Sunday, August 4, 2019

Book Review: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

I hadn't meant to read Ms. Center's last book, How to Walk Away, but as I thought I was just skimming the first 10 pages, I accidentally read the first 50, and then I was hooked. So I figured this book would similarly be captivating and a fast read, and I was right. Also for anyone who loved that book, the main character in this book is a very minor character in the previous book.

Cassie is a firefighter in Austin. (She pulled Margaret out of the plane in How to Walk Away, which is only mentioned in a single sentence in this book.) As she's getting a prestigious reward for bravery, she realizes the person presenting the award is a Very Bad Guy from her past. She thinks she can grit her teeth and get through this. As he hands her the plaque, he grabs her ass. She beats him up. On stage. In front of the entire fire department.

Because he's not pressing charges and because of her exemplary past record, she's told she can take some time off and then come back. After like a year or so. At the same time, her semi-estranged mother gets in touch to ask Cassie to move to Massachusetts and move in with her to help her out. She has gone blind in one eye and can no longer drive and has issues with going up and down stairs, that sort of thing. It seems like a good coincidence but Cassie fights it, as she still hasn't forgiven her mother for walking out on her and her dad on her sixteenth birthday, for another man. But her father encourages her and her captain can get her a job at a nearby fire station, and she feels backed into a corner.

When she gets there, she and a rookie start on the same day. She reminds the guys that she's a newbie, not a rookie, but they put her through her paces anyway. She's the first female firefighter in the area, and her expertise, commendations, and physical skills aren't winning most of them over. After all, they now have to put their porn away. But the rookie seems nice. And cute. Very cute. And damnit, she's not supposed to be having feelings! Especially not THOSE feelings!

As expected, it was a fast read that I got through in just a couple of days as I kept picking it back up. Everything is wrapped up nicely in a bow at the end, which is why it's labeled as romance-y. But Ms. Center has some interesting ideas along the way about forgiveness and about strength and the past. A few things caught me off guard--it doesn't all go down like you'll predict. It's a fun read that will satisfy her many fans.

This book is being published by St. Martin's Press, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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