On the Line
Firefighter Trilogy/Book 2
Berkley/July 6, 2004
Special Investigator Eve Woodward has come to Hidden Cove with one thing on her mind: to nail fire chief Noah Callahan for the string of mishaps that have led to accidents, fires - and even the deaths of his own firefighters.
What Eve doesn't expect to find is a man who is respected by his community, adored by his family, and unswervingly dedicated to his job. Observing him critically and working with him side-by-side has revealed to Eve an incredibly complex man - and sparks a totally unethical attraction. With her job - and lives - on the line, Eve must reconcile the facts, or the passionate fire that flows between them will burn into ashes...
Kathryn Shay has taken that small town feel and captured it within the firefighter community. It's a place where everyone knows everyone else whether they're from the same firehouse or not. They may not always get along but they respect the fact that their fellow firefighter is there when they need them. That's why it's so hard for an outsider to come in and question the ability of one of their own. For Eve Woodward, that's exactly what she needs to do. Question the abilities of a respected fire chief.
Eve is good at her job, even when it comes with unpleasant and stressful conditions. She doesn't expect to be welcomed into the fold but she does expect to be able to do her job. She lucky Noah Callahan is cooperating with the investigation since it's him she's investigating. Working closely with Noah, Eve is able to learn a lot about the man, more than she expected. It's an interesting situation with the heroine having the power, at least potentially, to ruin the career of the hero. It would seem Eve has all the power in their relationship but that's not how it plays out.
Noah Callahan is not happy having Eve Woodward in his life. First, she's there because of him and the questions surrounding recent fires. Then, there's the attraction he feels for her. But Noah also wants answers just as much as Eve. So he works with her which only fuels the attraction. Both Noah and Eve have been around the block a few times when it comes to romance. I liked that they were older with the baggage that comes with age. That's not to say their ancient, they can still burn up the sheets, but they're smart enough to learn from their past mistakes.
There is a second romance between two firefighters, Zach and Casey, who are shocked when they realized how attracted they are to each other. I really liked their romance because it was so messy! They're both screwed up in the head when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. Zach went through a divorce from a woman he loved very much. He was such an ass towards his ex, and now he realizes his mistakes and is trying to be a better person. Casey doesn't think she's good enough for anything serious and she's earned a reputation for sleeping around. They both have emotional hurtles to overcome and Shay does well showing how Zach and Casey work through their problems and fall in love. One of the better secondary romances I've read in a long time.
Along with the developing romances is the ongoing investigation and the continued problems in the fire department. Noah and Eve do spend time alone together but they never loose sight of the reason Eve is there. The tension between the two is well done with Eve trying to do her job, investigating the man she's falling in love with.
The conclusion and the reason behind the accidents didn't come as much of a surprise. In that respect, the suspense didn't run as high as the tension betweent he two couples. One thing about these characters is that they are seriously flawed, almost too much. Both Eve and Casey have secrets that they guard fiercely. Noah and Zach both have issues. It's as if they can't be well adjusted people until they go through hell and find someone who's also been there. Still, it makes for a compelling story.
After the Fire
On the Line
Nothing More to Lose