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Smoke Screen

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Smoke Screen

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First, his fiancée was murdered. Next, a dear friend. Is an arsonist targeting firehouse chaplain Jake Rollins through his loved ones? FBI agent Chloe Davis is on the case--even though it brings...
First, his fiancée was murdered. Next, a dear friend. Is an arsonist targeting firehouse chaplain Jake Rollins through his loved ones? FBI agent Chloe Davis is on the case--even though it brings...
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  • First, his fiancée was murdered. Next, a dear friend. Is an arsonist targeting firehouse chaplain Jake Rollins through his loved ones? FBI agent Chloe Davis is on the case--even though it brings her far too close to the handsome pastor. Chloe has always worked undercover, trusting only herself. How can she believe a man who says he knows her--and loves her--for who she is? Only when the smoke begins to clear will Chloe learn to see past her doubts and fears...and find the vengeful killer closer than anyone realizes.

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    "Units requested for structure fire at 1215 Conch Drive. Flames visible." Jake Rollins tossed the red bubble light onto the dash of his 4Runner as the scanner continued its commentary from the floorboard. He was going to miss his meeting.

    The calls sometimes came in the middle of the night. Fire didn't have an alarm clock and accidents didn't have a time schedule. Little children didn't get lost-- and found--according to what was convenient for emergency personnel.

    "Units responding."

    Jake shifted gears, preacher to firefighter. He might not be a smoke-eater anymore, but he still fought fires his own way, fighting the damage they did--to their victims and to the people who walked fearlessly into them--every day. Fire had almost destroyed him.

    It was only the grace of God that had saved him, only God that could have brought him back from the pit he'd been in when he'd discovered he couldn't be a firefighter anymore. God had given him a new purpose, serving others in a way that he hadn't been able to before--and working for the department in a way that would never have been cool to him before--as Sea Breeze, Florida's, first fire department chaplain.

    He leaned over to turn the scanner up, listening for details. Emergency vehicles and beach traffic didn't mix well. A horn blared as he shot into an opening in the next lane.

    Jake whipped into the neighborhood, pulling to a stop. A smear of charcoal-gray smoke in the sky told him he was in the right place without him even checking the address. Police had closed off the perimeter, but the turnout gear that he was required to wear on scene eased the way. The crew from his old station house was on duty. Two firefighters trained spray from the heavy hose onto the burning structure and Captain Caruso wore a path in the lawn, barking orders into his walkie-talkie.

    Tension tightened Jake's shoulders. When things went well at a job, the men who fought the fires cracked jokes to handle the stresses of a high-pressure job. That was a good day.

    When they didn't get to a scene in time--when there was a victim, or when the structure was too compromised to stay inside and fight--that was a bad day. Two of his friends stumbled through the smoke pouring out the open front door. As they got closer to the captain, firefighter Todd Blankenship shook his head. Not a good day.

    The muscles in Jake's arms twitched. He wanted to be in there--every fire, every time. He'd been trained for this, born for this, but his injury limited his motion and effectively ended his career with the fire department. It didn't end his desire to be in the middle of the action, to make up somehow for failing to do his job when it mattered most.

    Jake stepped up beside the captain as Todd pushed his faceplate back. "We were too late."

    "You got a name, Cap?" Jake checked out the structure. It barely looked like a house anymore. Smoke poured from every crevice, hot orange flames licking at the roofline.

    The captain rifled through a clipboard of papers. "Sharon Hardin."

    Fire punched through the roof as recognition punched Jake in the gut. He knew Sharon. She went to his church, had been coordinating a mission trip. They'd been working closely together to organize the overseas trip, meeting regularly to hammer out the details.

    He'd taken her for coffee three days ago.

    Flames shot into the sky with crackling laughter. The captain rubbed the back of his hand across his mouth. "Clark and Hughes still in there?"

    "Yes, sir." Blankenship pushed a weary hand through sweaty hair.

    "Team four, get out...

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    Steeple Hill
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