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Kathryn Shay: Nothing More to Lose

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Berkley (Paperback), ISBN 0-425-20111-2

Book: kathryn Shay, nothing more to lose
Ian Woodward, a former New York City firefighter, still deals with the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001 -- a day which left him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Despite Lisel Loring's declarations of love, last summer he pushed her away, feeling that she needs a better man.

Lisel returns to Hidden Cove from her Broadway star lifestyle, telling the press that she merely needs a break, but in reality she hopes to get away from an overzealous fan/stalker. Seeing Ian again hurts Lisel, but the stresses in their lives bring them a little closer together. He feels protective of her once he learns of her stalker. But he still refuses to let her into his life until the stalker gets even closer -- and starts attacking Ian.

Rick Ruscio finds little worth in himself. Blackmailed by a former city councilman, the former policeman tampered with firefighter equipment, nearly causing a firefighter to lose her life. But Rick caved at the last minute and came clean. He avoided a trial and jail time, but losing his badge cost him nearly as much.

Sentenced to community service, he finds himself assigned to work at a preschool. The teacher, Faith McPherson, refuses to buy into his "I'm a horrible person" spiel. She sees the good in him and finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. Rick's troubled life -- a father in prison, an alcoholic mother, a sister (Anita) who makes bad choices in men and a younger sister (Pilar) he desperately tries to protect -- spills into Faith's world. Faith's minister father and loving mother welcome Pilar into their home after one of Anita's boyfriends gets abusive with the girl. But Rick struggles against being part of their family, feeling that he taints them and can never be good enough for Faith. Faith, however, won't take no for an answer.

Kathryn Shay weaves two good storylines together, but the similarity of the two plotlines -- the hero decides to push the heroine away, regardless of what the heroine wants -- seems overly simplistic. Two different tales might make for a more exciting read. Also, this book comes as the final book of a trilogy, but it doesn't feel very connected to the previous two. The characters from the earlier ones get few mentions and almost no action. Yes, they play secondary roles, but I found it difficult to remember who did what in which previous book. Perhaps a brief recap at the beginning might help. The strong heroines helped matters somewhat, and Shay's extensive research on firefighters, their lifestyles and their training shines through easily.

Jen Foote

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