The first installment in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series from Kate Meader that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!
Savvy PR guru Kinsey Taylor has always defined herself by her career, not her gender. That is, until she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to be with her fiancé who thought she wasn’t taking her “job” of supporting him in his high-powered career seriously enough—and promptly dumped her for a more supportive and “feminine” nurse. Now, as the new assistant press secretary to Chicago’s dynamic mayor, she’s determined to keep her eye on the prize: no time to feel inferior because she’s a strong, kick-ass woman, and certainly no time for men.
But that all changes when she meets Luke Almeida, a firefighter as searingly sexy as he is quick-tempered. He’s also the second oldest of the Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service—if Luke’s antics don’t get him fired first. When Luke goes one step too far and gets into a bar brawl with the Chicago Police Department, Kinsey marches into Luke’s firehouse and lays down the law on orders from the mayor. But at Engine Co. 6, Luke Almeida is the law. And he’s not about to let Kinsey make the rules.
About the Author
Originally from Ireland, Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, a fire hose, or a hockey stick, and she's there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines (and heroes) who can match their men quip for quip. Visit her at KateMeader.com.
Read an Excerpt
Flirting with Fire
So this was where jock straps went to die.
Kinsey Taylor’s nose twitched at the aromatic combination of sweat, dirty laundry, and an unhealthy abundance of testosterone. Three stinky brothers had inured her senses to the more disgusting habits of the male species, so she remained largely unfazed as she marched through the makeshift gym of Engine Company 6’s quarters on Chicago’s north side.
Judging by the slack jaws and horrified expressions of the men she passed, her composure wasn’t catching.
“Hey, lady, you can’t be in here,” a Popeye-gunned lug said as he reset dumbbells he’d been curling with ease.
Ignoring him and the supporting grumbles of his workout crew, she continued to her destination—the locker room of Chicago’s oldest firehouse—for a showdown with a man she had never met, but who had already pissed her off so much she was ready to set his head on fire. The guy might have a reputation as one of the bravest and most decorated firefighters in the Chicago Fire Department, but she’d like to see how Mr. Luke Almeida would handle that particular conflagration.
She rounded a corner with purpose and crashed through the swing doors at the end of a corridor flanked by gray, paint-peeling walls. The smell in here was slightly better, which Kinsey attributed in part to the scent of shampoo and soap, but mostly to the broad-shouldered specimen standing before an open locker.
He turned slowly, his eyebrows veeing over a face more weathered than handsome.
“This isn’t part of the tour, miss.”
That word flicked across her sensitive brain like a fingernail over a raw wound. She should have been Mrs. David Halford for almost a month by now, and the painful fact that she wasn’t apparently still had the capacity to surprise her. Oh joy. Now she had to steel her mind against the word miss along with other nuggets like incompatible and nonrefundable deposit. Her vocabulary of not-words had expanded considerably since her cross-country move from San Francisco to Chicago four months ago.
“I’m here for”—the head of—“Luke Almeida,” she said to the man before her.
The slight twitch of his mouth acted like a lever for his eyebrows. “Luke. Visitor,” he called out in a tone that said Luke hosted a lot of visitors.
Kinsey had a truckload of reasons to dislike Luke Almeida. Any man who instigated a bar brawl involving half his firehouse and a vigorous complement of the Chicago Police Department was already at the top of her shit list. When that same man refused to return three phone calls from the mayor’s Media Affairs Office, he was on his way to carving out a special place in her affections for his about-to-be-reamed ass. Now that smirk from Tall, Dark, Whatever confirmed what she had suspected the moment Almeida’s file landed on her desk at city hall four days ago: he thought he was all that and a bag of chips.
“You must be lost, sweetheart.”
A low rumble spiked every fine hair on the back of her neck to attention. On four-inch heels she pivoted and encountered a plume of steam, which, like a magician’s cloud, dissipated to reveal a half-naked man.
The clearing mist had the opposite effect on her rapidly fogging brain. Bye-bye, Tall ’n’ Dark; this brute streak of male had that guy beat in the masculinity stakes six ways from Sunday.
Across his broad chest, the slogan of the U.S. Marine Corps, Semper Fidelis, formed a rolling script that joined forces with the tattooed cuffs on his biceps, the letters of which she couldn’t quite make out, short of staring.
And she wanted to stare because this just got better.
On lean hips, a towel draped threateningly low, highlighting cut indents on either side of his abs. Was there anything hotter than that V shape? As if the killer bod wasn’t enough, he had eyes so fiercely blue she wondered if they were natural. Surely those things had come out of a lab.
Then again, the whole picture was one of a genetically engineered firefighting machine. Or fighting machine, considering his fondness for hitting first and to hell with the consequences.
He rubbed a towel through damp hair, returning life to mink-brown waves that framed strong cheekbones and more jaw than was strictly necessary. The movement showcased the tattoo on his right bicep: Logan, combined with the intertwined letters of the CFD. She would bet the two-carat engagement ring she had hurled in her ex-fiancé’s face that the ink on his left arm spelled Sean, the name of Luke Almeida’s foster father. A renowned fireman who had been awarded every medal in the book, Sean Dempsey made the greatest sacrifice during a high-rise fire eight years ago. Logan, the oldest brother, had also died during the blaze.
A smudgy ocher bruise around Almeida’s left eye webbed out to his upper cheek. No need to inquire how he came by that. It was why she was here.
Snapping back to the reality of her mission, Kinsey held his now curious gaze. “What did you say?”
“I think you’re a little lost.” He enunciated each word as if she was some sort of dimwit who had never seen a man’s naked chest before. “Tours of the firehouse are every other Wednesday.”
“I’m not here for a tour of the firehouse.”
He streaked the towel he’d been using to dry his hair across chiseled pectoral muscles, then a meaty swatch of scar tissue covering his right shoulder.
“Okay,” he said, parting his lips to reveal straight, white teeth and a gorgeous smile. So the city dental plan was a winner. “Other types of tours can be arranged. How does tomorrow night sound?”
“Well, I just got off my shift and I have forty-eight hours free ahead of me. Usually I sleep the first twelve, but if you need me sooner, sweetheart, I suppose I can rework my schedule.”
Kinsey didn’t hold much truck with cocky. Or with men who called women they had never met “sweetheart.” Luke Almeida seemed to be under the mistaken impression that . . . Did he actually think she had crawled into this stink pit to get a date?
“You haven’t returned any of my messages. I called three times—”
Tall ’n’ Dark snorted. “Shit, Luke, they’re chasin’ you down now.”
“Who’s chasing Luke down?”
Another man had entered, wearing board shorts and a ripped CFD shirt, through which his extremely defined muscles played peekaboo. Tall and blond, with a fresh-faced Thor vibe, he looked like he’d stopped off at Engine 6 while on a break from his modeling gig for GQ. Truly, she must have missed the entrance to the hot-man laboratory on her way in.
“Luke’s takin’ a leaf from your book,” Tall ’n’ Dark said to Baby Thor. “As if we don’t already have enough of that with your castoffs showing up every other week looking to clean your hose.”
Baby Thor grinned, a little lopsided, a lot sexy. “Can I help it if I’ve broken half the hearts in Boystown?”
Boystown. Chicago’s gay neighborhood, which confirmed that Baby Thor played for the other team. The gorgeous ones always did, though in all honesty, it looked like there was gorgeous to spare. The other two members of the triple threat were still taking up all the space and sucking up all the oxygen.
Almeida stared at her, the cogs of his Neanderthal brain clearly working overtime as he tried to piece together when and where they had met, and exactly how much trouble he was in because the memory refused to take shape.
She decided to help him along.
“So you didn’t get my calls?”
He lifted a broad shoulder. “Sure I did, but I’ve been busy. Puttin’ out fires.”
More like busy leading a fistfight that had turned him and his firefighter brothers into YouTube sensations and prompted the mayor to action. Now it was Kinsey’s job as the mayor’s assistant press secretary to create solutions to a media nightmare. Almeida wasn’t even supposed to be on duty. He had been placed on presuspension administrative leave, but when he hadn’t shown up for a meeting with Media Affairs at city hall, she had called the number she had on file for him and left a message. And another. And another.
“Ignoring phone calls is incredibly rude.”
“Yeah, bro,” Baby Thor said. “You were brought up better than that.” He offered his hand. “I’m Gage. The handsome, sexy, interesting, and well-mannered one.”
Kinsey shook, enjoying the firm grip. According to his file, at twenty-four, Gage Simpson was the youngest of the Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who had all followed their late foster father into the service.
“And this is Wyatt.” Gage jerked his strong chin at Tall ’n’ Dark. “He usually only opens his mouth to criticize.”
Wyatt Fox, oldest of the brood at thirty-three, threaded burly arms over his chest and clamped his mouth shut. Kinsey supposed she should be grateful.
There was also another brother, Beck, and a sister, Alexandra, one of only 120 female firefighters in the CFD. None of the foster siblings bore the same last name or were related by blood, but their bond—the Dempsey bond—was strong enough to ensure they were all assigned to the same firehouse. It was unusual, but then so was the family.
“And you already know Luke,” Gage went on, amusement sparking his silver-gray eyes. “Though how well you know him is another story. Are we talking fluids exchanged or just phone numbers?”
Almeida eyed her with interest. This moron really thought they might have hooked up in the not-so-distant past, and that she had rushed down here at 7 a.m. on a Monday when he hadn’t made good on his sweetly worded promises to call.
At her pointed look, Luke spoke into the pause she had no intention of filling. “She knows me well enough to think she can walk into my firehouse and get results. Pretty ballsy, sweetheart.”
“Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands, and after the other night . . .” She twisted the toe of her pump, as if she was terribly, terribly unsure of herself. Time to kick this up a notch. “I thought we had something special.”
Those electric blues widened as he moved into her personal space, and while she wasn’t a small woman, she felt curiously diminutive in Firefighter Almeida’s mountainous presence. Her former fiancé, David, had barely three inches on her. He hadn’t liked when she wore heels that made her taller than him.
Neither had he liked when her five-mile runs came in twenty seconds ahead of his, or she beat him like a dusty rug at racquetball, or goddamn it, had three orgasms to his one. Though usually she had to help herself along there.
Competitiveness isn’t terribly feminine, Kinsey.
No, honey, but it sure as hell beats losing.
Luke pinned her to the spot with that ocean-sparkly gaze. “So the other night when we were—”
“We had serious moves.”
“You certainly thought so. My toes are all bruised, but you made up for it later.”
His lips twitched.
“With your scintillating conversation,” she continued. “I had no idea firemen knew so much about The Bachelor.”
“Lots of downtime in between runs.” He rubbed his chin. “And then we had that discussion about . . . what was it again?”
She sighed her annoyance at having to remind him of the amazing conversational highs they had reached together. “The Cubs’ pitching roster. You were confident Arrieta could hold his form through the late season and I had worries about—”
“The rest of the bullpen.” His indolent gaze dropped to her mouth. “Or how deep it could go.”
“Yes,” she murmured, realizing a tad late that she might have waded in too far here. “You never really put me at ease about that.”
“Rest assured, sweetheart. It goes deep. Deep as you need it.”
Holy wow. She felt her stomach dip and roll at his provocative words.
“You’re a lot prettier than Vargas, Miss . . . ?”
“Well, Miss Taylor, Commissioner Freeman is a good friend of mine, and Luis Vargas from CFD Media Affairs is handling this, so it seems we have it under control.”
Ha! So Luke Almeida knew exactly who she was—and that he had ridden shotgun with her game sent a rush of unexpected heat through her.
“Under control? Your four minutes of fame is already the subject of a Trib editorial, you made the national news on all the major networks, and the city council is calling a special meeting to discuss your situation this week. Sounds like the opposite of under control.”
She felt a chill emanating from Wyatt’s direction now that the true reason for her early morning visit was out in the open.
Luke narrowed those blue-on-blue eyes at her. “Your message said you were from the mayor’s office, Miss . . .”
“Taylor,” she gritted out. “And it was messages. Three of them.”
“Right. And while the fire department technically reports to the mayor, we have our own way of handling things. Our own commissioner. Our own Media Affairs. I’m not sure why you’ve been sent here, but it would probably be best all around if you turn on those heels and toddle back to city hall.”
Huh, he did everything but tell her she should pop her cute little tush into the kitchen and fix up some biscuits. Get the hoses ready, boys, because any minute now, she’d be expelling enough steam from her ears to burn everyone in the immediate vicinity.
“I’m afraid that won’t be possible. You see, I have a problem, Mr. Almeida.” She infused her words with the businesslike tone she could usually manage in her sleep, but which wasn’t coming quite so easily today.
“Oh, it’s mister now? And I thought after the other night we had something special.”
Not bad, Almeida, not bad. Struggling to hide the burgeoning smile that she should not be surrendering to, she also tried to ignore the fact that he had moved closer to her on the utterance of the word special. She had to tip her head back to meet his gaze directly. No way was she having this conversation with his thick, muscle-corded neck, even if it meant putting a crick in her considerably less muscled one.
“My problem is this.” She poked a finger in his chest. A not unpleasant sizzle fizzed through her fingertips. “You’re. Still. Here.”
“Here is where I work.”
Irritation had the unfortunate effect of dilating her blood vessels and making her warm all over. Not his nearness. No, not that. “This is where you used to work. As of three days ago, you were placed on administrative leave pending a hearing on your boneheaded actions. You’re not even supposed to be on CFD property until your case is resolved.”
Visibly bristling, Luke cocked his jaw like a weapon. “I happened to be on site when a call came in. I’m hardly going to sit around while my men head to an incident. It was a tough run and we needed all hands on deck.”
Reluctantly, she admitted a grudging admiration at that, but it didn’t change the facts. He had already cast a pall over the entire CFD when a grainy video of his fisticuffs got a million hits on its first day online. She needed to get through to him, and coming down to his intellectual level was her best option. Men like this only understood threats: to their livelihood, manhood, and food sources.
“I’ve done my research on you, Mr. Almeida. You have the commissioner in your pocket, the unstinting support of the union, and a rather overweening sense of entitlement owing to your family’s contribution to the CFD, but the mayor is tired of his civil servants thinking they are above the rules.”
A number of scandals had recently rocked the foundations of city hall. Bribes for permits. Backroom deals. A CPD detective discovered with more vodka than blood in his veins—and a Baggie of coke in his glove box—right after leaving the scene of an accident. Almeida’s outburst might not relate specifically to endemic corruption, but it highlighted all that was wrong with Chicago’s local government.
“The city has a zero-tolerance policy for violence by its employees,” she continued. “You have five more days of leave and then if—and that’s a big if—you get out of the hearing with your balls still intact, you have work to do scrubbing the reputation of your firehouse clean. And I’ve been asked by the mayor to take charge of the cleanup.”
Thunderous rage stormed over his brow. “You?”
“I’ve already explained my side of the story in an incident report. I assume your meticulous research covered that.”
She reached back into her memory, mentally scanning the witness accounts of the bar fight. Mostly bland reports with little variation. A code of silence encompassing CPD and CFD had kept lips sealed tighter than bark on a tree.
“One minute you’re serving drinks in your family’s bar. Next, Detective McGinnis is laid flat and several members of Engine 6 and the Third District are duking it out like it’s an episode of Real Housewives. All because he made a pass at your sister.” She tilted her head, taking his measure. “I would have thought an experienced bar owner would know how to handle boozy, grabby customers. Why do I feel like there’s more to this than the black and white of those reports?”
It was a long shot, but she knew immediately she’d hit pay dirt. His eyes darkened to navy, swallowing all that had-to-be-fake blue, and some shutoff in his brain checked what he was about to say. He flashed an unreadable glance at his brothers.
“Too much alcohol, tempers easily frayed,” he murmured. “And it was game seven of the Cup finals. I believe Detective McGinnis is a Rangers fan.” He punctuated that with a pressed-on smile. Still gorgeous, despite being a big, fat phony.
“So just a typical night of boys will be boys?”
He looked bored. “I’m not exactly clear on what you want from me, Miss—”
“Taylor,” she finished before he could drag out the annoying what’s-your-last-name-again thing.
“She wants you to shake hands with McGinnis,” Gage chimed in. “Preferably after you’ve both spearheaded a very public event that benefits the community. Maybe a block party where you grill the dogs and the detective squirts the ketchup. Would I be right, Miss Taylor?”
“No decent idea is off the table,” she said to Gage, “and please call me Kinsey.”
“We already do a lot for the community,” Wyatt murmured.
“Yes, the foster kids support program your father created. I saw that in your file.” And definitely something they could use to turn the tide of public opinion. “We have a lot of options here. A team sporting event, a chili cook-off, maybe even a calendar of all you manly men getting your manliness on.”
Gage snorted loudly, but not loud enough to drown out Almeida’s growl, a sound that signified his manliness would never be at issue. Yeah, she got it.
“I’m sure the Chicago taxpayers, especially the female ones, would love to see a scantily clad muscle factory carrying a big hose in one hand and a kitten in the other. With the proceeds going to charity, of course.” She was starting to enjoy herself now, so she winked. “Sweetheart.”
Wyatt rubbed his mouth, evidently concealing a smile. Gage grinned broadly. As for Luke? She may as well have suggested he wear a matching bra-and-panties set while he stroked that fluffy lil kitty cat.
“Oh, this should be good,” Gage said, and Kinsey no longer bothered hiding her amusement. She’d found her ally at Engine 6.
Determined to have the last word, she leveled Luke Almeida with her most hard-nosed gaze. He opened his mouth to speak, but she raised a hand of, Stow it.
“Keep that silver tongue of yours for your hearing, Mr. Almeida. Once you’re in the clear, we’ll work on making you a star for all the right reasons.”
And then she dropped the mic and skedaddled out of that locker room before he could get a volley off.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Flirting with Fire is the first full length novel in Kate Meader’s new series. I fell in love with this book from the first. Luke and Kinsey are fun to watch and the sparks they throw are incendiary. To make their relationship even more fun, Luke is one of several foster kids that became family. The family relationships are really what make this story shine. If you are a fan of strong family stories with close bonds this is a series for you. I can’t wait for the next installment.
Well written and sooo funny!! I loved this book. The chemistry between the main characters was great. The other characters in the book also made for a good read overall. I'll be buying all the books I'm this series! Great job Kate!
Well written and sooo funny!! I loved this book. The chemistry between the main characters was great. The other characters in the book also made for a good read overall. I'll be buying all the books I'm this series! Great job Kate!
After reading a string of terribly written and weakly edited romances, this series renewed my belief that romance novels csn also be crafty and fun. Meader has consistent characters and some unique personalities. I loved each story's simple plot twists and crazy desperate conflicts.
Flirting with Fire is book 1 in the Hot in Chicago series. This series revolves around a hunky firefighter facing a few PR issues so the town's mayor sends his PR person to handle it. As you can imagine the PR lady and the firefighter don't exactly see eye to eye and the sparks between them are electrifying. We start off meeting Kinsey Taylor, she works as a PR person for the Mayor. She's sent in to help after Luke Almeida, a firefighter gets into a brawl with a police officer at a bar and the video of it goes viral. The duo butts heads but Kinsey has a bit of a weak spot for Luke and his foster siblings that also work in the fire station. You quickly see Kinsey welcomed into the fold and the lines between business and personal blur. There is some serious chemistry going on between Luke and Kinsey and boy does it get hot hot hot. She's not looking for a relationship after a bad breakup and Luke is more than willing to be a fling. Things get a bit unexpected for both of them when feelings start to form and they're left to question if they want a relationship. Flirting with Fire is full of hotties (aka firemen) with a romance that is scorching hot. I can't believe I waited this long to start this series and am so thankful a friend lent it to me. I'll be buying the rest of the books asap. The writing is done so well and you wind up sucked into the story quickly. The characters are a close knit family and it just feels like you're there with them. I'm fairly certain each book will be a different foster sibling's POV and I can't wait to see their stories. If you haven't read this series yet I highly suggest it. I'd recommend this book to anyone that is fond of firemen in contemporary romance.
Wow, can I say amazing! I'm totally in love with this story. It's wonderful to see a character like Kinsey in romantic novels. She's a fire cracker! Strong, sexy, and very much opinionated. Yet, a moment of weakness lead her to Chicago where Mr. July; Luke Almeida ignites a fire that she thought was long gone. Luke is one of Chicago's elite firefighters whose arrogance and ill temper has lead him and his firehouse Engine 6 under public scrutiny. Kinsey is Chicago's best PR personal who is sent to lead the " Clean Up Luke Almeida's Image". Of course this turns out to be a big challenge for both Kinsey and Luke who are both stubborn. Luke is quickly attracted to Kinsey's spark. Both had been in previous relationships where they felt restraint both in their physical and emotional aspects of the relationship. Kinsey's a woman who is experienced and knows what she wants and is not afraid to say it. It's liberating to see a character like Kinsey who is comfortable with her sexuality. Luke is so drawn to her that he let's his defenses down and allows Kinsey to Dominate him. Yet, since they both have strong personality both want dominance over each other. Their relationship turns into a full on web of desire and passion. I give this book 4 stars. It portrays strong, powerful, sexy women like Kinsey and others like her that you meet in this amazing story. What I loved about this story was that you got to meet other characters like the Dempsey's who are so complex and have a story of their own to tell.
Reviewed by Angela and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog Flirting with Fire by Kate Meader was such a fun and hot read. This is my first Meader book and I am quite impressed. The author created funny, lovable and relatable protagonists. Luke and Kinsey are both very strong, career and family driven but not without any weakness. Both were jaded from heartbreaks and bad choices. Flirting with Fire is their second chance at life and love. Luke’s temper got the best of him and his job as fireman is on shaky grounds. His duty is to squash the bad rep he’s made for himself and per Mayor’s request, he is to work with the city’s Public Relations. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?? What’s not to love, Luke after all is the sexiest Firefighter at Engine Co. 6. Not only that, a romantic. He knows how to put his whole heart into anything he does. He’ll just need a little help with public relation’s BS. Kinsey, the Mayor’s PR/assistant is the gal to help him. Determined to do an amazing job, her goal is to quickly put some fires out and move on to the next project. Even if it means putting sexy firemen and cutesy kittens in calendars. Yes, she plays dirty. I have to say that I am impressed with how she handles her job and life troubles in general. She is one tough cookie. Luke did good in melting her heart. It took a good amount of sexy and wooing but he also got the job done. Like I said, he’s quite a romantic. I love Luke and his family. They are a family by choice and because of their past they had become a close unit. Their loyalty and love just oozed out of the book. Dempsey Family include Wyatt, Gabe, Alexandra and of course Luke. It looks like we will get all of their stories. There is a big set up for Gage and Brady story. Their m/m romance novella is set to release the end of August. Being not a fan of m/m romance, I’m surprised to say that I’m intrigued about their story. And plainly, I Like Meader’s work.
Luke is a member of the Firefightin’ Dempseys--foster kids raised by the Dempsey's who all look out for each other now that their foster parents have passed. He's the second oldest and feels the responsibility of making sure his younger sister Alex and brother Gage don't get into trouble. That makes him a bit bossy and protective. And that's what gets him in trouble himself. After Luke's brawl with a Chicago cop for touching his sister lands on YouTube and goes viral, Luke has to play nice to keep his job. In steps Kinsey, PR princess to the Mayor. The mayor can't afford to lose his biggest campaign donor and the donor has it in for the Dempseys, Luke chief among them. Kinsey has problems of her own. She's recently discovered the fiancé she moved halfway around the country to be with was cheating on her and is expecting a kid with his mistress. Newly single and determined to make her time in Chicago worth the move, she's not about to let dominant Luke call any shots. No matter how ripped he is. They butt heads from the start, but Kinsey quickly gets Luke on board with the campaign (thanks to job threats). From half naked calendars with kittens to a block party barbecue with the cops, Kinsey makes Luke swallow his pride. And he makes her wallow in lust. Their chemistry is awesome, and explodes in the best of ways. This book had me laughing all the way through (okay, almost all the way. There were some heavy spots). Both Kinsey and Luke had some great lines in and out of their heads. There's plenty of verbal fireworks, plus fireworks in bed (and not in bed *waves a hand over her face*). In addition to Luke and Kinsey, there's a sultry side plot with Luke's younger brother Gage and a taciturn chef Brady. And Ms. Meader sets up the plot of the second book between the Mayor and Alex that will prove to have loads of fireworks in it, too. I'm definitely checking that one out! So if you like your heroes bossy and fiery hot and the heroines who can tame them, check this one out!
“Flirting with Fire” by Kate Meader was the first story I have read by this author. At first the story was ok and I was lukewarm about it (no pun intended). But the more I read the more interested I became in the story and finally I could not put it down. So not only was it my first time reading Kate Meader but it was my first time reading a M/M story, although only a subplot in the story. Also it was the first time I read about such diverse characters, it was very refreshing. Also, the hero and the heroine were not the main focus for me but I did enjoy them. As I mentioned before at first I was not really loving the story. When the story starts Kinsey Taylor is at the Chicago Fire Department at Engine 6 with the specific purpose of reimaging in Luke Almeida. Kinsey is originally from California but after her fiancé leaves her. So, I really enjoyed both Luke and Taylor, BUT and this is a huge BUT. My ultra-pet-peeve when I read a romance is when the authors don’t stink to their characters personalities. It drives me crazy. I almost stopped reading this story because of it. Taylor is great. She is tough as nails, has her insecurities, just like any normal person, but the minute she is around Luke she loses herself. She goes from hot to cold so often and the same for Luke. They have this “I like you and am attracted to you and I’m going crazy but I don’t want you, until I see you again and I want you.” Ok, now that my rant is over. Once I was able to put this aside the secondary characters made this story for me. So Taylor works for the City of Chicago and it’s her job to change the “bad boy image” of the firehouse. The Mayor, Elli, has asked her to reform the image of Luke and his Engine house because they have developed a very wild image, this is thanks to the bar fights, etc. Needless to say Luke is a little resistant. His family is the Dempsey’s. The Dempsey’s took in Luke and his foster siblings. They are all different and from different ethnicities and backgrounds. The secondary characters really made me interested in the story. I really enjoyed reading about Gage, Luke’s foster brother and fellow firefighter. I thought his romance with Brady was very good. The author has a novella out in August about these two characters and I can’t wait to see how she unravels their story. Cage was a great character and I’m looking forward to seeing him get his happily-ever-after with the very complex Brady. The other secondary character that I loved was Alexandra Dempsey. Unlike Luke and Gage the Dempsey’s legally adopted her. She is fantastic. She is the only female at the firehouse and she can definitely hold her own. Her love interest is Eli Cooper. Eli was such a difficult character to like. I could not believe some of the things that he said and came out of his mouth! Alex and Elli had incredible chemistry, I’m hooked on what the author plans to do to them! Needless to say, I really enjoyed this book and if the hero and heroine had been more sturdy it would have been a five star read. I highly recommend this story, really enjoyed it and am counting down the days until August so we can see what Gage and Brady go through. Never looked forward to a novella before but I definitely am now. Plus, I’m sure Alex and Elli will be an incredible read.
I got a glimpse of this family first in the Baby, It's Cold Outside anthology with Kate's novella. I love this family that grew up in a foster home and have truly become a family. I loved Luke and Kinsey's instant spark. Luke's love of his family and unwillingness to want the image change of his fire house & Kinsey is given the tough assignment of improving the image of Luke's engine company 6. It was a great read from start to finish. We get glimpses of the rest of the family also. So ready for September so I can read Playing With Fire. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a hot firefighter and a woman determined to be done with men. Sexy and sassy...Luke and Kinsey's story was flammable. Hot, Hot, Hot!!!
: 4.25 stars--FLIRTING WITH FIRE is the first installment in Kate Meader’s adult, contemporary Hot in Chicago romance series focusing on the Dempsey family-a family of firefighting foster siblings who have seen their fare share of heartbreak and pain. This is eldest sibling and firefighter Luke Almeida, and PR representative Kinsey Taylor’s storyline. Told from several third person perspectives, the storyline focuses on saving Luke’s public persona. His most recent antics have landed him on YouTube and in hot water with the Mayor’s office. Enter Kinsey Taylor-the woman hired to change the Chicago Fire Department’s image and in doing so, tame Luke Almeida. What ensues is a building relationship between two people whose recent histories in the love department has resulted in heartbreak and betrayal. As Kinsey works her magic with both Luke and the CFD, the truth about Luke’s volatile blow up goes beyond a simple bar room brawl. Kinsey is a smart, independent woman who followed the wrong man to Chicago and now finds herself alone without family and friends. Luke, is an alpha male, who puts family first and in this finds himself in the position to defend and protect the people that he loves. As Luke begins to fall for Kinsey, our heroine will pull away when her time in Chicago comes to an end. We are introduced to all of the Dempsey foster siblings: Beck and his new wife Darcy, the quiet and secretive Wyatt, model-gorgeous Gage and the only female Alexandra. There are a number of future storylines developing and Kate Meader seamlessly blends the introductions throughout the main premise. Several secondary and colorful supporting players include the misogynistic Mayor Eli Cooper, who may or may not be interested in the lovely Alex; Chef Brady Smith whose military PTSD has left him scarred both inside and out; as well as several fellow firefighters, city hall employees, and the patrons and regulars at the family owned bar. The Dempsey family has a rocky history with the political elite of Chicago –both in the Mayor’s office and the police department-and the stories are revealing a little bit at a time. FLIRTING WITH FIRE is a brilliant and captivating introductory storyline. The Dempsey family dynamics prove that one does not need to be related by blood to feel the love and support. There are moments of intimacy between Luke and Kinsey; as well as shared family secrets, history and memories between Luck, Beck, Gage, Wyatt and Alex. FLIRTING WITH FIRE is an amazing start to a new series.
Kate Meader’s series about a family of fire fighters is not only hot it’s full of hilarious dialogue and beautiful real characters. I discovered this book when I read the prequel as part of the baby it’s cold outside compilation and I couldn’t wait for this book to be released. I love Kinsey and Luke they are both strong characters who have a very vulnerable side that keeps them relatable. I loved watching these two circle around each other and try and figure out if they were willing to risk getting hurt for the ultimate prize of love. The other thing I loved about this series is all the supporting characters who immediately become people you wish you knew in real life and could hang out with. I’m very excited to see where Kate takes this series and I hope there are more than just 5 books planned for the series.
Very well written first book in the series.
Originally posted on my blog: Tangled Up In Books I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway either my review or my rating! Heartwarming. Sexy. Fun. Heartbreaking. Hilarious. Just a few of the adjectives I would use to describe this book. You first meet the family that this series is about briefly in Baby, It's Cold Outside . And while I never did fully connect with either Beck or Darcy, that the novella follows, I did however connect with the rest of Beck's foster family and knew that I desperately wanted to read this series when it finally came out. So when someone from Pocket Books got in touch with me and said to send them my address if I was interested in a copy, you can bet your sweet booty I was right on top of that one! I couldn't get enough of this book. I tried to do the right thing and go to bed at a decent hour, well as decent as midnight is anyway, after I started Flirting With Fire but my brain would not shut off or let these characters go. I ended up pulling an all nighter and finishing in one sitting. It was totally worth being a little bit groggy today. So worth it. --'None of us needed it signed and sealed. Sean is my father. Mary is my mother.' The best thing that surprised me with this book is that it was in three POVs. Now don't freak out! No that doesn't mean there was a love triangle, because there so was not. But what you have instead is the added bonus of another family member's storyline, briefly, running alongside this one. But I'll come back to him later. It's so easy to fall in love with this family of foster siblings in the Hot in Chicago series. They have this incredible family dynamic and absolute love and devotion for one another. And each one of them is such an interesting and complex character with a touching and heartbreaking story and I can't wait until I've read each and every one of their stories. Sean and Mary Dempsey, who have passed on prior to the events of this series along with one of the other foster siblings Logan, seem like they were incredible people taking in these 6 troubled kids and creating this amazing family legacy that only keeps getting stronger. --'You should have seen him, Alex,' Gage said. 'It was all zingers and eye [censored] and enough heat to set off the smoke alarms. Our Luke's ready to get his wang back in the game. So proud.' The main focus of this book is on Kinsey and Luke. Oh sweet baby Jesus, Kinsey and Luke! I love reading relationships that start out where there's either some kind of rivalry or situation to have the couple the book focuses on at opposing sides of a situation. There's something incredibly sexy about the heat that builds up between two people as they fight not only each other but the growing attraction and desires they start to feel for one another. Kate Meader does not disappoint one bit in this area. Because the sexual tension that builds up between these two can only be described as scorching. Both of their last relationships ended very, very badly and have left both of these two just a wee bit untrusting when it comes to relationships. But you just know, without a doubt, that these two compliment each other so well and are absolutely perfect for each other. --Sometimes his head was more demon than human, and heaven help whoever got in his way. Luke is full of confidence and a bit of cockiness and like all the rest of his family he's had a rough upbringing so he's got quite a bit of anger and darkness buried inside of him. He's also so many other things though. He's loyal and protective, a family man, passionate and very alpha male but with sweet and sensitive streaks blended in. He's the guy that everybody depends on. Yet he still has flaws like the tendency to punch first and ask questions later. Regardless of all of that most importantly he's like the glue that holds everyone together, he's the one who doesn't rest until he knows everyone in his family is okay and safe. He's pretty freaking great. --She was a fool¿and she had no one but herself to blame. Kinsey was just freaking adorable. She's a strong and confident woman in a very male dominated world. Even growing up with a marine father and three older brothers. It's made her very competitive and ambitious. She likes to win and be in control.The only time she wasn't all of these things and was even the slightest bit unsure of herself was when it came to men and relationships. Her ex-fiancé really did a number on her confidence there. But she was such a fun character. Even meeting her family was great and even though it was brief moments I absolutely loved them, especially her dad. She has this very unique and awesome family dynamic of her own. --And then there was the gorgeous streak of heat behind the bar in the form of Gage. So back to that bonus storyline. The other POV in this book is the younger of the foster brothers, Gage. You know how there's that saying about men that how the good ones are always either taken or gay? Yeah, leave it to me to be totally freaking in love with the gay brother. But I adore, no adore isn't even a good enough word for how I feel about Gage. He's the life of the party and always so full of energy and life and funny as all hell. His story isn't complete with the end of this one, at least I hope it isn't because there wasn't a lot of closure, so I'm hoping it continues on in both their sister Alex and the oldest of the clan Wyatt's stories. I love how he's this self admitted ho and yet the one guy who turns his life upside down, Brady, is still very mysterious at this point and so full of issues that it pretty much breaks my heart when he's around. I didn't know whose story I wanted more of as I was reading, Luke and Kinsey or Gage and Brady. They both had my heart and mind completely wrapped up in them. --'And there's no one left behind, just us looking out for each other.' It's probably pretty obvious at this point and doesn't need to be said, but I'm gonna say it anyway...I freaking loved this book. It was all the right amounts of everything. It was touching and heartwarming, a little bit sad and heartbreaking at times, and full of passion and heat. The characters are what puts this book above the rest, they have depth and really pull you in to their stories and lives and make you crave to know everything that makes them tick. I cannot wait until Alex's story comes out next. This book lays the groundwork for her and her guy and I am so excited! Can it be September already? Sigh... Thank you so much Pocket Books for the opportunity to read and review this book!!
"It didn't get much more patriotic than sex in a Chevy on the Fourth of July. God bless America." "Kinsey? Can't move, she finally gasped out. Orgasm paralysis" OMG! Boy does Meader have a way with words. I'd give this book 6 stars it was so freaking awesome. I laughed out loud so often at Kinsey and Luke, I know my husband was seriously wondering if I was going around the bend. These two were some of the best NA characters I've had the opportunity to meet in awhile. Not only are they three dimensional, but Meader took the time and pages to do this with several of the secondary characters, which made this nearly 400 pages of sizzling hot guys. I mean they were scorching! This was the first Meader book I've read but it certainly won't be the last. While the sex is hot, the story-line focuses on the family. Because they were foster kids, they are really serious when it comes to taking care of each other and having each other's back back. I can't wait to read the books on the rest of the boys and the only girl, feisty Alex, gets the next one. I really hope we don't have to wait too long for Gage's story. OMG! my mouth is watering just thinking about him and Brady (I so hope that romance gets its own book).
I'm not sure where to start with this one. FLIRTING WITH FIRE is book one in the Hot in Chicago series and starts off with some HEAT. We have several stories going on within this one, first and foremost we have Kinsey and Luke's story. But in the background you have Gabe and Brady's story (yes that's a m/m relationship that does get a hot but is handled well IMHO, more on that later.), you also have other smaller stories going on that leave you wanting to read more and knowing that these characters, Luke's sister and his brothers will get their own stories. At least we can hope so! I have to say I went into this one expecting a great read, mostly because hello it's about a hot fireman, so yeah you expect some heat. But I came away with a deeply emotional story, a fun sexy read, a story that I stayed up all night to read. The characters are fun, feisty, well written and keep you attached to the story. The setting of Chicago is fun, while I've visited Chicago I can't say how true the setting is. I can say it left me wanting to visit Chicago again (summer only). FLIRTING WITH FIRE does contain what appears to be an ongoing storyline about two men, Gabe (Luke's foster brother) and Brady. There are moments when Gabe is very open about his desire, while I won't tell you if there's even a hint of a HEA for these two I will say that it's not a tame storyline. For me while I don't read m/m romances I found Gabe too great a character to want to skip those parts of the story. For the main romance we have Kinsey and Luke. Both strong "alpha" type characters. Kinsey has been hurt and is unwilling to make decisions based on a man again. Luke likewise has been hurt by a strong woman and is thinking he needs a meek mild woman. Both learn they are wrong. Love doesn't fit any kind of set plans, it just happens, usually when we least expect it. I loved watching these two fall in love, fight, struggle with their own fears and doubts and wonder if they'd really get a HEA. Fans of hot firemen will love this one.I can't wait for book 2, PLAYING WITH FIRE. FLIRTING WITH FIRE was a great fun quick read. I loved it from beginning to end, honestly I hated to turn to the last page. I'd recommend this one to fans of contemporary romance who like heat and love. *This book was received for the purpose of an honest review*
Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews by Kim In reading Flirting with Fire by Kate Meader, I committed a reader 101 mistake. I went in thinking it was going to be like her other series. I was looking for humor immediately. Flirting with Fire has its humorous moments, but it’s filled with characters that have real issues, pain, and scars. Flirting with Fire is the first full length novel in the Hot in Chicago series. If you read Rekindle the Flame from the Baby, It’s Cold Outside anthology, then you're in for a treat with the return of Beck and Darcy. But Flirting with Fire is a standalone read and all about Luke Almeida and Kinsey Taylor. Like all the Dempsey kids, Luke was taken in by Sean and Mary Dempsey at a young age. Also, like his foster siblings, Luke is a firefighter at Chicago’s Engine Co. 6. Saving lives and family are important to him. Luke is so into protecting his family and not thinking about himself, that he doesn’t think twice when someone gets handsy with his little sister and he punches the guy. Too bad the punch was recorded and then went viral. Now, the mayor of Chicago is looking to clean things up. He sends Kinsey to the firehouse to make Luke and the company look good. Kinsey knows the PR game like it’s the back of her hand. She has some serious plans to make Luke and Chicago’s finest, smoking hot men look good. Double whammy for Luke, because he doesn’t feel like playing nice and he has to in order to keep his job. Kinsey is one of those heroines you have to love. She’s a sassy, competitive, self-assured, take no prisoners kind of girl. My one complaint about her is that she let her broken heart (yes, it was BADLY broken) control her life for a little too long. But when she goes up against Luke, her competitive nature is accepted and their banter is combustible. Kinsey and Luke are simply perfect for each other. They understand each other like no one else in their lives has ever done. I love the secondary storyline of Gage, Luke’s youngest brother. I just wish that he could get his HEA with his favorite Chicago chef, Brady. I’m seriously pulling for these two. What I disliked about the book is actually one of the things that allowed the book to take place...city politics. With the Dempsey foster siblings, it’s all for one and one for all. They like to push the boundaries and sometimes step over the line. This attitude of theirs is sure to continue throughout the rest of the series. Thus, city politics, Mayor Eli Cooper, and his biggest backer and Dempsey hater, Sam Cochrane are sure to continue playing roles in the upcoming books. And speaking of Mayor Eli Cooper, you get a glimpse of something between him and the only Dempsey girl, Alex. Their story is up next and I’m sure Playing with Fire is definitely going to live up to its name. Can’t wait to read it. **Received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.**
4.5 out of 5 stars This was an excellent read! A full, detailed, rich story with well rounded characters that had real depth and vulnerability. Together Luke and Kenzie had fantastic chemistry and where both challenging which made for great animosity and playfulness. There were a major amount of sparks flying between these two which made for some hot-hot-hot times! Loved it! Kenzie and Luke had a great build to their relationship. It was a bit complicated but fun and sexy. Kenzie was this super strong woman and she's really feisty. I love the journey she went on. I thought she was an extremely well written character. And Luke, oh man, hello hot, sexy, sweet (and stubborn!) fireman. Together they were awesome. This story had great development and good pacing. Loved their verbal sparing. There was also bit of angst and drama and a whole lot of passion. There are several POV's at play and it made it extremely entertaining. Not only was there Kenzie and Luke but there was a side story with Gage that was really great. I loved meeting all of Luke’s foster siblings and learning all their details. I like the family dynamic they’ve created and look foreword to everyone's stories. I really liked Alex but I am super curious about Wyatt. The strong, silent types always get me. This was such a fantastic introduction to the series. I want more of the siblings, I want to know their stories. Give me more! It just made my heart happy!!! Complimentary copy received for honest review.
This sexy contemporary romance, first in a new series (though a prequel novella Rekindle the Flame was released in the Baby It's Cold Outside anthology), is the story of Luke and Kinsey. Kinsey is a public relations specialist who works for the mayor's office and she has her hands full rehabilitating Luke's firefighter image after an unseemly brawl with a police officer leads to an ultimatum - shape up or ship out, splitting up the Dempsey foster family if public opinion doesn't turn in their favour. Luke's willing to suck it up and do what Kinsey tells him to do to protect his family from any future fallout - and if a little flirtation on the side ends up with some extras for good behaviour it's a bonus in his eyes. But when things heat up between them and Kinsey has to choose between loyalty to her job or her new man on the side, will she choose the sure thing or bet on love? I loved this story! It's got all the elements that I enjoy in a romance - strong characters, interesting plot, sexy situations and a good mix of humour and tension to round out the story. Kinsey is a feisty and strong woman who was blindsided by an ex that she followed out to Chicago when he unceremoniously dumped her for another woman. She's happy with her current public relations job but she knows it's not permanent and she's already looking to the future. Luke is a loyal, trustworthy, dependable man. Though his temper got the best of him in the current situation that's landed him in the doghouse, he's normally pretty levelheaded and is used to being the man in charge - whether it's his family of foster siblings or as a fireman. He's knows he's got the skills and leadership qualities to become a firehouse lieutenant, but he's reluctant to pursue the promotion if it means splitting up his family. Kinsey challenges him - on a professional and a personal level. The sexual attraction between them sizzles and it doesn't take long for things to heat up. The sex scenes between them are steamy and well written. I enjoyed watching their relationship deepen as they started to trust each other. Alongside Kinsey and Luke's relationship though, we get a clear sense of the foster siblings and their importance to each other. They share a unique and strong bond and always have each other's backs. I loved the comaraderie between them and there were lots of humourous moments to lighten up the story. Though all of the siblings share a little screen time, it's Gage, the youngest male sibling that gets the best end of the deal. Part of the story is told from his point of view and gives us a glimpse into his complicated love life. He's gay and interested in a chef who barely gives him the time of day. This is a shock to Gabe who's the playboy of the group and just makes him work all that much harder in pursuit. Fans of m/m romance will find this just a tease and will be clamouring to see more of Gabe in future stories. For those who don't read m/m, it's a taste of what they're missing, but is in short enough stints that it doesn't take away from the main romantic storyline. It's an added bonus in my opinion. There are also some hints of other stories to come in the series, including the antagonistic relationship between Eli the Mayor who Kinsey works for and Alexandra, the only girl of the Dempsey foster siblings. I'm looking forward to that story! Overall, I found this to be a thoroughly entertaining read - lots of light hearted humour, some tension, great sexy times, and an interesting behind the scenes look at the running of a fire station and the politics involved. It's a great first entry into the series and definitely worth the read. 5 stars!