Hot Shot by Karina Halle
Release Date: January 2nd, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Hang Le
5 BRAVE CROWNS
The Northridge series of standalones have been my favorite Karina Halle novels ever! Everything from the Nelson Brothers, to the town, to the host of secondary characters always felt like coming home!
Fox is such a broken character and very different from his brothers. Karina Halle opens the story with a flashback that not only serves to explain what motivates Fox but also to create sympathy for him, and boy do we feel sympathy for him. Even when he is shutdown and cold to those who love him, we ache for scared and alone little boy inside. Our hearts only further break when we realize that this man doesn’t know love and doesn’t know himself. His downward spiral although foreshadowed is hard to watch, but it only makes his comeback that much more rewarding.
I have loved Delilah from the very beginning. My heart broke for her in the previous books when we saw her yearn to be truly seen by Fox. Our souls shatter with hers every single time Fox says the wrong thing. We cheer for her when she finally recognizes what she deserves and won’t settle for less. Underneath all this steel is a woman who wants to be loved and cherished and is vulnerable, making her a relatable heroine and a woman who deserves to have her happily ever after.
Hot Shot is a romance but it is also about learning to forgive yourself and recognizing that you are worthy of love. It exemplifies how someone else’s love can only take you so far, and that for true happiness to occur that is has to come from within. Because of this, Fox and Delilah’s journey is hard and filled with angst. It is also, though, filled with hope, a dream that you can get better and that life can be everything you want it to be.
Hot Shot by Karina Halle is the perfect conclusion to this series. We get emotion, angst, heat, and at the end we get an HEA Fox and Delilah deserve. Plus, she leaves us with a glimpse of the family we have grown to love, and one we don’t want to leave.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review
Delilah Gordon has a secret.
She’s been in love with her best friend and the boy next door, Fox Nelson, since she was six years old.
And while most of her friends and family know about her unrequited crush, the one person who remains oblivious is Fox himself. To Delilah, it’s better this way. She’d rather pretend that they’re just friends, even though her feelings for the moody rugged mountain man are anything but tame.
Fox Nelson has a secret too.
As a wildland firefighter or “hot shot,” Fox parachutes into danger every day he’s on the job, risking all to fight wildfires that threaten ranches, forests and thousands of lives. But while Fox’s job is only for the brave, inside he feels anything but. The more he grapples with his raging demons, the more he realizes Delilah is the only one who can put out the flames.
As the two friends grow closer – and more intimate – than ever before, the more complicated their relationship becomes.
And Delilah has one more secret to reveal.
A secret that will change both their lives…forever.
Get your copy of Hot Shot today!
It’s dark now and quiet except for the crickets. In the distance, the town of North Ridge glows, the lights giving way to the dark mountain ranges behind it and beyond that, a clear, starry sky.
I immediately feel better but it’s not enough. I need to walk, to get my head on straight, to get my heart to stop caving in.
I head down the slope to the barn. It’s second nature to want to come here during hard times. Growing up, if anyone in the house was fighting—and it was usually Shane and Fox—this was where you’d find them afterwards, licking their wounds.
Right now the barn is empty, all the horses are either in their paddocks or the pastures. I glance up at the hayloft and contemplate going up there when I hear footsteps behind me.
I immediately stiffen. It’s funny how you can feel someone’s specific presence without seeing them.
“What’s wrong with you?” Fox asks gruffly from behind me. Typical. Even if he’s concerned, sometimes he comes across like it annoys him to be concerned.
I take in a deep breath and turn around. “I don’t know,” I say, my voice measured. “Just felt a bit nauseous.”
He studies my face intently, so intently that I look away, my eyes drifting over the empty stalls. “I thought maybe I’d pissed you off somehow,” he says.
Is he baiting me?
I meet his eyes. “Why would you think that?”
“You could barely look at me during dinner,” he says, taking a step toward me until he’s a foot away. “Was it something I did? Is this about Conan?”
He’s so damn earnest in that last question that I have to laugh. I fold my arms across my chest. “No, Fox. This isn’t about your squirrel. It’s not about anything. I’m just…tired.”
I can tell he doesn’t believe me and the intensity has changed in his eyes. They’ve become more focused on me, like he’s seeing me for the first time and nothing else around us matters.
“I like this,” he says, his voice sounding thick. He takes a strand of my hair between his fingers and runs them down. “Your hair is so long. You should wear it down more often.”
I roll my eyes and hope I’m not blushing. “You guys are all the same. A girl wears her hair down and puts on some makeup and suddenly you realize that she’s actually hot. It’s like She’s All That come to life.”
Oh shit. I probably shouldn’t have said that last bit out loud since it’s a whole bunch of assumptions and I’m not one to flatter myself like that.
But he just grins. One of those cheeky, warm smiles that makes his eyes crinkle at the corners, the dimples appear in his scruff. He doesn’t smile like that very often and every time he does for me, it makes me feel…invincible.
“Del, I’ve always thought you were hot,” he says, still smiling. No awkwardness or hesitation. He just comes out and says it.
And now I am blushing. “Yeah right.”
“What?” he asks, tucking my hair behind my ear and—hell—his touch causes warm shivers to wash down my back. “It’s true. I mean, look at you.”
Don’t read into it. Don’t read into it.
“Do you remember that birthday party where we played spin the bottle?” I ask him, my voice sounding broken.
He nods. “Kind of.” But he doesn’t remove his hand, keeps playing with my hair.
I don’t know why I’m feeling brave all of a sudden but I am. “Well you spun the bottle and it stopped right at me. No mistake about it. And you got up and said it was stupid and left. Fox, we were good friends and you acted like kissing me was the worst thing on earth.”
His dark brows knit together but his eyes stay warm. “You remember that?”
“Fox. I’m a woman. I’m always going to remember when a boy rejects me, especially my best friend and especially at a young age.”
“But we were young. And I was pretty stupid back then.”
“You thought I was gross.”
He lets out a soft laugh. “I can promise you I did not think you were gross.” His hand then leaves my hair and trails down my arm to my hand. Sometimes Fox holds it and I know I shouldn’t think anything of it but every time he does I wonder if he realizes what it does to me. Then again, I’m starting to think he’s oblivious to absolutely everything.
“I didn’t kiss you,” he goes on, “not because I didn’t want to. I did.” He swallows, shrugs. “I just didn’t want our first kiss to be from spin the bottle.”
“What do you mean? Our first kiss?” I repeat, my pulse quickening.
“I don’t know, Del. Back then, I kind of assumed that we would end up together at some point. You know all through high school I had just been waiting to make my move and ask you out. At least figure out if you liked me or not. But then you started going out with that guy with the big ears, what was his name, Ryan McGee? And that’s when I realized that it was probably all in my head. You were just a friend. A sister, even. And I was just a brother to you.”
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
This is way too much to process.
Fox thought we’d end up together.
He actually liked me back in high school!
“You look shocked,” he says, raising a brow. “I thought it was pretty obvious.”
“Obvious?” I blurt out. “No. No it wasn’t.”
He lets go of my hand and shrugs with one shoulder. “It’s funny how life goes, isn’t it? It was probably for the best anyway. Could you have imagined us dating? Being a couple.”
Yes, fucking yes.
Start the series of standalones today!
Wild Card is a standalone novel and the first book in the North Ridge Trilogy about rough and rugged Canadian mountain men, the Nelson brothers. Canada’s never felt so hot.
She swore she’d never go back home.
She swore she’d never see the man who broke her all those years ago.
But you don’t always get to choose your path.
And sometimes that path is as wild and rugged as the heart.
Rachel Waters thought she saw the last of the small mountain town of North Ridge, British Columbia, when she left six years ago. But while her advertising career blossomed beneath the skyscrapers of Toronto, her mother’s sudden illness has the 26-year old returning to North Ridge to care for her, putting her career on hold while dealing with family secrets, regrets and unresolved goodbyes.
Shane Nelson has always been a bit of a wild card. The youngest of three brothers, Shane’s spent most of his life being underestimated and misunderstood. With his quiet intensity, classic good looks and thoughtful demeanor, he’s an enigma on horseback, managing his father’s sprawling ranch on the slopes of North Ridge.
But while Shane remains the quintessential brooding cowboy, complete with an arsenal of inner demons, all of that changes when Rachel steps back into his life.
She was the girl he pushed away.
Now she’s the girl who wishes she could leave.
Despite the odds, Shane will do everything to convince Rachel he needs a second chance that he doesn’t deserve but when the two of them head off into the wilderness together in search of lost cattle, more than just their hearts are at stake.
Whether it’s love or lives on the line, one thing is for sure: always bet on the wild card.
Get my 5 CROWN REVIEW
Get your copy of Wild Card today!
Maverick is a complete standalone novel and the second book about the rough and rugged Nelson brothers. Get ready for one wild alpha mountain man – Canada’s never felt so hot!
Forget playing it safe.
John “Maverick” Nelson likes to live his life on the edge – literally. A crucial member of the search and rescue team in the mountainous British Columbian town of North Ridge, Maverick’s brash and bold attitude means he’s the first one to ascend into danger, no matter the risk.
When it comes to women, though, Maverick errs on the side of caution. For all his cocky charm, rugged good looks and sexual swagger, he remains as unreachable as the surrounding peaks. Hot, wild sex? He’ll tell you there’s no better way to spend a cold, wintry night. Relationships? He’d rather freeze.
That is until he lays his eyes on American Riley Clarke. Trading in the crippling expenses of Aspen for BC, Riley is North Ridge’s newest member of their search and rescue team and the only woman on the job, which means spending a lot of time with Mav in adrenaline-pumping situations.
With the chemistry between them hot enough to melt snow, keeping their hands off each other is detriment to the success of their team. Besides, Maverick’s her boss and she didn’t work her ass off in Colorado just to throw it all away for some mind-blowing sex.
But when the worst winter in years sweeps in, Riley and Maverick will have to battle the elements along with their attraction for each other. And if either of them slip up, both of them will be in for a deep freeze.
Get my 5 CROWN REVIEW
Get your copy for Maverick today!
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.
Halle is represented by the Root Literary and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.
Connect with Karina:
Join her Reader Group: https://goo.gl/wpCBSS
Stay up to date with Karina by signing up for her newsletter here: https://goo.gl/Ve4eCh