Hot in Chicago

Who are the Dempseys?
The Dempseys are a family of foster siblings who have all followed in the footsteps of their legendary firefighter foster father, Sean Dempsey, and live by the lessons he taught them: fire is stronger than blood and defend the people you love to the last ember. Wyatt, Luke, Beck, Alexandra, and Gage all work at Engine Co. 6 in Chicago. Approximately eight years before the beginning of Book 1, FLIRTING WITH FIRE, Sean and his eldest foster son, Logan Keyes died in a high-rise fire. This inspired the remaining foster siblings to dedicate their lives to the Chicago Fire Department.

How many books are in the Hot in Chicago series?
There are five books (2 novellas, 3 full-length novels):

0.5 REKINDLE THE FLAME (Beck and Darcy), novella, e-only, also available in the BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE anthology
1.   FLIRTING WITH FIRE (Luke and Kinsey)
1.5 MELTING POINT (Gage and Brady), novella, e-only
2.   PLAYING WITH FIRE (Eli and Alexandra)
3.   SPARKING THE FIRE (Wyatt and Molly)

Free reads:

2.1 AFTER THE FIRE (more Eli/Alex)

Do I need to read the books in order?
All the books feature one primary couple who get their happily-ever-after by the end. No cliffhangers! While each story can be read as a standalone, you may enjoy the later books more if you start with FLIRTING WITH FIRE (Luke and Kinsey). Both the couples in MELTING POINT (Gage and Brady) and PLAYING WITH FIRE (Eli and Alexandra) meet and spark in that first full-length book, and events occur here that will play out in their entirety in the later books.

REKINDLE THE FLAME (Beck and Darcy) is a prequel novella that introduces the Dempseys and the Hot in Chicago world. In fact, all the heroes get page time here, but it’s not necessary to read it first – unless you’re like me and are pretty OCD about reading things in order!

I don’t read gay romance. Will I miss anything if I skip MELTING POINT, Gage and Brady’s story?
Only one of my hottest and most romantic stories! In terms of how events here affect the rest of the Hot in Chicago series, you won't miss much. A lot of readers have said their first exposure to a m/m story was the Gage/Brady secondary romance in FLIRTING WITH FIRE, so they’re willing to give the novella a shot.  What might you miss if you skip it? In MELTING POINT, more background is given on Brady’s friendship with Eli and their history together in the Marines. The story also shows Eli in a better light after his dubious behavior in FLIRTING WITH FIRE. By the time PLAYING WITH FIRE rolls around, you might better understand where he’s coming from—and be fully on board with his wooing of Alexandra!

Is there a lot of swearing and sex in the Hot in Chicago books?
Define “a lot.” Publishers Weekly described PLAYING WITH FIRE (Book 2, Eli and Alex) as having “superb relationship development and profane but note-perfect dialogue.” Which basically means people are having sex in interesting places and using the F word when they feel it's appropriate. Some readers have described my books as erotic romances. While I don’t wholly agree with that, I can tell you that my characters tend to be earthy talkers (both in and out of the bedroom) and that there are usually 3 to 5 fully-realized sex scenes per book. Not gratuitous by any stretch, but your mileage may vary.

Note: The Hot in the Kitchen series is slightly lower on the steam scale and the Tall, Dark, and Texan series is slightly higher. Those Texan books are Brazens after all!

Who are your inspirations for the heroes in the Hot in Chicago series?
Check out my Pinterest board with my actor inspiration for all the heroes. I also have another board with more awesome pics and quotes.

In PLAYING WITH FIRE, Eli and Alexandra have dinner at an Italian restaurant called DeLuca’s. Is this the same DeLuca’s featured in the Hot in the Kitchen series about sexy chefs?
Yes, it is! I actually had an appearance by a Hot in the Kitchen character in that scene but had to cut it. There is another connection between the two series in FLIRTING WITH FIRE. The photographer at the “firefighters and kittens” calendar shoot is none other than Lili DeLuca, my artist-heroine in FEEL THE HEAT, Book 1 of the Hot in the Kitchen series. Only her first name is mentioned and Luke comments on her Jersey hair :)

Will Madison get her HEA?
Madison Maitland, owner of M Squared, the PR firm tasked with managing Eli Cooper’s mayoral campaign, gets a pretty raw deal at the end of PLAYING WITH FIRE. I have an idea for who might be man enough to handle this career-focused, twice divorced professional woman, so Madison might indeed show up in a future series I’m planning when Hot in Chicago ends.

Will we ever find out why Sam Cochrane hates Sean Dempsey?
Yes! There’s history here for sure that goes beyond the fact Sam’s daughter Darcy is in love with Beck, one of the Dempseys. The reason behind the Cochrane-Dempsey feud is revealed in a freebie short story called After the Fire, an extended epilogue I wrote especially for Eli and Alexandra.

What’s Wyatt Fox’s big secret?
You'll find out in SPARKING THE FIRE, the final Hot in Chicago book!

Do you have a burning question about the Dempseys and the Hot in Chicago series? Shoot me a message and I’ll try to answer it as long as it’s not too spoilery!