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.
Katie Parks wakes up disoriented and terrified in the midst of smoke and fire. A masked man stands before her and lights another match, leaving her to burn with her cherished home. Confused and immobilized, Katie does what she can to free herself from the ropes that bind her to a chair, but she is unable to do more than throw the chair sideways. She blacks out from smoke inhalation and wakes only to find herself being thrown in the pool in her backyard.
When she finally regains consciousnesses in a hospital a few days later, she is shocked to find the man that saved her still waiting. She learns that he is the fireman who saved her, Holt Arkain. When he discovers that she is alone, with no one to care for her and the extensive burns she suffered on her hands, he volunteers for her to stay with him.
She agrees, but rationalizes that it's only because she doesn't have a home, money, or a car to go anywhere else and the doctor won't release her unless it's into someone else's care. As time passes, she finds more and more reasons to stay and forgets that she wanted to leave in the first place.
The premise of this books is promising...handsome savior, lonesome woman being stalked by an arsonist, sexual tension. Really all the elements that one would need to make a novel interesting and compelling. However, I found it to be more cheesy and lacking in depth. The events are really staccato. This happens, then this, and this, then that. The lack of depth to the characters and absence of any real character development disallowed my investment in the story so I was never really affected by any of the events.
The suspense could have been highlighted had there been any indication of who was causing it prior to a big reveal halfway through the novel. It's very hard to find that perfect line between romance/suspense and this one catered to the romantic aspect, leaving the suspense plot falling fantastically short.
That would have been okay, had the romance between Holt and Katie been a particularly interesting read. It wasn't. It was like an observer put two people together and said, "Mate!" It felt clinical and shallow. This is where the novel could have benefited from more character depth. As it is, Katie and Holt seemingly fell in love with each other...though for the life of me I can't remember why.
Torch is the first in Hebert's 'Take It Off" series of standalone New Adult Romantic Suspense novels and they can be read out of order. I actually read her book Tease, first.