Too Hot! by Avery Giles

Nice to meet you, everyone. I’m Avery Giles, and I’m here to promote my smoldering debut novel, Too Hot! Follow my blog tour to for a glimpse into my writing process AND a chance to win a $10 Riptide gift card.

About Too Hot

Sparks aren’t just flying . . . they’re catching.

Eli Johnson is not a hero. He’s just a guy who’s doing his best. His mother was a hero, though, and when she died, he dropped out of college to become a firefighter—a vocation she would have been proud of. He might not be able to save everyone, but he can do what she taught him: put more good out than bad.

Charlie Kinnear is definitely not a hero. When he ran into a burning building to save a trapped child, he was acting on instinct. He’s not expecting a medal, or for a handsome firefighter with a stunning smile to give him his oxygen mask. Charlie’s light-headed, and not from smoke inhalation.

Right as their romance begins, a serial arsonist terrorizes the city. As if that weren’t bad enough, Charlie appears at the scene of every fire. Eli hates to think it, but if someone wanted to get a firefighter’s attention—say, a certain sexy someone who coincidentally wandered into Eli’s life—what better way than by starting fires? Sparks are flying all right, and things may get too hot for Eli and Charlie to handle.

 

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EXCERPT


When he was confident the fire was out, he peered into the lopsided can. Or rather, what remained of it. There was a blackened mess at the bottom mixed with ash and crumbled brown bits. Paper towels, maybe? Had someone purposefully lit the trash can on fire, or was this an accident?Eli was reluctant to jump to conclusions, considering how many accidental fires he’d seen people set. Most folks would be surprised to learn how easy it was to start a fire, considering how difficult it looked in camping movies. Sometimes all it took was one inconsiderate employee deciding to sneak a cigarette in the bathroom. If someone had thrown a butt into a trash can full of paper towels, it could smolder for hours before finally blazing up.But what if this wasn’t an accident? This could be the work of the serial arsonist. Eli’s pulse raced as possibilities popped into his head. He always picks public places, and a well-known lunch spot is a perfect fit. If so, it’s his bad luck that a firefighter happened to be here while he was making his move.

Something about that bothered Eli. What were the chances? And there was a much bigger coincidence going on: Charlie had been at the scene of both fires.

Louisville wasn’t a small city. With a population topping half a million, the probability of any one random citizen being present at both fires was astronomical. Plus, Charlie had been in the bathroom minutes before the smoke had appeared. Could he have set the fire?

Eli huffed a breath. That was ridiculous. Charlie had been right in front of Eli when the smoke had appeared. There hadn’t been enough time for him to set a fire, come back, sit down, and talk for several minutes before the smoke appeared.

Unless he’d used a slow accelerant, or a cigarette, or . . .

“There’s no way.” Eli bodily cleared his thoughts with a shake. He spoke out loud as if giving a pep talk. “No fucking way. I can’t—I can’t even think it. It’s a coincidence. It has to be. I’m not dating the serial arsonist.”

His voice sounded hollow as it bounced off the bland tile walls. Recalling Charlie’s threat to come looking for him if he was gone for too long, Eli set the fire extinguisher down and exited the bathroom. Two seconds after he got back into the main store, the sprinklers went off. Water gushed down on him from the ceiling. Eli stood still for a moment, cursing vehemently in his head, before he held his arms out in resignation.

Yep, this might as well happen.

Not even attempting to shield himself, he trudged toward the front of the store. He was soaked through by the time he reached the glass doors.

Outside, he was greeted by a much larger crowd than he’d anticipated; some busybodies had probably spotted the smoke while driving past and had stopped to investigate. Charlie was right up front, his face twisted with so much concern, guilt stabbed Eli in the sternum.

It can’t be him.

Charlie rushed forward. “Is everything all right?”

“Yeah, the fire is out. It was a small one. Nothing I couldn’t handle.”

The crowd applauded, and Eli’s face heated.

He pulled his wet shirt from his chest and released it. It sucked back onto his skin with a squelching sound. “Though the sprinkler system still thinks danger is imminent.”

Charlie gave him a quick once-over—as if checking for injuries—only to stop and do it again, slower this time. Eli must look like a drowned rat. He started to apologize, but then Charlie hesitantly raised a hand. Eyes still glued to Eli’s chest, he took a single finger and dragged it down Eli’s torso. The touch was featherlight, and yet through his shirt, Eli felt the heat behind it, literally and figuratively.

He glanced down at himself and realized what Charlie had been staring at. His shirt was plastered to him like a second skin. It might as well have been blue paint. Every muscle in his abdomen—the ones he worked on whenever he had downtime at the fire station, which was often—was outlined in sharp relief.

Eli wasn’t vain about his body. He kept fit so in a crisis, he’d be strong enough, fast enough, to maybe make a difference. But he had to admit, he looked good. And having Charlie appreciate it felt damn good.

Charlie took a step closer and looked up at him, bottom lip caught between his teeth. Eli met his gaze, and when he did, a shiver zinged down his spine. Charlie’s eyes were glazed and dark with arousal, smoldering like the fire Eli had just put out. Only this fire, he very much wanted to keep alive.

Kiss him, he thought as he edged closer on autopilot. Forget the crowd. Sweep him up into your arms and kiss him like you’ve wanted to since the moment you got here.

Charlie seemed to be thinking the same thing, because his eyes trailed down to Eli’s mouth and lingered there. Eli swore he could hear his quickened breathing, though that was impossible over the smoke alarm and raised voices.

He was seconds away from sinking a hand into Charlie’s thick hair and pulling their mouths together when another voice in the back of his head chimed in.

How can you kiss him and doubt him at the same time? Moments ago, you wondered if he might be the arsonist. Can you be with him without knowing for sure?

Shit.

 

 


Too Hot! by Avery Giles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eli talks to his cats, just thankful they don’t talk back. A firefighter, his days swing between boredom and heart pounding intensity. When he meets a man at a fire, the inappropriate interest he feels is overwhelming. He there to save lives not flirt with a bystander.

Charlie rushes into a burning building without a second thought. While rescuing a child he meets Eli. He feels the same attraction as the other man. Again totally inappropriate in the circumstances.

They meet again and there is another fire. Eli sort of suspects the arsonist might be Charlie. Even though he doesn’t like Charlie’s secrets he still wants him, getting closer. But when Eli can’t deal with the secrets and Charlie can’t deal with the mistrust, the relationship is in jeopardy.

I went back and forth on this one. I liked the characters but not the fact that neither was willing to fully trust the other. The issues between them were huge but they seemed to get over them very quickly. This was a sweet romance with way to much angst.

I received an arc of this book from Netgalley.

View all my reviews

 

About Avery Giles

Avery Giles is a brown-eyed, fair-haired, moss-covered swamp witch who subsists on energy drinks and the hearts of her enemies. Her day-to-day routine involves waking up, writing three sentences, staring at those three sentences until her brain tells her why they’re wrong, watching eighteen hours of Netflix, and luring bandits away from the safety of the well-lit path. If asked about her favorite books, she’ll mention the Percy Jackson series, Good Omens, and the blackened scroll on which she detailed an encounter with a crooked librarian that led to two marriages and a beheading. She enjoys eating Italian, French, and German lovers after mating with them.

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of TOO HOT! one lucky person will win a $10 Riptide Publishing gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 13, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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