Embers: Author’s Cut
From the Prologue...
He smelled smoke. The acrid odor drifted through the open windows of Connor’s pickup as he drove between the entrance posts of the Marquel estate and started up the gravel road, toward the river.
A beach party, he guessed. Except, it was nine o’clock and still almost ninety degrees. Only a moron too drunk to strike a match would want a bonfire.
Figuring he must have been wrong, he sniffed the muggy night air, catching whiffs of salt water, mown grass, fresh paint from the carriage house... and smoke. His nostrils flared as the odor grew stronger.
Straightening in his seat, he turned off Zeppelin six minutes into “The Rain Song” and tuned his senses to the surrounding woods. The caretaker’s house, where his mother lived, came up on the left, and he slowed to scan the exterior. Three stories of Victorian era clapboard: in a fire, it would go up like a matchbox. All appeared quiet, but he pulled to a stop, anyway, deciding he’d better look around. Then, in the distance, he heard the insistent, resonant bark of a large dog.
Cash. He should be home on the porch glider, asleep.
With a tremor of apprehension, Connor drove on, listening, searching for signs of a blaze and for Cash’s black form.