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Taylor McAden is a contractor by profession, but his passion is his work as a volunteer firefighter in the small town of Edenton, North Carolina. Driven by his unarticulated feelings about his father's death, he's always ready to help and prides himself on taking risks that no other man would take. At 36, Taylor has always shied away from relationships, but he finds it hard to distance himself from Denise Holden and her learning-disabled son, Kyle, whom he helps rescue from a car accident. Denise has come to Edenton because she inherited a house from her late grandparents and needs to live rent-free so she can devote herself to Kyle. Struggling to make ends meet as a single mom, she is surprised to find herself attracted to a man like Taylor, who is so different from the educated men she met when she lived and worked in Atlanta as a teacher. As Denise watches Taylor treat Kyle as he would a normal child, she realizes that he truly is special and opens her heart to him. When their relationship becomes serious, however, Taylor pulls away.