It was an accidental happening upon that I even found The Fireman Who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard. The boys and I were looking for a book to add to FireDad’s Father’s Day present when these two books popped out at me on an endcap display.
In a combined fit of impulsiveness, amusement and judging books by their cover (hello hot firemen!), I tossed both in the cart. I’ve been swamped with work, family schedules and heavy reading and thought I could use some good fluff. I didn’t expect to like them, if I’m honest. It’s not that I’m a books snob at all. I’ve just had a really bad run of luck with romance novels. I expected to mock them as every other attempt at romance reading I have made since I used to steal my grandma’s books in middle school has been met with boredom and eye-rolling.
Apparently I was just reading the wrong books with the wrong subject matter. Because hot, stubborn firefighter meets beautiful, stubborn news producer? Oh hi, I lived that story in our own little way. In short, I couldn’t put the book down. I wasn’t even the slightest bit embarrassed when a friend came over this week and commented on its place on my end table. I support hot firefighters with no shirts on; there’s one mowing my grass right now.
A basic synopsis of the The Fireman Who Loved Me, beyond hot and stubborn meets beautiful and stubborn, is that Melissa’s ailing grandmother decides to meddle in her love life and get her married off. She chooses a charity auction of firefighters to benefit the Widows and Orphans fund to pick out a suitable mate. Due to confusion and a bait and switch, Melissa ends up with Captain Brody. Cue fireworks. Or, uh, flames. All sorts of things go wrong, from the comical to the cringe-worthy. The love scenes were, pun totally intended, hot. The book delves into other things than hot and heavy scenes as well. As someone who occasionally misses the newsroom, I enjoyed being reminded that it’s generally full of fake people climbing on top of one another, literally (ahem) and figuratively to get ahead in the business. The family themes — grandma’s health, dad issues — were also interesting and played well into the story. I probably could have done with a little more fire action theme, but what was there was written well and not overly fire-cliche. Then again, I love action/war/fire/etc movies, so I gravitate toward the intense scenes in books as well.
I loved both Melissa and Captain Brody’s characters. Near the beginning of the book, when they were getting to know one another, I snort-laughed as I read an exchange between the two aloud to my husband — a professional firefighter:
“You probably hang out in bars playing darts and waiting for the next wet T-shirt contest. You spend your weekends tinkering with your car, or watching the Pimp My Ride marathon. If you were married, you’d leave your wife home to do the dishes while you go hunting with your buddies. God forbid you should ever have to change a diaper or vacuum a floor. And the worst part is, you have willing young girls falling all over themselves, bidding hundreds of dollars to be the next Mrs. Fire Captain and have little fire babies.” She paused for a breath, then turned beet-red as her words echoed between them.
My husband laughed with me. “Yep! That’s me!” The assumption is that all firefighters are big, macho men who are 100% manly men, grunting ala Tim the Tool Man Taylor. I’ve actually had plenty of people assume that about my husband — after hearing his profession but before meeting him. And while my firefighter does hunt, he also vacuums and was a pro at cloth diapering. Then again, 16-year-old girls do bat their eyelashes at him as do 89-year-old ladies. He is quite handsome, you know.
Best part? This book is the beginning of a series. That’s right. The firehouse where Captain Brody bosses everyone around is known as the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel. Oh yeah. A bunch of hot, single firefighters — and a bit of a curse — mean that there’s a series. As I said, I already picked up her second book, Hot for Fireman. I’m actually saving it for our beach vacation at the end of June — even though I desperately want to read it now. (I actually have another book to read for the BlogHer Book Club; alas, work comes first.) And, excitedly, Jennifer Bernard is working on book number three, apparently titled, Sex and the Single Fireman (scroll to the end of that post). So exciting! Yes, I’m that excited about a romance novel series.
Jennifer Bernard’s website has more about her books, and she also has a blog. I’ve gushed at her on twitter and she apparently posts sexy firefighter photos on her Facebook. She also has a new fan: Me. If you want some fun, hot, romantic firefighter reading, I can’t recommend this book enough. Pick it up!
Giveaway! As I was writing this review, I tweeted some gushy love of the book to the author which in turn lead her to offer two of my readers a SIGNED COPY of The Fireman Who Loved Me! SQUEE! To enter, simply leave a comment with the title of the book you are currently reading or the last book you read and loved. For an extra one or two entries, tweet or share this post on Facebook and leave the link in a separate comment. Two winners will be picked at random to receive a signed copy, mailed directly from Jennifer. Leave your comment before 11:59pm Sunday, July 1, 2012. Winners will be contacted via email and announced on Monday, July 2, 2012.