Hearts Afire: April
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by Jamie Craig, Emery Sanborne
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance
Description: Once Burned--By Emery Sanborne--Andreas Sullivan learns that promotion in the fire department comes with its downside when the chief assigns him to settling in their new man and reputed adrenaline junkie, Bobby Ford. However, Bobby proves himself a good addition to the team and makes no secret about his attraction to Andreas. Early in his career, Andreas had a relationship with another fireman that went sour after he was injured in a call. Since then, he has avoided serious entanglement both on the job and off. But Bobby is persistent and Andreas finds himself falling hard and fast. Once burned, Andreas holds back until a close call makes him reevaluate things. A Voice in the Dark--Jamie Craig--On one horrible morning, the existence Anthony Saunders knew disappeared with the crunch of twisted metal. The other driver lost his life. Anthony lost his sight. He almost lost more, but for a single voice. A voice that reached through the fear and confusion, and kept him calm while the Jaws of Life tore open his flipped car. A voice that followed Anthony during his long road to recovery as he learned to live with his disability. Firefighter Dan Middleton's job is to save lives. He certainly doesn't expect to hear from the rescued victims after they leave his brief care. When a blind man he only vaguely remembers arrives at the fire station to express his gratitude, Dan is stunned. He's even more stunned to discover he genuinely likes Anthony. More than he's liked anybody in a long time. Dan finds it difficult to balance his career with a real relationship, while Anthony is still trying to find a way to stand on his own two feet. They only need to have the courage to follow a voice in the dark.
eBook Publisher: Atlantic Bridge/Liquid Silver Books, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: June 2009
51 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [260 KB]
Reading time: 156-218 min.
"Sullivan, got a minute?"
Three steps from the door, so close to being home free for the evening. So far.
Forcing a smile, Andreas turned around. "Yeah, Chief, what's up?"
"Come to the Sanctum." Chief Ed Borowiak disappeared down the hall far quicker than any six foot, two hundred fifty pound man should. But he'd always been frighteningly agile for his size.
After shift in the chief's office, this didn't bode well.
The man had two tumblers and a bottle of scotch out when Andreas joined him.
"The single malt? Christ, this really isn't going to be good, is it?" He dropped down across from the chief.
"You worry too much, son." Ed finished pouring and nudged one of the glasses across the desk. "It's not always bad news when I call you in here."
"Well, seeing as I just got promoted, I doubt it can be that good." Lifting the glass, Andreas swirled the amber liquid around and took a sip, the smooth burn of the scotch warming him as it traveled down. Ed started to speak, but Andreas held up his hand. "One more, I think I'm going to need it." It took two sips to finish off the glass. "Okay, I'm ready."
"You know, your father's rolling in his grave, seeing you treat scotch like that."
"The exercise will do him good."
Ed snorted. "Sacrilege. Your mother raised you better than that."
"Ma's the one who started it."
"I suppose. My baby sister always was an odd one."
Andreas reached for the bottle. "I'll tell her you said that. Now out with it."
"We've been short staffed lately, I'm sure you've realized."
"And here I thought those extra hours were part and parcel of the promotion."
"Anyway, the city finally deigned to send us another warm body."
"How green is he?"
"He has two years under his belt."
Two years was good. Young and eager, but still a bit seasoned.
His relief must have shown because Ed shook his head. "Don't get too excited just yet. This one has a bit of a reputation."
"Adrenaline junkie. First one in, always volunteering for the most dangerous tasks. He's been driving the Conshohocken crew around the bend. Good worker, but a bit of a liability."
"How'd they get stuck with him?"
"Local boy. Well, not much of a boy after sixteen years in the Marines, but you get what I mean."
"Sixteen? Any reason he didn't stick it out for twenty?"
"Would you stick it out for twenty with the way things are in Iraq and Afghanistan?"
He couldn't argue with that.
Suddenly, the reason for this meeting finally hit him. "Hell." He leaned back, studying his uncle. "You're assigning him to me, aren't you?"
"I'd give him to Osborne, but you know how Osborne gets. Makes your old outbursts look like nothing."
Gordon Osborne was the station hothead ever since Andreas had finally managed to get his own temper under control a few years back.
"So I was right to worry," he grumbled. "When's he start?"
Fuck. He barely managed to keep from saying it out loud. Uncle Ed didn't care much for swearing when a building wasn't burning down. "I was off tomorrow."
"Welcome to the big leagues."
"The extra ten a year really isn't worth it."
"You're going to earn every penny of it, kid."
Andreas considered another drink, but decided against it. Work or no, he was still going out tonight. He'd bailed on Benny's last birthday. And it'd make Oliver's day getting a break on the designated driver rota.
He sighed. "What time do you need me here?"
"Bobby's due in around," Ed consulted his calendar, "noon. So just get here before then."
Which meant he could still have some fun tonight. "Thanks, Chief."
"I do what I can."
* * * *
Much to Andreas' regret the following morning, Oliver had insisted on staying DD, meaning that Andreas had consequently drunk more than he'd intended. Though it wasn't as close to what he would have consumed if he'd still been off the next day. But rolling into the station twenty minutes before noon, he wasn't feeling tip top, especially when the sun was so damned bright. Any other day would have been cloudy.
Uncle Ed owed him.
"Weren't you off today?" Gordon asked when Andreas strolled into the locker room.
"I should have been." Andreas gave Gordon a dangerous look. "And I probably still would have been if someone knew how to control their temper."
"Hey now, you hypocrite, I've gotten better! I was only in one brawl in the last six months." Then Gordon started to laugh. "Oh man, that means you got stuck with the newbie, didn't you?"
Pulling a quarter out of his pocket, Andreas pitched it into the nearby coffee canister, which was nearly half full after being emptied two weeks ago. Uncle Ed knew he couldn't break the boys completely, so he made them pay for each and every f-bomb they dropped. "Fuck you."
Gordon only laughed harder, then tossed a quarter in himself. "Have one on me."
"Fuck you," Andreas replied, smiling.
"You wish." Gordon looped an arm around his shoulder. "C'mon, let's go meet the new kid."
Said new kid didn't show up until nearly quarter after, clad in tight blue jeans and worn leather jacket, his sandy hair on the long side and wind tousled. Of course the adrenaline junkie rode a motorcycle. Shaking his head, Andreas took another sip of his coffee while waiting for the new guy to enter the station proper.
"Sorry about that. Traffic's a bitch today. But it's not a habit, I'm usually obscenely early." He smiled with straight, brilliantly white teeth and held out his hand to Andreas. "Bobby Ford reporting for duty."
"Andreas," he shook Bobby's callused hand, enjoying the look of confusion before adding, "Sullivan."
Andreas wasn't a name that tended to go with ruddy curls, blue eyes, and a smattering of freckles, but that was what you got when your dad named you after his buddy with the last name of Sabatino.
"And this here's Gordon Osborne," Andreas introduced. "Make certain you stay on his good side."
"What about yours?" He was only slightly surprised by the appraising look in Bobby's dark eyes.
"Sullivan's got the patience of a saint these days." Gordon clapped his shoulder. "The man only has good sides."
Having co-workers accepting of your sexual orientation generally wasn't a bad thing until they started flirting for you.
Andreas focused on the task at hand. "How about we give you the grand tour, then meet the rest of the guys? Don't judge them by Gordon. Or me. We're the extremes."
"I can live with extremes."
"So we've heard." Andreas led the way.
"Yeah, I have a bit of a reputation. But I'm working on it."
The first call would tell that. "Good. Because this job has no room for heroes."
"Says the man who wanted to be a fireman since before he could walk," Gordon chimed in.
Andreas didn't look back. "It's in my blood, what can I say?"
"Family business?" Bobby asked.
"Sounds like my family and the service. Except Dad, Granddad, and Pop were regular army."
"I'm in it for the women."
"Shut up, Gordon." Then Andreas slipped into his schpeal about the ins and outs of their particular operation, and did his damnedest to ignore how intently Bobby watched him, something almost hungry in his steady dark eyes. Bobby was going to be trouble in more ways than one.