Sunday, July 26, 2015

ARC Review: HEAT EXCHANGE by Shannon Stacey

Heat Exchange
by Shannon Stacey
Boston Fire, Book 1

Lydia Kincaid's shipping back to Boston, but she's not happy about it. She left to get away from the firefighting community—her father was a firefighter, her brother's a firefighter and, more important, her ex is a firefighter. But family is number one, and her father needs her help running the pub he bought when he retired. Soon, Lydia finds it hard to resist the familiar comfort and routine, and even harder to resist her brother's handsome friend Aidan.

Aidan Hunt is a firefighter because of the Kincaid family. He's had the hots for Lydia for years, but if ever a woman was off-limits to him, it's her. Aside from being his mentor's daughter, she's his best friend's sister. The ex-wife of a fellow firefighter. But his plan to play it cool until she leaves town again fails, and soon he and Lydia have crossed a line they can't uncross.

As Aidan and Lydia's flirtation turns into something more serious, Lydia knows she should be planning her escape. Being a firefighter's wife was the hardest thing she's ever done, and she doesn't know if she has the strength to do it again. Aidan can't imagine walking away from Boston Fire—even for Lydia. The job and the brotherhood are his life; but if he wants Lydia in it, he'll have to decide who's first in his heart.

I’m a sucker for stories about first responders.  I love their heroic nature, their courage and self-sacrifice.  But also know that all that comes at a cost to both the first responder and the people they love.  Shannon Stacey does a great job highlighting this struggle in this first book of her Boston Fire series.

I really enjoyed this contemporary romance. In a cohesive manner, Heat Exchange features a poignant theme faced by many families – taking a secondary priority to the needs of the job. Being a first responder can be all-consuming. This is especially so with firefighters who spend periods of time living with one another.  They rely on each other for their lives and forge a strong family bond that sometimes supersedes their relationships with their actual family members.  One can understand how a family member can feel like he or she comes in second place to the firefighting family. This painful reality is the central theme in the narrative.

Lydia Kincaid has been surrounded by the fire service all her life.  Between her father, brother and her ex-husband, she is used to coming in second place in their lives.  That is why she swore off firefighters and left Boston. But she reluctantly returns when her sister, Ashley, begs her to come back to help her in Ashley’s time of need.  Being a dutiful sister, Lydia returns and lands straight in the middle of Aiden Hunt’s affections. 

Aiden grew up around Lydia’s family.  Aiden’s best friend is Lydia’s brother.  They currently work together at the same fire station.  Despite the turmoil their relationship is sure to create, they start a torrid affair that burns right through the pages of the book.  However, based on Lydia’s history, she knows the cost of being in a relationship with a firefighter and she is unwilling to be second fiddle to the job, and so she holds herself back in the relationship.  It is only when Aiden proves that he loves her more than the job does the couple get their HEA. 

The conflict is made even more complicated by the colorful characters in their lives: Lydia’s dad and Aiden’s mentor, Lydia’s brother and Aiden’s best friend, Lydia’s sister and the memories of Lydia’s ex-husband.  It’s all a family affair.  There is also a secondary story featuring Lydia’s sister, Ashley and her husband Danny that I found endearing as well.  Ashley and Danny have a difficult relationship fraught with miscommunication and complacency.  This brought a nice additional element to the family conflict.

This is just the kind of romance you want featuring a firefighting family. 

Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.  

No comments:

Post a Comment