by Kate Meader
Series: Hot in Chicago #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken…
Playing with Fire by Kate Meader is the second book in the Hot in Chicago series that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings in Chicago. Playing with Fire belongs to the feisty, outspoken female firefighter Alexandra Dempsey. Meader shares a haters to lovers romance with sizzle. I loved spending time with Eli and Alexandra.
While each of the books in this series feature one couple and can be read as a standalone, I totally recommend reading them in order, as you will miss the beginning buds of this fiery hot, banter-filled relationship.
Coffee Dates with Playing with Fire
- First date: Alex and Eli Cooper the town Mayor clashed in book one with wicked banter and one-line zingers. I was anxious to see their relationship unfold. To be honest I was also a little nervous as I was not a complete fan of Eli. However, the novella Melting Point showed another side of Eli that made my heart soften. Our first date has Alex saving the mayor’s life and oh, how the sparks fly. Zing. Crackle, Bam! I slipped right into this date and loved how realistic Meader made Alex. She is outspoken, passionate and acts like a tomboy but underneath that exterior lies a passionate woman looking for a man her equal.
- Second date: Alex’s hair is uncontrollable, she has a body like Marilyn Monroe and I want to be her bestie. I loved her attitude and she needs it working at the firehouse and dealing with the boys. She and Eli enter an arrangement to help his campaign. I love the arrangement trope, as it never really goes like they expected. The rest of the Dempsey clan is outraged when they see Alex and Eli stepping out on the town and I loved all the tension. Meader begins to peel back Eli’s layers and exposes his dominate side. She did a wonderful job of providing the back story to the man he is today. As things begin to heat up between them neither is willing to admit this is anything but physical attraction. There is a subtle dominate/submissive theme in Playing with Fire and I loved the realistic, heated approach Meader took. Fans of Jennifer Dawson will enjoy Meader’s style.
- Third date: Secrets, political maneuvers and character growth provided a few bumps on our last date. Eli opens his mouth and inserts his foot a lot but we witness tremendous growth from him. I found myself rooting for Eli and Alex. At this point I could not set the story down. Meader weaves in the other Dempsey siblings, some town politics and plenty of humor to keep the reader engaged. Plenty of swoons and heartwarming deets curled my toes and made this late date positively delightful.
Playing with Fire was a fully developed, swoon worthy read with characters that further endeared me to the Dempsey siblings and the Hot in Chicago series. Meader is an author to add to your wish list if you like a small-town feel with heat, fleshed out characters and plenty of snark.
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