A woman torn between an old love and a new one propels this emotionally complex story that will have readers drawn to it. Keep reading to get a glimpse of Fire Down Below by Andrea Simonne, along with my impressions of it, and learn even more about it by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour. Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 bookstore GC too!
Choosing between two hot guys? Not a bad way to turn thirty-five….
Running into an old boyfriend is bad enough, but why does it always happen when you look your worst? Kate Alexander is wearing gray sweats, no makeup, and feels as glamorous as a pile of dirty laundry when she runs into her hunky ex, Ben Mathews. Ben is the only man who’s ever asked her to marry him. And now still single, and closing in on her thirty-fifth birthday, Kate suspects her shelf life is nearing its expiration date. Though Ben once broke her heart she’s convinced fate has brought them together for a second chance at love.
The problem is Declan O’Connor, a sexy Irishman. Kate considers him a friend—except she’s been having some very un-friend like thoughts about him. They shared a hot kiss one night, before Ben reentered her life, and now she can’t stop thinking about it. Despite the attraction with Ben, Kate is remembering her old resentments all too well. But then Ben asks her to marry him again, and her second chance has finally arrived. Is this what she really wants though?
From Seattle to Dublin, from the old to the new, Kate is caught between playing it safe or playing with fire.
“The tour is finished?” I ask.
“Yeah, it’s finished.”
“What about the rest? I know there’s more.”
Declan frowns. “You don’t want to see the rest. Trust me.”
“I do. I want to see it all.”
“No, you don’t.”
I can hear the edge in his voice, but I press on anyway. “So that’s it then? I thought we were always honest with each other. Why did you invite me to Ireland?”
“You don’t think I’m honest with you?” He turns away from me. “Should I show you all the houses I used to rob, all the alleyways I had fights in? Is that the kind of tour you’re talking about? I’m more honest with you than anyone, but that’s a past I don’t plan to revisit. Ever.”
I’m stunned into silence. Embarrassed too, for being so thoughtless about what I said. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”
Declan shakes his head. “No, I’m sorry. Don’t push me on this though. I couldn’t bare that—especially not from you, Kate.” He starts the car up again. “And if you’re really wondering why I invited you here, let me tell you, so there’s no confusion.” He turns to me, his blue eyes flashing. “I invited you here because I want you. I want you more than anything I’ve ever wanted in my life.” He gives me a wry smile. “So now you know.”
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
For lovers of real romance Ms. Simonne has finely crafted a complex and realistic journey to HEA for one woman caught between an old love and a new love. For Kate, one chance meeting has her re-examining where her life is going and who she ultimately wants to be as seen through her conflicted feelings for two very different men. It's a very rocky journey though, full of soul searching and raw emotions realistically depicted, but one I feel rewarded for having taken.
When Kate Alexander unexpectedly runs into the man who once proposed to her and then left her she starts to re-think the path her life has taken. Through scenes from the past readers learn about the intense feelings she once had for Ben Mathews, a man who seemed her opposite in many ways but who made her feel attractive and worthy of his love. Theirs was a sexually crackling relationship but in many ways it was far from perfect. He wanted to re-make her instead of accept her but his being the Golden Boy kept her enthralled with his attentions. He was her first intense love and that's something you never forget, so her wondering "what-if" when coming into contact with him again is understandable. It's equally frustrating as she's a smart and strong-willed woman who's done well for herself in the years since he left. Nostalgia has her drawn to him once again along with feelings still as intense. The subtle issues that were there before still remain and when she receives another proposal from him will she settle for what she knows or take a chance on the unexpected.
Through the vivid depiction of both Kate's relationships readers are left rooting for their own choice too. While both men have appealing qualities it's clear to me who she should choose though as Kate's a woman deserving of HEA. She's easy to relate to and immensely likable in her realistic interactions with her girlfriends and her self-deprecating humor. The flow of this story is well-done with scenes of the past and present seamlessly incorporated. This was a well-crafted story for a debut author that fully immerses readers in one woman's journey to find true love and happiness. With it's vividly depicted locales to these two men who crackle with sensuality you can't help being drawn into the rocky journey Kate's undertaking and I look forward to where Ms. Simonne takes us next.
My rating for this is a B+
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Andrea Simonne grew up as an army brat and discovered she had a talent for creating personas at each new school. The most memorable was a surfer chick named "Ace" who never touched a surf board in her life, but had an impressive collection of puka shell necklaces. Eventually she turned her imagination towards writing. Andrea still enjoys creating personas, though these days they occupy her books. She currently makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons.
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