Fireworks (True North #6) by Sarina Bowen

Fireworks book coverEven though I’m swamped by my MFA program, I started this book (which of course I pre-ordered) as soon as it arrived on my doorstep. I’m such a Bowen fan and this is my favorite series of hers. It certainly didn’t disappoint.

This story features Benito Rossi, Zara’s and Alec’s brother. As great a character as he is, the star of the book for me was Skye, who’s a very tall and damaged from a crappy childhood, but she’s made good with her life. She got herself through college (at an elite university, no less) and has a coveted job at a news station in NYC. Things aren’t perfect though, due to an on-screen gaffe Skye made. She’s on a forced vacation and has ended up traveling to Vermont to do a favor for her slightly wild stepsister. Going back to Vermont is a bit of a nightmare for her for one primary reason: Benito.

Twelve years earlier, Skye had been sixteen and Benito eighteen when she was stuck living in a trailer with a dirty and mean cop her mom was shacking up with (Jimmy Gage). Benito was her solace and tried to keep her safe from Gage, even though he wasn’t able to do much. She spent as much time as possible outside the trailer and sitting in a clearing in the woods with Benito and his ukulele. They kept things chaste until right before prom, when he finally asked her to the dance, making her beyond happy. But then he didn’t show and Gage told her he’d abandoned her for another girl. Skye packed a bag and fled to live with her aunt in New York. But what she doesn’t know is the real reason he didn’t pick her up that night.

Benito has never been the same since the day she disappeared without explanation. For him, she was the one. But still, he’s made good with his life, too. He spent time in the military and is now a narcotics officer for the state (I think; I might not have his employer right). He’s in the middle of a case involving Gage and others that will hopefully result in a huge drug bust. And then Skye shows up, with some almost-cockamamie story about her stepsister.

Skye has to stay with Benito because she was going to stay in her stepsister’s house, but it’s been tossed. The sparks are still there. But there’s still the problem of trust on Skye’s part, given that she doesn’t know the real reason Benito didn’t show up that night—he was in jail for punching Gage after he’d threatened Zara. Nobody knows that she doesn’t know, either, so it’s an old sore that won’t go away. Benito can tell that Skye’s a little fragile, but he’s not sure why and it takes a while for him to suss it out and help her get over it.

The book has the expected sexytimes, which are good and a little different because Skye isn’t exactly (at first) an enthusiastic seductress. Benito helps bring her out of her shell and discover who she is. Overall, Bowen takes us on the emotional journey you’d expect from her. I sincerely hope this series never ends.

A must for True North fans and highly recommended for everyone who loves a good contemporary romance.