Review: “Bright Like Wildfire” by Juliette Cross

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: July 12th, 2022

Add to Goodreads | (Available on KU)

CW: anxiety, parental abandonment

Bennett has no idea why Betty Mouton hates him.

Other than the time he accidentally hit her boobs with a glitter bomb in their community theater performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” he’s been nothing but helpful and accommodating. But that notorious “incident” happened years ago. Time for the gorgeous redhead to get over it and admit to the real chemistry between them, not just the on-stage kind.

Betty is in trouble.

She may have gotten her dream role in a production by her favorite playwright, but there’s a big problem. Her romantic lead is that cocky, annoyingly hot know-it-all Bennett Broussard. And when the fake touching and fake kissing start to feel way too real, Betty realizes one thing. She better act her heart out or finally admit that Bennett has stolen hers.


Oof. Juliette Cross might be known for her PNR series, but let me just say that her contemporary romances are just as brilliant and hot as ever. Bright Like Wildfire didn’t take me by surprise as much as it sucked me in and refused to let me go till I was done. And it’s safe to say that I read a few chapters more than once because how does she do it? Right from the start, the chemistry between Betty and Bennett is incredible and the more they spend time together, the more it blossoms before it becomes something so intense that you can’t look away.

Bright Like Wildfire also has:

✨ forced proximity

✨ community theatre joy

✨ a sassy, hardworking, compassionate redhead

✨ a cocky, confident, sexy as hell businessman

✨ public sex!

✨ he falls first!

✨ sizzling chemistry and delicious tension

✨ steam that will set you and your kindle on fire


I went into this thinking it would be an enemies to lovers situation, but I’m happy to report that it’s not. While there’s some distaste that Betty holds for Bennett in the beginning, it all fades away. Because who can stay made at a man that looks like Bennett Broussard?! But what they lack in enmity, they make up for in sexual tension and chemistry. I loved their banter, the fact that they had a witty comeback for almost everything the other person shot their way. I enjoyed the way their relationship built up and I craved so much more of it. I loved how Bennett’s feelings for Betty are so clear from the beginning, even if she’s completely unaware of it.

“Since the day I’d decided I didn’t hate him so much and let the blazing lust between us flare, I’d become consumed, obsessed with him. This passion was burning too bright, like wildfire ravaging too hard and too fast to quench.”

Bright Like Wildfire is basically an homage to community theatre and I loved that aspect of the book so much. I liked how much we got to see of the audition process, the blocking and the direction, of the cast hanging out and building a rapport. I loved how by being cast as the leads in the production of Barefoot in the Park, Betty and Bennett have to build some kind of friendship which leads to them building a relationship that is so wonderful. I loved that Juliette was able to pour all of her love and experience in community theatre into this story, because that came to life on the page so well!

Juliette Cross always writes intriguing characters, so it’s no surprise that she produced two amazing humans in Betty and Bennett. Betty is an English teacher who is not only passionate about her subject, but her job and the kids in her class. The few scenes we have of her at school and interacting with the kids made me so happy. I have such respect for teachers, so to see a good amount of it in the story really amplified my love for Betty. Bennett, on the other hand, comes from money and a respected family. But he wants to make his own way by opening a grocery story that does more than offer groceries. His desire to provide something special for the community and to stand on his own was so commendable. I loved how much of their jobs we got to see and how that impacted their daily lives and their relationship.

“I didn’t want Betty because she’d turned me down or because I liked a challenge. Though that was also true. I wanted her because she was singular. A jagged edge among smooth surfaces. A brighter star among so many dim, distant ones.”

Speaking of their relationship. Wooie. It was HOT. Then again, it’s Juliette Cross, so I know we’re going to be treated to some really great steam. And she did not hold back. All of that chemistry and sexual tension has to go somewhere and it did. It was explosive and intense and so passionate. I liked that Bennett was possessive and jealous (which is not something I usually care for in heroes) and I loved how Betty used those feelings to her advantage to get what she wanted in the bedroom. Their physical relationship perfectly balanced out their emotional one and from start to finish, I was so invested!

I loved all of the supporting characters and so desperately want more stories from Beauville, because I need to know who Hale ends up with and if Griffin gets his own story, because all of this is important!

Thanks to Juliette Cross for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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