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Hotshots #2

High Heat

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Smoke jumping is Garrick Nelson’s life. Nothing, not severe injuries nor the brutal physical therapy that follows, is going to stop him from getting back with his crew. But when a lost dog shows up on his front porch, he can’t turn her away, and he can’t take care of her on his own. Thankfully, help comes in the form of his new sexy, dog-loving neighbor. As they work together, trying to re-home their little princess, Garrick can’t resist his growing attraction for the other man, even though he knows this guy isn’t the staying type.

Rain Fisher doesn’t take anything too seriously. He dances through life, one adventure at a time, never settling in one place for too long. When his hot, conveniently buff, neighbor shows up on his doorstep, dog in tow, Rain’s determined to not just save the adorable puppy, but her reluctant owner as well. He never expects their flirtation might tempt him into stay put once and for all...

Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts.

267 pages, ebook

First published July 27, 2020

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About the author

Annabeth Albert

89 books3,186 followers
Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 284 reviews
Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,311 reviews24.7k followers
June 17, 2020
High Heat is book two in the Hotshots series by Annabeth Albert. I fell in love with the first book in this series, Burn Zone, and Linc and Jacob. So, I’ve been waiting not so patiently for this next book. Either of these can be read as stand alones.

black pit bull lab mix dog pink collar - Google Search

If you read the first book, you already know that Garrick Nelson had a serious accident while smoke jumping. He broke both legs and had a serious spinal injury. Garrick’s legs have mended for the most part but he’s still in extensive physical therapy. He has crutches and a wheel chair for mobility but still has to rely on his dad for transportation and help. One thing Garrick isn’t lacking in, though, is motivation. Smoke jumping is his life. He is determined that he will get back to his former self and he will return to his crew at full throttle. He was home by himself when an injured stray dog showed up on his front porch. She was shy and scared of Garrick’s wheel chair but she wasn’t going anywhere. Not able to help her by himself, he turns to his neighbor but is surprised when her grandson comes to the door instead.

“Determination had gotten him this far. He wasn’t going to back down from a challenge.”

curly haired man in a man bun - Google Search

Rain Fisher is twenty three years old and is a sort of free spirit. He hasn’t quite figured out what he wants to do with his life yet. His latest interest was to get on a Hotshot fire crew but didn’t pass the physical test. He’s spending the summer at his grandmother’s in Painter’s Ridge, Oregon to help her out and hopefully find temporary work. When the hot neighbor wheels up to their door needing help with an injured dog, he’s all in to help out and maybe convince the neighbor to give the poor dog a forever home.

The attraction is immediate between Rain and Garrick. Rain offers to help Garrick with the dog and Garrick offers to train Rain so he can get in better shape. The more time they spend together, flirting soon turns to touching which soon turns to more. Rain is such a positive force. He just seems to know how to best help Garrick. He knows who he is and doesn’t mind flaunting it. He came into Garrick’s life at the best possible time. He is exactly what he needed. But, Garrick was known for being a bit of a player before his accident. And Rain is known for his fickle ways, flitting from one thing to another, always searching for a new adventure. As Garrick’s feelings deepen, he tries to keep reminding himself that Rain is only here temporarily.

working a fire line - Google Search

Rain gets a summer job working the hand crew for the firefighters. He loves the work but does he love it enough to stay? Does Garrick even want him to stay?

(pink) forever - Google Search

I really did enjoy these two together but for some reason, I didn’t love them as much as I did Linc and Jacob. What I did love, though, was seeing the effect that Rain had on Garrick. He was such a positive force. I also loved the relationship between Garrick and his dad. Their relationship just really stood out to me and made my heart so happy. This is an age gap romance. Unless I missed it, Garrick’s exact age isn’t given, only that he is in his thirties. Regardless of his age, though, Rain really was perfect for Garrick. You can’t help but to love him and all his quirks. Now I’m excited to see who this author might focus on next in this series!

“The best parts of my life are still to come.”

For more about this book and so many others, come and visit me at Carol's Crazy Bookish World.

Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,106 reviews432 followers
October 17, 2020
3.5 Sequel Stars - BR with Adam!

This was a very nice age gap story, full of hurt comfort and generously brimming with slow burn UST and sexual healing.

It’s recommended to read this in series order since last we saw Garrick in Burn Zone, he had suffered some serious injuries which were far worse than feared. Never mind two broken legs but add a spinal injury as well, and Garrick has been struggling (but mostly winning) at beating the odds, determined to regain full mobile function so he can get back to fighting fires as a smokejumper. When he spies a skittish stray dog, he knows he can’t fully care for it and enlists the help of his neighbor’s grandson.

Rain is visiting for the summer, and he wants to work the front lines of a fire crew. Being an animal lover, Rain sees a golden opportunity and asks, in exchange for assisting with the sweet orphaned dog, for Garrick to train and get him in shape to become a firefighter. As these two develop a routine and then a friendship, the strong attraction between them can’t be denied.

So what’s an older pansexual, known to be quite the player prior to his accident, gonna do with a free spirited young man who’s always ready to move onto the next adventure? You guessed right. Of course, as feelings inevitably develop, will either be able to trust in their own wants and needs as well as have faith the other will commit for the long haul? Will personal life expectations stymie current happiness, impeding the chance to be fulfilled now despite not yet achieving well intentioned goals??

Thankfully, there was minimal protracted angst unlike the first book. Garrick has pretty great optimism and drive in the face of so many obstacles, and Rain, despite his youthfulness, has tremendous empathy, and grace...

Overall, I enjoyed this. I can’t quite exactly pin down why this wasn’t a 4 star read for me. Assuredly, Albert always writes well - there's no doubt about that as she delivers alternating pov’s, with an overabundance of smex that is protracted, varied, and explicit (ie. manties, toys, exhibitionism, topping from the bottom) for those who need to know. Again, the wild fire scenarios were consistently well researched and lent a good amount of suspense. So, regardless of how I rated this, if you love the above mentioned tropes and have a soft spot for uniformed men in dangerous situations, then this should reliably satisfy! Enjoy!

Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review

July 8, 2020
Hotshots is another great series from the talented Annabeth Albert that I highly recommend for all men in uniform groupies. Actually, scratch that. Anyone who likes alpha males badass enough to fight fires should enjoy this series.

High Heat features an age gap and hurt/comfort overtones. Garrick and Rain are an unlikely couple, what with Garrick being a former smoke jumper recovering from a terrible accident that happened in book one and Rain being a hippy vegan.

But Garrick is pan and open about his sexuality. He loves that Rain has a femme side. Garrick and Rain bond over a lost dog that Garrick is most definitely not going to keep. Rain names the dog Cookie and makes himself useful by walking Cookie every day. It has naught to do with wanting to see Garrick. Of course not.

Garrick is struggling with his recovery. He wants to return to smoke jumping, but his body is rebelling. Garrick can walk with the help of crutches, but he mostly uses a wheelchair. He has an incomplete spinal injury and is determined to beat the odds.

My favorite thing about this story was the disability aspect. I LOVE imperfect MCs. I find it so refreshing when authors write about people who are differently abled. Garrick has some sexual dysfunction issues, but Rain is so supportive and completely willing and wanting to explore all the fun ways two people can come together.

Rain's easy acceptance of Garrick and Garrick's devotion to Rain melted my heart.

While I liked having the background regarding Garrick from the first book in the series, High Heat can be read as a standalone. This story is slower paced and dragged for me a little in the middle, but that's a minor compliant.

I can't wait for book three.
Profile Image for Cadiva.
3,278 reviews299 followers
March 28, 2021
This book beautifully examines the reality of life with a disability. Annabeth gives the reader a flawed but still deserving of love injured smokejumper Garrick, and Rain, a free-spirited man who finds that his adventures might just end up rooting him in one place.

I will add the disclaimer that I beta read this book for the author for disability rep, as I am severely disabled with physical mobility issues and swap between crutches, wheeled walker and wheelchair, although mine were not caused by a spinal accident like Garrick.

I will also say that I made miniscule changes to the narrative as Annabeth had already got the disability issues and the frustrations which go with living with a chronic and permanent physical mobility problem almost perfect.

The vast majority of comments were along the lines of oh God, yes, this is just how I feel, are you inside my head, or yep, been there, felt that too so I would congratulate and thank Annabeth for putting in the effort (as she always does with her research) to get it right.

As for the book itself. I loved both men so much. Garrick wants to get back to smoke jumping even though he really knows, deep down, that his chances are almost nil, and all Rain really wants, free-spirited though he is, is somewhere he can feel wanted and loved with all the complications that go with a relationship.

Their instant attraction to each other is complicated by Garrick's disabilities and there's no glossing over it, which I very much appreciated. I also loved Rain's wee bit of exhibitionist kink and his love of pretty underwear.

The family and friends who surround the two men are also lovingly crafted, Garrick's dad in particular was someone I absolutely adored because of his unwavering support, and Rain's gran and her mile wide streak of independence.

As for Cookie, the beautiful dog who starts the whole thing off, she's a total sweetheart and I always love books which include the importance of animals for companionship and affection.

#ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review
Profile Image for Fabi.
1,009 reviews143 followers
September 9, 2020
Low in action, high in character development.  The second installment in the Hotshots series features dual POV in an age-gap, hurt-comfort romance

Garrick was seriously injured in the previous book.  This is his recovery story with a wonderful young man who knows exactly how to help without getting in the way.

Rain is a lovely young man still looking for his calling in life.  He quickly develops a crush on his handsome neighbor. With the help of a rescued dog, they forge a friendship that becomes so much more to both of them.

This is a slow burn romance dealing with severe injuries for one MC.  It's a heart lifting, feel good story.

3.5 stars

Review ARC graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley

Profile Image for Steven.
1,052 reviews383 followers
July 28, 2020
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I very much enjoyed this second book in the Hot Shots series by Annabeth Albert. What's not to love about sexy firefighters into dudes???

I liked the progression from helping hand to friends to flirting to more. I liked the age difference being there but only being a minor deal. I liked the originality of the characters - representing actual people and personalities.

The drama at the end between them seemed a little forced and out of place, and the way they talk through their feelings got a little repetitive as they kept saying the same things over and over. Men are capable of talking about their feelings, absolutely, and this was a great representation of that, but it was clearly written by a woman. Don't get me wrong, I love MM and the genre is dominated by women, but sometimes it can be hard to read as a gay man, knowing they'll never actually experience what they're writing about. I guess that they're writing what they want for the huge female MM fanbase as well.

All in all, I really enjoyed this one. I was especially impressed with how the author handled Garrick's injuries, recovery, and acceptance of his situation.

Definitely read the first book before this one, but I'd recommend both for some lovely MM good times.
Profile Image for Adam.
610 reviews309 followers
July 30, 2020
Tag team review with R!

Rain and Garrick have little in common. Except for two things - the injured dog they suddenly become responsible for, and an undeniable mutual attraction.

Starting off as strangers, they quickly bond over taking care of Cookie, the playful stray that showed up on Garrick’s doorstep and decided to stay.

And after some initial hesitation, both men are more than happy to explore what’s between them.

I liked how easy Garrick and Rain were with the physical part. Yes, Garrick does have misgivings about the age gap, but they’re both on board to have some fun. And they definitely brought the heat!

Bonus points for the easy acceptance of Rain’s femme side!

But things are far from simple. Garrick struggles with injuries he sustained on the job, and Rain can’t stay in one place too long before the itch to move on hits. And both of those things affect their ability to build a meaningful relationship.

I really appreciated that Annabeth Albert didn’t gloss over or minimize what Garrick’s injuries meant. There’s no miraculous recovery or easy fix to get back to “normal”.

However, it’s not an easy thing for Garrick to accept. His refusal to face facts was a bit annoying at times, but it was understandable - holding on to that hope of getting back to the life he used to have was the motivation Garrick needed to push through the gruelling recovery.

However, more than Garrick’s stubbornness, it’s Rain’s wandering way of life that puts an expiry date on what the two men have between them.

But the heart doesn’t stick to timelines! Through walks with Cookie, cozy dinners at home, and nights spent in each other’s arms (and eventually even shared days at work), the Rain and Garrick’s lives slowly become entwined.

The way Rain and Garrick fell in love and built a shared home without even realizing it was absolutely adorable. It was easy to root for them, and I really wanted them to make things work!

It takes a hard reckoning for Garrick and Rain to finally get their heads on straight, but their HEA made the uneasy road worth it!

Overall, I enjoyed ‘High Heat’ a lot more than I did book 1 in this series, and I’m invested enough to see what book 3 has to offer!

Profile Image for Saimi Vasquez.
1,305 reviews59 followers
May 11, 2022
Garreth esta luchando por volver al equipo de Bomberos Forestales Paracaidistas, pero despues de casi 1 ano de su accidente no tiene buenas perspectivas, y aunque por fin esta volviendo a vivir en su casa y valiendose por si mismo, no puede evitar sentirse solo. Asi que cuando un dia aparece un perro perdido en la puerta de su casa, lo unico que se le ocurre es pedir ayuda a su vecina (quien tiene 2 perros), solo para encontrarse con el hombre mas atractivo que ha visto en mucho tiempo. Esa atraccion, mas la necesidad que tiene Garreth de ayuda no solo con el perro sino con varias cosas en su dia a dia, los llevan a mantener una relacion que poco a poco va pasando de amistad a mas.
Rain siempre ha sido un alma libre y siempre dispuesto a ayudar, y cuando su madre lo convence de ir con su abuela por el verano para ayudarla, sale corriendo a la perspectiva de un cambio de aires y de una nueva aventura. Lo que no espera es que la aventura venga en forma del caliente vecino de su abuela y un perro abandonado, quienes parecen necesitarlo mas. Asi comienza su relacion con Garreth, una relacion que no solo va a superar la amistad, sino que esta pronta a convertirse en amor.
Pero ambos tienen que superar muchas cosas, Garreth tiene que comenzar a aceptar su condicion y que merece ser feliz con Rain. Y Rain tiene que aprender a confiar en lo que Garreth dice y en sus propios sentimientos. Asi que ambos deberan enfrentarse a duros retos que solo podran superar si existe una verdadera confianza y amor entre ambos.

El libro es bastante sencillo, no hay grandes revelaciones, pero si muchos momentos que queria golpear a uno o a ambos protagonistas, porque no podia entender si realmente ninguno estaba guardando nada, y se estaban comunicando como debe ser, porque todavia "sufrian" por el otro? Eso fue lo mas tonto de todo el libro. Sin embargo, me gusto mucho saber de Garreth, un personaje muy complejo que llego a explorarse bastante, pero que siento que todavia le falto mas explorar sus relaciones con sus otros amigos. El personaje de Rain, fue todo lo contrario, habia momentos de nino malcriado que odio, pero otros en que realmente se sentia que iba a avanzar y no llegaba, no se siento que el personaje no termino de desarrollarse en todo el libro.
Ademas, extrane a los otros integrantes del grupo de Bomberos Forestales, si Garreth era el amigo de todos, donde estaban todos cuando los necesitaba? Ni siquiera para una fiesta? Y se que al final la hubo, la gran reunion, pero siento que debio de haber sido antes, sobre todo con Lincoln y Jacob.
Pero bueno, la serie sigue siendo entretenida, asi que voy a continuar leyendola.
Profile Image for Ele.
1,268 reviews41 followers
August 21, 2020
I think I have to accept I don't mesh with this author anymore.
Profile Image for True Loveislovereview.
2,172 reviews1 follower
July 27, 2020
An injured homeless dog brought them together and now Rain is crushing on Garrick, who’s also injured and walks with crutches. Maybe they can have some fun, just for the time being of course. Rain will not stay long enough to start something even though that’s exactly what he’s looking for.

Rain lives next door with his gran. He’s looking for a job with the wild firefighters.
He wants Garrick, who’s a smokejumper, to train him, in exchange he’ll help with the dog.
Rain a sparkling rainbow unicorn and Garrick can only admire him. Before you know they share their bodies in a very good way.
Garrick and Rain are so smitten with each other. Garrick is getting stronger and more independent, Rain is offering an opportunity with wild firefighters only in California and not here. Rain wants Garrick to ask him to stay but Garrick won’t do it

Throughout this story, we get to know them so well. Because of the injuries parts of Garrick’s body don’t work quite well as he wished, Rain is very easygoing about it. Always the very positive one, not only positive he also got a lovely kinky side.
Together they are sweet, sensual, expanding the horizon, try out new ways.
It’s about to dare to make choices, to step out of the comfort zone.

It was a convincing narrative, entertaining, honest, and close to the heart. This author always writes in the best engaging way, always with a good balance between the main story, side stories, romance, lighthearted and heavy issues, the characters always have layers and you can only love them!
Overall a very entertaining, well developed, engaging narrative.
Profile Image for ~Mindy Lynn~.
1,396 reviews579 followers
August 6, 2020
3.5 Stars!

This was a sweet read about two guys not really knowing where their place in the world was and who ended up finding it with each other.

Ever sine Garrick had his accident he has been working hard with his physical therapist to get back into smoke jumping shape. He's determined to make it back to his crew even if his doctors are not as confident in that being possible. He's pretty much kept to himself during his recovery and not seeing much of anyone but his dad. That all changes when an injured pup makes her way onto his porch. In his condition he's not in the best of shape to help her on his own and seeks out his neighbors help. Instead of his elderly neighbor he gets her very attractive younger grandson, Rain.
Rain is young and a free spirit who seems to move easily onto the next place and adventure. Right now he has his heart set on being a part of the Hotshot crew. Rain failed his physical endurance test so he offers his help with the pup in return gets Garrick to help him train for the nest physical test.
Garrick and Rain are attracted to each other even if Garrick has some concern about their age difference. But Rain has an understanding for the struggles that Garrick finds himself in when it comes to his disabilities, especially the bedroom ones. Rain doesn't make him feel like there is something wrong with him. He encourages Garrick in all the right ways a partner should in and out of the bedroom. Garrick does the same for Rain. He praises Rain's hard work and dedication to achieving his dreams. Accepts his love for his favorite pony character and his lace underwear. They really are a great match for each other as you can see as the book goes on.

A bit of misunderstanding is the standard in most books and it was no different in this story. I was only relieved it wasn't over the top and that it didn't last long.

This was a good addition to this series. I look forward to the next one.

Happy reading dolls!

I was given an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Gustaf.
1,393 reviews120 followers
December 27, 2020
I enjoyed this book in the beginning, then it got long and boring and nothing really happened. While I deeply disliked one of the MC's in the first book I didn't in this one, but I didn't really care either.

Garrick is the smoke jumper who got hurt at the end of the first book, he's still not healed but determined to get there one way or another. Rain is moving over and over again, trying to find his next big adventure. He's also much younger than Garrick. Can two men so different find common ground? I wasn't sure until the very end of this book.

What I did like is Garrick accepting Rain and his love for lace and pretty things fully.
Profile Image for Emily Seelye.
726 reviews25 followers
July 27, 2020
This is in my top 5 Annabeth reads. Not since At Attention have I enjoyed one of her couples so much. These guys were perfect for each other.

The only criticism is that I wish they wouldn’t have had such low expectations going into the relationship. Obviously, things work out, but they could have saved each other some heartache, if they’d had a conversation sooner.

* I had an ARC
Profile Image for Alisa.
1,767 reviews174 followers
October 4, 2020
I liked this very much. This was a quite kind of slow book but not it a bad way. These two guys become friends and fall in love all while communicating like adults and not being drama llamas. I also really loved the way the author handled the way they learned to modify their day to day living and their sex lives based on Garrett's injuries. It was a unique situation and I really appreciate that this author regularly writes books with all kinds of characters and all kinds of lifestyles. I don't think any other author includes as much diversity in this way and I really love it.

**ARC received through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for .Lili. .
1,162 reviews260 followers
August 14, 2020
High Heat by Annabeth Albert is an excellent addition to the Hot Shots series.

-Age gap
-Opposites attract
-AWESOME main characters
-Dual POVs
-HOT chemistry

Garrick and Rain are up there as one of my characters from Annabeth Albert. Their acceptance, understanding, and respect for each other were felt on every page.

I also need to mention how much I love the way Annabeth Albert handled Garrick's recovery. It was everything.

Highly recommend it.

4.5 Stars
Profile Image for Trio.
2,931 reviews171 followers
February 13, 2022
Beautifully performed by Iggy Toma.

There's some pretty steamy sex in High Heat. There's steamy sex in almost all of Annabeth Albert's novels, you say? Well, yes that is true... but I stand behind my statement 100%. You'll just have to read (or listen to) it and see for yourself.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,645 reviews1,002 followers
August 19, 2020
I've given this a B at AAR.

High Heat, book two in Annabeth Albert’s  Hotshots  series, picks up the story of Garrick Nelson, one of the crew of Smoke Jumpers based near the fictional town of Painter’s Ridge in central Oregon. Garrick was badly injured during a jump at the end of book one, Burn Zone, breaking both his legs and incurring a spinal injury, but by the time High Heat opens some six months later, he’s out of hospital and back at home.  He’s still undergoing intense physical therapy and gets around on crutches or in a wheelchair, and he’s absolutely determined he’s going to get back to doing the job he loves – no matter how hard he has to work and train, smoke jumping is all he’s ever wanted to do and he’s completely focused on getting back on the team.

When an injured dog shows up at his front door, Garrick heads over to his neighbour’s house to ask for help – Shirley has dogs and hopefully will be able to lend him a leash and know which vet to call.  To his surprise, it’s not Shirley who opens the door but a gorgeous young man he quickly realises must be her grandson.  Also a surprise is the zing of attraction Garrick feels – something he hasn’t experienced much of since the accident.

Vivacious, quirky Rain Fisher has come to live with his grandmother for a few months while he figures out what he wants to do and where he wants to go next, and he’s definitely noticed her distractingly hot neighbour.  He helps Garrick get the injured dog – whom they name Cookie – to the vet and decides to encourage him to keep her, at least until a suitable ‘forever home’ can be found.  Back at Garrick’s house, Rain offers to help get Cookie settled, and then to come over to take her for walks; and when Garrick points out that Rain shouldn’t have to give up his time each day to do that, Rain has a ready answer.  He wants to get a job on a hotshot crew, and needs to make sure he’ll meet the fitness requirements.  Given his background, Garrick knows exactly what Rain will have to be able to do and how best to get into shape, so Rain suggests that in return for helping out with Cookie, Garrick becomes his (sort of) personal trainer and helps him work towards passing the fitness tests.

What starts out as Rain calling in to pick up Cookie for her twice-daily walks soon turns into shared meals, hanging out together and interesting conversation, and the attraction that had sparked between them at their first meeting turns flirtatious and then into more. They agree to a fling; Rain has never been one for staying in one place too long, and Garrick has never been the relationship type, so a short-term thing will suit them both. But this is the first time Garrick has contemplated having sex since the accident, and with his doctors and therapists focusing on the physical and neurological effects of his injuries, he hasn’t felt able to express his concerns about his sexual function, which has certainly changed since he was injured. This aspect of the story is handled really well; Rain is completely unfazed by any of it and encourages Garrick to talk about his concerns and seek help. He’s wonderfully accepting and supportive, always taking his cue from Garrick and making it very clear that he’s completely on board with whatever they are able to get up to ;) Rain may be young, but he’s very mature in a lot of ways; his upbringing in a kind of commune where people shared and mucked in to help each other has stuck with him, but more than that, he genuinely likes making himself useful and doing things that make people happy. He impressed me from the moment he asked Garrick “Can you tell me the best way to help you?” when he was going to drive Garrick and Cookie to the vet’s, and I really liked the way he shows his care and affection for Garrick in lots of subtle (and some not so subtle!) ways.

Like Burn Zone, High Heat has a May/December thing going on, and it’s a trope I enjoy when handled well, as is the case here. I don’t think Garrick’s exact age is mentioned, but I’m guessing mid-thirties, while Rain is twenty-three, so it’s a gap of a bit over a decade; and while Rain does sometimes tease Garrick about it, it’s never really an issue for them. Rain is outgoing and affectionate and brimming with self-confidence, but he’s also dragged down by his family’s well-meaning teasing about how he’s too restless to settle, memories of how his natural exuberance was often too much for some people to take, and his mother’s exasperation over his being (as she described it) too needy when he was a kid.

Ms. Albert does a great job of showing that while in many ways Rain and Garrick are opposites, they’re just what the other needs. They’re cute together and I enjoyed their romance, but this is also a story about the need to adapt and change, recognising that the future we map out for ourselves sometimes takes an unexpected turn and that the path we’ve chosen may no longer the one we should be following. Garrick needs to accept that his life has changed irrevocably and learn how to move forward; Rain needs to consider that maybe he’s chasing the wrong dream and learn to trust in himself more.

The author points out in her notes at the end that she spent time researching and speaking to people with injuries similar to Garrick’s and that certainly shows, as she handles the subject of his physical and mental state with respect and sensitivity. There are cameo appearances from other members of the crew, notably Linc and Jacob, and I wanted to single out Garrick’s dad for special mention, specifically the relationship between them, which is very nicely judged.

The biggest issue I had as regards the romance is that the conflict – which is fairly minimal – stems around one of those arguments where one character thinks they know what’s best for the other and is out to sacrifice their own happiness because of it; it’s one of my ‘least favourite things I want to read in a romance’.

Apart from that, I enjoyed Garrick and Rain’s story and while I perhaps didn’t connect with them as much as with Linc and Jacob in the previous book, High Heat is well worth a recommendation, and I’m looking forward to reading book three, Feel the Fire, this autumn.
Profile Image for Nadine Bookaholic.
3,510 reviews318 followers
July 30, 2021
Annabeth Albert delivers a HIGH HEAT, Hurt/Comfort, May/December, Romance that is sure to have readers rooting for Garrick and Rain right from the start.

I was looking forward to Garrick's story after Annabeth Albert told me a little about it in our Author Interview for BURN ZONE, once I heard there was a matchmaking dog involved I was all over it! I mean seriously I know I am going to have a great read because of whose writing the book but once you throw in a dog that somehow gets two guys together it's like catnip....or puppy chow for me. ;)

You can read my full review HERE

high heat annabeth albert

Nadine's Obsessed with Books **I have voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book for my Blog, Nadine's Obsessed with Books**
You can find me here:  https://linktr.ee/NadineBookaholic
Profile Image for Ben Howard.
885 reviews98 followers
February 16, 2022
3.5 stars!

Hotshot Garrick Nelson is recovering from an injury obtained while on the job, that has left him having to use crutches and a wheelchair. He's determined to recover enough to be able to rejoin the Hotshot crew.

Rain Fisher is known for not taking things too seriously, and for not staying in one place for too long. When a stray dog introduces Rain to Garrick, it looks like he might have found his place.

High Heat by Annabeth Albert is an fun read that features: a super cute doggo that brings our characters together, an age-gap relationship, and a lot of steamy scenes.
Profile Image for Papie.
626 reviews116 followers
August 1, 2020
3.5 stars
I liked it better than the previous book, because I didn’t have an intense dislike for a character like I did with Linc, but it was a little boring to be honest.

Garrick got injured at the end of book 1, and a year later, he is still not fully walking but is convinced he will go back to 100% and smoke jumping. He hates asking for help, and is pretty much in denial about his future. He meets his neighbour’s 23yo grandson, and they immediately click and the attraction is undeniable. It starts as a summer fling, and develops into more. But they are both scared to commit and be rejected.

I liked the two MCs. Their friendship was sweet. I was less excited about their relationship. The sex scenes felt very clinical, mostly because of Garrick’s issues, but I’ve read other books with disabled MCs and the sex can be a lot hotter than that. But more than anything, I was very annoyed at Rain’s attitude starting around the 70% mark. I felt he was being immature and everything would have been solved so much easier if he had just told Garrick his feelings. I felt that Garrick was being nice and reasonable and Rain was all “He rejected me!”. No. You did that yourself.

And then I got bored. So the last few chapters felt like they dragged on forever.

I will keep reading this series though, as the next book features a second chance romance, where they broke each other’s hearts years ago, and that’s one of my favourite tropes. So bring it on, even though the first two books were not my favourite.
Profile Image for Rachel Emily.
4,001 reviews267 followers
July 29, 2020
This is the second book in the Hotshots series, and although it does stand well on its own, I think you'd enjoy it more if you read the first book. Garrick is introduced there and we learn of his horrible accident that sets up his journey to recovery in this book.

Garrick is slowly recovering from his leg and spine damage, when a stray dog, Cookie, and a much younger man, Rain, come into his life. I don't remember an exact age, but I would say that Garrick is in his late thirties, whereas Rain is 23.

I absolutely loved the impact that Rain had on his life. He made Garrick happy, they meshed so well together despite Rain's cheerful disposition and Garrick's grumpy side. If you're a fan of hurt/comfort, you'll definitely like this, as the two of them have to work together to figure out how to make things work with Garrick being on crutches or in a wheelchair.

As with some other books I have read from Annabeth, I love how she tackles communication on physical activity between the characters. Garrick and Rain have to work around some effects from Garrick's disability, but still find plenty of ways to enjoy each other. And I love that Garrick was so openly interested in Rain's love of satin and lace.

Another solid book in this series. I do wish they could have talked a bit sooner, because while communication on taking care of each other was great, they both had a lot of worries over their future together, despite both wanting it.

Can't wait for the next book in the series!

I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,645 reviews1,002 followers
April 7, 2021
4.5 stars

I reviewed the ebook version HERE, so I won't rehash that. The audio has the added bonus of Iggy Toma's narration - he's always easy to listen to, does a good job with the characterisations and with the emotional content of the story. Recommended
Profile Image for Evie Drae.
Author 5 books137 followers
July 23, 2020
I received a copy of this book via the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’m always down for a good “sexy person in uniform” book, so when I was offered a spot on the blog tour for Annabeth Albert’s High Heat, I smashed that “Yes, please!” button with a quickness. Ms. Albert is a new-to-me author, but after completing this story, she definitely will not be a one-and-done. I picked this book up without having read book one in the Hotshots series, so I can attest to it being a satisfactory standalone. However, after discovering book one gave some background into the harrowing accident one this book’s MC’s Garrick suffers that leads into his current status in book two, I wish I would’ve read it first. Just for some context.

I aim to avoid spoilery content in my reviews, so I’m going to attempt to handle this one no different, but if anything slips in, I’ll warn you ahead of time. The story starts off with Garrick in a wheelchair—but with the ability to use special forearm cuff crutches for short distances—and undergoing intensive physical therapy. His goal is to get back to the job he loves as a smoke jumper, and he is incredibly and admirably dedicated. His love interest Rain is a free-spirited sweetheart with a penchant for being the center of attention and showing off his femme side with some seriously sexy/adorable attire.

This was one of those reads that I couldn’t stop thinking about when I wasn’t reading it. I whole-heartedly admit (unless my boss reads this review, then I’ll swear up, down, and to the left that someone hacked my blog and I’d never do such a thing) I totally sneak-read this at work because I couldn’t focus otherwise. I would do a task, then reward myself with a couple pages of Garrick and Rain. Their relationship was something else. Rain has a genuine pure heart and loves to help others for the sake of helping others. So, with Garrick learning to live with his disability, Rain becomes an integral part of his adaptations. When he’s needed, he is always there, but he also supports Garrick in finding ways to do things himself. It’s a heavy topic—much heavier than I thought I was walking into with this read—but I believe it was done very, very well.

As a nurse who worked on a stepdown unit focusing on spinal cord injuries, I can attest that Ms. Albert did her research, and for that I am grateful. Garrick’s injury—to my limited but still more in depth than the lay person knowledge—is portrayed with accuracy and care. Right down to concerns in the bedroom. (I’ll stop there… spoilers!) This is something I appreciate more than I can say, because I went into this assuming Garrick would be injured for the first few chapters then start making miraculous progress and by the end, he’d be one-hundred percent back to normal. As if his HEA depends on his return to fully-abled status, which is a painful stereotype that hurts the disabled community. Kudos to Ms. Albert for handling this story with realism and respect.

Right up until about 75% percent in to this read, it was a solid 5-stars. I debated whether to let the final quarter affect my rating because I loved the first 3/4 so very, very much. However, I went from devouring the pages like a reader starved to checking—frequently—to see how much was left. This saddens me, because had the book ended around, oh, 80%? It would’ve been an easy contender for my coveted Best Read in 2020 spot. My biggest issue with the end—which, in all actuality, was filled with some wonderful character-building and relationship-building moments that would’ve held some serious impact earlier in the story—is that it felt like it had about 4 different endings. 🙈

If nothing else, this book has taught me why my editors always tell me to come back from your black moment, make things right with your characters, and then cut and run. I’m always tempted to add just one more sweet, couple-y moment to the end to show how happy they are together, but get my wrists slapped when I do. And this absolutely delightful book helped me understand why. Once the tension is over, readers start to disengage. Yes, we want to see the characters find their HEA, but we don’t want to live said HEA for another 20% of the book’s total read time. It becomes tedious and no longer holds our interest.

That being said, I would still recommend this book whole-heartedly. It was a well-written, well-crafted, and well-thought-out romance with solid disability rep and delightful characters.
Profile Image for Santy.
1,162 reviews62 followers
July 27, 2020
While this is Book #2 of the series, I think it can comfortably be read as a standalone so do not worry if you want to pick this up as it is.

If you did read the previous book however, you'll recall how Garrick(one of the MCs in this book) had a horrific accident that left him so broken, it is a wonder he made it out with his life. This book detailed not only how he got back his health, but also how he adjusted to a new way of life. He was gruff(but inherently kind) and he had to learn new things about himself during his recovery process that endeared him to me. Also, how he treated Rain was just great. There is really nothing like someone who accepts you for who you are unconditionally.

Rain (I love the name by the way) was your quintessential free spirited person who loved to move from one exciting adventure to the other. He was kind, bubbly, and a steadfast figure for Garrick as he struggled with himself and all the adjustments that he had to make in his life. He was understanding and compassionate in all his actions and it made me love him as a person even when I was afraid he might "Ghost" on Garrick.

The relationship between these two men was pretty solid considering the age gap. Rain, for all his flight-risk tendencies had a level head and faced each issue that arose with admirable maturity, preferring to talk about it rather than overreact and flounce off like others might be inclined to. Garrick was also the same and this made reading about them a breath of fresh air amidst all these "non-communicating" couples in some romances you read about.

The only issue I had with this great book was that we didn't get as much fire-fighting action as we did in the previous book. Whereas in that book, it was a balance between fire fighting and the relationship being built, in this the fire fighting got very little page time and left me wanting more.Hopefully, we get more of that balance in the next book.

Nonetheless, as you can infer from all I've written above, I really enjoyed this book and will be impatiently waiting for the next instalment (Ryland's book I think). Bring it on Annabeth Albert!

***eARC Provided by Publisher via Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest, Unbiased Review***
August 1, 2020

Actual Rating 3.75 Stars

Disclaimer: An eARC was provided via Publisher and Netgalleyin echange for an honest review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own.

An age gap m/m romance that will scorch your kindle/e-reader once you start reading it! This is the second book in the Hotshot Series – though I didn’t find any issue connecting to the story and the characters; though some secondary characters were mentioned throughout the book!

Garrick suffered through one of the worst injuries as part of his firefighting duties – he is however determined to get back on his feet, figuratively and literally, even though its an uphill climb. He identifies as pansexual; and though with his sexual activities restricted (mostly cause of his injuries), he wasn’t expecting to be confronted by the grandson of his neighbour, a young femme man, Rain who is the only one he has found himself to be sexually attracted to in a long time, even though he was a player before his accident.

Rain, on the other is a confident young man, very comfortable with his sexual identity and is definitely attracted to the older man living next door to his grandmother – Garrick. A man he meets when he rescues a pup and needs his grandmother’s help!

Garrick and Rain are instantly attracted to each other and are absolutely okay keeping their “relationship” low – key and at whatever physical level they both are comfortable with. The age gap between them is more of a social constrict than a restriction they put on themselves.

Can I just say that I am all here for the absolute confidence and reverence the author has treated the representation of pansexuality as well as the easy acceptance that Garrick the femme side of Rain – the fact that it was easily considered to be a part of who Rain is as a human being; than efforts being made to dampen his very colourful personality!

It is a personal issue that I had, was with the overemphasis on the sexual aspect of their relationship beyond what was actually required for their relationship – yes, I get it that theirs was a purely physical relationship; more for fun rather than long term need. Yet still I still believed that their’s sexual relationship took more page time than was required.

Absolutely scorching, slow burn romance that neither Garrick nor Rain realise that they are building towards – a shared home, including a cute and adorable pup both of them fall in love with, without even realising it! Would definitely recommend this one to the readers of this genre!

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Profile Image for Kim.
2,463 reviews149 followers
June 21, 2020
Garrick Nelson suffered major injuries in a smoke jumping accident and he has been working hard for a year to get back on his feet. He is self-isolating, broody, and determined. He is still hindered by crutches or a wheelchair, but has single-minded focus on getting back to work as a hotshot and smoke jumper. That is until a dog in need finds himself on his porch. When Garrick goes to the neighbor for help, her twenty-something grandson is willing to help with anything Garrick and the dog need.

Rain is just supposed to be staying with his grandmother for a few months until he figures out where he is going to complete school. He is confident, glam, adventurous, and thrives on attention. And he loves men in and out of uniform and is not shy about it. His current plan is to train and get on a hotshot crew. But he is known for being a free spirit and moving on to the next exciting thing when he gets bored.

These two become friends who flirt and gradually more. Rain has a deep need to help others, but also likes being seen and appreciated for just who he is. Garrick is older and knows he has limitations. He is honest about his pansexuality and is not turned off by Rain's sparkly personality. I loved seeing how Rain supports Garrick even with sensitive situations. I found their intimate scenes to be unique and powerful due to the trust and vulnerability required. I liked that Garrick's injuries were not magically healed and that they had to deal with certain real situations. I thought it was handled in a very honest and respectful way.

But these guys do have challenges. They are both afraid to trust, of loss, and worry about the other sacrificing. Their communication sometimes gets clouded with emotions and fears. One man seems to be losing his dreams while one might be getting an opportunity to chase his. Rain never intended to stay, but is troubled at the thought of leaving. Garrick does not want to try to clip Rain's wings no matter how it might hurt. Can they find a way past their fears to merge their futures or are they destined to just be a temporary fling?

I enjoyed this sweet and emotional, age-gap, opposites-attract love story. But it is also about Garrick finding his purpose after his injury and Rain finding his as well. I liked that Garrick's recovery was not sugarcoated and that he had real issues and struggles. I liked how Rain took things in stride and was such a positive and accepting person. I loved how they just balanced and fit so well, and gave each other hope. But they could be stubborn with self-sacrificing behavior and some miscommunication. It is not an easy situation, but they will have to figure out if they are worth the risk.

We get glimpses of Linc and Jacob from the first book. Their families also add some dynamics to the story. I really appreciated Garrick's relationship with his dad and Rain's with his grandma. There are some situations regarding fires and the team as well. I am looking forward to the mysterious Ryland's book next.
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Profile Image for Amber’s reading.
538 reviews97 followers
August 9, 2020
High Heat is the 2nd book in the Hotshots series, but can be read as a stand-alone. This was a nice age-gap MM romance about an injured firefighter about a year into his recovery and a cute younger guy visiting his grandmother for the summer. A cute stray dog brings the two men together, which was a nice and heartwarming touch.

This MM romance is very approachable for new MM readers. I’d say the steam and angst are very mild, but nice. We get to meet characters from the past novel, and most likely ones for future novels in the series.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and the story of Garrick and Rain. They were both very likable characters and Annabeth Albert’s writing was solid.
Profile Image for Didi.
1,535 reviews86 followers
July 2, 2020
3.75 Stars

”I’ve had plenty of reasons to jump before, but never such a good one to come back to earth for. You’re something else.”
HIGH HEAT followed Garrick Nelson’s life after the severe injuries he suffered in “Burn Zone” the first book in Albert’s “Hotshots” series. It’s almost a year after the accident and - defying doctors’ prognosis - he could walk again; but it’s still far from his pre-injuries fitness. His friendship with Rain Fisher started when Rain helped him with a lost dog situation and progressing from there.

Garrick intrigued me from his earlier appearance on “Burn Zone” and I’ve been really keen to find out how he fared after the horrible accident. He was as upbeat as I thought of him at first, even during his low moment - which I like in an MC, making the atmosphere of the book not all gloom and doom considering the issue. Rain was a sassy character who farther enlivened the story with his incessant and shameless flirting.

I just loved these two together. Garrick wasn’t exactly out in the previous book, but for him to acknowledge (his pansexuality) to Rain and openly showing affection spoke volume. The chemistry and dynamic between them were obvious; a blend of fun and consuming. Add Cookie the rottie to the mix and the trio became such a cute picture together.

More than the lovey dovey, lusty sequence, this book also told the journey of two opposite characters coming to terms with what they perceived as their dream. Between Rain and his hippie family and Garrick’s more traditional upbringing, I loved the relationship between Garrick and his father - not something common in book world nor in real life - even envy them for it. Which also adding plus point to the overall story.

And I guess I learned to like Linc more in this book. I wasn’t too taken with his (and Jacob’s) book but this second entry is a one eighty of what I felt then. Yes, I wish Garrick would stop burying his head in the sand sooner, yet at the same time applaud both men that they took time to consider. Oh, and this book also introduced a character who would star in their own book after this. I really can’t wait for this next installment to come!

Copy of this book is kindly given by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,773 reviews500 followers
August 22, 2020
3.75 stars rounded up

I disliked the first book, Burn Zone . I had hard time to remember secondary characters from that book so I didn't really remember about Garrick. But boy, add one sassy caring younger neighbor and a cute dog named Cookie, and this book was wonderful read for me!

I loved that Garrick was secure enough in his pansexuality -- and although there was age gap, he didn't completely shy away from introducing the younger Rain to his friends or family. I LOVED his relationship with his father!! I am so bloody happy whenever I read queer characters that have solid loving relationship with their parents.

I loved that Rain was flirty around Garrick and he could make Garrick deal with his grief and loss of not being able to be smoke jumper anymore. Rain was a fun character to read.

The big 'conflict' in this book, is of course Garrick trying to make Rain "sees" the world, being young and have opportunity to reach big. Usually this kind of attitude annoys me - just because one is older doesn't mean that you know better. But in this book, somehow, I can understand both Garrick and Rain's perspectives. Sure, I wish Garrick understands Rain's insecurities earlier... but it's all good in the end anyway.

So yes, this is much better than the first book... and now I'm waiting for the third one with quite interest because, well, SECOND CHANCES romance! My favorite trope!
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