Posts Tagged ‘Romance novels’

Crazy December Book Goodness With Military Heroes

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Hello everyone! Guys, I tried posting this blog so that it would show up on Triberr where people can share blogs on places such as Twitter. Unfortunately Triberr thought I’d already posted this blog. So I’m trying a different title to see if it works this time. :)

I was saying on Facebook today that my brain is just pinging like a slot machine in Vegas because I have so many stories coming out in December. Actually…Holding Out For A Hero is a new box set. Sweet Sensations came out last month.

First up is my novella Major Pleasure, an erotic romance I wrote some time ago which is featured in the contemporary romance box set Sweet Sensations, a collection of stories from USA Today and Amazon Best Selling Authors.


You can grab Sweet Sensations right now by clicking right here.

Preorder is up for Holding Out For A Hero: SEALS, Soldiers, Spies, Cops, FBI Agents and Rangers! Release date is December 8.


New York Times and USA Today Best Selling authors Cardidad Pineiro, Sharon Hamilton, Gennita Low, Tawny Weber, Karen Fenech, Lisa Hughey, Opal Carew and Denise A. Agnew present eight amazing stories for every woman looking for a hero.

You can preorder your copy here for 99cents.

We have a Writerspace Chat you can attend on Wednesday, December 2 at 9pm Eastern. Click here.

We also have a great Facebook party on Thursday, December 10 at 6pm Eastern and we’d love for you to attend. You can sign up by clicking here.

Thanks so much and I can’t wait for you to read these collections!

The Dare: Sizzling Romantic Suspense With Edge

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

The Dare was the first erotic romance I ever wrote. It was originally published in 2002, and it launched me into a new space where I wrote quite a few erotic romances over the years for more than one publisher. Today Loose ID has published The Dare again! If you’re into alpha males, the hero is for you. But he’s a good guy with a soft heart that takes a while for the heroine to see. Check out this snippet from The Dare. You can find The Dare at Loose ID and it will be up at other retailers soon!

Get Your Copy Here!



Mousy and just plain boring…

Tired of self-denial and being cloistered by her father’s over protectiveness, wealthy painter Isabella takes a vacation alone.

Tough and way too cocky…

Police officer Luca Angello is self-confident, powerfully sexual, and on the trail of gang members attacking women.

Isabella thinks Luca is shallow and only out for a good time. Luca thinks Isabella needs some loosening up.

Fear brings them together…

When danger throws her into his arms, she discovers that he can reach her depths in ways she never could have imagined.

* *

Bella thought she could finish drying the car before Luca appeared again. No such luck. He strode out of his house a few minutes later, his expression reserved. She’d never guess in a million years this was the man who had kissed her into the next century and set her blood on fire.

Nope. Cool as fresh watermelon, his gaze said he was all business. His wet hair and change of clothes told her he’d taken a shower. He wore a plain green T-shirt and a pair of jeans. The snug fit of his T-shirt showed his wide shoulders to perfection. His almost-new-looking jeans skimmed his lower body affectionately but without a tight fit. If Bella thought his ravenous kiss and brazen attitude would turn her off, she’d discovered that she couldn’t be more wrong. Her body still throbbed and tingled in places she didn’t want to think about, and she knew if she looked in a mirror right now, her lips would be red and a bit swollen. She sucked in a breath as he arrived in front of her.

He held a black wallet out to her. “My identification.”

Bella took the leather wallet reluctantly. Flipping it open, she saw it held the usual ID, including a driver’s license that declared his name to be Luca Thomas Angello. Next to that she found an ID card proving he was a detective with the Piper’s Grove Police Department. After examining the badge attached to the inside of the wallet, she also glanced at his vital statistics. Thirty-seven years old, six feet four inches tall, and two hundred pounds. Black hair, black eyes, and the sexiest aura on the planet.

Uh-huh. As if it said that on his ID.

“Do I pass muster?” he asked.

She frowned as she handed the wallet back to him. “Great. So you’re a cop.”

“Now you know you can trust me.”

She crossed her arms and shook her head. “I think we’d better keep our distance. If you’ll excuse me, I have things to do.”

With an indulgent smile, he reached into his wallet and pulled out a business card. “Here. My cell number is at the bottom.”

Bella knew she had to make a fast escape, or this man would take hold of her senses once again. Before she could move a foot, his hand clasped her upper arm gently.

“Look, I’m sorry about what happened earlier. I was a dick. I didn’t mean to scare you or come on so strong. If you see or hear anything suspicious, or if you’re ever frightened, call me on the cell phone. It’s on all the time.”

He walked back to his condo without another word.

Surprised by the apology, she stood there a minute. After she rewound the garden hose, she gathered up the car-washing items and carried them into the small utility room in the condo. Her entire body seemed to be trembling. Disgusted with her lack of control, Bella decided she would do something to get her mind off the exasperating man. She went into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator to get iced tea. After pouring herself a tumbler of tea, she pressed the ice-cold glass against her face and tried to regulate the pounding of her heart. What on earth had happened in the past few hours?

Had she ever experienced quite this much fire and fury with one man? She thought about it, staring into nothingness as she sipped her tea. She’d left Denver to avoid complications, and somehow they found her anyway. Because he was a cop, part of her longed to tell him what happened to her in Denver; the other part of her said she didn’t have concrete proof of anything.

No, better to keep quiet about the reason she’d left her father’s estate.

Involuntarily, she glanced through her kitchen window. No one was out there watching her. She rushed over to the window and drew the cellular shade down as apprehension touched her. She leaned against the counter while her stomach roiled. Wanting to control the fear, she closed her eyes and thought instead of the weird combination of trepidation and safety she felt when Luca was nearby. Mad at herself for giving in to anxiety, she lifted the shade. She looked at Luca’s kitchen window again. Bella almost expected to see Luca standing in his kitchen, buck naked.

Heat filled her face. She must do something to take her mind off the past few hours. She scanned the house, aware for the first time that the rental didn’t say comfort so much as it said mediocre. The modern paintings on the walls and the chrome-and- glass furniture screamed impersonal. Her room at her father’s estate had every luxury a woman could ask for—whirlpool tub, giant shower, huge mirrors, large walk-in closet. You name it, she owned it.

Even there, though, she’d felt detached and as if she didn’t belong anywhere.

Tears prickled her eyes, and she blinked. Bella felt adrift and uncomfortable with the raging desire and confusion rising inside her. She slumped on the couch and stared at the white walls, the entertainment center with the large television, the tile floor, and the elegant throw rugs. The place didn’t speak to her, nor did the silence.

She needed something to release the real Isabella Markham.

But what?

That’s why I came here. To seek and find the answers. What do I want to do with the rest of my life? How can I resolve the feeling that something horrible hovers just outside my knowledge, waiting to pounce?


Guest Author: Lynn LaFleur & Romancing Raine

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Please welcome to my blog today Lynn LaFleur. Lynn and I go way back in the romance novel writing world. Today I’m featuring her excerpt from our box set Get Lucky: Seven Steamy Romances. Her contribution to this hot box set is Romancing Raine. Warning…this is an explicit excerpt.


Kaylen opened the door wider so Raine could enter. He took the opportunity to admire her ass as she walked past him. His cock responded, making him thankful for the loose khakis he’d chosen to wear tonight with a button-down shirt.

“Everything is beautiful, Kaylen. I love all the candles. And the table looks incredible. You went to a lot of work.”

“I wanted it to be special for you.” He crossed to the kitchen. “Dinner will be served between seven-fifteen and seven-thirty. I’ve opened a bottle of Bordeaux for us. Why don’t you get comfortable in the living room and I’ll bring the bottle and glasses?”

Kaylen entered the living room to find Raine sitting in a corner of the couch, her legs crossed. He’d turned on the two lamps to their lowest setting. Their soft light mixed with the candlelight turned her skin golden. He almost stumbled at the sight, she looked so beautiful.

He sat next to her, splashed wine in each glass. After handing one wineglass to Raine, he tapped it with his. “To an evening of good food, good wine, and good company.”

Raine smiled at his toast before she took a sip of her wine. “Oh, that’s very nice.”

“Told you. Wait until you taste the filet.”

“I can hardly wait.”

To prove her words, her stomach rumbled. Kaylen laughed while Raine blushed. “Hungry?”

“Obviously. I haven’t had anything to eat since the torte in your plane.”

“I hope you like French Onion soup. I ordered that instead of salad.”

“I love it.”

He glanced into his wineglass, amazed that he continued to feel so nervous about this evening. “It isn’t a good idea to invite a woman to dinner and not find out what she likes or dislikes.”

“I’m not a picky eater. Except for artichokes.” She shivered. “I can’t imagine why anyone would eat them.”

He tapped her glass again with his. “I agree with you there.”

Raine sipped her wine, then openly studied his face. “We seem to agree on a lot of things.”

“Like what?” he asked, stretching his arm along the back of the couch behind her.

“Music. I loved all the songs you played while we were flying today, and what’s playing now. Food.” She lifted her glass an inch. “Wine.”

“I like wine, but I’m not an expert. I asked Kaci what went best with filet. She suggested either Merlot or Bordeaux.”

“I’ll tell you a secret.” She leaned closer to him. Kaylen bent his head so she could whisper in his ear. “I’m not an expert either. I just know what I like.”

Kaylen laughed again, delighted at her honesty and humor. Very little about this woman didn’t delight him.

He lifted tendrils of her hair, rubbed them between his thumb and forefinger. So soft, and his touch released the scent of flowers. “You’re so beautiful, Raine.”

“That sounds like something a man would say to a woman before he kisses her.”

“It could be, if that woman wants a kiss.”

“She wants it very much,” she said softly.

Only too happy to grant her request, Kaylen pressed his lips to hers in a gentle kiss. He tasted the wine on her breath, mixed with the unique flavor of Raine.

He knew immediately that one taste wouldn’t be enough.


You can find Get Lucky: Seven Steamy Romances at these outlets so don’t miss out. This box set is 99 cents for a limited time and it’s on preorder right now!






Thunderclap for Get Lucky!

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

What is Thunderclap? It’s an opportunity for people to share great news about a book that’s come out! If you could share this Thunderclap for Get Lucky: Seven Steamy Romances, I would so very much appreciate it! Click here for the details. Get lucky is on 99 cent preorder right now. You can get your copy at these fine retailers:






Preorder of Get Lucky: Seven Steamy Romances #99cents

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Hey everyone! It’s been a whirlwind of things since I’ve participated in the Be Mine: Ten Erotic Romances for Valentine’s Day box set. So guess what? I’m in another box set with seven other authors. Here are the blurbs to tantalize you. Get Lucky: Seven Steamy Romances is only available for a limited time at 99 cents so grab yours while you can! Scroll down to the bottom to get the links!



Do you feel lucky? Seven tantalizing paranormal and contemporary romance tales designed to heat your days and melt your nights. This boxed set is only available for a LIMITED TIME so grab your copy before it’s gone.

Seven complete stories. Professionally Edited. Limited Release.

Forevermore by Denise A. Agnew

Mae Sutton travels to Scotland to investigate tormenting dreams that have plagued her since childhood. Once in the shadowy, misty land, she discovers a brooding Highlander—and a secret that threatens her very existence. Mae and Aidan have lived before, and the dark legacy that destroyed them once, may destroy them again…

Keep Me by Faith Andrews

Sexy, tatted up, underwear model Marcus Grayson is every girl’s dream—or more likely worst nightmare. Tessa Bradley is a self-sufficient, take-no-bull, single mother—well, now she is. When she runs into Marcus, her friend Riley’s once-adorable turned smoking-hot little brother, she has no idea how he’s about to rock her world.

Romance Quickies (Encounter 14) by Monique DuBois

Brooke is determined to get lucky on her favorite night of the year: St. Patrick’s Day. When she meets a charismatic Irishman with the same thing on his mind, sparks fly. Will Brooke’s bad luck in dating take a turn for the worse, or has she just found the luck o’ the Irish?

Archangel Jed (A Novella of The Seven) by USA Today Bestseller Lisa Hughey

Her secret has the power to destroy them both….

Jed, Archangel of Wisdom and Knowledge, has something to prove. Luci, a human Sage, has a dark secret. While on a quest to find a book that contains the knowledge to protect both their worlds from their mortal enemy, a forbidden love blossoms. But can Jed save her when the truth is revealed?

Risque Business by USA Today Bestseller Titania Ladley

Curvy Amy MacGowan has gained enough weight to tip the scale opposite a pot of gold. But she lives out her fantasies behind the headset of her 900 phone-sex company, Risqué Business. Just her luck, her hot ex-lover Gabe Rizzuto buys the café next door. Ah, just grand. Sooner or later, he’s going to notice she’s “bloomed,” and knowing his shenanigans, Amy’s in for some risky business.

Romancing Raine by Lynn LaFleur

Kaylen Montgomery is hit with instant lust when he sees Raine Bridewell…

Turning on the Irish charm has always made women fall at Kaylen’s feet. Not this time. Getting involved with another owner—or the brother of one—isn’t anywhere on Raine’s to-do list. Enter Shae, a four-inch fairy, who is sure Raine and Kaylen belong together.

Wolves In The Highlands by Megan J. Parker & Nathan Squiers

An artist sets out to find inspiration in the hills of Scotland and falls into the arms of two shapeshifting highlanders. As she’s entangled in their world, she finds more beauty and danger than she ever thought possible. These two beastly Scotsmen just may save her career…

If they can save her life first.

You can preorder your copy here:


Barnes and Noble






Excerpt: Ashfall (Wasteland Trilogy Book 1)

Friday, November 14th, 2014


Post apoc romance anyone? Today I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at Ashfall, the first story in my Wasteland Trilogy which comes out in December. (Unedited blurb and excerpt). This excerpt shows some of the beginning heat between the hero and the heroine. Enjoy!


A strong woman and a former Air Force pararescueman tangle with a brave new world forged by an apocalypse no one could stop.

Mally Andretti survived an apocalypse that has altered the world. Tucked away in a huge compound she should feel safe, but loneliness eats away at her. Until a deep, mysterious voice tantalizes her over the ham radio and invites her into soul deep conversation. Who is the man who claims to be her friend, who awakens mental and physical cravings?

Working for a private security company takes every bit of former Air Force pararescueman Adam Becker’s time, until a sexy voice on the ham radio tempts him to do and say things he’s never done before. Mally calls on every fiercely protective instinctive inside him, and when she’s in serious danger he’ll do anything to get to her in time.

* *
Adam and the two other men shuffled Tanner out of the complex and through the gate. After they’d released the idiot outside the gate, only Adam returned to the front door. The other two men stood outside the still open gate, weapons at the ready. A curious mixture of excitement and caution mingled in her psyche. Whoever Adam Becker really was, he scared the crap out of her in so many ways. Her gaze snagged on his body, and just from the way he moved, from the confidence he displayed, she imagined he was an interesting lover. But which type of lover was he? Uncouth and ruthless, or gentle and accommodating?

Really? She was thinking about this now? She’d officially lost her mind.

He stopped at the closed screen, a frown still in place, his weapon anchored over his body by a sling. He tucked the thumb on his left hand into his belt. His wide shoulders, muscled biceps and powerful forearms screamed intimidation.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Wonderful.” She knew her comment was laced with sarcasm.

“Can I come in a moment?” he asked quietly.

When she hesitated, he took off his sun glasses and hooked them in the front of his vest. She dared gaze into the darkest brown eyes she’d ever seen. But there was worry and warmth in those eyes, too. Now that his face was entirely revealed, she could see his heritage in his deeper-toned skin. His features were craggy in that his nose was a bit sharp and long and his jaw too hard. His mouth was…well, it was just right. Kissable. Embarrassed by the ridiculous and out-of-place fantasizing, she felt her face heating. She jerked her gaze from his.

“Mally, I’m not going to hurt you.” He glanced down at the Glock in her hand. “Hey, you’ve got a weapon. If I pull anything, you can just shoot me.”

She couldn’t smile, the situation was too bizarre and her heart thudding too fast. She nodded and opened the screen door. She backed away to let him inside, and he closed the door with a snap. He didn’t lock it and as she continued into the living room, she kept her weapon in hand. Feeling a little ridiculous, she took a risk and set her Glock on the coffee table.

He crossed his arms. “Serious heat you’re packing there.”

“Do you blame me?”

“Hell no.”

For a few seconds he said nothing, but then he approached. Her insides trembled, uncertainty gripping her. He drew nearer, and she felt like a deer about to bolt. When he stood close beside her, his attention like a hot brand on her face, she tilted her head slightly back to examine him. He was easily over six feet, and at five foot seven she felt seriously at a disadvantage. In sheer muscle he outweighed her by a sizable amount. She could easily picture him saving other military personnel in his capacity of pararescueman. Right then her legs turned to gelatin. Either Tanner’s intrusion had disturbed her more than she thought, or this man’s mere presence set off a weird reaction.

Impulsively she put her hand on his vest, ready to push him away. “Think you’re standing close enough?”

His hand covered hers and held it in place, and he edged the tiniest bit closer. She drew in a sharp little breath.

“God,” he said softly as he looked down at her. “You’re trembling. It’s okay. No one’s going to hurt you. You’re safe with me.”

“What about your friends?”

He shook his head. “They’re solid guys. If one even considered touching you, I’d pound their faces.”

A wild heat danced through her, and she couldn’t help smiling just a little. She drew in a deep breath. He smelled like man…a mild mix of musk and maybe leather. It penetrated her senses and sent the warmth higher. Her fingers curled into his ballistic nylon vest. Recklessness beat in her veins, and she’d never felt anything quite like it before.



Gorgeous Covers Day!

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Okay, this is the blog authors put up when they are lazy! I’m feeling Friday lazy. Many of you have already seen some of my gorgeous covers, but there are some covers that I just absolutely think are wonderful and I thought today I’d share just a few. Enjoy.


 One of my all time favorite covers ever belongs to my Roman Britain historical romance, For A Roman’s Heart.


A stunning more “traditional” looking historical romance cover for Before The Dawn.


Another delicious cover for my 1906 historical Love From The Ashes.


Dark, Deadly Love has the proper scary feel for a historical set during the 1888 Jack The Ripper murders!


Many ladies really like this cover from Major Pleasure!

Those are just a fraction of my covers, but some of the big stand outs for me in conveying the tone of the book and also having visually stunning work.

With that I bid you a happy day and talk to you again soon. :)


Favorite Military Romance Novels

Sunday, February 9th, 2014


Hey everyone. Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Trying to decide how to approach this topic took me a while. Military romance novels. I obviously love to write them because many of the heroes in my novels are either in the military or used to serve. I’m starting to lose track of how many of these heroes I’ve written. Yet in my own reading I have to admit that I want different. I like Navy SEALS, too, but I also like story lines that showcase the differences in each military character and not just the similarities. I don’t want to give the reader the feeling they’re seeing the same ole story any more than I want to read the same ole story. I feel like I’ve found some unique military stories over the years. I’m planning on resurrecting them in my mind and listing them a bit at a time for you.

I just finished one such novel that I feel deserves five stars. Jessica Scott’s military romance novels are all amazing, but I thought Back to You (A Coming Home Novel) was top notch, unique, and showcased how much understanding military officer Jessica Scott understand about how military life and the recent war has changed marriages and families. I highly recommend this story. And I can’t wait to read All for You (A Coming Home Novel) which just came out. These stories are definitely romances, and I think you’ll love them.

More military story recommendations soon!



Your Writing & Joy. Own it.

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Once in a while I see something on another blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook about writers facing book bigotry. Yep, that’s what I’ve decided to call it. Book bigotry. What is it?

It’s when an author (published or not) is being shamed for what they write. This bigotry comes in many forms.

1. Why are you writing male/male, lesbian, ménage, shifter, vampires, military characters, billionaires, etc. ?

2. How can you write erotic romance? Or why are you writing erotica? (Yes, there IS a difference).

Let me qualify some things. I personally don’t write male/male, lesbian romance, ménage, shifter, vampires, domination, billionaires, etc. right now. Will I ever? I never say never. In fact, I’ve written four vampire stories (three of those were in a trilogy). I do have a trilogy of werewolves stories half written that went on the backburner when I realized I wasn’t feelin’ the love with the stories and wanted to write something else. I frequently write military characters because I like to and feel a connection with it. Shifters, in general, just don’t interest me to write or to read. Neither does domination, ménage or lesbian romance. NOT because I have anything against people who write any of those things. They SHOULD write it if they love writing it. Go for it. Don’t let any one hold you back. Do I write erotica? No…because I like romance with a happy ending. Do I write erotic romance. Sometimes. Then again, sometimes a story just doesn’t feel like it should be erotic romance. In fact, I wrote a book recently set during World War 2 that is a romance but it’s one of the tamest things I’ve ever written. The book just wouldn’t have worked any other way. I couldn’t have forced it to be something it wasn’t supposed to be.

So how does this work into book bigotry? A lot of people find family members or friends giving them a difficult time because they want to write romance period let alone sexier, hotter, off-the-charts romance. God forbid. Sometimes because those people have religious feelings against it.

Here’s what I say. Recognize the only way you’ll be happy is to truly write the truth as you see it. Without lying to yourself and prettying it up and making things tamer than you feel. That’s the only way people will eventually leave you alone. It works. Stand up to the book bigots. Don’t shove it in their face. Just write it. Some of the best books I’ve written were when I told myself to get the hell out of the way and just write what I meant. As soon as you hesitate, as soon as you pretend to be anything else on the page…they’ve won. You’ve defeated yourself. I don’t care who the book bigot is. Really. Let them dictate to you what to write about, to allow them to shame you for writing it…they’ve won and you’ve lost. Write your truth. Don’t ever give up. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Excerpt 1: One London Night (World War 2 London)

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

I’ve been jumped by a lot of work in the last couple of weeks, so I’ve posted the Under Fire contest because it goes until January 31. So if you haven’t participated, you still have time. Today I’d love to share with you an excerpt from One London Night, which is truly a book of my heart. One London Night debuts on January 27, 2014. Over the rest of the month I’ll have some more snippets for you from this novel. Enjoy!


War Time London, 1940

A time when uncertainty festers within even the strongest of men.

A time when fear rules everyone’s lives.

A time when love dares to defy the devastation of war.

After years away, American war correspondent Sylvie Hunnicut returns to England determined to put aside tumultuous memories and muster the courage to cover the war in Great Britain. Guilt she harbors over a horrible accident that permanently injured childhood friend Alec Kent threatens to destroy their relationship. Secret longings for him remain in her heart, even if he wants nothing to do with her.

Alec Kent’s disability works against him in serving his country, until he signs on with the Auxiliary Fire Service. Sylvie’s return brings to the forefront Alec’s hidden love for her and a determination to prove himself to his disapproving father.

But war promises to destroy the possibility of love and bring a great city to its knees.


Riding in the car with Alec, Bent, and Felix as they towed a pump toward Howard’s Timber Yard was about the most exciting thing Sylvie had ever experienced. She acknowledged a part of herself, right then and there, she hadn’t known existed before tonight. Adventure ran in her blood. Of course she should have known this before. She’d gotten into jams more than once with her stubborn insistence on challenging established rules.

As they rolled through the streets, the glows from more than one fire reminded her this wasn’t an adventure but deadly business. Nervous but thrilled to ride along, Sylvie caught herself talking too much.

“She’s quite the pip, ain’t she?” Felix asked.

Sylvie turned toward Felix—he sat right next to her in the back seat. “I’m right here, Felix. You’re talking about me as if I’m not here.”

A bashful look came over his face. “Sorry, miss.”

“I’d watch out, Felix. She is a pip,” Alec said.

She wanted to pop off with a snappy something that would show them all her mettle. Instead she kept it professional. As the dark buildings went buy, light from the fires ahead made the way easier to navigate. Tension traveled up her body, her muscles going tight.

“Here we go.” Bink’s voice reflected concern. “Straight into hell.”

Sylvie decided to remember what he’d said. Darkness prevented her from making notes. Time passed slowly as they continued slow progress along the streets.

“No wonder things burn down around here. We can’t move any faster,” she said.

“Can’t be helped,” Bink said from the seat in front of her. “We run over a civilian, there will be hell to pay.”

She didn’t want them to think she criticized their efforts. “Of course. If you crash, you can’t help anyone else.”

When they reached the timber yards a long time later, Sylvie quickly discovered her ignorance about firefighting. Walls of flame shot upward from the timber yard despite the efforts of dozens upon dozens of pumps on the scene. As Alec pulled the pump into line with the others, Felix and Bent bailed out to get orders on where they were needed the most.

“My God. Where do you start?” she asked.

In awe and fear, she watched the flames devour everything in their path, barely held back by the firefighters’ efforts.

“Damn good question.” Alec handed her something from the front seat. “Wear these.”

In the dark she almost couldn’t tell what was in her hand. “What is it?”

“Gas goggles. You don’t want eye injuries. I’m wearing a pair.” He slid a balaclava over his head and fastened the goggles in place before putting on the helmet. Then he handed her an extra helmet.

“What…” she started to say.

“Get rid of the fancy hat and wear the helmet and goggles.”

She stared at him for a few seconds.

“I’m serious, Sylvie. Wear it.”

Despite the bossy tone, she knew he was right. “Sparks off the fire.”

With the goggles and other head covering, he looked like some sort of weird creature from a nightmare. “That’s right.”

She worked on removing the hat and tossed it aside. Her hair tumbled down, but she ignored it. She didn’t have time to braid it. She’d have to work the situation with what clothing she possessed.

Felix opened the door. “When you two are done playing, we’ve got a fire out here. They want this pump over on the north side.”

She heard Alec curse under his breath. “Get in.”

As she plopped the helmet on her head, Alec drove them to the north side. As the fire drew nearer, she could feel the heat in the car. Tension rose inside Sylvie. Her stomach tumbled and flipped with an anxiety she couldn’t contain. She’d never crept closer and closer to a fire this huge in her life. She leaned forward to look out the windshield as fear threatened to derail her plans for calm.

You’re a journalist, Sylvie. No matter what you’re feeling, you have to do this.

She drew in a breath and let it out slowly. Noise outside the car hid the sound. Good. If they knew how nervous this made her, they’d believe all the things said about women as war correspondents. It didn’t matter if this whole thing scared her to death, she couldn’t show it.

The car and pump drew to a halt. Her heart raced as Alec and the other men hurried out of the car. She sat there a second too long before she noticed Alec, Felix, and Bink manned the hoses. She wished she had a camera, but her memory would have to do the trick, and maybe she could write some notes if the fire made it light enough. She hesitated, the fierce flames sending a primitive fear through her she’d only experienced once before.

Her mind flashed back to being fourteen and hearing Alec’s cry of agony as glass tore into his right eye. Recalling that horrible experience hurt enough, but the flames…the flames dove into everything primitive inside her. She’d been prepared, hadn’t she? She’d imagined this scene before.

She forced herself out of the car but stood near it, as if it would be a bastion of safety if things got out of control.

Heat blasted her, and she took an involuntary step back. Glad for sturdy shoes and practical clothing, she directed her attention toward recording everything she could in her mind’s eye. Water spouted from the hose Alec and the other men pointed at the relentless conflagration. Streams of water came from another hose manned by other men. They’d hooked up the hose to a hydrant. She shoved aside all apprehension and allowed her senses to absorb the situation. She’d need all this for her article. Fear sliced like a knife through her, but she closed her eyes and listened.

An angry roar and snapping sound told her the fire had no mercy. It was a beast without conscience or morals. Heat came in waves. Snaps and crackles mingled with the ping, plop, and zing of mortar popping and melting. Bricks crumbled and fell. The noise almost eclipsed the drone of Germans flying overhead and the ack-ack noise of anti-aircraft guns.

She opened her eyes and matched what she saw with the hellacious sounds. Fire shot up from the center of the building and made the windows look like yellow eyes staring at her in condemnation. An element of helplessness overwhelmed Sylvie. She took out her notebook and managed a few perfunctory notes. She couldn’t fight this fire, and the men nearby put their lives on the line doing what they could to tame this beast. Shouts mixed with grunts of exertion. She was hot and tired already, and the night was certainly young. She remembered them explaining that if it was an oil bomb fire, they’d take care of it with a special foam. But this wasn’t that type of fire, apparently—she didn’t see any crew using foam. As time dragged on, the pumps at the fire started to make progress. She wandered away from the car but kept herself far away from the timber yard and other buildings.

A roar came from somewhere nearby, and someone shouted.


Alec’s voice reached over the horrible sound of hell coming undone, and she realized the building behind her was listing to the side and new flames had cropped up. Sparks had found their way over her head.

“Sylvie, get away from there!”

Alec raced toward her, and she darted toward him and what she hoped was safety.