I've previously read paranormal stories by author Danica
Winters, which were also darn good crime stories. So it's
no surprise that she's now turned her hand to suspense
stories for those who enjoy romance on the edgy side. SMOKE
AND ASHES is set in the city of Missoula, where Heather
Sampson has just been dumped by her controlling husband.
She at first thinks she can do what she likes, but then
reconsiders as she knows David will return and notice she
has made changes. She is not to know how scary her life
Kevin Jensen, Heather's widowed neighbour, leaves his
daughter Lindsay with Heather while he goes to work as a
fire inspector. Unusual activity of late seems to point to
a would-be arsonist locally. Kevin tries to persuade his
chief to let him hunt for clues, but budgets are stretched.
He has to juggle his young family with silently admiring
Heather after work; he doesn't realise how confused Heather
is and how much verbal abuse she puts up with from David.
Before long, Heather is running from a burning house.
Nobody can tell who started the fire, but it was certainly
deliberate. Kevin's instincts compel him to protect his
I enjoyed the building of Kevin's character as a
responsible single parent coping with a growing, boundary-
pushing boy and a trusting girl. However much he wistfully
thinks of Heather, we see that he's not about to start
anything with a married woman, nor give a poor example to
his kids. If a fire occurred in my vicinity he's a guy I'd
trust to get me out of danger. Author Danica Winters is
just as careful to show Heather's unfortunate marriage to a
manipulative man, a doctor who assured his bride he would
not be like her feckless father, only to hinder her life
plans and belittle her in front of others. When the lady
sees through the situation and stands up for herself, David
demands a divorce on his mean terms. Character is the
central aspect of this contemporary romance, for all the
arson, investigations and danger.
SMOKE AND ASHES is a vivid read about some very real people
with good research in the background. There are some adult
scenes as life brings together two people who deserve a
chance at happiness. Romance fans will enjoy reading this
adventure and wondering how it is all going to play out in
the last chapter.
With a mysterious arsonist on the loose in Missoula, fire
inspector Kevin Jensen saves more than Heather Sampson's house.
The sexy single father rescues her from an abusive marriage—and
discovers his own past failures don't have to rule his life.
Especially when sparks between him and Heather ignite
But who's the arsonist? Why target Heather? What's his shocking
motive? When Heather faces off with him in a brutal attack, she
needs her "white knight" as much as he needs her. Both have
looked into their souls and risked their broken hearts for each
other. Now Kevin will have to risk his life and his heart.