Read When the Smoke Clears (Interracial Firefighter Romance) Online

Authors: Kenya Wright

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Multicultural, #Romantic Comedy, #Multicultural & Interracial

When the Smoke Clears (Interracial Firefighter Romance) (3 page)

BOOK: When the Smoke Clears (Interracial Firefighter Romance)
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Calm it down. We have a bunch of batteries and awesome sex toys. There’s no need to get excited over warm flesh and muscles. Forget these men.

Too bad his voice drummed through me. “Have a good evening, Kassie. I’m glad your son pulled that alarm.”

Chapter 2

Lorenzo

K
assie
walked away and I hated it.

Lust warmed in my groin, making my cock stiff and tingle at the tip. Possibilities flashed through my mind—me inside of her moving to a gentle rhythm. Cupping that lush bottom of hers, spreading the soft cheeks apart, and licking the puckered bud in the center. I bet no one ever did it like that to her. I bet I could teach her many things, make her less angry, less scared.

And she was very scared.

She had a tough exterior, but she’d been through some shit. I could tell from the way she would barely meet my eyes. She was turned on, and hated it. Maybe even afraid of it.

You’ll have to get over that fear.

I shouldn’t have watched her walk away, but how could I not? There was a grace to her movements, and that squeezable behind didn’t help. It should’ve been against the law for her to have those shorts on. If she were mine, we would’ve been in bed as soon as I had spotted her.

If she were with me, I’d be answering all the questions that had come to mind, after seeing her. Was she ticklish and where? Was that tough girl performance just an act or was she soft inside? Would she whisper my name in bed? Or would she roar? How did she moan—long and hard or soft and rhythmic, like a sensual melody?

My hormones sparked a whole list of puzzles. Yet, my heart had one single question repeating in my head.

How bad did her ex hurt her?

My best friend Zorro moved to my side. He’d gotten the name because of his ex-girlfriend. She discovered he’d been cheating with her sister and then posted his nude pictures all over Facebook. The photos hit everyone’s timeline, from long-distance cousins to the Captain of our station. One of the images showed him with a Zorro mask, hat, G-string, and holding a sword.

Although we waited for Zorro to get over the heartbreak and stupidity of losing her, we had some fun with the situation. A few guys made posters of the masked image and plastered them all over the kitchen. The nickname stuck. Later, Captain made us take the posters down, but only after a month of them hanging on the walls.

Zorro whistled as he watched Kassie walk away. “You get her number?”

“No.”

Zorro had a surfer look—blonde hair, blue eyes, and the sort of tan one gets from lounging on the beach all weekend. He whistled again. “Now that’s a good-looking woman.”

“Take your eyes off her.”

His whistling ended.

Kassie got to her car, and I continued studying that behind.
Turn around, baby. You know you want to.
She did and I smiled at her. I could’ve sworn a curse came out of her mouth, as she faced the car and got in.

Zorro caught the action and commented, “She’s a hot one too. Does she have a sizzling temper to go with those red locks?”

“Don’t worry about what she has.” I waved at Kassie and Richard as she drove them off and looked the other way.

The red convertible passed by us.

Laughing, Zorro ran his fingers through his blond hair. “I don’t think she likes you. We might’ve found the first single mom to block your game.”

“She’s fast with her tongue.” I thought about the other thing she could do with that mouth.

“I watched the whole thing. I thought you were going to attack her when she walked up.”

“I almost would’ve, if her son hadn't been standing there. A woman’s curves are like kryptonite to me. I’ve never met extra padding that I didn’t want to touch.”

“I watched you do that smoldering look. The one that’s a mixture of
Zoolander
and a bad Fabio book cover.” He did a bad job of holding back his laughter. “And still, she looked as if she didn’t like you, Lou.”

Like the others in my company, he called me Lou, short for lieutenant.

“You’re just going to rub it in?” I turned and walked away.

“Hey, Lou. You’ve been on a roll since summer. I must’ve seen you grab a number at every job. But not this one. Finally, your streak is over.”

“No one’s counting, but you.”

“Well, we’re all really counting
on
you.”

“Did you all make another bet again?”

“Let’s not focus on that. Let’s discuss that hot moment again. Okay. It could’ve been a scene out of soap opera.” Zorro lifted his hands and swung them around like a conductor. “I heard fucking violins and shit playing. It was like da-di-da La-di-da. Doves were flying.” He brushed off my shoulders. “I think you have some feathers over here.”

“Touch me again and I’m going to break the fingers on your right hand. Which will ruin those special moments you have with yourself?”

“So violent.” Zorro backed away. “How can you be such a sexy god in one moment and a mean monster in the other?”

“Shut up.” I headed down to our truck.

Unfortunately, Zorro followed. “I really was moved by the scene. Magic happened. And your cheeks held a rosy blush.”

“You sure you want your shift covered for Christmas this year?” I raised my eyebrows. “Because if you keep this up, I’m thinking I won’t be able to find a replacement.”

“Sorry.” He patted my back. “I mustn’t anger the love bird.”

I groaned. “By the way, did you get her number? Because where we were all standing, it didn’t look that way.”

“We?” I checked the trucks. Several of my people stood there, as if they’d been watching me the entire time. Knowing my crew, they probably stared at Kassie and my exchange. “Why are you asking?”

“It’s just a question,” Zorro said. “So, did you get her number and could you give me some details?”

“Why?” I stopped.

“Just wondering.”

“Yeah right.” I frowned. “Did you run a bet on whether I could get her number or not?”

Zorro winked. “We may have.”

“How much did you bet?”

“I put down fifty for you getting the digits. I was confident that
the look
was too smoldering for any regular woman to resist.”

“You lost fifty.” I kept on walking. “The look and uniform didn’t work. In fact, she mentioned a knife and my dick in the same sentence.”

“Wow. Brent is about to get a payload. He predicted something close to that.”

My frown deepened. “Good for Brent.”

“No worries. Maybe you’ll see her again. Sarasota’s a small city.”

“She wouldn’t even take my card.”

“You tried to give her a business card?”

“Yeah.”

“This is why you suck at dating and continue causing me to lose these bets. What the fuck is that? It’s not even sexy.” Zorro deepened his voice and did an impression of me, “Here, sexy lady. Take my business card. This is for business, and yet, it is for so much more. Like. . .non-business things. Check out my font. I bet this logo with a fire makes you so hot.”

“Shut up. The card usually works.”

“For skanks.” Zorro waved me away. “We’ve had this discussion before. The flame groupies don’t care. They’ll take your number anyway they can. They see us as heroes. Gods of fire. They think we walk around the station all day with bulging muscles and suspendered fire pants, grunting and dripping sweat off of our mountainous pecs.”

I cracked my neck. “That’s pretty much a typical Monday for me.”

We made it to the truck. Everyone else jumped in and got to their seats. It’d been a long day of car accidents and prank fire alarms. The shift would be over soon. The rest of my crew for this week, Merck, Kathy, and Proc, hung around the side and tuned in to Zorro.

“What’s the answer, man?” Merck called out to us. “We’ve got big money riding this bet.”

“He didn’t get the number,” Zorro yelled back.

My words dripped with sarcasm. “Can you scream that even louder for me?”

Brent cheered. “Yes. She looked too pissed, walking up to you.”

“Thanks a lot, Lou.” Kathy dug her hands into her pockets and handed Brent several bills. Everyone else exchanged their money, the losers glaring at me and muttering a couple of jokes on my behalf. I got out of there, before I had to deal with any more embarrassment.

Once everyone got into their vehicles, Zorro and I climbed into our truck.

“I want to win future bets.” Zorro put the keys into the ignition. “So, I’m going to give you some advice. You need to do more than hand a woman a business card and the look is outdated.”

“You’ve never had a relationship last longer than a month. I bet the business card works.”

Zorro honked the horn at two chicks speed walking on the sidewalk. They giggled and waved back.

“Eh, what did I tell you about doing that?”

“Sorry. They’re too hot not to celebrate it.” Zorro said. “Okay. So back to the ladies.”

“I’m done with it.” I rubbed the tension in my neck. “The whole serial dating thing is getting old.”

“Serial dating?”

“I’m probably going to start looking for something that’s more than a warm body at night and a wet hole.”

“Not the old man talk, again?”

“Thirty-five isn’t old, but I’m damn sure thinking more about what I should be doing in life. I don’t know if I need a wife, but I want something more long term.”

We pulled onto the main road and took our time heading back to the station. In Sarasota, people drove slowly and took it easy. Most of the population was comprised of vacationers and retired folks, the rest served them.

Sarasota didn’t have the flash and fast pace of Miami, in the south, or provided amusement like Orlando. in the east, but it sat along the west coast of Florida as the number one most visited beach in America.

Sarasota had the western Florida Keys—Longboat and Siesta. Both boasted of pure, white sand beaches, smooth like powder under the feet. The ocean waved and sparkled under a gentle sun. There was always an available parking space. Never crowded with too many people. Never loud or obnoxious. Snorkeling spots outlined all of the keys. Down-home restaurants bordered the rest—from high-end soul food to Ethiopian cuisine. All of my life, I’d lived here and could never move away.

We’d just entered September, the beginning of great beach weather and tourist season, lasting from now until May. This fall would be busy. These months would bring European travelers and gypsy beach bums. Art and entertainment also lured people to the city. Classical musicians from all over the world moved here to play in the symphony. Plus, the city had more theaters than most in the state—from the black opera troupes to improv comedy groups. A festival, concert, or major red carpet event was scheduled for every weekend, and with the liquor and laughing, dancing and romancing, came the fires and our alarms ringing.

Then death would come,

end the fun,

and remind us all of our mortality.

Every tourist season brought death, whether car accident or house fire. There was no way of avoiding it.

Sometime this fall,

I would be carrying another lifeless child out of a fire.

Sometime this fall,

I would wash that young one’s dead skin off my gloves, inhale the stink of smoke and burning flesh, and watch it all stick to the sink and mingle with the ashes.

Sometime this fall,

I would need someone to hold at the end of the night, when the tears poured out and the rage over a child’s death was too much to bear.

Last fall, I almost started drinking, again. I almost fell back into my old poisons—one night stands and limitless bottles of beer. I almost lost control and bought a six-pack. I’d come close, but had kept my three years of sobriety intact.

Zorro interrupted my thoughts. “Are you going to try and get in touch with this chick through the volunteer form? Maybe get her number from there?”

My head grew fuzzy. “I don’t know.”

“That’s not like you. Where’s the usual cocky determination? Hey, maybe you can convince her to be your friend. A little hand job every now and then, just because you both are best buddies?”

“I don’t know.”

Zorro scratched his head. “What?”

An odd feeling of loneliness hit me. It had been doing that more and more. “I don’t know. Maybe I have more to offer a woman than my dick.”

A clueless expression covered his face. “You lost me.”

“I lost you, because you’re a heartless animal.”

“I’m sorry. What did you say?” Zorro cupped one hand around his ear. “I can’t hear you, because I’m swimming in so much pussy these days. Everything is sloshing around. You’ll have to speak louder.”

“Idiot.”

“So maybe you’ll be just friends with no benefits, huh?” Zorro waved my theory away. “Dumbest idea I’ve heard you say all month.”

“That’s the twenties talking.” I patted his head. “You’re a young buck. Wait until you get to the mid-thirties, my friend. You’ll wake up and wonder about your legacy. What would you leave to the world? Kids? Family? Who the hell is going to take care of you or come visit your old behind, when your penis is shriveled up and you can’t remember your name? You’ll start thinking of the type of person that you want to die with. Who you’ll want to change your adult diapers.”

BOOK: When the Smoke Clears (Interracial Firefighter Romance)
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