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New Release: Caught – Kim Fielding

Caught - Kim Fielding

QSFer Kim Fielding has a new MM paranormal romance out in the Bureau series: Caught.

Art Gundersen did not make it as an agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs. But when Chief Townsend orders him out of the lab and into the mountains of northern California to collect evidence from a murder scene, Art’s happy to go. He looks forward to tromping around in the wilderness—and finds he enjoys the company of the forest technician who discovered the hiker’s corpse surrounded by sasquatch footprints.

Jerry Humboldt lives a somewhat reclusive life in the fire lookout tower. Nobody comments much on his enormous size. Or his unusually hairy feet. Then Art shows up, and Jerry is forced into some new realizations.

As Art and Jerry interact, they discover some long-past connections as well as some very present dangers. It’s a risky equation: an awkward not-agent, a virginal “wild man” of the forest, and a multiple murderer—with the Bureau’s help six hundred miles away.

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A narrow trail snaked off into the trees. Art shouldered his pack, hefted the case with the field kit, and set off. Almost immediately, the forest seemed to embrace him. Branches brushed his shoulders, the scent of growing things filled his nose, and little puffs of dirt rose with every footstep. When he turned a corner and saw a big round boulder, he was mightily tempted to clamber on top and sit on the sun-warmed stone. Instead he dutifully continued up a steep slope and around another curve until he reached a clearing at the top of a rise, where he found two structures.

The smaller one was obviously an outhouse. The other was, as Townsend had mentioned, a fire lookout tower: three stories tall, painted white, with a gabled metal roof and what appeared to be a storage area at ground level. An outdoor stairway led to the top floor, where a series of big windows allowed views in every direction and a covered balcony ringed the circumference. A well-aged picnic table sat in the clearing near a carefully constructed firepit.

Art was still standing there, looking around, when a figure appeared on the balcony. Because of the overhang and the shadows, Art couldn’t make out anything more than a vague sense of movement, but a male voice boomed down at him. “Who are you?”

Not the friendliest greeting, but no matter. Art yelled back. “Art Gundersen. I’m from the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs.” He intentionally didn’t say he was an agent, since that wasn’t true, and it wouldn’t be very impressive to shout that he was a lab nerd.

“Come up.”

The stairs were surprisingly sturdy, not even creaking under his weight. When he reached the top and got a better look at his host, Art nearly stumbled.

At six-foot-five and over two hundred and fifty pounds, Art usually towered over everyone he met. But this guy had a good six inches on him and much more weight. He also had bushy dark-brown hair that hung past his shoulders and an equally impressive beard and mustache. His shoulders were broad, his body muscular, and thick brows set off a pair of green eyes. He was clad in tan boots, denim jeans, and a red plaid shirt, a tuft of chest hair peeking above the top button.

The man stared at Art for a moment. “You’re big.” His voice was every bit as deep and rumbly as Art had expected, but it was quiet as well. It carried a hint of twang suggesting he wasn’t a native Californian.

“You’re not exactly tiny yourself,” Art responded. He was proud of himself for managing it, because this man literally took his breath away. He felt like a maiden in a Victorian romance and wished he had a fainting couch to swoon onto.

“Jerry Humboldt.” His hand was enormous, but when they shook, his grip was firm without being crushing. “Welcome.”

“You live here?” That was a dumb question.

“Yeah. I’m with the Forest Service. Forest technician.”

Although Art had no idea what a forest technician did, he nodded. “Chief Townsend said you contacted him, but he didn’t give me many details.” He paused because he’d never questioned anyone before, unless you counted agents who brought him things to examine. “Um, what’s up, Mr. Humboldt?”

“Jerry. Come in and set your bags down.”

Art followed him through the entry door and into a space that was a little like a studio apartment. Among the furnishings were two long, narrow metal cots, a wooden table with two chairs, several cabinets, and a shelf stuffed with books. A two-way radio sat on a little table in a corner. The main feature, though, was the view. Art could see for miles in every direction.

“Wow.” The word felt inadequate. 

“Nice, huh?” Jerry seemed pleased.

“Do you watch for fires?”

“In season, yeah.”

Art figured that meant right now. “Are you here the rest of the year?”

“Yeah.” Jerry shifted from foot to foot. “Want coffee?”


Art set his bags in the corner, where they’d be out of the way. Then he sat at the table and watched as Jerry opened a window, lit a two-burner propane stove, filled a metal percolator with water from a big plastic jug, and measured ground coffee from a can. He set the percolator above the flame.

“No electricity?” Art asked. He’d noticed several lanterns around the room.

“No plumbing either.”

“I saw the outhouse.” It wouldn’t be an easy way to live, Art supposed, but the simplicity was appealing. “How do you get water?”

Jerry jerked his chin toward the south. “Stream nearby. Gotta boil it, though. In winter I melt snow. I keep a storage tank downstairs.”

That made sense. “What about food and other supplies?”

“Find some in the forest. Drive into town for the rest.”

Although Art wondered how often that happened, he didn’t ask. He got the gist of it; Jerry lived an almost entirely solitary life free of most modern technology. What would make someone choose to do that? As much as Art valued solitude, he couldn’t imagine having virtually no human contact at all.

After a few minutes, Jerry poured the coffee into a pair of enameled tin mugs, which he brought over to the table. He also plopped down a quart-sized jar of sugar and two spoons. “No milk,” he said as he lowered himself into a chair. The furniture, Art had noticed, was bigger than normal, as if specially made to fit Jerry.

“That’s fine. I take mine black.”

Jerry nodded and dumped five spoonfuls of sugar into his cup. Art was happier with just one. The clink of their stirring seemed loud as they gazed at each other across the table.

Author Bio

Kim Fielding has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California. She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full-time. She also dreams of having two perfectly-behaved children, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others.

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