As soon as I saw the announcement for First Response anthology, I knew I had to be a part of it. I enjoyed working Delilah Devlin on her last Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, and this one has a special place in my heart. I spent a decade on the streets of Atlanta as a firefighter/paramedic, so this First Response anthology was right up my alley! I had lots of adventures and made lasting friendships and memories during that time. I even met my first husband there. If you’re interested, I posted the story on Delilah’s blog. If you missed it, check it out here.
At first, I thought this story was going to be a breeze to write. I soon found out that, sometimes, you can actually have too much inspiration. As I dreamed and schemed different stories, memories kept colliding with my ideas until I had a log jam in my head. I wrote three different stories full of heat and action, but none of them came together. They felt forced and phony. Finally, I went back to my roots. I went back to a fire station, a group of guys, and a feeling of family. From there, the story came together.
The call described in this story is a combination of a couple of different situations I encountered during my career. The little details in the story from the jargon to the flow of the call were as close to the real deal as I could make them. Now, what happened after the call… Let’s just say, what happens on the truck stays on the truck 😉
Here’s an excerpt from my story, “Crossing the Line.” I had a blast writing this and hope to write other stories that draw on my time in public safety. Enjoy and be sure to pre-order, so you don’t miss this or any of the other fantastic First Response stories!
Excerpt from “Crossing the Line”
Jeff wasn’t sure about Kat. She was more rattled than he’d ever seen her. She was always one of those who could walk away from the worst scenes and, soon after, be scarfing down a burger and joking with the guys. The calls never seemed to get to her, but Jeff thought that this one might have slipped past her defenses. He watched her as she finished up her hand-off report with the nurses and followed her as she walked toward the medic’s breakroom.
“Derek and Levi, awesome job back there. We’ll debrief later. Tyrone’s taking the engine back to the station. Why don’t you guys get started on putting the truck back together,” Jeff said as he and Kat walked into the break room and found their crew members drinking cans of soda at the small table. Levi gave him a look, but thankfully, didn’t argue.
Jeff locked the door behind them and dropped into a chair. Kat didn’t say anything. She just went to the sink to wash up. He could see her hands shaking from across the room. He leaned the chair back on two legs and tried to pretend he wasn’t shaking just as badly. Those kinds of scenes got under your skin. You had to get it all out, or it would eat you alive. He’d never before seen Kat pushed this far. He wasn’t sure how she would handle it. Hell, he wasn’t sure how he was handling it. It took every ounce of his restraint to sit and wait. Later, he’d deal with his own baggage, but for now, if Kat needed to fall to pieces, he wanted to be sure she had a soft place to land.
Kat washed her hands in the sink and forced slow deep breaths in and out of her lungs. Her body felt like a car with the accelerator stuck to the floor. She wanted to scream, run, dance, and cry—all at the same time. It was like having a caged tiger crashing around inside her. She hated this part. Usually, she’d take a walk or get something big and chocolaty from the cafeteria. But this time was different. This time, she’d been in the line of fire, not just dealing with the aftermath. Her guts churned as she replayed the bullet slamming into Calvin’s tiny body, and the night suddenly exploding with chaos and noise.
She leaned on the sink and looked down at her uniform shirt that was smeared with blood. She unbuttoned it, yanked it off, and let it fall to the floor. The white tank top she wore beneath it was similarly stained. She swore and tugged it over her head. She thought about rinsing it out but knew it would never come clean. Moving on autopilot, she tossed it in the garbage and stood there for moment, unable to think of what to do next.
Finally, she noticed him. Jeff sat there kicked back in a chair, lounging like he had all the time in the world, and he was watching her.
Kat’s gaze locked with his. The tiger raging inside her roared. A rush of heat ran through her as she looked at Jeff with his long legs spread wide, balancing the chair on its back legs. His hands rested lightly on his thighs, but they curled into fists in a testament to the tension he was working hard to hide. She crossed the room in a couple of quick strides.
He let the chair fall with a sharp crack against the tiled floor and opened his arms to her as she straddled his lap.
Kat wrapped herself around Jeff’s hard body. Hungrily, she pulled his willing mouth to hers for a searing kiss. God, she had wanted to feel this for so long. His arms tightened, pulling her hard against him. Her heart thundered in her ears as her hands moved restlessly through his hair. A frenzy of desire and energy clawed at her, wanting to be set free, and with a moan, she gave herself over to it.
- Delilah Devlin: What’s Coming? Contests! Excerpts! (Contest–3 Winners!) — This ends at midnight! Win a Bad Boy Anthology!
- Michal Scott: The $5.00 Kiss of Life (Excerpt & Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
- Ava Cuvay: The Tentacle Dilemma (Contest — 4 Winners!) — Win an anthology or a cool T-shirt!