Update! Tuesday’s winner was Kelli Jo Calvert!
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Rachel’s been an online buddy of mine for a while. I knew she wrote great paranormal, but I didn’t know she wrote it hot too! After I read her story “Smoking Stilettos,” I knew what the first story in the collection had to be. She combined passion, humor and danger into a tale that showed us what it’s like to love a firefighter…
From “Smoking Stilettos”
by Rachel Firasek
The metal door leading into the garage slammed against the concrete, startling me from my tears. “Ooh, he’s really pissed.”
“Climb in back and stay down.” Derek, my husband’s best friend and my almost-always savior, opened the driver’s-side door and lunged to the ground.
He didn’t bother shutting it behind him. One of the fire trucks was still drying out front after being hosed down, so I had an opportunity to watch the two men.
“Hey, Matt. What’s up?”
I peeked over the back window sill from the rear seat and winced at the red ring climbing up my husband’s throat. Soon he’d resemble a tomato. Not good for a man on the cusp of high blood pressure at thirty-five. Even if he did irritate the hell out of me, I wanted him to have plenty more years on Earth.
Matt flexed his shoulders. “Don’t. Where is she?”
Derek held both hands up, palms cupped like he might need to catch hold of Matt when he came at me. And he would. Oh, not in a violent way—no, not my honey. But he would make me pay.
“What did she do now?”
Matt pulled his shaggy hair back, revealing a thin bleeding cut above his temple. “She threw a fucking designer stiletto at me. Cut the shit out of me. I’ll probably have to have Doc look at it before I go on duty.”
Derek’s chuckle echoed in the empty garage. “Damn. What did you do?”
Matt shrugged, and a dimple formed beneath the right corner of his lip. He hated that dimple, but I thought it was the cutest thing ever.
“What?” Matt blew out a deep breath. “So I told her about the Twenty-Fifth Street fire. She overreacted and kicked her foot at me. I don’t think either of us expected her shoe to fly off, but it did.” He snorted. “While I’m on the floor, holding my eye, she darts out the damn door.”
That was only half of our problem. I had overreacted, but he also knew that every time he came home and told me those horrible stories about burning bodies and devastating destruction, I saw him taking the place of the people he saved. When he was on the night shift, I woke up in cold sweats, worrying. I missed appointments—and as an assistant at one of the most prestigious law firms in Manhattan, I couldn’t afford the distraction. I found myself skipping dinner, worrying over that call.
So when he came home to tell me yet another of those stories like running into an inferno was just another day at the office, I lost it. He couldn’t really blame me for that.
Derek hung his head, his shoulders shaking with a deep rumble of laughter. “That’s why she only had one shoe!”
“I knew she’d run to you.”
My friend and savior had ratted me out. The bastard. “Derek, you are so dead to me.”
Both men glanced toward the truck. Shit! I scooted across the backseat, flipped the handle, and half-slid, half-rolled to the ground below.
Derek’s voice rose over the fire truck I’d used as my hideout. “Sorry, sweet angel, you did this all on your own.”
The metal door leading to safety slammed shut and someone flipped the lock. Damn, I hated not being able to see.
“You can come out now, Red.” Booted feet carried the words to the right, toward the cab of the truck. “There’s nowhere to run and no one here to save you.”
I reached down and pulled my remaining stiletto from my foot. Yes, I still wore it. The cabbie who had driven me to the station hadn’t believed it either. I clutched that polka-dotted fave in my fingers and began to climb. The cold metal step carried me up to the deck with all the lines. I placed my toes on a hose coupling and pushed up, climbing the side of the truck as if my very life depended on it.
Matt veered around the corner of the truck and shouted, “Get your ass down here before you fall.”
Yeah, not really the love I needed to coax me back down. I tossed my remaining shoe in his direction and kicked a leg over the top railing that kept the hoses in place above the tank. A black tarp draped across them kept me from slipping in the grooves. “You stay back and cool off, Mathew.”
He placed his hands on his hips. “What now? Where you going to go?”
I glanced around. Damn, he’d cornered me after all. “Please,” I began. He twisted his lips in that way he had when he didn’t believe my pleading. “I mean it, baby. I’m sorry.”
“Oh, you are not getting off that easy.” He stepped up on the cab, wedging his boot against the back of the truck, and lunged up.
Christ, he could climb this thing much better than me. I shrieked and scrambled across the tarp. My knees screamed at me as the stretched fabric scraped them raw. “Ow.”
A warm hand caught my ankle before I could climb over the other side. “Nuh-uh. Gotcha.” He tugged and flipped me to my back in one smooth move.
My chest heaved, precious air wheezed down my throat, and a huge body pressed down on my poor, deprived lungs. “Oomph.”
“Yeah, I should give you worse than that, brat.” He stroked my hair away from my face and used his elbows, tucked close to my ears, to lift his weight away. “Calmed down now?”
I nodded, but frantically searched the area for a weapon. He’d never get me to really admit defeat. And have no doubt, that’s what this game was about. I bucked my hips against him. “You can get up now.”
“Nah, I like where I’m lying just fine.” He wedged a knee between my thighs and settled between. “Better.”
Better for him. Sure. I already felt just how much better he liked it against my stomach.
If I gave in to him now, he’d continue being the hero and taking chances with a life I considered mine—his. “Look. We. Need. To. Talk,” I said.
“Nope. Tried that, and I’m bleeding for it. Now we do it my way.”
He dropped his head. His green eyes flared a half-second before his lips landed on mine. In a way only two people who knew each other could, we came together with an intensity that startled me. Heat flooded south and mewling whimpered from my throat. Damn traitorous hormones. A large hand trailed down my neck, lower, to the first button on my blouse.
I reached up and caught his knuckles. “We can’t.”
“The guys in the kitchen. The fact that this is your job. I can keep going if you’d like.”
That dimple peeked below his lip. “I don’t mind.”
He scooted down, releasing buttons as he went. The zipper on my skirt scratched loudly in the silent garage. “Matt.”
He spread kisses above my navel. “Shhh…you owe me.”