Tuesday, 6 November 2012
Book Spotlight: Burnished by Fire by Andrew Grey
by Andrew Grey
Book 3 in the By Fire Series
Firefighters Lee Stanton and Dirk Krause need a vacation. Work seems to have other ideas: they spend the day before their holiday begins battling a fire that claims three lives. Thankfully, Lee and Dirk will have a whole week on the high seas to recover.
They’re having a wonderful time—until they spot Dirk’s miserable, closed-minded father on the ship. Between his father’s presence and his guilt over the lives he couldn’t save, Dirk feels sure his romantic cruise is going to tank. But then he saves another passenger’s life— and maybe he can salvage something else too.
Read an excerpt from the book after the jump:
Burnished by Fire
© Andrew Grey 2012
The drive to Baltimore and then the flight and trip across Florida to the port went off without a hitch, and to top it off, Dirk had seen a alligator sunning itself along the way. How cool was that? As they approached the port, the bus wound around and pulled up alongside the biggest ship he’d ever seen. “Good God,” Dirk said softly, before letting out a whistle. “I had no idea the thing was going to be that gigantimous!”
“When it was built, Freedom of the Seas was the largest cruise ship ever built,” Lee explained as he too leaned across to get a better view out the window. They sat on the bus for a few minutes as their luggage was unloaded, and then they were instructed to get in line for boarding. It was quite a process. The bags had to be X-rayed, and then they stood in a line where they signed papers, had their pictures taken, presented credit cards, and received the SeaPasses that would act as their credit cards, room keys, and identification. “Have a good cruise,” the lady said as they walked away, holding onto their carry-on bags.
They wound through the port building’s hallways and eventually found themselves on the gangway and then aboard the ship. Dirk could hardly believe it. They were here and ready to start their vacation. “Staterooms aren’t quite available yet,” one of the crew members explained, “but please go up to the Windjammer on eleven and have some lunch. By the time you’re done, they should be available.” She motioned them inside, and they found the elevators and pressed the call button.
They rode up in the glass elevator car to the eleventh deck and followed the other passengers into the large buffet. Lee found a table and they set down their bags. “Go ahead and get something to eat. I’ll sit with the bags.”
Dirk thanked him and got some lunch before returning to the table. “They have everything you can think of,” Dirk told Lee as he set down his plate.
“A waiter came by and I ordered something to drink,” Lee explained as he got up. “I’ll be right back.” Somehow Dirk doubted that. The place was huge and there was food everywhere. He began to eat, and the waiter returned with water and coffee. When Lee got back to the table, he was carrying two plates and had a boggled look on his face.
“What do you want to do first?” Lee asked as he began eating.
“I say we change into bathing suits and hit the pool deck or maybe the FlowRider thing,” Dirk said. “I wanna get wet and then lie in the sun.”
“Sounds like a plan, but we have to watch the time. There’s a muster drill at four, but other than that, the day is all ours.” Lee looked like a teenager when he said that, and Dirk couldn’t help returning his smile. For months, they’d both worked hard, taking extra shifts so they could start their lives together on a solid financial footing. It was paying off, but had been exhausting for both of them. Dirk wanted to reach across the table to squeeze Lee’s hand, but he wasn’t sure how it would be received, so he simply smiled at him and ate his lunch, anxious to get started on the fun.
Excitement seemed to be everywhere as they finished eating. People hurried around them, talking spiritedly. Dirk couldn’t hear what anyone was saying, but the anticipation had everyone on an excitement high that he found contagious. “Look at the other ships,” Lee said as he pointed around the harbor. “There’s a Disney ship and a Carnival ship. Those things look small compared to what we’re on.” Lee grinned as he took a bite of his chicken. “This is going to be great.”
“There you are,” Marshall, the travel agent who’d booked the cruise for them, said as he approached their table. “We sort of lost track of you two. The rest of the group is meeting on the helipad for sail-away if you want to join. That way you can meet everyone. We had to travel in two groups, and some people came down yesterday.”
Dirk looked at Lee to see if he was interested. He didn’t particularly care if they met everyone or not. All he wanted to do was relax in the sun for a while. “Maybe we’ll see you there,” Lee said with a smile that Dirk knew was pure placation.
“I’m in stateroom 6519 if you need anything,” Marshall said.
“I’m sure we’ll be fine,” Lee said. “We’ve booked excursions at Coco Cay and St. Thomas. On St. Maarten we’re going to get off the ship and find the nearest beach. You have a great cruise, and enjoy yourself too. Don’t let everyone run you ragged.”
“I’ll try not to,” Marshall said, moving away from the table, and Dirk went back to his lunch.
“You have no interest in the sail-away thing, do you?” Lee asked, and Dirk rolled his eyes before shaking his head. “I didn’t think so.” Lee reached into his bag and began fishing around before removing a small bottle and handing Dirk a blue pill. “Bonine,” Lee explained as he swallowed one.
“You get seasick?” Dirk asked, and Lee shrugged.
“Don’t really know, and I’m not interested in finding out,” Lee explained. “I doubt it, but I’m not really interested in ruining the trip by woofing all over the place.”
Dirk looked at the little pill before handing it back. “I’m fine.” Lee put the pill away and packed up the things he’d pulled out. “Do we need to carry our dishes someplace?” Dirk asked, looking around.
“No. It looks like they clean things up.” Lee stood up and lifted his bag. “Let’s go have some fun,” Lee told him with a boyish grin that Dirk found both infectious and sexy as hell. “Hopefully we can drop the bags in our stateroom.”
They left the buffet and threaded their way out onto the pool deck. The warm, fresh breeze was wonderful, and Dirk immediately realized he was wearing too many clothes. He stripped off the sweatshirt he’d forgotten he had on, shoving it into his bag, and immediately felt more comfortable.
People were already swimming and relaxing in the bubbling whirlpools. Waiters roamed among the deck chairs with frozen tropical drinks in souvenir glasses. A live calypso band played on a small stage near the main swimming pools. It seemed like a tropical party, and they’d been invited. “This is going to be so cool,” Dirk said with a huge grin as he stopped and watched a group of kids already playing in the kid’s pool decorated with spouting figures and a waterfall.
“Shit, what’s he doing here?” Lee said from behind him, and Dirk turned, following Lee’s gaze.
“What are you…?” Dirk saw who Lee was looking at and nearly dropped his bag. “What the hell?” Dirk asked softly, seeing his relaxing vacation flying away on the wings of one of the birds gliding over the ship as his father made his way toward them. “Fuck!”
Like to read more?
The book is available from Dreamspinner Press
Don't forget to check out the other books in the series:
Book 1: Redemption by Fire and Book 2: Strengthened by Fire