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Blurb/Excerpt for Up in Flames
Juliet Baker is not looking forward to coming home after six months. Yes, the fiery brunette wants to make a go of turning her parents' farmhouse into a B&B. She’s just not looking forward to seeing the place where they died. To make things worse, she knows she'll finally have to face her cheating, firefighter ex-boyfriend.
Luckily, her sister has found Jules a boarder. Easy money, right? Not when she realizes the boarder is Captain Shane Gaskill. Not only is Shane a firefighter, he’s the town's hot new fire captain.
Jules is determined to hate all firefighters. After all, the men of that precious brotherhood protected her cheating ex. Shane, however, proves he’s different from the start. He's protective and kind, and she can't stop looking at his smoking, Viking-hot body. She learns, though, that Shane isn't so willing to love again either. He's been hurt, too. They both fight the sexual chemistry, and resulting tenderness, between them. But when a stalker begins to target Jules, they realize they can't fight their desire forever.
As the threats escalate, Shane and Jules are thrown together. The resulting passion overwhelms them. But are they willing to trust each other and surrender to the flames of love?
When he saw the woman, his breath caught in his throat. It was her, the rude but delectable brunette from the gas station. The one, he loathed to admit, he’d been thinking of almost the entire drive over.
“We meet again,” he whispered. “Maybe Ms. Baker has a gorgeous granddaughter?”
Gorgeous didn’t seem to be the right word for her, he decided, as he watched her argue with the firefighter. Her delicate face had blushed rosy pink from anger, and her bright eyes shone with indignation. She was splendid in her fury, from her cropped black hair to the shapely legs extending from her khaki shorts. Her body was tense, but her stiff shoulders could not detract from the soft, swelling bosom below them. The woman’s fists were clenched, so much so he ached to calm and relax her. Her generous lips were pursed into a tight line, but he remembered their sweet fullness when she’d gawked open-mouthed at him at the gas station.
No, her anger did nothing to diminish her many charms. Gorgeous wasn’t quite a strong enough word to describe her. Stunning seemed more appropriate.
“Oh, come on, babe,” the other man replied. “You always took things so seriously.”
“You mean, like our relationship? Yes, I did.”
“I swear, those others meant nothing to me.”
Listening to the other man, the other firefighter, Shane felt his own anger rising. How many others did he have when he had this knockout as a girlfriend?
“Kevin, I can’t do this right now. Please, just go.” Her eyes grew moist.
Her tears were not lost on Shane. He felt his stomach clench, and he was seized by the extraordinary impulse to protect her. She might be a bit odd, careening away from him earlier, but something in her luscious figure and angelic face called to him.
He heard the other man, Kevin, begin to protest. And then, Shane heard his own baritone voice cutting through it. “I believe the lady asked you to leave.”
Shocked, the other two turned to see Shane hurtle over the porch railing to the yard below. He pulled himself to his full height and approached Kevin and the brunette.
“Who the hell are you?” Kevin demanded. “This is a private conversation.”
“The lady asked you to leave.” He nodded at her, and then came to within a foot of Kevin’s face. “Consider it an order from your captain.”
“What?” Kevin blurted, as the woman’s jaw hit the floor.
“You’re the new fire captain?” she asked. And then her eyes dropped to his chest, the one he’d last displayed in its naked, sweaty glory.
Shane inclined his head toward her and smiled. Damn. Up close she was even prettier. At that moment, he would have given anything to get rid of that Kevin.
“Captain Gaskill?” Kevin ventured. A comical flurry of emotions flew across his face, betraying everything from anger at being interrupted to fear for his job.
“And you are?”
“Kevin McGuinness. It seems you’re my new boss,” he said slowly, as if mentally choosing his tactic for dealing with the unwanted newcomer. “You’ve got the wrong idea, though. This lady and I have a relationship…”
“Had a relationship,” she broke in.
“Mr. McGuinness, we’ll talk again when I’m settled at the station.” Shane used his most authoritative tone, the one that brooked no opposition.
Kevin, blue eyes blazing and blushing himself now, stared down his captain. Shane suppressed a chuckle, wondering at his luck at making an enemy in Riverbend, despite having only been there a few days. He could see Kevin wanted to take a swing him, but had enough brains to decide against it.
Instead, the man addressed the woman. “I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Whatever,” she replied. As soon as Kevin pulled away in the Mazda, she stormed toward the house.
Shane called out to her. “Miss, excuse me. Do you know where I can find Ms. Baker?”
“Why, Captain Gaskill, you’ve already found her.” She turned about, hazel eyes flashing and then pounded down the walkway to the house.