Happy New Year to one and all. Well, I wasn’t sorry to see the end of 2014, and 2015 looks better already. By this time last year, i was sick as a dog, and so far, knock on wood, everything is going well. I’ve started the countdown to my big vacation trip, Item number 1 on my bucket list, an Alaskan cruise in June, and it’s given me the incentive to stay, more or less, on my diet for 6 days now–I think that’s a record. Unfortunately, the bitter cold has made getting out and walking each day a chore, but I’ve been shovelling, and there’s more snow on the way.
I’d like to thank Sandra Bunino who makes it possible to share my writing with you this way. In the past, I’ve shared snippets from all of my current books, and a few incomplete manuscripts. Today, I’d like to offer you a taste of Fire Angel, my first novel published in 2013. It’s currently available as part of Dangerous Love, a five romance suspense bundle from Crimson Romance and selling for 99 cents or less. (It’s 94 cents on Amazon.ca, so it’s got to be a steal here Amazon.com
So, let me introduce you to Alexis, a fire investigator with a sixth sense about how fire thinks and behaves.
This Week’s Tease:
Alexis Michaels cursed again, the sound of her voice loud and unnerving in the empty vehicle. The heavy rain had stopped, but as night had fallen, driving conditions on the Trans-Canada had not improved. A dense fog settled into the region, limiting visibility. The beams from the headlights of her rental car encroached timidly upon the murky darkness, but gave little light. She wished that she had chosen a heavier, sturdier vehicle; a tank would have been nice, she thought. She white-knuckled the steering wheel, as she drove as fast as she could along the deserted road, scolding herself again for not finding a place to stay the night when she had stopped for gas.
“Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” she uttered into the silence. She should have known better; after all, she had spent over fourteen of her thirty years in this area, the last four of which would haunt her forever. She hoped that she would be able to finally lay those ghosts to rest.
She turned off the radio in an effort to concentrate on her driving, but the silence played havoc with her nerves. Too many garish horror movies danced through her head. She gave herself a shake and screamed as the fog came alive in front of her.
She slammed on the brakes just as a large moose stepped out onto the highway less than twenty yards ahead of her, on the very edge of what little illumination her lights provided. A piercing squeal shrieked in her ears and caused the massive bull to turn towards her. The car swerved into the opposite lane, scraped along the road-side rail, and spun around to face the enormous creature. Her heart thundered in her ears. Great, she thought; that’ll leave a mark. What a way to find out that the brakes aren’t in the best of shape!
Alexis shuddered as the vehicle came to a stop. The huge animal stood in the glare of her headlights, staring at the foreign object that had invaded his domain, puffs of vapor coming from his nostrils, reminding her of the enraged bulls in Saturday morning cartoons. She watched in horror as the gigantic beast took two steps in her direction.
What had she been thinking? The problem was that she hadn’t been thinking—as usual. She had been focused on getting to the crime scene as fast as she could before any more evidence could be destroyed. She had seen the signs warning of moose in the area, but she had assumed that even moose had enough common sense to stay put on a night like this.
She stared in awe at the strangely magnificent beast before her. It was so big, much bigger than she remembered. The bull, almost black in color with palmate antlers, stood at least six feet tall at the shoulder and must have weighed well over 1,200 pounds. Its body weight was centered above its long, spindly legs which made it particularly dangerous for low-slung cars like hers. Heaven knew what would happen to her if he decided to charge.
Alexis watched as the gigantic animal continued his slow progress towards the car and then, less than a yard away, he veered right, raised his legs to cross over the rail, and tramped down into the low ditch. She sat immobilized, watching him until he disappeared into the fog. She slowly released the breath she had been holding, and pushed her hair up off her forehead.
“Holy cow, I mean bull,” she said and whistled. “That was way too close for comfort.”
Once she was certain that he was not going to turn around and come back, she drew a deep breath, put the car into low gear, and thanked the powers that be that the engine had not stalled. Cautiously, she moved her car back onto the highway and into her own lane. She had not seen another vehicle in at least an hour, but it would be just her luck to avoid the moose and get hit by an oncoming car—probably driven by the only other person stupid enough to be driving in this weather.
As she drove slowly through the wilderness, hazard lights blinking steadily in the gloom, she carefully watched the roadside. Where there was one moose, there was probably another. Finally, escarpment edged both sides of the highway, and she relaxed.
When Captain Peters, her supervisor, had begged her to take this assignment, he had warned her about the dangers of night driving. Conflicted, she had resisted the urge to tell him that she had lived in the region years before. She wished that she had paid more attention to what he had said, but no, she had dismissed his warning and blundered ahead as she usually did. Alexis Michaels, Wonder Woman, not! When would she realize that she was not indestructible?
The adrenaline shot she had received from her potential brush with death had worn off, leaving her anxious and frustrated. As one of North America’s finest fire and arson investigators, a woman in a man’s world, Alexis pushed herself to be the best. She had an exceptional understanding of fire and its behavior. Driven by her own demons, she understood the purpose and actions of the various accelerants and ignition devices used by arsonists.
Usually called in when local fire and police officials requested help, Alexis did double duty: first, she identified the origin and cause of the fire, tracked its progress, and if there was one, identified the common threads that tied multiple blazes together. Captain Peters claimed she had a sixth sense concerning fire, and in some ways he was right. She had the ability to see beyond what other inspectors could see and frequently found that missing link to solve the crime. She had an uncanny way of seeing the fire through the eyes of the firebug and to think the way he or she did. If they were nearby, she could feel them, and know what they were feeling. It was that gift that was needed here. Once she concluded the fire part of the investigation, she would change hats and help the rest of the arson team narrow the list of suspects and nail the culprit.
Three fires by themselves would not necessarily call for her services, but unfortunately, bodies had been found at each scene, and with each fire, the number of bodies rose—at the moment it sat at twelve. From past experience, she knew it would only go up unless this maniac was caught.
Now, please take the time to drop by and visit my fellow authors and check out their teases–some are so hot, they’ll leave you blistered! I’m posting early, so there’ll be more names in the blog than listed here. Follow additional links from one of the blogs listed below. Have fun and see you next week!