Gathering storm clouds bruise a perfect summer sky.; Thunder rumbles in the distance as daylight surrenders to darkness. As temperatures drop and the wind begins to howl, a jagged bolt of lightning streaks toward the earth. In the heart of the forest, a young juniper tree explodes, spewing forth a giant fireball.

The dragon is born.

It's the devil's breath, the locals say, referring to the hot, unseasonably gusting winds that spur the blaze on. The dragon feeds on its drought-ravaged surroundings, snapping 80-foot ponderosa pines like twigs. As it roars through acres of dense forest, an elite group of firefighters called hotshots converge to save a nearby town.

In the Arizona wilderness, her five years serving as a lieutenant on a Tennessee fire department mean nothing. Here, she's just another rookie hotshot coming to fight against an enemy she can barely comprehend. But the first time Nika faces the two hundred foot flames, she knows this is what she was born to do.

Nika has always dreamed of becoming a smokejumper and all smokejumpers must serve one season on the ground. It's hot, grueling work, but Nika is determined that nothing is going to stop her: not a smokejumper ex-husband in the same camp, not a crew boss who thinks women don't belong in fire service and most certainly not the wacko who's started leaving her notes at camp. She just wants to do her job and it seems everyone is conspiring to keep her from it.

The only woman on a twenty man crew, Nika takes her share of abuse. But they don't know how much she can give, or how much she can take. When she gets the first series of love notes, she assumes this is another of their pranks. One letter begs her to meet with her admirer and Nika decides to play a little prank of her own. An innocent joke sparks a madman's rage and now the gifts he leaves her are deadly, like a rattlesnake in her sleeping bag.

To add to her troubles, she finds herself insanely attracted to one of the members of the prison crew. All hell breaks loose when a prisoner starts a disastrous blaze in the wilderness to aid his escape. Nika learns the prisoner she's attracted to is an undercover FBI agent sent to find a stolen fortune buried in the woods. J.T. was supposed to have gained the prisoner's trust and let him escape to lead the feds to the money, but something went wrong. Now he has to recapture the prisoner or find the money first.

He and Nika share a spontaneous, burning attraction that is repeatedly thwarted by their dedication to their careers. The woods are crawling with crazies and it will take all their resources just to survive the summer.


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Hot Shot
by Michelle Perry

March 4, 2004
ISBN #1932866019
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