Wildfire and Roses
by Hope Malory
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Sparks fly when tenacious mountain climber and hiker Beasley McLemore meets hot smokejumper Will Gregor on a search and rescue mission in Yosemite. Getting together, however, isn’t easy. Strong-willed Beasley is bent on building a thriving landscaping business back home in the foothills of the majestic Smoky Mountains. Busy working 24/7, she has no time or energy for a man in her life...she thinks.
Scorched by love in his past, Will is content to live near awe-inspiring Lake Tahoe where he saves lives and forests as a remote wildland firefighter. He doesn’t need a committed relationship complicating his dangerous lifestyle...he thinks.
Through life-changing events and a family mystery, each must question long held beliefs about work, love, and life. Looming over their blossoming love affair is the 2,400 miles separating their homes and livelihoods. Will love keep them together or distance tear them apart?
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An opening in the trees revealed thickets growing beside a creek with green algae coating the rocks. The afternoon heat working in tandem with the heavy downpour gave way to sweltering humidity. She removed her rain and sweat-soaked shirt in favor of the cooler camisole underneath. Although she had packed a light waterproof jacket, the storm came without warning. The almost horizontal, wind-driven rain swept the ridge, plastering her hair to her head. Drenched, their clothes clung to their bodies. It was impossible not to notice Will’s ripped torso underneath his wet shirt. Stop looking at his body. She observed his stolen glance at her assets when she took off the outer layer. To rid her mind of those thoughts, she shook her head and turned her attention back to the task. She agonized about the frightened little boy, knowing the first twenty-four hours were the most critical. Would he survive the night if they didn’t locate him soon? A sense of unease gnawed at her.
At the same moment she turned toward Ranger Walsh to ask what they would do if they didn’t find him before dark, thunder roared through the forest making her words inaudible. The crunch of twigs and leaves beneath their feet turned into splashes as the rain persisted. They slogged through ankle-deep mud, around jutting rocks, and over blown-down trunks and branches. The wind whipped, and the downpour continued, slowing their progress.
The trail narrowed with sharp drop-offs on the left side. Walking in a single line, Ranger Walsh led, Will followed him, and she took the rear position. In a fraction of a second, she recognized what was happening ahead. Seized by fear, she cried out as Will stepped in a pool of mud, lost his footing, and tumbled down the side of a cliff.
Transported by books as a child, Hope Malory developed an interest in writing in second grade when she discovered poetry. Those early seeds, along with a penchant for happy endings, led her to fulfill her dream of becoming a romance novelist.
After thirty years in the education field, Hope traded in a commute, traffic, and early mornings for inventing strong-willed characters and putting them in unpredictable situations.
Now, whether relaxing on the beach, traveling with her husband, or spending time at home, she is busy writing her next novel.
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