Title: Artic Fire
Author: Keira Andrews
Length: 100 Pages
At a Glance: Arctic Fire is a nice addition to this authors romantic repertoire, and the rugged and barren landscape only adds to the story’s tension.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: When two strangers are trapped in a blizzard, heat rises.
Haunted by what he lost in Afghanistan, Captain Jack Turner is at a crossroads. While the last place he wants to go is the Arctic, at least the routine mission gets him out from behind his new desk. But he starts off on the wrong foot with the Canadian Ranger guiding him across the forbidding and dangerous land, and Jack would rather be anywhere than sharing a tent with Sergeant Kin Carsen.
The Arctic is in Kin’s blood, and he can’t seem to leave the tundra behind. He wishes he could live openly as a gay man, but the North isn’t as accepting as the rest of Canada. Although he’s lonely, he loves his responsibility as a Ranger, patrolling the vast land he knows so well. But he’s on unfamiliar ground with Jack, and when they’re stranded alone by a blizzard, unexpected desire begins to burn. Soon they’re in a struggle to survive, and all these strangers have is each other.
Note: This gay romance features emotional repression, hurt/comfort, adventure on the tundra, and love where you least expect it.
Review: Keira Andrews’ Arctic Fire is a novella that first appeared in the Unconditional Surrender anthology, published in 2014. Not having read the story at that time, I can’t say whether it’s changed much, if at all, from the original, but I can say that reading it from start to finish in a single sitting wasn’t at all a hardship.
Introducing characters and beginning a new relationship in a short novel gives authors any number of challenges, I’m sure, since the word count doesn’t allow for a lot of backstory in which the reader can engage emotionally. What Andrews does right in this story is to give both Jack and Kin just enough tragic background for us to identify with them and the losses they’ve both experienced—tug at just the right heartstrings, and you hook me pretty much every time. This also allows for them to connect with each other in empathy as the hazardous circumstances—a blizzard on the Arctic tundra—gives the story a sense of forced intimacy that wouldn’t have been accessible just anywhere. There’s one scene alone, where Kin is helping Jack stave off frostbitten fingers, that wouldn’t have worked as well outside of the tent that served as the only barrier standing between them and the deadly elements.
The contentious start to their relationship was also a nice addition to the story. There’s no love-at-first-sight for Kin and Jack, and, thankfully, no premature I love yous before the end of the novella; only the promise that something special could come of their meeting. A little danger ramps up the connection between the two men, and the setting also goes a long way in building the bond that starts growing between them, despite the social odds against them. Getting a bit of a tutorial in Inuit customs and language is also an interesting and unique bonus to the story. Who says contemporary romance can’t be educational too?
Arctic Fire is a nice addition to this authors romantic repertoire, and the rugged and barren landscape only adds to the story’s tension.
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