New relationships are always hard, but throw in an arsonist hell bent on killing someone, and they are nearly impossible.
Autumn is a paramedic at a fire station full of dominant men.
Leland is the firefighter determined to keep her safe, whether she likes it or not.
Sparks will fly, and the heat will rise as the two deal with the trials of life-threatening careers and a relationship that is in danger of being extinguished before it can even begin.
Publisher’s Note: This steamy contemporary romance contains a theme of power exchange.
“New guy starts today! Do you think he’s hot?”
Autumn rolled her eyes at her partner as she laced up her boots. “I think hot guys are the only kind who get hired at this station; unfortunately, most of them are married, may as well be married, or jerks.”
“Did you hear that, guys?” one of the men in question shouted from the other side of the lockers. “Autumn thinks we are hot!”
“Damn right! Why else do you think I put up with this job? Sure as hell isn’t the pay!” She slammed her locker shut and headed to the vacant great room. As she grabbed her favorite mug from its hiding place in the back of the cupboard, she headed for the coffee as she mumbled, “I need more coffee before they demand any more ego stroking.”
“I call dibs.”
The hunt for coffee halted. Empty mug in hand, she turned to face the other woman. “Did you seriously just call dibs on a man you have never met and know nothing about? Are we thirteen-year-old girls at a slumber party now?”
Gwen shoved Autumn away from the front of the coffeemaker with a bump of her hip. “You’re just mad you didn’t call dibs first.”
Laughter sounded from the other side of the room. “Do I get a say in this?” A man with dark hair walked toward them, his confidence and slight cockiness becoming clearer with every stride he took. “I’m the new guy, but you can call me Leland.”
“Don’t believe him; he’s far from new and an old friend of mine,” the chief, a forty-year-old man with a toned body that could grace the pages of any fireman calendar, said as he joined the growing group. He removed the coffeepot from the machine and filled both his and Autumn’s cups. “He left our station a few years ago to work in a firehouse in Kansas City.”
“And now you’re back here? Are you crazy?” Autumn questioned as she wrapped her hands around the warming mug and took a sip.
“The city wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, princess.”
She glanced down at the mug in her hands and rolled her eyes at the plethora of miniature pink crowns and the word Princess stamped across it. “Well, congratulations, you can read, but don’t call me that ever again if you want to keep your balls intact.”
“As you wish, your highness.”
His dramatic bow all but forced Autumn’s eyes to roll into the back of her head before she tried to explain. “My best friend got this for me. I would have never bought it for myself.”
“Good to know. Now, about this whole ‘dibs’ thing you girls were talking about?”
“That was her.” Autumn pointed at her partner as she leaned against the counter next to the chief, casually sipping her coffee as she waited for the show to start.
A blush spread across the other woman’s face. “I… you… I hate you, Autumn!”
“Oh, you so love me.”
The corner of Leland’s mouth curled into an evil smile as he bracketed the blushing woman in place by resting his hands on the counter on either side of her hips. “Well, I have a couple of conditions if you are going to call dibs. First, you have to be a good cook.”
“Oh, he can’t cook, definitely gets docked points for that.” Autumn’s stage whisper forced a chuckle from the chief.
Leland glanced over his shoulder, daring her to continue. “I can cook; I just don’t like to do it all the time. It’s a duty I like to share.” He turned back to the poor girl in front of him. “So can you cook?”
Straightening her spine, the woman gathered more bravado than Autumn knew her to have before she said, “I am an exceptionally good cook, but my baking will have you on your knees begging for more.”
The chief coughed, choking on his coffee as Leland laughed outright at her boldness. “Oh, I never beg, but I have no objection to you doing so.”
Her eyes narrowed a second before she stomped her foot. “Son of a bitch! You’re one of them!”
“One of them?”
“A Dom!” She ducked under Leland’s arm and turned to the chief. “For once, could you hire a vanilla man? Please? A simple, non-kinky, vanilla man.” She started to stomp away but only got a few steps before she turned back with a shit-eating grin on her face. “You should talk to Autumn, though. She has been secretly going to clubs in the city for months now. You two may actually hit it off.”
Coffee spewed from Autumn’s mouth. “I. How. How do you know?”
“I have my ways.” With those final words, she flounced away with her head held high.