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Flames A-Z: Zachary Brooke

This is the final installment of  my Flames A-Z posts. I may do another one for one of my other series for the official A-Z challenge in April. We’ll see. I’ve stretched this out quite a bit, but it’s been fun.

Zachary Brooke is the younger son of Robert and Carol Brooke. James is his older brother. Zachary is just under a year younger than his brother, and they did pretty much everything together. Both went into the fire service, got married within a year of each other, and Zachary’s daughter was just about a year younger than James’ son.

Zachary was always the more impulsive, reckless of the two. He got into situations that James usually ended up having to drag him out of. Sometimes literally. He was light; blond hair, blue eyes with a very bright, outgoing personality. James was the darker one, almost black hair, green eyes, and a much more serious demeanor.

Zachary married Angela before he even turned twenty. Their daughter, Kayla, was born less than a year later. They were still celebrating that when Zachary carried his nephew out of a burning house. He stood with his brother as he had to bury his family. But, he didn’t know what to do when his brother wanted to hide away their memories as well, as if that would erase all the grief.

Zach and Angela wanted to add to their family, but it was ten years later before their son, Jeremiah, was born. Both of his children showed an interest in following him into the fire service. That worried him a bit, knowing the dangers it held. So, he asked both of them to put in at least two years at a regular college before they decided to join the fire department. He didn’t stop either of them from volunteering with the department once they were old enough, though. In fact, it made him proud they wanted to.

When Kayla joined the department, it quickly became apparent that she took after her father in more than just looks. And that really scared Zachary. But, he still supported her. He realized how rough things must have been on his brother as he tried to make sure she never took the recklessness too far. Then, due to some health concerns, he needed to retire from the fire department. He couldn’t keep that eye on her any longer. But, she was already starting to trail with his brother to become an investigator.

Retirement isn’t going easy for him. But, his daughter is married, his brother has finally found love again and is making a new family. And his son is finishing that second year of college and getting ready to join the fire department as well.

A to Z: Z is for Zachary Brooke

Z

For the last post of this challenge, I was going to write about fire zones, but I changed my mind. For this one, we get a little glimpse of Kayla’s father(and James’ brother). Zachary Brooke never got his own story(though I wouldn’t be adverse to going back in time and playing with that idea). He met his wife, Angela, about the same time his older brother was getting married. Less than a year apart, James and Zachary did almost everything at the same time. They went to the fire academy at the same time, joined the department at the same time. He married within months of his brother, and found out his wife was pregnant right around the time his nephew was born.

Going into the fire service was about the only way they were similar, though. James was tall and dark, whereas Zachary was smaller and light. James had dark brown hair, nearly black, and green eyes. Zach has blond hair and blue eyes. James always referred to him as the golden boy, not just for those looks, but also because trouble never seemed to stick to him. Zachary was always a bit impulsive and reckless(which he seemed to pass on to his daughter) and ran into situations without thinking. James was always there to back him up, which was probably a good part of the reason trouble never seemed to find him.

And a little snippet(this is from near the end of James’ story, Flames of Renewal, so if you haven’t figured out that will end happily ever after, you might want to skip this):

She leaned down and pressed a kiss to his forehead. “You should get some rest. I know the others want to see you though. Do you want me to send Zach in?”
“That’s fine,” he murmured, his eyes refusing to stay open. “Will you stay with me?”
“The doctor only wants one person at a time in here, but I’ll be in the waiting room when you’re up for more company.”
He didn’t have the strength to tell her that wasn’t what he’d meant. He felt her press another kiss to his face then she was gone. He had drifted off again though before his brother came into the room. He was woken by his strong voice telling about the time he’d followed Zach to a rundown house, and Zach had kept him from falling through the second floor to-
“I remember that incident quite differently,” he interrupted, his mouth twisting into a wry smile.
Zachary chuckled. “I thought a lie might pull you out of it.”
He glanced toward the door. “Is Teresa still out there?”
Zachary nodded. “We’ve already done one circuit through here. She even brought Avery in to see you for a couple minutes. Then, her parents took the girl to their house for the night.”
James shifted on the bed. “How long was I out of it this time?”
“A couple hours. You lost quite a bit of blood. You need to rest up so you can get some strength back.”
He glanced toward the door again. At least this time he could keep his eyes open. He wanted to see Teresa again, but he needed to take care of something else first. “Is Dad out there?”
Zachary shook his head. “He was for a little bit, but he went home. Said he didn’t want to sit around here waiting for you to get your lazy ass up.”
James laughed. He doubted those had been his exact words. “Can you call him and ask if he remembers what he did with Mom’s ring?”
He saw his brother’s eyes narrow. “You said you didn’t want it. She left it to you, but you didn’t want it.”
It would have been Sarah’s if she’d lived long enough. He couldn’t feel the guilt for that. Not when so much love filled him now. “I didn’t want it then. I do now.”

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