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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Review: Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey

This book was good, the plot was well formed, and the supporting cast interesting but the heroine was a different story.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: August 25, 2015

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.

Her father is a firefighter, her brother is a firefighter and her ex is a firefighter and frankly that’s all Lydia Kincaid can take. She left Boston to get away from the firefighting community but here she is, back home to help run the family pub. Enter her brother’s aggravatingly attractive best friend Aiden Hunt.

Aiden became a firefighter because of the Kincaids. He’s passionate about his job but he’s also very interested in Lydia. But she’s his best friend’s sister, his mentor’s daughter, and she’s sworn off firefighters because she’s tired of coming second to the job.

Heat Exchange was my first Shannon Stacey book and while I didn’t fall in love with it, I did enjoy it for the most part.

I love it when a romance has characters that make it their life’s work to rush into dangerous and chaotic situations to save lives. So naturally Aiden had my attention from the very beginning. Not only was he passionate about his job, he was just an all around cool dude. He isn’t a stranger to Lydia since her brother is his best friend so that put him in a pretty tough situation when it came to his attraction to Lydia. The fact that Aiden’s friendship with Lydia’s brother brought Aiden some internal conflict is what made him that much more interesting. I love a character that is loyal to their friends but not over the top loyal that they forget their own wants and needs. That was Aiden. He was pretty likable.

My problem was Lydia. I can’t fully enjoy a romance where the heroine isn’t likable; it really does kill the experience for me. Lydia was too pushy, too bossy and to me seemed unreasonable and unyielding throughout most of the book. From running the family pub to her relationship with Aiden, she wanted things her way, on her own terms and in her mind there was no chance of her ever being wrong about how she ran things. In other words, Lydia was a total hard ass with very little softness about her and I just couldn’t connect to her and I felt her romance with Aiden suffered for it. Their physical chemistry was hot to be sure but when it came to building more than just sex between them, it fell short of my expectations.

Lydia aside though, Shannon Stacey did build up a solid setting for this book and I really got a feel of how close knit the firefighters were both on the job and in between jobs. The camaraderie, banter and brotherhood gave Heat Exchange the emotional kick that it needed. The thought that at any time one or more of these characters could rush into a fire and not come out was pretty worrisome which I suspect was the feeling Stacey wanted to convey. I liked these guys, even Lydia’s brother who at times needed a chill pill, was someone that needed his story told.

Final Verdict: While not a “Love It” read, Heat Exchange has a solid setting and plot but the heroine left a lot to be desired.

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