Hope Flames by Jaci Burton
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: January 7th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
When it comes to love, they already know the rules…by heart.
Thirty-two and finally setting up her veterinary practice in the town she once called home, Emma Burnett is on her own and loving it. Independent and driven, she’s not letting any man get in the way of her dreams. Not again. That’s fine with Luke McCormack. Divorced and hardly lacking in female company when he needs it, he’s devoted to the only faithful companion in his life—his police dog. Still, there’s something about Emma he can’t shake.
When a series of local break-ins leaves Emma vulnerable, she seeks help from the first man to spark her desire in years. And now they’re giving each other something they thought they’d lost forever…hope.
FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!
From the Paperback edition.
Emma Burnett has finally realized her dream. She moved back home and opened a veterinary practice. She may have gotten delayed along the way, but she won’t make that mistake again. She gave a man power over her once, and she’s determined not to go it again. Even if she does think Officer Luke McCormack is hot as sin.
Luke isn’t interested in a relationship, either. He wouldn’t mind a quick roll in the hay with Emma, but that’s about it. Until Emma mentions she hasn’t dated in years. Then he wants to do the neighborly thing and help her get back in the game.
“I want to help. I want to be your friend.”
Her gaze narrowed. “My friend.”
“But I’m not your type.”
“I didn’t say that.”
“You implied I wasn’t the type of woman you typically did . . . whatever it is you do with women, since you just said you’re not the dating type.”
He resisted rolling his eyes. This is why he didn’t like having extended conversations with women. It usually led to him getting in trouble for something he said that he didn’t really say, but the woman thought he meant what he didn’t say in the first place. Women drove him crazy.
“I didn’t imply anything. I just asked you out on a date.”
She crossed her arms, only this time it was in irritation, not defensiveness. “I don’t need a pity date, Luke.”
Shit. Foot‑in‑mouth struck again. “I don’t pity you. I like you.”
“You already said that. As a friend, of course.”
When Emma interrupts a break-in at her clinic she calls Luke to help her. Soon after a bunch more break-ins happen all over town and Luke is worried Emma isn’t safe, so he starts spending time with her. It isn’t long before they lose the battle to fight their attraction to one another and end up in bed. But Luke still isn’t interested in committing and Emma is afraid of losing herself in a man..again.
First, I want to say I really liked Emma. She dated the wrong man and ended up in an abusive relationship. Though it took her awhile, she was able to put herself back together. She might be a bit on the skittish side, but she doesn’t let her past define her. She decides to live her life, bad decisions of the past be damned.View Spoiler »I was also damned glad to see her handle herself when her ex shows up in town.
She didn’t panic or wait for Luke to save her. She did what she needed to do to keep herself safe.
I loved that she took back her power on her own. « Hide Spoiler
Luke was such a quintessential guy I couldn’t help but love him. His blunders with Emma made me laugh. There were times I rolled my eyes at how dumb he was. But he was also sweet, caring and I loved the way he was with his dog.
This was a great start to a new series. A hero with commitment issues, a heroine who is just a little bit broken and a bunch of adorable animals. Trust me, this is a winning combination.
4 out of 5