OCTOBER
THRILLER ROMANCE


10-21 Sarah Raplee – Author of “Blindsight” Psychic Agents Series, Book One

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Flash of Fire! -Releases next Tuesday

by M. L. Buchman

The heli-aviation wildland firefights of Mount Hood Aviation are back and this time they're being challenged like never before.

Flash of Fire cranks up the heat on the Firehawks series.


There are some series that are just so much fun to write and within those series there are some books that are exceptionally fun as well. Flash of Fire with the searingly-hot, and thoroughly-confirmed-single Robin Harrow and Mr. Stable, Mickey Hamilton, was definitely one of those books.

Don't get me wrong, I've never written a book that I haven't loved. But not many of them have made me laugh so much as I wrote them. Warning: When it's the author talking about laughing, it often has an evil cackle because he so enjoyed turning up the heat on his characters. And I certainly turned up the pressure on these two.

After saving the town of Dawson City, Yukon from a massive wildfire, the pilots are unwinding a bit in the town's tourist attractions. Diamond Tooth Gerties has Can-Can girls who offer lessons to willing tourists. On a dare, the female pilots of Mount Hood Aviation have taken the challenge.


“I don’t know if I’ve ever been this happy,” Cal had his camera out and was snapping pictures. “I’ve got blackmail material for years.”

Mickey sat front and center of Diamond Tooth Gerties’ main floor and looked up at the stage, couldn’t look away from it. Gerties Can Can girls were conducting a class and Mickey was being overwhelmed by the spectacle of the MHA women dressed in period costumes, practicing high kicks and stepping in unison.

Laced up form-hugging bodices of black leather. Long legs flashing out from ruffled skirts. Low black heels and occasional flashes of barely discrete black underwear.

The place was packed with Canada Day revelers. The long wooden bar with its bartenders in idealized period costumes of suspenders, straw hats, and those elastic gathers around the biceps of their button-down white shirts. The waitresses in all black Can Can dresses and black feathers in their hair. Gamblers crowded about the roulette and blackjack tables.

But Mickey only had eyes for what was happening on the stage. And if he’d never imagined her on a motorcycle, he’d absolutely never thought to see Robin Harrow in a dress, especially not a risqué piece of French frippery from the Klondike Gold Rush era.

But it wasn’t only his Robin, shining like a golden icon, that was blowing him away.

It was the “his” that was doing it to him.

He was feeling terribly possessive and was discovering that he liked the feeling. A lot. Not that she belonged to him, but more that he was the one who could hold her close, kiss her on the temple until his senses were overwhelmed by her, and could make her laugh.

“She’s laughing,” Vern leaned in from beside him. “I had no idea Harrow could laugh.”

Mickey did. Her joy seemed boundless when they were together. Her amused laugh trickling out at the oddest moments.

“Look at your own lady, buddy,” Mickey wanted to distract Vern from the subject. He wasn’t ready to share his true feelings about Robin with anyone, not even her just yet.

They’d had problems finding a dress small enough for Denise, but they had. The generally silent and deeply reserved mechanic was up there with the rest of the women on full display.

“Life is good,” Vern sighed.

“And how,” Tim agreed, his long legs stretched out before him.

Robin, Denise, Macy, and Jeannie were the four on stage. Carly and Steve had disappeared somewhere, perhaps to walk the town as it wound down after the day’s celebration, perhaps to a quiet hotel room—definitely to escape. The group had left Akbar and several of the other smokejumpers—still stumbling from their week-long ordeal—asleep on a patch of green grass not far from where the picnic table had stood. Only Tim Harada had remained with them, and that only because of his wife’s sticking with the other female pilots.

“You’re not doing yourselves any good from here, boys,” Mark appeared among them.

“Hey, aren’t you supposed to be up there with them?”

“Harrow may think so, but I’m not that malleable.”

Mickey had to nod. With Mark Henderson, that was one thing that was for damn sure. Though he suspected that if Emily was here…but she wasn’t.

In her place was Robin Harrow. She was chaotic, unpredictable, and screamingly competent. He could feel the stupid happy grin on his face as he watched her throw herself into a stomp-knee raise-stomp-kick-stomp-knee raise routine.

“C’mon,” Mark tipped Mickey out of his chair. Gave Vern a shove. “Get up there if you guys have even half a brain.” He thumped Tim on the arm hard enough to dislodge an elephant. Cal stumbled to his feet quickly enough when Mark moved his way and slung his camera around behind his back.

Mickey decided that if Emily were up there on stage, Mark would have been right there with her from the first second. He was right; Mickey was being stupid. Well no longer.

While the other guys were still protesting, Mickey ambled up to the lip of the stage. It was about four feet above the main floor. He could stand here and watch Robin dreamily as she worked on a cross-over step, or…

He gave a small jump and vaulted up onto the well-worn hardwood.

There was a drunken round of applause and encouraging cheers from the audience that he completely ignored.

Mickey walked up to Robin. She didn’t stop her kick rhythm, but her smiling blue eyes tracked his every step in her direction. In moments the Can Can instructor, a fine-looking woman in her forties with long, dark-red hair, had him holding Robin’s waist from behind to support and steady her.

The other guys, either following his lead or giving in to Mark’s harangue, soon joined him and were added to the line.

By themselves the four women had been merry, laughing, goofy, and beautiful in their blushing self-embarrassment. Only Robin had whole-heartedly thrown herself into the act, raising her skirt high for the kicks, tossing her head as if her hair was billowing waves instead of the elfin chop that it was.

With the four men on the stage, it became a quieter group. Not somber, not dampened. But more intense. He could feel it himself. As he followed the instructor’s guidance on how to lift and twirl Robin, on how to lean her back when she kicked high, the instructor and the other couples fell away.

His awareness of Robin grew until nothing else mattered, not the other dancers, not the crowded bar, not even a very self-satisfied looking Mark Henderson who had taken Mickey’s chair.

Mickey’s arms were full of a beautiful woman in a stunning dress, and he was so gone on her.

The next time he lay her back in a dance step, he kissed that lovely, laughing mouth of hers.

He was far more than gone.



M. L. Buchman has over 40 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and twice Booklist “Top 10 of the Year,” placing two titles on their “Top 101 Romances of the Last 10 Years” list. He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.

He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife and is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing and receive exclusive content by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com. 




3 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Sigh!!!

Sarah Raplee said...

There is something so special about your writing, Matt! Loved the excerpt! Sweet, sexy and totally believable!

Diana McCollum said...

Great post!