“Stacey’s gift for writing easily relatable characters will hook readers and leave them eagerly waiting for the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly on Heat Exchange
From New York Times bestselling author SHANNON STACEY
Meet the tough, dedicated men of BOSTON FIRE—and the women who turn their lives upside down
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 importantly, 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 un-cross.
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.
Don’t miss the entire Boston Fire series by Shannon Stacey! Fully Ignited, Controlled Burn and Hot Response are available now!
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Lydia Kincaid could pull a pint of Guinness so perfect her Irish ancestors would weep tears of appreciation, but fine dining? Forget about it.
"The customer is disappointed in the sear on these scallops," she told the sous-chef, setting the plate down.
"In what way?"
"Hell if I know. They look like all the other scallops." Lydia had a hairpin sticking into her scalp, and it took every bit of her willpower not to poke at it. Her dark hair was too long, thick and wavy to be confined into a chic little bun, but it was part of the dress code. And going home with a headache every night was just part of the job. "Ten bucks says if I wait three minutes, then pop that same plate in the microwave for fifteen seconds and take it out to her, she'll gush over how the sear is so perfect now."
"If I see you microwaving scallops, I'll make sure the only food you ever get to touch in this city again is fast food."
Lydia rolled her eyes, having heard that threat many times before, and accepted a fresh plate of scallops from the line cook. The sous-chef just sniffed loudly and dumped the unacceptable batch in the garbage, plate and all. She was pretty sure the guy spent all his off time watching reality television chefs throw tantrums.
Three hours later, Lydia was in her car and letting her hair down. She dropped the bobby pins and elastic bands into her cup holder to fish out before her next shift and then used both hands to shake her hair out and massage her scalp.
She hated her job. Maybe some of it stemmed from the disparity between the cold formality of this restaurant and the warm and loud world she'd come from, but she also flat-out wasn't very good at it. The foods perplexed her and, according to the kitchen manager, her tableside manner lacked polish. Two years hadn't yet managed to put a shine on her. The tips were usually good, though, and living in Concord, New Hampshire, cost less than living in Boston, but it still wasn't cheap.
She'd just put her car in gear when she heard the siren in the distance. With her foot still on the brake, she watched as the fire engine came into viewred lights flashing through the dark nightand sped past.
With a sigh, she shifted her foot to the gas pedal. She didn't need to hold her breath anymore. Didn't need to find the closest scanner. Nobody she loved was on that truck so, while she said a quick prayer for their safety, they were faceless strangers and life wasn't temporarily suspended.
And that was why she'd keep trying to please people who wouldn't know a good scallop sear if it bit them on the ass and taking shit from the sous-chef. That job financed her new life here in New Hampshire, including a decent apartment she shared with a roommate, and it was a nice enough life that she wasn't tempted to go home.
Her life wasn't perfect. It had certainly been lacking in sex and friendship lately, but she wasn't going backward just because the road was longer or harder than she'd thought. She wanted something different and she was going to keep working toward it.
Thanks to the miracle of an apartment building with an off-street parking lot, Lydia had a dedicated parking spot waiting for her. It was another reason she put up with customers who nitpicked their entrées just because they were paying so much for them.
Her roommate worked at a sports bar and wouldn't be home for another couple of hours, so Lydia took a quick shower and put on her sweats. She'd just curled up on the sofa with the remote and a couple of the cookies her blessed-with-a-great-metabolism roommate had freshly baked when her cell phone rang.
She knew before looking at the caller ID it would be her sister. Not many people called her, and none late at night. "Hey, Ashley. What's up?"
"My marriage is over."
Lydia couldn't wrap her mind around the words at first. Had something happened to Danny? But she hadn't said that. She said it was over. "What do you mean it's over?"
"I told him I wasn't sure I wanted to be married to him anymore and that I needed some space. He didn't even say anything. He just packed up a couple of bags and left."
"Oh my God, Ashley." Lydia sank onto the edge of her bed, stunned. "Where did this even come from?"
"I've been unhappy for a while. I just didn't tell anybody." Her sister sighed, the sound hollow and discouraged over the phone. "Like a moron, I thought I could talk to him about it. Instead, he left."
"Why have you been unhappy? Dammit, Ashley, what is going on? Did he cheat? I swear to God if he stepped out"
"No. He didn't cheat. And it's too much for me talk about now."
"If you had been talking to me all along, it wouldn't be too much now. You can't call me and tell me your marriage is over and then tell me you don't want to talk about it."
"I know, but it's it's too much. I called to talk to you about the bar."
Uh-oh. Alarm bells went off in Lydia's mind, but there was no way she could extricate herself from the conversation without being a shitty sister.
"I need you to come back and help Dad," Ashley said, and Lydia dropped her head back against the sofa cushion, stifling a groan. "I need some time off."
"I have a job, Ashley. And an apartment."
"You've told me a bunch of times that you hate your job."
She couldn't deny that since a conversation rarely passed between them without mention of that fact.
"And it's waiting tables," Ashley continued. "It's not like I'm asking you to take a hiatus from some fancy career path."
That was bitchy, even for Ashley, but Lydia decided to give her a pass. She didn't know what had gone wrong in their marriage, but she did know Ashley loved Danny Walsh with every fiber of her being, so she had to be a wreck.
"I can't leave Shelly high and dry," Lydia said in a calm, reasonable tone. "This is a great apartment and I'm lucky to have it. It has off-street parking and my space has my apartment number in it. It's literally only mine."
"I can't be at the bar, Lydia. You know how it is there. Everybody's got a comment or some advice to give, and I have to hear every five minutes what a great guy Danny is and why can't I just give him another chance?"
Danny really was a great guy, but she could understand her sister not wanting to be reminded of it constantly while they were in the process of separating. But going back to Boston and working at Kincaid's was a step in the wrong direction for Lydia.
"I don't know, Ash."
"Please. You don't know" To Lydia's dismay, her sister's voice was choked off by a sob. "I can't do it, Lydia. I really, really need you." Shit. "I'll be home tomorrow."
"We got smoke showing on three and at least one possible on the floor," Rick Gullotti said. "Meet you at the top, boys."
Aidan Hunt threw a mock salute in the direction of the ladder company's lieutenant and tossed the ax to Grant Cutter before grabbing the Halligan tool for himself. With a fork at one end and a hook and adze head on the other end, it was essentially a long crowbar on steroids and they never went anywhere without it. After confirmation Scotty Kincaid had the line, and a thumbs-up from Danny Walsh at the truck, he and the other guys from Engine 59 headed for the front door of the three-decker.
Some bunch of geniuses, generations before, had decided the best way to house a shitload of people in a small amount of space was to build three-story houseseach floor a separate unitand cram them close together. It was great if you needed a place to live and didn't mind living in a goldfish bowl. It was less great if it was your job to make sure an out-of-control kitchen fire didn't burn down the entire block.
They made their way up the stairs, not finding trouble until they reached the top floor. The door to the apartment stood open, with smoke pouring out. Aidan listened to the crackle of the radio over the sound of his own breathing in the mask. The guys from Ladder 37 had gained access by way of the window and had a woman descending, but her kid was still inside.
"Shit." Aidan confirmed Walsh knew they were going into the apartment and was standing by to charge the line if they needed water, and then looked for nods from Kincaid and Cutter.
He went in, making his way through the smoke. It was bad enough so the child would be coughinghopefullybut there was chaos in the front of the apartment as another company that had shown up tried to knock down the flames from the front.
Making his way to the kid's bedroom, he signaled for Cutter to look under the bed while he went to the closet. If the kid was scared and hiding from them, odds were he or she was in one of those two spots.
"Bingo," he heard Cutter say into his ear.
The updates were growing more urgent and he heard Kincaid call for water, which meant the fire was heading their way. "No time to be nice. Grab the kid and let's go."
It was a little girl and she screamed as Cutter pulled her out from under the bed. She was fighting him and, because his hold was awkward, once she was free of the bed, Cutter almost lost her. Aidan swore under his breath. If she bolted, they could all be in trouble.
He leaned the Halligan against the wall and picked up the little girl. By holding her slightly slanted, he was able to hold her arms and legs still without running the risk of smacking her head on the way down.
"Grab the Halligan and let's go."
"More guys are coming up," Walsh radioed in. "Get out of there now."
The smoke was dense now and the little girl was doing more coughing and gasping than crying. "My dog!"
Aidan went past Kincaid, slapping him on the shoulder. Once Cutter went by, Kincaid could retreatthey all stayed togetherand let another company deal with the flames.
"I see her dog," Aidan heard Cutter say, and he turned just in time to see the guy disappear back into the bedroom.
"Jesus Christ," Scotty yelled. "Cutter, get your ass down those stairs. Hunt, just go."
He didn't want to leave them, and he wouldn't have except the fight was going out of the child in his arms. Holding her tight, he started back down the stairs they'd come up. At the second floor he met another company coming up, but he kept going.
Once he cleared the building, he headed for the ambulance and passed the girl over to the waiting medics. It was less than two minutes before Cutter and Kincaid emerged from the building, but it felt like forever.
They yanked their masks off as Cutter walked over to the little girl andafter getting a nod from EMSput an obviously terrified little dog on the girl's lap. They all smiled as the girl wrapped her arms around her pet and then her mom put her arms around both. Aidan put his hand on Cutter's shoulder and the news cameras got their tired, happy smiles for the evening news.
Once they were back on the other side of the engine and out of view of the cameras, Kincaid grabbed the front of Cutter's coat and shoved him against the truck. "You want to save puppies, that's great. If there's time. Once you're told to get the fuck out, you don't go back for pets. And if you ever risk my life again, or any other guy's, for a goddamn dog, I'll make sure you can't even get a job emptying the garbage at Waste Reduction."
Once Cutter nodded, Kincaid released him and they looked to Danny for a status update. They had it pretty well knocked down and, though the third floor was a loss and the lower floors wouldn't be pretty, the people who lived in the neighboring houses weren't going to have a bad day.
Two hours later, Aidan sat on the bench in the shower room and tied his shoes. Danny was stowing his shower stuff, a towel wrapped around his waist. He'd been quiet since they got back, other than having a talk with Cutter, since he was the officer of the bunch. But he was always quiet, so it was hard to tell what was going on with him.
"Got any plans tonight?" Aidan finally asked, just to break the silence.
"Nope. Probably see if there's a game on."
Aidan wasn't sure what to say to that. He didn't have a lot of experience with a good friend going through a divorce. Breakups, sure, but not a marriage ending. "If you want to talk, just let me know. We can grab a beer or something."
"Talk about what?"
"Don't bullshit me, Walsh. We know what's going on and it's a tough situation. So if you want to talk, just let me know."
"She doesn't want to be married to me anymore, so we're getting a divorce." Danny closed his locker, not needing to slam it to get his point across. "There's nothing to talk about."
"Okay." Aidan tossed his towel in the laundry bin and went out the door.
A lot of guys had trouble expressing their emotions, but Danny took it to a whole new level. Aidan thought talking about it over a few beers might help, but he shouldn't have been surprised the offer was refused.
He'd really like to know what had gone wrong in the Walsh marriage, though. He liked Danny and Ashley and he'd always thought they were a great couple. If they couldn't make it work, Aidan wasn't sure he had a chance. And lately he'd been thinking a lot about how nice it would be to have somebody to share his life with.
A mental snapshot of the little girl cradling her dog filled his mind. He wouldn't mind having a dog. But his hours would be too hard on a dog, and he wasn't a fan of cats. They were a little creepy and not good for playing ball in the park. He could probably keep a fish alive, but they weren't exactly a warm hug at the end of the long tour.
With a sigh he went into the kitchen to rummage for a snack. If he couldn't keep a dog happy, he probably didn't have much chance of keeping a wife happy. And that was assuming he even met a woman he wanted to get to know well enough to consider a ring. So far, not so good.
"Cutter ate the last brownie," Scotty told him as soon as he walked into the kitchen area.
Aidan shook his head, glaring at the young guy sitting at the table with a very guilty flush on his face. "You really do want to get your ass kicked today, don't you?"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this story. The characters are very likable and I enjoyed the family banter. There are a few typos, this is not a cliffhanger. Firefighters! What more needs to be said?
Heat Exchange is a fantastic firefighter romance by Shannon Stacey. Ms. Stacey has given us a book that is well-written and loaded with an amazing cast of characters. Lydia is called to come back to Boston because her sister needs time off from the family bar. Aidan is a firefighter and best friend to Lydia's brother. Aidan and Lydia's story is full of drama, humor, smokin' hot sexy bits and a bit of action. I enjoyed reading Heat Exchange and look forward to reading more from Shannon Stacey in the future. Heat Exchange is book 1 of the Boston Fire Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.
An enjoyable read. The characters were likeable and the story was sweet.
Really enjoyed reading this book.
3.5 stars--HEAT EXCHANGE is the first installment in Shannon Stacey’s contemporary, adult BOSTON FIRE romance series focusing on the men and women of the Boston Fire Department. This is fire fighter Aidan Hunt, and bartender Lydia Kincaid’s story line. Told from several third person perspectives HEAT EXCHANGE follows several paths including the building but forbidden relationship between Aidan and Lydia; and the breakdown of a marriage between Ashley Kincaid and her fire fighter husband Danny. For four generations, the Kincaid men have all fought fires with the Boston FD, and the daughters have all married members of the fire fighting team. With Ashley’s marriage on the rocks, and Lydia’s marriage to her fire fighting husband destroyed by his infidelities, Lydia finds herself in a struggle with her relationship with Aidan Hunt-her brother’s best friend and partner on the job. What ensues is a secret and clandestine relationship between Aidan and Lydia; and Ashley’s struggles as she considers her options for the future. HEAT EXCHANGE is a story about family; about the bonds of brotherhood in the Boston Fire Department; and about long standing traditions and rites of passage in a close knit community of fire fighters and the people they love. Lydia is from a long line of proud fire fighters and knows that the ‘brotherhood’ has always come before family, and in this Lydia continues to battle her attraction to Aidan, and the knowledge that her relationship with Aidan will destroy what’s left of her relationship with her family-especially her brother Scott……and to be completely honest, I had some issues with some of the story line premise. Lydia’s actions, temperament, mindset and ego made for a difficult heroine to like-our hero had to make a choice between his job or the woman he loved. And the fire fighters placing family secondary in importance behind the ‘brotherhood’- screamed all sorts of problems with anyone entering into the fire fighting world. Shannon Stacey blends first responder technology and terminology into a story line about ‘brotherhood’, love, family and the future. The premise is entertaining and energetic; the characters are colorful, real, and charismatic; the romance is a struggle to a happily ever after.
Okay, so to me, Firefighters are über-sexy. They're all over calendars, posters and now book covers like this for Heach Exchange: Boston Fire, by Shannon Stacey. I normally don't ogle men's bodies and I definitely didn't over this one, but you can't say it doesn't look good! And it fit the character of Aidan Hunt to a "T"! Heat Exchange is a total romance story! I am not in to romances like this, but I really liked this one. It was about a tomboyish girl like me, from a family of hard men who are... Firemen. The story is cool but I didn't like Lydia. Her position in the story was good though- she had to choose between being doing what she needed to do and her own selfishness. Life can be hard and Aidan didn't make it easy. The rest of Engine 59 and characters made this book a fun read, but this sort of romance isn't for me. I need more! And though I wasn't totally into the story, I can't say that I didn't like it enough to rate it well. I may never read another Stacey book, but I will say that this story was Flaming Red Hot!... Fore more this review and more: http://tinyurl.com/zpkdxfq **Book offered by author, Shannon Stacey, for an honest review.
Lydia has been surrounded by firefighters her whole life. Her father is retired from the profession and now runs an Irish pub, her brother Scott is a firefighter, her ex -husband is one, and her brother's friend Aiden. Aiden's been around Lydia's family as long as she can remember, but when she comes back from where she's been living to help her dad at the pub (the hangout place for the local firemen), he's no longer the kid she remembers. When they start a secret affair it's her intention that it's just to scratch the itch, the 'I wonder' feelings they've had for each other for a while, and no emotional attachment is allowed. When her sister Amber, having marital difficulties with her firefighter husband Danny is ready to go back and work at the bar again ( a place she's been avoiding and the reason for Lydia's return) she has full intentions of going back home. Never mind that she quit her job before she left and really has only a shared apartment and roommate that she left behind. Can Aiden prove to her that he's nothing like her ex and that they have a chance at a real future together? While Lydia is a few years older than Aiden, the age difference is a minor factor in the story now that they are all grown up. Aiden is all man now, and then some. When he makes his move on Lydia, she gives into the attraction. The sex between them is hot and steamy right from the start, though it also leads them to an emotional connection that Aiden is fine with but Lydia isn't. She's not willing to be in a relationship with a firefighter again, though truthfully she is guilty of transferring her feelings about her ex onto Aiden, though he is nothing like him. She doesn't feel particularly guilty about her brother Scott not knowing about their relationship as she's a grown woman who can make her own decisions. But Aiden feels differently. He knows that his friend wouldn't be happy about it, and keeping it a secret from Scott gets more and more difficult as he and Lydia try to find stolen moments together. He doesn't outright lie to Scott, but he hides the truth pretty effectively. Of course eventually the truth is out there and both Lydia and Aiden will have to decide if they are going to stand by each other (and the feelings they've developed) or break off their affair and go back to the way things were. Lydia's sister Amber and her husband Danny get a fair amount of story telling time too in this one, some of the chapters coming from their points of view as they struggle with communication in their marriage (or lack thereof). For Lydia, this is just more proof of why she doesn't want to get involved with another firefighter. Her father doesn't help matters either, not understanding her decisions in the past or the present. He would love for Lydia to come back and work with him at the pub and doesn't really understand why she felt she had to leave the family and strike out on her own in the first place. I really liked all the family dynamics in this story and felt that all of the plot lines blended really well to give a composite picture of their family. It's not going to be a firefighting story with having some action scenes in it, to reinforce for Lydia the danger and stress of the job, but also the dedication and loyalty of the men and women involved in the profession. The story moves at a good pace, interspersing the relationship, family scenes, action, and the guys camaraderie in a solidly entertaining story. 4.5 stars
Shannon Stacey is one of my top five favorite authors. I love her books, they are filled with smart, charismatic characters, humor, families that you love, and great swoon worthy romance. Heat Exchange is a book one of the new series of Boston firefighters, and I got completely lost in the story, so that I lost the track of time. Lydia and Aidan both have some package they have to deal with. Aidan's family is not the most loving and supportive, and Aidan feels like the Lydia's dad has been more of a father figure to him than his own ever was. Lydia has always felt she played a second fiddle to the firefighter brotherhood, with her father, ex-husband, and brother. She promised to herself never to get involved with another firefighter again. But the attraction between Aidan and Lydia is strong, and something they have to hide from people around them. I loved how their feelings grew for each other. They are fantastic together, they fit so naturally with each other, the chemistry is hot, the sexy times are steamy, but it's not only about that. They have a real connection, understanding, and friendship as well. There's a secondary plot on the side, the reason why Lydia came back home, the marriage problems her sister Ashley is having with her firefighter husband Danny. I enjoyed both of the sisters stories, how the stories were developed, and how they had to do the hard work in their relationships, to make it work, to build for the future together. The struggle firefighters and their families have, with the time and mind consuming work they do, the priorities they have to set, and danger of their work, was well played in the story. There were times I was laughing out loud, and times when I teared up, the story swept me away and touched my emotions. The brutality of the choices these everyday heroes have to make, the danger of their job, the families that support them, and the sacrifices they have to make were so well described in the story. But also there was a celebration of love, the kind that have your best in mind, always, and supports you no matter what. I can't wait to see, where this series will go. ~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Solid 4 Stars This is the first book in Stacey's new series about a Boston fire department. Lydia, who has been immersed in a lifetime of the brotherhood with a dad, brother and ex-husband as fire fighters, is in no hurry to return back home to Boston. Her sister Ashley, also married to a fire fighter needs help, so Lydia quits the job she hates and heads back to Boston temporarily. To her surprise, Aidan, her little brother's best friend has grown up since she has been gone and suddenly the four year age difference doesn't seem too bad. Aidan is fighting the attraction he has when seeing Lydia again at the family pub. This is his brother's best friend and his role model's daughter. But despite knowing better the pair can't fight their chemistry and share some stolen kisses. When that is no longer enough they begin lying to all the people who know them so they can spend even more time and more nights together. As you would expect it all comes out in time. The couple struggles with family, with prior hurts, and the question as to what is love really worth. It was a cute story that was read pretty quickly. There just wasn't enough character development for me to feel invested in the hero and heroine but it was still enjoyable. The side story with Ashley and her husband Danny was a nice addition. A little more heat and a sprinkle more of angst and it definitely would have been a 4.5 star story. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review
What a sizzling start for a new series, a book that I could not put down. Shows the true brotherhood of the fireman and strong family bonds of the Kincaid family. Loved the banter between the fireman of Engine Company 59. The chemistry between Aiden and Lydia was sizzling, I enjoyed how they tried to keep it a secret among family and coworkers. I enjoyed the added romance of Lydia's sister Ashley. Looking forward to reading more from Engine Company 59. I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.
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Ii hate stories when a hero or heroine has been in love with the other for years because he or she is off limits...or they think they are not good enough...or blah blah blah
Loved this one! Great characters.
Great start to a new series
Really good book!