The second in Anne Marsh’s pulse-pounding Smoke Jumpers series ripples with nail-biting suspense and sensuality, giving an inside look at a special brand of hero and the kind of woman it takes to win him.
It’s not every man who’ll risk his life jumping into the flames of a woodland inferno. Then again, Evan Donovan isn’t like other men. No matter how great or how treacherous the challenge, he gets the job done. But when he agrees to look in on a friend’s ex-wife after a suspicious brushfire, Evan learns that some jobs are too hot to handle…
Faye Duncan is a photographer on a mission, shooting fires for a magazine. Her first encounter with a wildfire isn’t nearly as wild as her first night with Evan Donovan. Things really heat up when Evan learns she may have taken a photo of the arsonist setting the fires. Evan is determined to keep Faye safe—but first, he’ll have to open up his heart…
As an author, I always think about sex when I pick my titles. Yeah. Sex. Five years ago, when I was a wet-behind-the-ears newbie author whose editor was trying to find a diplomatic way to tell her that Caught by the Cat was not a particularly effective title for a hot paranormal romance set in a fantasy word, that editor explained to me that titles need to be short, pithy and capture the essence of the book. If I read a title, I should have a strong sense of what kind of book that will be. I said “Okay!” (I’m not stupid—I fully understand that an editor with 30+ years experience titling books probably knows more than the author who desperately tossed an alliterative title on the book because she had to call it something). That book became The Hunt—and, yes, an erotic hunt stars front and center in that book.
So flash forward four years and I’m pitching a sexy contemporary series to that same editor. The heroes are part of an elite smoke jumping team. They’re raw, hot alpha males who parachute out of planes into the heart of wildland fires. And they’re sexy as hell, as are their stories. The first two books are called Burning Up and Slow Burn. All have “burn” in the title (yeah, I’m clever that way) because that’s what happens when these heroes are around. There are plenty of fires and men jumping to the rescue… and there’s always an intense sensual attraction front and center in the book. I write sexy books and want my titles to reflect that. Rio’s story is tentatively called Burns So Bad and I’ve been playing with a fourth story for Mack Johnson, a member of the Donovans’ smoke jumping team, called Sweet Burn.
The burnis both a reference to the fires these smoke jumpers fight—and for what goes on in the bedroom. Jack Donovan, the hero of Burning Up, is a go-for-it alpha male and the flames between him and Lily Cortez are instant. They’ve got a shared past and, now that they’re thrown together again when Jack returns to Strong, California for fire season, they’re not wasting time. They’re definitely burning it up between the sheets. Rio Donovan, on the other hand, is the playboy brother. Finally, Evan Donovan, the hero of Slow Burn, is a big, silent bear of a man. He’s a sweet, sensual ride of a man who’d happily lavish hours on his lover.
Faye reached up, sliding her arms around Evan’s neck and tugging his head down to hers. Yeah. That was good. She got her mouth on his, and that was even better. She was soft where he was hard. The sexy little rubbing thing she was doing had him growling. God. He fisted his hands by his sides because he didn’t want to spoil this or scare her off. Then her tongue darted out and licked the closed seam of his lips, and that was it. He got his hands on her waist, lifting her up against the wall and his body. He was on fire, and burning had never felt so good. Her mouth devoured him, her sweet hunger feeding his own.
She was so goddamn perfect, and he didn’t want this kiss to end.
When she finally pulled back, however, he reluctantly let her go. Because, despite the space she’d put between them, the look in her eyes said she wasn’t done with him. The hoarse sough of their breathing filled up the silence, and somewhere, distantly, he heard guys leaving. The jump team was wrapping up until the next call, all done, even though here he and Faye were, just getting started. She pushed him down onto the pile of packed chutes, and he went. He suspected she could have shoved him right out of the loft, and he’d have enjoyed the fall.
This was faster and harder and far naughtier than he’d expected. Or dreamed, if he was being honest with himself. His angel had a wicked streak. Damn, she was a fantasy come to life, and if she needed to be the one in control, well, he was more than willing to give her exactly what she needed. He didn’t know what had happened to her before she’d come on out here to Strong, but something had. She was a woman with something to prove. And he was the lucky man who got to prove it.
Three different titles for three different heroes, each of whom has his own way of loving a woman. The rescuer. The big, strong silent lover. The bad boy playboy. If you were titling a book after a sexy someone near and dear to your heart, what would you call the book?
After ten years of graduate school and too many degrees, Anne Marsh escaped to become a technical writer. When not planted firmly in front of the laptop translating Engineer into English, Anne enjoys gardening, running (even if it’s just to the 7-11 for slurpees), and reading books curled up with her kids. The best part of writing romance, however, is finally being able to answer the question: “So… what do you do with a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures?”
She lives in Northern California with her husband, two kids and four cats. You can visit her online atwww.anne-marsh.com.
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