Charlie “Wood Chuck” Fox knows his best friend and fellow wildfire firefighter Jessie Row had a major family break up in her past. Charlie has adopted her into his heart and into his huge family and when Jessie gets word her mother has passed away, Charlie fears returning home is going to tear her up.
Bastian Hart’s choice of career as a doll painter has put him at odds with his family. He’s made a sanctuary for himself on the San Juan Island of Friday Harbor, an hour away from his family. He welcomes his aunt Jessie and her friend Charlie into his house as they all prepare for the upcoming funeral. Charlie and Bastian discover a spark of smoldering fire igniting between them, but Charlie is unwilling to push and Bastian hesitant to trust.
They will have to wade through pain, hate, and fear to find their future together.
Release Date: December 2nd
*I got an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
I should preface this by saying that I don’t really like the insta-love stories. At all.
One of my favourite things about romance is the falling in love, the getting to know, that spark of attraction and the awkwardness and uncertainty, and the wait until finally the protags kiss. Painting With Fire features an insta-love story so the book and I weren’t the perfect fit to begin with. And while it is overall a nice story I just can’t with stories going from strangers to in love in 5 minutes. Exception is when I’m in the mood for a shifter story (which is very rare) and they form that magical bond. But other than that I don’t look for books with insta-love.
Bastian is supposed to be afraid of people and avoids them when he can. So for him to be instantly comfortable with someone who is a stranger to him felt too sudden for me.
I should warn you that the book mentions abuse of children. Mostly in the first chapter but it’s also mentioned a couple of times later in the book. It’s never on page but I think it might be triggery to some.
The only critique I have for this is (and this is pretty much because -as mentioned above- I don’t like insta-love) that it moves really fast.
I really had problems to keep track of how much time had passed and went back a couple of times to check, because it felt like it had been more, but really had only been a couple of days.
I can overlook a bit of unrealisticness but while doing something Charlie get’s injured. He suffers a couple of bruised ribs but just two days later he’s okay again and carrying stuff. This just doesn’t seem likely to happen in real life.
What I enjoyed was all the descriptions of the doll making. I found that quite fascinating and it sounds like it’s something the author either has a lot of knowledge because she does it herself or she just did a lot of research. Anyway, it was nice seeing a MC having a different occupation than usual.