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Against the Fire

Cover of Against the Fire

Against the Fire

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You can't fight what you can't see. And Gabriel Raines can't be sure just who's setting the fires in his new real-estate development. When two fires hit back-to-back, he knows it's personal, but any number of competitors or ex-employees could be the arsonist.

The police suspect Angel Ramirez, a local teen who's been in trouble before. But Mattie Baker, a volunteer at the Family Abuse center, just can't believe the kid she's been working with would go back to his delinquent ways.

Determined to convince Gabe that she's right, Mattie must get close to him and find out who's putting their neighborhood in jeopardy. And just as the arsonist's flames continue to burn, they find a heat developing between them. It might just turn into a full-fledged fire...if they can survive long enough.


You can't fight what you can't see. And Gabriel Raines can't be sure just who's setting the fires in his new real-estate development. When two fires hit back-to-back, he knows it's personal, but any number of competitors or ex-employees could be the arsonist.

The police suspect Angel Ramirez, a local teen who's been in trouble before. But Mattie Baker, a volunteer at the Family Abuse center, just can't believe the kid she's been working with would go back to his delinquent ways.

Determined to convince Gabe that she's right, Mattie must get close to him and find out who's putting their neighborhood in jeopardy. And just as the arsonist's flames continue to burn, they find a heat developing between them. It might just turn into a full-fledged fire...if they can survive long enough.
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    The screech of the siren didn't reach him at first. Exhausted from a hard day's work, Gabriel Raines slept soundly. But as the shrill cry drew closer and the flashing red lights lit the walls inside his bedroom, something registered in the depths of his mind and he stirred.

    Gabe blinked awake, eyes instantly alert as had become his habit during his years as a marine. He'd been out of the corps for years but some things just didn't change.

    The wail of the siren grew louder on the street below the window of his downtown Dallas condominium, then the fire truck shot past and the sounds began to dim as the vehicle drove farther away. With a weary sigh, Gabe turned to look at the red neon numbers on his alarm clock. Three-thirty.

    Running a hand over his face, he lay back against the pillow, hoping like hell he'd be able to get back to sleep.

    He might have if his cell phone hadn't started ringing.

    The siren's wail had stopped. The fire truck had reached its destination, which meant the fire was nearby, and the sound of a second engine was beginning to fill the night. Gabe reached toward the nightstand and picked up his cell phone, flipped it open and pressed it against his ear.

    "Whoever this is," he grumbled, "this had better be important."

    "There's a fire at the Dallas Towers." The voice of his foreman, Sam McBride, floated over the line. "Looks like all our hard work is going up in smoke."

    Adrenaline jolted through him. Gabe swung his long legs to the side of the bed. "Are you sure it's the Towers?"

    "I was on my way home, about a block away when I heard the first fire truck. I saw it turn toward the Towers and decided to see what was going on."

    Already off the mattress, Gabe pressed the phone more tightly against his ear. "You see what part of the structure is involved?"

    "I could see flames in the lobby."

    "Son of a bitch." They were almost finished with the major renovation they were doing on the Tower's soaring marble lobby. Almost.

    He took a breath to steady himself as he walked toward his closet. "If you were just heading home, you must have had a pretty hot date."

    "I didn't spend the night if that tells you anything."

    Like Gabe, Sam was a bachelor and both of them lived downtown. An area that formerly consisted of run-down buildings was being revitalized, turned into a chic little district of shops and boutiques. Gabe had built the condos Sam lived in, as well as the Las Posas development that housed his own unit.

    "I'm getting dressed. I'll be there in fifteen minutes."

    Gabe closed the phone. He should have known things were going too well. In his experience, every time life went a little too smoothly, bad news lurked around the corner.

    Naked, he crossed to the oak dresser against the far wall, jerked open his underwear drawer and pulled out briefs and a pair of socks. Dragging on a pair of jeans and a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt, he ignored the row of Western boots sitting on the closet floor and shoved his size-thirteen feet into the heavy leather boots he wore when he was working.

    Gabe left the condo and a few minutes later, he was pulling his big white GMC extended cab pickup over to the curb just a little ways down the block from the Towers. Smoke and flame billowed out through the open glass doors leading into the lobby, but the fire boys were at work inside and had three powerful jets of water hitting the building from different angles. With any luck, the blaze would be brought...

About the Author-
  • Kat Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty historical and contemporary romance novels. To date she has over 13 million copies of her books in print in seventeen countries, including Sweden, France, Russia, Spain, Japan, Argentina, Poland, and Greece. Kat and her husband, author Larry Jay Martin, live on their ranch outside Missoula, Montana, and spend winters at their beach house in California. Kat invites you to visit her website at www.KatMartin.com.

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