Good morning. It’s a typical autumn day–raining, dreary and cold. UGH! Thanks to the lovely Sandra Bunino, I can share a taste of my first published novel with you today. Fire Angel was the Bookbub selection on Friday, October 3, 2014, and is still available for 98 cents from Amazon.com, just over a dollar from Amazon.ca until October 10th. It was a hell of a thrill to watch it climb all the way to # 152 in overall sales and #13 in the suspense category. I won’t see much money from this, but I’m hoping it will get me new readers who’ll be interested in buying my other books.
About Fire Angel:
A malicious serial killer is out for revenge, and he doesn’t care how many people have to die before he gets it. Using fire as a weapon, he strikes at random, and the bodies are piling up, leaving the citizens of Paradise wondering who is next.
Betrayed by the one closest to him, criminal profiler Jake McKenzie has returned from Afghanistan minus a leg and afraid to trust his instincts. When the police chief asks for his expertise in identifying the killer, he agrees knowing this is his chance to prove he can still do the job.
Sixteen years ago, fiercely independent Alexis Michaels escaped an abusive uncle and a deadly fire, to become one of the country’s top fire and arson investigators. She reluctantly accepts the assignment and returns home to lead the hunt for the killer, knowing she will have to confront the memories she has repressed all these years. Her uncanny ability to put herself in the arsonist’s place is the skill they need to find this maniac.
When Jake discovers that his new partner is the girl who has haunted his dreams all these years, he finds himself enthralled, but memories of his dead wife make him doubt his emotions. Alexis has few pleasant memories of Paradise, but Jake is one of them. Undeniably drawn to him, she longs for a deeper relationship, but won’t compete with a ghost.
Until they catch the killer, they must set aside their conflicted emotions and work together. The clock is ticking, and the killer has made it clear: Alexis is next.
Here’s one of its reviews:
“Fire Angel” tears us from our complacency to view a quiet town scorched by a homicidal maniac. With superb mastery of her craft, Susanne Matthews drags us screaming into the horror of a forensic mystery. “Fire Angel” unravels the journey of her gorgeous but damaged hero, criminal profiler Jake and his arson expert partner Alexis. As they search to uncover the identity of the murderer and fire-starter, they begin to reveal the issues that their mutual past has dogged their lives.
Susanne’s “Fire Angel” weaves the various threads of suspicion and romance together so exquisitely with her descriptions that you can follow close behind, trying to warn her characters to beware. Alexis is so easy to relate to, a strong woman who has rebuilt her life from a broken childhood and her growing feelings for the emotionally and physically broken Jake, flowers naturally. As they seek the twisted mind behind the growing body count, dismissing suspects as their alibis hold up against examination, they are drawn closer together. A fast and exciting read which never lets the reader come up for air. I could find no faults whatsoever in Fire Angel. I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Fire Angel” and would unreservedly recommend it to other readers.
This Week’s Tease:
Alexis stared at the escarpment that edged the gorge. The first fire had been located in the forest just upriver. It was lucky that the fire had not spread to the trees—forest fires were as dangerous in Canada as they were in California. The locals said it was arson, but until she saw the scene herself, she would not know for sure. Accidental fires had been mistaken for arson in the past by inexperienced fire inspectors, and innocent men and women had been jailed because of misinterpreted evidence. Dismissing the idea from her mind, she walked towards the reception office of the motor inn.
She opened the door and entered. She wanted a drink, a meal and hot shower—in that order. The desk clerk, a handsome man in his early thirties, looked over his shoulder at the sound of the bell. There was something familiar about him that tickled her memory; she wondered fleetingly if they had met years ago. Even though she had sworn off men after her last disastrous relationship, she felt a flicker of interest for this one, a familiar coil of heat teasing her, as if her body remembered something her mind had forgotten. She chose to spend most of her time alone, but she could be flexible for this guy. He stood, limped over to the counter, and smiled at her.
He was gorgeous, tall, topping her five foot nine inches by at least six inches. He was muscled, but not in that overblown bodybuilder way. His short chestnut hair spiked gently on top. He was clean-shaven with a Kirk Douglas dimple in his chin under sensuous full lips. What struck her most about him were his eyes, familiar eyes that she couldn’t place, deep blue like Moraine Lake, the popular glacier-fed lake in the Rockies, the kind of eyes in which a person could drown.
“Hi,” she said surprised by the catch in her voice. “Alexis Michaels; I have a reservation. I’m a little late.” She winced—three hours was more than a little late.
He stared at her a few moments as if he’d lost the ability to speak. She tilted her head, giving him a quizzical look.
“Sorry,” he stammered. “We’ve been expecting you; not to worry, your reservation was guaranteed.” His voice, once he’d found it, was as smooth as fine whiskey.
“Welcome to Paradise. Everything is ready; if I could just have your credit card?” He had an incredible smile. His eyes crinkled at the corners involving his whole face in the gesture of warmth and welcome. Why was it that a man’s wrinkles were sexy, character building, while a woman’s just made her look old and frumpy? Crow’s feet—isn’t that what they’re called? Another example of the inequality of the sexes, she thought. They never advertise wrinkle cream for men!
Alexis handed over her agency credit card, signed the paper authorizing the expense, and pocketed the large brass key he had given her.
“Generally, we can’t use the electronic locks on the cabin doors at this time of year; there’s too much moisture from the ice and snow.”
“That’s okay.” She smiled. “I don’t know how long I’ll be here, and if the weather changes. . .”
He offered to help with her luggage, but she thanked him, and said she could manage. She usually traveled light; besides, she didn’t plan on taking everything out of the car tonight. Her duffel bag, camera, and computer would do; the rest she’d unload in the morning.
She inquired about the hours for the restaurant attached to the motor inn.
“We stop serving dinner at nine, but snacks are available until eleven,” he said. “We open for breakfast at six.”
She nodded, thanked him again, and went out to the car. Having that piece of eye candy around to admire and drool over might help her deal with the stress that she was sure would surface while she was here; in fact, just seeing him made her feel better. The headache she had anticipated thanks to the horrendous drive seemed to have disappeared, and she felt more relaxed than she had all day. Who says candy isn’t good for you? Maybe once she had dinner, she might look up her so-called partner.
She pulled the key out of her pocket and checked the number.
“Great,” she sighed. As luck would have it, her assigned cabin was the one furthest from the motor inn itself. It looked ominous outlined as it was against the trees, with the low fog hovering above the stone walkway—a setting straight out of a gothic novel.
The only light visible was the multicolored glow from the neon sign. Swallowing a mouthful of discomfort, she got into the car and drove across the parking lot until she was as close as she could get to her door. She grabbed her stuff from the back seat, and locked the vehicle. The headlights would stay on for sixty seconds, giving her ample time to get the key in the lock, open the door, and turn on the light.
She walked up the fieldstone sidewalk to the cabin door. She wasn’t sure whether the iron grillwork over the cabin’s windows made her feel safe or imprisoned. The vision of being trapped in a burning cabin came vividly to mind. She couldn’t help but wonder if they were trying to keep someone in or something out.
Check out this weeks Teasers: