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Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Things You Save in a Fire

Repeat author

Katherine Center is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Hello Stranger and The Bodyguard and What You Wish For.

Early Release

This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait to read it.

by Katherine Center

Excellent choice

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Quick take

A redemptive read from the author of How to Walk Away with a tough-girl firefighter who isn't as tough as she thinks.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama


Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she's seen her fair share of them, and she's excellent at dealing with other people's tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it's an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie's old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren't exactly thrilled to have a "lady" on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn't seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can't think about that. Because she doesn't fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don't date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping...but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she's worked so hard to be taken seriously?

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Things You Save in a Fire.
Things You Save in a Fire


The night I became the youngest person—and the only female ever—to win the Austin Fire Department’s valor award, I got propositioned by my partner.


At the ceremony, In the ballroom. During dinner.

By my partner.

There we all were, the entire B-shift from Station Eleven, in our dress uniforms, using salad forks—and there I was, in my crisscross tie, getting more and more nervous at the prospect of having to walk up on that stage in front of all those people under all those lights. The winter before, a busload of schoolchildren had slid off an icy road into a ravine, and I had climbed inside to push the kids out through a window, one by one, as the water rose. That's why we were here. The newspapers were calling me the School Bus Angel.

And Hernandez, of all people, chose this moment to hit on me.

Hernandez, my partner of three years. Hernandez, who I'd never once thought of that way. Hernandez, who was so perfectly, mechanically handsome that he didn't even register as handsome anymore.

He was like a Latino firefighting Ken doll—so bizarrely perfect, he wasn't even real. He lifted weights, and flossed, and preened, and he used his washboard stomach and perfectly aligned white teeth to snare more unsuspecting ladies than I could count. He wasn't just in our department's calendar—he was on the cover. Picture-perfect Hernandez, the last guy on earth I would ever think of as anything other than a health-food-eating, CrossFit-training ladies' man, leaned over close to my ear, right there at the banquet table, and asked me to spend the night with him.

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Why I love it

I guess it’s pretty old hat to introduce a repeat author around here with the promise of an even-better follow-up, but I can’t help it: Things You Save in a Fire is BETTER than Katherine Center’s breakout romance novel of 2018, How to Walk Away.

Cassie Hanwell is a no-bullshit, tough-as-nails firefighter who doesn’t need (or want) a man in her life. When her ailing, estranged mother calls her home to Boston, she is faced with the dual challenges of navigating their rocky relationship (which she’s in no mood to do) and making her mark in a new firehouse, where even the chief is annoyed at the idea of having a woman around. Between trying to fit in and icing mom at home, Cassie’s days are more than filled. Interesting, then, that the other rookie firefighter seems to be worming his way into her heart…

I don’t even know how to explain how much I adored this book, but let’s start with the best thing about it: the main character. Cassie is smart, unapologetic, and great at her job, and watching her make her mark at a firehouse that’s practically muggy with testosterone is as satisfying as it entertaining. This is a story of love, of family, and of learning how to be vulnerable—and trust me, Cassie’s life journey is one you don’t want to miss.

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Member ratings (18,983)

  • Lily D.

    Freeland, MI

    This book is like Disney trying to give a fire a happy ending. I LOVED this book, the meaning and lesson it has in forgiveness may be in a story but is no less REAL and heartwarming. LOVE IT❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Lindsey P.

    Elm city, NC

    Love love love this book! Great story of overcoming trauma, choosing forgiveness and love! Feel like this book could definitely be a hallmark movie! Love it and all the good feels ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Becca H.

    Prescott Valley, AZ

    I was back and forth on adding this book to my box and I’m so glad I did! An amazing story with compelling characters. I read this book in one afternoon because I couldn’t put it down. And the rookie❤️

  • Kate Mellie N.

    Houston, TX

    I love Cassie and I couldn’t help but root for her.❤️ I’m so glad this story is more than just romance although I love her and The Rookie. It also covers important topics like healing and forgiveness.

  • Nicole D.

    King of Prussia, PA

    I loved Katherine Center’s other BOTM and this one didn’t disappoint either. The characters were compelling, the rookie ???? and her female characters are well written. Can’t wait for more of her books!

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