Chasing Fire
By Dottie
Sep 16, 2011 - 5:20:43 PM

Since the age of eighteen, Rowan Tripp has been following in her father, legendary Iron Man Tripp’s, footsteps. For half of each year, she is a Zulie, a Missoula smoke jumper, parachuting out of planes, landing near out of control fires and putting them out. She has spent her life in Missouri, only travelling out of state when called to fight fires in other areas. Her mother had left her and her father when Rowan was just a baby, leaving her with an abandonment issue. Working constantly side by side with her fellow Zulies in such pressing, adrenaline pumping, life and death situations has made them part of her family. But she has one rule when it comes to her personal life. She refuses to get romantically involved with any of her coworkers, unable to imagine the awkwardness of working so closely with them after the romance breaks up. Her father raised her and she worships him. Since retiring from the Zulies, her father has his own parachuting company near the Zulies, always anxiously waiting to hear from his favorite girl that she had made it back in fine shape. During the season, she lives at the base. But the first thing she does when coming off of one of these assignments is to text him, letting him know she is alright. The smoke jumpers always jump in pairs and the previous year, her partner, Jim, died when his mind was not in his job and he missed the jump site, landing in the midst of the fire. She still has nightmares about him, although there was nothing she could have done differently to save him.

Gulliver ‘Gully’ Curry is a rookie Zulie this season. He has seven years of fire experience, but none of them involved jumping out of a plane. During his off season, he has an arcade, which is family owned and run in California. His parents died when he was very young, so he had been raised by his aunt and uncle. But they had never made him feel like an outsider. In fact, they had seemed like his true parents. During his training as a Zulie, he beats the mile and a half base record, earning him the nickname Flash Feet. He is very organized, studious and looks at things from all angles.

Rowan met Gully when she was sent to teach his class of rookies. Although she resisted at first, following her rule of not getting involved with a coworker, she soon found the attraction between them hard to fight. He always seemed to be there when he needed her and knew just how to handle her emotional as well as physical needs. When Dolly, who had been pregnant with Jim’s baby when he died, or at least she claimed it was Jim’s, returned as a cook for the Zulies, she also brought back her major hatred of Rowan. But when Rowan walks into her quarters to find Dolly dumping pig’s blood on her clothing, her walls, her bed and all over the room, it takes five men to pull Rowan off of her. After Dolly is fired, other strange things begin to happen and everyone believes that Dolly has targeted Rowan…until Dolly’s burnt up body is found in one of their fires. Now Gully must keep one step ahead to make sure he keeps the love of his life, Rowan, alive and safe, especially when the instigator seems to be within their ranks.

A hilarious and heartwarming read, CHASING FIRE is a sensual, witty and emotional contemporary romance that I could not put down until I had reached the very satisfying conclusion. This story grabbed me right from the first page. CHASING FIRE gives readers some idea of the dedication and hard work involved in being a smoke jumper, as well as the dangers and hazards. Especially heartwarming is the comradeship between the smoke jumpers as they urge each other on, insulting and ribbing their fellow jumpers to get them to do their best, never knowing when they will have to drop everything and answer a siren’s call. Gully has a way of knowing just how to handle Rowan’s many moods. He has a hard time resisting his beautiful ‘package of attitude,’ as he waits for her to realize that she loves him just as much as he loves her. Their banter back and forth was laugh-out-loud funny and so many times their comebacks were really unexpected. The secondary characters with nicknames like Cards, Barbie and Chainsaw added additional appeal to the story, and I would like to see some of their stories told. In addition to the very well matched romance between Gully and Rowan, there was also a romance brewing between her father and one of his older students, Ellie, a grandmother and high school principal. In CHASING FIRE, bestselling author Nora Roberts reaches for the heart and touches it. Brimming with mystery, danger, death, betrayal, family, humor, heartache, tender love and romance, CHASING FIRE is definitely a story to be read more than once. Do not miss it! I look forward to reading the next exciting story by this amazing author.

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