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It's here! It's here! Launch of Never Dare a Dragon

Women can be just as tough and brave as men. My firefighting females in both My Wild Irish Dragon and Never Dare a Dragon prove this.
Of course, what's a romance without a hunky hero? I think mine is the handsomest and most charming hero I've ever written. Jayce Fierro is his name. You won't see him in this excerpt, because, after all, this post is about brave women! But, just look at the yummy! *sigh*
Now, here's what Kristine Scott has to go through as a Hell's Kitchen firefighter with the FDNY. By the way, I interviewed a couple of Hell's Kitchen firefighters, and this is an actual story they shared with me. Of note: They have a female captain!
Two days later, Kristine was back to work at her fire station in Hell’s Kitchen, back to studying for the lieutenant’s exam. Her life seemed on track, but something was missing.
Her mind had returned over and over again to that bright smile and those dark eyes glinting with naughtiness. She kept telling herself to forget about the handsome Boston lieutenant. When he had mentioned her transferring to Boston, she had thought about it for all of one heartbeat. Then she remembered everything she would be giving up in New York.
If she went to Boston, she’d have to go through the fire academy all over again and start at the bottom rung as a probie. That seemed like a slap in the face after all she’d been through. And with only a few months left to finish her degree in fire science, she had a better chance for a promotion to captain or chief someday. Not to mention that her mother depended upon her half of the rent.
Years ago, Hell’s Kitchen had been a tough neighborhood. Mother and daughter were dragons—not as vulnerable as humans, so they felt safe enough there. Then in the early ’90s, the middle class began moving in and gentrifying the area. Kristine and her mother had lived there all that time and had watched their rent go up, up, up. With no father to help or pay child support, her mother had had to work two jobs—while pursuing an acting career. Kristine vowed she would never forget that. It still took two salaries to live there, but only one of them would be her mother’s. Amy Scott had finally landed her dream job. She taught at the nearby Actor’s Studio.
Even though Kristine had grown up among actors, artists, and writers, she hadn’t inherited the need to express herself publicly. Despite being paranormally gifted, she had been a sheltered kid—and that was fine with her. As a little dragon, she’d never felt like she fit in. She was happiest when reading in her room overlooking Ninth Avenue.
She knew she wasn’t supposed to talk about shapeshifting or demonstrate what she could do, ever. When she grew up, she realized there was something special she could do with her powers other than just protect herself. Because she was fireproof, she would make an ideal firefighter. She could protect her community.
She loved the job. Only a handful of women worked for the FDNY, and half of them were on ambulances. She was one of the few with the strength and fortitude to do the heavy lifting required of a firefighter on the front lines.
She had proven herself to be the equal of any man in her battalion. They respected her and depended upon her to have their backs. And as much as she cared about her fellow firefighters, she could never see herself falling in love with one of them. She would worry constantly, knowing what he was up against as a mere mortal.
One ordinary Thursday, her battalion was gathered around the long kitchen table, eating lunch and watching Judge Judy on the wall-mounted TV, when the tones rang out. They all rushed to their turnout gear, suited up, and jumped into their usual roles.
Kristine rode next to Donovan on the ladder truck. When the truck pulled up to the high-rise office building, smoke was pouring out of two large broken windows on the fourth floor. A police cruiser was already there, getting people to clear the area for the fire apparatus. So far nothing seemed unusual.
Kristine and Donovan followed the captain into the building to locate the seat of the fire. Alarms were blaring, and people were filing down the stairs. When the firefighters came to the fourth floor, they located the office they had seen from the outside. The captain pounded on the door and yelled, identifying them as the fire department.
When there was no response, the captain instructed Kristine and Donovan to take off the door with the ax and halligan. Two other firefighters from the engine company rushed up behind them hauling the hose. One of them broke into the firebox on the wall. As soon as the door was breached, flames shot out from the hole.
They had the right place.
When they got the door open, the captain barked out, “Scotty, stay with me. Donovan, go above and see if anyone is still up there.”
“Yes sir,” he said and dashed to the stairs.
The captain didn’t need to tell Kristine to step aside. When the pressurized water hit the fire, steam filled the hallway. The guy carrying the hose entered slowly, bathing the place in water. Between the smoke and steam, firefighters had to go in blind and look for survivors or people who weren’t that lucky.
“Scotty, stay beside me.”
Kristine followed the captain’s orders, even though she knew he was in more danger than she was. He kept one gloved hand on the wall to avoid becoming lost. She placed a hand on his shoulder and walked a few feet to his right. Even a dragon could barely see through this.
Her foot hit something dense but soft. Squatting down, she felt a leg. “I’ve got someone,” she said. Hauling the person up by the arms, she tossed his torso over her shoulder and made her way back to the door.
She heard the captain shouting into the radio that she was coming down and to have EMS ready. Something felt off about the body she was carrying. She had to adjust its position to account for an uneven distribution of weight.
When she finally made it to the street level, the EMTs were there to meet her, but as she emerged, their eyes bugged out of their heads.
“You’re covered in blood!” the female EMT exclaimed.
She glanced down and saw that it was true. She squatted down, braced the victim’s back with her hand, and gently lay the headless body onto the sidewalk. Startled, she jumped backward and gasped.
The cop who had been redirecting traffic ran over. “What the hell?”
The chief strode over and set his hands on his hips. “As soon as we put the fire out, you can have your crime scene.”
“Jesus,” muttered the male EMT. “The coroner won’t have any problem identifying cause of death.”
The captain’s voice crackled over the radio, alerting the chief that he was coming out with another body.
“You don’t have to go back in there, Scotty. You’ve got to be pretty shaken up right now.”
“No, sir. I’m fine. I’d like to go back in there and help where I’m needed.”
The chief smiled and nodded.
On her way back in, she passed the captain, carrying a second body in the same condition. She didn’t take the time to find out if he knew what was going on; she just rushed up the stairs faster.

Here's a universal link to every outlet that carries the book for sale.

My mother was one of the first female pilots in the US Army back in WWII. I think she's the woman I most admire, bar none. Do you know any brave women?


  1. A brave and clever heroine, my favorite kind. Great post.

  2. Hi Ash! This sounds great! I love books about firefighters and your woman is amazing. My mother, too, was the strongest woman I know and I admired her so much. Good luck!

  3. My aunt ferried planes from US to Britain during WW1 - then had to fight for veteran's rights years later - even though these women were trained and commanded by the military, and many lost their lives. There is a display about these women at the Air and Space Museum in DC. My aunt was interviewed many times and most recently when she was in her 90's. She was also on the cutting edge of the Veterans for Peace movement many years later. She passed away last September and I miss her and her stories.

    1. That's incredible, Deb. WWI? And transatlantic? Wow! I had no idea! My mom is honored in the Museum of Women in the Military in DC, but I didn't even think to check the air and space museum.

  4. Two strong women I know. My mother, a nurse, cared for my dad for the last two years of his life after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. And my daughter, diagnosed with bone cancer her senior year of high school. Underwent chemo, a bone graft transplant, three subsequent surgeries on the graft, and this spring passed her Third Degree Black Belt test in Tae Kwon Do.

    1. Wow! I'm impressed by your daughter's indomitable spirit! I'm betting she got that from you and your mom.

  5. Wow! What an excerpt. Thanks.
    My grandma was the strongest woman I ever met. She was the eldest of 8 with a wicked step mother and a sex crazed idiot for a father. They had her working cleaning houses at 7 and giving them all the money as well as raising her brothers and sisters. She had a really hard life but never complained and took care of every one. She died at 94. Miss her so much.

  6. that is so awesome Ash!! I have to say thebooksounds amazing!

    I would have to say my mom is a pretty brave woman. She came from a very rough homelife to raise 5 children then tragidty struck her when we were allgrown when my sister passed then my dad then almost 2 yrs later my brother a nd she still strives on she is raising her grandchildren and is just awesome she helps everyone she can and then some so she maynot of faughtin a war or served that way but she is and will always be my hero and brave

    Beverly G

    1. She absolutely qualifies as a strong woman! My mom and dad had to bury two of their three kids. I'm the youngest and they made me promise not to die before they did. I'm glad to say I kept that promise.

    2. I am really glad you kept that promise too I couldnt imagine the world book world and regular with out you in it now that I know how awesome you are


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