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    Out of the Flames (Revised) – Part Six (Finale)

    Chapter Nineteen

    Losing the walking boot gave Bette a rush, but Lieutenant Wischnia insisted she ride a desk a few more days. “No sense in rushing things, Monday will be soon enough,” Wischnia had said. Now, she’d have to wait until the end of the day to follow up on the information Miguel Rojas had provided.

    With nothing more to do other than review old files, concentrating on work posed a harder task than she expected. While Eric caught up on cases he’d worked on when she recuperated at home, Bette turned on the radio, hoping music would help her focus. However, wall-to-wall coverage of the dozen wildfires plaguing northern California had interrupted her favorite radio stations. Overnight, fire had destroyed hundreds of structures, and authorities reported several deaths.

    Hearing about death and destruction made passing the time harder. Her mind bounced back and forth between the Santoses and Caco, and both topics posed trouble. Luiz could try to contact Reagan while Wischnia had her chained to a desk, and that scared her.  Caco, though, had her unnerved. She feared she was on a collision course with him, and one of them wouldn’t survive.

    “I’ve had enough of this.” Bette pushed back her chair, then stomped to the window and turned off the radio.

    Eric reached into his desk drawer, pulled out a Snickers bar and tossed it to Bette.

    “What’s this for?”

    “You get a little cranky when you’re hungry.”

    Bette forced a grin. “Ha ha ha.” She was hungry and ripped open the package and gnawed off a big chunk of the candy bar. The sweet and salty combination did little to curb the edge she’d been on all morning.

    After returning to her desk, Bette clicked on her official email for the twentieth time. The cellular provider had yet to forward her the records on the mystery burner phone, and her patience had worn thin. She did, however, open a new email from the SFPD personnel division.

    Her chest tightened with a sharp intake of breath when she read the words. ‘Our records show you listed Avery Santos as your sole beneficiary for your life insurance policy…’ Just when she started to heal, this picked at the scab.

    Hoping to hold it together until she reached the seclusion of the ladies’ restroom, she bounded from her chair. Without as much as a single word to her partner, she zoomed past the maze of crisscrossed desks and dozen detectives. With Wischnia and half the staff already suspecting she’d come back too soon, she couldn’t fall apart in front of the entire division.

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    Comments

    1. Aaah, what a delight to discover this new part, dear Cella !
      You would never guess how much it comes just at the very right time, for I had a truly bad day and the night will be awfully long, here…
      I hope everything’s great for you, my dear talented author ? Wishing you all the best !!! :-)

    2. Hi CN:

      You made here a more beautiful story than the first version; this one, from my point of view, is more complete, gives each character Bette and Tina, equal strength, different than in the previous version (centered more in Bette).

      The new characters like Chandler and Kadin the kisses in the pool and the disappearing of el caco’s body give more mystery and expectancy to the sequel, which we’ll wait eagerly. Very good job.

      Thanks for this story.

      P

      • Proteonomics, Thank you! Go glad you enjoyed the story. Giving Tina’s character more depth was the focus of the rewrite. Your comment means I pulled it off. Phew! You’ll see more of Chandler and Kadin in the sequel, and yes, more kisses. The missing body will kick off a whole new adventure for our two would-be-lovers.

        • CN, as promised, here i am!

          I like that you introduced Kadin and Chandler. Two interesting characters who play a major role in Tina’s life, one as ex- girlfriend and the one who helped Bette to fight off the Santos. I like her, hope she will be a good friend to Tina and Bette in the new book.

          Like the the first time you posted this story, i love the scene in the car where Tina got Bette to sing again and that Bette remember more of her youth filled with warm memories then only feels the pain and guilt she endured all these years.

          And the kiss, made my heart swell again. Bette is still grieving but now knows that Tina is the woman she has always loved and will love for the rest of her life. And Tina is waiting for her to be ready however long that will take.

          It was a pleasure to read this story again, the changes you made were brilliant and made a marveleous story even better!!!

          Looking forward to the next book!

          • Bibi, Tina’s character needed more depth, so I invented Chandler and Kadin. In addition, the scenes in the pool and the truck at the end needed more drama and passion, especially that first kiss. Sounds like I hit the mark. Catch you next weekend for the first installment of the sequel.

            CN

    3. Dear CN !
      Thank you for this post.
      You rounded up this wonderful story so well.
      I loved it but am so sorry it is finished.
      Looking forward to a Sequel but, in the meantime, how about an Epilogue?
      Please …
      SG

      • izzie, I’m so happy you liked this new version of Flames better than the original. Tina needed much more depth, and by adding Chandler and Kadin, I hit gold. I’ll post part one of the sequel, From the Ashes, next weekend. Hope you join me for the ride.

    4. Hello CN, really enjoyed this revision. Happy that you let them get back together and Bette get over her guilt and working on the grief. Tina and Reagan will help with that. This is the same story that the street urchin was saved from the streets in Mexico, right. The cartel boss, gave him a chance to prove himself and ended up sending him to school along with his own son, they both became lawyers, both worked for the boss, only one appeared to be legit but, really wasn’t, can’t remember the boys names. So I can’t figure out which one of them worked with the feds, the natural son or the urchin. Great story. Please keep our girls together and let them have a happy life in the sequel. Thanks for posting.

      • Dainty, So happy you enjoyed the revisions. The story needed an extra punch. BTW, you have a good memory. You’ll read about the street urchin next week in the opening scene of From the Ashes, which sets up the main plot. Our girls will be tested while chasing the little urchin and his brother.

    5. Not really a Bette and Tina story … more of a Bette, Bette, Avery, Reagan and Tina story, May want to tag it as such as it gives a different impression at the outset. That apart, good read if a Bette story is desired, not much of a TiBette story

      • Enchantee,

        First, thank you for reading and so glad you considered it a good read. You’re right about this book not depicting your typical TiBette love story. Out of the Flames is a gut-wrenching crime story that travels the edges of a TiBette romance from childhood crush to rekindled attraction. At the same time, it explores how the healing power of love guides Bette while she navigates the enormity of grief and the difference between law and justice. I’m confident its sequel, From the Ashes, will quench your TiBetter’s heart when that rekindled attraction turns into much more. I hope you’ll consider giving that story a read, too.

        CN

    6. What a finale! It had me at the edge of my seat again. I can’t add much what hadn’t been said in previous comments. Let’s see: Oh that kiss! Of course it was motivated by the feeling that death will come any second. But what a revelation for Bette!

      On top of that her trauma with fire seems to reach its peak. I’m so glad that she finally opend up and told Tina about all that happend in the past.
      I love the dynamics between Tina + Bette. Tina’s actions are so much more understandable than in your first version. So are Bette’s. More background, more depth, more insides to Bette’s thoughts.

      Thanks for rewriting and sharing this story with us, CN! I’m curious what you’ll make of all these loose ends in your second part of the story.

      • kiwipit, Thanks so much! That kiss! Yes, that kiss! It needed so much more than my first version offered. I’ve spent the last seven months in a writing academy and learned a lot about plotting, building conflict, character development, writing style, and much more. The result is the revised version of Flames. It’s so much better!

        Your curiosity about the second book will soon end when I post the first installment of From the Ashes this weekend.

    7. I can only aspire to be as prolific as you and BenMac. Fantastic re-write, my friend. I think everyone has hit the salient points about it so I won’t be redundant.

      Instead, I will wish you a happy Opening Day tomorrow. Your team is in my city, but my team is playing the D’Backs at the same time so I’ll be keeping an eye on your score. [Go Padres!] I’ll be donning my Dodgers gear at work tomorrow even though it’s totally against our dress code policy. It’ll be so worth it.

      Cheers!

      • Mell, BenMac has set a high bar, one I can only hope to get close to. Gotta say I’m thrilled with the rewrite.

        I’ll be sporting my Giants cap all day. I’m sure your dress code ding will be worth it. Go, Giants!

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