Circumstance has left Finn McNeill without a place to stay. Which means her only option is the spare room of rugged firefighter Shane Dwyer. Soon Finn's burning question is--should she act on the attraction smoldering between them?
The tension's simmering, the chemistry's sizzling and the flames of passion are licking at their heels! Perhaps one secret white-hot night will be enough to put out the fire?
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August 07, 2007
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Excerpt from The Firefighter's Chosen Bride by Trish Wylie
"I have new carpet coming next week."
Shane laughed. "Not any more you don't." "It's cappuccino." "You bought coffee?" "No, the carpet colour."Finn nudged him hard in the ribs. "It's cappuccino. That's what it's called."
"I'm sure it'll be lovely on the lawn."
There wasn't anywhere else left to put it. "We might have stood a chance of catching it if you hadn't thrown vodka on it."
Finn grimaced. "I thought it was water." "Water would have been better. Though to be honest it would have taken more than a glass of the stuff."
"All right, wise ass. But if you didn't have all that expensive training that I, as a tax-payer, paid for then you might have thrown the first thing that came to hand at it too."
"I might have remembered what I was drinking before I went to bed."
"I wasn't drinking it."
Shane's dark eyebrows rose. "Oh, really? Do tell." There were times when Shane Dwyer's way of asking a question accompanied with a mischievous sparkle in his blue eyes just bugged the hell out of Finn. Standing freezing to death in her pyjamas on a wintry December evening while her house was on fire was one of them. The fact that to answer him would involve a foray into her disastrous love life didn't help any.
She smirked at him.
After a brief burst of deep laughter, he inclined his head. "C'mon, babe, move back a wee bit more."
She stood statue-still on the pavement for another second as she looked at her house, eyes wide and blinking.
After all, a moment like this one deserved a little reflection, didn't it? She should be thinking deep and meaningful thoughts, contemplating twists of fate and the flammable quality of racks of underwear set to dry in front of a fireplace. Even with a fireguard.
Though, in hindsight, throwing the burnt-out candle ends on the open fire before she went to bed probably hadn't been a Mensa moment.
If only she'd forked out for a tumble dryer. But it had been a choice between a tumble dryer and nice carpet. And carpet had won...
She found herself curious about the stupidest things. Had she put away her ironing? Had the DVD recorder taped the show she'd set it for before she'd left on her date? If she'd thought to have a selection of mixers available for her date would there even have been a glass of neat vodka for her to throw at the flames?
"Finn.' The deep voice became more demanding of her attention. "C'mon, look at me a minute."
Turning her head, she had to tilt her chin up to look into his familiar blue eyes. She could see many things there when she searched. She could see concern, warmth, sincerity. Obviously her taxes hadn't been wasted on his training in the customer service department.
She scowled at him. "I'm having a moment here."
He grinned down at her, white teeth glinting in his dirtsmeared face. Then he reached a gloved hand out to touch her arm. "You go right on and take that moment. Don't let the chance of smoke inhalation ruin it for you."He winked. "Eddie is on his way; he'll be here any minute."
He'd called Eddie already? That was nice of him, considerate even. Not to mention above and beyond the call burning down that had connections to the local fire brigade as Fionoula McNeill did.
Her brother Eddie was third generation after all. Technically she'd now broken new ground by being the first generation to actually start a fire, so it would be sad if her brother missed it, right?
Shane continued to grin. "It's almost all done here anyway. Then we'll get you home to our place, babe."
Babe. He kept calling her babe, didn't he? Somewhere in her addled brain she allowed the endearment to slip through where it rattled around in her skull for a while and then seeped down into her chest. She'd have paid good money to hear him call her that in that tone before.
It was an awful shame it had taken her house to burn down for him to use it, on her. He never had trouble using the word on any other female on the island they called home. Finn knew.
It was a throw away word for him, thrown mostly at skinny blondes with skirts so short they probably had permanent kidney infections, as it happened.
Knowing that meant it shouldn't have had any effect on Finn. But it did, it made her feel as if she had his full and undivided attention. Which didn't suck. Though the smoothing of his hand on her arm should have been more than enough to tell her she did even without the sexy sparks in his eyes.
If she'd just known all it would take was for her to burn her own house down...well, damn. Mentally she clicked her fingers at the missed opportunity.
Apparently sarcasm was her way of coping in a crisis. She sighed. Oh, well, it had always worked for everything else, why would this be any different?
Her eyes focused on his hand as she cleared her throat and managed an eloquent, "Thanks."
"No problem. I keep tellin' you I'm one hell of a guy, don't I?"
"That you do. But I'm wearing entirely too much for you to waste time flirting with me."