Jessica dreams of putting out fires but can she cope with fanning the flames of Kevin’s smoldering heart?
When she turns thirty, Jessica realizes time is running out if she wants to pursue her dream of being a firefighter and paramedic. Kevin offers her the opportunity to make her dream a reality, but both are unprepared for the flames of desire their meeting ignites.
But what’s with Kevin? He flirts with her, then pushes her away. Not that she needs the complication of starting a new job with a reputation anyway. Jessica decides she’ll just concentrate on her training instead of the dreamy guy who can’t make up his mind.
Friends complicate the matter even further, wreaking havoc on Jessica’s plans to stay focused solely on her goal. As Jessica’s tests approach, she and Kevin must come to terms with their burgeoning love for each other. Will circumstances snuff their chances for happiness?
He stalked to the hall and walked through the door that had been closed when he first arrived before realizing it was her bedroom. In the far corner sat her bed, shoved against the wall. With its high head and footboards, it seemed to have walls of its own. Covered with an Indian-patterned purple satin spread, it made a passionate cocoon he wouldn’t be able to forget soon. She stood in front of a dresser with a cake on it. It didn’t say anything, but it must be his birthday cake.
“Did you want something or did you just want to admire your naked cake?” she asked. Her voice didn’t sound sarcastic, rather it was pleasantly teasing.
His hands started to sweat when she said naked. “We are not a couple,” he said.
“I noticed.” She picked up the cake. “Anything else?”
He stared at her. I noticed? What kind of a response was that? He hadn’t considered what kind of response he was hoping for, but bland acceptance wasn’t it. She could be a little more heartbroken. A little upset. Some kind of emotion. Unless she really didn’t care. Damn, was he the only one who felt some kind of connection here?
She shifted the cake in her arms. “Can you move so I can take this to the kitchen and write on it? For a guy who wants a short party, you don’t seem to be interested in expediting the process.”
He stepped back, and she walked past him, carrying the cake to the kitchen. He followed. Bobbie needed to explain herself. She’d made it sound like Jessica had been telling everyone they were involved, but Jessica didn’t act like she’d ever considered the notion. So what did Bobbie mean? And why did he feel so let down? “What do you mean, you noticed?” he asked.
“Kevin, you have made it abundantly clear that you wish you’d never offered to help me.” She put the cake on the tiny counter and turned to take a bag of frosting out of the refrigerator.
“Is Happy Birthday Kevin all right with you, or do you have a special request that isn’t more than
seven words long?”
“What makes you think I don’t want to train you?”
“That is ten words and won’t look good on the cake, so Happy Birthday Kevin it is.” She leaned over the cake, squeezing frosting through the plastic tip. Her hair fell across her cheek, hiding her expression from him.
“You didn’t answer the question.”
“I didn’t want to.” Her voice sounded tight, like she might be fighting tears.
The thought of her in tears alarmed him. He’d seen her push herself past where a lot of guys gave up and didn’t like to think what it took to make her cry. However, this was more the response he’d hoped for. Tears meant she wasn’t completely ignorant of him, so she must feel some kind of attraction too. “Then why did you put so much work into this party if you think I don’t want to train you?”
“Because I like to give parties and because you are training me. Even though you don’t want to.” She paused halfway through writing Birthday because she’d made an h that looked more like a b. “You want this?” She scraped the frosting off the knife and held out the crumpled h on the tip of her finger. For an instant he considered licking it off and shook his head before thought managed to translate to action.
“Your loss.” She licked the frosting off her finger, leaving a smear of green on her lips.
Kevin forced himself to look away. This whole conversation was taking too long, and there was a yard full of guys who would ride him mercilessly if they noticed. Still, he didn’t want to leave her right now. She still sounded upset and it had to be his fault. Plus, he hadn’t thanked her for the party yet. Getting a look at where she lived hadn’t cooled his desire at all. She had an apartment so
welcoming and comfortable he’d gladly move in tomorrow. Everyone said she was a great cook and none of those guys would lie to be nice. She planned a party tailored for him and she used that cake decorator like a professional. “You’re really good with that,” he commented.
She barked a laugh. “It’s all in the hands. You should see me dissect a frog. I’m a wonder.”
“It’s a really nice party. Thanks,” he said, trying again. “I guess it’s not all parties I hate, just the ones I get invited to.”
“I host a mean brunch, too.” She spelled out his name with sure, even strokes. “I even have my own melon baller.”
“I want you to know I appreciate it.”
She nodded and straightened. Reaching around, she put the frosting back in the refrigerator. As she licked frosting off her fingers she didn’t look teary or upset, but she had another green smudge on her cheek. “Just think, in six and a half weeks I’ll be out of your hair.” Her mouth quirked into a sarcastic smirk.
He stepped forward so quickly she jumped back a step, flattening herself against the wall. Her dark eyes went round, looking up at him in alarm. Grabbing her shoulders, he murmured, “You have no idea.” The frosting still on her lips sweetened the kiss. Her body curved against his as his hands slid down to her waist. Even after the workouts she wasn’t hard in all the wrong places. He
wrapped his arms around her waist, lifting her off the floor in his eagerness. Her hands grasped his shoulders, pulling him against her as her lips parted to his probing tongue. A soft moan escaped her, shivering through him. He tangled his fingers through her hair, luxuriating in its satin texture. His need for her was growing beyond his control. If he hadn’t wanted to be seen talking to her, he certainly couldn’t be caught having sex with her.
He stepped back as abruptly as he’d moved forward, leaving her leaning against the wall dazed and breathing through her open lips. Her cheeks were stained with a faint blush. “You can’t tell any of them about this,” he said trying to catch his own breath.