Time to tame the Alpha! Our huge 20 author bundle just released and it’s 99 cents for a limited time! Featuring paranormal and contemporary tales from NYT, USA Today and National Bestselling Authors. Below is an excerpt from my story, Falling for the Firefighter, in the anthology.
“Let me walk you out.” He’d called out the words before questioning whether it was a good idea or not, and in a few long strides had caught up with her.
Her eyes rounded slightly and there was a flash of resignation in them, before she gave a small nod.
They left the fire station and he followed her as she made her way to a gray compact. His mind swirled and he struggled with what to say to her. What would be expected.
“So,” he sucked in a breath, and the next words came out like a verbal slap. “Do you always flirt with other guys when you have a boyfriend?”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her flinch and she stumbled in her stride.
“No. I never do actually.” Her terse reply cut through the quiet darkness of the January evening and quickened her stride. “So you can take your assumptions and—”
He caught her arm, making her words end on a gasp as he pulled her to a stop.
“You realize your boyfriend pulled a knife on me that night, Kim?” He gave a harsh laugh. “Or is Kim even your real name?”
“It’s my name.” Her mouth thinned and he saw her visibly swallow before she gave a shake of her head. “And I had no idea he had a knife on him. Were you hurt?”
“No. But the owner of The Blue Lounge was.”
“God, I’m sorry. This is all my fault.” She pulled away and unlocked her car door. “But he wasn’t my boyfriend. He was my ex.”
Lucas frowned and held her door closed before she could open it.
“For an ex he was sure acting like you guys were still together.”
She closed her eyes and bit her lip. “Yeah he was. Because he doesn’t want to admit we’re through. He still gets jealous over the idea of me with anyone else.” She shrugged. “I didn’t know he was there at the club that night, and if I had, I would’ve left earlier.”
Concern and anger mixed. “That doesn’t sound healthy.”
“Clearly it’s not.”
“And so you booked it out of there when he confronted me.”
“He gets a little violent when he’s drinking. Add in jealousy and it’s a lousy combo. I hoped that in my leaving,” she hesitated, “he’d follow me instead.”
Disbelief had him shaking his head. “That was a shitty plan, if you don’t mind me saying.”
“No, you’re right. Instead he stayed and pulled a knife—”
“I was fine, Kim. Trying to lure a violent ex out into a dark parking lot by yourself was the shitty plan.”
Her shoulders crumpled as she made a murmur of defeat. “Maybe it was. But I liked you, and I didn’t want to see you get hurt.”
Maybe he should’ve focused on the not wanting him to get hurt bit, but all he kept hearing was she liked him. And she seemed to realize how it sounded, because under the faint street lamp he could see her cheeks go pink.
“Look, I really need to go.” She lowered her gaze. “I wouldn’t have come today if I realized you were the firefighter in my house.”
“Why did you come? Are you sure it wasn’t because you felt something between us last week? Whether you realized it was me or not?”
She bristled. “Your ego is on the massive side, isn’t it?”
“Probably. But answering a question with another one is an obvious diversion tactic.”
“Yes it is. I’m going to leave now, if you don’t mind.”
He didn’t step back just yet. “What are you doing tomorrow?”
“Have dinner with me after you get off work.”
Her pink lips parted and she didn’t speak for a moment. “Why would you want to do that? I pretty much got you beat up that night.”
“I think I came out okay, sweetheart. And you know what? I liked you too.” He reached out and brushed the back of his fingers down her cheek, needing to see if the blush-stained skin was as soft as it looked. “In fact, I think I still like you.”