Since the year is off to a new start, I thought I’d get a head start on sharing snippets and such from my upcoming release, FIGHTING FOR ELENA, which is the starting book in a new miniseries set in Susan Stoker’s Badge of Honor world. And since this is the start, I thought I’d share the starting page. That’s all you need to know, right? Oh, that and the #1lineWed theme for today is **START**. 😉
David West was not a fanciful man, but he could almost imagine angry dragons conjuring up the smoke choking the eastern horizon with black clouds tinged an angry red at the base. The fire had a big ol’ head start, and that didn’t bode well for the first responders or any living thing in the area. He keyed up the radio mic. “Tarpley VFD one hundred to Bandera County Dispatch.”
“Go ahead, Tarpley one hundred.”
“I’m en route from the Tarpley station to the Hill Country wildfire in Brush Pumper One. I have one additional firefighter en route in Tanker One, plus three more headed directly to the command post in their POVs. My ETA is fifteen minutes.”
“Ten-four, Chief West. I’ll notify fire command.”
The radio crackled with static for a minute and then the dispatcher spoke again. “Pops, this is a bad one. Y’all be careful out there.”
“That’s a roger, hon.”
Might not be proper radio protocol but this was Bandera County. The inhabitants were scattered far and wide and everyone knew everyone else. They all looked out for one another. That’s just the way folks were. The smoke grew to monstrous proportions the closer he got. Winding his way through the Hill Country State Natural Area to the command post, he worried that the whole world might burn before firefighters could get a handle on the flames. He pulled the brusher into line with other fire apparatus and motioned for Buff, who was driving Tanker 1 to park beside him. In quick succession, three private vehicles pulled up behind them.
Checking on his guys, Pops shrugged into his wildlands turnout gear. Smoke smothered the blue Texas sky above the rugged landscape. He’d seen the smoke from the Tarpley fire station and sent out the call to every person on the department. Only four were in a position to respond. He’d been lucky that Buff was nearby at the post office so they could bring both the tanker and the brush pumper. He glanced at the other rigs parked nearby in the staging area—Bandera, Medina, Hondo, and from as far away as San Antonio. With a practiced eye, he noted his guys were ready—gear on, tools for fighting a wildfire up close and personal in hand. He knew the area, knew they’d be hiking in and fighting without water.
The five of them clomped over to the command post to get an assignment. The fire continued to grow, and with the wind blowing, if firefighters didn’t get in front of it, it could burn through not only the 5,000 acres of the natural area, but half the county. Or more. There were guest ranches, riding stables, and working homesteads in the way and the south wind was blowing something fierce. Mother Nature never played nice during fire season.
He glanced over at the call. Colonel Grayson Jones, head of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Law Enforcement Division waved to him. He joined the Colonel and two fire chiefs—one from Bandera FD, the other from San Antonio.
“Here’s the deal,” the colonel said. “We have a missing woman out in the middle of this. We believe she was kidnapped by a serial killer.” He glanced over his shoulder toward a man in a game warden uniform talking to two San Antonio firefighters. “That’s Conor Paxton. She’s his girlfriend. He’s hellbent on looking for her.”
That was bad news, all around. The last thing they needed was a love-sick pup getting in the way. Pops cut his eyes to the fire chiefs. The Bandera chief was new to the position and Pops didn’t know him well, but it was the SAFD chief who spoke up. “I’m sending you and your guys in with two of mine and Paxton. Hit the hot spots as you can but this is mostly a search and rescue situation.”
So that’s the start of things and you can start reading the whole book in just over a month. In the meantime… Writers, what start words do you have to share? Readers, what book are you starting? Also, I haven’t pulled the trigger on sending this to the publisher so if you see something or don’t like something, TELL ME! 🙂