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The Carlisle Cops Series by Andrew Grey is set in a small town in Pennsylvania. There are currently five books in this series, and I was very fortunate to be given a chance to read all five books in it. If you've read my previous reviews, you'll know I'm a fan of Andrew Grey's. There is just something about his stories and his men that just makes my heart sigh in happiness every time I read one of his books.
Book 5, Fire and Hail, brought the heartbreak early. New police officer, Brock started his first day on the job by pulling over his ex-boyfriend, Vincent, for speeding and then being the person that rescued two young children from the trunk of a car in the next traffic stop. What he doesn't expect is that the driver of the car, and mother of the children, is Vincent's sister. Donald and Carter take the children into their home as an emergency placement, and work with Vincent so he can become temporary guardian of his niece and nephew. Brock hasn't forgiven Vincent for ending their relationship when they were younger, but for the sake of the kids, he's willing to overlook his feelings and do what's best for them. But spending the time together and with the children forces Vincent and Brock to acknowledge what went wrong previously and what they both want now.
Brock and Vincent were both great characters. Their relationship ended previously because Vincent couldn't come out to his parents and both men regretted the end of the relationship. They've both matured and are ready for a commitment but they both have baggage they need to deal with. And, in Brock's case, that baggage is going to tie into the many issues Vincent's sister faces. Honestly, I loved that the two men were able to work through their issues, accept where they went wrong, and move on. There was no throwing it in the other's face, no continuous sniping and snarking, no using it as a weapon. It happened, they worked through it, the end.
The author did a fantastic job, again, of showing the foster care system. He accurately portrayed the work of child service workers, caregivers and the process of working towards reunification. He gave insight into a system that can be confusing to those who have never experienced it and may question why it works the way it does.
And I admit, I'm a sucker for kids in a story. Sure, sometimes they don't really work into a story, but in this series, they are just the perfect additions. I love watching all these men creating their families and seeing that the kids have such a strong part in drawing these men together. I can't recommend this whole series enough! If you like books about hope, overcoming adversity, strength, friendship, love, and family, then this series is one you must read!
The narrator of this story was Randy Fuller and I thought he did a great job. This is a series with a lot of characters so he had his work cut out for him in creating different characters. He was well paced with no awkward pauses, easy to listen to, and his voice portrayed emotions in the storytelling. He allowed the story to be the focus of his storytelling and did a great job of bringing it to life!
Fire and Hail was a nice second-chance romance with solid characters and a good story. Though this is the fifth book in the Carlisle Cops series and there are some appearances of past leading characters, it can easily be a standalone. Rookie cop Brock pulls over his college-ex, Vinnie, for speeding in the opening scene. The unresolved tension is immediately apparent but nothing comes of it until the two are again thrust into each other’s life when Brock responds to another call involving Vinnie’s niece and nephew later that same day. Things are set into motion quickly from there but the pacing never felt rushed or details glazed over. The men dealing with the frightened children makes for a very sweet romance highlighting how loving Brock and Vinnie are for the reader as well as each other, and I couldn’t help but wish for them to have a happy ending. The romance is nicely paced, not rushing into things but fairly straight forward. There is some residual hurt from the previous relationship to work through and I liked how the characters approached that aspect. It felt honest, but not drawn out or overly dramatized because the couple talks rather openly about their feelings and what they want moving forward. This was a comfortable romance, low angst with just enough conflict to keep me engaged. There are a few different conflicts and subplots running the course of the story involving Brock’s police work, the children’s rescue and Vinnie fostering them, and even introducing an unsavory ex of Brock. The action scenes were handled smoothly and definitely peaked my interest by including some twists and unexpected connections.
I’d consider Fire and Hail a lighter read in general. It deals with child endangerment, but it isn’t overly intense or specific in that area or in the police pursuit and apprehension scenes. The characters, Vinnie’s niece and nephew, and the romance between Brock and Vinnie are definitely the stars here, with the police element playing more of a secondary role. The audiobook features Randy Fuller as narrator and it paired well with the story. He had good diction, a comfortable rhythm, and read with emotion appropriate to the scene and characters, making this a nice, easy listen. I’d definitely recommend this to fans of the author or those looking for a second chance romance that isn’t angst-ridden.
*Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*