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Katie Garrett is madly in love with her dashing firefighter husband, Andy. When he is diagnosed with cancer, their entire world is turned upside down. Andy clumsily tries to protect Katie from the truth by not telling her, but her fear — and his increasing pain and tumultuous emotions — only feed her deep-seated insecurities, as they fight for Andy’s life and for their marriage.
While the fire station and its camaraderie are Andy’s refuge, station officer Lt. Mike Bentley wages a vendetta against Andy, making Andy more determined to avoid revealing weakness of any kind. In spite of Bentley’s despising Andy, the C shift crew rally to support Andy until events take a downward turn.
As she discovers Andy’s cancer was caused by exposure to lethal chemicals while on duty, Katie navigates the treacherous maze of uncertainty and grief to emerge a stronger, more confident woman who represents her husband and the fire service as an advocate for firefighter safety and protection.
Firefighters face a myriad of dangers, but the invisible dangers – his past, her fears -- can pose the greatest threat of all. Will courage, duty, and love be enough to save Andy from these unseen threats? Will he come to recognize the far-reaching impact his life has on others? If the worst should happen, would his greatest legacy be the love of the fire service or the love for his wife? In the end, the unforeseen might have the greatest significance of all.
“Anybody recognize this guy?” Andy asked, pointing to Hedrick who waved with a silly grin. The children laughed and nodded. “Well, Hedrick is going to put on the rest of the equipment we wear when we’re fighting a fire,” Andy said with a nod at Hedrick.
“First, he’s going to put on his hood. This protects the back of our necks and ears.” Hedrick pulled the hood up over his head and made sure it was securely in place before slipping on his mask. “The mask helps protect our faces and our eyes from smoke and ashes. When the tank is connected to the mask through this place here,” Andy continued, pointing to the regulator, “we can breathe fresh air from the air tank on our back.”
Hedrick fastened the hose and clicked the breathing regulator onto its place on the front of the mask. Immediately, the sound of his raspy breathing could be heard. “Finally,” Andy said, “his helmet goes on, and he buckles the strap under his chin. The helmet protects our head from anything heavy that might be falling,” Andy finished as Hedrick pulled on his gloves. As Hedrick stood in front of the group, his breathing loud and scratchy through the regulator, the children's eyes went wide with wonder, or possibly fear.
Andy clapped Hedrick on the shoulder. “Remember the goofy-looking guy with an even goofier smile we saw just a few minutes ago? Let’s think a minute . . .”
Andy looked at the unsure looks on their faces. “Do you remember that guy who put on all this equipment to protect himself when he’s fighting a fire?” A few heads nodded tentatively. “Well, that’s the same goofy guy on the inside of all this gear,” Andy said, resting his arm on Hedrick’s shoulder. Hedrick reached over and playfully thumped Andy on the arm, and the children laughed.
Andy smiled. “Show them what we’re talking about, Hedrick.” Hedrick removed his helmet and then unhooked the hose from the mask to the air tank and finally, pulled the mask and hood off, which lifted his hair into spikes all over his head. Hedrick smiled his goofiest smile and waved. The children broke into cheers and applause as Hedrick bowed with a flourish.
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A project ten years in the making, Fully Involved is Lindy Bell’s debut novel and avidly reflects her admiration and love of the fire service. Thoroughly researched, the quest for accuracy for the book led Lindy to participate in the Plano Citizens Fire Academy, attend classes and accompany firefighters on ride outs. With a retired fire chief and a current paramedic/firefighter in the family, Lindy has witnessed firsthand the dedication and humbleness of first responders which fueled the impetus to convey the importance of the legendary fire service brotherhood and create cancer awareness and its growing effect on the fire service.
Lindy’s first book, Jane Austen Celebrates~Holidays & Occasions Regency Style, is a showcase Regency Era holidays and their impact on modern holiday celebration traditions. A member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Lindy has spoken to a variety of groups and taught Continuing and Adult Professional Education courses at Southern Methodist University (SMU).
A graduate of Abilene Christian University, Lindy currently lives in Plano, TX and works from home for a governmental executive recruitment and training firm. As hobbies, Lindy enjoys supporting Plano Fire Rescue by volunteering with the Plano Fire Rescue Association, writing, reading an engaging novel and cross stitching.