ARC Review + Excerpt: Playing With Fire by Alison Bliss

playing with fire I received a copy of this from Entangled Publishing, in exchange of an honest review.

Finally we get Cowboy’s book. And his heroine being a librarian surprises me. Ever since I read Rules of Protection, I wanted to know what kind of woman Cowboy will fall for. And I have to agree Anna Webber is perfect for him.

Anna Webber is the quintessential orthodox librarian. Old-fashioned, Blouse buttoned up to the neck, red flaming hair in a bun, she is the epitome of prim and proper. And it takes Cowboy to bring out the wildcat in her. She just moved to a small town in Texas to spend time with her friend Bobby Jo, before she hightails it out of there and disappears forever.

For Anna relationships are a total no-no. She knows what it is like to burn and she is not interested in romance, especially with a ladies man like Cowboy. And since her life is danger, there is no point in staying. Since her move to Texas, fires are popping up around her and with Cowboy suspecting her, she has no reason to want to be  with him. Even if he is hot as hell, makes her burn and she’s had a crush on him for almost 10 years.

Cowboy can be charming when he needs to be, but when it comes to the uptight and proper Anna, he has no such luck. His kisses may make her tremble, but the woman has a will of steel. And Cowboy has no resources to fight it. Not unless he puts his all and then some into her and their relationship.

Honestly, I think Cowboy can be an ass of the first degree. For a guy who picks women left, right and center, he has no clue how to handle Anna. He offends her more often than not, and makes no excuses or apologies for being a man-whore.  For him Anna is a puzzle he wants to solve. Convincing Anna to part with her secrets is akin to putting teeth, but he perseveres.

Although I enjoyed the book thoroughly, Rules of Protection stays my favorite. Playing With Fire did not have as many humorous dialogues as the previous book. But I need to say, when Anna throws a funny liner, you’ll be laughing your ass of.

I also loved seeing the rest of the gang. Emily is as she was, a total hoot with no filter. She still has no qualms saying what comes to her mind. Jake still has to ‘control’ her. Jake has become adorable with the birth of his daughter. Bobby Jo is doing well too and her son is adorable. I can’t wait for her story.

This book too like its predecessor was unpredictable. Till the end, I had no clue about the actual culprit. One of the things that I love about Alison Bliss is that she knows how to balance romance and suspense. Her books don’t make me feel like either of them are in disproportion.

An overall enjoyable book. I can’t wait to read more of Bliss’s books.

3.5 stars


“Just dinner. I’m not asking for anything more.”

Yeah, sure…yet.

To say I didn’t trust men was the understatement of the year. And Cowboy was definitely all man. Good-looking. Charming. The kind of guy who made hearts bleed in every female within a hundred-mile radius. Even with his lack of commitment and my plans to leave town, it would still never work between us. So why waste either of our time?

“I’m sorry, Cowboy, but my answer is still no.”

His face twisted in genuine confusion, as if he’d never been told “no” before. He hesitated and then said, “It’s because you think I’m butt-ugly, isn’t it?”

I bit my lip to keep from giggling at him. He couldn’t be “butt-ugly” if he tried. “No, that’s not it, either. You just…need to stop asking me out.”

“Why? What did I do wrong?”

“You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Then what? Am I too damn pretty for you? Come on, there’s got to be something.”

I sighed at his arrogance. “Listen, Cowboy, what you did for me last night was sweet and I appreciate it. But we both know you carrying me away from that fire wasn’t some clichéd romantic gesture.”

He nodded in agreement. “More like a caretaker helping an invalid get from point A to point B. So?”

“That is exactly my point. You’re blunt, reckless, arrogant, and…frankly, a little conceited, which is something I’m not.”

“Just spit it out already. I’m a big boy. I can take it.”

I hesitated to tell him the God’s honest truth, but I had to say something to get him to leave me alone. “I don’t do short-term love affairs,” I blurted out.

Clearly caught off guard by my admission, he blinked rapidly before a smile tugged at the sides of his mouth. “You mean sex?”

I closed my eyes and sighed, embarrassment flooding my cheeks. “Yes, of course I’m talking about sex.”

“So what about long-term love affairs?” The inflection in his tone made his voice deeper, sexier.

I cracked one eye open and saw him grinning at me with a hand propped leisurely on the shelf beside me and the other at his waist, his thumb snagged in the loophole of his jeans. “Don’t make fun of me.”

“Darlin’, I’m not making fun of you. I’m only suggesting something a little longer than what you were expecting.” Then he shrugged his brows.

His cockiness pushed my buttons. “Okay, enough. Obviously you’re used to flirty women throwing their wishful hearts at your feet and their willing bodies into your bed without you barely lifting a finger. But I’m…well, I’m not interested.”

Wearing a sexy little grin, he stepped forward, forcing me to inch away from him until my back hit the bookshelf behind me. “Oh, really?” He actually sounded surprised. Arrogant jerk.

“Yes, really. I guess you find that hard to believe?”

“Sweetheart, as jumpy as you are around me, I don’t see you doing either.” His hands framed my face and his thumbs tipped my chin up. My breath hitched as his lips neared mine. “But the adorable way you’re blushing and stammering all over yourself… Well, darlin’, I’d say you have more interest than you’re letting on.”