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When Shadows Fall

When Shadows Fall

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"Barbara Freethy is always at the top of her game writing a suspenseful, heartwarming story from start to finish. WHEN SHADOWS FALL is truly a page turner you don't want to put down and it will warm your heart." Faye - Goodreads

Olivia Bennett is a biographer, a narrator of lives far more interesting than her own. When she volunteers to write down the memories of Eleanor Callaway, an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer's, she gets caught up in a compelling story of a great love and a terrible secret. Suddenly, she is no longer a spectator but an investigator, and in her quest for the truth, she not only finds herself at odds with Eleanor's sexy and very protective grandson Colton Callaway, but she also discovers a more personal connection to Eleanor's past.

Colton is a firefighter, a man used to going after what he wants and getting it. He pushes the limits, takes chances, and is willing to risk everything to save a life, especially if that life belongs to his grandmother.

As Olivia and Colton stir up the smoldering embers of the past, they soon come to realize that the greatest danger may not come from those who want to protect their secrets, but from each other. The one thing neither of them has ever been willing to risk is their heart.

If you love romance family series like Virgin River by Robyn Carr, with plenty of drama, secrets, and mystery, then you'll love this latest romance novel from #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy.

What the readers are saying…

"I am left speechless. Each Callaway makes me fall in love a bit more. In WHEN SHADOWS FALL, Colton and Olivia are perfection. They shine brightly and leave you with no doubts about their HEA. Thank you Barbara Freethy for another well written heart touching testament to all that is good and right in our world." Shannon - Goodreads

"Barbara Freethy does it again, with characters so real and a mystery that has been simmering through the series. The idea that someone getting who you really are can be life changing is very real for me. A great story. I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys Nora Roberts, Marie Force, Robyn Carr, or Susan Mallery." Libby - Goodreads

"I found WHEN SHADOWS FALL intriguing, fun and full of hope. I like how all the characters of the Callaway family are mentioned and entwined into the story, but the author never loses focus on the main characters. I always look forward to her next story." Christy - Goodreads


"Callaway, huh? Which one are you?" 

Colton Callaway looked into a pair of angry brown eyes and wondered what the hell he'd done to piss off his new captain, a man who had entered the firehouse only ten minutes earlier. 

"Colton Callaway," he said, standing up a little straighter so that he was eye-to-eye with his boss. All he knew about Mitchell Warren, the new captain at Station 36, was that he was in his late thirties, had fifteen years of service under his belt and had a reputation as a well-respected hard ass. 

The chatter in the dayroom had come to a crashing halt with the captain's entrance, and Colton could see the other guys watching their exchange with interest. 

"I should have figured I couldn't get a firehouse without a Callaway in it," Warren said through tight lips. "You guys think you own the city."

Since he had numerous relatives in the department, including his older brother Burke, who was a battalion chief, his father Jack, who was Deputy Chief of Operations, and his sister Emma, a fire investigator—to name just a few—he wasn't surprised by Warren's comment. Firefighting had always been the Callaway family business in San Francisco. He just wished he knew which one of his relatives had pissed off Mitchell Warren. 

"Let's get something straight," Warren continued. "I don't play favorites, especially not with Callaways. You screw up, you'll be out on your ass, and I won't care what your father or your big brother has to say about it. Understood?" 

Warren jabbed his finger into Colton's chest, and Colton had to rein in a sudden wave of anger. He'd been proving himself for the last four years, and he was damn sick of it. He'd learned the hard way to keep his mouth shut, but it wasn't always easy—like now. 

"Understood," Colton said as calmly as he could. He looked his captain straight in the eye. "We won't have a problem, because I don't screw up—sir." His cocky confidence earned him another scalding look. 

"See that you don't." Warren stepped back and looked around at the rest of the crew, who suddenly busied themselves with whatever they were supposed to be doing. Then Warren left the room, heading down the hall to his office. 

Colton blew out a frustrated breath, then walked over to the table where his friend Adam Powell was scarfing down a heaping plate of scrambled eggs. Adam was thirty-one with blond hair and brown eyes and had five years of experience on Colton, but since they'd fought their way out of a hotel fire a year earlier, they'd become good friends, and Colton valued his opinion. 

"What the hell was that about?" Colton asked, sitting down at the table across from Adam. 

Adam shrugged, his laid-back attitude in clear evidence today. "He doesn't like you."

"Yeah, I got that, but why? As far as I know, we've never met."

"Sounds like he has a problem with your last name. I'd forget about it. Do your job the way you always do, and he'll get over it. You're a good firefighter. The captain will see that." 

"Yeah," he muttered. "I'm just tired of being judged by everyone who came before me."

"Then you should have chosen another profession." 

That was Adam, always blunt and to the point. But Colton couldn't have chosen another profession, because all he'd ever wanted to be was a firefighter like his brothers, his father and grandfather. He just hadn't realized how difficult it would be to make his own name in the world. 

Changing the subject, he said, "How were your days off?"

"Good. I took a hot redhead to Carmel," Adam replied with a grin.

Colton smiled back at him. Adam had no trouble picking up women. "Things must be getting serious. You've been seeing her for what—two months now? That's a long time for you."

"Dana is a beautiful woman and really good in bed."

"The perfect combination. When do I get to meet her?"

"We'll see." Adam shoved his empty plate to the side and wiped his mouth with a napkin. "What about you? What did you do?"

"I didn't have nearly as much fun as you. I worked for my Uncle Kevin. He's building a house in Noe Valley and had some work for me. And last night, I helped my nephew Brandon and his brother Kyle build a fort out of blocks while my sister and her husband went to Back to School Night."

"What is wrong with you?" Adam asked, shaking his head. "You used to have much better stories. What about the blonde you were dancing with at the club last weekend? What was her name?"

"I have no idea."

"Does that mean you didn't get her phone number, either?"

"I didn't ask for it. She wasn't that interesting."

"She was blonde, and she had a great rack. How could she not be interesting?" Adam challenged.

"I'm not that shallow," he joked.

"Yes, you are." 

"Maybe I'm changing."

"Why would you want to? You're young, single, reasonably good-looking, and you wear a uniform. Use that to your advantage. It's gotten me a lot of phone numbers."

He'd gotten a lot of phone numbers, too, but lately he'd felt like something was missing. "I don't know." He waved a restless hand in the air. "I want someone to knock me over. I want to feel like I've been sucker punched."

"Why on earth would you want to feel like that?" 

"Because anything less is boring." He'd been living it up on the single scene the last several years and he was tired of it. Plus, he'd had to watch his older siblings falling in love every other second for the past two years, and he was beginning to want something a little more serious for himself. Although that thought made him a little nervous. 

Maybe he was just in a rut, and this momentary feeling of wanting something more with a woman would pass. Because in reality, he was far more interested in building his career than building a relationship. He just needed to date someone who made him want to call her the next morning. That hadn't happened in a while. 

He sat up straighter as the alarm went off. His twenty-four-hour shift had barely started. It was going to be a busy day. He quickly rose, donned his gear and jumped on the engine. Their firehouse was one of the larger stations in the city and had an engine, a truck and an ambulance. For this fire, all three were being dispatched. 

The trio of vehicles raced across San Francisco with sirens screaming. It was still rush hour in the city, so there were plenty of cars to dodge on their way to the garment district, which housed numerous industrial warehouses.  As they neared their destination, he saw billowing black smoke mixing with the early morning fog, casting an eerie glow over the city. The color of that smoke suggested chemicals in the mix. 

Every muscle in his body tightened in preparation for what might be ahead. Fires were always unpredictable, and every firefighter learned—usually the hard way—that even the smallest spark could turn into a deadly flame. 

When the engine came to a rapid stop, he jumped to the ground, adrenaline rushing through his body, giving him speed, power and strength. He would need all three before the fire was out, because at least one half of the four-story building in front of him was already engulfed in flames. 

There were engines and trucks from three other houses already attending to the fire. On his way toward the building, he passed his brother Burke, who was commanding operations on the ground. At thirty-six, Burke was the youngest battalion chief in the department, but then Burke had been setting records ever since he was a rookie firefighter. He was smart, courageous and a natural born leader, and Colton had always respected him, even if he hadn't felt very close to him. 

Burke gave him a tense look and a nod, but they didn't speak. They both had jobs to do, and Colton would do his job to the best of his ability, because as much as he didn't want to have to prove anything to anyone, every time he battled a fire, he felt the weight of the Callaway legacy urging him to be the same kind of hero as the men who had come before him. 

He and Adam were sent inside the south wing of the building to check for several missing warehouse employees. As they entered the structure, they were immediately blinded by thick black smoke. 

Colton had taken the lead, but he could barely see a foot in front of him. The smoke was so hot he expected it to combust at any moment. He could feel the edges of his mask melting against his face. But he pushed on, Adam right behind him. 

They were halfway down the hall when they heard a man's muffled cry. Colton tried the door but it was locked. He backed up and kicked it in. He could see flames coming from a collapsed ceiling. It looked like the office furniture from the floor above had come crashing down. A man was on the ground, a huge desk crushing his abdomen, a deep gash on his forehead. 

Colton ran to him, dropping down to his knees beside the victim. 

"Help me," the man gasped.

He was in his early sixties, Colton thought. There was a pool of blood under his head with more blood dripping down his face, and he was having trouble breathing from the weight on his chest. 

"I'm going to get you out of here," Colton said.

"Don’t leave me."

"I'm not going anywhere without you." He stood up, grabbing the edge of the desk while Adam went to the other side. They lifted it off of the man and were about one second from setting it safely down when an explosion rocked the building. 

Colton felt like a rag doll as he was launched into the air and thrown across the room. Stunned, it took him a second to regroup. He looked through the smoky room to see Adam struggling to his feet in the hallway. Then he looked back toward the man they'd been trying to help and saw he'd been buried by falling debris. 

He jumped up and ran across the room. His headset crackled with the voice of Captain Warren: "Abandon the building."

He heard the order but he couldn't follow it—not yet. He turned his head to Adam. "Get out of here."

"We go together," Adam said tersely. "And we're taking him with us."

As usual, he and Adam were on the same page. 

They raced back to the victim, digging feverishly through the rubble. Finally, Colton got his hands under the man's shoulders and pulled him free. 

The man was no longer conscious, and there was a new stream of blood from another large gash on his head. 

Colton pulled off his glove to check for a pulse. There wasn't one. He started to give CPR but the man wasn't responding. 

"Callaway, stop," Adam said. "We've got to get him out of here." 

Adam pulled the man into a sitting position and then Colton lifted him up and over his shoulder. He moved quickly down the hall. When he got to the stairwell, he realized that the fire was ten times worse than when he'd entered the building. Colton wasn't sure they could still get out. There was fire everywhere, but he couldn't let fear steal his focus. This was what he was trained to do and right now he had one goal—to get the victim out of the building. 

As he ran down the stairs in Adam's wake, flames licked the railing, teasing him with the breath of an angry monster, but he made it to the front door. He could see daylight, clean air. He was so close...

One step out of the door and then another explosion ripped through the building, tossing him and the man he was carrying into the air. The victim flew out of his grasp, and Colton landed hard on the pavement about six feet away. A sharp pain ran through his hand and his head, but he pushed the pain away, needing to get up, to find the man he was trying to save. 

He stumbled to his feet and staggered forward. 

A heavy hand came down on his shoulder. He swung around, looking into Captain Warren's eyes. "Callaway, stop."

He looked toward the victim, thankful to see he was being attended to by paramedics, but he'd promised the man he wouldn't leave him alone. "I have to get to him. I told him I would stay with him."

"He's gone." The captain grabbed his arm, his gaze boring into his with the horrible truth. 

Colton breathed in and out, still finding it difficult to accept the man's death. A few seconds might have made the difference between life and death. If he'd moved quicker, maybe he could have saved him. 

"You need to go to the hospital, Callaway." 

"I'm fine. I just want to get back to work."

"You're not fine. Look at your hand."

He stared down at his left hand in bemusement. His glove was off and his two middle fingers looked crooked and swollen. How the hell had that happened? 

Captain Warren motioned for an EMT to come over. "Get him to the E.R." 

"Come with me," Robin Kendall said.  

"I don't need to go to the hospital," he argued as Captain Warren stepped away. 

"You got an order. So did I," she said forcefully. "And I'm not going to talk back to the boss on his first day, so let's go, Colton."

He wasn't going to win this battle, so he followed her over to the ambulance. The man he'd tried so hard to save was being lifted into the back, a sheet now covering his face. 

"You can ride up front with me," Robin said, giving him a compassionate smile.

"No. I told him I wouldn't leave him. I'll ride in the back." 

"You did everything you could, Callaway."

He wanted to believe she was right, but he couldn't help thinking that if he'd done everything he could, the man would still be alive.

The Callaways are a family born to serve and protect, many as firefighters. Set primarily in San Francisco, the series features a blended family, with each member in the family getting their own book.

Each book stands alone with a complete story. No cliffhangers! But reading the entire series will give readers a chance to spend more time with this

amazing family!

The books feature romance, mystery and family drama with popular storylines featuring alpha heroes, firefighter romance, girl next door, love at first

sight, enemies to lovers, opposites attract, grumpy sunshine, meet cute, and second chance at love.

I love to write complex books that provide reading pleasure, a mystery to unravel, characters to fall in love with, and a story that will keep readers turning the pages. Start reading the Callaways today!

Don't Miss Any of the Callaway Novels:

  • On A Night Like This (#1)
  • So This Is Love (#2)
  • Falling For A Stranger (#3)
  • Between Now And Forever (#4)
  • Nobody But You (#5) A Callaway Wedding Novella)
  • All A Heart Needs (#6)
  • That Summer Night (#7)
  • When Shadows Fall (#8)
  • Somewhere Only We Know (#9)

Callaway Cousins

  • If I Didn't Know Better (#1)
  • Tender Is The Night (#2)
  • Take Me Home (#3) (Callaway Novella)
  • Closer To You (#4)
  • Once You're Mine (#5)
  • Can't Let Go (#6)
  • Secrets We Keep (#7)

Callaway Series Box Sets

  • Callaways Box Set, Books 1-3
  • Callaways Box Set, Books 4-6
  • Callaways Box Set, Books 7-9
  • Callaways Complete Box Set, Books 1-8
  • Callaway Cousins Box Set, Books 1-4
  • Callaway Cousins Box Set, Books 5-7