Publication date: 7th January 2014
I finished Hope Flames by Jaci Burton a little puzzled, it's the first time I've read a Jaci Burton book and not loved it immediately but a few things about the book just didn't really work for me.
I liked the characters, I really did, veterinarian Emma Burnett was perfectly lovely and hero Luke McCormack is the local cop who works with his police dog Boomer in the small town of Hope. Both characters have been burned by previous relationships and aren't looking for any kind of committed relationship. Emma wants to concentrate on building her new vet practise and Luke with a failed marriage behind him prefers to only spend one night with women waving them out the door the next morning. Although neither of them are really on the market there is an immediate attraction there and they agree to a no strings attached fling which develops into something more until Emma's past catches up with her.
On paper Luke ticks all the boxes for me, he's good looking, wears a uniform and as a cop he had that protective vibe and hey, he even loves his dog! but as a hero I never really warmed to him the way I have done with Jaci Burton's alpha male sports heroes. He seemed more distant to me, still holding onto his past and mentally determined not to fall in love with another woman despite what was clearly in front of him. I got a bit frustrated with him and kind of wanted to give him a bit of a shove at times. I think I understood Emma's reluctance to commit much easier, she had much more reason to be reluctant to open herself up to the possibility of a new relationship but Luke's reasons that he felt humiliated and dejected after his wife left him and decided to show the town he didn't give a shit by never falling in love again seemed bonkers and a bit juvenile to me. I think my frustrations with Luke resulted in me never quite feeling the zing between them as a couple. There's one other tiny thing that frustrated me, and I almost hate myself for saying it as a dog lover but the constant dog references got on my nerves towards the end. Silly I know, but I found myself rolling my eyes on more than one dog related occasion.
All in all, I liked the small town setting and will still read the next instalment Hope Ignites because Luke's brother Logan sounds very intriguing but I just wasn't a big fan of Hope Flames and would give it an okayish 3 out of 5.
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