Hearts Afire: March
by Jade Morrison and Shaunta Grimes, assorted (2009)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-59578-513-8


It is March so it's time for another monthly offering of erotic romance stories featuring firemen as the objects of devotion and muah-muah-muah.

Jade Morrison kicks off the show with Find 'Em Hot, Leave 'Em Wet. Why do I have this feeling that several erotic romance authors are out there wishing that they have thought of this title first? In this one, we have police officer Madison Rose telling people in her first person narrative of her hot and naughty affair with firefighter bad boy Logan Wylde.

It all begins with a somewhat minor fire in a well-known (but never caught) seedy crime boss' house, which draws in the firemen as well as the cops. For the cops, this is the excuse they have been waiting for to snoop around the house under the pretense of checking up the premises for any incriminating evidence that will allow them to pin Jimmy Dawson down. The firemen just want to their thing, naturally. This is how Madison and Logan first encounter each other - when they run into each other (really) while rushing up the stairs to the first floor. The attraction is instantaneous and Madison sees no point in turning down his invitation for a date. As she puts it, she knows that he is her future ex-boyfriend so why fight the inevitable, eh? A mystery involving the stash of cocaine found in the house and some dead officers will spice up the non-sexual aspects of this story.

I have this feeling that some readers may find the premise or the characters' ability to get into the randy mood even when there are dead bodies and burning bodies around them a little hard to believe, but me, I have having a lot of fun reading this story to care. I like this story a lot. It is nicely paced so the mystery and the sexy chemistry between the main characters don't get into the way of each other, for one, and also, the main characters are plenty of fun to read. They have no reason not to explore their attraction to each other, and Ms Morrison wisely enough avoids creating contrived reasons to keep them apart. The two characters approach their romance in a realistic manner too - given the short period of time they only know each other by the last page, it makes sense that Logan and Madison are living each day as it is, moving in together and such, without rushing into marriage and having babies by the epilogue. I also love how Logan manages to show his protective side without Madison having to be deliberately weak in the process. She can kick some ass - this is one heroine that I can really believe is a good police officer.

Bonus points have to be given for a title that really should be used for a sequel of some kind: Call 911. Make A Cop Come.

All in all, this is one really good short story in my opinion. Given that I am not too impressed by this author's works in the past, this is quite a revelation. If she keeps this up, I think I may even be signing up for the fan club one of these days.

Shaunta Grimes' Ena's Fire is a paranormal romance. Firefighter Ena Shannon is an "elemental witch" trying to prove her worth to her boss Charlie Reese. Meanwhile, a series of fire keep her and her team busy. That's pretty much the story, and I have to say, I may like this one even with the author's use of the mate-mate-mate plot device if I am not the person who rolls up my eyes at a heroine who, at the end of the day, proves the hero right in that she isn't cut out for "manly jobs" like getting in the field and fighting fires. Ena is pretty weak in this story, often relying on unasked-for aid from her sisters to get herself out of a mess she has found herself in. Despite her protests, she proves Charlie right frequently in this story - she really is out of her depths.

I have a fabulous time with Jade Morrison's story and Shaunta Grimes' story isn't as bad as much as it just happens to be one of those stories with a heroine that I am just not fond of. All things considered, I think this is the pretty good collection of stories indeed.

Rating: 86


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