Flirting with Danger by Claire Baxter:
To be together is dangerous. To stay apart is impossible.Firefighter Jasmine Mackinnon has always just been one of the guys. So no one's more shocked than she is to find herself kissing fellow firefighter and all-around sinfully handsome playboy Aaron Parkes after a friend's wedding. Jasmine knows she can't risk an emotional connection with a colleague—a potentially dangerous entanglement when fighting fires together—and nothing's more important to her than her job.
Aaron never noticed how beautiful Jasmine was until he saw her out of her firefighter duds, but there's something about the fiery woman that tempts him. Though he knows pursuing a real relationship is out of the question for a serial dater like him, when their casual flirtation builds into something more serious, it's not just their jobs or their safety on the line. It's their hearts.
About the Author
Claire Baxter writes contemporary romantic fiction of all lengths. Her short stories have been published in commercial women's magazines around the world, while her novels have been translated into twenty languages and have been nominated for the Romance Writers of Australia's Romantic Book of the Year Award, the Booksellers Best Awards, the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Awards, and the Cataromance Reviewers Choice Awards (winner, Best Harlequin Romance).
Before following her passion to write full-time, Claire was an award-winning corporate communications manager. Earlier, she worked as a translator and a PA.
Claire grew up in Warwickshire, England, but for more than twenty years has called Australia home. She considers herself lucky to live near one of Adelaide's beautiful metropolitan beaches, where she loves to walk and think up stories.
Read an Excerpt
Flirting with Danger
By Claire Baxter, Stacy Abrams, Guillian Helm
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Claire Baxter
All rights reserved.
In a bedroom of a sprawling sandstone house in South Australia, Jasmine Mackinnon looked at the reflection of her friend and fellow bridesmaid, who was peering over her shoulder.
Sasha said, "You should wear that smoky eye shadow more often. It makes your eyes look enormous."
"I get plenty of smoke on my face when I'm on a call-out. I don't need to add more."
"No, not when you're at work, obviously," Sasha said as she straightened. "But you could make an effort when we go out."
Jasmine winced. "I do make an effort."
"Oh, I know. I didn't mean it like that." Sasha pulled an apologetic face. "Okay, maybe I did, but I was trying to be helpful. You're so pretty, but you don't make the most of what you have. Look, what I mean is that you might find your Mr. Right if you went for a more feminine look."
Marrying a man she loved, having babies, watching them grow up, staying together forever ... that was the fairy tale for most women, her friends included. But how often did it actually happen? The staying together forever bit, anyway.
Not very often, in Jasmine's experience. She hoped Leanne and Michael, today's bride and groom, would make it, but it wasn't a risk she was prepared to take for herself. Not unless she found a man she could trust completely, and they were few and far between.
Sighing, she said, "If I find a man to love me as I am, then great. But I'm not going to pretend to be something I'm not."
Jasmine studied her reflection as the makeup artist blended blush beneath her cheekbones. Which made her look as if she actually had cheekbones. She'd bet that, given a choice between muscles and makeup on their women, most men would not choose muscles. But messing around with all those brushes and jars — it just wasn't her style. Any man she allowed into her life would have to want the real her no matter what she did or didn't slap on her face.
Sasha was on a roll now. "Okay, I can see your point, but first impressions are important, aren't they? You need to get past the first hurdle before you can really get to know someone. All I'm saying is, you might meet more men if you looked as if you cared what they thought of you. And you could be a bit more encouraging when men do try to talk to you. You could give them a chance. Like that poor man in the pub last week."
Jasmine swiveled the chair. "What man?"
"The one with the Johnny Depp jaw."
She screwed up her eyes. "Can't say I remember him."
"He came over to talk to us. To you, anyway."
"Oh! You mean when we were watching the game on the big screen?"
"I didn't notice his jaw; I was too busy paying attention to the football."
"Trust me, he was cute. And he tried to start a conversation with you."
Jasmine frowned. "Did he?"
"He asked you what you did for a living."
She nodded. "That's right. I remember."
"And what did you say?"
"Er ... female impersonator."
"My point exactly. No wonder he took off like he'd been spat out."
"The scores were level. It was a crucial point."
The door of the en-suite bathroom opened and Leanne, the bride, emerged, wrapped in a toweling robe, and, like Jasmine and Sasha, sporting large rollers in her hair. "What did I miss?"
"I was just telling Jasmine that she frightens men off when they try to talk to her."
Nodding, Leanne pulled up a chair. "Well, it's not really her fault that she intimidates them, is it? She's so ..."
"Capable," Sasha supplied.
"Hello. I'm still in the room." Jasmine frowned. "And since when was being capable a bad thing?"
"It's not, generally, but you don't give men a chance to be men around you."
"Oh, that's rubbish."
"No, it's true," Leanne said. "You're good at most things they'd consider men's stuff. Heck, you can probably bench press more than some of them. You even do a job that a lot of men wouldn't have the guts to do. You make them feel inadequate."
"And we love you for it," Sasha added. "You know that, don't you?"
Jasmine nodded. Her friendship with Leanne and Sasha went back as long as she could remember, and she'd never doubt their motives for a moment.
"We're just saying that it's going to be tough for you to find a man who's secure enough in his own masculinity to cope with all that."
"Unless you're smart, like me, and marry a firefighter," Leanne said with a smile.
"She's right," Sasha said. "And there are some good-looking guys in your station. What about Kane? He's cute."
"Cute like a puppy. He's younger than me."
"Not by much. All right, how about Aaron, then? Ooh, Aaron." Sasha fanned herself. "He has all the right credentials. Tall, dark, and —"
"Dangerous," Leanne interrupted. "Tall, dark, and dangerous. Strictly no strings, that's Aaron Parkes. He could charm the skin off a rice pudding, but he thinks having breakfast with a woman the morning after is long-term."
"Isn't that what makes him irresistible?" Sasha said. "You know, the thrill of being the one to hook him? Maybe he just hasn't found the right woman yet?"
"He's not looking," Jasmine said. "Trust me, he's happy the way he is. I should know; I have to listen to him bragging about his conquests at work. They're all the same, and they don't seem to care that he's only interested in one thing."
Leanne shook her head. "Forget about him. I wouldn't want to see Jasmine dating Aaron. It could only end in tears, and then we'd have to kill him"
"I have no intention of dating him," Jasmine said. She wouldn't dream of becoming a notch on Aaron's bedpost — if there was even any bedpost left to carve a notch in. "Anyway, there's no way I'd go out with a colleague at all. Not Aaron, not anybody. Workplace romances get messy, and in a job like ours, messy is the last thing we need. We have to be able to rely on each other in life-threatening situations — would you trust a colleague to save your life if his girlfriend was in danger as well?" She shook her head. "Of course you wouldn't. Plus, dating's not allowed. Not between people who work in the same team like Aaron and I do."
The makeup artist tapped her acrylic nails on the marble top of Leanne's dressing table. "Excuse me? I just need to do your lips, and then we're finished."
"Oh, right. Sorry," Jasmine said, turning the chair back to the mirror. She wouldn't let anyone else talk to her the way Sasha and Leanne did, but it was impossible to take offence when she knew that everything they said was with her best interests at heart. Besides, she'd been just as frank with both of them in the past for different reasons. She wouldn't expect anything less than brutal honesty from her closest friends. The young woman drew a red line outside her lips. "I take it you don't wear much makeup?"
"I don't bother with any of this." Jasmine waved at the products littering the dressing table. She was only submitting to all this girlie stuff because it was what Leanne wanted. After a tough time Leanne was finally happy and Jasmine wouldn't do anything to spoil her day. "Well, I'm going to fill inside the line with color to make your lips appear even fuller. This is what your friend means about making the most of what you have. You have good lips already, but when I'm done with them they'll look so sexy." She selected a fine brush from the range in her case.
Jasmine rolled her eyes toward Sasha.
"It's a lovely color," Sasha nodded with enthusiasm. "Really suits you."
"Yes," Leanne agreed. "It will look great with the dress. Now, listen, there is someone out there for you; I'm sure of it. The perfect men are waiting for both of you. I know it's hard to believe it sometimes." She smiled at Sasha, then turned back to look at Jasmine in the mirror. "I found my Mike when I'd given up looking."
"We know," Sasha said. "We were there, remember? And we couldn't be happier for you."
Leanne's eyes shone with tears.
"Don't!" Sasha passed her a tissue. "Mascara!"
"The thing is," Leanne went on after dabbing her eyes with a corner of the tissue, "I know you had a very bad experience with Craig, Jasmine, and you have to learn to trust all over again, but you'll only do that by taking a risk. It won't happen if you don't."
Maybe that's part of the problem, Jasmine thought. She was trained not to take risks. To weigh up the potential for getting hurt and choose the safest option, for herself and for others.
She appreciated her friends' concern, she really did. She didn't know what she would have done without them after Craig's betrayal, but she wasn't ready to take that risk. She preferred to stay safe — and that meant staying right away from dating men for the foreseeable future.
"My work here is done," the makeup artist said, packing away the tools of her trade. She glanced at the hairdresser, who'd returned to the room while they were talking. "They're all yours."
Jasmine stood in front of the full-length mirror in the corner of the room, stunned by the image she saw there. After helping Leanne into her ivory wedding gown, she and Sasha had finally climbed into their own dresses. The strapless crimson satin was close-fitting till it reached her knees, where it flared into a fishtail. She just hoped she'd be able to do it justice when she walked down the aisle. Between the dress and the high heels, she was well out of her comfort zone.
Sasha joined her at the mirror. "Gotta love designer lingerie. It works wonders, doesn't it?" She fiddled with her own bodice, then smiled. "You look fabulous. Your hair ... if I didn't know better, I'd think you'd had red highlights put in. They don't show when you scrape it back into a ponytail like you usually do."
Jasmine smiled back at Sasha. "She's a good hairdresser. You look fantastic too."
"Thanks. Not as good as you, though. You look beautiful." Sasha flapped a hand. "Not that you look ugly normally, just ... different."
Jasmine's eyes flicked back to the mirror. She did look very different from normal, and she knew most people would consider it a change for the better, but it gave her a sickly feeling in the pit of her stomach. Trouble was, she looked just like her mother.
She'd always denied the resemblance, which was easy to do because her mother had dressed like a movie star and worn more makeup than a model, while Jasmine had looked like a boy from choice. Even now, as an adult, she preferred her genderless firefighter's uniform to dressing up in the feminine clothes that Sasha and Leanne wore.
She might look like her mother's daughter when she was dressed like this, with her hair styled and face made up, but she'd made a conscious decision to be a different person. It was just the shock of seeing her mother's image looking back at her from the mirror that had shaken her. She would be fine as long as she didn't catch sight of her own reflection again throughout the day. She straightened her shoulders and joined her friends as they gathered their flowers.
As she made her way down the wide stone steps of Leanne's parents' house to its terraced garden, Jasmine had a 180-degree view of the Adelaide Hills. She could also see the gazebo at one end of the lawn where the marriage celebrant waited, along with the groom, Mike. Leading to them, a red carpet bisected dozens of white chairs to form an aisle.
Reminding herself to walk slowly and trying not to crush the stems of the white roses she carried in front of her, she made her way there alongside Sasha, while Leanne followed with her father. Jasmine spotted several of her crew among the faces that turned toward them. They'd be shocked to see her like this. She would talk to them later. For now, she focused on making it from one end of the aisle to the other without incident.
* * *
Aaron Parkes stood with some of the guys from his crew — the ones who also hadn't brought a date to the wedding — watching the flamboyant photographer organize the bride and her two bridesmaids into what looked like an uncomfortable pose.
"Blimey, Mac scrubs up well, doesn't she?" Dave tilted his champagne flute in the direction of Jasmine Mackinnon and the rest of the wedding party.
Kane gave a short laugh. "That doesn't come close, Dave. She's hot."
"Behave yourself," Dave said. "That's your colleague you're talking about."
"Come on, I'm only saying what we're all thinking. Right, Aaron?"
Aaron swallowed a mouthful of champagne. "Leave me out of it," he said. But he didn't disagree with Kane. Who'd have thought Mac would look this good in civvies?
It wasn't just the clothes, though, it was the whole eye-popping package. She'd transformed herself into a woman. Obviously, he'd always known she was female, but now, she was a woman. One with more curves than a racetrack.
He'd only ever seen her in uniform or work-out gear — and not the figure-hugging leggings and tops that most girls wore in public gyms. Baggy T-shirts and shorts were her standard. Still, it was a good thing she didn't dress like this at work or she'd start more fires than they could put out.
So, yeah, even hot was an understatement in his opinion, but he had no intention of speaking his thoughts out loud. He trusted Kane and Dave with his life, but he didn't trust them not to pass on his words to Mac, and he wasn't about to give her an advantage in their verbal sparring matches by letting her know she'd knocked his socks off. Their friendship worked so well because they were equals.
They could never be more than workmates even if they wanted to be — the Fire Service frowned on colleagues dating and neither of them would risk their jobs for the sake of a fling. The consequences would be too great. Dave took a sip from his glass and pulled a face. "I can't drink this stuff all afternoon. I'm going on a beer hunt. Who's coming?"
Aaron shook his head. "I'm going to find something to eat."
As Dave and Kane headed off to seek liquid gold, Aaron hesitated. The sight of Mac staring down the photographer made him grin. He knew that face — he'd been on the receiving end of that look many times. With a shake of his head, he left the photographer to learn for himself that Mac was not the obedient bridesmaid she might appear, and went in search of food.
* * *
"Excuse me, I'm looking for Mac. Have you seen her?"
Jasmine turned from the buffet table at the sound of Aaron's voice and tried not to react to the sight of him in a dark suit. He'd even shaved for the occasion and had his already short hair trimmed, too. Cripes, he looked like James Bond at his best. She wouldn't tell him so, or he'd assume it meant she fancied him. Which she definitely did not.
"I suppose you think you're funny?"
His twinkly gray-blue eyes widened theatrically. "Mac, I can hear your voice. Are you trapped in there under the pretty-woman costume?"
She punched his arm with her free hand. Not gently.
"Ouch. It is you. I should have known you'd be around the food."
"Don't worry, I'll leave some for you."
"I've already eaten."
"Hmm. Well, I'm starving. Being a bridesmaid is a tough job. It's hard work having your photo taken."
"Oh, of course it is." His eyes twinkled again. "Exhausting, I'm sure."
She paused with a chicken drumstick halfway to her mouth. "As if you'd know. Nobody would want to take your photo."
"Hey, it has happened." He grinned. "And all I had to do was lie there. But you're right, it was really hard."
"Oh, please." She coughed as a lump of chicken went down the wrong way. "I'm eating." And now she had the image of Aaron lying naked on a bed stuck in her head. Great.
Well, yes, it was great, actually.
"I could pat your back."
"Not if you value your hand," she snapped. "Speaking of broken bones, if that photographer had given me one more blasted order ... Feet together! Chin up! Who does he think he is?"
"The man who's paid to take the pictures."
"He's lucky he's still got a camera to do it with."
"O-kay. Photos all finished now?"
"Not quite. He's got the bride and groom up a gum tree. Leanne will kill him if her dress gets damaged." She brightened at the thought. "Here's hoping."
Aaron chuckled, then said, "Now that you mention dresses ... did Leanne choose fire-engine red for yours, or was it your own choice?"
"Leanne did, and beneath her ivory dress she's wearing red shoes. I think she would have worn a red dress too if she could have."
"Why didn't she? It's her wedding."
Jasmine snorted. "You don't know her mother."
"Would you let your mother dictate what color wedding dress you should wear?"
Excerpted from Flirting with Danger by Claire Baxter, Stacy Abrams, Guillian Helm. Copyright © 2013 Claire Baxter. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fun, flirting and a Fireman. Fabulous! I make no secret of Bliss books being a staple requirement in my literary diet. Flirting with Danger is another great addition to the family. With lovely characters, witty banter, humour, romance, heartwarming moments balanced with those that pull on the heartstrings and not to mention a man in uniform (what can I say, I love Firemen), it was a pleasure to read. Firefighter Jasmine MacKinnon is one of the boys. Independent and stubborn she's a tomboy and is far happier in a t-shirt and cut-offs rather than a pretty dress. Aaron Parkes is a commitment-phobe with a soft-spot for the ladies. Witty, cheeky, very sexy and with a hilarious repertoire of pick-up lines, his reputation precedes him. Polar opposites. Who work together. And we all know the cardinal rule of mixing business with pleasure don't we... Both were loveable realistic characters with great chemistry, but each have their vulnerabilities. I swooned and sighed appreciatively over Aaron and I saw myself in Jasmine; I work in a male-dominated environment, I give as good as I get and I wear dresses on special occasions! (But thankfully my love-life trauma's are a far far distant memory). Their banter and bickering made me laugh and smile, yet there were moments where my heart was in my throat and I could feel the tears threatening! I couldn't and didn't put it down. I definitely recommend reading and here's hoping there will be more from the Aussie Firefighters.
An enjoyable romp with two fun characters. Both hero and heroine work hard, but enjoy a laugh. Their personalities, lives and "conflict" are completely believable and I hope to the very core of my being Aaron is based on a real life, flesh and blood man? [Correspondence and/or photos should be posted below. Please!] In a modern day setting, the author has created a romance full of happiness and warmth. More please, lots more.
Firefighters. Set in Australia. Throw in that awesome cover (yeah, yeah, I know. But we all do judge, and you know it!), and seriously, what’s not to love here? Flirting with Danger is the first book I’ve read by Claire Baxter, but it definitely won’t be my last. I just couldn’t put this one down! I was completely drawn into Jasmine and Aaron’s lives and was in no way ready to leave them when the book was over. I really enjoyed their progression from coworkers to friends to something more. Even though the novel takes place in a relatively short time frame, it never felt as if their relationship was rushed. I could clearly see why certain things were happening along the way in developing the plot, yet the events never felt contrived–very skillfully done. Both the hero and heroine had a considerable amount of baggage going into their we’re-not-dating relationship, and for the most part it was believable. I thought Jasmine was perhaps a little quick to forgive her mother after so many years, but on the other hand I was glad that she finally did, so am willing to overlook the abruptness. I liked how Ms. Baxter gradually showed us–and Jasmine–just how different the reality of Aaron was as compared to the public image. All in all, I am definitely looking forward to seeing more from this series. There’s quite a few firefighters left, so I’d love to see them all get their HEAs! (Out of fairness, naturally. Not just because I want to read about hot firefighters. Honest.) A- for a highly entertaining read. received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In Flirting With Danger by Claire Baxter, Jasmine does everything she can to downplay her feminine side. Jasmine is a fire fighter, so she works with a lot of men and is just 'one of the guys' - which is how she likes it. Jasmine hasn't been in a relationship for a while. Since finding out her ex was cheating on her, she's not too confident in men. As a bridesmaid at her friend's wedding though, Jasmine dresses up really nicely...in fact she's gorgeous! When Jasmine looks in the mirror though, she sees her mother and the last thing she wants is to be compared to her mother. Another reason she usually hides behind her tomboy image and unattractive clothing. Some of the guys she works with who attend the wedding are shocked when they see her in all her finery. Especially Aaron...the last person Jasmine wants to be attracted to. He's one of the guys, she works with him, and she's heard a lot about his revolving bedroom door! She definitely does not want to be another notch in his bed post. She definitely does not want to admit to herself or to Aaron that she is attracted to him... that he brings her feminine parts to life! But he is not an option - he's not interested in a one woman relationship, plus she has to work with him. Aaron is stunned by Jasmine! He is just as shocked by his attraction to her, she is not his usual 'type', and he definitely isn't looking to settle down. All the same, Aaron wants to explore these feelings with Jasmine, even if she thinks she doesn't want to. When Jasmine is injured and Aaron feels responsible, Aaron sees it as the perfect opportunity to spend more time with her. The more time they spend together, the harder it's getting for Jasmine to resist her desires, and the more Jasmine sees that Aaron is not the shallow womanizer that she has always thought he was. There is much more to Aaron than what's on the surface, and Jasmine is liking what she sees more and more. Can Jasmine risk her heart on Aaron? Is there any chance for them? Both Jasmine and Aaron have issues from their pasts that they have to get past, both very different, but both just as important to them. They are a fun couple to get to know, as a reader I could imagine them as real people struggling to come together. I loved seeing Jasmine start to embrace who she was too. There was just enough interaction with the secondary characters in Flirting With Danger so that they didn't take over the story with their stories. I loved that Jasmine has such good friends and a family who wants to be there for her, if only she'd let them! Flirting With Danger by Claire Baxter is a sweet, fun romantic read. I had a lot of enjoyment watching Jasmine and Aaron come out of their shells and get to know each other outside of work. The banter between them was hilarious at times! It was really great to watch their relationship evolve as they started to trust not only each other more, but their feelings towards each other. Will it be enough though to make a relationship work? As I read further into Flirting With Danger, I found myself really hoping that they could make it as a couple. Claire writes a romance that will draw you in and make you really feel for Jasmine and Aaron. I loved how they got to know each other so well outside of the bedroom, and grew from there. I'd recommend Flirting With Danger to any romance reader looking to lose yourself in a fun, fast paced romance that won't leave you bored!
We all know how much I love the Bliss line for it's happy sappy romance. Well, Claire Baxter's Flirting with Danger is no exception. Yes, this story will warm your heart and fill it with ooey-gooey goodness. In Flirting with Danger, we meet Jasmine Mackinnon who has always been consider as one of the guys. Which is probably pretty important when you're a firefighter, we can't have the other guys treating Jasmine differently cause she's a girl. However, behind that tough facade hides a vulnerable side of Jasmine, and she doesn't even realize it's there. When the guys see her all gussy up for a friend's wedding that tough exterior is shatter and guys view her more like a woman. Especially, the man-whore of the group, Aaron Parkes. I found Jasmine character quite unique, because she wants to hide the fact she's a girl. There are some mommy issues that were never resolve, which factors into the reason Jasmine plays up the Tomboy card. However, once she starts hanging out with Aaron, the issues start to dissolve. Now Aaron has a lot of issues too. Those issues play into the factor why he's view as a player of the fire house. Yet, he slowly starts to change because of Jasmine. Not only that, he starts to realize he really doesn't want to be like the player anymore. So, he has to overcome his abandonment issues. Seriously, a heart warming story that will leave you all mushy inside. Of course, you are going to fall in love with the bad boy and tomboy girl. Basically, if you are looking for a warm fuzzy feeling story, you will find it in Flirting with Danger. Copy provided by publisher
I liked it! Flirting with Danger is a nicely written, sweet romance with an engaging storyline. The two main characters, firefighters Jasmine Mackinnon and Aaron Parkes are likable and interesting. Both have a lot of emotional baggage that they need to work through in order to form a lasting, loving relationship with each other. Watching their mutual friends get married, compels both Jasmine and Aaron reevaluate their personal lives. They both want a love life and to be needed by someone. Jasmine desires to be recognized as a woman, instead of a tomboy and Aaron wants to shed his playboy image. Little by little their professional relationship evolves into something more meaningful, but the rules regarding workplace romances prevent them from truly exploring their feelings. They share a couple of sizzling kisses that causes them to think about each other constantly and consequently, make decisions that will change their future forever. I liked this book, however, I found the relationship between Jasmine and Aaron to be immature for their age bracket. The author does a fantastic job of creating heat, but I felt bereft and needed more. The cover is hot.
Firefighters! This is a story about two firefighters who are perfect for each other, even though they might not think so. This is a fun summer quick read. It is nice to read a book not full of sex. Will read many more Bliss books
I always love stories where people who have been "friends" or known each other for a long time don't have romantic feelings for one another, however, after an event of some sort (and in this case a wedding) things change. Jasmine is a firewoman and pretty much wears her hair in a pony tale and doesn't wear make-up or dress up. Something else we learn about Jasmine is that she tries to not over dress or put make-up on because when she does she looks just like her mother, which apparently is a bad thing. Aaron (our other main character) is also a fireman and apparently quite the ladies man. Like he comes in a lot and brags about his nights with women and so on and so on. He pretty much is straight forward in the fact that he doesn't do relationships. Basically Aaron has commitment issues. Anyways Jasmine is known as Mac to the guys at the station. I find this whole wedding thing funny because all the guys have the same thought, but it is Aaron who thinks, "She'd transformed herself into a woman. Obviously, he'd always known she was a female, but now, she was a woman. One with more curves than a racetrack." So this tells me a few things about Mac. First off either she wears a ton of baggy clothes or she mostly kind of looks like a train wreck when she goes to the station. For him to say I mean I know she's a female and all but now she looks like a woman (because there's a difference). Mac and Aaron have a lot of verbal sparring matches at work and that's pretty much the foundation of their friendship. So as the night progresses Mac and Aaron end up dancing together for a song and I this is truly the turning point for these two. Mac begins to speak (in her head) about her feelings for Aaron or at least being attracted to him. After this somewhat awkward moment Aaron ends up offering to take Mac home. As they are talking in the car before she get's out they start up a makeout session. It's at the point we learn a lot about these two and their background stories. Aaron's isn't all it's cracked up to be and honestly I understand why he doesn't want to commit to anyone. Now Mac's history. OMG I understand why she is the way she is. Stupid Craig. But it's funny because while these two are trying to not fall for each other (because it's kind of prohibited at work for obvious reasons) the wedding has changed their friendship. Aaron comes over to Mac's house pretty much in all his spare moments and helps out and they learn a lot more about each other, what's beyond the surface that they share at work. They have sooooo many fun and awesome moments together that you can't help root for these two. I think my favorite scene is when Mac has to go down a down pipe to get a guy that is stuck (while some flooding is going on). She does something and says something (I can't tell you because it will give away what makes this scene pure awesome) and knows something will happen and when she talks about colliding with a something I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!! This was a great read!!
This was a really cute story by new to me author, Claire Baxter. The hero and heroine were like oil and water, until she underwent a mini makeover for a friend's wedding. Gone was the tomboy and out came a woman with movie star looks. Of course all her male colleagues took notice, one in particular. I'm not altogether sure how I felt about the catalyst, that seeing her “all dolled-up” was stunning enough to make her turn heads all of a sudden, whereas in her turn out gear, she was just another one of the guys. I wouldn't know whether to feel pleased or insulted. However, their unfurling pasts and their hidden depths were enough to make me overlook that slight. Jasmine was one of those head-strong characters who preferred to do things on her own and never ask for help. She was independent, self-sufficient, capable, and (not) surprisingly, lonely. Her being somewhat of a tomboy seemed to have roots in her relationship with her mother. Her mother had always been beautifully coiffed and attracted attention. That attention seeking eventually led to an affair and her death in a car accident. Since then, Jasmine had denied all compliments of the mother-daughter resemblance. When she found out her boyfriend had been cheating on her, it led her to swear off men and relationships. Aaron had a reputation for being a playboy. He liked them hot and dumb, or at least that's how Jasmine saw it. The wedding was a real eye-opener and suddenly Mac became Jasmine, a gorgeous woman with a body to die for. He not only surprised Jasmine but himself too when he decided to kiss her. Suddenly she wasn't the colleague he'd been trading snarky remarks and comebacks with, but a woman he desired. Before long, he was seeking excuses to spend time with her outside of work, he wanted to get to know her. Just like Jasmine, Aaron also had his own personal demons preventing him from wanting a relationship. I really liked this couple because at first it seemed like the standard “opposites attract” situation until we learned more about backgrounds only to find they had common ground. The best thing about this story was the dialogue. The jokes, the snark, the veiled jealousy on either side was quite cute. I also liked that Aaron recognized that he had something to prove to her if he wanted a chance with her. I think that applied not just to her, but to any woman. Who'd want to really take a chance on a player? So yes, I enjoyed seeing him make some decisions about his life and take action. Of course not everything was smooth sailing, but I liked the anticipation. The drama near the end was a little predictable and perhaps a little cliché, but it helped this stubborn couple come to a decision. The full-circle ending was the icing on the cake. Note: There was implied sex, but only for one scene. Anyone who is familiar with the Entangled Bliss line already knows to expect sexual tension, but otherwise these are “clean” stories. Rating: 3.5 rounded up to 4 Disclaimer: I received a review copy from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.
Flirting with Danger by Claire Baxter is a must-read. Jasmine (Mac) and Aaron are two of the best drawn characters in recent memory. This is a sweet read with sexual tension, but only steamy kisses and near misses. Where the book excels, and earns its very high marks, are in the exchanges between Mac and Aaron. Both push the other to re-evaluate their lives, their preconceptions, and their goals. Through taking a good look at themselves, they both grow and fall in love. It is a rare book that really pushes the envelope in an introspective direction, and the characters are so much stronger for it. The interactions with the secondary characters only enhances the interactions between Mac and Aaron and bring them more shape and substance. It is easy to see those secondary characters get books of their own and their voices were unique to them, which is always a good thing to see. Plotting, pacing, eureka moments: they all felt natural and organic to the story. You won't want to miss this one. Let's hope it is the start of a wonderful series. RATING: 4.5 Heat Rating: Sweet REVIEWED BY: Monique Neaves,Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Entangled’s Bliss line has no overt sex in it – more of a ”door closes, fade to black” kind of thing – but in this edition there is no sex at all which I found charming. It’s a modern story, about modern people, but the author didn’t feel the need to have them jumping into bed together. Don’t get me wrong, I love a steamy romance too, but sometimes it is refreshing to have a story without it. Instead the emphasis was on the two of them getting to know each other better, overcoming their assumptions about each other and themselves. - Full review available at RomanticReadsandSuch on Wordpress or BookTrib's website.