playing with fire coverRating: 3.25 stars
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Length: Novel


Omega Riley got pregnant as a teen and was left alone by the Alpha he thought he loved. When his own Alpha dad was killed and his omega dad went to prison, Riley was again left alone to raise his newborn son and his teen sister. Life is not easy for an omega and Riley works two jobs to try and keep them afloat.

Logan is an Alpha and also a firefighter and when he gets the call about an apartment fire, he doesn’t expect his life to change. Logan hasn’t ever thought he would settle down, but when he sees Riley and his son, Benji, Logan starts having all kinds of thoughts about his future. Riley is then released into Logan’s care and as much as Riley is resentful of being under protective care, the heat between the men is undeniable. Riley and Logan have to both let the other in and if they can rearrange their ideas, they can have a future together.

Playing with Fire is the first book in the Bridgewater Bay series and the debut book by author James Thorne. It stays with the familiar omegaverse world of omegas being treated poorly and having no rights and while that is popular in this trope, it does come off as being a tired world-building feature currently.

Riley and Logan played off of each other well and they have their set roles throughout the book. Riley works as a housekeeper and as a stripper as he takes care of his son and his sister. Riley is resentful of Alphas and further resentful when he is put into Logan’s custody to recover from the fire, but both men feel the attraction between them. Riley’s son, Benji, is on page in various scenes and he is written well and added a cuteness to the story as Logan treats Benji as his own from the start.

The play here is that Logan is “not like other Alphas” and Riley wants him despite telling himself he needs to be cautious. Things move quickly between the men and there was a lack of on-page emotional connection for me between the two of them. Riley also changed his stance frequently as his head told him to do one thing, but then his body overrode all of his decisions.

There was also a storyline for Riley’s fathers that didn’t have enough depth to it. We also get another storyline involving Logan’s father with long held beliefs being flipped with not much substance behind it. A side story for Riley’s sister was also attempted here and it was too much wedged in with not enough follow through.

The story itself was fine and the characters were interesting as they worked toward making their own family. The style did read as an early novel and perhaps we will see some other more polished books from the author in the future.