Haven’t had a chance to grab my novel Blazing Deception?? Want to know what the fuss is all about?? Take a peek at the prologue and see for yourself!!! Prologue I tried to hold my breath as I stumbled down the long hallway. The smoke stung my lungs and the fire crept up on me as if the devil himself was chasing me down. I didn’t have much time. The hairs on my back started to burn. The fire was right behind me. I opened my mouth to call out for anybody; there had to be somebody that wanted to save me from this turmoil. Somebody had to care that I was going to be burned alive. As I opened my mouth to scream, I began to choke. I tried to take a breath, but my lungs were attacked by more smoke. I fell to the floor and knew that was it; I was going to die. I couldn’t stop choking. All I could see was smoke. I tried to scream as the fire began to tear through my skin and flesh. I thought of all the bad I had done and hoped that everything I had learned was true… I hoped there was a heaven… I hoped I wouldn’t spend the rest of my life being burned alive like I was right now… I jumped out of my sleep, hot and out of breath. I didn’t know where I was. I looked around for any sign of a fire or smoke, but there was nothing. With tears streaming from my eyes I held my neck trying to suck in enough air to breathe. I was drenched in sweat and my pink silk nightgown was stuck to my light brown skin. “Kari! What the hell is going on?” My husband Marvin sat up in bed next to me and turned on the nightstand light. After seeing I was only having another dream, he rolled his eyes and turned the light back off. “Go in the guestroom if you’re going to be doing all that tonight. I have work in the morning.” He turned over and pulled the covers up to his neck. After catching my breath, I crawled out of bed and went into the master bathroom. Too afraid to move, I sat on the toilet in the dark. Those nightmares brought back horrible childhood memories that my therapist always said I had, “repressed long ago.” They haunted me to my soul and as I sat there, my heart continued to beat out of my chest. Emotionally, I knew I would be on edge all day. Looking into the mirror, my golden brown skin was covered in a layer of sweat. My silk scarf had fallen off my head during my slumber and my brown hair that hung past my shoulders was wild all over my head. My brown round eyes were starting to form bags underneath. There was no way I would be able to go back to sleep. Making sure my hair was neatly tucked away under my scarf, I peeled off my clothes and ran myself a bubble bath in my spacious Jacuzzi tub. Turning on the jets, I sunk into the luke-warm water and closed my eyes. Trying to relax was a lost cause, because I could still feel the Devil breathing down my neck, the fire close enough to burn me to a crisp. My skin crawled and I scrubbed myself with a sponge to try and make it stop. It had been months since I’d had a nightmare about the fire and it seemed each time I dreamed, the fire got closer. I would continue living my life running from the fire, and that alone was enough to make me never want to sleep again. The blinking lights from the Christmas tree reflected off the walls as I descended the stairs. Countless gifts crowded underneath for our friends and loved ones. The small bulbs on the tree were my only source of light as I reached my kitchen in the dark. After pouring myself a cold cup of orange juice, I sat at the kitchen table without bothering to turn on the light. The Christmas lights were enough light at the moment for my somber mood. I needed to talk to my brother, Kevin. He was the only person that understood what I was going through. He too had survived the fire and continued to have nightmares for years. My psychiatrist said I would probably have to endure them for the rest of my life, but talking to Kevin would help. I sat at the table nursing my cup of juice. Desperate for someone to talk to, I took my cell phone out of my Coach purse and started to dial my brother’s number. After a second thought, I went back into my phonebook and began to scroll through the numbers. Stopping at the J’s I stared at his name long enough to convince myself it was a bad idea to call him. I continued to scroll through my phonebook, but it was 3:22 in the morning and I knew nobody else would be awake. Holding my breath, I went back to Jonathon’s number and hit the call button. The phone rang three times before he picked up. “Hello?” “You sleep?” “No. What you doin’ up?” “I can’t sleep.” “Why can’t you sleep, it’s three in the morning.” “I just can’t. What are you doing if you’re not sleeping?” “I’m watching TV, bored. What are you doing?” “Sitting at the table drinking OJ.” “So you aint gonna tell me why you’re up?” “Why does there have to be a reason for me to be up?” “Because you’re usually asleep.” I smiled and took another drink. “Do you miss me? Is that why you’re up?” he asked in his low sexy voice. I was sure he could hear me blushing through the phone. “I can’t sleep,” I repeated. “And that’s why you called?” Smiling like a fool, I couldn’t remember the last time Marvin had even attempted to make me smile. Jonathon could do it without even trying. “I can tell something is wrong with you Kari. Why won’t you tell me?” “Because I’m not ready.” “Not ready for what? What could you possibly not be ready for?” “Jonathon-“ “You trust me right? You know I got you right?” “Yeah.” “So you aint never gotta be scared to tell me nothing.” “I’m not scared, I’m just not ready.” “So when will you be ready to tell me?” “The sooner you stop bothering me about it the sooner I’ll be ready to tell you.” “You wanna come over and see me?” “I can’t. I can’t get out tonight.” “Its three in the morning, I know Marvin is sleep. You can’t sneak over here for a few hours?” “Not tonight.” “I miss you. You know that right?” “I miss you too.” “So come over and give me a kiss.” I smiled again, feeling like a teenage girl being asked to sneak out the house. “I can’t.” Jonathon liked a challenge. I could tell he was smiling on the other end, but I hope he knew I was serious about not coming over this late. “I’m gonna come see you soon, I promise.” “You better. What you doin’ today?” “I don’t know. I might go to the gym later. I need to work out.” “I’m offering you a work out right now.” I laughed. “You tryna get us both in trouble.” “It’s worth it.” Jonathon and I stayed on the phone for almost an hour. He continued to make me laugh and pretty soon I didn’t feel as badly as I did before. The sun was starting to come up and I knew Marvin would be waking up for work soon. “I gotta get off the phone. I’m about to start cooking breakfast.” “You know you could have come over here and talked to me, right?” “I do know that, you only told me about twenty five times since we’ve been on the phone. Now I gotta go, have a good day.” “You too baby.” Pushing the end button, I stared at the phone in my hands. I knew it was wrong and I didn’t mean for it to happen, but now after a year, I was in too deep to go back. I was falling in love with my husband’s close friend and I didn’t know how to stop it.