I'm not sure if this book had a slow start or it's just me who had one stressed out 2 weeks. But for some reason it took me time to understand Linc's true reasoning for pushing the one guy he is unable to resist, no matter the promises made to a dead man. Yet once I was IN the story I was TOTALLY in. Linc's background story is heart breaking and Jacob with his fun and loving personality seems to be the best cure for Linc's default mode of burying himself in the past. There is quite a bit age difference between them (10 years) but I gotta say it never truly showed in the interaction between them. They were a match made in heaven or rather Annabeth's head yet though there is fire around them with their occupation as Smoke Jumpers this is a true slow burn.
Lincoln Reid has known Wyatt Hartman all of his life. They have been best friends from when they were little and though Linc coming out as gay pushed their friendship to it's limits, after awhile away, when he returned, things sort of went back to how they were before. Though some (or rather few) people know about Linc's sexual orientation it's not something he talks about and even the Hartman family - one he considers his own - doesn't know. Yet one guy figures it out - Jacob - Wyatt's little brother, who comes out himself as being gay. That's when Wyatt makes it VERY clear to Linc he needs to STAY AWAY and that he does, for 6 years. But when Wyatt dies on the job he shortly takes comfort in Jacob's arms and from there, especially considering Jacob's new post on his (their) Smoke Jumpers crew, makes him totally and utterly irresistible.
Jacob Hartman has waited enough for Linc to see his as a man and though Wyatt's memory always looms over both of them, he doesn't understand why Linc keeps resisting what is obvious between them. He might have made a promise to Wyatt but it has been years and Wyatt isn't HERE anymore. Jacob struggles with making Linc see him, truly SEE him and be proud of the man he has become - see how much he has grown up, the man he has become, his strength and ability, his resolve to be a Smoke Jumper even after his brother's death. He has wanted it for years and worked hard to make it his future. His mother isn't thrilled about it as well and though she tried to send Linc to make him change his mind, he is determined to show both of them, okay, mostly Linc, what he is made of.
Though Linc would rather see Jacob in any other occupation he can't ignore the fact he is actually good at it, and has a lot of promise. It's hard to ignore when he is working with him in their old team (with Ray and Garrick). Though he wanted to keep his distance from Jacob both guys asked to have Jacob with them as their own way of keeping Jacob safe. But how can he keeps his HEART safe when he sees the guy he wants everyday? Especially after desperate Jacob offers Linc to "get their attraction off their system". They both don't think it will work but they need SOMETHING as both can't take it anymore.
Jacob and Linc used to be friends. Jacob helped Linc with getting things out of his house after his father had died so it's no wonder once they start seeing each other again (even if the reason is to blow steam) turns fast into a friendship and a deeper one, more comfortable one almost domestic, once they spend more and more time together. They see what it is, what's going on, yet Jacob is too scared to spook Linc away. Linc is in his own battle with himself as it is. He knows he will always care for Jacob but he simply CANNOT make a claim. He would rather run away once the fire season is over.
There is a lot of back and forth between these two, with the danger of the job and the huge question marks both men are fighting, each in his own head. Linc feels so alone in the world. He has no one but the Hartman family but he doesn't expect them to stay this way with Jacob by his side. He is also unable to break free from his promise to Wyatt. Jacob on the other hand just wishes Linc would SAY what he is obviously feeling and showing Jacob with every touch, every meal prepared. He believes they can make it work, even while working together. They are a good team.
This book was quite the ride. It was heartfelt and endearing as it was frustrating with Linc being so damn stubborn (talking about Jacob being the stubborn one? really?!) but it was SO worth it to wait for them to find their footing. Now all we have to do is wait and not that long for Garrick Nelson's book, coming in July. Garrick is currently dealing with his own issues after an occurrence near the ending of this book, wonder how he will deal with it.
If you are a fan of slow burn I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you give this one a go.
ABOUT THIS SERIES
Hotshots is a Contemporary Romance series by Annabeth albert. Following Smoke Jumpers battling not only fires but also finding love. In all installments the struggle is internal - giving the relationship a true chance - but the circumstances were totally different. Linc and Jacob knew each other most of their lives but Jacob's brother and Linc's best friend was what kept them apart (even after his death) and also Linc accepting the age difference between them is not actually an issue. In the second installment there is also a big age difference but the real issue lies in believing in themselves and each other what they found together can last and not only because of the issues Garrick was dealing with as a result of a work accident. In the third two lost loves finally re-connect when Luis is "on lend" in Oregon, but what happens when his time/job is over? The last one (currently) for me was the best one and I couldn't be more surprised with such a main focus on an "oops" baby and two guys taking care of her and somehow forming a family.
while this is a series I don't think you need to read these by order. While the other firefighters are mentioned the focus is mostly on the couple and what they were dealing with.
For me this wasn't one of the best series by Annabeth though I enjoyed most of them. I took my time with before delving into the 4th exactly for that reason and I stand correctly as it was a clear favorite. Generally speaking these have a more slower pace.
1. Burn Zone [Lincoln Reid & Jacob Hartman] (Published 27 April 2020) ★★★★½
2. High Heat [Garrick Nelson & Rain Fisher] (Published 27 July 2020) ★★★★
3. Feel the Fire [Tucker Ryland & Luis Riviera] (Published 26 October 2020) ★★★
4. Up in Smoke [Brandt Wilder & Shane Travis] (Published 27 April 2021) ★★★★★