Blue Flame
Jill Shalvis
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Blue Flame
Jill Shalvis
Onyx
Paperback
330 pages
November 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Once again, Jill Shalvis delves into the dangerous world of firefighters in her latest novel, Blue Flame. It is a wonderfully moving story about life and the twists and turns it can take when we least expect it. The author explores the various kinds of relationships that exist between people, whether they are friends, lovers, family or co-workers. Life is filled with challenges and troubles which canít be run from and eventually have to be faced if you want to move forward in your life.

Jake Rawlins is a San Diego firefighter who finds himself on the roof of a burning mansion with a malfunctioning ladder truck and a frightened, injured teenager who may have been responsible for starting the blaze. With a heroic effort, Jake gets the boy to safety but is injured in the daring rescue when the roof caves in beneath him. He falls three floors into the fire. He awakens in the hospital after reconstructive shoulder surgery, only to find out that his career as a firefighter may be over. To add insult to injury, the young teen he rescued is accusing him of injuring him during the rescue, and Jake and the fire department are now being sued by the boyís mother. What Jake needs is a place to heal and escape the media frenzy surrounding him.

Jakeís father, whom he hadnít seen since he was twelve, left Jake his guest ranch, the Blue Flame, when he died two years ago. The property is in middle-of-nowhere Arizona where guests work like dogs, sleep outside on the ground, and pay for the pleasure. The ranch barely breaks even financially at the best of times, and Jake, a strictly city guy, hates camping. But since no one would even think to look for him there, he decides it is the best place for him to recover from his injury and await the outcome of the lawsuit. And, even though he wonít admit it to himself, Jake is hiding from the possibility that his career as a firefighter might be at an end.

Callie Hayes loves the Blue Flame and its motley crew of workers, and she would give anything to own it. The ranch has been her home for the last twelve years, ever since she showed up there homeless and jobless when she was seventeen. Jakeís father hired her and eventually, through hard work, she had been promoted to ranch manager. Itís the first real home sheís ever had, and she has devoted herself to running it and making it successful. The only person who can destroy the happy life she has built is the owner, Jake Rawlins, and he can do it simply by uttering five short words: ďIím selling the Blue Flame.Ē

She met Jake at his fatherís funeral. Grief stricken, she had mistaken his quiet, self-contained manner for anguish. With the help of the better part of a bottle of whiskey, Jakeís smooth moves and his amazingly talented mouth, she tried to forget her sorrow. Unfortunately, she hadnít discovered his anger and resentment toward his father until she was naked and in his arms. Callie kicked him out of her bed and her life, and she has rarely seen or talked to him since.

Now Jake has come to spend the next several months at the Blue Flame, recovering from his injuries and awaiting the outcome of the court case against him. To make the situation even more unsettling, Jakeís half-brother Tucker works at the ranch, and his and Jakeís relationship is strained at best. Jake is still attracted to Callie, but they are both wary of anything more than a physical relationship as both of them have trust issues. The fact that someone seems to be sabotaging the already financially strained ranch adds to the volatility of the situation.

On top of the lawsuit, the possibility of losing his career, his relationship with his brother, and his feelings for Callie, Jake is forced to contact a realtor about selling the ranch. He doesnít want to, but he doesnít see any other solution to his problems even while knowing that Callie and Tucker will blame him for selling their home out from under them.

Jill Shalvis has a talent for creating complex relationships that are not always easy but always ring true. Fascinating secondary characters help flesh out an already interesting story, giving it even more depth. Jake and Callie must face and overcome their own fears if they hope to triumph over the hardships and problems that beset them and emerge as stronger individuals. Heartwarming and captivating, Blue Flame is a romantic suspense story that keeps the action and passion flowing from beginning to end.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Norma Collins, 2005

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