After a traumatic injury, D.C. Fire Investigator Drea Hidalgo returns to her rural hometown to care for her ailing grandfather, never expecting sparks to reignite with her high school sweetheart, Danny Parsons. When a series of deadly fires rocks the town, pitting Drea against local law enforcement, she’s forced to choose between the man she loves and her duty to catch the arsonist before they kill again.
Flames leapt and crackled, tearing up the side of the makeshift building inside the Fire Research Lab, casting shifting orange and yellow light on the walls of the warehouse. Drea swallowed against the lump in her throat. Even through her respirator, the ashy air was sickly-sweet from starter fuel mixed with the scent of burning pine. She clenched her fists and forced herself to watch as the ATF fire crew hauled out hoses. When the first hiss of water produced a cloud of steam, a tendril of panic coiled in her chest. She sucked in a sharp breath, refusing to give in to the rising tide of fear.
“Hey, Hidalgo!” The shout came from her side and she tore her eyes away from the flames to Gabe Mattix who had her mask pushed back, brows knit together. “I called your name three times. You okay, kid?”
Drea flipped her off—she’d known Mattix for years; their communication ranged from high fives to the bird—and shoved her mask back.
“I’m good.” She steeled herself, and turned to the group of trainees. “The purpose of this little exercise, aside from giving those hose jockeys an excuse to impress us all, is to encourage observation. You’ll see things during the active phase of a fire that are clues.”