Title: Lights and Sirens (Emergency Services #2)
Author: Lisa Henry
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 13th 2018
Page Count: 231 pages
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Paramedic Hayden Kinsella is single and the life of the party. He likes driving fast and saving lives, and he doesn’t do relationships—he does hookups. Except he wouldn’t hook up with copper Matt Deakin if he were the last guy on the planet. Hayden thinks the feeling is mutual . . . until clearing the air leads to a drunken one-night stand, which leads to something neither of them was expecting: a genuine connection.
Police officer Matt Deakin moved to Townsville to take care of his elderly grandfather. In between keeping an eye on Grandad, renovating his house, and the demands of his job, he somehow finds himself in a tentative relationship with Hayden and very slowly gets to know the damaged guy beneath the happy-go-lucky persona.
But the stressors of shift work, fatigue, and constant exposure to trauma threaten to tear Hayden and Matt apart before they’ve even found their footing together. In the high-pressure lives of emergency services workers, it turns out it’s not the getting together part that’s hard, it’s the staying together.
“He loved Hayden and Hayden loved him, and that feeling was too large to be contained in yesterday’s universe. It demanded an entirely new reality.”
This lady can write!
I really liked this! It started as an enemies to lovers story, and then took a totally unexpected but welcome turn. Above all else, this is a character and relationship driven story.
When this story starts Hayden and Matt loath each other. Hayden is the supposedly annoying paramedic who tried to flirt his way out of a ticket, and Matt (or according to Hayden, Constable Dickhead) is the standoffish cop who thinks pretty highly of himself. But all this is just a misunderstanding. Don’t worry, though; it doesn’t get a lot of page time and it definitely doesn’t feel forced. Matt and Hayden realise pretty early into the story that they had the wrong idea about each other.
So as the blurb states, this is not about how the two MCs get together, but how they manage to actually stay together. The conflict stems from A) Hayden’s character and B) their jobs.
Having grown up in foster care, Hayden doesn’t want to get attached to anything and anyone, including Matt. Nothing is permanent, people always leave, so why bother building something that isn’t going to last?
Being a paramedic and a cop, having death waiting around the corner every single day is taking a toll on both MCs but Hayden is really at the end of his rope. And it certainly affects his relationship with Matt.
The characterization is so on point, I’m in awe. I didn’t even like Hayden at first but his journey and the way Henry stripped him of all his defences and presented him to the reader was magnificent. By the end of this book, Hayden leaves the fake and arrogant paramedic behind and finds a family and a home. And it all happens so naturally.
I adored the setting. The descriptions were very vivid and detailed without being boring. I had a clear image in my head without feeling I was reading a pamphlet. And if you know me, you know that I love all the action which was plenty here.
Two niggles: I think I would have liked a little more steam, given that we already saw that there’s crazy chemistry between them in the beginning. Also, as much as I love gritty and melancholic, I was overwhelmed at some point. There is a big chunk of the second half of the story that deals with heavy stuff and bad things kept happening one after the other.
We get a great epilogue in this story, much more solid and satisfying than the ending of Two Man Station. I loved that the narration came full circle and ended the way it started.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this and I’m planning on continuing with the series.