Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle #Review

Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle #ReviewFan the Flames by Katie Ruggle

Series: #2 Search & Rescue
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on June 7, 2016
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars      three-flames

Talk about walking the line down the middle!  Ian ‘Beauty’ Walsh is fire fighter for his day job and an MC brother in the shadows.  And an absolutely scorching hot day dream of nearly every woman in town.  The title says it, folks.  This book fans the flames of actual fires, fires of passion, fires of revenge, and fires of friendship.

The first book’s introduction to the series arc, setting, backdrop, and the main body of characters shouldn’t be skipped even though a new couple has the lime light in this one.

Rory Sorenson runs the local gun shop dealing legally out the front and some illegal merchandise out the back.  As a gun dealer, naturally the law glances her way occasionally, but at the same time she has to tip toe cautiously around the local criminal element.  Rory is no pushover, though.  Growing up with two paranoid, off the grid conspiracy theorists who taught her that the world is a dangerous place and how to live through anything, Rory can and has taken care of herself.  While other kids went to school, had birthdays, shopped at malls, and ate Mac N Cheese out the box, she was being drilled and armed for the zombie-apocalypse.  As an adult, she now flounders in social situations that don’t involve talking guns or off-grid survival.

Ian Walsh knows he walks a fine line with his divided loyalties, but he has always been able to make it work.  He’s a dependable, tough, and hard-working firefighter and loves what he does, but there is another side.  He grew up in and around the club becoming a brother just like his step-dad who has now lost all interest in life when Ian’s mom died.  Since he was a young teen, he has had an interest in Rory.  He sees past her quirky, innocent and yet sad big eyes full of knowledge and wants this unspoiled and quiet beauty with a quiet inner strength.

Now, that Rory is in the cross hairs of his MC club and someone is prowling around her property at night, he takes the initiative to move one step from long-time friend to something more by being her big unwanted protector.  Caution is required because Rory is skittish.  Ian works to bring her out of her shell, not just accepting of him, but of joining in with the community where she can make friends and be a part of something.  He knows she has what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter so coaxes her into training and bonus, he can watch over her.  Rory can shoot better than any man including him, but Ian knows that Billy and the other members are gunning for her after she takes down one of their own.

Meanwhile, the whole town is on edge with Lou’s stalker having been taken care of, the ongoing murder investigation of Headless Dead Guy with Ian marked as the prime suspect, and also the continued suspicious fires being set.  Meth lab.  An MC club boiling over.  And Ian and Rory right in the middle of it all.

Like the book before it, this one was a fantastic glimpse into the world of a small mountain town from the facet of its search & rescue teams.  In this book, the firefighters got the spotlight though the police and ice rescue are there in the background.  I loved that the author didn’t chintz on exciting fire rescue scenes that blended with the building relationship plot or daily life friends or home scenes.

It was also interesting to make Rory have such a unique background that left her socially innocent, but yet a very capable vibrant woman.  Rory has to make a conscious choice to step out of her bunker-life and into the big wide world.  I liked how she didn’t alter in her basic ways.  It was more like she figured out how to gather the best of both her worlds to her and this included Ian and the people of Search & Rescue.  Ian, too, came from a different background with a similar choice.  Only, he had to figure out if he could continue embracing both worlds or if he had to let one go.

Ian and Rory’s romance was extremely slow-burn.  Rory has never been kissed, casually touched, been out to eat let alone a date, had a girlfriend to share secrets and boy talk, or anything that would prepare her for a relationship with a man.  Ian is this big, capable, intimidating looking man both in size and looks, but he is all in when it comes to gently and patiently, but firmly coaxing out Rory.  And his intense focus leaves her feeling like prey who is safe in the wolf’s hands.  When she needed to step back and access, he let her.  He thought she was adorable and never once was ashamed because she struggled so much to be ‘normal’.  But the passion even on simmer until near the end was palpable.

Callum and Lou who were the first book’s pair are strong secondary characters and I loved getting the extra time with them along with a few other familiar faces (Phil, Phil, that man cracks me up).  And the band of firefighters Ian works with?  Too fun!  Those guys are a bust up especially when they flirt with Rory to yank Ian’s chain a bit.

The MC angle was mostly left as the catalyst that drove the action of the plot, but also forced Ian to make a choice as the downward progression happened as the President and certain other members of the MC lash out and things get unstable forcing loyal brothers to question where things are going.

As to the ongoing murder, there wasn’t much advancement though it places a strong role in the story as the law has tapped Ian since his pendant was found in evidence near the body.  But, Katie Ruggle!  That last teaser at the end.  Now I really need the next installment.

All in all, the follow-up books was a bang-up success as I just knew it would be after encountering Ian in book one.  Those who love action-filed slow burn contemporary romance or light romantic suspense need to jump on these books.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #195 RS
Bad Boys #25

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I just received the last book in the series and now I’m wondering if I need to go back and read the first three…

    • Yes, really need to. They are all part of the same suspense mystery arc and the characters all carry over even if the romance couple is new for each one. Worth it, too. 😉

  • Debbie Haupt

    Great review but wow big book, Thanks Sophia Rose

    • It reads fast, Debbie. Exciting and passionate stuff.

  • Sounds like an interesting book. Great review, made me want to read it.

    • Ha! Then I did my job as a book temptress. 😉

  • I’m glad you really liked this. I’m not really into motorcycle club books, so I don’t think this one is for me.

    • Actually, you still might like it even if there is an MC in this one b/c they are not the focus. The MC takes a back seat behind the romance and the murder mystery and search and rescue. It’s there as more an internal conflict for Ian and an extra set of bad guys, but the book is not set there or is the lifestyle given much time in the book. But it’s okay if you still would rather pass. I know there are certain elements that I’d rather avoid, too.

  • A slow burn MC romance? Unheard of!

    • I know, a slow burn anything when it comes to romance is not that common. 🙂

  • Hmm, I have one of this author’s books on my kindle. I am not a fan of MC novels..but glad you enjoyed it!

    • I know the cover looks like it’s more biker world and their are bikers in this one including the hero, but the focus is more on the Search & Rescue side, the romance, the mystery and how he has to decide which world (firefighter or MC) he will choose for his loyalty. It all came together and made for a pretty good story.

      • Ah, I re-read your review about the MC. So it isn’t the whole series line…I can handle that!!

        • No, it’s just a background element to Ian’s story. Each book is different. I’ve got the next one coming up for review and that one is a survivor style one. I love how the author does each angle of Mountain Search and Rescue and about lots of people who live off grid. Just different background for a romantic suspense. Hope you get the chance!

  • I think I would like Rory! It sounds like she has some qualities I possess. The slow-burn romance sounds wonderful, as does the # of flames I see up there. 😀 I’m very curious about this book – I may give it a shot when I have a little time!

    Great review, Sophia. =) Have a wonderful weekend!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • She’s a gem and I loved encountering Rory. Not any heroines like her as far as I know. Hope you get the chance to explore this series when you have time, Alyssa.

  • oh I really want to read this one now!!! I am definitely going to be grabbing this one as soon as I can. I really love the sound of the heroine here, she sounds unique.

  • Love that it has some great secondary characters. I’m going to have to dive into these one day 🙂

    • I think you will. Out of the three novellas and then the novella I’ve read so far, this was the one I liked the best. Got the last one coming up this fall so it’s nice that it’s a short series for those who want to get to it later (not so intimidating).

  • Sounds like the title fits the book ;). That’s interesting this book continues a story arc from book one. The slow burn romance sounds really well done. And I love it when the secondary characters are interesting too. i enjoyed reading your review and you make me curious about this series.

    • Oh yes, indeed. 🙂

      The mystery about the dead guy and also the arsonist are neat how they carry through the series. This book focused more on the slow burn romance and the couple growing past their issues. I really enjoy these. Hope you get the chance, Lola!

      • I just realized I already have the prequel/ book #0.5 in this series as it was free on amazon. I probably picked it up when you reviewed book one in this series 🙂

        • That is great when that happens. She did a good job of introducing the world of the series and a little Search and Rescue mission romance with hints of the mystery in that one. I think we’ve got book three reviewing this week and then I’ve already got the final book for later this fall. So it’s not a long series and very nice for those who don’t want a big series to take up all their time.

          • I am looking forward to your review of book three this week :). And that’s nice the series isn’t too long and it seems they got released quite close together as well then.

            • Yes, with the mystery running through them like that, it was best to keep the releases close so people wouldn’t forget the details of the case. Or at least, that was my take. 🙂

  • I love the premise of this series and this particular book. What a combination in a character…fireman and MC brother. Rory doesn’t sound too shabby herself. I’ll have to take a closer look at this series!

    • Yes, that was exactly what hooked me in. I’ve read three of the four in the series and this was my favorite so far because I enjoyed the couple the most and the conflict they were dealing with. Hope you enjoy it when you get the chance, Grace.

      Oh, and the prequel novella is a freebie if you want to see a little of what it is like.

  • I have only read the prequel novella, but I have the first book. I’ve been meaning to get started since the books are coming out so fast.

    • The novella was helpful getting a feel for the people and the setting. The novels have read even better for me. Don’t worry about getting behind since there are only four books in the series. I’ve finished book three and have the last one for a fall review.

  • This sounds like a pretty good series so far. It has been a while since I read a romantic suspense (well, I listened to Part & Parcel, but that one didn’t have any suspense, though I consider the series a romantic suspense. LOL).

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • No, Part & Parcel was not exactly suspenseful. LOL! It’s been hit or miss finding authors and series I like in romantic suspense. This series is good though it’s done with the fourth book.