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I’m thrilled that my novella Feeding the Flames is out today as part of the Five Alarm Alpha bundle. I’d originally started plotting and writing it back in 2012, but because I was about to sign the Grady Legacy contract, I stuck it away in a proverbial bottom drawer knowing that “one day” I’d get back to it and polish it off. So when the lovely and talented Lexxie Couper invited me to be in the bundle and mentioned firefighters, I knew exactly what story I could use.
I love friends to lovers stories — that moment when the embers between two long-time friends sparks into something more, into something intense and hot and long-lasting.
Feeding the Flames
Sometimes your soulmate has been right in front of you their whole life. It shouldn’t take almost losing them to find them.
Returning to her hometown of Barnett Springs after escaping a lacklustre marriage, chef Tabatha Morgan thought her school girl crush on firefighter Zac Buchanan would have died out long ago. Imagine her surprise and delight when Zac walks in the door to her diner and those slumbering embers flare to life. Trouble is, life with Zac means more than just Zac’s smokin’ hot attention in the bedroom— because the real-life smoke, flames and danger of his job are more than she can handle.
Copyright © 2014 Leah Braemel
Even if he didn’t like country music, Zac would have loved the Dirt Road Graduates for getting Tabatha up in her seat, playing music that had her dancing her great, big heart out. Since they’d first taken the stage, she hadn’t stopped smiling. Although, come to think of it, she’d been smiling ever since he’d kissed her goodbye the morning after he’d gone back to the diner and asked her to take him to the concert.
He’d spent last night at her apartment too, stopping off at the diner on the premise of checking what time he should pick her up tonight.
Come to think of it, he’d been smiling a lot too.
With a woot and a pumped fist in the air, she wiggled her behind to the next song, which had the creepy old guy behind them ogling her. Hell, most of the guys in the rows behind them were checking her out. Damned if the woman didn’t have moves worthy of a stripper.
Jake Grady whipped the crowd into a frenzy. If he’d thought Tabatha was psyched up before, as this guy sang she practically vibrated in excitement. She wasn’t the only one. The whole stadium pulsed from the stamping feet and clapping hands. Pity they couldn’t bottle that type of enthusiasm—it would solve the world’s energy crisis.
But for tonight he only had eyes for Tabatha. For the way her hair danced over her shoulders, and the bright smile she flashed at him, as she checked to make sure he was having an equally good time. Just like her.
“Don’t just stand there. Dance with me.” She caught his hand and pulled him into the aisle. As she did, the music slowed.
“Hey, pretty girl.” Zac wrapped his arms around her waist and swayed against her. “I think I forgot to tell you how beautiful you are tonight.”
Unable to resist, he bent down and touched his lips to hers in what he’d intended to be a fleeting kiss. Except she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him back down for a another, this one deeper, longer. Dear God, she tasted of the caramel apple he’d bought her when they’d first arrived, along her own sweetness.
Also in the bundle:
Lexxie Couper: Combustible: Arson investigator, Desmond Russell is the best in Australia. Cool, calm and collected, nothing ruffles him. Until he meets Outback fire brigade captain, Jess Montgomery, a woman who ignites all his sexual desires. The initial spark will engulf them both…but will their hearts survive the inferno?
Delilah Devlin: Wet Down: Out with the old, in with the new… Or so Sherry Thacker thinks. Problem is, her ex is always on her mind—shirtless, sweaty, sooty, and way too handsome—and right across the street. When a “Wet Down” ceremony to retire an old fire truck is planned by the city council to raise funds for the firehouse, she has to put aside her hurt and anger and do her job. Blake Thacker wants his wife back—in the house they shared, in their marriage bed. Still confused how Sherry’s becoming mayor managed to drive a wedge between them, he’ll use whatever means necessary to win her back. Sex is always best served WET.
Marie Harte: Two to Spark: When a psychic predicts that a faulty toaster, a black cat, and the wrong address will bring Cooper together with Ms. Right, he shrugs off the notion as crazy. But before long, fate has something else in store for the sexy firefighter when a spark of attraction ignites into true love.
Desiree Holt: Controlled Burn: Montana Wade was home after writing off the past ten years of her life, but she needed one more night of courage before she faced her family. Boone Crider, hotshot firefighter, was burned out form the rash of malicious fires. They thought one night as strangers would cure them both, but the fire they started between them soon became a barely controlled burn.
Lissa Matthews: Up in Smoke: Half-brothers, Josh and Jay, share everything from a house, to a love of curvy, older women. So when their dream woman accidentally sets her kitchen on fire, they ride to her rescue, sirens blaring, promising to kindle flames that may never be extinguished.
Cari Quinn: Rekindled: Some blazes refuse to be contained. It’s been months since ex-firefighter Katie Kemp has spoken to her former lover and squad mate, Dash Carlton. But when a late night drive down memory lane leads her to a small fire at Dash’s house, she realizes she’s not willing to turn her back on the hottest flame of her life.
Shelli Stevens: Into the Fire: Shannon has always prided herself on holding her own in the male dominated field of firefighting. She likes to be in control. Until she strikes a bargain with a sexy man from her past who makes her give it all up in the bedroom.
Don’t forget, the authors in the bundle, along with a few special guests, are hosting a party over on Facebook to celebrate today’s release. There are contests with prizes, so if you have a chance, stop in. We’ll be there from 9 a.m. eastern to 9 p.m. eastern.