Title: Playing with Fire
Author: Kate Meader
My Rating: A
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hot in Chicago #2
Main Characters: Alexandra and Eli
Release Date: September 2015
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…
Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken…
We were introduced to Mayor Eli in the first book in this series...and in that book, he plays the part of villain pretty well. The Dempsey clan DO NOT like him or his politics at all, but it's been obvious from the very beginning that he had some off-the-charts chemistry with Alex. And all of that tension and conflict makes this book so, so good!
Alex is the only girl among this family of boys. She's dealt with the stigma of being a female her whole life and is willing to put up with it to continue the family tradition of firefighting. That's one of her main issues with Eli...he's made it pretty clear that he doesn't think women should be firefighters. Oh, and he's a politician trying to keep his Chicago budget in the black...which is messing with the firefighter pensions. I love how tough she is. She's definitely not a girly girl, but she wants what every girl wants...a guy to make her feel special...and she's not afraid to keep trying to get that. There were moments in this book when I simply laughed out loud just because Alex doesn't hold anything back. She's awesome, straightforward, and spunky as hell. She makes me smile.
But what I really love about Eli is how much he gets Alex. Alex isn't a gorgeous model type, but he wants her desperately. He seems to really get her insecurities, but doesn't have the patience for them. He wants her. He thinks she's sexy as hell. End of story. And even though Eli is a politician, he doesn't hold anything back either. He's upfront, straight-forward and in your face about a lot of things. Between the two of them, I spent the majority of reading this book grinning.
The book was amazingly good. The chemistry between them makes it fun with an edge of anticipation which meant I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I will tell you right now, Kate Meader is the Queen of writing sexual tension. Wow, this novel sizzles.
She's also really good at writing Eli. He's a politician stuck in a situation with lots of grey areas. He's certainly not all good and has had to make some really difficult choices. That gave the story an sense of realism because I'm sure that's something ALL politicians have to deal with on a daily basis. To get things done, sometimes compromises have to be made...and they aren't all good things. He's made questionable choices and is honest with himself about what kind of person that makes him. I liked that vulnerability that the author was pull out of him through that.
The book is just really, really well done and well written. It was entertaining and PERFECT for this romantic lover's heart. I adored Eli and Alex as characters apart from one another, but they are so freaking good together. I highly recommend this book...and the entire series. (Note: You don't have to read the whole series. Each book works perfectly well as a stand-alone although the characters and couples make appearances in the subsequent books.)
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.