Playing with Fire (Hot in Chicago) is what great romance novels are made out of. Needless to say I have been waiting for this story since I read “Flirting With Fire.” I could not wait to see what Kate Meader would do to Alexandra Dempsey and the ever cocky-self-assured- Eli Cooper. I’m happy to say that she does not disappoint.
First, I could not wait for this book, which is sometimes a downfall because I build up so many expectations. Eli and Alexandra had my interest in the first book in the series. Eli is the mayor of Chicago. He is gorgeous and ruthless. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Alexandra Dempsey is the only female firefighter at Engine Co 6. She is often fighting to be taken seriously and is at the receiving end of people not believing in her. Eli Cooper is one of these people. He thinks that women are not as effective as men when it comes to the profession of firefighters. Alexandra breaks through all of Eli’s barriers. She is determined to prove herself and show the city, and Eli, that she is a great firewomen.
When Eli and Alexandra met in the previous book their chemistry was intense. They were so perfectly matched. They are both very strong and stubborn people. Eli, although the handsome untouchable mayor, had a rough childhood. He was orphaned when his parents were murdered in their home. Eli’s father had the reputation for being tough on crime and for taking down criminals. Alexandra also had a very different upbringing, she was the only girl in her family. Alexandra’s family consist of different foster brothers and she is the only one the Dempsey’s legally adopted. This has placed a huge responsibility on her shoulders. Following in the footsteps of her adopted father and her foster brothers has not been easy.
Although Eli would never have guessed it Alexandra is just what he needs to turn his reelection around. He wants to be mayor of Chicago for a second term but his poll numbers are very low. The public however loves Alexandra for heroic acts and her deviance. She is tough and ready to stand up for what she believes in. When there is a fire at a restaurant where Eli is, she invariably ends up saving him and he saves her. I thought this was so metaphorical for the rest of the book. As the public starts to express an interest in them Eli “convinces” Alexandra that it is in their mutual interest to give the public what they want- a romance between them.
I cannot fully express how much I LOVED this book. Meader did an extraordinary job. She left no stone unturned. We learned about Eli and his past. There were some skeletons in his closet. She also covered all aspects of the characters evolutions. Alexandra is so determined to be seen as “one of the guys” that she thinks her femininity as liability. For her part Alexandra is like no women Eli has ever met. Her bravery helps him come to terms with his past and make a new start. This book was so funny, so endearing, so sweet, so tender, so romantic, so sexy. I can go on and on. There was one part (not quoting because it’s an advanced copy) but she is all dressed up and ready to go out with him. He takes down her hair because he doesn’t want her to change for anyone… especially not him. I mean there were moments when I wanted to strangle Eli, but other moments I just could not love him more! The secondary characters consist of Alexandra’s family. Their bond is so beautiful that their interactions added to the beauty of this book. Needless to say, I’m already counting down the day until the next book in the series about Wyatt Fox and his movie star love interest- Molly Cade.
**ARC provided by Publisher**