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    Easy romance with just enough action and conflict

    Fire and Hail was a nice second-chance romance with solid characters and a good story. Though this is the fifth book in the Carlisle Cops series and there are some appearances of past leading characters, it can easily be a standalone. Rookie cop Brock pulls over his college-ex, Vinnie, for speeding in the opening scene. The unresolved tension is immediately apparent but nothing comes of it until the two are again thrust into each other’s life when Brock responds to another call involving Vinnie’s niece and nephew later that same day. Things are set into motion quickly from there but the pacing never felt rushed or details glazed over. The men dealing with the frightened children makes for a very sweet romance highlighting how loving Brock and Vinnie are for the reader as well as each other, and I couldn’t help but wish for them to have a happy ending. The romance is nicely paced, not rushing into things but fairly straight forward. There is some residual hurt from the previous relationship to work through and I liked how the characters approached that aspect. It felt honest, but not drawn out or overly dramatized because the couple talks rather openly about their feelings and what they want moving forward. This was a comfortable romance, low angst with just enough conflict to keep me engaged. There are a few different conflicts and subplots running the course of the story involving Brock’s police work, the children’s rescue and Vinnie fostering them, and even introducing an unsavory ex of Brock. The action scenes were handled smoothly and definitely peaked my interest by including some twists and unexpected connections. I’d consider Fire and Hail a lighter read in general. It deals with child endangerment, but it isn’t overly intense or specific in that area or in the police pursuit and apprehension scenes. The characters, Vinnie’s niece and nephew, and the romance between Brock and Vinnie are definitely the stars here, with the police element playing more of a secondary role. The audiobook features Randy Fuller as narrator and it paired well with the story. He had good diction, a comfortable rhythm, and read with emotion appropriate to the scene and characters, making this a nice, easy listen. I’d definitely recommend this to fans of the author or those looking for a second chance romance that isn’t angst-ridden. *Reviewed audiobook for Alpha Book Club*
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