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New Release: As Fire Rains Down – Toni Griffin

As Fire Rains Down - Toni Griffin

QSFer Toni Griffin has a new MM paranormal fantasy romance out: As Fire Rains Down.

Forest fires around California have got everyone working overtime. Between Luke’s volunteer rescue efforts as the fires rage and his keeping up with regular police duties in his sleepy hometown of Half Moon Bay, he’s barely had time to eat, let alone catch some shut-eye. It doesn’t help that some out-of-towners have been pressing locals to sell up because they want to turn the little oasis into a hopping tourist destination.

Half Moon Bay is a place of sanctuary for shifters like Luke, with most of the town being descended from one kind or another. It’s an open secret among the locals. One they’re willing to fight to protect.

But the newest flames cutting a path toward town rage hotter and fiercer than normal forest fires. Something isn’t right. Finding an overpowered elk shifter in the forest as it burns down around him and Luke causes more confusion—everyone knows those kinds of shifters exist only in legend—and the questions just keep jumping the firebreaks, especially when a dark presence falls on the town and their homes start burning too.

Warnings: mentions of death by cop, suicidal ideation, discussions of mental health issues.

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Lost Gods, it’s hot today,” Luke bitched as he shut the door to his old pickup. Summer was in full swing, and even though the temperatures in Half Moon Bay usually never made it higher than the mid-nineties, when it did creep up there the entire population practically melted. Luke couldn’t understand how people lived in these temperatures—so not normal.

“Suck it up, my friend, you will survive.” Wren gave Luke’s shoulder a playful shove as they wandered over to the command tent.

Rain had been scarce in the months leading up to summer. With the below-average rain the state had received for the last couple of years, the majority of California had become a playground for fires. Hundreds, if not thousands of them, had broken out up and down the state. The governor had issued a total fire ban just the other day, not that it was doing much good. The entire state seemed to be burning.

“It’s as if the gods are mad at us.” Wren pointed at the command team for volunteers. The fire chief noticed them and raised a hand. He waved them over before hunching over the table, looking at the maps. They veered toward him, weaving through the crowd.

“What are you talkin’ ’bout?” Luke frowned at his best friend.

Being Yurok, the local Indigenous tribe, Wren sometimes regaled Luke about his traditions, ideas, and beliefs, especially when out on duty together. Whenever they were together, they began talking about anything and everything, just like they had growing up. They sometimes went back and forth between the Yurok beliefs and the Western beliefs of how shapeshifters like them existed—basically the difference between who created what. It helped pass the time when they were sitting in their patrol car, and Luke always enjoyed the tidbits Wren fed him.

The gods burning everything to the ground was new.

Wren’s voice lowered as they reached the others. “The fires.” Wren turned to Luke. “Wohpekumeu, one of our gods, gave us this land and the waters in the Beginning. This land was ours to nurture and care for. We must’ve angered him for him to keep the rain away for so long and to let the earth burn so relentlessly. He is testing us with these fires. Making sure we’re worthy of the gift he gave us.”

“I remember the Beginning story.” Luke cringed.

“Not the ‘let’s burn everythin’ down and start over’ story though.”

“Every religion has stories of wrathful gods. If the state listened to the local tribes about forest care this wouldn’t happen as much.”

“True. Still, sounds like a God I wouldn’t want to piss off.”

“If you gave someone such a gift as he gave us, and they abused it, wouldn’t you be annoyed as well?” Wren crossed his arms and sighed. His gaze wandered over the crowd. A frown tugged at his mouth.

“I supp’se,” Luke conceded. He removed his hat and wiped his sweaty brow before pulling it back on.

Fuck, everything just stuck together in this heat. Just made everyone crankier and harder to deal with, Luke included. “I wish we didn’t have to wear these hats. Just makes everythin’ hotter.”

“Better than passing out due to heat stroke.” “Maybe. At least then I’d be oblivious to all this heat.”

“Heh.” Wren clapped him on the back, hard. He knew how much Luke’s cat half hated the heat, but there were only so many complaints he could listen to about it. Chief Santos motioned over to the volunteer table again. “Let’s find out where they need us today.”

Didn’t matter that today was the first day off Luke and Wren had in over a week. With the fires raging they couldn’t sit at home and do nothing. Not with their experience. It was bad enough they had been dealing with a spate of arson attacks on the job, but now the entire town was under threat from wildfires.

Author Bio

Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia’s capital cities. Born and raised in the state she’s a Territorian through and through. Growing up Toni hated English with a passion (as her editors can probably attest to) and found her strength lies with numbers.

Now, though, she loves escaping to the worlds she creates and hopes to continue to do so for many years to come. She’s a single mother of one and works full time. When she’s not writing you can just about guarantee that she will be reading one of the many MM authors she loves.

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