BLOG REVIEW: Kiss of Fire by Charlotte Lamb

25y.o. heroine has the apprehension that buying Hero's book would put an end to her quite life as the proficient secretary of a film director.
It's been 3 years since she last saw former race-car driver Hero
who was involved in a car accident that killed her boyfriend,
who was Hero's best friend since childhood.
She and her boyfriend had a secret romance
due to her boyfriend's disapproving mother.
So Hero became their decoy, 
whom heroine ended up spending more and more time with.
Until their increasing attraction to each other gave way to their own secret romance,
which ended abruptly with the accident. Hero's bitterness over heroine's part in the whole affair is apparent in his reality-based fiction novel and his attitude towards her now.
And his goading her as they have to work together to turn his book into a movie affects her more than she lets on.
But he knows how much he affects her and he uses it to his advantage.
Until she finally confronts him about the past.
Will he listen? Or will he continue to hold on to his bitterness?

Like most of Lamb's books, this one had its twists and turns. It wasn't predictable and I liked the tumultuous relationship Hero and heroine had because of their love triangle. They were both victims and partly responsible for the complications of the past. It didn't start out as a love triangle but it became one and it very soon turned awry. There were too many secrets and it heaped on each other. Hero was the secret-keeper of heroine and his best friend's secret romance. Then, he became the pretend boyfriend of heroine to ward off suspicion of heroine spending time with his best friend. It then gradually manifested into an progressive and secret attraction between him and heroine, as her romance with his best friend dwindled. The whole deal came to its climax at the day of the accident.

     ---------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details--------

Hero told heroine his feelings and vice versa. She confessed that she was no longer in love with her boyfriend (BF), especially since she realized he valued his mother more than her. Hero and heroine's love confession was immediately followed by their first sexual intimacy.  Heroine was a virgin. Their plan the next day was to break the news to her BF that their relationship was over. Hero, however, wanted to be the one to inform him. 

Things unfolded where she ended up telling her BF that she was no longer in love with him and she was in love with Hero instead. Her BF smacked her and went in search of Hero, taking her along with him. Her BF and Hero had some heated words, which heroine couldn't hear. Basically, her BF lied to him in telling Hero that heroine slept with him as a ruse to get his (BF's) attention, which worked because now he and heroine were getting married. Hero didn't believe him then and was done with the conversation. Her BF chased Hero's, ending in the fatal car accident that killed her boyfriend. That was her last memory of them in the last 3 years. Heroine felt so much guilt over what happened and decided to distance herself from Hero who was hospitalized due to his injuries. 

     ------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS-----------------------------------------

There were a lot of blame going on, especially on Hero's part. Heroine partly blamed herself over the accidental death of her boyfriend (BF).  She linked her emotional and sexual infidelity against her BF as indirectly leading to his death. She struggled with nightmares about him constantly for years. But she did come to a point and accepted that her BF ultimately chose to act immaturely and be reckless with his life, causing his death. She'd stop blaming herself for causing his death in any way and for falling in love his his best friend Hero. She was at peace with herself by the time she saw Hero again. Hero, on the other hand, was not. 

Hero mostly blamed heroine for what happened in the past. Although he didn't believe what her boyfriend (BF) told him 3 years ago, heroine's abandonment of him after the accident seemed to confirm what her BF told him about her. He felt used and viewed heroine as a fatal seductress, which was how he portrayed her character in his novel about a love triangle. I think he was justified in his anger.  Heroine left him out to dry, when he was weak and vulnerable. Her recent love confession didn't hold much water when he needed her. Yes, he should've confronted her about it but he had already made up his mind that she really did use him, just as her BF said and what her abandonment of him conveyed. 

I liked how heroine confronted Hero about his unjustified blame game. She pointed at her BF's weak character and how Hero knew about it and knew her, despite what her BF said to him a few minutes before he died. Her confrontation also pointed at Hero's denial of his part of their love triangle. It forced him to look at the past and himself in a whole new light. We see him change towards his attitude and treatment of heroine thereafter. What I didn't like was the sweeping of the apologies that both of them needed to say to each other. They had so much bitterness, resentment, and abandonment between in the last 3 years. The ending swept all this heavy emotional history under the rug of their "I love you"s at the end, followed by some generalized sexy times. It left me at an emotionally awkward lurch. 

I moderately recommend this book.

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