Let me back up for a sec…
I was first introduced to Stephani Hecht’s EMS Heat series by a Goodreads friend (and fellow M/M romance junkie) in December 2013. All she had to say was that the eighteen-book series revolved around a group of doctors, paramedics, nurses, and firefighters who live and work in the rather economically depressed city of Flint, Michigan, and I was all grabby hands and “gimme, gimme, gimme!” (after all, I’m fairly certain that the only thing better than one man in uniform is two men in uniform).
I read the first novella in the series, Running Hot
, that night and enjoyed the heck out of it; I thought the story was a perfect balance between sweet and sexy, the main characters were equal parts smokin’ hot and adorkable, and the ending had a twist that I totally didn’t see coming.
Since then, I’ve read the next four novellas in the series and they’ve been good (good, not great
). Running between 80 and 140 pages each, I’ve found these stories to be the perfect palate cleanser between longer and/or more intensely emotional books.
But now I think I’m bored.Code Blue
is the fifth installment in the series and it was… just okay.
I must confess that I liked Clayton’s character quite a bit. While a little stereotypical for the gay son of a preacher, his back story was nothing short of heartbreaking and I found my heart immediately going out to the poor guy. But despite having endured a hellish few months at the hands of those who were supposed to love and care for him, Clayton managed to remain a sweet, kind, humble guy. I appreciated his independent streak, chuckled over his sheltered upbringing, and found his enthusiasm for pop culture and gay sex strangely endearing.
However, as much as I liked Clayton, I felt almost nothing towards Justin. Well, except for the fact that I was mildly annoyed with his mercurial mood swings and attitude changes towards Clayton — he was smitten, then he was suspicious and irate, then he was annoyed, then he was vaguely accommodating, then… BAM! He was so deeply in love he couldn’t see straight. And yet somehow the character’s personal roller coaster of emotions and reactions didn’t grab my heart and pull me along for the ride.
Overall, I thought the chemistry between the two characters was okay (but nothing to write home about), the sex was okay, too (but again, not as scorching hot as earlier novellas in the series), the dialogue was passable (but mundane), and the ending was sweet (but forgettable). All in all, it was a perfectly satisfactory story, but one whose title I’m struggling to remember even as I write this review.
be a good sign, can it?!