Code of Honor
I love discovering new authors. Kathryn Shay has been around for a while, but she’s new to me. Code of Honor is Shay’s latest and the conclusion to her America’s Bravest trilogy from Harlequin Superromance. It’s a strong finale.
Chelsea Whitmore is one of the Rockford Fire Department’s few women. After dating one of her fellow firefighters, resulting in in some ugly incidents, Chelsea is assigned to a new crew. Jake Scarlatta is her new lieutenant, who also has a lapse of judgment on his record, his resulting from loyalty to a teammate. After a rocky beginning with the men, Chelsea fits right in. Mistakes begin to happen, and it looks like Chelsea’s responsible. There’s also an attraction brewing between Jake and Chelsea. Both have to overcome their pasts and make the right decisions.
Shay put a lot of research into this book, and it shows in more ways than the acknowledgements thanking those she interviewed, which took up an entire page. There is an air of authenticity to the characters and their careers. After reading this book, I feel like I learned a lot about firefighters.
Chelsea is one of my favorite heroines this year. She’s tough – she owns a gym, competes in triathlons, and stands up to the male firefighters, but she’s still feminine. A reformed flirt after her experience with her stalker-like ex-boyfriend, Chelsea has trouble trusting men. When she falls for Jake, she has to get past her trust issues and the fact that she’s fallen for another co-worker.
Jake was a great hero – strong, confident, and with a take-charge attitude. He didn’t have trouble trusting other people, but his mistake in dealing with his former best friend continued to haunt him and made him a by-the-book kind of guy. He knew he should stay away from Chelsea but couldn’t. He was also a great dad to his daughter, Jessica, who made an appealing secondary character.
There was definitely heat between Chelsea and Jake, and Shay handled the building of their relationship well. Author Shay managed to create a strong sense of family between Chelsea and Jake and the two couples who “starred” in the earlier books in this series. And she did so without short-changing Chelsea and Jake’s relationship.
The manner in which Chelsea and Jake worked through their problems was realistic and the suspense thread involving Chelsea’s seeming mistakes was also well done. It could have been any of her fellow firefighters, and I never felt sure exactly who it was. The author created a perfect catalyst for Jake to come to terms with his own issues.
I’m very sorry to see this trilogy end. I thoroughly enjoyed each book in it, and I’ll definitely be looking for more books by Kathryn Shay.