Chance Crawford and Kit Gibbons are co-workers who have a mutual attraction, though neither man has let his interest be known. When a catastrophic earthquake hits, Chance and Kit work together to help their co-workers escape, only to find themselves trapped in the building when aftershocks leave the exits blocked. At eleven floors up and with a city in chaos, the odds of the men getting rescued before the building collapses are slim.
Both men are terrified and the situation is bleak. But the time trapped together does give Chance and Kit an opportunity to get to know each other better and to ultimately share their feelings with one another. Now that they have finally taken a chance on something more between them, the men must hope that they survive long enough to be together.
I tend to like forced proximity kind of stories where extreme situations test our heroes and bring intensity to their relationship. So I was drawn to this book right away by the trapped in the earthquake theme and I think Anderson does a nice job with this aspect of the story. The first half or so of the book focuses on the lead up to and the aftermath of the earthquake. We see a bit of the guys going about their day at work, and then witness the earthquake and their attempts to get themselves and their co-workers to safety. Both men are heroes, helping to calm things down in the emergency and put other people’s safety before their own, only to find themselves stuck alone when another tremor hits. I found this part of the book to be well done and engaging. I was interested in following along in the escape attempts and seeing how the guys end up trapped by themselves. I will say this portion didn’t have quite the urgency or intensity I had expected, but it was still nicely done and kept my attention.
The second half of the book focuses more on the men once they are trapped and how they get to know one another better and act on their attraction. However, I will say that I found the chemistry between these guys a little flat and didn’t feel the connection the way I had hoped. I think part of this is because we are told at the start of the book how these guys have a long simmering attraction to one another and so from the beginning we are supposed to feel this connection between them that just didn’t come through for me. Toward the end, the guys even admit that they had been falling for one another even before the earthquake. But honestly, they felt like casually friendly co-workers at best, not men with an intense connection and attraction. In fact, beyond a holiday party conversation, it seems that these guys didn’t do much but exchange hellos in the hall prior to the earthquake. It wasn’t enough to make me feel that there was the real connection to them prior to the disaster that the story indicated they should have.
Honestly, I think this book would have worked better for me if the guys were supposed to be strangers, rather than having to believe they had these intense feelings for one another that never came through in the story. As the book continues, the guys get to know one another better as they are trapped together and it does ease the way for that connection to develop. While I don’t see them ready for their HEA quite yet, I could believe in their bond enough to see a future relationship for them, so we end with things in a good place.
Overall I found this one to be entertaining, just not quite as compelling in either the disaster side or the relationship one as I had hoped. But I did enjoy it and if you find the set up as appealing as I did, it’s worth taking a look at On Solid Ground.