Beta/ARC Provided by author for review
Preston Mitchell, undercover DEA agent, has led a life of danger and obscurity. Knowing his job would never allow a normal relationship, he’s never opened himself up to any woman...that is until the lovely Avery Middleton stumbles into his life. To the outsider, Avery has it all...wealth, family, connections and a great job. But on the inside, she’s miserable. Her social life is in the dumpster, the kooky gal next door has some zany plans for her and her selfish mother drives Avery to the point of insanity. Her only salvation is to get out of Charleston and start a new life. So that’s precisely what she does. She moves to Seattle and steps right into the path of hot and sexy, Preston. Unfortunately for both of them, Avery ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and is now running for her life. But she’s not alone. She has a gorgeous DEA agent protecting her and suddenly finds herself irresistibly captivated by him. There’s only one problem. Preston carries more than his share of mental baggage, courtesy of his job. His covert missions have put him in places and situations he can barely stand to think about. Avery rocks Preston’s world because she is nothing like anyone he’s ever met and something extraordinary begins to happen between them. But can their love survive in this world, where danger, intrigue and deception lurk on every corner?
When I finished reading Shattered Edge I was really excited to read a book about Terri's brother Preston. An undercover DEA agent who has given up his life to serve his country, taking down the top criminals in the country. What I wasn't prepared for was the horrible things he endured at the hands of the government in his years with the agency.
Kissing Fire begins with Avery Middleton moving from South Carolina to Seattle upon taking a new job. Once there she visits her brother Justin and his new wife Caroline and ends up meeting Preston for the first time. They both experience a physical attraction for the other but Preston tries hard to avoid Avery at all costs. See Preston has dealt with some pretty gruesome things in his years undercover with the DEA. He's had to pretend to be a junkie, he's lived on the streets with no communication to his family and he was locked in prison for years and you know what happens to guys in prison. He was left on his own to cope with the trauma he experienced while there and because of that he feels unworthy and dirty.
A serious threat follows them to Seattle though and soon Avery and Preston are on the run hiding away in Montana until the coast is clear. The more time they spend locked away alone in the mountains together the more their attraction grows. Preston and Avery grow extremely close and he confides his past in her. Sharing secrets and magic nights in front of the fireplace can't undo the damage Preston has done to her life though, especially when she finds out the truth of why they ran. Heartbroken by his lies Avery decides to make a new start in Colorado and tries to forgot about Preston. Faced with the possibility of losing the only woman he's allowed himself to love Preston has to make a big decision that he hopes will be enough to win her back.
I think A.M. Hargrove gets a serious case of lady wood by torturing her characters. This woman knows how to make you bond with them, fall in love with them and then spring on you some truly heinous shit! Poor Preston was only trying to serve his country and ended up getting abused while undercover. That broke my heart in two! He is so mentally messed up from his time in lock down that he can hardly function in society so he hides himself away in ratty motels and bangs strippers. I hated his abuse but I loved watching him slowly start to heal the more he fell for Avery. He was a character that you wanted to take away his pain and anguish the more you found out about him.
Avery was a complete kook! She was funny and flirtatious even though she had issues with her body. It only took her meeting Preston once to completely lose her shit and attack him. (He's that fine you guys!) I loved how understanding she was when she found out the big issues Preston faced. The scenes between her and Melissa, her Sumo Wrestling roommate were hilarious. Dildos, and grown men with small wieners were just a few things these two dealt with. Avery wasn't as messed up in the head as Preston but she had her own issues to deal with. Being nearly raped by a guy you are dating isn't an easy thing and you would think that Hargrove would have made it just as intense but the event was lightened up by Melissa's antics. I think Melissa will be a fan favorite for anyone who has seen Pitch Perfect and loves Fat Amy. I know i do, and Melissa kept me in stitches throughout the book which added some upbeat moments into the already intense situation.
My favorite couple from Shattered Edge, Justin and Terri make an appearance, although Terri had to go UC and change her whole identity but that's another story. I loved that they had a small part in this book because I didn't get enough of them in Shattered Edge. Justin and Avery share a really sweet moment between siblings that I think helped Avery deal with some of her issues.
Overall Kissing Fire was an intense ride full of heart wrenching character plots and steamy romance. Preston will definitely win your heart and your panties by the end of this book. I can't imagine what's next from A.M Hargrove but from what I have read so far, I know I am in for a serious treat!
“Oh, I’m at the Four Sexy. Seasons! I mean the Four Seasons.” eARC 16%
"I’m dirty Avery. I won’t let myself be with someone like you. You represent everything that’s good about the world and I am quite the opposite." eARC 39%
“If I didn’t think you were lovely, I wouldn’t react this way to you. Christ, one look at your body and your mouth and I'm on fire. That's how fucking hot you are.” eARC 57%
About The Author:
One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life. So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase. Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodgeball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head. Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what lap top out the window. She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone and hit #4 on her speed dial.
"Boss, is that you?"
"Why yes, A. M., who else would be answering my phone?"
"Er... right. Well, I'm calling to let you know you can pick up my luxury Ford Focus at Starbucks near the interstate."
"Why ever would I want to do that?"
"Because I quit you idiot!"
A.M. hit the end button and speed dialed her husband.
"Hi hubs, can you pick me up at Starbucks?"
"Sure... Having some car trouble?"
"Not at all. I don't have a car to have trouble with because I just quit my job."
"It's time for a new career and I am going to be a very famous novelist."
So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a young adult paranormal romance author of self-published ebooks. Her series, The Guardians of Vesturon, centers around a family of six siblings and is a mix of humor, mystery, suspense and of course, love. Survival is her first book in the series and her second, Resurrection will be released in January.
If you're wondering, it didn't happen EXACTLY that way, but....