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Book Heat Level: 3
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When Forest Ridge, Oregon is terrorized by an arsonist, Fire Chief Mitch Chambers vows to do whatever it takes to protect the community--even work with the woman who left him four years ago. Professional sketch artist Abby Denton, still loves Mitch and hopes to regain his trust and respect by working with him. However, she fears when he discovers the truth about their daughter, he will never forgive her. As they work together, Mitch once again falls in love with Abby, but this time he refuses to let her walk out of his life. Can they rekindle the love that burned between them and uncover the identity of the arsonist before he turns their dreams and the town to ashes?
He saw no one as he made his way up the incline to the dilapidated storage shed. Situated on the edge of an older residential area, the structure he’d picked was perfect. The weathered building appeared vacant, and a large empty lot separated the shack from the nearest house. He pushed opened the unlocked wooden door and removed the backpack full of supplies from his shoulders.
After wiping his sweaty palms on his pant legs, he opened two small containers and sloshed the liquid on the wooden floor. Soon the pungent aroma of gasoline filled the room. He placed the igniter in a bed of steel wool then attached the wires to the small batteries and the timer. After picking up his backpack, he hurried from the shed closing the door behind him.
He glanced in both directions. Confident no one was in the area, he walked up the dead end street. His heart hammered in his chest. Ignoring his trembling hands, he removed a pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket. After he flicked his lighter, he stared at the bluish-yellow flame. Excitement raced through his veins.
A foggy mist hugged the ground and darkness shrouded the sleepy little town. Despite the wetness from the damp, January air, he crouched at the edge of the trees across from his target and waited.
He pulled a long drag on his cigarette then checked his watch. Two minutes before the hour. He’d completed his work on schedule. He had everything under control. Nothing would stop him. With the heel of his shoe, he ground out the butt.
The ignition flared to life. Shattering glass and splintering sounds of wood interrupted the stillness. Debris shot in every direction. "Damn," he muttered as he covered his ears with his hands, blocking the pressure from the explosion. The detonation was more powerful than he’d anticipated. The flames were clearly visible through the gaping hole in the side wall. No alarms, no security, and no advance warning. Everything had gone according to his plan. His gaze locked on the growing flames.
"Fire! Fire!" A man pounding on a neighboring house drew his attention down the street. "There’s a fire over there. Call 911," the Good Samaritan shouted as he pointed up the street.
He didn’t plan for anyone to discover the fire until it was too late. He needed more time. The firefighters would destroy his masterpiece.
In the distance, the fire alarm clanged to life at the station. Within minutes, he tuned into the sound of sirens growing louder with the approaching trucks.
Anxiously, he looked at the shed. A smile formed on his lips when he noticed the flames reach the top of the window frame. Hopefully, the fire would finish the building before the crew arrived. He drummed his fingertips against his forehead.
Red lights from the approaching trucks flashed, brightening the pre-dawn darkness. He didn't intend to stay once the crew disembarked. On second thought, he'd enjoy watching their futile efforts to extinguish his creation.
Definitely not your normal run of the mill romance novel. On the whole a very good book and well worth reading.
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