Code Of Honor
by Kathryn Shay, contemporary (2000)
Harlequin Superromance, $4.25, ISBN 0-373-70882-3

There are so many ra-ra-voom reviews and views about Kathryn Shay's America's Bravest firefighter trilogy that I must have my expectations built sky-high when I open this book, the finale of the trilogy. It's not fair to the author, I know, but I am expecting a hero to-die for, Harrison Ford-style, and a heroine to root for. Well, I do get two wonderfully noble and well-fleshed lead characters, but somehow I can't shake off this feeling that they are more in love with their big hoses (cut out that sniggering) than with each other. Oh, I mean, sure, they love each other, but when duty calls, duty calls.

Jake Scarlatta is a lieutenant of the firefighting Quint/Midi 12 team, and he has Issues, namely once helping a friend cover up his mistakes. Chelsea Whitmore is a firefighter transferred to Jake's team and she has Issues, namely she once dated a colleague that went loony on her and the result was complete ostracization from her ex-colleagues. Now, Chelsea has to deal with more innuendos, Neanderthal discrimination, and saving people from towering infernos, while trying to play footsie with Jake.

I like these two people. They're normal, for superheroes, and they have chemistry. Jake is a wonderful man with teenagers, a big plus in my book, and he can sure deliver the goods in the bedroom in various interesting positions. Nice. And Chelsea, she's strong, brave, passionate, and - hurrah! - she doesn't pop out a secret baby or begs Jake to be her fiance to stave off the Bad Suitor. Just two people falling in love despite their best intentions.

So what's the problem with Code Of Honor? Nothing. It's just that sometimes the use of Saving People From Burning Buildings to move the plot along can seem gratuitous, and Jake and Chelsea could sure use some more spine-tingling boom thing we call Potent Chemistry between them. Passion is there, yes, but then again, I'm not so sure that these people would let anything, even love, come between them and their big firemen hoses.

Rating: 84

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