As I’m sitting here this morning watching the horrific fires occurring in California, I can’t believe what I have to write later today is about a terrible fire. The men and women firefighters, smokejumpers and First Responders are true heroes in my book. The danger they place themselves in every day in order to save lives as well as property is amazing. Smokejumpers are an elite group of firefighters specifically trained to provide from the air assault on fires. They often parachute into a fire zone, providing various kinds of support as they fight the raging flames.
Fire Devil is a seven book saga revolving around the lives of seven smokejumpers and the entire team in Missoula Montana. I fell in love with Missoula many years ago after my husband renovated a Best Products store in the gorgeous city. He brought back pictures and unforgettable stories and Fire Devil was born in my mind. The stories are action adventure, danger and intrigue, but they are also love stories, romance built on relearning to trust in order to love. Every man has a story. Every woman fights for their love. And every character should break your heart.
On October 24th, a free prequel – book one of two installments – will be made available and free. Standing at the River’s Edge. The stories pick a moment in time for each smokejumper. The stories are suspenseful, sad, happy, dangerous and full of – you got it – love. Three Rivers Run Deep – Book One of Fire Devil – will be available on November 4th. I hope you join in sharing with me a first excerpt of what I hope will be a timeless story.
THREE RIVERS RUN DEEP
Wha. Wha. Wha!
“We’re at the jump site,” Cooper screeched over the increasing noise.
“You’re not going yet. We have to wait for our orders,” Stoker insisted as he fumbled with his gear. Wind whipped through the open bay of the plane, creating a howling boom. Adrenaline was coursing through his veins as well as something else. Fear.
“Take a look at that shit down there,” Cooper huffed and shuffled toward the edge. “We can’t wait.”
Stoker reached out. “No. We follow orders. Remember?”
“Fuck orders. They’re people down there needing our help.” Cooper gave him a haunted look then donned his helmet.
As Stoker trudged, determined to stop his friend from jumping, he heard Cooper’s last words just as he reached out, grabbing Cooper. ‘See you in paradise.’
“What the fuck?” Stoker Hansen jerked awake, swimming up from the horrific dream. Swirling visions clouded his foggy mind, ugly reminders of a mission of healing turned into carnage. Rubbing his eyes, he twisted his head back and forth as his eyes became accustomed to the darkness. The sound of the alarm continued, blaring into the close-knit quarters. He sucked in his breath and held his hands over his ears. You’re okay. This isn’t war. You’re home and safe. As his breathing slowed, he shivered. Yeah, at least he was safe.
“Get the hell up, dude. We have a hot one.”
“What? Cooper?” Stoker asked. His stomach remained unsettled, the usual nausea pooled in the pit of his stomach.
“Cooper? Jesus Christ, Stoker. Get up sleeping beauty. We have a call.”
He plopped his feet on the floor and shook the cobwebs away. He wasn’t in Afghanistan. He wasn’t crouched in a pool of blood. This was his best friend, Garcia. Okay. I’m okay. After a deep breath he sprang into action, shoving his feet into boots and grabbing his heat and fireproof jacket. “Give me the details.” Live your life. You deserve. The sentiment would never leave him. He’d never be free of the words whispered by a respected soldier.
“Three alarm fire at a residence. Gotta hurry before it spreads to the woods,” Garcia stated and raced away.
Men ran past him, heading for the engines. They all knew the drill, could perform it in their sleep. Stoker hopped onto the engine a split second before it rolled out of the garage. The moon was full, highlighting a gorgeous star filled early morning. Within seconds the sky turned orange. “Shit.”
“Third one in as many days.”
Stoker nodded and glanced at his buddy. Garcia Puevos was grinning, enjoying the moment. The guy was an adrenaline junkie. “You have to wonder if arson is involved.”
“Jesus, bud. You think everything is a conspiracy.” Garcia slapped him on the back.
“Not everything.” Stoker grabbed the metal bar and leaned out as the engine picked up speed. Missoula, Montana had seen one too many raging fires in less than six weeks. Most of the investigations indicated they’d been started by carelessness or accident. His gut told him otherwise. Even the smoke jumping team had been called in.
Within seconds they were on scene. Two engine companies had responded, which meant they faced a serious situation.
“Fuck me. Unbelievable,” Stoker whispered under his breath as he secured his helmet. Flames licked up over the roofline of the massive house. Embers floated into the huge oak trees flanking the perimeter. An angry glow of red and tangerine brightened the sky as the sound of crackling wood created a roar.
“We do this by the book.”
Stoker glanced at his Captain of three years. The man was respected in every circle, including the Governor’s office. Captain Banyon could even run for office himself. “Could be arson.”
Captain Banyon shook his head. “Doesn’t matter. We’re called in as backup so you protect the outskirts. From what I’ve heard, nothing is secure yet and the fire’s too hot.”
Garcia jumped off the engine before it rolled to a stop, jerking the hose from its perch. “Everyone out?” he called as the various firefighters rushed into action.
“Family is out. Pets still inside,” came a voice from the smoke.
“Crap. Let’s go,” Stoker screeched as he took off running, turning on the powerful light attached to his helmet. Ominous shadows crisscrossed the terrain, creating a sense of foreboding. He heard Garcia calling from the distance. There was little time to try and save anything, let alone the family pets, yet he was damn sure gonna try. He yanked down his mask and raced into the melee, scanning the perimeter as he searched for an opening.
“What the hell are you doing?” Captain Banyon hissed.
Garcia flanked his side and lifted his mask as a team of early responders motioned their way. “Where are they?”
“The family is over there.” One of the men pointed as he wrangled with the hose, shooting water up at the roofline.
“Not the family. The pets.” Stoker located the front door. There might be two minutes before the entire second floor collapsed into the first. He calculated whether there would be a backdraft. No, the fire was burning in a controlled albeit destructive pattern. The house would be a complete loss.
“Not gonna happen. They’re trapped too far in.”
He glared at the shadowed mask of a man he didn’t know and turned toward Garcia. “We have ninety seconds. Let’s go.”
“You got it,” Garcia answered as both men took off.
“Get back here!” the Captain barked.
They ignored the command as Stoker kicked down the wooden door. A billow of black smoke poured from the interior. He tugged out his flashlight, turning on the high-powered beam, and for a second tipped his head, listening for any telltale signs. A strangled yelp grabbed his attention.
A single terrified woof trickled from the blackness. A second and deeper bark followed.
“Over there!” Garcia yelled.
Stoker kicked over a chair as he moved forward.
Garcia shoved Stoker to the ground as debris slammed down from above. “Need to get out of here.”
“Not without the dogs.”
“You’re nuts, man,” Garcia hissed as he shook off fallen wallboard.
Stoker didn’t care. This was a mission he refused to fail. Another booming sound brought a series of whimpers from the dogs. He dug through wallboard and fallen wood until his hand wrapped around a trembling bit of fur. He managed to grasp two dogs, cradling them to his chest before crawling backward and getting to his feet.
“Come on. It’s about to give!” Garcia warned.
Stoker swiveled to his right, crouched low and headed for what he thought was the front door. Within a split second he became disoriented. The dogs howled and he knew they were struggling to catch their breath. His chest heavy, he shook his head as he recounted his steps. He yanked off his mask, placing the heavy plastic over their faces and shoved his way through the debris. After gulping acrid smoke, he stumbled.
I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget that the fabulous Fall Over Freebie Giveaway ends on October 12th. 24 FREE books (including one of mine – His Judgment) made available to you. Sexy and very hot men, fabulous stories and all kinds of wicked sex. Here’s the link and enjoy!