posted on August 24, 2023 by Tee O'Fallon

Burning Justice:  Behind the Scenes of a K-9 Romantic Suspense

By Tee O’Fallon

At this point in my writing career, I’ve got twelve books under my belt, nine of which are K-9 romantic suspense. Each presented me with new research challenges I never expected, especially the K-9 Special Ops series. Not having any medical training, Tough Justice, the first in this series, pushed me to interview several doctors and a New York City Fire Department rescue paramedic. Not having conducted any fire investigations, Burning Justice also required extensive research. Of the arson kind.

When I started this book, I already knew the hero of Burning Justice, Brett Tanner, was an ATF special agent canine handler with emotional (and physical) scars from two fires he lived through. These scars are what make Brett both courageous and driven—to a fault—to catch a killer. He won’t let anyone stand in his way. When Brett finally meets the woman destined to become the love of his life, she’s got her work cut out for her. In more ways than one. Neither wants to work with the other, but they’ll need each other. To solve the case…and stay alive.

Now I had to create a heroine who would be a strong enough match for Brett in his professional and personal life. Enter Gemma Scott, an investigator with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a real-life organization funded entirely by the insurance industry. Luckily, while I lived and worked in Denver, I met Jon Hersley, one of four brothers who became FBI agents. Jon was the primary case agent on the Oklahoma City Bombing investigation. After retiring, he went to work for the NICB. Jon and I spoke over the phone for close to two hours, brainstorming on the plot for Burning Justice, which centers around a deadly arson-for-profit scheme. Jon also educated me about what an NICB agent does and how these agents interact with law enforcement.

Like me, Gemma’s got a lot of tools in her workshop and has done a lot of work renovating her own home. Also like me, she loves a good pedi, which plays into the story in a fun way. And her family owns the Great Scott Bagel Deli, which is patterned after a fantastic bagel deli I was addicted to in Lakewood, CO when I lived there. By far, the best bagels outside the New York/New Jersey area.

Last, but by no means least, there is Blaze, the K-9 hero of Burning Justice. There’s a reason I made Blaze a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. My last work partner had a male Chessie, Custer, who was taken from this earth far too early, at the age of only four. This book is dedicated to Custer’s memory.

Back to the arson. I lost track of how many hours I spent researching the physics of fire and arson investigations. But it still wasn’t enough. I interviewed an ATF special agent canine handler based in Colorado. Then, I interviewed a county sheriff’s office arson detective and his accelerant detection K-9 for a couple of hours. All I can say is, I hope I got it right!

Burning Justice is the second book in my K-9 Special Ops Series. Tough Justice was the first, and Ultimate Justice will be the third and final installment. I sincerely hope you enjoy these books!


Some cases are hot enough to kill.

After narrowly surviving a childhood fire that killed two of his friends, ATF Special Agent Brett Tanner knows what it’s like to get too close to the flame. The trauma only spurs him and his K-9 partner to track down the arsonists targeting a Colorado town. This latest warehouse blaze looks suspicious as hell…and there’s a body. Now it’s murder.

Fiercely independent insurance investigator Gemma Scott has been burned enough times to know she doesn’t need anyone—especially a handsome agent with an agenda. Teaming up with the hardened and determined ATF agent means not just trusting her instincts…it also means trusting him.

Now they’re racing against an arsonist with a lethal agenda—one who’s willing to burn and kill to hide the evidence. But the killer is only part of a larger mystery. And the searing attraction between Gemma and Brett adds fuel to an already dangerously lethal fire. One that will smoke out a killer…along with Brett’s darkest secret.


Tee O

Tee O'Fallon

Tee O'Fallon has been a federal agent for twenty-three years, giving her hands-on experience in the field of law enforcement that she combines with her love of romantic suspense. Tee's job affords her the unique opportunity to work with the heroic and sexy men in law enforcement on a daily basis. For Tee, research is the easy part! Tee is the author of the NYPD Blue & Gold Series: Burnout, Blood Money, and Disavowed. Tee is hard at work on the first of her new K9 romantic suspense series, Lock 'N' Load. Aside from writing, Tee loves cooking, gardening, lychee martinis, and all creatures canine.

4 thoughts on “Burning Justice:  Behind the Scenes of a K-9 Romantic Suspense”

  1. Cathy Poyser says:

    In a former life I was a property insurance adjuster and went to a
    NICB week-long school in Hartford, CT. It was fascinating! I ended up being my company’s “face” in arson cases brought in Federal Court in the area in which I lived. Eventually, I “burned out” 🙂 and went into Professional Liability Claims but I had an interesting few years dealing with local fire investigators, ATF and the NICB. Can’t wait to read the new book!

    1. Hi Cathy, how fascinating! I hope you find Burning Justice to be accurate!! 🙂

  2. Patricia Barraclough says:

    I think few people realize the research that goes into books. I know not every author puts in the effort for detail and accuracy, but it shows, and educates. I definitely appreciate when authors make the effort to enlighten us as well as entertain us.

    1. Tee says:

      Thank you, Patricia!

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