You’ll notice there’s a “Buy Now” tab on the website that we’ve just added.
Below is the first page of the novel….
The smell of smoke hung in the air but the smoke was no longer visible. Water dripped from the charred, skeletal remains of the house that had been soaked by 3000 gallons of firefighters’ water. Behind the house, the dark blue, velvety sky was slowly brightening but the sun’s appearance on the horizon was still a half hour away.
“It’s all gone,” Erica Rayburn said to no one in particular as she gazed at the grim remnants of her simple, one-story home. “Everything.” She was 24, short and solidly built, but with delicate, feminine features. She was a pretty woman but on this morning, in a worn, paisley bathrobe and with long, unkempt, brown hair, she looked like a refugee. She clutched her two-year-old daughter close to her bosom. The child had calmed down in the last few minutes and was now rhythmically sucking her thumb. Erica felt the girl’s heart pounding fast, next to her own.
Erica’s husband, Karl–clad only in shorts, a white t-shirt, and sandals–walked aimlessly amid the ashy ruins, kicking at singed two-by-fours that had collapsed to the ground, picking at picture frames, pans, silverware, a sewing machine, blackened CDs. He hadn’t spoken a word for fifteen minutes. After getting his wife and daughter out of the burning house, he had frantically attempted to douse the flames with a garden hose, but it had been futile, even laughable. He would have had just as much luck with a squirt gun.
Within five minutes, the entire house had been consumed in flames that began licking at the surrounding stand of jack pines. Two of the trees on either side of the house, in fact, had been charred by the blaze, but the fire hadn’t spread. When the firefighters arrived, that had been their first priority: wetting down the trees. The house clearly was a lost cause.
The closest neighboring house, a mobile home 50 yards away, hadn’t been touched, but the family inside had seen the fire lighting up the early morning sky and had scurried outside for safety, just in case. The man of the house and the two children had since gone back inside, but the mother, a beefy, rough-looking woman of 45 with grayish hair hanging to her waist, stood alongside Erica as she rocked her daughter back and forth. The girl’s eyes remained wide open, as though she was seeing, for the first time in her two years, that life was tenuous and troubling. She gripped her mother’s bathrobe more tightly.