Ignite by Karen Erickson
Series: Wildwood, #1
Publication Date: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Also by this author: Game for It series
Other books in the series: Smolder, Torch
4 HOT FIRE FIGHTER STARS (★★★★)
*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. However, this doesn’t affect my opinion of this book and the words in this review. ***
When I found out Monica Murphy also wrote books under a pseudonym, I was shocked. How could I not know about that? Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t wait to try one of those books, as Monica Murphy is one of my go-to-authors since reading One Week Girlfriend, and Ignite came just at the right time. A light-hearted romance novel that contains a couple of my favorite elements: a forbidden love, a coming-of-age story and a bad boy who also occupies one of the hottest professions. He is a fire fighter.
Weston Gallagher is back after being gone for a couple years. This firefighter loves his job, because of the thrill and the adrenaline, but he hates being compared to his father. Who was also a firefighter back in the day.
West used to be a real troublemaker and he couldn’t wait until the day he got to leave Wildwood to leave the hell that is his family, especially his father. He just wanted to be anonymous and that is next to impossible in that small town. All he wants is to prove himself, and his father to respect him.
He never planned to come back, but he is back in Wildwood after getting a promotion. It is just a pit stop for him though, until he is back in contact with Harper. The girl he kissed that last day before he left. The girl he had feelings for and tried his hardest to get out of his head. Maybe this time, he does have a reason to stay.
But Harper is forbidden fruit for West, because she is the best friend of his little sister, Wren. Harper is always friendly, but lately she is scared to be boring. She wants to break through the gentle and kind walls she built, but she is afraid. Afraid that people won’t like her anymore.
Secretly, she is longing for more and her current relationship with Roger and her job at his accounting firm isn’t giving her that. She slowly gives in to her urge, especially when her long time crush is back in town. Even though her parents don’t support her, her lovely grandmother does. What a funny one she is. I really loved how supportive she was of Harper.
Harper is still attracted to West, that much is obvious. But can she get past the hurt she felt all those years ago when he left Wildwood without so much as a word or goodbye?
Ignite is written in the way I’m used to from Monica Murphy (a.k.a. Karen Erickson). Poignant, engaging and filled with all the emotion. It was easy to sympathize with both characters and the main characters are supported by a powerful cast of side characters. West’s brothers and little sister: Lane, Holden and Wren. Harper’s friend, Delilah. I loved how they carried along Harper and West’s story and I can’t wait to read all their stories. I’m especially curious as to what is happening between Lane and Delilah, they are being so mysterious.
It is praiseworthy how Harper dares to choose for another direction in her life. Breaking up her steady relationship, because it isn’t challenging enough for her. Quitting her job, without knowing what is in the future career-wise. For too long, she behaved in the way people expected of her and now, she finally wants to be her real self.
I am utterly crazy about West. He is vulnerable and he isn’t afraid to show it, even though he can sometimes say the complete wrong thing. He really wants to prove himself to everyone who knew him back when he was a fuck-up. Can I have me a boyfriend like Weston Gallagher?
Why not five stars you may ask? I think I set the bar quite high, because I was enchanted by Monica’s One Week Boyfriend series. I expected more drama and more depth in the story. That fell short for me in Ignite. It starts with enough drama, but later on things go a little bit too easy.
Furthermore, I thought the relationships between Harper and West and their parents could have been explored more. The strenuous relationships are mentioned and it explains a part of their behavior, but there are no scenes with their parents and I missed that. It would have given their backstories more shape and substance. So, I loved the story but I couldn’t give it the full five stars.
Hot, sweet and full of new chances. Ignite is about a love that never went away. It is about forgiveness and reinventing yourself. Daring to take chances, even when your supposed most important support group disagrees. Monica Murphy did it again, this time under the name of Karen Erickson. I enjoyed Ignite so much, I can’t wait to read the sequels. Ignite is an absolute must-read!
“I remember exactly what you felt like in my arms, that night I kissed you,” he continued. “What you tasted like. The sounds you made. How you’d clutch me closer every time I tried to pull away.”
She dipped her head forward, her eyes tightly closed as she remembered too. The way he felt, the sounds he made, the way he tasted. He shifted closer, his mouth—oh God his mouth— was right at her nape, his hands resting lightly on her hips. “I’m curious to see if it’s still just as good between us,” he murmured against her skin, his warm lips making her shiver.
His hands on her body and his mouth moving against her neck made her want to melt. It was going to be good. So good she would probably combust at first touch of his mouth on hers.
“Turn around, Harper,” he whispered into her hair, and she opened her eyes, turning slowly so she could face him. Her knees were so wobbly she leaned against the front door so she wouldn’t fall to the ground in a boneless heap. West stepped into her personal space, his big hands braced against the door on either side of her head, his intense gaze zeroed in on her lips. “I didn’t plan on this happening tonight.”
“Plan on what happening tonight?” she asked with a slight frown. Oh God, maybe he didn’t want her after all. Maybe he was trying to let her down easy? She should’ve just left. It was complete torture, knowing he was most likely going to say something nice so he wouldn’t hurt her feelings. She held her breath, waiting for the inevitable blow.
His lids lowered as he dipped his head, his mouth landing on hers and her eyes slid closed once more, relief flooding her as she automatically reached for him, looping her arms around his neck. He didn’t touch her, his hands remained on the door, but his mouth did wondrous things. Soft and seeking, warm and damp, his lips brushed against hers once. Twice. She parted her lips beneath his the third time but he didn’t take it any deeper. No, he was slow, methodical, purposeful. Learning her, driving her out of her mind.
ABOUT KAREN ERICKSON