Friday, June 15, 2012

Blog Hop Excerpt from PD Singer

From Fire on the Mountain by PD Singer.

The smoking litter led from the road to what had been a camp site. The tent itself had been reduced to a few charred shreds of fabric on poles that curved into the air in the center of a circle of burning pine duff. The trees grew thick here, tall and thin, fighting to reach the light with their green upper branches. Lower branches had lost the race to the sun, forfeited their needles to become dry snags. Everything around the tent amounted to dry fuel—bad conditions for a fire to get loose.
“I think if we clear a fire break over here, we can keep it from getting into the trees,” Kurt said, and we started scraping the earth clean. Starving the fire would work better than trying to put it out directly--I’d learned that much from last week’s efforts. We worked diligently and were nearly two thirds around the fire zone when the wind whipped up.

“Shit!” Kurt sprinted for a section of the fire zone that had started expanding a whole lot faster as the wind pushed the flames. I followed, knowing that he wanted to keep the ground fire from hitting the trees, and we scraped frantically around two of the endangeredpines, but the third caught fire before we could get there.
Flame licked up the trunk and tasted the branches. “It’s candling,” Kurt snarled, craning his head to peer into the treetops.
The fire was consuming the tree from the base up and had already spread along the lower limbs. I craned upward, too, looking for what else would be in danger from this tree.
“The one damned beetle-killed pine on this acre and it’s right there!” He whipped the axe around. “If we take it down, away from the candle, it won’t take the fire into the crown.” He started chopping, and I cleared ground around the candling tree lest the fire spread further. The wind continued whipping around, blowing smoke into our faces and making sparks jump into the air. I coughed violently to clear a lungful of smoke, the heat and ash stinging my eyes. The fickle wind seemed to change direction every few seconds, which raised the risks—we couldn’t be in every place at once.
“Push from here!” Kurt had his hands on the partly severed trunk, so I helped him shove the tree over, away from the fire. Satisfied that the most dangerous bit of ladder fuel wasn’t going to burn now, we considered what to do next. The wind howled, pelting us with debris; once again it had shifted directions. Now it pushed the fire back over onto ground that had already burned, or that had fire break scraped, which made the wind our ally.
That didn’t last. The air currents changed yet again, lifting flaming bits into the air. Some went out like fireflies, others fell back onto burned ground, and a few sailed over the firebreak to land in fresh fuel. I suddenly hated the springy pine duff: it blazed too easily. We stamped out the spot fires that started, but the candling tree had not exhausted itself and now it came apart.
Fiery chunks flew in the wild wind, bouncing on the ground, shedding sparks. Some flew upward as one evil gust caught them, flipping at least one into a mostly dead tree that hadn’t fallen completely. It smoldered twenty feet above our heads.
“If we take down that one?” I pointed at one tree, but Kurt swung his axe at the next one over, to bring the dead lodgepole pine down and within our reach. I started hacking at the tall pine Kurt thought supported the dead tree the most. If we tipped it right, the whole burning mess would come down onto scorched ground to die.
Too late. The dead tree became its own funeral pyre as it burst into flame, crackling and popping. The wind toyed with the flames, sharing them with other trees, and it no longer mattered that two burning pines dropped onto the charred tatters of the tent.
“The operation was a success, but the patient died,” Kurt quipped. We counted how many trees still standing had flames dancing in their tops. “It is now officially bigger than the two of us. Let’s get out of here.”
Take a break from academics, enjoy the Colorado Rockies, fight a fire now and then. That’s all Jake Landon expected when he signed up to be a ranger. He’ll partner with some crusty old mountain man; they’ll patrol the wilderness in a tanker, speak three words a day, and Old Crusty won’t be alluring at all. A national forest is big enough to be Jake’s closet—he’ll spend his free time fishing.

Except Old Crusty turns out to be Kurt Carlson: confident, competent, and experienced. He's also young, hot, friendly, and considers clothing optional when it’s just two guys in the wilderness. Sharing a small cabin with this walking temptation is stressing Jake’s sanity—is he sending signals, or just being Kurt? And how would Kurt react if he found out his new partner wants to start a fire of a different kind? Jake’s terrified—they have to live together for five months no matter what.

Enough sparks fly between the rangers to set the trees alight, but it takes a raging inferno to make Jake and Kurt admit to the heat between them.

Bonus Short Story: Into the Mountains

Long before he met Jake, Kurt Carlson climbed Yosemite with his best friend, Benji. But after a storm traps them halfway up the face of El Capitan, Kurt has to accept that their friendship isn't what he thought.

Pam reminds us that this novel is expanded about 12,000 words and has an all new short story (not so short, it's about 11,000 words!)  about a critical incident from Kurt's past. Coming June 22 from Dreamspinner!


  1. Very informative post! Thanks for the read, god bless.

    -Tony Salmeron

  2. A post to make you look up all you can about the people who fight these fires and how they do it.
    Littlesuze at hotmail dot com

  3. Sigh, gotta love firemen. Looks like a wonderful read...


  4. I have a lot of respect for firefighters, especially considering what they are going through right now in Colorado. Can't wait to read Fire on the Mountain.


  5. I live in Colorado and very close to the fire that so many brave firefighters are fighting right now. I cannot imagine what that must be like.

    Can't wait to read abour Jake and Kurt!!!


  6. sounds interesting especially given the bits of news I've seen about the fires in Colarado atm (I'm in the UK so not in our news much)

  7. I love firefighter stories and was born in Colorado so I love any story set there. TBR thank you for sharing!


  8. I live in So. Cal. and yes we have great respect for the men and woman who kept us safe and our forests.

  9. Love it and current events supply visuals if you've never experienced a wildfire.

  10. I love firemen (and not just because they're sexy). They put their lives on the line everyday...especially in wildfire situations.

  11. Sounds like an interesting book. I have great respect for firemen, especially those who jump right into the middle of the inferno. Thanks for sharing!


  12. this books sounds great. Sorry to hear that you having to deal with the fires in real life. Good thoughts heading your way that everyone is safe and that damage is kept to a minimum.

    mimirose41209 at hotmail dot com

  13. I have friends in NM who fight wild fires all over the West and I don't think the general public has a clue what these men and women go through. They deserve way more attention and appreciation than they receive.

  14. This sounds great! Can't wait to read more.

    susanmik AT gmail DOT com

  15. How very brave are the people who fight these fires. Forgot to mention on your blog - hope you're doing okay with the fires near you.

    strive4bst at yahoo dot com

  16. That's awesome. Can't wait for it to come out.

  17. I'm looking forward to this one, since I've read book 3 and the other were all unavailable. :)

    Jibriel.O at web dot de

  18. Such a lovelly cover! I'll have to snag a copy, loved the excerpt!


  19. I've started reading these series backwards and it left me wondering about the stories about the other characters.


  20. Wonderful excerpt, I'll bump it up on my to read list!


  21. Sounds great. :D


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