Sparks Fly

 

Cover: Sparks Fly by Cheryl Cooke Harrington
An Avalon Romance
from Montlake Publishing
in hardcover and on Kindle

Excerpt

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Where there's smoke . . .

What 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.

Logan's 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."

Determined 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?

Sparks Fly © by Cheryl Cooke Harrington

SPARKS FLY is "a tender, rich romance that will have readers laughing,
crying and holding their breaths. It's a quick read, but the characters
and setting are developed as in a novel twice the size. Four stars!"
~ Romantic Times

Excerpt

 

 

 

 

Sparks Fly

Excerpt 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?"

      Mitch 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 expected.

      Panic 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 them to 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.

Forest Fire Scene
Flying above the fire in Mitch's deHavilland Beaver floatplane.

      Smoke billowed around them, seeping in at every door and window—an acrid, choking cloud, a creeping evil that filled the cockpit and burned her eyes. Gagging, she buried her face in the towel.

      Smoke. 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. Forever...

     "Logan?"

     No air. She couldn't answer.

     He yelled again, urgently now, and brushed his hand through her hair. "Logan, are you all right?"

     "O-okay." She 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.

     "I'm okay. W-what about you?"

     "Hey, 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."

     He made it sound so easy, so matter-of-fact. He had no idea.

     "Hey!" Gesturing out the window, Mitch seemed about to say more. He never got the chance.

     Below 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.

     The 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.

     A 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.

     "Some ride, huh?"

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
Please use the book title as your subject line.

"Cheryl Cooke Harrington has an incredibly fantastic way with words! Of course, you might too, if you took the admonishment to 'write what you know' so seriously that you'd learn to pilot a Cessna in order to write about flying!" ~ Soliloquy

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