Exclusive Excerpt from Slow Burn, by Anne Marsh
The elite of the wildland firefighters, smoke jumpers parachute into the very heart of the smoke and flames. The first and last line of defense between small town Northern California and the fires that burn there every summer, the smoke jumpers are protectors to their core, putting their lives on the line with every jump. Hard-bodied, rough around the edges, and absolutely determined to do whatever it takes to hold the line between the wildfires and civilization, smoke jumpers are the ultimate bad boys of summer who ride into town to protect and defend—and leave as soon as the flames are out. Sometimes, though, those flames aren’t natural. This summer, there’s a serial arsonist burning up Strong... and he just might be a fellow firefighter.
I’m thrilled share this exclusive excerpt from Slow Burn, my second Smoke Jumpers book from Kensington Brava.
The Corvette was going up. Sharp, popping noises peppered the air as the frame slowly bent beneath the fire’s pressure. White-hot heat danced around the burning car, and the fumes were a thick, toxic wave.
“Get back!” Evan roared, catching Faye’s arm and yanking her backward as he tore off his Nomex jacket.Her face, when she looked up at him, was a mask of anguish and indecision. “I have to do something.”
Throwing the Nomex around her, he grabbed her upper arms and put her behind him. He wasn’t going all PC here. Not when her life was on the line. “Go. We’ve got to go.”
A fresh column of black smoke billowed from the cars behind them. Fire had found something else to burn and was going to town. Burning embers and debris rained down around them, but the smoke was the real killer. He yanked the Nomex over her head and shoulders, scooped her up in his arms, and ran like hell. Embers struck his back and shoulders, but he was big and used to the sting of the burn, and he hadn’t been all that pretty to start with. All he had to do was get Faye where she could breathe and where the air was clean. His legs pumped, desperate to get her to safety. Twenty feet. Forty.
But, Christ, it was too late. He looked over his shoulder to gauge his distance from the cars, and the sound caught up with his eyes. First the tires blew out in a mini-explosion, and then the fire finally found the gas tank. The back end of the Corvette went up and came back down, slamming burned-out rubber and rims against the asphalt. Wrapping himself around Faye, he dove forward, taking her to the ground beneath him. Cradling her. Covering her.
She said something, but the fire’s noise ate up the words, and he simply pressed her Nomex-covered head deeper into his chest. What wasn’t exposed couldn’t burn, so his hand cupped her, keeping her down.“Man down!” he yelled, but he’d need more than luck to be heard over the fire and the jet-blast of the hoses. A thick, black wave of smoke hit, and he closed his mouth, choking on the fumes. Hold on, hold on. The blast would die back in a minute, and he’d have a window of opportunity to move.
Faye felt small and fragile trapped beneath him. That he could still lose her ripped through him in an unwelcome wake-up call far more painful than the burning debris hitting him. Nothing mattered more than this woman. Nothing.
He wasn’t losing her.Not as long as he could still fight for her.
It's not every man who'll risk his life jumping into the flames of a woodland inferno. Then again, Evan Donovan isn't like other men. No matter how great or how treacherous the challenge, he gets the job done. But when he agrees to look in on a friend's ex-wife after a suspicious brushfire, Evan learns that some jobs are too hot to handle...
Faye Duncan is a photographer on a mission, shooting fires for a magazine. Her first encounter with a wildfire isn't nearly as wild as her first night with Evan Donovan. Things really heat up when Evan learns she may have taken a photo of the arsonist setting the fires. Evan is determined to keep Faye safe - but first, he'll have to open up his heart...
Who is your favorite romantic suspense with a firefighter hero? One of mine is Jo Davis’s Firefighters of Station Five. Share your thoughts on this blog. One lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win a $10 gift card to the online bookstore of her choice (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo—you choose!).
A professional technical writer, Anne discovered that getting laid off was actually A Very Good Thing. While looking for her next writing gig, she picked up her pen (well, okay, she used her writing as an excuse to buy a new Apple laptop) and started writing. She soon discovered that writing was uncomfortably similar to sit-ups: add a few more crunches each day, wake up sore, but, by God, you will fit into that bikini. Or finish the book (she’s still working on the bikini). Now she cranks out software manuals during the daylight hours– and writes about alpha shapeshifters the rest of the time. She’s currently finishing her first Blaze for Harlequin—let’s hear it for sexy Navy rescue swimmers!
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WANT MORE SEXY FIREFIGHTERS?
Burning Up (October 2012)
Slow Burn (April 2013)
Reburn (July 2013)
Hot Zone (Fall 2013)