Reader age rating 17+
Baptism of Fire: Interlude One of the RuneQuest.
The female child of the sea and the fire spirit create sparks of their own when professor Murphy and fae arson examiner, Aidan are brought together by a mysterious fire. When it comes to the arsonist plaguing San Diegohere, there seems to be more than meets the eye, and the scheme he and others like him are set on seeing through.
Author's Website : www.tlschaefer.com
Charged fire hoses snaked across the pockmarked parking lot of what had once been a warehouse. Now its smoldering husk was backlit by the bloody glow of emergency lights against the inky San Diego night.
Aidan Hughes squinted smoke-teared eyes. Three engine companies ... too little, too late.
He strode through the swirling mass of turnout-clad firefighters, splashing through mini-lakes and the delicate spray arcing from the hydrants nearest the building. The crowd of exhausted smoke-eaters parted before him like the Red Sea. Something about the blue windbreaker he wore, MAST emblazoned across the breast and back of the jacket, always moved the troops.
Raising his face to the sky, he drew the moistened, charcoal-scented air in deep, tasting it on the back of his tongue.
There it was--the same sulfurous perfume he’d detected at the last two fires. It was nothing his fellow firefighters would ever distinguish, nor even the most seasoned of arson investigators. This was something meant for his senses alone. Another of his clan had been here, and the thought shook him no less now than it had the first time.
He dropped his head, eyes boring into the darkness, willing his adversary to make himself known, to end this game before more human lives were lost.
The fire chief bulled his way up to him. “Whaddya think, Hughes?”
Aidan pulled his eyes from the wrecked building and the uncompromising night behind it. “Same as the last two. We’ll find the same mystery accelerant, middle of the building.”
“You’re f**king amazing, Hughes. How do you know this shit?”
How indeed? He wondered what the captain would say if he told him he had almost a hundred years of experience as Fae, and his clan’s signature was fire. The Salamanders were suited to only two things ... starting fires, and fighting them.
Ignoring the chief’s question, he asked a more important one. “Anybody inside this time?”
“Not so we can tell. This building’s actually used by the university, not abandoned like the last one. Guard was taking a leak over by the trees when the whole thing went up. Said it looked like a f**king bomb went off.”
Aidan’s lips twisted in a mocking grin. If only the chief knew. “You guys about done?”
“Yeah, there’s a few hot spots, but you should be fine, especially wearing those shit-kickers.” The chief nodded his head at Aidan’s steel-toed boots. They didn’t exactly mesh with the tuxedo slacks, shirt and bowtie he wore beneath the blazer. His dress shoes were back in his car, along with the rest of his gear. “Love the get-up. Where were you this time?”
“Mayor’s Ball.” Aidan cracked a smile. “You should have seen Gomez’ face when my beeper went off.”
The chief shared his amusement. “Bet that put a wrinkle in his Jockeys.”
“To say the least. I’ll go ahead and suit up while you finish mop-up.” Aidan turned, walking back through the parking lot to his SUV. Stripping off the blazer, he pulled his turnouts from the cargo area of the truck, stepping into the fire-retardant pants and jacket.
The chief’s night was probably over, barring any other torches. His had just begun.