Phoebe’s stomach lurched and she ground her teeth. Damn it, when she’d upped and moved from Newcastle to the utterly parochial, completely charming historical village of Morpeth six months ago, she’d planned to never see the investigation team again.
“And I don’t believe for a second that you don’t want to see them.”
Sami’s calm statement made Phoebe’s pulse pound just a little harder in her neck. She bit back another sigh. Here she was, standing in the smoking, charred remains of what was once her studio, the place she spent every day blowing molten glass into artworks of stunning beauty, with the acrid, wholly jarring stench of scorched wood and wet timber stinging her sinuses with every breath. Reminding her with no uncertainty that everything she held dear and valuable was destroyed—and she was thinking about Damon Hunt and William Bradley.
“I don’t want to see them,” she grumbled, glaring at the object she gripped in her hand, the only thing salvageable in the heartbreaking mess. A long, thick shard of glass that, thanks to the fire, now looked like a massive, slightly demented glass dildo.
The gruff male voice behind Phoebe made her jump, the glass length almost slipping from her fingers as she did so. She pulled a face, wrapping her fingers tighter around the accidental dildo like it was her one and only life preserver. “No one.”
“The investigation team from Newcastle,” Sami said to the elderly man now standing on Phoebe’s left. “This has to be arson. There’s no other explanation for such an accelerated burn of materials designed to withstand high temperatures, don’t you think?”
The old bloke’s wiry salt-and-pepper eyebrows rose up his creased forehead and he tugged at his somewhat scruffy firefighter’s uniform with calloused hands. “And what would you be knowin’ about arson and accelerated burn, missy?”
Phoebe let out the sigh she’d been holding back for the last five minutes or so. “Captain Kilgour,” she placed her fingers lightly on the prickly old firefighter’s arm, “this is my best friend, Sami. Sami’s dad was the commander of the Newcastle District Fire Investigation Unit.” She turned and gave Sami a pointed look. “Sami, this is Keith Kilgour, the captain of Morpeth’s fire brigade.”
Kilgour squinted at Sami. “Was?”
Sami nodded. “Was.”
Phoebe knew her best friend wasn’t going to expand on her answer. The death of her father in a house fire still hurt Sami deeply.
Kilgour’s eyes narrowed even further before he returned his attention to Phoebe. “Well, much as I hate the idea of those upstart buggers from the city coming here and tellin’ me my business, the young missy is right. There’s somethin’ about the feel of the place I don’t like.” He sucked in his checks and smacked his lips. “It tastes wrong.”
Sami nodded. “Too bloody right.”
Phoebe frowned, ignoring the fluttering little knot in her belly at the “upstart buggers from the city” coming anywhere near her. “So what you’re telling me,” she grumbled, crossing her arms over her breasts, “is I can’t start cleaning up until the investigation team—”
“William and Damon,” Sami interjected.
Phoebe gave her a scowl. Damn, she was one for providing details today. “Until the Newcastle team come up and—”
“Work their magic,” Sami finished for her, a grin playing with the corners of her lip-glossed mouth.
Phoebe scowled harder. Were it not for Captain Kilgour standing beside them, Sami would be finding herself the recipient of a bloody good punch to the arm. Work their magic? Under no circumstances were Will Bradley and Damon Hunt working any kind of magic on her again. Ever.
“That’s right, Ms. Masters,” Captain Kilgour agreed, giving Phoebe what she suspected was supposed to be a reassuring smile. “The Newcastle boys will need to take a look at this before you can touch it.”
Phoebe let out a shaky sigh. Damn it.