Hello Readers! I have a few updates for you.
Two Boys, One Cabin is currently in the editing phase, but I hope to have that ready for publishing soon. Reminder: it will be released to my Patreon ‘Coffee Club‘ supporters two weeks early, and at no additional cost. I’ve already released the first chapters on Patreon for those readers who would like to get a head start.
Now to some news many of you have been waiting for. I have begun working on Welcome to Alvarado, book 4: Dragged Through Fire. I had some trouble getting this one started, so I apologize to those fans of the series who have been emailing and messaging me for updates. It’s great to hear how many people love reading the stories about the boys of Alvarado, and I hope I can do Riley and Jay-Jay’s story to your expectations. A few things you can certainly expect from Dragged Through Fire are a bunch of brotherly antics and arguments, firefighters doing what they do best, an absolute diva queen who doesn’t take shit from anyone, and a respectful look into the world of performance drag. Below is a sneak peek at the first chapter.
I don’t fear the flames. I respect the power they possess and appreciate their inherent beauty. The way they dance, entrancing those who stop to watch. How embers can burn soft and low in one moment then roar to life, giving breath to a monster in the next. Fire consumes all it touches, and it will burn you alive if you get too close, but it can also be a friend who will get you through the darkest of nights.
No, I don’t fear the flames. I’ve been around them my whole life. They’re as much a part of me as the skin they threaten to singe if I forget my place and fail to pay them the respect they deserve.
“Stop.” I hold out my hand in case my word is lost to the heavy breathing and locator chirps filling the spaces in between the thick smoke and ashen clouds billowing around us. It’s as if we’d stepped off the green lawn out front and right into the heart of a volcano.
“What?” Liam comes to a halt at my signal, the nervous hitch in his voice expected. He’s only seen a few fires and never showed interest in their siren call. I don’t think he’d be here if he hadn’t been desperately in need of a job after graduation, despite having the Neumann last name. Casting aside his rookie jitters, he begins glancing around the room for clues as to why we’ve stopped. Unable to figure it out, he looks to my experience for help. “What do you see, Riley?”
As I’m about to answer, and maybe give Liam a lesson on reading a room, Liam is jostled forward as Trent pushes in between us, hose nozzle in hand. “What’s the fucking hold up? I have a date in half an hour.” Trent’s the exact opposite of Liam, hotheaded and living life as fast as possible. He loves the fire as much as I do, but he doesn’t respect it, yet.
“You may be late to your date,” I speak through the respirator tied to the two oxygen tanks secured to my back. “We need to punch a vent.”
“Like fuck,” Trent huffs back over the coms. He shoulders past us and palms the door. “It’s cold.”
“It’s sealed,” I argue, already sure Trent’s beyond the point of listening. We’re all exhausted, having fought our way up to the fourth floor in full gear and putting out spot fires along the way. It’s gone textbook smooth so far, but Trent’s getting impatient, and that remains his biggest hang-up.
“It’s fine,” he argues back. “The fire is already contained, so let’s clear this shit and get out of here.”
“A fire is never a hundred percent contained,” I remind my younger brother, but I can see him rolling his eyes past his facemask.
“Your fear is never a hundred percent contained,” he mocks back.
I step up to him, not in the mood to put up with his childish bullshit today. “It’s not about fear, it’s about respect. You need to learn how to read the fire.”
“I can read just fucking fine,” he says, shirking away from criticism. “My hand says the door is cold, and my dick says you’re a pussy.”
“Trent-” But my annoyance is tempered by a rush of adrenaline when the idiot opens the door, with Liam standing right in the line of fire.
In an instant, the smoke billowing around us is sucked in through the doorway and a sound that’s impossible to describe, half demon half church choir, crescendos as the beast hiding in the next room is given life. An inferno rages, flashing through the door and crawling up the ceiling. Trent at least has the good sense to not stay in the doorway after he pushes it open, so the fireball bubbles past him as he looks on in wide-eyed horror. Liam isn’t so lucky. The kid is pushed off his feet, and for a second, he flies.
“Shit!” Trent cusses. “Shit. Fuck! Shit.”
“The hose!” I remind Trent he’s holding our only hope.
“Shit, fuck!” He continues to cuss but flips on the nozzle and begins drenching the room.
“Fall back!” I yell over the hissing and popping molten lava roiling overhead. For a second, I stop to glance up at it. God, it’s as beautiful as it is deadly; seductive and violent, moving like a living thing and devouring the very air to survive. After my soul is satiated with the glimpse I allow it into Hell, I refocus on stabilizing Liam and getting Trent to follow orders. “Goddammit, Trent, back your ass up!”
Trent starts shuffling backwards towards my voice as I locate Liam a few feet from the door we came through. He’s propped up on a pile of ash covered collapsed boxes and gives me a groaning response as I tug on his collar. His bell’s been rung pretty good, and he’s turtled on his back by the weight of the tanks.
“He okay?” Trent asks, an obvious fear mixed with the frustration at being wrong, again, as he uses the hose to fight back the demon crawling along the ceiling. “The Goddamn door was cold!”
“Save it.” I’ve had enough of this shitshow. Hauling Liam up, and thank God the kid is a scrawny beanpole, I get him to his feet as Trent continues to keep the flames from reaching our backs. Liam wobbles but gives me a thumbs up, even as his first step nearly has him falling again. Looping his arm around my shoulders, I begin heading for the stairs. “Let’s go.”
“I can save this,” Trent argues, his pride wounded.
“Out, now,” I command, my eyes stealing another glance up at the beast. “It’s too hungry.”
“Fuck.” Trent spits one last curse at the fire then backtracks with us.