Wildfire - Honey Palomino Page 0,1

You all have wives. And for fuck’s sake, Jefferson, Janie is about to have your baby any day now!”

“Speaking of families,” Jefferson said, his eyes lighting up. “It’d be a shame if anything happened to yours, Pearson. Tara and Jesse would be lost without you, don’t you think?”

“You bastards!” Dad shouted, pushing through them to take a few steps away. “You wouldn’t dare hurt them!”

“Try us,” Braxton said.

Dad stood there, shaking his head. “Fuck you guys.” He turned on his heel and headed back towards his car. I jumped back down on the floor and held my breath as he slid back behind the wheel.

“We’re not fucking around, Pearson!” Braxton yelled, as Dad put his car in reverse and backed away from them. He turned his lights off and drove away, waiting until he was several blocks away before pulling off the side of the road.

He threw open his door and jumped out again, before bending over near the back tire and vomiting. I bit my lip, tears springing to my eyes.

He slowly got back in the car, his shoulders slumped as he sat silently behind the wheel. My heart sank as I saw the defeat on his face in the mirror.

“Fuck!” He shouted, slamming his palm into the steering wheel. I jumped and bit my lip harder to keep from making a sound.

Slowly, he drove back to our house and went inside. I waited a few minutes before getting out and sneaking in the back door. I was tiptoeing up the backstairs to my bedroom when I heard Dad talking to Mom in the kitchen. I stopped to listen, feeling scared and worried about him.

“I just think it’s time we tried something new, Tara.”

“But we just bought this house, Jason!” Mom protested.

My heart raced as I realized what he was doing. “I’m just ready for a new chapter.”

“What about the promotion, babe? In just a few months, you’ll get a raise and a new title.”

“I don’t really care about any of that anymore, Tara. Just think about it, okay, babe? A new house, a new life? Doesn’t that sound tempting?” I heard the sounds of kissing and wrinkled my nose. They were always doing that.

“Maybe,” Mom said, her voice softening as she laughed gently.

I ran up to my room and threw myself on my bed.

Nothing was ever the same after that.

My dreams of being a cop.

My admiration and respect for my father.

My belief that everything was right in the world.

In one night, all of that was dashed, as I realized there were people in the world that were tasked with taking care of us that didn’t do that every time they were supposed to. As I realized that my Dad, while threatened for trying to do the right thing, actually caved to those threats, too. I never expected him to back down so easily.

It was too much.

We did leave town a month later, with my Dad pretending it was all one big adventure. But I knew the truth.

All that goodness in the world that I’d been so naive to actually believe in had been merely a child’s fairytale all along.

Chapter 1


Blue flames licked at the door in front of me.

Smoke filled the hallway, heavy and thick.

My heart beat so strongly, I could feel the thumping in my brain under my helmet.

The crackling of the Chief’s voice faded to a buzz of white noise in my ear.

At this point, his words had no meaning.

Alone, I faced the sea of flames. Nothing anyone else could say or do mattered.

It was just me and the blaze.

Dancing together.

Seducing each other into a battle of the fittest.

Battling. That’s what this felt like. Like a boxer stepping into the ring, I was well-trained, in pristine shape, and ready to rumble.

Adrenaline spiked through my veins like a shot of pure speed, leaving my eyes dilated, my boots firmly planted, my fists gripping my axe and my gaze laser-focused on getting through that door and making the screaming voices stop.

A slow smile spread across my face as I raised my axe. This is what I lived for. This feeling.

The flames shot higher towards the ceiling, blowing its fiery dragon’s breath into my face.

“Fuck you!” I shouted, my axe slicing through the thick smoke and crashing into the door, splintering it into pieces that fell at my feet. The flames lapped at the edges, red and orange tendrils of glowing light that seduced me to come even closer.

Most men would step away.

Most men’s first instinct would be to