Fake Flame

Afterglow. (First Responders, Bk. 1). Apr. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781335041616. pap. $12.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Buck (Fast Acting) kicks off her “First Responders” series. When an ex who can’t take a hint pushes literature professor Eva Campbell to the edge, she doesn’t expect to feel actual heat with a firefighter who is part of the response team. Sean Hannigan knows that the situation he’s walked into could end disastrously for the gorgeous professor, and when a colleague suggests a fake-dating scheme to keep Eva’s cheating ex at bay, it doesn’t sound like a terrible idea. Eva reluctantly agrees to the plan, and the more time she spends with Sean, the less fake their relationship feels. Their age difference gives her pause, though—will she be asking Sean to give up too much if he stays with her for real?
VERDICT Buck’s first offering for the Afterglow line is a satisfying read as the characters deal with serious topics (stalking; familial expectations and dysfunction), along with the dubious romantic qualities of grand gestures, and manage to find romance along the way.
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