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A to Z Challenge – K is for Kayla Brooke

Name: Kayla Brooke

Age: 30 years old

Description: Kayla is tall with a wiry, muscular build. She has dark blond hair and brown eyes.

Short Bio: Kayla is the oldest child of Zachary and Angela Brooke. Her younger brother, Jeremiah, was born about ten years after her. She spent almost as much time with her Uncle James growing up as she did her own father. And she looked up to both of them.

She always wanted to follow in their footsteps. Her father wanted her to give college a try before joining the fire service. She gave college two years. She met Reese Davis while there. They stayed together even after she joined the fire department, but he never completely supported her career choice.

Then, her best friend, Whitney, and her son died in a house fire. Whitney’s husband was one of Reese’s friends, and he hadn’t been able to get there until the fire was out. Kayla saw a few cracks in him after that, but since Reese broke off their engagement at the funeral, when she refused to leave the fire service, she didn’t see much of him to know if those cracks had healed.

A few years later, Kayla responds with her rescue squad to several disturbing fires. A young detective, Adrian Riley, is brought in on them, too, and things heat up between them even as she helps him and his uncle figure out who is setting these fires. Kayla almost loses her life in pursuit of this, but she also finds a heated love with Adrian(That’s Flames of Redemption boiled down to its base).


James looked up at the knock on his door and smiled at the young woman who stepped through it. “Morning, Kayla. You’re here a little early.”
She smiled, but she looked tired. “You’re one to talk, Uncle James. You’re always here early.”
“I am the boss.”
“Right. Chief Investigator Brooke.”
He laughed. “What do you want, Probationary Fire Investigator Brooke?”
She moved over to the desk and sank into the chair across from him. “Did you have trouble adjusting? When you first started investigating fires instead of fighting them? Did you miss it?”
“I didn’t, no.” He steepled his fingers together and looked more closely at her. He could see the smudges under her eyes, the paleness in her face. “You haven’t been sleeping.”
“I can’t adjust. I’m not used to sleeping without having to worry about the tones going off, or the other men coming and going. Just Adrian and Oscar. I don’t know how you did it. Maybe I wasn’t ready.”
“You’re beyond ready to be doing this. You know that.” He sighed. “It was different for me. After Sarah and Kieran died, I didn’t have the heart for fighting fires,” he admitted. “It was a job for me then, not a passion like it’s always been for you and your father. It didn’t give me that thrill to run into a burning building. You still have that. It doesn’t mean you weren’t meant to do this job too.”
“That’s what Adrian said too. You sure you two aren’t related?”
James laughed. “Pretty sure. Were you two fighting about this?”
“We were discussing it.” She rubbed a hand over her mouth. “In very loud voices.”
James laughed again. “I swear you two would argue about the color of the sky.”
She cocked her head to one side. “Have you been eavesdropping on our breakfast conversation?”

Flames A-Z: Reese Davis

When I first wrote Reese Davis into Flames of Redemption,  I just thought he was a total asshole.  And he certainly has his moments of that.  But,  like with most people,  there’s more underneath that. And he started telling me he deserved some redemption,  that he had his own story to tell.  So I started writing it. He gave me some troubles, but I did get his story,  Flames of Justice,  finished.  It takes place between books 2&3.

Reese Davis was born to Camden and Daniele Davis.  His father is a lawyer and Reese followed on that path.  He became a criminal defense attorney instead of joining his father’s personal injury firm, as the older man had wanted. Reese worries he takes after his father more than just in their choice of career.

Reese was at one time engaged to Kayla Brooke. He didn’t like the fact that she was a firefighter,  wanted her to quit. Convinced himself he could talk her into it once they were married.  That day never came.

When he heard the news that his best friend’s house was engulfed in flames,  at a time when he knew Kayla was on duty, he rushed there. He was afraid not only for his friend,  but his fiancée as well. When she came out, he relaxed a bit. But,  his friend’s family didn’t survive the fire. The day of their funeral, Reese gave Kayla an ultimatum. It was either the fire department or him. He was overcome with panic every time she was on duty now. He couldn’t handle it.

She chose the fire department.

Reese made quite a name for himself as a bit of a shark in the courtroom. His younger brother, Chad,  it’s one of the few who knows the man behind the reputation,  and that he really does have a heart.

Halfway through Reese’s first glass of Riesling, Chad showed up. His brother studied him for a moment then ordered an Irish Red Ale as soon as the bartender came over. Reese shook his head as Chad slid onto the stool beside him. “Are you sure we’re related at all?”
Chad just grinned. “Pretty sure, brother. I’ve decided to veer from our parents’ example instead of clinging to it.”
Reese’s fingers tightened on stem of the glass for a brief moment. Chad meant their drink choices, but it could fit most of the rest of their lives, too. He had chosen to go into law like their father. Who never understood why his younger son wanted to go into journalism instead. There were times Reese felt as cold and cruel as his father could be. He looked so much like the older man, but he wished he didn’t act like him.
“I was joking, PB. Relax.” He grinned as he used his old nickname for Reese.
“How many times have I told you not to call me that? I’m not fucking peanut butter.” Still, he couldn’t quite fight back a slight smile.
“You’re nothing like him. You know that, right?” Chad asked, serious again.
Reese shook his head. “I am. Too often I am.”

Briana Deakin is another who sees that man.  They worked for the same law firm at one time before each going out on their own.  While Reese has a tendency to take on more high profile cases, Briana is more likely to take on only those she truly believes are innocent. So,  they do not often see eye to eye. But,  there’s always been something between them. And something else that always made each push away.

And now, something that should keep them apart,  is pulling them back together.  But, can they work through the bumps to find that connection,  or will they end up walking away for good? (Hint: If you’ve read any of my stories,  you probably already know the answer to that)


Flames A-Z: Kayla Brooke

The Flames series really began with Kayla Brooke. All the way back in 2006-2007. I don’t remember exactly, only that my husband and I were still living in our apartment. I only wrote maybe two scenes back then. After that, Flames of Redemption spent about another 6 years simmering in my head. By the time I’d committed the final version to paper(okay, screen), the idea had changed but not completely. The main character was still a female firefighter. Her father was still a retired firefighter. She still had a younger brother. Besides that, I don’t remember a lot of the details of the original version. But, I’m sure this one was better than the first would have been.

Kayla is the older child of Zachary and Chrissa Brooke. She grew up with her uncle, James, as almost a second father figure, though. When she decided she wanted to get into the investigation side of the fire service, he’s the one who trains her. She’s a bit on the reckless side, not always thinking things through before she acts. Despite his arguments to the contrary, this is one of the things that draws Adrian Riley to her, even though he’s always thinking things through.

James sighed. “You have this tendency, Kayla, to be reckless. For making decisions without thinking them through first. Do you know what they call a firefighter who makes impulsive, reckless decisions?”
“What?” she asked, her mouth dry and scorched as if she’d walked through a fire.
The single word slammed right through her. Dead, like Josh, who had made an impulsive decision to try to save the dog instead of staying with her. Dead, like more than one of the firefighters who had been at the department when she first started. Not all of them died in fires. Sometimes it was just a tragedy, like Whitney and Trent.
Her uncle closed his eyes, rubbing his fingers over them, usually a sign his frustration was reaching its limit. “You’re so much like your father,” he finally said, dropping his hands to the desk.
The change in focus surprised her. “What do you mean?”
“He’s impulsive, hot-headed. A good firefighter. I always thought he was one of the best. He could have climbed through the ranks if that’s what he wanted.”
“It wasn’t. He didn’t want to be a leader.”
James nodded. “He was always like that. He didn’t want to lead, but he wasn’t really a follower, either. Too hardheaded for that.” A small smile worked across his face. The first one she’d seen since he came into the office. “Just like you.”
She didn’t mistake it for a compliment.
“You say he’s impulsive, but he made it to retirement. That kind of defies your earlier argument.”
“Luck. Even he would tell you. He made it to the hospital more than once because of a reckless decision in the midst of a fire. You will, too, or down in the morgue if you don’t slow down and think first.” He sighed, running his hand over his head again. “Look, I used to walk into fires, too. You know that. I know you have to make split second decisions. That doesn’t mean they have to be reckless ones. If you can remember that, you might make it to retirement too.”
“I’m not even thirty. I’m not thinking about that yet.”

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