Anne Ashburn and Danny McGuire are both firefighters for Boston's 499 who've been attracted to each other since they started working together. A friend and fellow firefighter is getting married, and Danny and Anne have been invited to be members of the wedding party. However, the groom's bridezilla-to-be is making their lives a living hell. As they navigate the treacherous waters during the forty-eight hours prior to the wedding, Danny and Anne's sexual tension begins to bubble over, but Anne is resistant to getting involved with someone she works with.
The Rehearsal Dinner is the first installment in a serialized novella prequel to J. R. Ward's upcoming new contemporary romance series, Firefighters. For such a short story, it was an excellent read that had a little bit of everything. First our hero and heroine, who are both firefighters at the same station house, are members of a wedding party for one of their friends and fellow firefighters. This is where the proverbial wedding from hell comes in, because this guy and his fiancée are constantly fighting about one thing or another, and the bride is a total bridezilla, making life a living hell for all involved. This scenario is the backdrop for the rest of the story which also includes a little excitement, a little humor, and a whole lot of sexual tension.
Danny and Anne, our hero and heroine, as I mentioned, are both firefighters. There's been an intense attraction simmering between them since they started working together, but thus far, they haven't acted on it. That all starts to change in this story, when circumstances and proximity cause that tension to begin to boil over. While nothing beyond kissing has happened yet, that tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife, so I look forward to seeing what happens next. In this very short space, J. R. Ward has already thrown out some intriguing tidbits of character development and backstory that I think are going to make for a great read when Danny and Anne's full-length story, Consumed, is released. I love that Danny is trying his best to be a feminist, even it Anne doesn't appreciate it in context, and being the daughter of a chief, Anne seems to have something to prove. I have a feeling, though, that these prequel novellas are just a small interlude out of time for these two, and a fair bit of time is probably going to elapse between the novellas and the novel. But regardless, I look forward to delving into these characters more.
I'm equally intrigued to read the next installment, not only to see what happens between Danny and Anne, but also to see if the (un)happy couple actually go through with this crazy wedding. Either way, I think they're doomed, so I look forward to finding out if I'm right. The author has also used this story to introduce us to a number of first responders who seem ripe for their own stories later in the series. Overall, I think The Rehearsal Dinner was a great start and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading more next month.
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