Jackson (Jax) Carter, a single father, and Firefighter accepts a new position and moves to a new town where he hopes to give his son a normal life. When a rash of fires breaks out, Jax becomes a prime suspect. Things go from bad to worst when the arsonist kidnaps his son. Jax must find the ones responsible for setting fires that have killed three children, and to rescue his son. It's almost impossible because the arsonists always seem to be one step ahead of him.


The night sky glows a bright orange. Windows shatter and flames burst through the opening. Screams of fear, anxiety, and pain shatter the usual silence. Sirens blare as more fire trucks race towards the burning apartment building.

The fire suit protects him from the flames, but not the heat. The fire burns hot as the wood creaks and pops with each step he takes. Jax cringes as he pushes through the debris. The sound of him breathing through the respirator mask is almost deafening.

The radio on his personal protective gear crackles. Jax pauses but then continues. He pushes deeper into the two-bedroom apartment. It's a hoarder's dream with stacks of books, clothes, and boxes everywhere. He shakes his head in frustration and pushes through the narrow walkway, leading to the sound of a woman crying out for help.

Jax jerks the mask away from his face and yells. "I'm coming! Keep calling so I can find you!" The air is thick, so he quickly replaces the respirator.

The woman coughs and sobs. Then calls out, "I'm in here!"

He hurries towards the sound of her voice. At the bedroom door, he grasps the handle and turns. It's locked.

Not knowing where she was at, he doesn't want to risk hurting her, so he yells through the barrier, "Stay away from the door and cover your face!"

He steps back, takes a deep breath and kicks. The frame gives way to splinters. The door swings inward and bounces off the wall.

Boxes line the wall and around the bed. Smoke hovers in the room. Jax spots the young woman huddled in the corner by the closet door. Her hair and clothes are dripping wet as if she had just stepped out of the shower. She should have stayed in there! He steps over to the bed, grabs the blanket and hurries back over to the woman.

"Are you hurt?" He demands, draping the blanket around her.

"I twisted my ankle." She sobs and looks around the room. "I can't leave my stuff!"

Jax leans down and picks her up. "Anyone else here with you?"

"No, I'm here alone." She can barely speak over her terrified sobs.

He feels her moving, trying to pull the blanket away from her face.

"The coverage will protect you." He hurries to the door leading out into the hallway of the building.

Jax catches a glimpse of two men rushing in the other direction. He yells at them, pointing towards the sounds of screams coming from another apartment behind him. They hurry past him as he runs towards the stairway. There are people trapped on the upper floor, and the building is burning fast. He has to get the woman out the building and get back in there.

As they pass the last apartment, almost to the stairway, a loud boom tosses Jax and the woman against the far wall. Shaking his head to clear the ringing in his ears, he almost drops her. She cries out in fear when he places her on her feet for a brief moment and swung her over his shoulder.

"Stop struggling!" He yells through his mask.

He turns his back and shoves the stairway door open. More firefighters are on their way up as he half runs down the stairs and out into the opening.

Flames from the inferno roar up the side of the side of the three-story structure. Fire truck motors rev. Pipemen hold the lines as compressors work to pump water in an arcing spray onto the fire.

Emergency personnel help the victims as they rush from their apartments. Neighbors console children looking for their parents.

A severely burned, panic-stricken mother screams for her missing children. She sees Jax and rushes over to him. Tears leave trails down her soot-covered face. "Please, my children are in there!"

"Where?" Jax demands as he looks around to see where he can put the woman in his arms. He has to get those kids out! "What apartment?"

She clings to his arm, her body shaking from fear of losing her children. "They are in 317. The babysitter left my kids in there! My daughter is sleeping in her crib."

An EMT rushes forward. "Bring her over here!"

The woman pulls the blanket off her face and looks up at him. "Thank you for saving me."

Her words fall on deaf ears. Jax dumps her into the arms of the paramedic, turns and runs back into the building.

The sun rises over the horizon. Jax drives up the road and pulls into the driveway and turns the motor off, but does not get out right away. Weary from the rough night, he sits with his head against the headrest.

He pulls the phone from his pocket and looks at it for a long moment before glancing back up at the house. Light shines through the master bedroom window. He debates on calling.  The phone lights up as he punches in the passcode.

She answers on the fourth ring, right before it goes to voice mail. "Hello."

Her voice sounds groggy. Jax smiles as he pictures her lying in bed. "Hi."

"You didn't come home." She says accusingly.

"Busy night." Jax runs a hand through his black hair. His tense body is finally able to relax for a moment.

"The phone ringing woke up Jackson. I need to go get him."

Before he could say anything, the phone goes dead. With a sigh, he climbs out of the truck and trudges up the sidewalk. He puts the key in the door, but it pushes right open. With a frown, he looks around and cautiously walks in. He hears soft laughter and talking coming from the kitchen.

Expecting Madison to be upstairs, he stops dead in his tracks.

Her long blonde hair hangs down her back in a tangled mess. The pale pink nighty Jax had bought her barely covers her toned, tanned body. Her arms drape around Quinn's neck, her mouth close to his as she laughs.

"What the hell?" Jax drops his duffle bag on the floor.

Madison gasps as she swings around. She sees Jax heading towards them, and she rushes forward.  She puts her hand on Jax's chest. "Stop, it's not what it looks like!"

Jax glares down at her. "No?  Then tell me what I should think?"  He looks up at his best friend. "I trusted you."

Quinn stands with a look of defeat on his face and remains silent. His disheveled black hair and unbuttoned shirt spoke volumes.

Jax shakes his head and takes a step back. "How long has this been going on? In my own home?"

Madison steps forward, following him. "Please, listen."

He holds up his hand and closes his eyes. His voice is flat when he speaks next. "Get out of my house Quinn. If I ever see you here again..."

Madison looks to Quinn and back to Jax and then yells at Jax, "You are never here Jax. You are married to your job, not me!" She stands with her hands on her hips. Tears fill her eyes.

Quinn gives Jax a wide berth as he moves towards the living room and hurries out the front door.

Jax looks at Madison with an incredulous look on his face. "What do you mean I am never here?"

She shakes her head. "You are here physically. But your mind is always on work."

Jax looks at the ceiling and takes a breath to calm his racing heart. "I work to provide a home for you, Madison. For you and Jackson."

Madison wraps her arms around her body. "So Jax, tell me. What did I text you yesterday?"

"What are you talking about?" He looks at her wearily. "I'm tired. I don't remember."

"Exactly. You are always too tired to remember anything I tell you!" She goes over to the cabinet and jerks the door open and grabs a glass. "Your son took his first step last night."  She turns around, holding the glass against her stomach as she leans against the counter. "Did you even look at it?"

Jax's heart fell into his stomach. The text message had a video attached. He shakes his head. "No, I was on a call."

"Are you the only one who can work double shifts?" She demands as she walks over to the stainless steel refrigerator and shoves the glass into the opening. Everything is silent, except for the water filling the glass.

"I could not leave at the end of my shift because I was on an apartment fire." Exhaustion overtook his feeling of anger and Jax plops down in the chair. His elbows on the table, he leans forward to rest his forehead on his hands. "I lost two children tonight."

Madison shakes her head. "Am I supposed to say okay, all is forgiven because two kids died?"

Jax looks at her with a startled look. "Madison!" He can't believe how cold-hearted she is being.

"You get upset over children you don't even know. Yet you can't be here for your own son."

"I am working my ass off. So you can play house with my best friend?"

"At least he was here when Jackson took his first steps."

Jax stands up so fast the chair flies back with a crash. His hands grip the dining room table to keep from grabbing her.

Madison jumps at the look on his face. She loses her grip on the glass. Water splatters and shards of glass scatter across the floor.

"Don't move."

She takes a step back when he comes around the table. A piece of glass slices the bottom of her foot. She cries out in pain. Jax pauses. When he starts towards her again, she shakes her head, "Don't come any closer!"

Jax takes another step, "You are bleeding." He stops when he sees the terror in her eyes and sees her hand shaking as she points at him. "I have never hurt you, Madison."

She shakes her head. "Not physically you haven't. I thought having a baby would change things. It's only made it worst."

Jax sees the blood dripping onto the floor. "Let me look at your foot."

Madison looks down at her foot and nods when she realizes she is bleeding.

Jax swoops her up into his arms and carries her over to the table and pulls out a chair. He pulls her foot up and examines the cut. It's only minor, but working on her injury gives him time to think. He goes to the laundry room and grabs a first aid kit and returns.

She sits there looking at him with an anxious, but sad look on her face.

When he glances at her, he frowns but continues to clean the wound and wrap a bandage her wound.

"Look at you Jax. You just saw me with your best friend."

With her foot still in his hand, he looks up at her from his kneeling position. "What do you want Maddie?"

"I want you to feel Jax. To show some kind of emotion." She swipes at the tear running down her cheek.

He pulls a chair over and props her foot onto it. He walks away, heading towards the laundry room again.

She sits there shaking her head, staring at his back. When he returns with the broom and dustpan, Madison gives a bitter laugh. "I was sleeping with your best friend!" She yells at him.

His back to her, he grips the broom with trembling hands. His jaw clenches, he takes a deep breath before he turns around and stalks over to her.

"What? Do you want to see me lose control? To beat the living shit out of Quinn?" He grips the sides of the chair she sits on and leans close to her face and snarls. "You want me to yell and scream at you?" His jaw hurt from clenching his teeth so hard to keep from doing just that.

Surprised by his sudden burst of anger, Madison presses against the back of the chair. "I, I..."

"You what?" He raises his voice a notch. "You want me to treat you like your ex-husband and slap you around?"

Madison tries to shove Jax's arms away.  "Leave me alone!"

"You wanted my attention." His eyes dilate. They flash red for a moment. He leans closer, his mouth inches from hers. "You have my attention. Do you want me to throw you over my shoulder? Take you to the bedroom and show you who you belong too?"

Her eyes are wide as she stares. Her mouth is hanging open.

"Is that what you want Maddie?" Jax moves closer, so his is mouth is only half an inch from hers, he feels her breath quicken. He sees the excitement growing on her face and shoves away. With his back to her, he stands with his hands bracing himself on the counter.

He hears the chair scrape against the floor. As he turns, he ducks, but not in time. Madison throws the vase from the kitchen table. It bounces off his forehead, lands on the floor, and shatters.

"I hate you!" She screams, and runs for the stairs.

Blood gushes from the gash above his eye. He presses the palm of his hand in to cut and glares after her. His other hand grasping the counter top so hard his knuckles turns white. He fights to control the rage clawing at him to be released.

In a matter of moments, the bleeding stops. Jax cleans up broken glass for the second time. Madison stomps around upstairs. He moves into the living room and sits on the couch. Leaning back, he closes his weary eyes and listens to her running to the nursery, back to the master bedroom, and then down the hallway.

When she comes back down the stairs, Madison is dressed in sweats, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. Her hair is up in a haphazard ponytail. Jackson is propped on her hip, his head resting on her shoulders. His eyes are closed. The blue-striped diaper bag hangs over her other shoulder. She carries a duffle bag in her hand.

Jax gets up and moves towards her, shaking his head at seeing her puffy red eyes.

She stops on the bottom step and looks up at him. "I am going to my parents for a couple of days."

"Don't do this." Jax takes a deep breath, his entire body tense.

She shakes her head. "You are emotionally unavailable. I can't do this anymore Jax!" She pushes past him and all but runs towards the garage.

Jax follows. He fights the urge to stop her. To grab his son and tell her she can't take him. He grips the door leading back into the house.

She buckles Jackson into his car seat and caresses his chubby cheeks before closes the door. Madison turns and looks at Jax with fresh tears running down her cheeks. Her lips pressed together, she looks at him and gives a disappointed shake of her head and climbs in behind the steering wheel. She pushes the controller, and the garage door begins to lift.

"Madison." His voice is soft and quiet, he pleads. "Don't go."

She closes the door and stares out the windshield for a moment before she reaches down and starts the car and backs out of the garage, down the driveway and into the street. 

Jax feels sick to his stomach as he watches her drive away. The same sick feeling he felt when he was unable to save the children from the fire only hours earlier. He walks back into the quiet house. He looks up the stairs and presses his lips together. He's completely worn out, emotionally and physically, but there is no way he is sleeping in the same bed where his wife had just been with Quinn.

On the hallway table, there are pictures of Madison with Jackson. Jax looks at the pictures and spots the one photo of the three of them together. At the company picnic, Jackson had only been six weeks old at the time.

Jax's hands shake as the looks at the picture. His eyes fill with mist. He blinks rapidly to clear them. He huffs a frustrated breath and walks dejectedly to the couch.

Leaning back, he stares at the picture before allowing his head to fall back onto the soft leather. His mind races with thoughts of a thousand ways to torture Quinn before killing him.

With the picture frame against his chest, he closes his eyes. The next thing he knows, an insistent knocking at the front door jolts him from his sleep. Jax stumbles to the door and jerks it open.

Quinn stands on the front porch a look of concern on his face. Jax immediately tenses to keep from lunging at the man's throat. Then he notices the police officer standing behind him.

"Jax, there's been an accident."

Jax gives him a deadpan stare.

Quinn shuffles his feet, "Madison was in a car accident." He clears his throat and looks down, "I'm so sorry Jax. She didn't make it." When he looks back up, there are tears in his eyes. "Jackson is in critical condition."

A roar fills his ears. His eyes blur. Jax sees red. His entire body clenches as the beast inside him fights to be free. Through the haze, he sees the police officer lift his arm and point the gun at him.

The moment the dart hit his neck it all made surprising sense to Jax. They couldn't let him lose control.