The Wildfire Romance Series is a shared world where multiple authors tell the tale of a wildfire threatening the town of Ouray, Colorado, from differing perspectives. All stories are stand-alone books that share common landmarks, a few overlapping characters, and the same crisis situation. This blog hop connects all stories so readers can take a peek inside each one.
The link to various posts are below the excerpt.
Featuring Heat, Book Two, below
Featuring Heat, Book Two, below
From the back cover...
Kiley Ross and Leo Marshall have a secret. He's her indulgence, her vice. She's his compass, his impossible dream.
Kiley is home for the summer between graduating the University of Colorado and attending graduate school out-of-state in the fall. Everything is changing—friends are scattering across the world, her long lost brother has appeared out of nowhere, a wildfire is threatening the family home, and her secret affair with the local outsider—Leo—is exposed.
As the wildfire ravages the forest around the small town of Ouray, she realizes what really matters and what truly doesn't. Her resistance toward change forces her to come to terms with her own failings—or risk losing the friendships and relationships that mean so much to her. Can she break free of the expectations that have held her back in time to rescue her love affair with Leo? Can he forgive her for wanting to keep him a secret? Confronted with seeing everything she has ever known burn to the ground, can Kiley rise up and step into her own power?
"I heard what you said, voices fucking carry up here and I wasn't very far away."
"What I said about what?"
"I'm just a loser who can't get his shit together, huh? Screw you, Ki. At least I'm not a fake bitch who would die if the world knew you weren't perfect." He slams the van into gear and starts to drive out of the camp. "I'm a weird boy, huh?" He slaps his hand against the steering wheel.
I flinch. I have no explanation because I can't deny what I said.
"We're done. Whatever this is between us," he flips his hand between our bodies, "is done. Over. Don't worry. I will never tell anyone that we have been screwing each other's brains out for three years." He shoots me a glance. "Threeyears, Ki. Explain that. We were never just a fling and you know it even if you never wanted to admit that you were screwing the hired help, the weird boy who couldn't get his shit together."
"Do not tell me I am overreacting!" He rolls the window down and leans his left elbow on it while taking the corners on the curvy highway a little too fast.
I kick the dashboard. Every word he says is true and I know it. I am the one who is messed up. I roll down the window and lean my right elbow on it. We drive in silence the rest of the way to Tailwind. I know that anything I say at this moment will escalate the situation. He is mad, angrier than I have ever seen him.
When we arrive back at Tailwind, he jumps out of the car and heads toward his own van with the words Elevated Distraction painted across its side.
"You can't just walk away!" I yell because I do not want us to end, not like this, not because of some dumb thing I said to my brother because I wanted to appear more sophisticated than I am.
"I have a gig at High Altitude Brewing tonight," he shouts over his shoulder. "The world doesn't revolve around you and your issues, Princess Ki."
I feel my own rage burning under my skin. I stomp toward him but stop when my mom comes onto the veranda of the main resort with guests.
He notices—his gaze darting between mom and me—and smiles that cocky smile that always makes me want to simultaneously beat him to death with my bare fists and strip him naked.
"Is everything okay, Kiley?" Mom asks, the group of guests following her with blissed out expressions on their faces.
I have always been mystified by how tourists act when they first step foot on this property—it's as if the altitude has turned their brains to mush. They snap pictures of every flower, bird, rabbit, chipmunk, deer, or pine tree they see while ooing and ahing over the view. The foursome following mom—also known as Matilda Ross—do not disappoint.
Mom shoves a wayward strand of long silver hair behind her ear and gives me the infamous Ross glare that used to freeze me in motion when I was a kid.
I think of the valuable information on my cellphone and smile as they walk past. "Enjoy your stay at Tailwind."
"Did everything go well with the delivery?" Mom asks.
"Excellent." I keep smiling until they walk past me to the trail leading to the cabins.
My smile fades immediately when Leo slams the brakes on his van, sending up a cloud of dust. He rolls down the passenger window and shouts, "Three years! I want you to psychoanalyze yourself about what that means."
"I'm sorry, okay? I really am. Stop acting this way."
He swirls his finger over his ear and then stabs it through the air at me. "Three. Years. Figure yourself out, Kiley."
He speeds off, more dust churning behind his ridiculous Volkswagen Bus tires. I kick dirt after him and fist my hands at my sides.
Fine. Go. I'm better off. Maybe Naomi has the right idea. Maybe it is time to move on from this place and meet new people.