The winner for Legacy of Lies was: Nancy Costello. Thank you.
(Don't miss the giveaway at the end of the post!)
Blurb: Single-minded Dean Harward is going to become a veterinarian if it kills him. He’s worked summers as a volunteer wildfire fighter to earn big cash for college. Just his luck, a pyrophobic woman gets assigned to his team. He’s certain she’ll get him killed before he can graduate. Ginger Warby is a walking firestorm as accidents continually spark around her. Or are they accidents? Can Dean keep the flames of desire he reluctantly feels for her under control long enough to keep them and his Yellow Labrador alive?
How It Began: I was busy writing another book when the worst fire in Utah’s history was happening: the Milford Flat Fires back in 2007. I printed off information and followed the news. If you’ve read my post, A Fire Inside, you already know that I had my own fearful experience with fire, which lead to me writing this story.
My veterinarian, Dr. Dennis Law, helped me with the hero’s role, and I dedicated the book to him and his staff. They have been taking wonderful care of my dogs since 1990.
Our family took our vacation down in Beaver, Utah in the Tushar Mountains and had a wonderful time. It really helped with the realism of this story. And, I loved studying about mushrooms and survival cooking in the mountains.
I also did extensive research on what it's like to be a wildfire fighter. I have several family members on my husband's side who have worked as volunteers during the summer. They helped immensely.
Premise: With each of my books, I always have a message in mind. In Braving the Blaze the message is: Life is good!
Ginger hiked the rest of the way down to the edge of the lake. A small grill had been erected, and a campfire pit lay close at hand. Someone had even left a few chopped logs nearby.
Despite their situation, Ginger felt almost giddy. She loved the thought of being here working together with Dean, though she better not get too used to the idea. After they were rescued she’d never see him again. The chance of a future together stood about as much chance as an ice cream cone staying frozen in a four-hundred degree pizza oven. She sighed.
She intertwined the wire grass into a crude, loosely-woven basket. Then she yanked off her boots and pulled out the laces. She tied them together and then tied one end securely to a section of the woven wire grass. With any luck, they’d being eating trout within the hour.
She worked her way out to the point where she hoped she stood the best chance of catching a fish. Without bothering to slip off her mud-crusted boots, she carefully waded out as deep as she dared into the lake and settled the basket near the bottom. She placed the largest rock she could find on top of the bootlace. She took a moment to dunk herself and splash her face, relieving herself of mud and ash.
There. Now for the mushroom stuffing.
She caught sight of Dixie and Dean at the campfire pit. Dean already had a blaze going. He’d also spread their brush coats on the shoreline, holding them down with rocks. He’d formed the typical SOS symbol out of logs nearby. Ginger got busy gathering the necessary ingredients for the rest of her planned meal.
Within an hour, she returned to check her trap. Anticipation filled her as she waded out and pulled up the basket. Nothing. Disappointment settled into her bones. Her stomach rumbled. She shuffled back to shore just as Dean approached the edge of the water, his hands behind him.
“Any luck?” he asked.
“Maybe this’ll help.” He pulled a telescopic rod and reel from behind his back.
“Where on earth…?”
“It was in the closet at the summer home,” he said, smiling.
“And you let me sit and weave a basket?”
He nodded. “You were so ador— absorbed in the process. I didn’t want to take the moment away from you.”
She pursed her lips at him. “So what else did you confiscate?” she asked, holding out her hand for the fishing pole. “Shampoo? Pots and pans? Dinner service for three? Toilet paper?” She hadn’t thought to take anything. Besides, stealing didn’t seem right even under the circumstances.
“You can fish if you want, but I already caught three nice-sized trout when you weren’t looking,” he returned.
She growled, wanting to rip out her hair. Instead she laughed. “Okay, okay. Let’s get them cooked. I’m starved.”
Dixie gave her a curious look.
“Do you want yours cooked?” she asked the dog, giving her coat a ruffle.
Dixie cocked her head.
“Cooked it is, Sunshine.”
When she reached the grill, she spotted the already-cleaned trout laying next to her other ingredients.
“No bowls, but I did manage to get a few flimsy paper plates and a couple of forks into my pocket.” Dean pulled them out and set them down.
“And I thought we were roughing it.”
“I’m not questioning your abilities, but…” Dean started to say as he transferred some of the burning coals to the grill.
“Let me guess. You’re worried about the mushrooms.” She took the stuffing she’d concocted and began filling two of the trout.
“My father never had time for camping trips and Mom, bless her heart, was the world’s worst scout leader.”
Ginger tried not to act surprised he’d shared some history with her. “You need to be extremely careful what mushrooms you eat. My dad taught me and Sage about the main edible ones in Utah. We camped a great deal around Fish Lake, and there’s a lot of Porcini, or King Bolete they’re called, up at this elevation. They’re very rich in flavor. They’re usually ready in August, but I found a few already coming up. You almost have to pick them early or the worms will get them before you do.”
Dean picked up the one she hadn’t cut up for the stuffing.
“The King Bolete looks like a freshly baked bun,” she continued. “It has pores instead of gills beneath the cap. See?” Dean held the mushroom, and she turned his strong hand over to expose the underside of the mushroom. She hesitated for a moment at the thrill of touching him. “Uh, Morels, Meadows, Chanterelles, and Wood Ears are other common types in Utah. But if I can’t identify them, I don’t pick them.”
Their gaze met. She still held his hand in hers. She quickly broke contact and carried the fish over to the metal grill.
“It won’t take long to cook,” she said, trying to regain her composure.
“I—” Dean whirled around and headed up the hillside.
Now what got into him?
Review: This is the first book that I’ve read of Ms. Christiansen’s, and I have to say, I enjoyed it very much. Working with a volunteer fire dept myself, I can understand Ginger’s feelings towards fire and having a fear of it. This story had just the right amount of suspense and romance to keep it interesting. I found the book very hard to put down and had to keep reading to find out just how they were going to escape off that mountain to the exciting conclusion of the book. One could not help but root for Ginger as she finally manages to control her fear. If you are looking for a great afternoon read, then I recommend Braving the Blaze. 5/5 Stars, Miss Lynn’s Books and More
Giveaway: I will select 2 winners for a PDF copy of Braving the Blaze.
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