“World On Fire” – Excerpt from UP IN FLAMES (Guardians, Inc – Witch Hollow)

Guardians, Inc. has, as a series, had a profound impact on me and where I see my writing going in the future. It started almost two decades ago, as a whimsical way to keep my writing muscle and creative process fresh and engaged. I really didn’t anticipate ever being published, either by a publisher or by myself. However, in the years I’ve been working on the project off and on, it’s grown from a writing exercise into a full-fledged series, with an additional two sub-series, so far. And some random books I had floating around out there, uncertain what I wanted to do with them, have found a home in this series, as well.

One of the sub-series I’m most enamored with and proud of is Witch Hollow, which takes one of Guardians’ investigators into the rural community of Witch Hollow, Pennsylvania, where an independent forensic lab known locally as the Bunker takes Guardians, Inc. to a whole new level, bringing forensics and the paranormal together in a way I wasn’t sure would work, but flowed together seamlessly.

“World on Fire” – Excerpt from UP IN FLAMES (Guardians, Inc: Witch Hollow, Book #2):

Faith jumped, her heart performing an impromptu series of somersaults in her chest, as something grabbed her shoulder. She blinked, surprised to find she’d dozed off at her desk, the crime scene photos spread out before her. Glancing to her right, she found Jonathan with one hand on her shoulder, his expression creased in concern.

“What’s happened?”

He straightened with an exasperated sigh. His gaze darted over her desk. “Have you been here all night, Mac?”

She shrugged. After their argument last night, she wasn’t about to admit to him she had. He already thought she was obsessed with her work. “What did you want, Caulder?”

Belatedly, she realized he held a file in his left hand. He dropped it on her desk, amidst the photos. “Tom sent this. He thought it might be connected to our case. I’m inclined to agree.”

She reached for the file. “Why?”

His hand landed on top of the file, holding it closed. “Mac…”

“I’ve been studying the thermal patterns, and I think Joyce is right – there’s something odd about them. I just can’t put the char and spall patterns we found in the warehouse together with the charring on the bodies. It’s like they were burned at two different temperatures. Only that doesn’t make any sense, if—“

“Faith.” His deliberate use of her given name yanked her attention to him in surprise. He never called her Faith. His eyes were intense, and there was no mistaking the worry there. “You need to go home. Take a break, think of something else. All you’ve done is work on the case, twenty-four-seven. You’ll drive yourself crazy.”

“You being the expert on crazy.” She nearly slapped her hands over her mouth in mortification the moment the words left her. The kindle of anger, and the hurt flickering across Jonathan’s face confirmed she crossed a line she was well-aware of. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have—“

Her apology died, unfinished, beneath the anger in his eyes. Glaring, he lifted his hand from the file and backed away with a cold, “I’ll leave you work.”

Before she could stop him, Jonathan turned on his heel and stalked from her office. Faith winced as the frosted glass of the window rattled beneath the force of the door slamming shut. She wished she could be certain he’d be back.


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