Burning HeatThe sound of the iPhone shrieking on the nightstand jolted Brack awake. He sat up in bed, startled at first. This happened every morning since he’d returned from Afghanistan. It was the crack of nine AM. His natural clock would have kept him sleeping until noon, but his personal trainer wouldn’t want him slacking off.

A wet nose touched his leg. That also jolted him, but in a good way.

Shelby, his mixed-breed rescue dog, gave him a quick bark and danced around the bedroom.

“Okay, okay,” Brack said.

Another bark, this one containing a little authority, told Brack his dog wanted to be let out. He got up, slipped on a pair of frayed cargo shorts over his boxers, and stiff-walked on the hardwood floor, his muscles tight and in need of a good stretch. Shelby waited by the front door.

Brack let him out and stood in the doorway while Shelby darted outside but stayed close to the house. He was a good dog that way, never running toward the road. Not that it mattered. On this part of the island where the two called home, most of the traffic was local and everyone knew Shelby.

After sniffing what little there was in the way of shrubbery around Brack’s inherited home and rewatering the choice bushes, Shelby came back inside and they ate breakfast together: coffee, healthy cereal and yogurt for Brack; water, Eukanueba, and a small bone for Shelby. With breakfast consumed, Shelby went back outside for another potty break.

The next part of their routine was just as important as a healthy breakfast. In addition to two-hour personal trainer sessions three times a week, Brack liked to keep his wind up by taking jogs around their island home. These runs included long stretches of beach. And of course, Shelby tagged along. The Isle of Palms had strict leash laws and Brack didn’t push his luck. Besides, Shelby didn’t seem to mind.

After a cool-down spray from the garden hose for Shelby which also got the sand out of his fur and a shower for Brack, they made their way to Brack’s home away from home, the Pirate’s Cove, an island bar right on the beach he also inherited from his late uncle.

Paige, the bar’s manager Brack’s uncle had hired, did an excellent job running the place. It turned a tidy profit, and she tended to hire only single moms like herself. With all the money rolling in, Brack let her do pretty much whatever she wanted.

Upon seeing Brack and Shelby walk in the front door, Paige greeted them in her usual fashion, a kiss on the head for Shelby, and a snide remark about tardiness for Brack. What could he say, she ran a tight ship. And most of the men on the island flocked to the bar to gawk at the beauty that was Paige and her wait staff.

Bonny, the bar’s resident macaw, flew down from her perch and landed on Brack’s shoulder. “I love you, Brack. Squawk!

“I love you too, girl,” he said. And meant it.

Paige said, “You both need to get out more.”

Before Brack could reply, a voice came from the entryway. “God help us if he ever does.”

Darcy Wells, the very pretty, very talented Palmetto Pulse reporter walked in.

As usual, Brack’s tongue tied into a knot that he’d have to spend the next thirty seconds unraveling. It happened most times in the vicinity of Ms. Wells.

Shelby ran to Darcy and she obeyed his request of a belly rub.

With Brack’s motor skills temporarily out of commission, Darcy continued. “While you’re thinking hard about what sort of witty retort to entertain us all with, I thought you might like to know what a source told me.”

At the moment Brack was able to speak again, his iPhone vibrated in his pocket. He looked at the number, figured it was God’s way of saving him from putting his foot in his mouth with Darcy, and then answered. “Hey Brother Thomas.”

“Brother Brack,” the minister said, “it seem we got us a situation over here. I could sho’ use yo’ he’p, mm-hmm.”

Brack watched Darcy, who gave him a grin as if she already knew what the good Brother Thomas was about to drag him into. Chances were, even if it started out as some innocent request, it would take a dark turn. It always did.

And, missing the rush of imminent danger inherent in war, Brack wouldn’t want it any other way.

Burning Heat is the second book in the “Brack Pelton” mystery series, published by Five Star Publishing, January 2016.

As darkness blankets the holy city of Charleston, South Carolina, Brack Pelton, an Afghanistan War veteran, steps out of a rundown bar after a long night. Before he gets to his truck, he finds himself in the middle of a domestic dispute between a man and a woman on the sidewalk. When a little girl joins the couple and gets hit by the man, Brack intervenes and takes him down. But the abuser isn’t finished. He pulls a gun and shoots the woman. Brack saves the little girl, but his world has just been rocked. Again.

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All comments are welcomed.

About the author
David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife along with their dog call South Carolina home.

Visit David at www.davidburnsworthbooks.com , on Twitter and on Facebook

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Burning Heat. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 5 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

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