When James falls for the new guy at the station is he just setting himself up to be burned?
Welcome to Deacon, Oklahoma. Straight population—seven hundred and ninety-six. Gay population—James Hara. Except it really isn’t that bad, because when he came out to his hometown, something wonderful happened. They still loved him…most did anyway. The only problem is the lack of a dating pool.
Then he meets the new firefighting volunteer and he has a bigger problem. Mason is gorgeous, friendly and straight. Soon James is doing his best not to fall for his new friend. Hard to do when Mason is everything he dreams of, with his humor and flashes of vulnerability.
But after a set of stressful events, he finds that maybe it is not impossible after all. If he can be patient with a man wounded by his past.
Reader Advisory: This book contains references to past sexual assault.
“James, quick it’s the Tardis! You better run for it!”
I turned and looked at Tosh, my best friend since college, like she had lost her freaking mind. Because apparently she had.
I raised one eyebrow at her, a skill I had and she didn’t—and didn’t she just hate that.
“Don’t look at me like that! The way your eyes were glued to the new guy’s ass I figured that Doctor Who was the only thing that might get your attention. ‘Cause I am not mopping this floor again if you drool all over it!”
I winced. “Saw that, did you?”
“I’m not the only one.” Tosh smirked at me.
I closed my eyes. I really didn’t want to know. “Who else?”
“Jake, Kent”—she paused for dramatic effect—“and Sam.”
I looked at her horrified. “Sam saw! I’m invisible to him, he never sees what I do unless I’m in fire gear at a scene. I could dance naked for his attention and he still wouldn’t see me.”
“He’s afraid that you are going to dance naked for his attention and that’s why you’re invisible to him. As if,” she said, her pixie face twisted in disgust. “Even you have better taste in men. Unless you’re even more hard up than I thought.”
I looked at her deadly serious. “If I ever get that desperate, you must kill me. It’s in the Best Friend Ever Handbook. I believe it’s listed right before the rule ‘Never let me dress myself while drunk and horny’. I still can’t believe you let me wear that.”
“Oh give it a rest, James. It was once, and it was over eight fucking years ago!”
“Yes, but it’s the reason we wrote the freaking handbook so it must be mentioned occasionally so we never forget the horror of that night.”
“Point taken.” She grimaced with the memory.
I waited a few minutes, concentrating on organising my volunteer fire gear in my locker after checking everything over. Checking very carefully. I really hate pain. And burns are the worst.
Then I gave in and asked, “I was drooling that badly?”
“If Kent had looked at me like that, I would be pregnant again.”
“I thought you were on birth control pills?” I cocked my eyebrow at her again, just because I could.
She smirked at me. “Yes, and it wouldn’t have made a bit a difference. In fact, your eye fucking was so intense he could be preggers now. You might want to go over and introduce yourself to your baby daddy.”
I rolled my eyes at her.
“Seriously, James, you need to go over and have Kent introduce you two while Sam is cleaning the brush truck. You might be able to make a good impression on him before Sam warns him about your nefarious plot to convert all the good Christian boys to gayness.”
“As if I want Sam’s nasty ass. If I could convert anybody, it would be your brother Kyle. He’s a fellow nerd and he’s pretty hot.” I laughed at her.
She brightened up. “Really? His last break up was so bad he might go for it. Remember when he tried to cheer you up by saying if he went that way he would be all over you?”
“I think that was more of a threat to your mother because she was trying to fix him up again,” I said dryly.
“Yes, and he about choked to death when Mom said that was fine with her, but she thought you were too good for him.”
“God, I love your mother!” And I did. I loved that whole family.
“And you are stalling. Pull up your panties, you cross-dressing freak, and go over there.”
“It was one Halloween, woman, give it a fucking rest!”
“And if you get your ass over there in the next minute, I will swear never to say one word about it to the new guy!”
I wasn’t stupid, it took me less than five seconds to get over to the pump truck.
The guy was talking with Kent about the types of calls our little rural fire department got and about how often it happened. I stood a little ways off from them, politely waiting for Kent to introduce us when they finished up. And if I took the opportunity to covertly look the guy over, who would know?
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