Title: Up in Smoke
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Hotshots #4
Smoke jumper Brandt Wilder’s life completely changes when Shane Travis shows up on his doorstep with a baby that he claims is his. These two work together to co-parent while they figure out what to do with the baby.
This was a sweet romance with two guys who finally find the bond of family with each other, and the baby they are caring for. I really enjoyed Shane and Brandt’s story. This seemed like a story that would have a lot of angst and drama, but it actually didn’t. It was pretty positive and didn’t obsess over all the negative things.
Brandt and Shane’s relationship was emotional and filled with a lot of new firsts for both of them. These two go into this attraction with the plan for it to just be sex while they figure out what to do with the baby, but as you can imagine, that doesn’t last long. Shane is a musician who holds his emotions close to his chest and doesn’t let anyone in for fear of them leaving. Brandt lives in the moment and is always seeking that adrenaline rush. These two guys crave a family and they finally found it in each other.
I really liked that Albert didn’t make this a high angst story for the situation, especially with Brendt having such a dangerous job. Also, I really like that Shelby isn’t made out to be a terrible monster for leaving her baby. She is clearly struggling but that doesn’t make her a monster. Brandt and Shane both actively try to get her to seek help at multiple points in the story. I appreciate when an author actually addresses mental health issues and has characters who are supportive.
Overall, this was another really enjoyable Hotshots story and another wonderful character driven romance from Albert!
Trigger Warnings: Discussions of neglectful childhood experiences (foster care and disinterested parents); Shelby (baby’s mother) is struggling with an unspecified mental illness; child custody discussions and court case
Previous books and reviews in the series: