Review – Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun

Publisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: review copy from author

Christmas is the perfect time for Firefighter Ronan O’Rourke to take things to the next level with his sexually adventurous girlfriend. He knows she has feelings for him—and he’s sure of his feelings for her—but when Thea refuses his invitation to sample Christmas in New York City because what they share is nothing more than sheet-burning sex, Ronan sets out to change her mind.

Deep down Thea Moretti knows she cares for Ronan, but she can’t move past her grief over her late husband. Loud music and sex with Ronan are the only things she’s got that make her feel alive, so she takes as much of both as she can get. She knows Ronan wants more, but during the darkest time of the year finding her way won’t be easy.

Ronan gambles everything and challenges Thea: one night of passion with him and another man. Can he prove to her that what they share isn’t just great sex but an emotional connection strong enough to last forever?
*Blurb from Goodreads*

From the moment I put down Liberating Lacey, I was a Calhoun fan for life. She writes such amazing characters and the smut factor in each and every book of hers I’ve read has been off the charts. Given the blurb of this book, I just knew that Thea and Ronan would have some amazing sexy times ahead of them.

Thea is grieving over the death of her husband, and her move to New York City allowed her to get lost in the crowd where no one knows her name. She can blare her rock music in her ears, work long hours, and have carefree sex with Ronan without anyone hovering over her. She doesn’t want anything lasting with Ronan, and although she knows he is starting to want more from her, she doesn’t know if she can give it to him.

Ronan loves having sex with Thea, but their physical, no-strings attached romance is starting to feel empty to him. He wants more, and despite Thea’s claim otherwise, he can see that deep down she is ready to move on. His only problem will be finding a way to convince her that she can still love her husband, and love another as well. With sex as their deepest connection, Ronan will use every trick in the book to show her that sex with him is more than just sex, it’s a second chance at love.

I was a little disappointed that this book didn’t have nearly as many BDSM undertones as most Calhoun’s books. Don’t get me wrong, there is lots of sex, and most of it is pretty kinky. But I think that Calhoun has such an incredible voice for dominate heroes and submissive heroines, and I would have liked to see that play out more in this story. I was a little worried that this would end up being a menage book that wouldn’t sit well with me, but the way that aspect of the story played out, I never even once felt like it was a true menage book!  I absolutely enjoyed all the smutty times Ronan and Thea had, and given the frequency of them…well that was just the icing on the cake.

As part of the Red Hot Holiday Anthology from Carina Press, this was a novella length story, and yet it felt as if it was a full length story for me. There was so much development on Thea’s part from start to finish, and so much seemed to progress with her relationship with Ronan that I never FELT like I was reading a novella. It was short and yet felt as if I got a full-length book. I love when stories can do that!

I felt so awful for Thea, and yet I loved the way Ronan was able to pull her out of her head, out of herself and into the land of the living. Thea really was almost zombie-like in the way that she just went through life, never really living. I was desperate for her to feel something (almost as much as Ronan was), and once she finally came to, it was like she was opening her eyes for the first time. I loved the way Ronan used their kinky sex as the way to show her just how important HE was, and not the sex in general.

All in all this wasn’t my favorite Calhoun book, but another stellar novella! I thought that the sexy times with Ronan and Thea were just as hot and engaging as her more BDSM based stories, and the different kinks were fun to read about. I loved both Ronan and Thea as characters as well, and hated saying goodbye once the novella ended. Calhoun fans are definitely in for a treat with this story!
I give Breath on Embers a B

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