On Tour with Prism Book Tours
He saved her life…
But will he destroy her dreams?
Firefighter Rand Nelson is tall and handsome and has literally walked through an inferno for Beatrice Wilcox. He’s a hero…and that’s exactly the problem. Beatrice knows all too well the risks of loving a man with a dangerous career. But when Rand’s report threatens her beloved children’s camp, Beatrice can’t refuse his offer of help…even though she knows they’re both playing with fire.
Indian Lake, Indiana
THE SUMMER NIGHT sounds of chirping tree frogs and cicadas drifted through the open screen window of Beatrice Wilcox’s sixty-year-old log cabin. Loving the wildlife melodies, she closed her eyes, her weary body spent from a long day with ten rowdy, sometimes frustratingly taciturn children and preteens.
But running this camp was her dream. She wanted to create a summer idyll for kids who faced challenges in their young lives, as she had when she’d been a camper herself as a child.
But how to pay for it? Worrying over money often kept her awake at night. Tonight being no exception.
She kicked the old patchwork quilt off her body. Then she flung her forearm over her brow. She was still wide awake.
Breathing a sigh, she sniffed the air. And froze. Then sniffed again.
Curling through the screen was pungent smoke. Not the smoke from a cigarette or cigar, or the acrid, bitter smoke from a country farmer burning garbage. This was clean smoke. The kind from burning vegetation.
Beatrice bolted upright in her bed, her eyes wide. She tossed aside the sheets and swung her legs to the rag rug she’d made herself that covered the painted concrete floor.
Going to the window, she cranked the casement window open wide. The smell of smoke was unmistakable. “Not a fire. Not now. Not ever!”
Spinning around, she shoved her feet into her sneakers and grabbed her cell phone off the varnished tree-stump table.
“Please don’t let it be one of the cabins. Or the kitchen!” She raced out to her front porch, the wood screen door banging behind her. The yellow “bug” light on the front porch did a good job of keeping the mosquitoes and flies away, but unfortuntely gave little illumination. She leaned over the wide log railing that extended down the four steps to the gravel path that served as her sidewalk.
The camp consisted of ten sturdy small log cabins, with five on either side of the main dining hall and activities center. Up the hill at the end of the five cabins was a larger cabin that housed the male counselors, though right now there was only the one. Beatrice’s cabin was on the left side after the five girls’ cabins and a larger cabin for the female counselors.
Her eyes scoured the little cabins and the main hall. She saw nothing amiss.
Walking farther down the path, she stopped abruptly as a crimson glow illuminated the side of her face. She turned toward the forest that stretched for acres across the country road. “Oh, no!”
The summer had been hot and dry with barely a sprinkle of rain in the past month. The Weather Channel had said it was the driest summer in Indian Lake history. This was Southern California weather, not northern Indiana weather. July was known for heat in Indiana, and even soared over one hundred degrees, but seldom did the region get this dry. In recent weeks, the corn was withering on the stalks. The leaves of the soybean crops were already turning golden six weeks ahead of normal.
She punched in 911 on her phone.
“What is your emergency?” the dispatcher asked.
“Fire! I’m at Indian Lake Youth Camp. Up Highway Thirty-Five. There’s fire in the woods across the road. It’s been so dry, I’m afraid the fire could move fast and head right for us.”
She looked around and saw the light in Maisie and Cindy’s cabin switch on. Cindy had just turned twenty-two, and though a year younger than Maisie, she possessed a child’s boundless energy. She was pulling a light sweatshirt over her head as she rushed out onto her porch.
Beatrice beckoned to Cindy, who started running toward her, her sneakers digging into the gravel with purpose.
Cindy’s streaked blond hair was clipped up on her head into a thick spike, making her look just like Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch cartoon. There was nothing comical about the fear in Cindy’s face, however. She pointed to the fire. “This is a nightmare.
Other Books in the Series
About the Author
Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of over forty-five published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile. Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into over twenty-four languages. Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid foundation to pen a collection of compelling and informative true stories of teen addicts. Ms. Lanigan’s SHORES OF INDIAN LAKE series for HARLEQUIN HEARTWARMING includes LOVE SHADOWS, HEART’S DESIRE , A FINE YEAR FOR LOVE, KATIA’S PROMISE, FEAR OF FALLING, SOPHIE’S PATH, PROTECTING THE SINGLE MOM, FAMILY OF HIS OWN, HIS BABY DILEMMA, RESCUED BY THE FIREFIGHTER and MY RACING HEART (2019).
Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books. She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs. She writes a monthly blog for Heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.com.
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Ends November 14th