Romantic suspense is a broad description-perhaps broader than it should be, considering some of the stories that carry this label-but if you want to read a book that's the very definition of "romantic suspense," then look no further than Colleen Thompson's FADE THE HEAT. Without sacrificing the action or the emotion, she masterfully weaves a suspense plot that never lets up with a tender, oh-so-believable romance between two satisfyingly original characters.
Jack Montoya and Reagan Hurley are strong, larger-than-life heroes with touching vulnerabilities that make them seem so real that you'll root for them to the very end and keep a soft spot for them in your heart long after you finish the book. (OK, especially for Dr. Jack, a gorgeous physician who saves sick children, works at a small clinic in a dangerous neighborhood instead of at a fat-cat medical practice, and loves his mama and his sister. Could he be more scrumptious?!)
Ask anyone who knows me and my reading habits, and they'll tell you that romantic suspense is my favorite genre-and it's authors like Colleen Thompson who keep feeding my obsession. Being fortunate enough to read Fatal Error, her 2004 release that went on to become a RITA finalist, I was anxious to get my hands on FADE THE HEAT. Let me tell you, you cannot possibly go wrong with this book. From heart-pounding action-adventure to immersion into the world of the hero and heroine to palm-sweating, sizzling romance, this book is at the top of what the romantic suspense genre is all about.
Dr. Jack Montoya has only one goal in life, and that's to be the best doctor he can be. He's always been determined to do whatever he can for the people in his Spanish barrio community in Houston. The son of a Mexican man who drowned while trying to illegally enter the United States, Joaquin "Jack" Montoya has been accused of both being too sensitive to the needs of Mexicans, and not being Mexican enough. Now that the press has found out about his practice of doctoring his paperwork to provide free health care to the children of illegal immigrants, he's being alternately crucified and canonized for his activities. Jack, though, doesn't want to be a scapegoat or a saint-he simply wants to live up to the Hippocratic Oath and do all that he can for the sick individuals who enter the East End Clinic. Unfortunately, doing anything doesn't apply to falsifying medical records for beautiful firefighter Reagan Hurley.
For Reagan, being a firefighter for the city of Houston is all she ever wanted to be. It defines who she is, and she's determined that being diagnosed with asthma will not slow her down. Except the asthma is slowing her down, is, in fact, threatening to end her fire-fighting career in its tracks. She went to Dr. Montoya's office both because she knew him personally, and because she assumed that with his sympathies towards illegal immigrants, he might be willing to help her out. Reagan needs a doctor who will sign off on her medical forms, and she had hoped Jack would be the one to do so. But then he tells her, in no uncertain terms, that he won't jeopardize his own career-or disobey the Oath-to lie to her superiors about her health situation, especially when it could get her killed. So Reagan leaves the clinic, mad at both Jack and the world and her own body's traitorous condition.
Later the same day, Jack's apartment is the victim of a torching, and his mind immediately turns towards Reagan. Was she so angry at him that she would set his home on fire? If that's the case, then how did Reagan's Captain end up dead?
As the heat intensifies, with fires being set all over the barrio, Reagan becomes the main suspect in the eyes of her fellow firefighters. As for Jack, he's now fighting both the press over the practices of his Clinic, and his growing feelings for Reagan. As the two of them delve ever deeper into the mystery of who's behind the arsons, they must learn to trust in each other and the power of their convictions.
FADE THE HEAT is one book all lovers of romantic suspense will not want to miss. The action never stops, nor does the growing relationship between Jack and Reagan. These are two characters who are all too human in their thoughts and feelings, and the story is better for it. Thanks, Ms. Thompson, for such a compelling and enjoyable read!
Someone is setting fires in the Houston barrio, and Dr. Jack Montoya is the first intended victim. Is there some connection between the torching of his apartment and the gorgeous blonde from his past who appears at his clinic on the same daay?