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I believe this is the first Harlequin review on this blog. For those of you who don’t know Harlequin Enterprise is an international publisher of romance novels, and the name all non-UK romance lovers associate with tacky romance fiction. In 1971 they purchased the British publisher Mills & Boon, founded in 1908 by Gerald Rusgrove Mills and Charles Boon. At present the partnership is the biggest publisher of short, paperback romance fiction for every occasion and a name associated throughout the world with tacky romance and the most ridiculous titles. So, I understand if you are surprised, slightly astonished and or even outright disappointed, but I must admit that this little story somehow stands out from the usual Harlequin/M&B standards. It belongs to the Harlequin sensual series (with the red strip) where guys are hotter, women more sensual and the sex more descriptive, so not your average peck on a cheek and the very girlish: “He loves me, he loves me no”. Enough with the drama. The author, Trish Wylie, is an Irish romance writer with a very interesting personal website (http://www.trishwylie.com/) containing a whole selection of writer’s tips and exercises and…pics of hot guys who serves as her inspiration 😉

firefighterThe story behind the absolutely horrendous title is well build and, what’s most important, the two main characters work very well together and they immediately grab your attention. Which is surprising since they live in Dublin, Ireland (not Monaco or a private island in Caribbean), belong to the middle class (not royalty or business elite) and have regular jobs: Finn works as a dispatcher in a music industry, Shane and her brother, Eddie, are best mates and firefighters. Since the Fire Brigade is like an English village there’s very little that Finn doesn’t know about Shane. They have seen each other at their best and, even more often, at their worst. She has a terrible crush on him, but due to tragic events in her past she is not dating firefighters. For him she is a forbidden territory (you don’t date your best mate’s sisters). And that status quo would probably continue if not for a fire. More specifically- a fire that Finn sets unintentionally to her newly purchased house by leaving her underwear to to close to the fire place (!). Left without a pace to stay she moves in to the house shared by Eddie and Shane (our Mr. Wonderful). And the attraction ignites…
I think that the main reason why I find this story so charming and alluring is that it involves regular people, who known each other for years, so the passion and love that finally sparks between the two has the sustenance of a long-time friendship to keep it going. All in all, a good read after work, in a bath or on a train (especially to observe the reaction of fellow travellers).