White Heat
Jill Shalvis
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White Heat
Jill Shalvis
336 pages
June 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Sparks fly in White Heat, the latest novel by Jill Shalvis. This is the first book in her new romantic adventure series featuring brave, heroic firefighters. Shalvis, who is a veteran writer of over two dozen novels, certainly delivers the heat in this latest offering.

Griffin Moore has retreated from life for almost a year since a tragic Idaho wildfire claimed the lives of twelve members of his team. As the former leader of an elite firefighting team, known as a hotshot crew, Griffin is all too familiar with the devastation a fire can leave in its wake. Brody Moore finds his brother Griffin in self-imposed exile in San Diego, California, and is determined to help him get beyond the guilt-ridden thoughts of his painful past.

Brody tells Griffin about a wildfire burning out of control in a remote mountain range in Mexico, near the northwest corner of Copper Canyon. Because of the severe droughts and much larger fires burning in other parts of Mexico, this rural area has been left to mainly fend for itself. The residents of the area, mostly farmers and ranchers, have no training or resources to draw on to fight the raging blaze. The small town of San Puebla is threatened due to the limited water resources and the remoteness of the area. This is a poor area, and people have no money, insurance, or indeed anywhere to evacuate to. Brody tries to convince Griffin to bring his vast experience to help these people.

Lyndie Anderson is a twenty-eight-year-old pilot with an international charity organization out of San Diego called Hope International. She is paid to fly volunteers such as doctors, dentists, and engineers into areas desperate for aid. A free spirit who lives only to fly, Lyndie loves her nomadic lifestyle. Her home is the open sky, and she wants no ties to anywhere or anyone. But somewhere along the line, as she has flown into the isolated villages helping them get the help they need, she has fallen for the wide, open beauty of Mexico, and especially the town of San Puebla and its people.

Lyndie is contracted by Hope International to fly volunteer firefighter Griffin Moore to the San Puebla fire. She plans to drop Griffin off and leave him, but ends up having to stay and play translator for him with the local people. Both are drawn into the deadly struggle of fighting a wildfire that is out of control. As they work side by side, the attraction they feel for each other grows.

Both of them have to face their pasts and the demons that trouble them. Griffin panics and almost runs when he first lays eyes on the fire, as the memories of the deadly Idaho fire haunt him. But through his own determination, and with Lyndie at his side, he fights both the fire and his past as he helps the people of San Puebla organize and fight the threatening blaze.

Due to her unconventional upbringing, Lyndie fears attachments to anywhere or anyone. Although she has tried to convince herself she is happy being alone, Griffin and the people of San Puebla have made a place for themselves in her heart. Both Griffin and Lyndie have their own fears, but as the fire heats up, so does their relationship. In the end, they must decide if their involvement will burn out with the fire or if they will both risk their hearts.

Jill Shalvis has penned a moving story about dealing with loss, and the characters all find different ways to cope with their tragedies, both past and present. When people are faced with a crisis situation, they learn many truths about themselves, and they find strengths they didnít know they had. This is not only true for Griffin and Lyndie, but for many of the interesting secondary characters as well. Thus, the characters in White Heat literally face the fire and come out on the other side changed people. The relationship between Lyndie and Griffin sizzles throughout the book, but in the end, it is a poignant love story with a very big heart.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Norma Collins, 2004

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