How to Tame a Wild Fireman by Jennifer Bernard

How to Tame a Wild Fireman by Jennifer Bernard
A Bachelor Firemen Novel
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins Publishers)
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (291 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Firefighter Patrick “Psycho” Callahan earns his nickname every day. Fast, fit, and a furious worker, he thrives on the danger which helps him forget a near-tragedy that changed his life forever. But when his off-duty carousing gets out of hand, Patrick is sent back to Loveless, Nevada, where the wildfire threatening his hometown has nothing on sizzling Dr. Lara Nelson.

Lara would rather be thought of as the physician who returned to Loveless than as the misfit brought up at a hippie New Age commune. But right now she’s focused on her job at hand, patching up injured firemen…until the past hits her in the hard-muscled, blue-eyed form of Patrick Callahan. Now, the embers of their decade-old attraction have ignited into a full-on inferno, as the bad-boy firefighter and the good doctor take a walk on the wild side they’ll never forget.

It may sound trite that a first chapter could grab a reader’s attention so completely that they could not put a book down but that is exactly what happened to me. The author chose to set up a bit of history that showcased the relationship dynamic between the hero, the heroine and the hero’s brother. It showed the hero’s brashness, the burgeoning and unwelcome attraction the heroine was just starting to feel and the how the hero’s brother was the glue that kept the trio together, until circumstances tore them apart. It was a powerful beginning chapter because at the end I simply had to know how they turned out, how they survived and how it formed the people they would become. Is that a great hook or what?

This book series is about sexy bachelor firefighters. Since I’ve read quite a few of these, I can safely say that this is a wonderful standalone read. In fact, Patrick, the hero, has to face his demons and the only way to do that with any effectiveness is to leave the safety of the fire house and fight fires in an environment and place he’d never thought he would – his home town. There is hardly anything being carried over from the previous books in the series except Patrick’s bad-boy attitude and his determination to be the top at whatever he does. Okay, there are a few spotlights on the other guys in the beginning but it’s in passing, like buddies slapping each other on the back as they head off to do whatever they are heading off to do. In a way, that gives a reader that sense of what kind of firefighting family Patrick belongs to, how important it is to him and why going away was a good thing/bad thing for him. And the journey he’s about to embark upon will have him battling the fires of the forest as well as the fires of passion that have been simmering since the day he left home, he just didn’t know it.

The person who will fan those glowing embers is Lara, the heroine. She’s the woman from his past that he never truly forgot. She’s moved on with her life and she’s made something of herself which is quite the accomplishment. Wait until readers get a load of her unusual upbringing. She thinks it’s horrid but in the long run, I think it served a purpose. It made her aware of certain aspects of herself and kept her wary so she didn’t fall prey to unscrupulous men. That was a double edged sword because like a pendulum, she swung the other way and avoided men as much as she could. She was a career woman 100%. That is until fate decided to reintroduce her to her first infatuation, Patrick, in a way and manner that she could not ignore. It was adorable, dramatic, special and pivotal.

Emotions are strong in this book. The author was able to effectively convey whatever Lara and Patrick were feeling and it drew me in too. There was a lot of laughter, consternation, fun, drama, stress, sadness, joy and determination. The determination comes from the angle of Patrick’s family. If a reader enjoys the conflict of a man overcoming the challenges of a dysfunctional family then this bit of drama delivers. Once I was made to understand the family dynamic, it explained so much of why the hero was the way he was. But you know what? He’s a better man than the man he calls Big Dog. I really admired Patrick and felt he was a wonderful, robust hero. The author’s use of descriptive language sure made him sound yummy. The best part, he’s delicious inside and out. Another personality trait that I admired was his capacity to love. That was showcased by how he treated, related and cared for his brother. It was endearing and caused no end of emotional angst, and ultimately, one of the greatest surprises.

Did I mention that this story has humor? It’s in the dialogue. There were so many moments when I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I enjoyed the repartee between Patrick and Lara and I believe it provided insight into their budding romance. They were good together and it was a pleasure to watch their relationship take off. Speaking of “taking off” – there are some incredibly sexy antics between the two that were wonderfully entertaining and fun. The author wrote those scenes extremely well and are a credit to the story.

Secondary characters are important too. They provide a wonderful flavor to the environment and were great sounding boards for the hero and heroine. At times they even provided comic relief. The only person that surprised me was Patrick’s mom. There’s also one aspect of the book that I felt could have been handled better and that was when I finally got to meet the hero’s brother, Liam. I’m not too sure what could have made it better but it didn’t resonate with me as I’d hoped. The only thing I can think of to say was that it was anticlimactic. It didn’t seem so powerful a moment as I was led to believe it might be. It had its cute moments but I just expected a bigger impact.

How to Tame a Wild Fireman is a classic character driven romance that entertains and enchants on so many levels. I was greatly affected by the conflict because I felt it was tragic. One man’s arrogance and belligerence poisoned a whole family, and for what? It was terrific to see Patrick and Lara rise above it all and to not only fall in love, but to heal, grow and finally have a future that promises to be as exciting and beautiful as a romance reader could wish. This is a book well worth spending time with. As for the ending, it has a happy ever after that’s almost as hot as any fire. Read it and see.

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