Synopsis from Goodreads
Delilah Gordon has a secret.
She’s been in love with her best friend and the boy next door, Fox Nelson, since she was six years old.
And while most of her friends and family know about her unrequited crush, the one person who remains oblivious is Fox himself. To Delilah, it’s better this way. She’d rather pretend that they’re just friends, even though her feelings for the moody, rugged mountain man are anything but tame.
Fox Nelson has a secret too. As a wildland firefighter or “hot shot,” Fox parachutes into danger every day he’s on the job, risking all to fight wildfires that threaten ranches, forests and thousands of lives. But while Fox’s job is only for the brave, inside he feels anything but. The more he grapples with his raging demons, the more he realizes Delilah is the only one who can put out the flames.
As the two friends grow closer – and more intimate – than ever before, the more complicated their relationship becomes.
And Delilah has one more secret to reveal.
A secret that will change both their lives… forever.
My heart ached for the little boy Fox was, and the way in which the events of his childhood cast a shadow over his whole life growing up, to the extent that he was unable to allow himself to feel happiness or love. I veered between wanting to knock some sense into him and giving him a big hug.
Fox, the oldest of the Nelson boys, has carried the weight of his mother’s suicide inside his heart all of his life, believing himself responsible or culpable over the events he truly had no control over. It has also manifested as a huge barrier between himself and his youngest brother, Shane, marring their relationship into adulthood. The effect of all of these negative and undealt-with emotions within Fox has resulted in Fox self-medicating with alcohol and pills in order to avoid the barrage waiting to explode within him.
Delilah is a wonderful, caring, loving character, the owner of the most powerful case of unrequited love from the tender age of 6 when she first met Fox. Although there are instances where the feelings can be thought of as mutual, Fox is determined to avoid emotions of any kind causing unintentional hurt for Delilah. While I admired her devotion to Fox I also feared for Delilah’s own emotional health, especially when she has to endure seeing Fox with other people and his constant repression of his own feelings.
A baby squirrel, the obvious connection between Fox and Delilah to anyone with eyes and an astute new-comer all work together to force Fox to confront his attraction to Delilah. Unfortunately, his demons and disastrous coping mechanisms prevent Fox from allowing true happiness to penetrate the darkness he holds within himself. Delilah being collateral damage in Fox’s ultimate battle with himself.
Sometimes it is only through adversity that you truly realize the depth of the problems you have, especially when they are what we class as unseen illnesses. It is only by hitting the bottom that Fox can recognize help is required. the ultimate moral of the story is that if you can’t love yourself then you will be forever doomed to be unable to truly love anyone else.
I have loved this series and appreciated the inclusion of all the siblings and being able to watch each of the previous couples progress through Hot Shot.