The Burning Point

The Burning Point

Audio Other(Other - Unabridged)

$123.75
View All Available Formats & Editions

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780788748714
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 11/28/2001
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 2.75(h) x 6.30(d)

Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


Present day, outside Washington, D.C.


One hour until detonation.

    Dawn was still a long way off. Donovan entered the warmth of the Phoenix Demolition site office, a construction trailer parked near the shabby apartment building that was PDI's current project. His boss, Sam Corsi, poured a cup of coffee and handed it over without being asked.

    "Thanks." Donovan swallowed a scalding mouthful. "Damn, but it's cold out there. Hard to believe in global warming."

    "Everything in order?"

    Donovan nodded. "In order, and even a little ahead of schedule. The only thing left is the final walk-through, Want me to do that?"

    "Hell, no. I didn't spend all these years building PDI so that punk kids like you could have all the fun."

    Donovan grinned, not having expected any other answer. The last sweep through a structure on the verge of demolition had a special kind of excitement, and Sam pulled rank shamelessly to do the job whenever he could. No way would he let his right-hand man take his place, even on a night that could freeze fur off a bear.

    Sam's daughter, Kate, had shared that Corsi capacity for exuberance. Kate, Donovan's long-gone-but-not-forgotten ex-wife.

    Sam knocked back the last of his own coffee, his gaze on the dark hulk of the Jefferson Arms, silhouetted against the lights of Washington, D.C. Closer to hand, police lines kept spectators at a safe distance. Because of the early hour and the bitterly cold January weather, not manypeople had come to watch the implosion. Voice brusque he asked. "Ever thought of getting back together with Kate?"

    "Jesus, Sam!" Donovan choked, strangling on his coffee. "What the hell put that in your head? It's been ten years since Kate and I split up, and as far as I know, she hasn't set foot in Maryland since."

    Sam shrugged, his gaze still on the Jefferson Arms. "Yeah, but neither of you has shown any signs of hooking up with anyone else. You married too young, but there was something damned good between you. Besides, Julia'd like some grandkids to spoil."

    Donovan winced as the conversation moved onto dangerous ground. "You're right that we were too young. But even assuming that Kate was interested—and frankly, I think, she'd see me in hell first—there is the small matter of her living in San Francisco. Not exactly dating distance."

    "Things change." Sam glanced at the clock, then put on parka and gloves in preparation for the walk-through. "Maybe I'll give Tom a call one of these days."

    That remark was even more of a shock than the wacko suggestion about Kate. Remembering Sam's unexpected trip to the emergency room the month before, Donovan asked uneasily, "Did the doctors find something wrong with your heart that you haven't told me about? I thought they said it was just indigestion."

    "Nothing wrong with my heart, and I've got the cardiogram to prove it." Sam shoved his hard hat onto his salt-and-pepper hair and picked up a big-beam flashlight. "But I'll admit that getting hauled off to the hospital got me to thinking. Nobody lives forever. Maybe it's time I knocked a few heads together."

    Seeing Donovan's expression, Sam grinned and lightly clipped the younger man's shoulder with his fist. "Don't worry. If I do any head cracking, it will be for your own good." He headed out into the freezing night.

    Wondering what the hell that had been about, Donovan did radio checks with the other members of the team. A perfect shot didn't happen by accident, and PDI's flawless safety record was a result of painstaking care at every stage of a job. This implosion was pretty routine, if there was ever anything routine about reducing a massive building to ruins in a handful of seconds. Soon the structure would be swept away, not with a whimper but an almighty bang. Then something better would rise.

    A moving beam of light marked Sam's progress through the Jefferson Arms. Inside the echoing structure, he was meticulously checking the explosive charges, the wiring, and even the flour the crew had scattered in the stairwells to reveal if a homeless person or animal had taken refuge in the building.

    Twenty minutes until demolition. Restless with the adrenaline of an impending shot, Donovan picked up the microphone of the radio base station again. "How's it going, Sam?"

    "Everything's fine," his boss boomed. "This dump might've been a lousy place to live, but it's going to make a great pile of rubble. I'll be out in ten minutes."

    Donovan was about to switch off the mike when Sam muttered, "That's odd."

    "What have you found?"

    "Not sure. Just a second ..."

    Suddenly the quiet of the night shattered. A series of explosions ripped through the Jefferson Arms, engulfing the building in thunder and flame. Walls pitched inward and the structure majestically collapsed as gritty clouds of dust spewed in all directions.

    "Sam! Sam!" Donovan shouted in horror, instinctively hurling himself out the door of the trailer.

    But it was too late. A thousand tons of concrete had already crushed down on the man who had been boss, friend, and surrogate father for half his life.


Three days later


Funerals were hell, and the postburial gatherings weren't much better. Reaching the limits of her endurance, Kate Corsi slipped away for a few minutes to collect herself before she broke down in front of dozens of friends and relatives. Since the first floor offered no privacy, she made her way through the grand house and up the lushly carpeted stairs, ending in the back bedroom her father had used as a home office.

    Everything in the room spoke of Sam Corsi, from the souvenirs of demolished buildings to the faint, lingering scent of cigars. Kate lifted the century-old brick salvaged from the implosion of a derelict factory complex in New England. It was the first PDI project to be featured in a Hollywood movie—an invasion-from-outer-space flick—and and Sam had been over the moon. Since then a number of the company's implosions had shown up on the big screen

    Putting the brick back on his desk, she took a cigar from the walnut humidor and pressed it to her cheek. The tangy vegetal scent reminded her of her father in an intense, primitive way. He'd done most of his smoking in this room, but the faint odor of cigars had followed him everywhere.

    She replaced the cigar and crossed to the window, hot tears stinging her eyes as she rested her forehead against the icy glass. Life had been surreal for the last three days, ever since she'd been yanked awake at four A.M. by a ringing phone. If she lived to be a hundred, she'd never forget the timbre of her mother's shaking voice as she broke the news that Sam Corsi had been killed in a shot that went wrong. In the space of a heartbeat, Kate's estrangement from her father had vanished as a lifetime of love welled into devastating grief.

    By mid-morning she'd been on an airplane from San Francisco, flying back to Maryland for her first visit in almost ten years. By the time she landed, her father's body had been found in the rubble and the funeral had been scheduled.

    Ever since then, she'd been caught up in chaos as she helped her mother with the decisions and arrangements that surrounded a sudden death. Sam Corsi, like his business, Phoenix Demolition International, had been one of a kind, and his death in a premature explosion was front-page news in The Baltimore Sun. Now he lay in the ice-hard earth, after a graveside service that had been rushed because of the bitter winds of the coldest January on record.

    She still had trouble believing that someone as stubborn and generous, likable and maddening, could be gone. Unconsciously she'd thought her father would live forever. Or at least long enough for their estrangement to fully heal. She should have worked harder at reconciliation. Now it was too late. Too damned late.

    Warned by the tap of high heels, she hastily straightened and brushed at her damp eyes as another woman entered the room. The dark window reflected an image that could almost have' been herself. Her mother, Julia, had bequeathed Kate her own height and lean build and fair hair. Only Kate's chocolate-brown eyes were a visible legacy from her Italian father.

    Turning, Kate went straight into Julia's arms for a hug, needing to give as much as she needed to receive. "How are you doing, Mother?"

    "Enduring." Julia clung to her daughter, brittle to the breaking point. Kate held her close, aching that she couldn't do more.

    Tension eased, Julia stepped away, but lines were sharply etched around her eyes and her complexion was grayed by grief and fatigue. "I saw you leave, so I came up to say that after the guests have gone, Charles wants to talk to us about your father's will."

    No doubt her mother had also been glad for an excuse to briefly escape the chattering crowd. "I thought reading the will to the assembled family was only done in Victorian novels."

    "This won't be quite like that." Julia's gaze shifted away. "But there are ... things that need to be discussed."

    Before Kate could ask what was so important that it had to be dealt with tonight, her mother dropped onto the edge of a wooden chair and wrapped her arms tightly around herself. "I do hope everyone leaves soon. I don't know how much more of this I can take."

    Kate placed a gentle hand on Julia's shoulder. "Mother ..."

    Julia clasped her fingers over her daughter's. "It's good to hear people talking about Sam and how they remember him. But it hurts, too. I've spent all day fighting tears."

    "No one would mind if you cried."

    "I'd mind, because I don't know when I'd stop."

    Kate tightened her grasp on her mother's shoulder. Blue-blooded Julia Carroll had been very different from Sam Corsi, an East Baltimore boy and proud of it, but that hadn't kept them from a good marriage. She had the right to grieve in her own way. Kate understood, because she shared her mother's need to face the world with composure.

    Julia closed her eyes. "I'm so glad you're here, Kate. Visiting you in San Francisco just isn't the same as having you home."

    The reason Kate hadn't visited Baltimore for almost ten years was downstairs, handsome as sin and twice as dangerous. But today, Kate's problems paled next to her mother's loss. "Of course I came. Dad and I had our differences"—an understatement—"but we've been on better terms the last few years. Not like Dad and Tom."

    "I wish Tom was here." Julia opened her eyes, her expression wry. "I'll bet you asked him if he would come, and he said that since he wasn't welcome during Sam's lifetime, he didn't think he should come now."

    "That's pretty much what happened," Kate admitted "Are all mothers psychic?"

    "It's part of our job description." Wearily Julia rose to her feet. "I can't blame Tom for not coming to the funeral, not after the way Sam behaved. That man could be so impossible ..."

    Her voice trailed off. Kate guessed that she was remembering the fracturing of her family, an event so searing that even a decade couldn't ease the pain. Wanting to avoid that subject, Kate said, "When things settle down, you must visit us in San Francisco. Tom and I would both love to have you for as long as you want to stay."

    "He invited me out for a visit when he called last night. Perhaps I'll take him up on that." Julia brushed back her hair with shaking fingers. "It will be nice to ... to get away."

    Kate considered suggesting that her mother not return to the gathering below, but Julia would never abandon an event in her own home. Inspiration struck. "Didn't you always say a hostess should be able to make all her guests feel utterly welcome, and then get rid of them when she's had enough?" Kate gestured toward the frost-patterned window. "This is Maryland—all we have to do is hint that it might snow and people will vanish quicker than you can say 'white terror.'"

    Her mother's expression lightened. "Let's do it."

    Kate gave her mother a thumbs-up sign. Julia returned it, managing a faint smile.

    Together they left the office, Julia wearing the calm expression Kate saw daily in her own mirror. The lines in her mother's face brought her maternal grandmother to mind. Kate had a swift mental image, of a chain of mothers and daughters going back through the generations, sharing stoic strength and support and inevitable conflicts. Someday, if she was lucky, Kate would have a daughter of her own.

    But that was another subject too painful to contemplate. Emotions firmly under control, she followed her mother down the sweeping stairs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Burning Point 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of her contemporaries. A reunion-type story, but one that's really intense
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author - MJ Putney - is excellent. The book is very well written, and I'll continue to look for other titles from her. However, this book had too many technical details of demolition. It...dragged...on. And it was hard to cheer for the leading characters to get back together, because there had been so much physical abuse. I applaud the author for attempting the topic - can love find a way back after a history of emotional and physical assaults - but as a reader, it was just too much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If anyone has read the "Silk" series, don't bother with this one. It's basically the same story moved forward into this century. I didn't realize it was acceptable to plagiarize one's own work. If you haven't read the "Silk" series, then this book is great! I've given it a 3 star rating in as much as it an okay read. If I had read this book first, I would probably have given it a 4 star rating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This in an excellent book even though the plot deals with a very sensitive topic, spousal abuse. But that is the key--the problem is addressed. In reading this book, the reader gets to know the characters, their flaws and their admirable traits. What I really loved about it is that the characters seemed so real--they could be a sibling, spouse, friend or even yourself. Mary Jo keeps the plot moving along until the end. I plan on reading The Spiral Path (a sequel) and I hope Mary Jo writes about some of the other characters introduced in The Burning Point.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was just way too much. I found myself exclaiming, 'Give me a break' and 'Oh, brother' as I read this book. If Patrick were any more in touch with his 'feminine side' he would have been a woman. Very unbelievable. Not a very good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While i have greatly enjoyed all of Mrs Putney's Fallen Angel series i was kind of scared to read a contemporary as it was my first of that genre. i loved it but i doubt i'll read any contemporary except those by Mrs Putney. i really hope she continues with the circle of friends, they all deserve guys like Donovan!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchased this novel because I have enjoyed Mary Jo Putney's historical novels. I didn't enjoy this contemporary novel, I couldn't get interested in the characters and their problems and was turned off by the idea of a woman getting reinvolved with a man who has abused her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I realized that this was the first contemporary novel for Mary Jo Putney, I was a little apprehensive as I have read and reread her historicals. But from the minute I picked up the book, I was hooked! You are immediately caught up in the character's, the pain of the past and how both Kate and Donovan have grown from the beginnings of the relationship. Plus learning about the added information about explosion and demolitions makes this book so interesting. I do hope that Mary Jo continues with this genre and writes about Kate's friends. Especially Rainey!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Headquartered just outside DC, Phoenix Demolition is known throughout the industry for being able to safely demolish old buildings. The firm's high regard is due to the safety measures employed by owner Sam Corsi. No fatal accident has ever occurred when Phoenix Demolition is on the job. The perfect safety record ends when Sam dies on the job due to an explosion that goes off ahead of schedule.

Sam's daughter Kate returns from San Francisco for her father's funeral but her brother refuses to come. At the funeral, Kate sees her former husband Patrick Donovan for the first time in ten years. The will turns out to have shocking ramifications. Sam's beloved wife is well taken care of but the company goes to Patrick (who was once Sam's assistant) although the bequest has a condition attached to it. Patrick and Kate must live together for one year. If they fail to do so, Kate and her brother lose their inheritance and the business will be sold. Reluctantly, Kate puts her West Coast Architect business on hold to share a house with the man she loves. However, she fears what drove her away a decade ago will ultimately resurface and send her back to California without her inheritance and without an opportunity to finally blow up a building, as she always has desired.

THE BURNING POINT is a poignant contemporary romance that centers on spousal abuse. Though readers will need a leap of faith to believe tat Kate would move back in with Patrick, the poignant story line will play like a virtuoso tugging on the heartstrings. Kate is a brave individual while Patrick struggles with his problem. Mary Jo Putney turns a deep social issue that impacts families and relationships into an intriguing tale that is both thought provoking and realistic. Mary Jo Putney's first contemporary romance is a winner by anyone's definition of the word.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
Headquartered just outside DC, Phoenix Demolition is known throughout the industry for being able to safely demolish old buildings. The firm¿s high regard is due to the safety measures employed by owner Sam Corsi. No fatal accident has ever occurred when Phoenix Demolition is on the job. The perfect safety record ends when Sam dies on the job due to an explosion that goes off ahead of schedule.

Sam¿s daughter Kate returns from San Francisco for her father¿s funeral but her brother refuses to come. At the funeral, Kate sees her former husband Patrick Donovan for the first time in ten years. The will turns out to have shocking ramifications. Sam¿s beloved wife is well taken care of but the company goes to Patrick (who was once Sam¿s assistant) although the bequest has a condition attached to it. Patrick and Kate must live together for one year. If they fail to do so, Kate and her brother lose their inheritance and the business will be sold. Reluctantly, Kate puts her West Coast Architect business on hold to share a house with the man she loves. However, she fears what drove her away a decade ago will ultimately resurface and send her back to California without her inheritance and without an opportunity to finally blow up a building as she always has desired.

THE BURNING POINT is a poignant contemporary romance that centers on spousal abuse. Though readers will need a leap of faith to believe tat Kate would move back in with Patrick, the poignant story line will play like a virtuoso tugging on the heartstrings. Kate is a brave individual while Patrick struggles with his problem. Mary Jo Putney turns a deep social issue that impacts families and relationships into an intriguing tale that is both thought provoking and realistic. Mary Jo Putney¿s first contemporary romance is a winner by anyone¿s definition of the word.

Harriet Klausner