It was her smile that really got me. Her lips were just so damn plump and smooth. I wasn’t going to lie, a part of me really wanted to know what it felt like to have her mouth against mine. Curiosity had me yearning, but my brain kept me in check. Still, when she grinned, the corners of her sparkling blue eyes crinkled in the most dazzling of ways. There didn’t seem to be anything fake about her. And her laugh –lighter than the air itself. If I hadn’t been sitting amongst my colleagues in such a public setting, I would have allowed myself the time to imagine running my hands about her body, exploring every inch of her skin with the tips of my fingers, with my tongue.

When that biker laid a hand on her, something inside me snapped. I knew I had to do something to help her. She just looked so small and defeated and it bothered me to no end to see her so distressed. I didn’t know her. I didn’t need to know her, but I knew that she deserved better than to be manhandled by a bunch of greasy looking scumbags. Maybe it had something to do with my profession, but it really looked like she needed some saving, so that was exactly what I did.

Jeremy sighed again. “If you were that interested in her, why did you let me ask her out?”

“I wanted to see you make an ass of yourself.”

“You’re heartless, you know that?”

I chuckled. “Maybe you’re just losing your edge.”

Jeremy rolled his eyes, shifting in his seat. We were lounging about the firehouse –on call, as always. There was no telling when the alarms would start blaring, so we were both decked out in our bunker gear. Our jackets and helmets were downstairs, hooked up neatly next to the big red firetrucks currently resting in the station. Jeremy and I only had a couple of hours left until our shift was over. Maybe we’d end up going to Jessy’s Diner again. It sure as hell beat cooking.

Maybe I’d get a chance to bump into that sweet waitress again. Bump into her and accidentally get us alone so that I could get a chance, a taste of what it would be like to have her in my arms. I rarely ever got hung up on a woman. But one look at Alice and I was hooked. She was too bright, too hot to turn away from –kind of like a blazing fire.

“You talk to your sister lately?” Jeremy asked, checking his message on his phone.

My younger sister, Terri, was settling down with an old high school friend of mine, Joe. They had a daughter together, but the kid wasn’t Joe’s. In all actuality, it was an incredibly long story. She seemed incredibly happy, which was all that really mattered to me. The last time we spoke had been a couple of weeks ago over the phone, but work tended to keep me too busy to catch up.

“No,” I answered. “Why?”

“She promised to send me her old pork and cauliflower casserole recipe.”

I grunted. “Why? You can’t cook for shit.”

“I will have you know that I’m broadening my horizons.” He gestured with his hands, drew a line with his palms facing out. “Chicks dig a guy who knows how to cook.”

“Mhmm.”

“What? I’m serious.”

“Oh, I believe you. I just don’t have any faith that you’ll make anything edible.”

Jeremy placed his hand over his chest and pouted pathetically. “You know, words hurt.”

I smirked and chuckled, “Then suffer.”

He didn’t get a chance to make a snappy comeback. The alarms inside the firehouse started to blare, red lights flashing to alert us that there were fires that needed fighting. Without another word, Jeremy and I hopped up from our seats and made our way over to the pole, sliding down one at a time. My hefty boots hit the concrete below with a satisfying thud. Miriam, Brent, Abel, and Roger follow close behind as we snatched our coats and helmets and got into the truck. Jeremy was the one who got behind the wheel while I radioed the station for more information.

“Hit me up, Chief,” I said into the receiver.

Chief Wilson’s voice crackled over the radio. “Code 3, I repeat, code 3. Apartment fire on Lansdowne and Fifth. Received a 10-67 from the upper floors, proceed with caution. Ambulances en route, several casualties –severe smoke inhalation and second-degree burns.”

“Copy that.”

I flicked the switch that set the truck’s sirens and strapped in. We were out of the firehouse within thirty seconds –not the fastest we’d ever rolled out, but certainly not bad by department standards. We peeled out onto the curb and maneuvered through the city streets. It was a good thing it was rather late in the evening because there weren’t many cars that were in our way, resulting in a very impressive arrival time.

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