Torch by Cambria Hebert
Summary: If you can’t take the heat… stay away from the flame.
Katie Parks has been on her own since the age of fifteen. All she’s ever wanted is a place to call her own—a life that is wholly hers that no one can take away. She thought she finally had it, but with the strike of a single match, everything she worked so hard for is reduced to a pile of smoking ash. And she almost is too.
Now she’s being stalked by someone who’s decided it’s her time to die. The only thing standing in the path of her blazing death is sexy firefighter Holt Arkain.
Katie’s body might be safe with Holt… but her heart is another story.
As the danger heats up, sparks fly and the only thing Katie knows for sure is that her whole life is about to go up in flames.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Torch, Cambria Hebert’s first foray into “normal” new adult writing, is actually more romantic suspense starring a NA-aged hero and heroine than a true NA novel. Torch begins with an intense attempted murder by fire that pulled me right into Katie Parker’s once boring life. Rescued by sexy firefighter Holt Arkain, Katie finds herself falling in love even as she fights for her life.
By the time I finished the first chapter of Torch I was sure I’d stumbled onto a hidden gem. Hebert’s description of Katie’s struggle to escape was thrilling and left me gasping for breath. But, sadly, Torch quickly spiraled into a cliche-ridden novel, one that I seem to be finding over and over again as the NA genre becomes more popular.
Take Holt, who at 24, has already risen to the top of the ladder in the Wilmington Fire Department as fire chief. He’s a gentle soul disguised as an alpha male complete with bitch ex-wife and Ozzie and Harriet clones for parents. Katie is a product of the foster care system, that prepared her to become so fiercely independent that by the age of 22 she’d graduated college (on scholarship, of course), landed a secure job as a librarian (because books were her only friends in the lonely foster care life), and saved enough money to buy her own house.
Torch had plenty of potential. Hebert writes pretty decent dialogue and I found myself smiling often during Katie and Holt’s conversations. Told from Katie’s POV, the reader is treated to her quirky sense of humor, even during some of the more suspenseful scenes, which went a long way in developing Katie’s character. But what really sets Torch apart from its NA siblings is when Katie is fighting for her life. Hebert has a knack for writing action scenes, bringing them vividly to life.
Though the first of a series, Torch is a stand alone novel, which is actually very refreshing in this age of trilogy romance. As this is Hebert’s first NA novel, I plan on giving her another shot with Tease, the second book in the Take it Off series.