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Cassie and the Fire Captain by Katherine Deane: Utterly Sexy

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Review by Etta Stark

Women love a man in uniform. There’s a whole dating site based on this premise, come to think of it. (Although to be fair, I believe uniformdating.com is also based on the premise that men love a woman in uniform too. As do same-sex couples.) I’m not sure if the uniform part of one’s profile on that website is limited to the obvious professions of policeman, soldier and firemen, or if the existence of any kind of uniform entitles one to subscribe. I mean there must be people with a thing for postmen, hotel doormen and crossing guards, don’t you think?

To be honest, I don’t get the uniform thing. I’m too much of a hippy to date a soldier and too much of an anarchist to date a policeman. No way am I getting between the sheets with the Filth.

Firemen, though, are a whole different proposition. I totally get the appeal of firefighters. On the one hand they do a big, brave macho job, leaping fearlessly into perilous situations like actual proper legitimate superheroes. They carry axes about as part of their day job, for goodness sake. On the other hand, they rescue helpless babies in danger. Not to mention the fact that a large proportion of a firefighter’s job is education-based. You’d be dating a guy whose working day involved him going round primary schools encouraging six-year olds to try his hat on. That’s all kinds of adorable.

So what I’m saying is that I was fully on board with firefighters being romantic heroes before I even started reading Katherine Deane’s Cassie and the Fire Captain.

This book just took it to a whole new level.

The Fire Officer in question is Eric Waters (which is seriously unsexy name, by the way. Is ‘Eric’ one of those considered-really-spoddish-in-UK names - like Percy – that you Americans apparently think is quite cool? The prince in The Little Mermaid was called ‘Eric’. He was pretty cool).

Eric has transferred from the big city to a small everyone-knows-everyone town in the South. He meets Cassie for the first time when he attends a road traffic accident at which Cassie is already present.

Cassie displays a rather foolhardy attitude towards her own safety at the scene of the accident when she leaps into the crashed vehicle and rescues a box full of kittens. She’s brave and adorable and exhibiting the sort of irresponsible self-endangerment that can earn a girl a stern telling-off from an alpha male like Eric. “He couldn’t decide if he wanted to kiss her for her bravery or turn her over his knee for being so reckless.” Well, stick around Mr Firefighter. I have a feeling that sooner or later you are going to get to do both.

Cassie is a great heroine. She’s sassy and spunky and all those other words beginning with ‘s’ that describe the sort of girl who has a well-deserved spanking happening in her near future. She has a bucketful of attitude and an enthusiastic attitude towards practical jokes.

Eric and Cassie are clearly hugely attracted to one another from the start. Although Cassie tries to rebel against Eric’s high-handed dominant attitude, she is obviously turned on by the prospect of someone calling her out on her unruly behaviour. And he can’t resist the tiny little spitfire who seems determined to push every button possible in order to earn herself a spanking.

Cassie’s pranks mostly just make Eric laugh but occasionally go too far and stray into “You’re in

serious trouble now, young lady” territory. Like when Cassie and her friend decide to give one of the fire trucks and impromptu (and rather risqué) makeover when they think that Cassie’s friend is being cheated on by Eric’s second-in-command. Given that both of the girls are in disciplinary relationships with their men, you’d have thought they might have anticipated where their actions might land them. Katherine Deane delivers wonderfully on the girl’s joint punishment. It’s a very hot read.

I love the relationship between Cassie and Eric. I particularly enjoyed how quickly Cassie accepts Eric’s authority. Given her headstrong nature I half-expected her to spend most of the book pushing him away but luckily she’s way too smart to do that. This is a girl who knows a good thing when she sees it. Even if the good thing does involve her getting her backside spanked on a pretty regular basis. I don’t think I could date Eric, mind you. For one thing, he has fairly intractable views about swearing. “I won’t tolerate rudeness or bad language,” he says. Fuck that shit.

Katherine Deane has a real knack for writing original, well-drawn characters. Cassie is a wonderful combination of femininity and feistiness. She’s totally bonkers. And she burps like a pro. She is also, like Claire in Katherine Deane’s previous book The Coach’s Discipline, very into all things sports and fitness. (As I suspect the author herself is. She certainly seems to know what she’s talking about.) Cassie and Eric’s first day out together includes a spot of rock climbing. Anything that involves ropes and harnesses and carabiners sounds like an excellent way to get to know one another. “Our first date, and we’re already tyin’ each other up,” says Cassie. Start as you mean to go on, sweetheart.

There’s so much to enjoy in this book. Spankings! Kittens! Sexy Firemen calendar photo shoots! Condom-based balloon art! More spankings! Katherine Deane doesn’t shy away from dealing with more serious emotional issues either – both Eric and Cassie both have family issues which they need to address and the misunderstanding that threatens to jeopardise their entire future together is deftly handled. The couple are a wonderful influence on one another. Particularly in the way that Eric gets Cassie to use her playful and imaginative nature as a force for good rather than mischief.

I took far too long to get round to writing in this review. This was due to pesky real life getting in the way rather than any lack of enthusiasm. Cassie and the Fire Captain came out weeks and weeks ago. You’ve probably all read it by now. (If you haven’t then you certainly should). Because of that, I had to re-read the book in its entirety before writing this in order to refresh my memory. Well, I probably, didn’t have to, I remembered it pretty well, but once I’d read the first paragraph, it was impossible not to just devour the whole book from beginning to end. Again. Even on the second reading, I was completely transfixed. I’ll probably read it again very soon. It’s just so very charming and romantic and funny and utterly sexy. Immersing myself in the lives of Cassie and Eric was an absolute joy. I can’t wait to read whatever Katherine Deane writes next.

 

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