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On Duty

(Smoke & Bullets #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  247 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Number one rule for a firefighter: never take your eyes off the flame. Male/male author A.R. Barley is back with a new contemporary romance series.

Former marine and seasoned firefighter Troy Barnes has always kept his sex life on the down low, until he takes back-to-back hits: physically injured in a suspicious warehouse explosion and emotionally blindsided when he’s ditch
Published December 18th 2017 by Carina Press
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  247 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arc
3.5 stars

On Duty is book 1 in the Smoke and Bullets series by A. R. Barkley. When I read the blurb, I was all grabby hands. I haven’t read many books with firefighters and paramedics, so I was a little excited to read this one.

Troy Barnes just saved a teenager from a fire. Now considered a hero, he just wants to go home and go to bed. When he arrives home, Ian, his boyfriend/roommate/friends with benefits tells him some heartbreaking news. Troy ends up at the fire station trying to get some res
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mm, hurt-comfort
2.5 stars

While I liked the premise of this story, the confusing writing really took away most of my enjoyment of this book.

Troy has been in a ‘relationship’ with his army buddy Ian for 12 years when he comes home to their 1 bedroom apartment and Ian tells him he has a girlfriend, she is pregnant, and that Troy has 5 days to move out. And this while Troy has just been in an accident while saving a homeless kid from a burning building.

And that’s how Alex, a paramedic, finds Troy passed out in the
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
*3.5 stars*

I have mixed feelings about this one. Some things I liked, some others felt a little bit awkward.

What I liked:
-I loved the slow building connection between Troy and Alex. Lately I ‘ve been reading more and more books where the romance happened out of nowhere and the words “I love you” felt alien. This is not that kind of book.
-It was also not a stereotypical kind of book. What with Troy being a muscle hunk and Alex a feisty little blond with lime green toenails I was expecting…differe
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, part-of-a-series, arc
I loved this book even though I went in it totally blind and had no idea what to expect. When I requested this book for review, there was no summary available (still isn't), no genre, no cover, nothing but a title! I'm not that brave usually, but I thought I should give this book a chance, and I'm so happy that I did!

So..... do you (like me) love FIREFIGHTERS and PARAMEDICS in your books, especially when there's a romance happening between the two? If yes, then you should definitely read this bo
Cee Brown
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
.•.•*) .•*)
(.• (.•`*4.5 smoke-n-bullets stars.

I hate when I have a good book in my pile and then completely forget about it until too late. Then you miss your review date and now have to publically apologize ...humbly... to your enabler - er - book lending team.

Why did I not read this book the instant it hit my Kindle? I cannot tell you. But oh, man, I wished I had cracked it open then and savored the joy I found inside. I love men in uniform and throw in a little mystery...Done. In.

On Duty
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful descriptions and great characters. I was sucked in from the very first page. Alex and Troy are the perfect foil for each other, both lovable and damaged in different ways. I adored Alex's niece, and I loved that even then "bad guys" weren't caricatures of evil, but just regular people who got sucked into a crappy situation they didn't know how to get out of (and chose REALLY, REALLY badly). This was a brand new author to me, but one that is definitely going on my shortlist.

I read a fre
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it. It was a good read, but not great.
I ended up reading On Duty as apart of Carina Press’s Male/Male Romance Series Starter. This was the first time I’ve read a book by the author and I found the characters pretty well developed and the writing to flow well. For the most part, I enjoyed the book, though it was a little up and down for me.

On Duty stars off quickly, plunging the reader into action as the heroes respond to a warehouse fire. I liked the dynamic between Troy and Alex, with them having different careers but working in th
Morgan  Skye
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This was really, really good! It had so many things that I love. Firefighters, paramedics, a funny family, some denial, the right opportunity, a dangerous setting and the chance for one MC to constantly take care of the other MC’s boo-boos!

Troy and Alex are a great couple and their romance felt really natural and proceeded in a way that felt appropriate. They had wonderful chemistry and the other “story” about the arsonist was involving without being overwhelming.

I really enjoyed this and am loo
Perfect for my mood. Low angst story that makes you feel good. Loved it!
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
It was ok. Nothing really bad with it, but it just didn’t feel special.
3.5 stars

Synopsis: Troy is a fireman. He lives with his best friend/hook up in a one bedroom apartment, and keeps his sexuality really quiet. One night, after a newsworthy rescue from a burning building that injured him, Troy gets home to his apartment to find out that his roommate has been sleeping with a woman for a few months, and that she is pregnant. And he has five days to find new accommodations before said woman moves in, because no one can know that Troy and the roommate, Ian, are sleep
Christi Snow
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
My Review:
Quick overview of my review...I'm going to like this series. This was a great start!

This book starts with Troy. He's a firefighter whose body got put through the wringer as he saved a teenager from a collapsing building. He didn't call his boyfriend/roommate when he checked himself out of the hospital, and when he got home said 'roommate' told him that he had been cheating and that Troy had 5 days to move out because the new girlfriend was moving in. Troy, on the verge of collapse, jus
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
I loved the Boundaries series, so I was excited to see a brand new series. On Duty is a great start to the Smoke & Bullets series. Smoke & Bullets is the name of the local bar where the firefighters and cops hang out.

Troy, a firefighter, has been living with Ian, his best friend and "sort of boyfriend" for many years. The two have been drifting apart, but Troy seems oblivious. Everything comes to ahead when Ian tells him that the girl he has been seeing is pregnant and he has to move out in fiv
We like it big book blog
3.5 stars

I had requested this book early on, on Netgalley. I’m just getting around to reading it. I have to admit this book was a slow burn for me. It took me a while to really get into it and just overall get into Troy’s character.

The beginning was exciting. Troy was a super hero! The way he saved Sammy’s life was pretty heroic!
But even though it started off pretty exciting. It was still kinda slow for me. It didn’t pick up until the 41% mark. The kiss!

That’s when things started to get moving f
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I had requested this book early on, on Netgalley. I’m just getting around to reading it. I have to admit this book was a slow burn for me. It took me a while to really get into it and just overall get into Troy’s character.

The beginning was exciting. Troy was a super hero! The way he saved Sammy’s life was pretty heroic!
But even though it started off pretty exciting. It was still kinda slow for me. It didn’t pick up until the 41% mark. The kiss!

That’s when things started to get moving f
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
A great start to a new series!

I've read a few other books by A. R. Barley and enjoyed most of them very much. I love stories about first-responders whether they are M/M or M/F ones. On Duty is a great book and I devoured it.

This story starts off with a heart-stopping scene where firefighter Troy is caught in a burning building trying to rescue a young teen. Wow, what a way to get your heart pumping and the story rolling. The next thing you know he's checked himself out of the hospital AMA (again
Troy Barnes feels like things are going well in his life--or at least well enough. He enjoys his work as a firefighter and things seem to be working between him and his roommate/boyfriend-on-the-downlow. But after Troy is injured while saving a young man from a fire and is asked to move out so his roommate's pregnant girlfriend can move in, things no longer seem as solid. Not entirely sure where to go or what to do, Troy accepts an offer from paramedic Alex Tate to crash with him until he gets o ...more
Mari  Cardenas
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 Stars!

Firefighter Troy Barnes is injured in the line of duty during an explosion at a warehouse and when he gets home, he is blindsided when his roommate with benefits is giving him 5 days to find a new place to live because he's moving his pregnant girlfriend into their apartment. EMT Alex Tate invites Troy to move to his place and even if Alex doesn't do guys on the rebound, it doesn't take long for them to give into their attraction.

I found Troy adorable and I truly wanted to kick his ex's
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
On Duty by author A.R. Barley is the first book in the Smoke & Bullets series. I liked this one for a first book, to me had some problems with just overall speed of the book. But I think that will iron itself out as the series progresses. Lots of first books feel like this one did to me but later find a better footing.
Troy is a fighter. He just got through battling a horrible fire when his in the closet roommate/ sometimes booty call/ lover kicks him out. Cause you know now he is suddenly straig
Gavin Stephenson-Jackman
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Troy has been in an arrangement with his roommate since they met in the marines. Troy always believed that they were more than friends with benefits until his ‘boyfriend’ announced that he had five days to get out before his now pregnant girlfriend arrived on the doorstep. The fact that Troy has just arrived home from a warehouse fire with multiple injuries doesn't seem to matter. Luckily for Troy he is found back at the fire station by paramedic Alex Tate, who, seeing his injuries takes him hom ...more
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Troy has one thing happen after another. When a really bad situation turns good thanks to a new roommate, he tries to settle into a new routine. If he finds his friend attractive, does that make him a bad person?

Alex was interested in Troy from the moment he saw him. Getting him moved in was just a bonus. He is hoping they can both overcome the past, and make a bright future together.

This book was really such a bright spot. I was pleased the characters had such a banter, that they came across as
I enjoyed parts of it.

I read book 3 before this and liked it, so thought I’d try this one. I enjoy books with firefighters, especially when they have some on the job activity. I liked Alex’s character well enough, and his cousin Connie. Sammy, rescued from a fire, then needing rescue from the foster system was a nice touch. Troy though, fell short. He’s spineless with Ian, who is never punished enough and his relationship with Alex didn’t really resonate with me strongly. The steam level was oka
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars - My first by this author, and it was a pleasure to read. I liked the plot, the pace, and the characters. Troy and Alex are a sexy couple that are genuine, and therefore, their interactions feel real. They take turns moving their unexpected relationship forward, easing into it with some trepidation but a minimum of angst. There were a few interactions that mirrored some I've experienced, which added to my immersion and belief in the story. Once they connected, they were a solid team, f ...more
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
So, that was nice. I loved that Alex was a bossy little thing and Troy was into being dominated, but to be honest I would love to see Alex as a fierce power bottom rather than a dom flex (is that a thing?), but that's just me and my love for sterotypes, LOL. I was bummed to discover that (view spoiler) because he grew on me troughout the book. And I'm not sure I understood his plan?? He was (view spoiler) ...more
John-Torleif  Harris
Absolutely perfect

I loved everything about this book - the characters were all excellently written, the plot was perfectly paced, the whodunit was just the right amount of subtlety, hints and misdirection. I loved how everything in the book flowed naturally, there weren't any points where I thought that a character didn't react in a reasonable way. While there were clues throughout the story that pointed to the villain that I even noticed as odd, the misdirection was so well done that I had no c
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the second book of this series before On Duty, the first book in the series, and I don't really remember that the second one was as all over the place as this one. I liked the story, but it was a bit... I don't know. It wasn't always clear which POV it was, then sometimes it was clear that it was eg. Troy's POV, but then Alex slipped into that as well. Like I said, felt a bit all over the place. I liked the second book more than On Duty.
Now on to read Shift's End, the third book in the s
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
A nice story of a fire fighter whose boyfriend of 12 years informs him that his girlfriend is pregnant and he has to move out. He ends up moving in with a flirty paramedic who doesn't do relationships, but the relationship dance is on. Plus there is the mystery of a rash of fires in their district. I enjoy a fire fighter story so it was enjoyable. I liked Alex and his family a great deal and Troy was a bit of a machine, kept getting injured but kept moving. His ex was an asshole and I was glad w ...more
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