I have the utmost respect for each and every person in law enforcement, military, and first responders. I don’t buy 100% into the schools of thought of “they knew what they signed up for”, “nobody forced them to go”, or “they get in because they can have weapons and use it”. Maybe some, sure. But for the others, which are the majority? Well, they did know the sacrifice it would cost them, and their families. They did it anyway. So yes, all of those people I said before will always have me on their side. That being said, I have to say that I favor one group a little more. Firefighters. Because they are just good. Police and Military, they must have an edge. They are there to uphold the law–if you mess up, they kind of kick your ass (rightly). Firefighters? They don’t care. They will come and drag you out from a raging fire, period. All, thoroughly, good.
So that’s why I’m always happy when I have them on my blog.
The book is Tempt the Flames (The Smokejumpers #1) by Marnee Blake, a Romantic Suspense that was out on the 11th (can you think about a more perfect day???)
Meg Buchanan is determined to prove she didn’t get the trainer job in Redmond, Oregon’s rookie smokejumper class because of her family’s long history as firefighters there—or out of pity. But if teaching one of her own brothers isn’t challenging enough, Lance Roberts is in the new class of recruits. Once her brother’s best friend, and her first, unrequited crush, he’s also the son of the man responsible for her dad’s death.
Lance is stunned to realize that this confident redhead is the stubborn girl he once dreamed about. There’s no way he can fall for her now. He needs to focus all his attention on his training—and discovering the truth about the long-ago fire that killed both of their fathers. But as the undeniable heat between them threatens to ignite, someone attempts to put an end to Lance’s amateur sleuthing—and his life…
Driving from Bend to the smokejumper base in Redmond, Oregon, was like traveling back in time. It only took a half an hour, but the trip set Meg Buchanan back ten years.
As she pulled into the parking lot of Redmond Air Center, the tires of her Forerunner crunching on the dirt and gravel drive, she repeated the pep talk she’d been giving herself the entire ride.
She had the job. She was officially an assistant trainer and safety instructor for this year’s Redmond smokejumper rookie training.
She wasn’t a firefighter, but she was a physician’s assistant with lots of practical medical knowledge. She was qualified. More importantly, she was a seasoned triathlete. She was in tiptop shape, and she definitely could run some rookies through their paces. Add her willingness to do the job for barely any money and her uncle’s glowing recommendation, and she’d been approved.
That was her mantra. She could do this. She had the skills. She’d been approved.
She refused to accept that she’d been given this job because of her last name.
Sure, Will, her oldest brother, was an active Redmond smokejumper, and Uncle Joe was the base manager. Her middle brother, Hunter, would be in this year’s rookie class. Together, they made a pretty impressive Buchanan family legacy at Redmond.
But, if she’d received preferential treatment, it was because her father’s name—Jason Buchanan—rested on the memorial wall at the base, along with the other firefighters who’d given their lives in sacrifice to this job.
After shifting the truck into park, Meg dropped her hands into her lap and abandoned that train of thought. No use tempting the universe by spilling doubt and negative energy all over it. She had the experience, and she was going to give this job everything she had.
This was her chance.
She’d never been able to become a firefighter like her brothers. After hours of counseling, she couldn’t overcome her paralyzing fear of fire. But, this? She could do this. These rookies were in for the training of their lives.
And she’d finally feel like she was honoring her birthright.
With a deep breath, she checked her reflection in the rearview mirror. She’d pulled her red hair into a low ponytail and applied light makeup. Dressed in tan slacks and a pale pink blouse, she looked more like she was seeing patients than reporting for a physical trainer position. She was more comfortable, though, professionally dressed, put together.
If things were orderly on the outside, the inside would follow. She’d learned that lesson years ago, after her father’s death. Her mother had cried, and their home fell to pieces. When people showed up with food and condolences, the disaster in the house amplified how broken they were. Dishes in the sink, overflowing laundry baskets. Sleep eluded Meg those first nights, so she washed dishes, did laundry, and dusted until her body gave out. The next day, she’d cooked to fill the silence. The days stretched on, and no one ate unless they were reminded.
Eventually, though, the movements of normalcy made her feel more normal.
Fake it ‘til you make it, her mom had joked. She’d never taken that advice, but it had worked for Meg. Pretend until the lie matched reality.
She exhaled slowly, pursing her lips. With shaking fingers, she smoothed her perfectly tidy hair once more, nodding at her reflection. She had this.
About the Author
Award-winning author and RITA® finalist Marnee Blake used to teach high school students but these days she only has to wrangle her own children. Originally from a small town in Western Pennsylvania, she now battles traffic in southern New Jersey where she lives with her hero husband and their happily-ever-after: two very energetic boys. When she isn’t writing, she can be found refereeing disputes between her children, cooking up something sweet, or hiding from encroaching dust bunnies with a book.
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