Published by HQN Books on August 30th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
He'll risk his whole heart to save her from the past
Gaby Cane was always a bit afraid of her attraction to Bowie McCayde. Even when she was fifteen and Bowie's family took her in, she had sensed his simmering resentment. Now ten years later, she's an aspiring journalist who can hold her own with any man professionally, the dark shadows of years gone by far behind her. Then Bowie strides back into her life—only this time, he needs her, and the pull of loyalty to his family is too strong to ignore.
When Bowie asked Gaby to help save his family's Arizona ranch, he never expected the girl he once knew to return transformed into a stunning, successful woman. As they work together, Bowie is shocked to find that her innocence and beauty stir a hunger he can't deny. But the rogue rancher can sense something holding her back, and he's determined to uncover the terrible secret Gaby is fighting to keep hidden…
“Bowie?” she whispered.
His eyes lifted slowly to hold hers. He was close enough that she felt the warmth of his body striking into her, and she could feel the coiled strength in him as his hand came up very slowly to her upper arm. His fingers spread over it, encompassing it, testing its silky warmth.
“I want your mouth,” he whispered. His hand pulled her gently toward him, moving her inches closer, so that they were almost touching.
She let him. The sensations she was feeling were new and overwhelming. It was like being drugged, she thought, and the dragging sensation in her stomach and upper thighs was oddly crippling. She was trembling inside, in a way she’d never expected. Her breasts ached. It was as if just the feel of those black eyes on her mouth had made some basic change in her chemistry. She felt the threat of his great strength at the same time she wanted to feel his body against the length of hers. She wanted to put her arms around him and be hugged until her breasts ached, kissed until her mouth was swollen and sore. She went pale. Was she going to be able to face the past at last and move into womanhood?
It almost seemed so. Her lips parted on a shaky breath, and her eyes searched Bowie’s fierce ones.
“Do you want my mouth on yours, Gaby?” he asked huskily, and his head started to bend. His gaze fell to her parted lips. “Do you want to feel me kissing you?”
“Oh… God,” she groaned, her legs going weak as the passionate need snapped in her. “Bowie…!”She was reaching up to him, shaking with anticipation. And that was when the voice, stark and bleak, shattered the fever that was building in the pool house.
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~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Gaby Cane has been working as a reporter for the Phoenix Advertiser for three years, when she gets an urgent request to go back home, the home of the kind people who took her in when her life fell apart when she was fifteen. And to Bowie McCayde. The McCaydes loved Gaby like the daughter they never had, and Bowie, their son, resented that very much. However, now he needs her help because the family ranch is in danger: there’s a new company in town looking to buy their land and water rights, and that will be over Bowie’s dead body, and both Bowie and Gaby have a say in what will happen to the family home. Gaby and Bowie have always been tense around each other because he always perceived Gaby as a bit of an intruder, but nine years later, there’s an attraction that wasn’t there before, if only Gaby could let go of the past and let herself feel again…
FIRE BRAND is a reissue from 1989, if memory serves, and I’m glad I knew this before going in, as I was entirely unfamiliar with romances from that time. I didn’t read start reading romance novels until around 2005, and I must say I was a bit taken aback by FIRE BRAND; it was a bit of a culture shock for me. I felt it sounded a bit quaint at times, but I guess readers familiar with 1980s romances will be quite comfortable with the tone. Knowing this, I’m afraid I might have taken a somewhat scholarly view to the book and read it with a bit of a socio-literary approach, so forgive me in advance if I may seem a tad uncultivated.
I really liked Gaby, even though I was a bit perplexed at her lack of all-around sexual knowledge: she is after all 24 and a journalist, however I understood her issues given her dramatic backstory. Bowie however left me utterly perplexed, not him probably but the depiction of the male romantic lead. I barely warmed up to him only towards the end. I’ll admit I found hard to grasp the idea of a man lamenting the physical pain he is experimenting while trying not to have sex, restraining his animalistic nature in order to be kind to the heroine. He was though, but it seemed very dated to me, and looking at how Gaby and Bowie acted towards each other, I felt the story could have happened in the 1880s rather than the latter part of the previous century, and it actually was written in the previous century! But I digress. On the other hand, Ms. Palmer is amazingly adept at describing the beauty of Arizona, and her love for the State is evident. The dispute around the fate of the Casa Río and the ecological issues are extremely well researched and documented, and the journalistic environment feels entirely accurate. Gaby and Bowie’s romance did not quite do it for me, I never felt involved, however – and here might be a bit of a spoiler, but I think it necessary to write about it – I absolutely adored a parallel story involving Bowie’s mother Aggie! It captivated me from the first moment to the last, and held my interest until the very end. And in spite of my misgivings about Bowie and Gaby, Aggie’s tale made FIRE BRAND well worth reading. And this book was an education for me as well!
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.