“Time is precious. Waste it wisely.” Haddie Montgomery can’t forget those words after her beloved sister dies, but she can’t get far enough past her grief to think about anything more than the next moment. In K. Bromberg’s Slow Burn, burying the pain of loss in a whirl of high spirits, stiff drinks and hot sex is Haddie’s modus operandi—at least at first.
That’s how Haddie winds up in bed with Beckett Daniels, the gorgeous, laid-back guy she met through her best friend. He’s Country to her City, the kind of well-mannered, boy-next-door type she’s always ignored in favor of the reckless bad boys who inevitably wind up breaking her heart. But one night with Becks, as Haddie calls him, is far from the no-strings fling Haddie was looking for, because afterward, she can’t get him out of her head.
Beckett is no better off, and Bromberg gives a look at the male’s point of view by offering him a few first-person chapters. The technique brings both voices vividly to life and allows the reader to see just how much blonde, bubbly Haddie has affected Becks, who suspects from the start that something serious is lurking under her party-girl facade.
But what begins as a sexy romp—and continues that way, given the chemistry between Haddie and Becks—develops into something deeper early on. Bromberg isn’t afraid to address the kind of sobering issues that young women face, even if Haddie is. Haddie rarely thinks farther than the quick remedy of sensation—which sex with Becks admirably fulfills—to blot out worry and grief. It’s a time-honored panacea, but one that only works for so long.
Thinking past the present moment will only lead to acknowledging just how much can be lost.
And Becks is what Haddie calls a “forever” kind of guy. The kind who might want more than one steamy night between the sheets and who will expect a little more emotional honesty than “make me feel good.” But Haddie can’t do forever, not when both her mother and sister have been claimed by breast cancer. Thinking past the present moment will only lead to acknowledging just how much can be lost. In Haddie’s mind, “caring leads to devastation.”
Bromberg gives Haddie’s voice plenty of humor and snark, but the brave face Haddie puts on every day masks real fear. And when Haddie herself is faced with a frightening diagnosis, she’s forced to face her future—and how she wants to spend it.
The romance serves up the physical intimacy between Haddie and Becks with lots of spice, but it never shortchanges the true emotion that underlies their developing relationship. In the end, Slow Burn is a perfect balance of heat and heart, and another fantastic addition to Bromberg’s Driven series.
Amy Garvey is a freelance editor and the author of several romances and two novels for young adults.