|Kathryn Shay: On The Line|
Berkley (Paperback), ISBN 0-426-19710-7
At the request of Hidden Cove's mayor, fire marshal/investigator Eve Woodward arrives in town to investigate fire chief Noah Callahan. The number of accidents and injuries related to the fire department during Callahan's tenure as the boss seems unusually high. The tally makes Noah look guilty of taking kickbacks and compromising safety for money.
But after a few weeks in town, Eve finds herself unconvinced of Noah's guilt. Noah goes out of his way to help everyone he can in every possible way. He even rescues Eve out of a stuck elevator. All of her instincts scream this is a decent man. Eve's investigation bears out her instincts. It looks like someone with a major grudge wants to frame him. Matters get complicated when sparks fly between Eve and Noah. They both fight temptation, knowing it could compromise her investigation.
Zach Malvaso knows how badly he screwed up his life. After he cheated many times on his wife, Angie, she divorced him, taking their two boys. A warehouse fire a year ago that killed 10 firefighters and trapped Zach turns him around. He tries to be a better father and at first tries to woo Angie back -- with no success.
Casey Brennan, a fellow firefighter, snarls at everyone in the department. Her reputation as a tough-guy woman pushes most everyone away, but for some reason it draws Zach nearer. He senses that a softer side lies beneath the major attitude. Also, she helps him through the post-traumatic stress disorder episodes he experiences. He slowly draws her out of her grouchy shell, especially after discovering the secret she keeps hidden: her twin daughters. But the couple's past patterns of behavior may be too much to overcome.
The second in a three-part series of firefighter-centric romances, Kathryn Shay delivers another wonderful read. Complex characters give the story its heart and soul. All the events and situations become merely peripheral when compared to the four lead characters. The leads display flaws and strengths, both of which turn out to be integral to the development of the story. Also, Shay's extensive research and hands-on firefighting experience shines through in her detailed descriptions of the rescues, equipment and firehouse life. A wonderful sequel to After the Fire -- I can't wait for the third in the series (coming in February 2005).
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