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Controlled Burn (Kilgore Fire #4)
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July Dupree and Dean ‘PD’ Hargrove fell head over heels in love. When PD comes home to tell July the good news about joining the SWAT team as a tactical medic, everything changes.
July can’t fathom why PD would want to be a cop in this day and age. Wasn’t it enough that he already had a dangerous job with the fire department? Now he has to add another, even more dangerous, job to the equation? With so many cruel people in the world who make a sport out of hurting cops just because of the badge they wear, she has to make him understand. But when he refuses to listen to her reasoning, she feels she has no other choice but to issue an ultimatum: her or the SWAT team.
Dean doesn’t like ultimatums. He’s furious with July for putting him in the awful position of having to choose between a dream and her.
A year later, they’re both still in love with each other, but neither one is willing to budge regardless of their feelings.
July’s feelings for Dean haven’t changed, in fact her love for him has only grown. But seeing him living his life seemingly unaffected by the loss of what they had breaks her heart over and over each time she sees him.
Dean has a good poker face, though. He’s just going through the motions of his life until finally, the smoldering embers of his feelings erupt into a full-on blaze of emotion, burning through everything but his love for July. When the smoke clears, Dean wants to know if they can reignite the fire of their love or is he destined to live his life in a constant state of controlled burn?
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Nobody is born a warrior. Exactly the same way that nobody is born a bitch. Sometimes life just happens, and bitches have to adapt.
-Words of Wisdom
My belly was practically rolling inside of my abdomen.
“Why do they have you working at the fire station?” Des asked as I drove to the fire house I would be working at today.
“Apparently, the chief that works here needs some help with some paperwork that the city is now requiring them to have on file. I’m going to help make sure all the men and women employed by the fire department have the right paperwork,” I explained as I made the final turn onto the street that would lead me where I was going.
“That’s kind of cool. Able’s there for another half an hour,” Des explained.
Able was Des’ husband, and I loved him to death. I was actually quite relieved to know that he was going to be there. Able’s fellow firefighters could be intimidating.
It wasn’t that they weren’t nice; it was just that they were all extremely good looking, and my mouth never seemed to be able to spit the words out correctly.
I said a silent prayer that Dean wouldn’t be there, and actually thought I lucked out as I pulled into the parking lot and didn’t see his truck.
“I’m here,” I said. “Wish me luck.”
Des laughed and wished me luck, and then I hung up before her laughter could get too annoying.
My best friend knew all about my crush on one particular firefighter.
She also knew how I got tongue-tied and always ended up making a fool of myself in front of him.
“Thank God,” I breathed as I parked my truck next to a motorcycle, thankful that I didn’t see the familiar sparkly red truck.
“Yo,” Able said before I’d even gotten out of my car.
I looked up to see him tucking his phone back into his pocket, and I grinned at him.
“She called you, didn’t she?” I asked.
He nodded. “We’re not going to eat you.”
“I didn’t say that you would,” I informed him primly. “Nor did I say anything that even remotely sounded like that to her over the phone.”
He grinned. “You get your sink fixed?”
I nodded quickly. “I fixed it myself. I YouTubed it.”
He snorted. “You rigged it up, and it’ll likely break, won’t it?”
I shrugged noncommittally.
“Mayyyybe,” I hedged. “Show me where to go.”
He bowed slightly and threw his arm around my shoulders.
“I’m about to get off, my relief showed early. I’ll show you where to go, but I’ll be gone if you need anything else,” he told me. “Dean’s here, though.”
I tripped over myself.
“What?” I tried to act like that name had no effect, even though we both knew it was a lie. “I didn’t see his truck.”
“He rode his bike in today,” he explained, easily reading the truth on my face. “The one you parked next to is his.”
I swallowed thickly and asked, “He rides?”
Able nodded his head, and I wanted to groan.
I loved motorcycles.
Loved them. They were like crack to me.
As if it wasn’t enough that Dean was tall, dark and handsome, but he just had to go and add ‘I ride a motorcycle’ to the list? Could he be any sexier?
Eight hours later, as I was leaving, I realized that yes, he absolutely could get sexier.
I’d successfully managed to avoid Dean all day.
I’d seen him, yes. However, I hadn’t spoken to him. In fact, the only person I did speak with, the entire day, was Chief Allen who showed me what he needed, gave me what he had, and then had left me alone all day in the office to sort his shit and compare the city’s notes to his.
I’d even skipped lunch in order to avoid all of the sexiness that was Dean.
Now, though, I saw that my luck had run out.
“Well, hello there, pretty girl,” Dean’s smooth, deep voice drawled.
My head snapped up from my contemplation of the concrete to find him sitting on his motorcycle directly next to my truck.
“H-hi, D-Dean,” I stuttered.
He grinned, and his straight white teeth flashed.
His eyes started at my toes and worked their way up as he took me in, and his grin widened.
“I like your shirt,” he said.
I looked down at the Kilgore Fire Department shirt that I’d bought from Allen before I’d left, then back up at him.
“I’m going to go eat, and I hate wearing dressy shirts out. They’re uncomfortable as hell, and I forgot my t-shirt to change into,” I blurted out in a rush.
“Are you going to eat by yourself?” he asked, his eyes holding mine.
I nodded my head, my eyes searching his face.
I couldn’t make out the color in the near darkness, but I knew for a fact that they were a warm brown resembling the color of melted chocolate.
I’d memorized quite a bit about Dean Hargrove.