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After a bullet destroys his family and shatters his world, actor Blythe Huxley befriends Riley Kendrick, a new writer on his successful TV show, Wild Rescue. With only friendship on his mind, he doesn't expect to discover a kindred spirit.

Having lost her first firefighter husband in a fire while she was pregnant with their daughter, Riley is no stranger to heartache or hardship. She lends a compassionate ear to Blythe's difficulties only to become entangled in a web of illicit affairs and deadly intrigue.

When an arsonist and a killer strike, Riley's fate intertwines with Blythe's, threatening her heart and her life. Can they survive another tragedy and still find the strength to make peace with their past to embrace their future?


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 When filming on location, Blythe didn’t leave the studio without his black baseball cap, and he didn’t rely on studio transportation. He preferred to drive his own car, and he never accepted passengers. By adhering to this strict rule, it made it easier to turn down unwelcome riders, like Bella.

What part didn’t the actress understand? The he, thewasn’t, or theinterested? Surely she hadn’t run out of college-aged lovers. Perhaps some of them were still taking summer classes.

During the morning briefing, he learned Riley would be the one acting as script supervisor. For her, he was ready to make an exception to his rule, and he couldn’t care less if it ruffled Bella’s feathers. He enjoyed spending time with Riley, and he would love for her to ride with him to the lake.

In search of his baseball cap, he climbed to the seventh floor. If he wasn’t mistaken, it was in a drawer of his desk. He found it in the third one under a novel he never finished reading. Cap in hand, he left his cubicle, but then, around the next intersection, chance smiled on him. Riley waited near the elevator, alone.

As lovely as she looked in a skirt, she might want to stop by her hotel and change into something more comfortable.


At the sound of her name, she turned toward him. “Hello, Blythe.” Her eyes twinkled with glee as she looked down at his hands. “Nice cap. I like the silver thunder bolt on the front.”

He twirled the special baseball cap between his fingers. “A gift from my little nephews. They play hockey, and their last team was called the Thunder.”

“You’re a lucky uncle. Hunter stopped playing years ago, and I miss watching kids on the ice. Too bad it’s not winter, or I might ask you to take me to one of their games instead of dinner.”

If Martin renewed her contract in the fall, he would invite her to some of his nephews’ hockey games. “Would you come down the stairs with me?”

As he accompanied the request with a grand, sweeping gesture toward the end of the hallway, the door of the elevator opened.

“Sure.” Without giving the elevator a second look, she followed him. “I’m on my way out. I got a special assignment for the day.”

The excitement in her voice was palpable.

“I heard, and I was hoping you’d ride with me.” As he spoke, he studied her face.

Her eyes widened, and she slowed down. “Are you sure? I wouldn’t want to impose.”

“It’s a long two-hour drive into the countryside near the Manitoba-Minnesota border. I’d love some company.” Her company.“And if you need anything, we can stop by your hotel on our way out.”

She gazed down at her painted toes, which he found peculiar since she didn’t wear any makeup. “I may need my hiking shoes.”

* * *

Technicians strapped explosives to a red vessel anchored some eighty feet out on the lake, and with each deadly charge added on board, trepidation coiled Riley’s stomach into a tighter knot. She hated explosions and fires.

On shore, Blythe had donned a fire suit under his yellow jumpsuit and was busy applying a thick layer of fire-retardant gel on the exposed parts of his body to prevent burns when he jumped from the burning vessel.

During their long ride in the car, they had discussed the intricacies of the scene, but he didn’t mention performing his own stunts until they reached the lake. The stunt hit too close for comfort. She should have swallowed her pride, refused the assignment, and let Paul handle the outdoor shooting.

On her left, Martin rubbed his hands together as he trampled the grass at the edge of a gravel path. “This will be spectacular.” In the heat, sweat beaded on his forehead. “The weather is perfect.”

The cloudless sky melted into a shimmering lake surrounded by a young, verdant forest. Along the tree line, orange barricades prevented a handful of curious fans and onlookers from approaching the site.

Moored to the pier, a rubber dinghy waited for Blythe. Martin signaled for the actor to board and for the pilot to proceed.

Cameras rolled, capturing behind the scenes footage that might one day make unforgettable memories or great bloopers.

Positioned at the stern, Blythe untied the ropes securing the dinghy to the pier then reeled them in as the pilot turned the engine on.

Farther out on the lake, a ladder ran down the side of the red vessel.

The dinghy skimmed over the surface of the water, and when it pulled alongside the vessel, Blythe stood and gripped the ladder. At the bow, a black and white flag flapped in the wind.

In her mind, Riley reviewed the scene. The engine explodes while Blythe is at the helm, and he jumps off before the fire engulfs the entire boat.

As the dinghy moved away, Blythe climbed on board. A sudden explosion rocked the lake and tore the red vessel apart. His body flew into the air.

A scream escaped her throat, and amid the mayhem, Riley ran toward the shore. 

AuthorJS Marlo

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