Blaze

Blaze

4.5 27
by JoAnn Ross
     
 

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Bestselling author JoAnn Ross turns up the heat in a novel of heart-stopping suspense and white-hot passion that takes listeners from the sultry South Carolina Lowcountry to the rugged Northern California coast, and ultimately into the darkest reaches of the human heart…

Fire cop Tess Gannon is hot on the trail of a pyromaniac who’s been

Overview

Bestselling author JoAnn Ross turns up the heat in a novel of heart-stopping suspense and white-hot passion that takes listeners from the sultry South Carolina Lowcountry to the rugged Northern California coast, and ultimately into the darkest reaches of the human heart…

Fire cop Tess Gannon is hot on the trail of a pyromaniac who’s been setting buildings ablaze throughout Somersett, South Carolina, when ATF Special Agent Gage O’Halloran arrives on her fire scene. Coming out of a self-imposed exile, Gage suspects that Tess’s "Flamemaster" is connected to a serial killed he apprehended three years ago.

Tess doesn’t like Gage. He’s too rude. Too arrogant. Too damn...male. Worse yet, she doesn’t trust him. Forced into an uneasy alliance, Tess and Gage race to stop the killer from striking another fatal match. But Gage’s fragile hope for redemption is put to the test when Tess becomes ensnared in a homicidal pyromaniac’s deadly obsession. And time is running out…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In bestseller Ross's intense, seamlessly plotted novel of romantic suspense, Tess Gannon, who's been a fire investigator in Somersett, S.C., since her firefighter fianc , Danny, died two years earlier in a mill fire, teams up with former ATF Special Agent Gage O'Halloran, a widower, to look into an apartment fire that Gage believes was set by a serial arsonist. As Tess and Gage try to solve the arson case, they engage in sizzling foreplay, rendered all the more powerful by the excess emotional baggage that each carries. Gage's overt sexual references, rather than being offensive, seem to match his personality, that of a devil-may-care cowboy who lives for the moment. He's also a talented investigator who becomes immersed in the captivating mystery surrounding the serial arsons, which may be connected to the mill fire that killed Danny. Though the man known as the Flamemaster, who murdered Gage's wife, is now in San Quentin, this new arsonist is a clever copycat, writing threatening letters to the Somersett newspaper signed "Flamemaster." Ross (Out of the Mist) keeps the heat on right to the last page. Agent, Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416501640
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
07/26/2005
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Flamemaster had been watching the building for weeks, studying her, learning all her secret quirks. Even in her youth she hadn't been all that attractive, and despite the recent face-lift, the passing of years still showed. She reminded him of a dowager who'd fallen on hard times, then gotten an extreme makeover from a quack plastic surgeon.

A couple approached his vehicle, the woman's stiletto heels clattering on the crumbling cobblestone sidewalk.

The Flamemaster scrunched down in the driver's seat so they wouldn't see him. Not that he was in danger of being discovered; they were so blissfully oblivious to anything or anyone around them, they could have been strolling in the peaceful, moss-draped environs of Admiral's Park on a Sunday morning, rather than risking this industrial waterfront neighborhood.

The man leaned down and murmured a soft something in the woman's ear; she laughed silkily in response. They paused, staring into each other's eyes, like some love-struck couple in a diamond commercial.

As their lips met and clung, The Flamemaster imagined a formally dressed couple in a gilded hotel room. The man opens a black velvet box, revealing an iceberg-size diamond glittering like ice on black satin. The woman instantly falls to her knees and attacks her companion's zipper.

Two carats or more, the deep voice-over advises as violins soar. And she'll damn well have to.

He chuckled at his little joke.

A purple cloud drifted over the sliver of moon, casting the couple in deep shadow. The only light was from the faint yellow flicker of old-fashioned gas lamps edging the pier. Music drifted from a dinner cruise shipsomewhere out on the fog-draped harbor, fading in and out on the soft March air.

The guy's hands lifted her butt; she moaned and twined like a python around him. Just when The Flamemaster was looking forward to them doing it up against the brick wall, they came up for air.

The man tucked his shirt back in. She wiggled her dress, which had crawled nearly to her waist, back down to midthigh. They shared another laugh as they entered the centuries-old pink brick building.

The warehouse, abandoned for decades, had been on the brink of condemnation when some hotshot chef from New York City bought the building for a song and turned the top floor into a members-only harbor-view restaurant and dance club.

Tonight a throng of ultra-hip Friends clones with Gucci chips on their shoulders had packed into the loft on the warehouse's eighth floor to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Guinness, overpriced shots of Jameson Gold, and lethal cocktails with names like the Dirty Mick, the Belfast Bomb, and the Blarney Stone Sour.

Paddy's Pig might be the hottest nightspot in town, but all the money the Yankee had poured into the project hadn't transformed the sow's ear of a building into anything resembling a silk purse.

The trendy pink and green neon lights and the floor- to-ceiling glass windows that had replaced the eroding brick was like dressing a bag lady in a designer gown; it couldn't change the fact that she was still as ugly as homemade sin.

He'd be doing the city a favor by getting rid of it.

Hell, the mayor should present him with a good citizen's award. A medal for beautifying Somersett.

The Flamemaster flipped open his cell phone and keyed in 625.

When he hit Send, the call triggered a remote-control device deep inside the building's wine cellar. There was a burst of white light and a faint popping sound, like a lightbulb bursting.

The retro-eighties heavy metal band rocking the building drowned out the sound. A waiter ran in and pulled a bottle of champagne from its slot. With his station full, and more people jammed into the bar waiting for a table, he'd been on the run all evening. Which was why he didn't notice the tiny orange flame flickering behind a row of fruit brandies.

The fledgling fire fed lazily, climbing up the wooden wine racks, twining around the studs, licking at the rafters.

Outside, observing from a public parking lot a safe block away, The Flamemaster's pulse picked up a beat.

An orange glow flickered, changing to bluish white as the heat soared.

Bottles began to expand and break, like fireworks over the harbor during Buccaneer Days; missiles of heavy green glass slammed into pine studs that were weeping dark, flammable pitch.

The Flamemaster took his eyes off the building just long enough to glance down at the sweep hand on his watch. It wouldn't be long now.

Expectation rippled up his spine.

The neon-lit walls shattered; deadly shards of window glass rained down like guillotine blades. Debris fell from the smoke-filled sky. A black lacquer table hit the sidewalk, sounding like a rifle retort before shattering into pieces; a trio of chairs followed, their metal frames twisted like pretzels.

Sirens wailed in the distance as a woman, her long hair on fire, her skirt blown up over her face, landed on the sidewalk with a deadly thud, bounced into the gutter, then lay still. Screams rent the night as others followed, tumbling through the gaping hole where the glass walls had once stood, legs pumping wildly, arms windmilling on the way down to the pavement.

A red ladder truck, followed by an engine, had just careened around the corner, emergency lights flashing, air horn blasting, when the explosion ripped through the block.

The Flamemaster's vehicle rocked from side to side as a tidal wave-like force rolled beneath the tires. The night sky brightened, as if lit by a thousand suns. An instant later a dense cloud of acrid black smoke rolled down the street, engulfing everything, including the responding vehicles.

As the rigs' Jake brakes squealed, The Flamemaster drove off in the opposite direction, away from the hell-like conflagration that had turned the warehouse into a pile of stone and twisted metal.

This had definitely gone better than last week's rehearsal, which had been aborted when sprinklers drowned the flames as soon as the temperature hit 165 degrees. (Who'd have guessed a damn strip joint would've been built to code?)

Unfortunately, tonight the firefighters hadn't even arrived at the scene, let alone set up an interior attack line, before the charges he'd so meticulously set throughout the building triggered.

He'd have to work on his timing.

Oh well. The Flamemaster shrugged. Practice makes perfect.

If it was true that the third time was the charm, his next fire would be perfect.

Copyright © 2005 by The Ross Family Trust

Meet the Author


JoAnn Ross has published 90 novels, has been published in 26 countries, and is a member of the Romance Writers of America¹s Honor Roll of bestselling authors. She has won several writing awards, including being named Storyteller of the Year by Romantic Times. Her work has been excerpted in Cosmopolitan and featured by the Doubleday and Literary Guild book clubs.

With her husband and two fuzzy little dogs, she divides her time between the mountains of East Tennessee and the coastal lowlands of South Carolina.

Visit JoAnn on the Web to subscribe to her electronic newsletter, at joannross.com.

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Blaze 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader of all of JDRobb and Iris Johanson and James Patterson books and I thought this was right up there with them it kept you guessing till the end .The chemestry between Tess and Gage was great especially at the end with the question he asked her . I never even suspected the person who was responsible for it all .It kept me going so I had to finish it in 2 days.I thought it was great and am going to read some of her other books this was the first of hers but Not the Last for sure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like fast pace, adventure packed romantic suspense, this book is for you. Ross has penned a tale of terror, redemption, and love in this thriller that follows a deadly arsonist on a fiery tear through Somersett, South Carolina. Tess and Gage are two damaged souls who, together, find the strength to not only stop a deranged killer, but also to overcome the hurts of their pasts and find love with each other. An engaging and exciting story!! Definitely one for the 'keeper shelf', but then again, I ALWAYS keep JoAnn Ross's books!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nods and buries the body, watching as his friend was swallowed by the earth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He licked Shadepaw's head Comfortingly, and mewed, "its alright... we will all miss them, but they hunt with Starclan now." He picked up Greypaw, and placed him in the grave
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Da<_>mn you. *she grumbles, marching resignatedly away.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Contnues patrol.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Two years ago, firefighter Daniel McGee was killed in a warehouse-turned-nightclub fire that has never been solved. He left behind his fiance, fellow firefighter Tess Gannon, his last words over the radio he carried telling her that he loved her and that the years they'd spent together were the best of his life. Now she's a member of the fire police, a virtual fireman type cop who investigates the cause of fires, and Danny's death still haunts her-especially now that an arsonist calling himself The Flamemaster is setting fires around the town of Somersett , South Carolina , and sending letters to the local newspaper threatening more fires.

At the scene of a burned down apartment building, Tess is brought face to face with Gage O'Halloran, a man dressed in jeans and cowboy boots, talking with a distinct western drawl, calling her sweetheart. Tess is soon taken to task, however, when O'Halloran flashes his ATF badge at her. Now there's two fire investigators on the scene, one from ATF and one from the FBI. Gage, though, knows better than most what type of pyromaniac they're after-he's pretty sure that Somersett's Flamemaster is connected to an arsonist serial killer who murdered his own wife.

Now Tess and Gage are facing an arsonist who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. As Tess realizes she needs to face her past and the loss of Danny, Gage discovers that attempting to keep his heart out of his feelings with Tess isn't as easy as he'd thought it would be. A killer stalks closer and closer, and an attraction grows as big as the fires they both try to prevent. For Tess and Gage, finding out who the copycat arsonist-and murderer-is before it's too late is their combined goal.

JoAnn Ross has written another winning romantic suspense tale, with a backdrop of fire and murder. Tess still isn't completely over the loss of Danny, and Gage hasn't come to terms with the death of his wife. His laid-back, alpha cowboy attitude grates on Tess's nerves at first, and Tess's inability to focus on anything except her job drives Gage crazy. As these two fight the passion that burns between them, they never lose sight of their real goal-caching the lunatic who is setting fires all over town, causing death and destruction. But once the danger is over and the threat has passed, will the feelings that Tess and Gage felt for each other during a time of high-adrenaline be able to last?

You'll have to read BLAZE to find out, but it's definitely worth it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Two years ago, firefighter Daniel McGee was killed in a warehouse-turned-nightclub fire that has never been solved. He left behind his fiance, fellow firefighter Tess Gannon, his last words over the radio he carried telling her that he loved her and that the years they'd spent together were the best of his life. Now she's a member of the fire police, a virtual fireman type cop who investigates the cause of fires, and Danny's death still haunts her-especially now that an arsonist calling himself The Flamemaster is setting fires around the town of Somersett , South Carolina , and sending letters to the local newspaper threatening more fires. At the scene of a burned down apartment building, Tess is brought face to face with Gage O'Halloran, a man dressed in jeans and cowboy boots, talking with a distinct western drawl, calling her sweetheart. Tess is soon taken to task, however, when O'Halloran flashes his ATF badge at her. Now there's two fire investigators on the scene, one from ATF and one from the FBI. Gage, though, knows better than most what type of pyromaniac they're after-he's pretty sure that Somersett's Flamemaster is connected to an arsonist serial killer who murdered his own wife. Now Tess and Gage are facing an arsonist who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. As Tess realizes she needs to face her past and the loss of Danny, Gage discovers that attempting to keep his heart out of his feelings with Tess isn't as easy as he'd thought it would be. A killer stalks closer and closer, and an attraction grows as big as the fires they both try to prevent. For Tess and Gage, finding out who the copycat arsonist-and murderer-is before it's too late is their combined goal. JoAnn Ross has written another winning romantic suspense tale, with a backdrop of fire and murder. Tess still isn't completely over the loss of Danny, and Gage hasn't come to terms with the death of his wife. His laid-back, alpha cowboy attitude grates on Tess's nerves at first, and Tess's inability to focus on anything except her job drives Gage crazy. As these two fight the passion that burns between them, they never lose sight of their real goal-caching the lunatic who is setting fires all over town, causing death and destruction. But once the danger is over and the threat has passed, will the feelings that Tess and Gage felt for each other during a time of high-adrenaline be able to last? You'll have to read BLAZE to find out, but it's definitely worth it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book all the way up until the ending! I thought it was outrageously far-fetched and didn't connect really well with the rest of the story. I usually love everything about Ross' books, but this one through me for a loop.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Two years ago, firefighter Daniel McGee was killed in a warehouse-turned-nightclub fire that has never been solved. He left behind his fiance, fellow firefighter Tess Gannon, his last words over the radio he carried telling her that he loved her and that the years they¿d spent together were the best of his life. Now she¿s a member of the fire police, a virtual fireman type cop who investigates the cause of fires, and Danny¿s death still haunts her¿especially now that an arsonist calling himself The Flamemaster is setting fires around the town of Somersett, South Carolina, and sending letters to the local newspaper threatening more fires. At the scene of a burned down apartment building, Tess is brought face to face with Gage O¿Halloran, a man dressed in jeans and cowboy boots, talking with a distinct western drawl, calling her sweetheart. Tess is soon taken to task, however, when O¿Halloran flashes his ATF badge at her. Now there¿s two fire investigators on the scene, one from ATF and one from the FBI. Gage, though, knows better than most what type of pyromaniac they¿re after¿he¿s pretty sure that Somersett¿s Flamemaster is connected to an arsonist serial killer who murdered his own wife. Now Tess and Gage are facing an arsonist who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. As Tess realizes she needs to face her past and the loss of Danny, Gage discovers that attempting to keep his heart out of his feelings with Tess isn¿t as easy as he¿d thought it would be. A killer stalks closer and closer, and an attraction grows as big as the fires they both try to prevent. For Tess and Gage, finding out who the copycat arsonist¿and murderer¿is before it¿s too late is their combined goal. JoAnn Ross has written another winning romantic suspense tale, with a backdrop of fire and murder. Tess still isn¿t completely over the loss of Danny, and Gage hasn¿t come to terms with the death of his wife. His laid-back, alpha cowboy attitude grates on Tess¿s nerves at first, and Tess¿s inability to focus on anything except her job drives Gage crazy. As these two fight the passion that burns between them, they never lose sight of their real goal¿caching the lunatic who is setting fires all over town, causing death and destruction. But once the danger is over and the threat has passed, will the feelings that Tess and Gage felt for each other during a time of high-adrenaline be able to last? You¿ll have to read BLAZE to find out, but it¿s definitely worth it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually love this authors' books but the ending to this one didn't make sense. Not wanting to ruin the ending for anyone who hasn't read the book can't go into details as to why I feel this way. The book went along at a good pace, until near the end then it read to me like something that was finished in order to meet a deadline! Usually there are small clues throughout the book that add up to the villian, but not in this case. I was not so much disappointed in who the villian turned out to be, but more disappointed in the farfetched explanation of why. From the other reviews I have read I guess I am the only one who thought this way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Blaze by JoAnn Ross blends a tale of intense passion and the dangers of firefighting._____ Tess Gannon is excelling at her job as an arson inspector. It was an adjustment after she lost her finance and fellow firefighter to a fire a few years ago. She is now hot on the trail of a serial arsonist when a hotshot ATF special agent comes to town. _______ Gage O¿Halloran is a burnt out ATF agent. When similar fires that torn his life apart start happening again Gage rushes to Somersett, South Carolina to lend a hand. Tess and Gage don¿t start out on the best of terms but forge an uneasy alliance to stop the fires. ______ Tess and Gage partnership turns into an explosive passion that neither can ignore. As their passion escalates so does the danger until it strikes much to close to home. ______ Blaze is a story with pulse pounding suspense and white-hot passion that is not to be missed. Tess and Gage feel like people you know and you route for them to find a way to survive on all levels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wakes up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ask befor you take or you hunt threw the night says blazestar
harstan More than 1 year ago
The Flamemaster feels quite good as he dials from a distance the explosion that enables him to watch the fire that burns Paddy¿s Pig Restaurant and Dance Club. The Somersett, South Caroline fire department struggles with the blaze in which rescue team member Daniel McGee dies in the inferno. His last message is to his fiancé, firefighter Tess Gannon that he loves her.......................... Two years later, former ATF Agent Gage O¿Halloran learns the impossible that the Flamemaster lit a blaze in South Carolina. Gage knows that Randolph Griffith is locked away in prison so a copy cat is out there. Arson investigator Tess looks at a new fire in which a woman died while being tied to a bed when Gage arrives and pompously tries to take over. He thinks a link exists between a strip joint fire, a deadly warehouse inferno, and the latest arson-homicide. Gage informs Tess that he wants sex with her, but also says the rope is the not known signature of the Flamemaster who is in San Quentin. They work together trying to learn who the copycat is and how did this person find insider information on the Flamemaster even as their attraction burns each other with desire.................. Mindful of Kathryn Shay¿s fabulous firefighter¿s series, BLAZE is a terrific romantic suspense that keeps the audience anticipating a showdown, but wondering with whom. The lead couple need one another; however he at first sounds crass and she has not gotten past her loss, so her leaping into bed with him right away seems off kilter; their reasons to avoid commitments on the other hand augments the exciting tale. Though the identity of the villain seems a stretch, fans will appreciate this fiery intrigue............ Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Practices throwing knives
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
S
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Cool name. So your q child of hades too?"