cover image Fan the Flames

Fan the Flames

Katie Ruggle. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $5.99 mass market (448p) ISBN 978-1-4926-2820-0

In the second of Ruggle’s fast-paced romantic suspense series set in the Rocky Mountains, firefighter Ian Walsh (a minor character in Hold Your Breath) is named a suspect in a murder previously discovered by a Search & Rescue team. Rory Sorenson, the pretty but shy proprietor of the local gun shop—where she sells both legal and illegal weapons and is constantly fending off violent customers, with no one to help her or back her up—has cherished a crush on Ian for years and is certain he is innocent. Having grown up without much family, Ian appreciates the brotherhood he found in a motorcycle club, but when the more extreme members threaten Rory and her business, he recognizes the danger they pose and takes Rory’s side. Her bizarre, sheltered upbringing by her survivalist parents adds a tender element to their developing romance. When Ian is arrested, Rory’s indignation finally empowers her to step out from the shadows and fight for a future with him. Ruggle delivers a longer and more developed story in this installment, full of surprisingly violent characters as well as romance. Readers may cringe at the depiction of Rory’s job, which makes selling firearms look implausibly unsafe, and wonder how her offer to volunteer at the fire station somehow leads to her fighting a fire without any training, but the soap opera aspects of the ongoing story will keep them eager for more revelations about this small Colorado town. (June)