Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Down Deep by Kimberly Kincaid
Series: Station Seventeen #4
on June 18, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Ian Gamble has a past he’d rather forget—which is exactly what he’s doing at The Crooked Angel Bar and Grill when the place catches fire. Between his active duty in the Marines and his experience as a firefighter, his instincts get him and hot, headstrong bar manager, Kennedy Matthews, to safety. But those same instincts kick into high gear when the fire is ruled an arson, and he discovers Kennedy’s got secrets of her own.
The only thing that matters more to Kennedy than her bar is her brother. When she finds out he’s in over his head with a dangerous arsonist, she’ll do anything to keep him safe—even if it means teaming up with Gamble, who’s too sharp-eyed and hard-bodied for his own good. With every step, their attraction flares hotter and the risks grow more dangerous. Can Gamble and Kennedy face their fears—and their secrets—to catch a terrifying enemy? Or will they go down in flames?
I’m a fan of Kimberly Kincaid and some of her other series. Since I enjoy stories about fire fighters, I ‘ve been reading her Station Seventeen series. Down Deep continues the tradition of young people committed to their work, friends and families. But because they are young, they have some growth remaining. Or in this case, they are too young to have seen so much and they have to learn to live with it.
Gamble is a strong, ex-military guy who is a lieutenant in the fire station. He’s capable, caring and well ensconced in his firefighter brotherhood. There are parts of himself and his past, he keeps to himself. His moral integrity and hard work make it easy to like him.
Kennedy has her work managing the local bar which is a fire / police hangout. It brought her out of the bad part of town and the survival life she had there. Only her brother is left, but he didn’t come with her. She believes in him and will do almost anything to protect him. She is feisty and capable.
Gamble understands Kennedy’s inclination to protect her brother and tries to help. This brings them together in emotional and moral dilemmas. The rules aren’t always structured to do what is really right; sometimes the only options are dangerous. During the fight to catch the arsonist, they are laid bare to each other – emotionally and physically. We have suspenseful police work and a quickly lit romance. The characters are authentic being honest with themselves and each other which I like. They make a hot couple finally letting go when they might usually hold back. I’ll continue to look forward to more, especially with the teams from both the fire and police departments with so many characters I now know and love.
Watching his friends head back toward the pool table, he couldn’t help but shake his head a little at the idea of a relationship that deep. Sexual attraction, he got. A couple of hot-sex hookups here and there to satisfy said attraction? He got those, too. But the sort of no-holds-barred love that McCullough and Capelli and a few other members of Seventeen had tumbled into lately seemed as alien to him as little green men, complete with flying saucers and moon dust.
People swore they saw that shit; hell, they believed it in their bones. But as far as he was concerned, they were all fucking crazy.
“Well, well. Lieutenant Gamble. Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes?”
The throaty, feminine voice hit Gamble point-blank from the business end of the bar, and God damn it, he must have more of a beer buzz than he’d thought. He was almost always hyper-aware of his surroundings—especially when they involved someone as sexy as Kennedy Matthews. Yet, here she was in front of him, wearing a form-fitting red top and a brash, brows-up stare, and for a fleeting second, he wondered if her smile tasted as tart as it looked.
“If you say so,” he told her, while snuffing out the unbidden thought. Not that he hadn’t entertained it dozens of times before, or thought about tasting Kennedy in places other than her mouth. But as the manager and head bartender of their regular hangout, she was almost as much a part of his inner circle as his fellow firefighters, and—like his rookie—Gamble knew far better than to muddy that water with a good, fast fuck. “Can I get another beer, please?”
Kennedy’s darkly lined eyes widened for just a heartbeat before narrowing over the frost-covered bottle in his hand, the piercing in her eyebrow glinting in the soft overhead light of the bar.
“That one is nearly full.”
“Not for long.” He was already on his way to a decent beer buzz, courtesy of the bartender who had been working this section of the bar before Kennedy had come out of the back. He’d stick to beer for now to keep a low profile. Once everyone from Seventeen started heading home in a little while, he’d kick his night into high gear.
Kennedy paused. She was tougher than she looked, which was saying something since she had as much ink and even more hardware than Gamble did, with a watercolor tattoo that spanned from the middle of her bicep to her shoulder and the top of her chest, and tiny silver studs and hoops marching all the way up her left ear to match the piercing in her eyebrow. But he returned her calculating stare with one of his own, until she lifted one sleekly muscled shoulder and let it drop.
“It’s your liver, tough guy.”
She reached into the cooler built in beneath the bar, popping the cap off the beer she’d unearthed and placing it over a napkin on the glossy wood in front of him before turning to saunter off. Gamble watched her go, his eyes lingering on the way her ass filled out her jeans like a fuckable version of an upside-down heart. He couldn’t deny being tempted. Shit, he’d have to be pulseless not to be. But even if he did decide to break his personal protocol and see if Kennedy was up for blowing off a little steam between the sheets, it wouldn’t be tonight.
Tonight wasn’t about anything other than him, a bottle of Patrón Platinum, and the ghosts he’d never shake.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2018 New Release Challenge
- COYER BSBB