Desert Isle Keeper Review

Nothing More To Lose

Kathryn Shay
February 2005, Contemporary Romance
Berkley Sensation, $6.99, 368 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425201112
Part of a series

Grade: A-
Sensuality: Warm

Nothing More To Lose is the last of a trilogy set in the town of Hidden Cove. The earlier two books are After the Fire and On The Line. As soon as I finish this review, I plan to go out and get those books since I feel as though I missed some backstory that would have made this book even more rich. But even though I haven't read the first two books, I was still engrossed in this wonderful, emotional story. This book is a keeper for sure.

Nothing More To Lose tells two love stories. Ian Woodward was a fireman who lost the use of his legs after they were crushed by a beam when he and his crew went into the World Trade Center on 9/11. Ian re-entered the brotherhood of firefighters when he moved to Hidden Cove and the chief asked him to teach other rescue workers the techniques they need to keep them up to date in fighting terrorist threats. Broadway star Lisel Loring has moved to Hidden Cove as well, where she is recovering from a breakdown. Lisel and Ian had been friends months ago during his rehabilitation, and she wanted to be more than just a friend. But Ian, depressed because of his injuries, deliberately insulted her and sent her away. Now they are living in the same building.

Rick Ruscio was a cop in Hidden Cove. One day he and his partner Carla were off duty, drinking and having sex. When a mentally ill man killed his family and himself, Rick and Carla were near the scene but were too late to prevent the murder-suicide. Even though they were technically off duty, Rick was crushed with guilt. Later, a city government official blackmailed Rick into committing sabotage and he lost his badge. Rick has mandatory community service at a preschool, where he meets teacher Faith McPherson. Faith is a minister's daughter and she falls hard for the handsome and tortured Rick. But he thinks he is unworthy of her love. The two couples' stories intersect when Rick takes a job as a bodyguard when an obsessed fan begins leaving disturbing notes for Lisel.

I referred to this as a rich book and it is. Not only are the stories for Ian and Lisel and Rick and Faith as engrossing as they can be, but the characters are so vivid they are tangible. I especially want to mention Faith's father, the Reverend David McPherson. He is a good and decent man who takes a fatherly interest in Rick and never gives up on him - not even when Rick gives up on himself.

At its core, Nothing More To Lose is an inspirational book. It's not overtly religious and there isn't a lot of preaching, but several of the characters, mainly Faith, are religious and their faith in God is not something that they leave in behind the church doors. They are not overtly holy, they are not proselytizers, but they believe and it has an effect on their lives.

I was profoundly moved by this book in a way that I haven't often been moved by a romance novel. It speaks of redemption, forgiveness, and the transcendent healing power of love. I know that I will be reading this one again.

-- Ellen Micheletti

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