Macey Locke leaves the Peace Corps after two years and heads to San Amaro Island, Texas, home of her best friend Derek Severson. She loves Derek, but knows he does not return her deepest feelings. However, her mission is to help her BFF move passed the tragic death of his girlfriend Julie in a fire last year.
As a firefighter Derek feels guilty that in spite of his occupation he failed to save Julie's life. Worse, he finds his attraction to Macey makes him think he is betraying Julie's memory. However, as he realizes he loves Macey, he also concludes kind-hearted Julie would want him to go on with his life. Now to persuade Macey they can be friends and lovers.
This is a terrific contemporary tale with a romantic subplot that enhances the relationship drama between the lead couple. The key to the well-written novel is Derek as the audience will feel his grief and commiserate with him; feelings from others he does not want. His guilt for failing Julie and for falling in love with his BFF make for a strong emotional story line though the premise of a second chance at love with a best buddy is not new. Amy Knupp provides a powerful novel as this Texas Firefighter learns what happens to one's heat when Playing With Fire of the woman who loves him.