Bad Boy's Heart: Firemen in Love Book Zero
A Prequel Novella
Getting dumped sucks, especially on my wedding day. My fiance ditched me at the altar and ran off to Thailand, leaving me to pick up the pieces of the life we'd built together.
Lucky for me I've got Carter's shoulder to cry on. Once, we were childhood best friends. Now he's a handsome firefighter who balks at commitment and thinks marriage is nothing but a prison sentence.
He'd do anything for me – even pose as my husband so I'll score a million-dollar estate from my batty grandparents.
The wedding bands we wear are fake. My feelings for him aren't. I try not to fall for him, but the moment I have his hands on me, it's all over.
He knows I'm already
I never intended to fall in love. Too much risk; not nearly enough reward. Why settle for one woman when I got every girl in town throwing herself at me?
Staying a bachelor was fine by me, until I find Alicia after ten years apart. She's set to say “I do,” but all I can think of is ripping off that gown and taking her for my very own.
When the groom doesn't show, she's in trouble. No husband, no inheritance – but I can help her. Pretend to be her lover for five days and the money is hers.
I vow to tame my lust for her, but that's a promise I can't keep. Soon as I get her naked, I know:
I'm gonna put a ring on her finger for
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Chapter 1 - Carter
“I know you got a thing for blondes, Jayce. The cutie on the left is all yours.”
Three bridesmaids lingered in the reception hall entrance. All were beautiful; none wore a wedding ring. Perfect.
“Yo, Carter. Which one do you want?” Max popped a shrimp in his mouth and nudged me. “Or maybe you'd prefer that waitress in the skimpy skirt.”
“Who says I'm stuck with just one? Bet I can get both of 'em in bed – at the same time.”
The guys laughed and teased me, but I wasn't joking. Wedding receptions were full of drunk, horny, lonely women. With the right pick-up line, I'd have them feeling me up under the table or maybe unzipping my pants in the coat closet.
Both had happened before, and it'd happen again tonight, too.
Didn't matter that we hadn't actually been
to this wedding. I didn't even know who the bride was, and I didn't much care.
“Sir? Oh, sir!” A chubby man in a white jacket waddled over to Brett. “I'm afraid you can't eat at the buffet yet. The reception doesn't begin until seven o'clock.
Brett, world-class smart ass, continued stacking his plate high with crackers, olives, and cheese. The poor man's face turned red.
“It's okay, buddy. We're with the Waco fire department.”
All four of us were firemen, but sometimes I felt more like a celebrity in this town – especially when it came to women.
Over by the door, the bridesmaids were fretting over something. I listened in while Brett and the chef argued.
“Where the hell
he?” The blonde pressed her face against the window. “What kind of groom shows up late to his own wedding?”
“It doesn't start for another twenty minutes,” another said. “He's still got time. C'mon, he wouldn't just ditch her at the altar.”
“Yeah. He's a good guy.”
The women exchanged glances. Clearly, they weren't very sure about that.
The brunette's dress had become unbuttoned from waving her arms around, giving everyone a nice peek at her ample cleavage. Jayce stared, hypnotized.
“Sucks to be that bride, eh?” I nudged him. “Though I don't blame the unlucky husband-to-be. Probably woke up with a nasty hangover and realized he was about to make the worst mistake of his life.”
Jayce snickered. “Ain't that the truth. What kind of idiot gets married in this day and age, anyway? It's like jail, just without the bars.”
I wholeheartedly agreed. Though I was older than the other guys by a handful of years, marriage was
part of my future plans.
A man in a suit stormed through the door. His fists were clenched and he scowled at everyone in the room, bridesmaids included.
“Who parked that fire engine in front of the building? The mother of the bride is in my limo, and we can't get through.”
Three of us shot an annoyed look at Max. Idiot was always blocking traffic and running red lights just 'cause he could. Wouldn't surprise me if his ass got fired one day soon.
Max was flirting with the bartender to score himself another free beer, totally oblivious to our glares. I swore if he got us kicked out of here before the party even started, he was gonna be real sorry.
“Well? If that truck isn't removed at once...”
I smacked Max on the shoulder. He spilled his drink on himself and cursed at me. The young bartender rolled her eyes and sashayed away.
“I was about to close the deal with her, man. What's your problem?”
“Just give me the keys.”
The bridesmaids checked me out as I made my way to the exit. I turned to smile at them and crashed straight into a sign somebody had put in front of the door.
It made a horrible clattering noise as it toppled to the marble floor. While I struggled to set it back up, a certain name caught my eye.
The sign said “This room reserved for the wedding party of Alicia Prescott and Andrew Landover.”
No way. It couldn't be
My best friend from high school. My first kiss. I still remembered her hands on my back and the taste of the cherry gloss on her lips.
She was getting
“What is the meaning of this? If I am late to my own daughter's wedding, there will be hell to pay, I can assure you of that!”
A furious woman carrying a suitcase-sized purse stormed through the revolving doors. She tapped her foot and huffed with annoyance as she looked around for someone to blame.
I knew the woman: Ellen Prescott. She was Alicia's mother, and the two of us never really got along.
I swore she thought I'd come to seduce her little girl when honestly, we mostly messed around on her PlayStation and watched scary movies in the living room.
That meant Alicia really
the one getting married. Why did my stomach feel so weird all of a sudden?
Ellen's gaze settled on me before I could escape. Her eyes narrowed as she studied me. Maybe, with luck, she'd forgotten about me over the years.
“Mr. Carter McGraw,” she grumbled, turning up her nose. “I don't believe
were invited to this ceremony.”
“Mrs. Prescott,” I greeted her with an exaggerated bow. “You sure do have a good memory. It's been, what, ten years since we saw each other last?”
She rubbed her wrinkled forehead as though I was giving her a migraine. I was all ready to slink away when the limo driver came charging into the lobby.
“Ma'am, please return to the limo. I'll have that truck moved out of the way at once.”
She gave him a look of disgust. “You had better. This is the most important day of my baby's life, and I'm about to miss it because of you.”
The keys jangled in my hand. Ellen's gaze landed on the Waco fire department shirt that I wore beneath my suit.
truck.” Her shriek pierced my eardrums as she jabbed her finger at my chest. “I demand you move that hunk of junk out of my way immediately, or so help me...”
The bridesmaids tumbled into the lobby once they saw Ellen was here. Great; now I was trapped between this psycho harpy and three girls who looked none too pleased with me.
“Mrs. Prescott,” howled the one with her dress still hanging open. “Andy still hasn't gotten here, and nobody can get him on the phone either.”
I actually felt kind of sorry for Ellen. Tears misted her eyes and her thickly painted mascara was beginning to stream down her cheeks. The girls tried to comfort her while the limo driver stood there looking helpless.
“It's okay,” cried the redhead. “He's just stuck in traffic or something.”
Thankful for the diversion, at least, I slipped outside unnoticed. Better get the truck out of the way before the old woman had a breakdown.
After moving the engine into the fire lane where it belonged, I sat there for what felt like a long while. Some sort of weird, melancholy feeling had come over me, and I didn't like it one little bit.
Church bells rang at the cathedral across the street. I gazed up at the beautiful old building – and there she was, standing on the church steps in her white gown.
Alicia looked like a goddamn angel in that dress. This past decade had turned her from a pink-haired nerdy art chick with glasses into one
of a woman.
I got out of the truck and wandered across the road, drawn to her like a ship to the siren's song. My cock was so hard from gazing at her that I couldn't focus on anything else, and nearly got run over by an angry honking driver.
As I got closer, I found that she was fighting tears. Her deep blue eyes had paled to gray, like they always did when something was bothering her. She still fiddled with her hair, too, curling her strawberry-blonde locks around her finger over and over again.
“Alicia,” I murmured, stopping at the bottom step. “Jesus, it's really you. You look amazing.”
She blotted her damp cheeks and looked at me with surprise. I smiled back as I urged this serious hard-on of mine to go down. Alicia was getting married; she was totally off-limits. Lusting after her was only gonna end in tragedy on my end.
But it would be her face in my fantasies from here on out. I was certain of that.
“Holy crap. Carter?” She came down the steps and studied me as though I might not be real. “What are you
“Wasn't very nice of you to not invite me to your wedding. And here I thought we were friends.”
She folded her arms in front of her chest – but not before I got a good look at her. She had been relatively flat back in the day. Now, well... I could only dream of what she looked like under that gown.
“We were friends in high school, nearly eleven years ago. We haven't spoken since I moved to Florida for college,” she said quickly. “And you disappeared for the military. I just kind of assumed we'd never see each other again.”
The army, right. I'd wanted to be a soldier, just like my old man was. Wanted college, too, but our family had no money for that kind of thing. So off to basic training I went, though I didn't last there long.
“Never made it through. Ended up fighting fires instead.” I gestured to the truck. “Not nearly as fun as getting shot at, but I like it all right.”
Didn't tell her the reason
I had to quit: because I got caught messing around with my commanding officer, the nurse, the cook at the mess hall...
“A firefighter, huh.” She looked me up and down. “Yeah, I can see that. Seems to suit you well.”
My heart stopped for a beat or two. Now, I'd hit on tons of girls, so many I'd lost count – and I knew within seconds whether one was interested or not.
There was a definite hint of desire in her eyes, no doubt about that. It lasted for only a moment before she turned away with a sad, soft laugh.