Claire McEwen's Blog

An Excerpt from Rescuing the Rancher

It’s Teaser Tuesday in the writing internet world! So here’s an excerpt from my new book, Rescuing the Rancher.

Jade Carson is a firefighter trapped on Aidan Bell’s remote ranch with a wildfire coming their way. In desperation, she decides to light a backfire to see if she can turn the fire away from them. Despite their dire situation, Jade and Aidan have so much chemistry, they always manage to find a little humor.

Excerpt:

Aidan stopped in his tracks. “You’re going to light my ranch on fire? I thought that’s what we’re trying to prevent.”

“It is.” Jade pointed to the grass and bushes that covered the ground between the firebreak and the trees. “If we can burn this before the fire gets here, we deprive it of fuel. Then it might burn off to the sides, and spare the buildings on your ranch.”

“The wind, though. How will we keep the flames from blowing back onto us?”

“Water. Plus I’m hoping the wind will die as night falls.”

He gaped at her. “You’re hoping?”

Hope was all she had. “It’s worth the risk. Setting a backfire can buy us extra time.”

It was a gamble. But what else could they do?  Jade waited, giving him time to think. After a moment he held out his hand. “Okay then.”

Jade handed him the hose and tried to sound more confident than she felt. “Spray the firebreak as far as you can on either side of the driveway.”

He hesitated. “Are you sure about this?”

She wasn’t sure about anything. “Do you hear that noise? That’s the fire bearing down on us like a truck with no brakes. Think of a backfire as one of those runaway-truck ramps you see on steep freeways. It’s not an ideal solution, but it just might slow it down.”

Aidan nodded. Her analogy seemed to have worked, because he walked a few steps away and started spraying an area of the firebreak she hadn’t gotten to yet.

Heart thudding hard against her sternum, Jade crossed the firebreak and headed a few yards past the perimeter fence, putting Aidan’s ranch behind her. Then she pulled a flare from her belt. Carefully, she tugged off the cap, yanked the tab and hit the flare on the strike plate. With a hiss, it ignited. Using all the desperate energy she had, she chucked the flare as hard as she could toward the fire. It landed somewhere in the distant brush near where the first oak trees rose up.

Good, but not good enough.

“No offense, but I think I might have a stronger arm.” Aidan had dragged the hose up behind her. 

He must have forgiven her for lighting his ranch on fire, because a slight smile tugged at his mouth when she raised her brows at him.

“Really?” The teasing helped calm her nerves a little. “You know you’re talking to the captain of the Shelter Creek Hot Shots softball team. And pull your bandanna up.”

He ignored her, of course. “How does that compare with college baseball?”

She took the hose and handed him a flare. “Let’s find out. Just aim right into the trees, as far as you can off to the right a little.” She understood the grimace on his face. “I know. They’re beautiful, but they’re going to burn anyway. This way they’ll burn to save your ranch.”

He nodded and pulled the cap off the flare. He hesitated for a moment, squinting into the smoke-shrouded landscape in front of them.

“Those pines over there look stressed from drought.” Jade pointed to the scraggly stand. “They’re like kindling. I’d aim there.”

Aidan lit the flare, brought his arm back and his leg up like a pitcher, and sent the flare flying into the pines. A direct hit. He glanced at her, a vaguely disappointed expression on his face. “It’s not working.”

“It will. Just be patient.” She pointed to where she’d thrown hers. A thin column of smoke was rising. “Mine’s just getting started now. She handed him her third and last flare. “Try this one, off to the left a bit.”

He grinned suddenly, surprisingly, his teeth white in his ash-dusted face. “Aha. So you’re admitting I throw a little better than you?”

“I’m admitting that you’re a whole lot taller than me. You have more leverage.”

He laughed a little wildly and chucked the flare so it arced off to the left, sailing an impossible distance before it landed somewhere behind a thicket of scrubby oak. “Leverage. That’s what it is, huh? I was thinking maybe it was talent?”

I hope you enjoyed this peek at Rescuing the Rancher!

I’m not sure I could laugh in the face of so much danger, but these two characters certainly managed it. Readers have described this book as heartwarming and heart-pounding in their reviews. Check out what they have to say on Goodreads!

If you’re interested in reading Rescuing the Rancher, you can find it at these retailers.

Harlequin Amazon Barnes & Noble Kobo Target iBooks

Finally I’ll leave you with an official description of the story.

She’ll help protect his ranch…and heal his heart.
Firefighter Jade Carson needs to get the local residents out of a wildfire’s path, but Aidan Bell isn’t moving. Still grieving a tragedy, the stubborn rancher plans to stay and save his animals. Jade and Aidan battle the blaze on his property, only to feel the spark of something unexpected. Secrets are shared, hope kindles…but can they leave the past’s ashes behind and let love grow?

Thanks for reading my blog today!

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