In Lynn James’ first book, Wildfire, Captain Elaine Thomas works for the National Forest Service. She has sworn to protect the land and the creatures who live there. Botanist Dr. Devon McKinney has been given permission to examine the effects of a toxic spill on NFS land. The two women soon realize that they have more in common than either had initially thought possible.
The women are thrown together when an unexpected late-Spring snow storm hits the area. Devon has no choice but to share Elaine’s cabin with her. The romance that had been threatening to blossom springs into full bloom.
One of the more interesting plot lines that will keep readers turning the pages is when a fire breaks out in the drought dry forest. Elaine must lead her team into harm’s way to try to build a breaker that will stop the fire from advancing. However, another team doing the same thing nearer the fire is surrounded when the fire changes direction. Elaine now must not only keep her own team safe, but must save the other team as well. She gets the other team out, but after doing a head count realizes that a member of her team is still encircled by the fire and didn’t make it out. She risks her life by going back into the maelstrom to rescue him. Both teams are again put into danger when the fire closes in on them for a second time. They manage to find a haven where they can cover themselves with their fire blankets and hope they’re not cooked alive as the fire passes over them.
James had an interesting premise for her book. However, she was unable to get beyond the cliched romance between the women in order to develop an interesting plot line to anything other than a stale rerun of dozens, if not hundreds, of other books. She lacked the skills necessary to describe the women’s feelings for one another and, instead, relied on descriptions that were old 30 years ago.