Light my fire, p.1
Light My Fire, p.1Misha Carver
Light My Fire
Big City Heat Firefighter Series Book 1
By Misha Carver
Copyright © March 2016
Edited by: Claudette Cruz from indieeditingservices.blogspot.com
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any way whatsoever without written permission from the author.
This book contains sexually explicit material that may offend some readers and is intended for adult audiences only. That means if you’re under 18, it’s scorching enough to burn your eyes out, so stay away.
Everything in this book is purely fictitious and none of the people in it are real. They exist only in my overactive imagination. If they seem like someone you know, it’s just a coincidence. It also means you must have some pretty exciting friends.
All sexually active characters are over 18 and none are related by real or imaginary blood.
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
About The Author
I smiled as I walked out into the crisp morning air. What a great day to be alive, I thought to myself as I passed by the Johnstons’ yard. Their garden, filled with peonies and other flowers that I’d seen before, but didn’t know the names of, was a sight to behold. The delicious floral scents permeated the air and further boosted my mood.
I couldn’t wait to arrive at the station. Today was the day I would finally receive my long-awaited promotion to Fire Chief. For months I’d been the acting chief while they searched for a replacement for Larry.
Poor old Larry, he’d served with the team for years, probably longer than he should have. We’d all seen a shift in his judgment and his memory, but he still knew his stuff until that last fire. One bad call and his career came to an end.
Seeing him in tears as he packed his office broke my heart. As firefighters, we often didn’t show emotion. We were immune to it. It’s not that we became hardened in our line of work, it’s that after a few years on the job feeling anything was difficult.
When I found out that I was his temporary replacement I felt terrible. Larry had been my mentor, the one who helped me during my rookie days. I wasn’t out for his job, and I didn’t want him to think I had reported him.
I remembered walking into his office as he put some pictures from the shelf on his wall into a box. He turned to look at me with his gray hair slightly out of place.
“Alex, I’m sure you’ll lead this team well. Make me proud,” he said as a tear ran down his cheek.
“I didn’t...” I managed to get out as I choked my own tears back.
“I know,” he said softly. “It’s time I retired anyway. Margaret’s been bugging me to spend more time at home. Apparently there’s some work around there that I’ve been neglecting. This is your chance, little one. Now show this department how bright you can shine.”
I nodded my head. A tear escaped from my eyes as I reached out to shake his hand.
“Alex, it’s my last day,” he said. “This is no time for formalities.” He pushed my hand out of the way and hugged me. It was more than a hug, it was a reassurance that I was capable, that I was strong enough, and that I was ready for the position that I was being left in.
As of today, I thought to myself, the position will no longer be acting. I’ll be the Fire Chief. It’ll finally be official and I’ll have the raise that goes along with it. God, how I needed that raise. I had an alcoholic husband who wouldn’t work, so we had a single-income household, and an eight-year-old daughter.
My sweet little Emily was both beautiful and brilliant. She looked like a china doll with her dark hair, pale skin, and rosy cheeks. And brilliant; she could outsmart almost anyone. When Jeopardy came on the television, she knew all the answers. She was a genius in the making. But there was one problem. She couldn’t hear.
At home, we were able to work around it by using subtitles on the television and using sign language. She also attended a special school for the deaf. However, her school didn’t offer any programs for gifted children, and I couldn’t afford to send her to a private school that could accommodate her needs.
Almonte Institute for the Deaf had a great program for gifted children and it was only a block away from our house, but the tuition prices were higher than my income allowed. The raise that came with being the Fire Chief would put me in a position to enroll her. Excitement flowed through me as I thought about all of the possibilities for her future.
“You look rather chipper this morning O’Neil,” Anderson said as I bounced into the station and made myself a coffee.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” I answered. “It’s a beautiful morning. The birds are singing and the sun’s shining. What’s not to be happy about?”
“You sure it doesn’t have anything to do with the big Fire Chief announcement this morning?” Billings asked as he walked over to the big table in the middle of the room and sat down.
“Was that today?” I asked innocently with a big grin on my face. “It completely slipped my mind.”
“Yeah, right,” Anderson said as I sat down at the table and joined them. “You’ve only been waiting for today for six months. I doubt you forgot all about it.”
“Don’t worry, guys. It’s just a title. Nothing’s going to change around here,” I promised as I took a sip of my coffee.
I was always jealous of the camaraderie the rest of them had. Sure, I felt the same teammate bond with them, but they were closer. They all lived together, but I didn’t have that option.
With a husband, and a child for that matter, living in the firehouse wasn’t practical for me. As much as I felt like one of the guys, part of me felt like I was missing out, like they saw me as somewhat of an outsider.
“When is Chief McMillan arriving from Ankington, anyway?” I asked, trying not to sound too eager.
“She who doesn’t care wants to know when the bigwigs will be here. Sounds like she’s a little antsy to me,” Billings laughed.
“Maybe we’ll get a call just before the meeting and you’ll have to wait for the announcement,” Anderson laughed.
“Knock it off, guys,” I said as I took a sip of my coffee and saw three men walking into the station.
Chief McMillan stood with a clipboard held tight against his chest. He had the same stern expression on his face that he’d always had. I didn’t recognize the other two men.
“Let’s get down to business, shall we?” Chief McMillan said, not wasting any time. “Join me in the meeting room now, please.”
We all got up from the table and went into the meeting room. As hard as I tried not to smile, I couldn’t control my facial expressions. My dream, my biggest aspiration in life, was about to come true.
The musty smell of the wooden chairs and the old wooden floors filled the room as I sat down. That old room needed some TLC in a big way. As people filed in and sat down, Chief McMillan waited for everyone to quiet down.
I sat there smiling. The chief was saying such wonderful things about me, and I hadn’t expected such a flattering introduction.
“Before we announce the new Fire Chief, Chief Blondin from Manitonga wants to say a couple of words.”
I watched as one of the men who came in with Chief McMillan stood up to speak. He was a brute of a man, probably excellent in the line of fire, but obviously not used to public speaking. Before he opened his mouth, he lowered his head and scratched the back of his neck, a sign of nervousness.
“A Fire Chief has a lot of responsibilities,” he said. “Not just paperwork, and putting people in the right positions. The chief also has to take care of his men. That isn’t just about keeping them safe either. That’s about ensuring they are always in the right physical and mental state to go out there and risk their lives to save the lives of people in the community around them.”
Wow, I thought to myself. I hadn’t realized I’d been doing all those things. Kudos to me. I’d have to work harder on talking to everyone to make sure they were okay emotionally in the future. But at least they thought I was doing a good job of it for now.
“Without further ado, may I present to you your new Fire Chief, Chance Friedman.”
I stood up and started walking to the front to shake their hands before he even finished his sentence. I didn’t hear Chief Blondin say the name, probably because of the excitement of the moment and being lost in my own thoughts. I was halfway there when I realized that someone else had been given the honor.
My cheeks burned when I saw him standing there accepting the position, Chance Friedman. My childhood rival. The boy who grew up next door to me. We’d gone all through school together. He’d made my life a living hell, always making fun of me and teasing me. And now, years later, at my moment of glory, here he was taking it away from me. Bastard.
I turned to walk back to my seat, only to see my colleagues struggling to hold back their grins and giggles. I’d made a complete ass of myself, and I didn’t get the raise I needed. Goddammit, I thought as I tried to sit as low in my chair as I could. I needed that raise so bad.
I waited until the congratulations were over and everyone started filing out before I approached Chief McMillan.
“Are you fucking serious?” I asked as I walked up to him and grabbed his arm.
“That’s no way to talk to your superior,” he reminded me as he pulled his arm away. “Do that again and you’ll be on suspension.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ve been doing this job for months, and you hired out of the local station. I don’t get it.”
“You don’t have to. It’s just the way it is.”
“But I needed this job, I needed the raise. I have a daughter to support. She needs to go to a special school. I’ve been the acting chief ever since Larry left, and there haven’t been any complaints filed against me. You know I can do this job better than anybody.”
“I’m sorry, Alexandria, but we just can’t have a female chief. A chief has to make calls without emotion or empathy getting in the way,” he said with that smug look on his face.
“That doesn’t make sense. You’ve been letting me do the job...”
“Temporarily. I’ve been letting you do it temporarily. We never intended for it to be permanent. I’m sorry if you thought otherwise. If you want to keep your job here, you’ll be answering to Chief Friedman from now on. If not, I wish you well on your future endeavors.”
I stormed out of the meeting room, my cheeks blazing red, as fury tormented my soul. Couldn’t have a female chief? What the hell was that? It’s the 21st century for God’s sake. Whatever happened to equal rights?
“Here she comes, it’s Miss America,” Billings laughed when I entered the room. “Are you ready to accept your crown?”
“Don’t talk to me,” I snapped as I poured another coffee. I knew I’d need a lot of coffee to get me through the day after losing out on the promotion.
“What’s the matter, didn’t things go the way you planned?” Anderson chuckled as he set his cup down on the table.
Carmella, the only other female on the team, walked over and put her arm around me. “Don’t sweat it,” she said. “Shit happens. These guys are just jerks. Don’t mind them.”
“I’m okay,” I reassured her. “They got a good laugh out of it all. I’m glad my misery could entertain them.”
“If you ever need anyone to talk to,” she said hesitantly.
“Thank you,” I replied. “The offer goes both ways.”
Chance walked into the room with a clipboard in his hands. His first day on the job and he already looked like he owned the joint. I wanted to kill him.
He’d taken away my only shot of putting my daughter into that private school. He’d humiliated me for years when we were growing up, and somehow he’d managed to do it again.
I walked over to the table, trying not to look at him. The awkward teenager with acne had evolved into a handsome man with a strong jaw and perfect skin. His perfection disgusted me, and looking at him only made me hate him more.
I wanted to leave, to hand in my resignation and walk out. But to do that would leave me with no way to support my family, so I was stuck.
As he pulled out the chair beside me and sat down I felt the bile rising in my stomach. Just having him near me made me want to hurl. It would serve him right if I puked on his shoes, I thought to myself.
“Before we do anything else, I want to get to know each one of you,” he said.
I turned and looked at him. His sandy-brown hair and cocky expression didn’t fool me. He didn’t have a clue what he was doing.
“We should be doing our group workout right about now,” I said as I took a sip of my coffee.
“Getting to know the team is important to my job,” he said as he turned to me.
“Our group workout is important to our camaraderie and our ability to stay fit enough to do the job,” I said, staring back at him.
“I’ll talk to each of you and then we’ll do the group workout,” he offered.
“The workout should come first,” I responded.
“Don’t challenge me,” he said, trying to stare me down. “I said I’ll talk to each one of you first.”
I sat there feeling defeated as my teammates looked at me and smiled both because they were impressed that I stood up to him, but also because they felt bad that I’d been through so much in one day. As he called everybody one by one into his office, I waited impatiently for my turn.
For some reason, as much as I hated him, I wanted to get in there, to tell him what I thought. I wanted him to know that he was stepping on my toes and that he wasn’t going to get away with it. I was the rightful Chief and he was the lowly rodent who stole the position away from me.
“Alexandria O’Neil,” he finally called in that low, gruff voice of his. It was almost like velvet. If I hadn’t been so angry with him, it might have turned me on. But in that instant, it only made me angrier.
I stormed into his office and slammed the door behind me.
“Take a chair, Alexandria,” he said, motioning to the one in front of his desk, the desk that used to be mine.
“Don’t call me Alexandria,” I said with a sneer.
“What would you prefer I called you?” he asked with a funny grin on his face.
“Alex, or O’Neil. Almost everybody around here calls me O’Neil.”
God, how I hated it when people called me Alexandria. My parents were so unimaginative. They spent their honeymoon
“Alex it is,” he said as he smiled at me. “You’ve been the acting chief for several months, I see.”
“Yes, I have,” I said as I folded my arms in front of myself.
“I don’t mean to step on your toes by coming here. They hired me because I’m the best man for the job.”
“You could say that,” I replied with a smug grin on my face.
“What do you mean by that?” he asked.
“Oh, you know exactly what I mean by that, and don’t pretend you don’t.”
“Okay then,” he said as he looked back down at the file in front of him. “You need to stop contradicting me in front of the team.”
“When you’re wrong, I’ll contradict you all I want.”
“This team only needs one chief, and I’m it. Are we clear on that?” he asked as he stared right through me.
“Why are you here?” I asked, challenging him once again.
“Because you weren’t what they were looking for,” he said without backing down.
His words stung and I struggled to hold back the tears that I could feel coming to my eyes. There was no way that I would let him see me cry.
“Why do you do this to me, Chance?” I asked. “Why do you always find a way to make my life a living hell?”
He looked up at me again with a strange expression on his face. “What the hell are you talking about?” he asked.
“When we were growing up and all through school, all you ever did was pick on me.”
“Excuse me?” he said with a questioning expression on his face. It was clear that he had no idea who I was and that I needed to refresh his memory.
“At the bus stop, you got down on your hands and knees and had someone else push me, so I’d fall over you. You took my pet frog and rolled down a hill with it and killed it. You made my books fall out of my locker and hit me in the head. You...”
“Lexi?” he asked before I could go on. “Lexi O’Neil? My God, I haven’t seen you since we finished high school. How have you been?”
“Like you even care,” I said. “You never cared back then and you don’t care now. I’ve been just fine. I have a husband and a daughter and a great job. Up until today, I thought I was getting a great promotion, but then some jackass stole it out from under me.”
Light My Fire by Misha Carver / Romance & Love have rating 4.5 out of 5 / Based on36 votes