never met a parachute he can’t repair or a dangerous situation he couldn’t wrangle his way out of. He’s popular and fun-loving and not at all looking to settle down or form lasting relationships. It’s a lifestyle that’s served him well…right up until the day he finds a baby on his doorstep.

Shane Travis is used to putting his country music career—and his own happiness—on hold after his sister rolls through his life. Like last spring when she convinced him to try skydiving for his birthday—and she walked away with the hot parachute instructor.

Now he gets to deliver the piece of news that will upend Brandt’s carefree life: he very well might be a dad.

Shane’s niece is safe in Brandt’s strong, capable hands, but too many questions remain unanswered. Co-parenting while they sort it out leads to late-night talks, and soul-bearing confessions lead to a most inconvenient attraction. Still, Shane can’t leave this makeshift family behind—even if it means playing house with the one man he can’t resist.

Heather's rating: 

Up in Smoke was the book in the Hotshots series that I've been waiting for. Annabeth Albert struck just the right balance between romantic chemistry, family-issues, excitement, and emotion, and left out all the unnecessary drama. For me, it was a big win.

I went into Up in Smoke without high expectations. I haven't loved any of the other books in the series thus far, and the reviews from my friends were all over the map. However, I found myself getting more and more enthralled in the book the further I read.
I'm pretty careful with books with babies and lots of family-dynamic complications, but I think Annabeth Albert did a great job with this one. The baby was a central driving figure in the book, but she wasn't the whole story. The plot was squarely focused on the relationship between Brandt and Shane, and I really enjoyed how they went from tentative partners to full-blown love.

Of course, I loooooved me a virgin. Give me a steamy first time and I'm a happy camper! Pair that with a confident bisexual guy and you've got me. My only criticism is that the sex came a little earlier in the book than I would have wanted, but I was pleased with the heat level.

I think the book might read as a little slow for some readers, but I appreciated the lack of drama and sudden plot twists. Things progressed organically and naturally for these two, and I loved the little epilogue at the end.

A very nice addition to the Hotshots series, Annabeth made me happy with this one.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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