there's smoke . . .
happens when a thoroughly modern woman, longing to return to her
roots, meets an old-fashioned hero on her first day home? Sparks
Fly. And it doesn't take a forest fire, smoldering in the distance,
to turn up the heat between high school science teacher Logan Paris
and bush pilot Mitchell Walker.
dream of a bright future for her grandfather's lodge at remote
Thembi Lake hits an unexpected snag when Gramps introduces the
handsome pilot as his new partner. It seems that Mitch has plans
of his own for Casey Lodge, and Logan is certain they don't include
a partnership with a "city girl."
to prove herself and protect her heritage, Logan sets out to unravel
the many mysteries of Mitch Walker. Where did he come from? Why
is Gramps so willing to trust him with the future? And most disturbing
of all . . . what's she going to do about the undeniable
attraction she feels whenever he's around?
Fly © by
Cheryl Cooke Harrington
from Chapter One
Logan grabbed onto the armrests
with both hands and held tight, watching wide-eyed as the floats cleared the
trees at the water's edge with only inches to spare. She felt as if her stomach
had been left behind at the bottom of the lake. The man was out of his mind!
She gulped a deep breath and gave him a piece of hers. "Are you trying to get us killed?"
didn't answer. He was staring straight ahead, his face an ashen,
lifeless shade of grey. Turning
back to the window, Logan
saw the awful reason why. Smoke.
A towering column of thick, black smoke. It loomed in their path like a
wall...a wall that seemed to go on forever. The fire had to be
a lot bigger than he'd
welled up inside her, intense and demanding. Oh, how she longed
to give in to it, let it sweep her away,
beg Mitch to turn around now and fly
safety. Instead, she grabbed the wet towels, quickly leaning over to
wrap one around his neck, pulling it up to cover his mouth and nose. Those
men on the ground were counting on him, counting on her, to deliver
the supplies they'd need to fight the fire. Panic wouldn't help them.
Or her. And
it certainly wouldn't help Mitch.
above the fire in Mitch's deHavilland Beaver floatplane. |
billowed around them, seeping in at every door and window—an
acrid, choking cloud, a creeping evil that filled the cockpit and
her eyes. Gagging, she buried her face in the towel.
Even through the layers of wet cloth, it caught at her throat and
seared her lungs. Smoke. It filled her senses, clouded her mind.
They were still flying...climbing...the pitch of the engine told
her that much. But it was the only thing she knew for sure. What
if Mitch passed out, or lost control of the plane? She couldn't
see him, couldn't help him, she could only try to trust him. Trust
had saved her from a fire once before. But so much had been lost.
air. She couldn't answer.
yelled again, urgently now, and brushed his hand through her hair. "Logan,
are you all right?"
gasped for breath, swiping the towel across her eyes as the air
cleared. It couldn't have taken much more than a minute to climb
above the smoke, but that minute had seemed like an eternity. And
now Mitch was peering at her through the haze as if he thought
she might have expired. For a while there, she'd thought it herself.
okay. W-what about you?"
no problem." He tugged at the towel, pulling it off and dropping
it onto the floor between the seats. "Fires are part of the
game plan around here. I grew up breathing smoke."
made it sound so easy, so matter-of-fact. He had no idea.
out the window, Mitch seemed about to say more. He never got the
them, smoke rolled and churned, a dark, angry ocean. And up through
the waves came fiery tongues of orange flame, bright showers of
sparks and cinder. Superheated air, rising in violent swells, slammed
into the little plane, one bone-jarring impact after another, tossing
them across the sky like some flat-bottomed stone skipping wildly
across the water.
air was hot inside, too, and growing hotter by the minute. Beads
of sweat had begun to form on Logan's forehead and trickle down
her cheeks, but she didn't dare release her grip on the armrests
to swipe them away. She watched, transfixed, as Mitch struggled
to keep control of the plane. Muscles knotted across the backs
of his hands and strained against the soft blue fabric of his shirt.
She followed his gaze across the control panel, from attitude indicator,
to mag compass, to altimeter, and back to the horizon, his face
a mask of determined concentration, jaw clenched, chin jutting
forward. His sunglasses, dangling precariously from the visor,
broke free to bounce across the console and onto the floor. And
then, as if fired from a slingshot, the plane broke free.
moment of weightlessness and eerie silence left Logan holding her
breath. It took a few seconds to adjust to the quiet, to realize
that it wasn't really quiet at all. The roar of fire and wind had
overwhelmed even the drone of the Beaver's engine. They'd made
it! They were still alive, still flying! Her pent-up breath exploded,
half sigh, half laugh as she wiped the damp towel across her face.
Excerpt from SPARKS FLY
© Cheryl Cooke Harrington
Originally published in hardcover by Avalon Books
Now in hardcover and on Kindle from Montlake Publishing
Get it now!
Autographed hardcover copies available from the author.
Write to inquire: cheryl.cch at gmail.com
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