At the Wildcat Bluff Fire-Rescue Station . . .
Kent Duval’s mind whirled as he tried to reconcile his teenage love with the young widow and mother standing before him. Lauren Sheridan had the same honey-blond hair, chocolate-brown eyes, and to-die-for body that had distracted him from his studies in high school. Now she was so much more. And every last bit of her was setting him ablaze in a way he hadn’t felt in a long time.
To cool down, he turned his thoughts to the Blue Norther that had dumped ice and snow all over Wildcat Bluff County last Christmas Eve, but his body was having none of it. Spring was coming on strong and Lauren was standing before him, so there was no getting around the earthly renewal of the birds and the bees. Cold weather was giving way to that perfect time of year when a young man’s fancy turned to—Lauren.
He resisted the urge to head down a path that was dangerous to his heart. He’d thought for years that what they’d had between them was well and truly done and gone, nothing but raging teenage hormones. Now he wasn’t so sure.
About the time he balled his hands into fists to keep from reaching for his old flame, he saw Ash, the fire station cat, saunter up, wearing a spring green bow around his neck. He sat down in front of Lauren, looked up with bright silver eyes in his handsome gray face, and yowled an imperative greeting. Kent just shook his head. Ash was a sucker for all the gals and they adored him in return.
“What a pretty kitty.” Lauren immediately crouched down, held out her fingers to be sniffed, and then petted Ash’s broad face with gentle strokes.
“That’s Ash.” Kent watched the cat turn his head and give Kent a slit-eyed look of pleasure while Lauren stroked down his back to the end of his long tail. Typical Ash. He always got more than his fair share of attention from the ladies. Kent wished he could trade places with the cat and feel Lauren’s soft hand stroke across his own body.
“You’re such a handsome boy, aren’t you?” Lauren crooned while Ash arched his back against her hand. “And where did you get that pretty bow?”
“That’s your aunt Hedy’s doing,” Kent said. “He gets a special bow to celebrate the seasons and holidays.”
“And he doesn’t rip them off?”
“Are you kidding? This is Hedy we’re talking about. And you know how animals will do just about anything she wants.”
“So true.” Lauren chuckled, throwing Kent a warm glance as she continued to stroke Ash’s back. “Kids, too.”
He laughed with her. “I’d say that goes for all of us.” He looked down at Ash. “Where’s Hedy?” He didn’t expect an answer from the cat, but not much got by Ash’s super senses.
Ash yowled in reply, gave Lauren’s hand a thank you swipe with his long pink tongue, and then bounded through the open doorway into the station.
“Maybe he knows something we don’t. Aunt Hedy is always up to something,” Lauren said as she stood up.
“I bet he knows lots of stuff we don’t, but he’s not saying.” Kent chuckled as he gestured after Ash. “Let’s go inside and see if we can run down Hedy.”
“Sounds good to me.” She glanced up at the building, then back at him. “This station is new, isn’t it?”
He looked at the fire station with its bright-red metal roof, five bay doors, and the regular door in front of them. “Yep. We still use the original station for the older rigs, but we really needed to update and add room for our new apparatus.”
“Impressive. I can’t wait to see inside.” She gave him a soft smile before she stepped through the open doorway.
Kent hesitated, glancing at the horizon. The sun was going down in the west, casting long streaks of crimson and orange across the clear blue sky. He felt a cool breeze spring up, rustling the leaves of the live oaks. He wanted to find Hedy before it got dark, but most likely she was running errands and he’d gotten het-up over nothing.
He followed Lauren and Ash inside the small lobby with pale gray walls, letting the door swing shut behind him. Ash sat in the middle of the simple gun-metal desk while Lauren stood with her hands clasped behind her back as she studied the arrangement of colorful firefighter photographs in simple black frames hanging on the wall.
“These are wonderful,” she said.
“Thanks. Hedy had them framed and put up.”
“You took them?” She cocked her head as if in consideration. “Of course you did. I’d forgotten how you used to snap us with your camera.”
“Got the bug and never lost it.”
“Great drama and heroics in your photos.”
“I do my best, but it’s just a hobby.”
Ash looked up and yowled, holding down a yellow sticky note with writing on it with his front paws.
“What’ve you got there?” As Kent picked up the note, he heard the phone ring in the watch office next door, so he hurried in there and picked up the receiver. “Wildcat Bluff Fire-Rescue. How may I help you?”
“Kent, it’s Hedy. I’m over here in Sure-Shot at a fire site.”
“What do you need?” Kent glanced up to see Lauren standing in the doorway with a concerned look on her face. He nodded to let her know he was taking care of the issue.
“Booster is plenty. The blaze is behind the old gas station,” Hedy said.
“I’m on my way.”
Kent hung up, feeling uneasy in the pit of his stomach. Fires always made him edgy. He glanced at Lauren. “Remember how to fight a fire?”
Redford reels you in with this hot-as-hell firefighting cowboy whose rekindled love ignites flames of passion
Redford reels you in with this hot-as-hell firefighting cowboy
WESTERN CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
When Lauren returns home to care for her sick Aunt Hedy, the last thing she expects to run into is her half-naked high school sweetheart. She stays focused on caring for her aunt, but as her daughter Hannah grows closer to Kent, she can’t seem to avoid him…
Kent has been working as a volunteer firefighter ever since Lauren left years ago. Though he hasn’t quite forgotten about her, and when he sees her again all of his old feelings return. Can this sexy cowboy firefighter tame the flames of his heart?
Romance Western [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: January 1, 2017, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492621508 / eISBN: 9781492621515]