Authors: Delilah Devlin
Tags: #Firefighters;Kink;BDSM;Menage & Multiples
When temptation flares hot, the only casualties could be their hearts.
, Book 3
Gage Eastwood races to the burning apartment next door and discovers a woman trying to put the fire out herself. As a professional, he can overlook the fact she’s in her underwear, except there’s a nosy neighbor snapping cell phone pictures. And soon everyone knows he rushed into action buck-ass naked.
Not many people know that shy, mild-mannered Viviana Moore is a bestselling romance author. But once the pictures of her scantily clad backside guarding the sexy firefighter’s
go viral, the entire city of Memphis wants to know if he’s the muse for all her heroes.
When Vivi accepts Gage’s invitation to his sex club, La Forge, she can’t bring herself to admit that while she writes about kink, she’s never done anything kinky. But soon she has more than enough material for a whole new series. And Gage is wondering if just one manly muse is enough to satisfy her…curiosity.
Warning: Contains a firefighter who doesn’t hesitate to throw himself into harm’s—or pleasure’s—way. And a writer who’s about to discover hands-on is the best approach to research. Keep an oxygen mask handy if you’re prone to shortness of breath.
Gage Eastwood opened the door of his apartment and let out a sigh. Dead quiet greeted him—pure bliss after sharing space with his firehouse buddies, no matter how much he liked his crew. A man needed quiet, time to screw his head on straight before facing another busy shift where a moment’s groggy hesitation could cost him his life. He closed his door, flipped the deadlock, and began peeling his dark T-shirt over his head when he got a sour whiff of Sunday’s Chinese takeout that he’d forgotten to deposit in the dumpster before he’d left for his last shift.
Sighing again, this time in irritation, he tugged his tee back into place and headed to his trash can. On the way, he quickly sorted his mail, tossed unopened letters, not bills, into the sack—no one he knew would be writing him anyway, so it had to be junk mail—and tightened the ties. Then out the door he went, quickly making his way down the steps to the parking lot below where he chucked the sack into the large green dumpster. When he turned, his gaze moved from his apartment’s windows to the windows beside his. A figure passed in front of the glass. A woman with dark hair, wearing black-framed glasses and apparently talking to herself.
Did Herman have a houseguest? The old codger next door never had visitors. Something that didn’t surprise Gage because he was the most unfriendly person he’d ever met—which made him the ideal neighbor. He minded his business.
The woman passed again, this time closer, and her gaze shifted to him in the parking lot. Rather than politely looking away, she leaned closer, her lips still moving quickly as she stared down at him.
Gage smiled slowly as more of her came into view. Creamy skin. Dark brown hair that touched her shoulders. Despite the ugly glasses and plain sweatshirt, she was cute, and her interest was apparent as her gaze perused his firehouse uniform. He lifted his hand to give her a little wave, and she jerked backward, raising her eyebrows.
Hadn’t she known he was looking her way? He shrugged, any thought of knocking on his neighbor’s door fleeing as she left the window. Just as well. He was beat. The last fire hadn’t wrapped until nearly three that morning—a house fire that had left only charred remains, although everyone in the family had escaped unscathed. And that was what counted. A
fire meant no casualties. He could rest easy knowing he’d done his job, and that no one, not the family left homeless nor any of his crew, had been lost.
As he traipsed back up the steps, he thought of Danny Truitt, the friend he’d lost the previous year when the roof he’d been venting collapsed beneath him. There wasn’t a day that passed that Gage didn’t think about him. His picture was prominent in the hallway entrance to the firehouse and on Gage’s own foyer wall. The only way to honor the fallen was to remember them.
The brunette all but forgotten in his gloom, he entered his apartment, tapped the picture of his buddy standing in uniform beside their truck, and headed down the hallway to his bedroom.
Sometime during the night, Gage kicked at the sheets twisted around his legs. He was dreaming about the fire that had taken Danny. Once again, Gage was rushing up the ladder, his heart in his throat, trying to get to him and Coop, who was standing next to Danny when the roof sank beneath his feet.
With the lieutenant shouting in the radio to get off the fucking roof, Gage grabbed the back of Coop’s jacket to drag him away from the hole. Fire was licking at the opening. There was no hope of rescuing Danny from above.
With smoke building, Gage wrapped his arms around Coop to tear him away.
This is a dream. A dream. Wake up!
He opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling of his bedroom while he remembered to breathe. He hadn’t had that nightmare in a while. Why now?
Then he smelled it. An acrid scent you didn’t have to be a firefighter to recognize.
He kicked back the covers, rushed from his room to the kitchen, tore open the doors of the cabinet beneath his sink, and reached for the fire extinguisher. Then he loped to his door and flung it wide. He ran along the covered walkway but didn’t have to go far to find the source. Bright flames flickered in Herman’s kitchen window. When he reached his neighbor’s door, he pounded on the thick oak. “Herman! Fire! Herman, you in there?” When there was no response, he turned sideways and rammed the wood with his shoulder, hoping he wouldn’t pop the ball from the socket. The frame gave, and he was inside. Light, softened by the haze of smoke, gleamed from the kitchen. The fire alarm was blaring. Sounds of soft curses, interspersed with a desperate, “
No, no, no,”
alerted him that Herman wasn’t the source of the cries.
No matter. There was a fire. He was a firefighter. “Ma’am, you need to get out of here,” he called out, crouching as he entered the smoky interior.
More coughing sounded, and he moved forward, only to smack head-on into a soft cushion of fluffy hair. He reached out, felt a bare shoulder, pulled the woman past him, then went to his knees and headed toward the fire flickering in the haze. Slipping the pin from the handle of his extinguisher, he stood, aimed the nozzle at the blaze, and depressed the lever. In moments, the fire was extinguished, although smoke still billowed. Covering his nose with his arm, he reached for the window over the sink and opened it to allow the smoke to escape.
When he could draw a deep breath, he turned toward the figure huddled against the wall.
His jaw dropped. Her pretty features were so far from Herman’s wrinkled old mullet he couldn’t help but stare. He locked glares with smoke-reddened green eyes through big black-framed lenses a second before he took in the rest of her lush, pale curves. It was the brunette he’d seen earlier, dressed in the sexiest lingerie he’d ever seen on a woman. The satin and lace were the same color of the creamer he used to lace the bilge-water coffee the rookie at the firehouse made, and still darker than her ivory skin. And the bookish glasses only made her sexier. He’d always had a thing for librarians…
Remembering his manners and the situation, he reached downward. “Ma’am, let me give you a hand.”
She tried to swat his hand away, but he grabbed hers and forcefully tugged her upward.
Her gaze landed on his chest, darted to the open window, and every place in between, but she wouldn’t meet his gaze. He supposed she had a right to be embarrassed at being caught in her underwear. “Don’t be shy,” he said gruffly. “I’ve pulled naked women from their beds in a fire.”
“That’s supposed to make me feel better?” She rolled her eyes. “I almost burned down this building trying to boil water.”
His mouth twitched. “Maybe you should stick with the microwave.”
In the distance, he heard sirens and the sounds of shouting.
“Over here! The fire’s here!” And then the voices were nearer. “In here!”
Gage glanced downward and tightened his jaw.
The woman’s eyes widened, and she quickly glanced downward as well.
A moment later, three men pushed into the kitchen, all wearing helmets and turnout gear.
“Damn, Gage,” Billy Sorensen drawled. “You’re supposed to put out the fires, not start ’em.”
“You put it out with your pants?” Tiger Murphy said, a grin stretching across his face.
Gage drew the woman closer. “Don’t move,” he said under his breath.
“You protecting my dignity or yours?” she said, a smile beginning to lift one corner of her very sexy mouth.
Gage grimaced, knowing there was no way in hell his buddies from the other shift were ever going to let him live this one down. “Someone find me a towel?”
“Should we come back later?” Moog said, his dark face split by a wide grin.
“A towel,” he said, gritting his teeth as Moog shouldered past him to lay down more foam on the stovetop.
“Doesn’t appear to be much damage to the wall, but we’ll have to tear it out anyway to make sure there aren’t any embers inside.” Moog glanced over his shoulder to give Gage a waggle of his eyebrows. “Might wanna wait next door while we finish up.”
Knowing his buddies weren’t going to help him out, he turned the brunette to face away from him but kept his hands on her hips. “Just walk. They’ve seen it all anyway.”
Outside her apartment, he heard laughter below from relieved tenants as they lined the walkway. Flashes nearly blinded him. “Son of a bitch,” he ground out.
Her shoulders shook, and she gave a laugh.
He was surprised by how casually she was taking the fact they were doing a walk of shame from her apartment to his—her in her underwear, him in his birthday suit.
She had to be in shock.
At his door, which must have swung shut behind him when he’d left, she halted and quickly spun. “Wait, my laptop.”
“Don’t stop now,” he said, gritting his teeth and turning her again to push her toward his door. “Naked here.”
“But my laptop—”
“Will be fine,” he gritted out.
“You don’t understand.”
“Let me get some clothes on. I’ll get your damn laptop. Open the door.” When she still dug in her heels, he leaned closer, not caring his cock was mashed against her ass, and turned the doorknob. Once across the threshold, he pushed her farther inside before closing the door behind them.
“I guess I should thank you,” she said, but her gaze wasn’t on his face.
Gage might have cupped himself to spare her, but her avid gaze only increased his irritation, so he let her stare while his cock slowly filled and rose.
“Fire always affect you that way?” she murmured.
A dark brow arched. “Rushing into burning buildings has to get the blood going. It doesn’t ever—”
“No. It doesn’t.”
“Oh.” She slowly dragged her gaze upward, past his chest, which she seemed to measure with side-to-side darting glances.
When she reached his eyes, he gave her a scowl.
Which only made her lips twitch.
Gage let out an exasperated breath and strode past her. “I’ll find some clothes.”
“Don’t on my account,” she said, laughing.
“Lady, don’t you have any shame?” he threw over his shoulder.
“None,” she called after him. “Ask my publisher!”
* * * * *
The next shift, Gage tried to sneak into the open bay to avoid being noticed. As he edged around the truck, he pulled up short when he found all the firefighters standing in a line, every one of them wearing wide smiles.
A whistle sounded. Followed by clapping.
Gage growled. “I suppose you saw the newspaper.”
Noah Turner waggled his brows. “And the Twitter feed.”
“And Facebook.” That last comment came from the lieutenant, who stood behind them wearing a frown. He curled his fingers. “Let’s talk.”
Gage aimed a hot glare at his friends, which didn’t stop them chuckling as he stomped past.
“Sorry about that, LT,” Gage said as he shut the door.
“No apology needed. I was rescuing you,” he said, his steel-gray eyes crinkling at the corners.
Gage let out a huff and settled in the chair across from the LT’s desk. “What a fucking mess.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Phone’s already been ringing off the hook. Mostly calls from women wanting to know if they can drop by with cookies.”
Gage grimaced. “Ah, shit.”
“Yeah, and at least one photographer asking whether there were more like you at the station because she wants to do a calendar.”
Gage wiped a hand across his face. “Fucking hell.”
The lieutenant sat back in his chair, his gray eyes twinkling. “You didn’t have time to put on any pants?”
“I forgot I wasn’t wearing any,” Gage muttered.
Knox nodded. “Guess you also didn’t know she writes
Gage grimaced. “Didn’t have a clue. My neighbor’s eighty if he’s a day. I have no idea what she’s doing there.”
“According to the article, she rented his apartment for the week. One of those short-term arrangements.”
“You didn’t get around to talking?”
Gage felt heat creep across his face. “She was too busy laughing herself silly.”
“Ouch.” He cleared his throat. “The chief called. Said to tell you quick reactions are all well and good, but maybe you should sleep in shorts from now on.”
Gage couldn’t help growling just a little. Everyone was having a grand old time at the expense of his dignity. Still, he wasn’t all that disturbed about the fact that Viviana Moore, if that was even her name, had seemed to appreciate the situation. She’d looked long enough to witness every inch of his interest.
“That it?” Gage asked, wanting to escape. Hell, he’d scrub the truck top to bottom just to get the guys off his back.
“Yeah, get back to work.”
Gage pushed up from his chair and made a beeline for the door.
“Oh, and, Gage?”
Gage glanced over his shoulder.
“Those are for you.”
Gage followed Knox’s pointing finger to the large bouquet of red roses sitting on the desk in the reception area. He frowned. What the hell?
He walked slowly to the mass of flowers and looked amid the thorny stems for a card. He slipped the card from the envelope, read the bold handwriting, and nearly smiled. He leaned close to the blooms and dragged in the scent, imagining rubbing the fragrant blossoms over someone’s creamy curves.
“So what did the note say? Got a secret admirer?”
Gage shook his head and shot a glare at Noah, who was flanked by Coop and the rookie, Luke Harris. Knowing they’d only drag out the ribbing, he flipped the card to show them what she’d written.
“You can put out my flames anytime. V.M.” Noah glanced back up at Gage. “Not sure how to take that. Does she mean she wants you to cool off or wants you to build the fire first?” Only Noah wasn’t looking to Gage for the answer to that question.
Coop seemed to take the question seriously. “Well, there has to be a fire first—so I’m assuming she means for Gage to set it.”
“I don’t know,” Luke said. “After seeing his ass, she’s probably hoping he’ll stay the hell away.”
Gage shook his head. “The lady wasn’t lookin’ at my ass.”