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REVIEW: Spontaneous Combustion by Bobby Hutchinson

Dear Ms. Hutchinson,

Firefighters are hot sexy thangs, so it’s easy to see why you picked that profession for this installment of the Courage Bay (Code Red) series. Wow, lots of stuff appears to be happening in this small, picturesque SoCal location including two people falling in love while they fight fires, rescue cats and solve an undercover investigation.

Shannon O’Shea is one of only two women in the fire department in Courage Bay, CA. She’s earned her spot though hard work, dedication and being in such top condition that she’s called “Biceps” by her fellow firemen. That and the fact that she arm wrestled, and beat, a fellow probie when his repeated attempts to ask her out annoyed her.

But John Forrester, newly arrived firefighter from NYC, lights her fires and quickly becomes very important to Shannon. She knows there’s something he’s not telling her. Is it related to the two mysterious warehouse fires that occurred? And is what he’s not telling her bad or good?

I love the calls out the squad gets. Some pathos mixed with humans at their hysterical, whacked out best. What people won’t do… The details about the station and the life of the firefighters add depth to the story without becoming a docudrama or dry treatise much less a worshipful kowtowing to the profession. Well done

Shannon’s large and boisterous family take their place in this book rather than taking over this book. Shannon learns some things about her family she never knew and in turn grows up a little. She is smart, a dedicated firefighter and proud of her job. Though entirely human when it comes to enjoying telling stories about the funnier call outs she’s gotten.

The sex is hot – and funny – but with no Bridget Jones pratfalls for humor.

While he was tying his shoes, she went over the routine in her head. Let’s see, she hadn’t done this in a very long while. How did it go again?

You started by saying in a throwaway tone, "Would you like to come in, John? How about some coffee?" And music-’mustn’t forget music. Something slow and moody, with a heavy back beat. Seduction took time, and grace, and deliberation. Did condoms come with an expiration date? The ones she had were probably antiques.

Except John kissed her before he even started the car, and she had trouble getting her breath when he finally revved the engine. She could feel the tension building as they drove the short distance to her house.

She was breathing hard, and she needed to touch him, so she put her hand on his thigh-’lightly, just in case he lost his place-’but she probably wouldn’t have had to. He put his hand on top of hers and moved it farther north. One thing about the guy, he was nothing if not single-minded. And he was wonderfully aroused.

In front of her house, he turned off the car and was kissing her again before the motor even died. They pretty much kissed all the way inside, which made walking hazardous. Shannon had to walk backward and he had to lean forward, which wasn’t up to anybody’s safety standards, especially around corners and on that cursed ramp at the back door, but God, it felt good.

Of course most people don’t have to two-man-heave a St. Bernard out of their bedroom before engaging in sex either. I laughed my head off at the dogs howling and scratching at Shannon’s bedroom door to get in.

John is flummoxed by her family and not too sure he wants a closer acquittance with them. The whole thing scares him to death and his doubts about love, family and babies arises out of the past you’ve constructed for him. I like that he’s honest with Shannon about his expectations from their relationship. His final, bewildered, surrender to it all also seems ‘guy.’ He’s in for the sex, definitely, he likes Shannon’s intelligence, sure, but the rest, maybe he’s not too sure of but in the end is convinced he can’t live without.

Shannon’s woman’s intuition is something that would make me take a second look at John, as it does for her sister in law, but I can see her brother’s point of view that intuition plus a dog’s reactions to the man doesn’t warrant poking into his background. And I love Linda’s advice for Shannon to use her womanly charms to find out more and lure John into a false sense of safety where his identity is concerned.

John thinks he’s in control and in shape and is slightly peeved to be almost outrun and then socked by a woman. The O’Shea women take no prisoners which is something I hope he remembers later on.

The undercover investigation is realistic and something that, frankly, I hadn’t thought about but which seems logical and something that could, and probably does, happen.

Shannon does lose some points when she goes against John’s orders, no matter if she manages to persuade herself that she has a perfect right to. He gives her logical reasons for his instructions and even though she does end up saving the day, I still gotta count off. John is perfectly right to chew her out after the dust settles.

The book is full of fun, subtle humor and exchanges and interchanges between John and Shannon that I had fun reading. Shannon’s mother tells her that there is fast love and slow love and both are okay. Here we’ve got fast love and no one quite sure how they’re going to work their future lives out but I bet it’ll be fun to watch them do it. But I think it’s a good thing that Pepsi is getting a new home!

~Jayne

This book can be purchased at Amazon used or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

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