Eli Johnson is a firefighter. He considers himself an average guy, not any kind of hero. Eli lives alone, with the exception of three demanding cats, and a lot of memories of family…especially his mother. He thought she was a hero as she had been a member of the USAF, and when she passed away, he actually quit college to fight fires. Eli’s a good man who wants to do good for the world. One day, while helping to put out a fire in an elementary school, he comes across a handsome man who dashed into the burning building to help rescue two children who were trapped. The two men talk and flirt, but Eli is uncertain. He can’t stop thinking about the other man, but he’s not sure it’s a good idea to date a man he’s met at a fire.
Charlie Kinnear is smitten with the gorgeous firefighter as soon as he sets eyes on him. Charlie is also very persistent and is determined to get that super sexy man to go out with him. He’s quite a mystery. He’s willing to put himself in danger by running into a burning building to save children, but he’s not so willing to reveal what he does for a living. Not helping matters, there’s a serial arsonist on the loose, and Charlie happens to be on the scene at every fire. This makes Eli suspicious, and this issue is definitely beginning to take its toll on their budding romance.
Will Eli and Charlie be able to save the love they’ve begun to feel, or will both men’s secrets ruin that love?
I love books about firefighters. There’s something about heroic men with strength and a passion to help people. This is why I jumped on Too Hot! Unfortunately, I have to say I was very disappointed in the book from the beginning. At first, it seems like chapter one will be the establishment of Eli as a character, and it does that for sure, but it goes all the way through the first fire and meeting with Charlie. A lot of stuff goes on after that. In my personal opinion, I felt all the flirting, including exchanging numbers, was a bit on the unprofessional side.
Meanwhile, I didn’t think Charlie’s character was set up as well as Eli’s. We get that he’s willing to be a hero, even though he doesn’t necessarily want to be known by that title. We also learn he’s uber persistent when it comes to getting Eli’s attention. I got a bit of a stalker type impression…or at least a very horny man with a one track mind. His texts to Eli were more than a little flirty, and just a few minutes into their first “date,” he’s telling Eli about how sexy he thought his uniform was and teasing him about where on his body he tattoo is. Honestly, I felt a little…squicky about him.
Now, I did think the arson mystery was good, and I was genuinely curious about why Charlie would be there at all of the scenes. However, I felt the author was trying way too hard to make that a red herring. Also, Eli’s suspicion seemed off. He continued to question himself on whether he though Charlie was the arsonist, yet he continued to date him, and even had sex with him in the firehouse.
Speaking of sex, the scenes were ok. Again, I felt like the author was trying too hard to give us a connection. I just wasn’t very convinced. I wasn’t feeling any deep emotion, or even a simple lust.
Just one more thing. The dialogue was quit stilted. I think I might even say “stiff.” There were attempts to use some current phrases, but they didn’t sound like anything either character would say. Also, I tagged that this story is an interracial romance, and more than once that fact was brought up, but in a way I was uncomfortable with. For instance, Charlie was talking to Eli about his best friend (who happens to be black). He says his friend’s name is Amos, and Eli responds:
“With a name like Amos, he’s either Jewish or black.” Eli cocked his head. “Or both, I suppose.”
Once again, this is only my personal opinion, but I thought this was racist, and it sort of made me actually dislike Eli a bit.
Eventually, the mystery of the arsons is solved, and I’m going to give the author props for surprising me. I mean, I wasn’t surprised by Charlie’s role in them, but the actual bad guy? Nice! This was the highlight of the story for me.
The ending was tidy and cute and sweet…nothing unexpected there. The men get their HEA, and that made me happy. I wish I could say that save the book for me, but sadly, I have to say Too Hot! wasn’t very hot to me.