Charge nurse Erin Quinn escaped personal turmoil to work on the peaceful California coast. But when a hazardous material spill places Pacific Mercy Hospital on disaster status and stresses staff, she's put to the test. And thrown into conflict with the fire department's handsome incident commander, who thinks her strategy is out of line. Fire Captain Scott McKenna has felt the toxic effects of tragedy; he's learned to go strictly by the book to advance his career, heal his family, and protect his wounded heart. When he's forced to team with the passionately determined ER charge nurse, sparks fly. As they work to save lives, can they handle the attraction kindled between them . . . without getting burned?
Disaster Status by Candace Calvert is the second book in the Mercy Hospital series. The story follows Erin, who was a supporting character in Critical Care, and fire fighter Scott McKenna. Scott and Erin are thrown together when they must join forces to control the repercussions of a hazardous material spill, and initially they seem as ill-suited as oil and water; they disagree on everything and hardly a conversation concludes without one of them losing their cool. The longer they are in each other’s company, however, the better they come to understand each other and soon they develop an attraction neither wants or understands. Both are also facing personal issues that seem more important than getting romantically involved.
Scott has lost faith in God following events that left him shattered. The loss of his sister rests heavily on his heart as not a day goes by that he doesn’t ask himself if he could have saved her that fateful day. Scott is also tired of living in his hero father’s shadow. He loves his father and honours his memory, but he deeply feels that he will never live up to his father’s legacy. What Scott fails to consider is the fact that his doubts and insecurities might take him away from the woman who could heal his battered heart.
Erin has major issues with her father. He has done nothing but let his family down, breaking his daughter’s heart over and over again, until she finally locked him out with a refusal to ever let him back in. This left her with a deep-seated distrust of men in general. Now that her father and mother have reconciled, Erin finds herself in her family’s cross-hairs, everybody determined to get her to forgive her father, causing Erin to isolate herself from her family even more. While Erin has no doubt that letting her father back in her life would be a mistake, she never considers that her issues with her father might cost her the man of her dreams.
Can two stubborn people find a way to get over their issues and find love? Can Erin fully give her heart to a man who no longer shares her faith? Dare she hope that Scott can find his way back to the Lord? Can Scott face his past and open his heart to the future? Can God find a way to heal them both and give them the desires of their hearts?
Supporting characters include Erin’s grandmother who is carrying a heart-breaking secret, Scott’s nephew who is struggling with a form of survivor’s guilt and is facing a possible leg amputation, and a damaged war veteran determined to protect the boy at all costs.
From the blurb I expected the hazardous material spill to be a much larger part of the story, but it does fade into the background after Erin and Scott’s initial meeting. Even so, this event gives the story a solid foundation and realistic repercussions kept the story interesting. The focus on faith is, as always, handled wonderfully, coming across loud and clear while never becoming preachy.
While I liked both Erin and Scott, for some reason I did not connect with them emotionally; not as strongly as I usually do with Calvert’s main characters. Truthfully, I was much more connected to Leigh (who will be a main character in the next book), and I found myself more eager to read Leigh excerpts than those of Erin and Scott. I very much look forward to reading Leigh and Nick’s story in Code Triage, the next book in the series, and am psychologically preparing myself – this one already has a tight hold on my heart strings and I just know that reading it is going to be emotionally taxing.
Calvert’s work is, once again, top notch.
Title: Disaster Status
Author: Candace Calvert
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers