Read Playing With Fire (Firehouse Fourteen Book 2) Online
Authors: Lisa B. Kamps
Firehouse Fourteen Book 2
Lisa B. Kamps
Copyright © 2016 by Elizabeth Belbot Kamps
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the express written permission of the author.
All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation to anyone bearing the same name or names, living or dead. This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any individual, place, business, or event is purely coincidental.
Table of Contents
Baltimore County Fire Department
It's been more than thirty years since the "The Biggest and the Best" graduated.
It's been one hell of a ride, guys!
THE BALTIMORE BANNERS
Crossing the Line, Book 1
Game Over, Book 2
Blue Ribbon Summer, Book 3
, Book 4
Break Away, Book 5
Playmaker, A Baltimore Banners Intermission Novella
Seduced By The Game
Cancer Charity Collection
Delay of Game, Book 6
Shoot Out, Book 7
The Baltimore Banners: 1st Period Trilogy
Books 1-3 Boxed set
On Thin Ice, Book 8
Once Burned, Book 1
Playing With Fire, Book 2
Breaking Protocol, Book 3
Emeralds and Gold: A Treasury of Irish Short Stories
Finding Dr. Right
Time To Heal
Music from an old jukebox filled the bar, loud enough to be heard over the noise of the crowd that filled Duffy's. Jay Moore took a swig of beer from the sweaty bottle then sat it on the edge of the stained pool table. He leaned over, eyeing his shot and knowing he was going to miss. He closed his eyes against the low throb of the headache at the base of his skull, pulled back his stick, then shoved it forward. The cue ball slid across the green and hit the two ball with a loud clack before shooting to the left and dropping into the corner pocket.
"Shit." Jay shook his head and took another swig of beer as several of his coworkers teased him.
"Oh, nice one, Moore. For me. Now cough up." His lieutenant, Pete Miller, slapped him on the back then held his hand out, palm up, waiting. Jay muttered to himself and pulled out his wallet, rifling through the bills until he found a twenty and slammed it into Pete's outstretched hand.
Dave Warren, the paramedic from their shift, jokingly pushed him out of the way so he could rack the balls for the next game. "You playing next?"
"No, I'm done. You guys are taking me broke." Jay walked around the table and placed his stick in the rack then raised his arms above his head and stretched. Pete walked by, slapping him in the stomach then laughing at Jay's groan.
"Yeah, your game is definitely off tonight. Not that we're complaining!" Pete laughed then motioned his head toward the bar. "You know the rules. Loser gets next round."
"None for me." Dave shook his head before Jay could head to the bar. "I'm working call back tomorrow."
"Again? Shit, with all that overtime, you should be the one buying."
"Don't complain. If you actually worked for a living instead of being a lazy ass firefighter, you could be raking in the overtime, too."
Jay and Pete both turned to him with identical looks of horror on their faces.
"Oh, hell no."
"Yeah, what Pete said." Jay laughed and moved around the table, leaving his friends behind as he walked to the bar. He wedged his foot into the bottom rail of a stool and pulled it out, then lifted himself into it and leaned forward, resting his arms on the varnished surface of the bar. He grimaced at the stickiness under one elbow and immediately lifted it, looking around for a napkin. A damp rag landed in front of him with a soggy plop and he grabbed it without looking up, using it to wipe his elbows first, then the bar in front of him. He neatly folded the rag then held it out to the girl who appeared in front of him.
"Thanks Ang. Two beers when you get the chance."
Something in the girl's tone caught his attention and he finally looked up, surprised to see a frown on her face. "What's wrong kiddo?"
"You, too? You can just stop it whenever." Angie gave him a quick hard look then moved to the other side of the bar, leaning over into the cooler and coming up with two bottles. Jay watched as she reached into the back pocket of her tight jeans and pulled out a bottle opener before quickly snapping the tops off both bottles. His eyes were focused on her shapely ass for a full thirty seconds before he realized where he was looking. He turned his head away and inwardly groaned.
What the hell was he doing? He needed to get his head examined for even thinking about looking at Angie. He turned around and glanced back at the pool table, thankful that Dave had his back turned to the bar. He didn't want to think what his friend would do if he caught him ogling his baby sister.
Yeah, that wouldn't go over really well.
And what the hell was he doing looking, anyway?
Angie put the bottles in front of Jay with a loud thunk then grabbed the rag and started wiping down the bar, her knuckles nearly white with the grip she had on it. Jay frowned then studied her face, noticing the tension in the set of her shoulders and the wariness etched at the corners of her eyes.
"Hey. You okay?" Jay pitched his voice low enough that nobody else would be able to hear him. At first he thought that maybe he had spoken too quietly, because Angie didn't answer him. But she finally looked up from scrubbing the bar long enough to give him a scowl.
She paused before quickly glancing at the two guys at the far end of the bar, then went back to attacking the finish on the counter. "I'm fine."
Jay grabbed his bottle and lifted it to his mouth, taking his time as he quietly studied the two guys she had glanced at. He figured they were around Angie's age, probably just old enough to be in here drinking, maybe only recently turned twenty-one. They looked so much younger than his thirty years. Watching them, sitting there in their designer shorts and baggy button down shirts, laughing too loudly, Jay suddenly felt old. Much older. He sighed and put his beer back on the counter, then leaned forward.
"They giving you a hard time?"
Angie finally stopped rubbing at the clean bar counter and tossed the rag into a bucket behind her. She glanced over at the two guys then turned back to face Jay with a grimace. She reached up and tucked a strand of dark hair behind her ear then slowly shook her head.
"No. The one guy's my ex, that's all."
"Hm." Jay didn't know what else to say, because a sudden flare of some unknown emotion flashed through him. Probably a protective streak. He had known Angie for a couple of years. And she was Dave's kid sister. Of course he was going to be protective.
And Christ, he needed to get away, now, before he looked too deeply into whatever the hell had just happened. He grabbed both bottles and stood up. "Well, you know where to find me—us—if they give you any trouble."
Angie just looked at him, her dark brown eyes clear as she watched him. A bright smile suddenly lit her face, transforming the features into something less angelic and sultrier than they had a right to be. Jay tried to take a step back, his leg colliding with the stool as she reached out and laid a hand on his arm, gently squeezing.
"Thanks Jay, I appreciate it."
"Yeah. No problem." He swallowed then forced a smile. "Kiddo."
He quickly turned away, surprised by the flash of disappointment that crossed her face when he called her 'kiddo'. But he would not think about that. Hell no.
What the hell was wrong with him?
He made his way back to the pool table and handed a beer to Pete, making sure to keep his back to the bar. He did not need to be watching Angie. No way in hell.
"Is she okay?"
Jay jumped in surprise when he noticed Dave standing next to him, his attention focused on the bar behind him.
"My sister. You know, the one you were just talking to?"
"Oh. Yeah. Yeah, she's fine. Why?"
"Because that punk asshole is her ex-boyfriend and I don't like the fact that he's in here. I'm tempted to go over and punch him in the face just on principle."
"Damn, Dave, calm down." Pete placed a restraining hand on Dave's shoulder, as if to stop him from doing anything stupid. Jay took another sip of beer and kept his mouth shut.
"She's my sister, asshole."
"Yeah, but she's a big girl. She just turned twenty-four, she can handle herself."
Jay choked on the swallow of beer, coughing hard enough that both men turned and looked at him. He waved away their concern then brushed a splash of beer from his shirt.
Twenty-four? Angie was twenty-four? When the hell had that happened?
"I don't care how old she is, she's still my sister." Dave shrugged Pete's hand from his shoulder then placed his cue stick back in the rack. He tossed another look toward the end of the bar then shook his head. "I have to get going. Are you two going to be here awhile, make sure she gets out okay? I don't like the idea of her closing up by herself with those two guys here."
"Yeah, one of us will stay, don't worry. We'll make sure nothing happens to Angie." Pete laughed, reassuring Dave even though he was rolling his eyes at the same time. Jay looked over at him, his expression no doubt clearly asking Pete what the hell he was talking about.
Dave didn't comment, just nodded then moved to the bar, leaning over to say something to Angie. Her expression of annoyance was clear and almost comical, and Jay felt himself smile in reaction. Her eyes locked with his and she raised her brows in his direction. Jay's smile faded and he quickly turned his back to her, wondering again what the hell was wrong with him.
He needed to find a date. A one-night encounter. Hell, something. But he had been on a strike-out streak for the last six months, probably because he had lost interest in the entire dating scene. He was tired of the games, tired of the acting, tired of the drama.
Just tired, period.
Which was his problem tonight, it had to be.
Jay looked over at Pete, who was watching him expectantly. He shook his head. "Sorry, didn't catch that."
"I said, can you stay and watch out for Angie? I need to get ready to go myself."
"Why the hell for? It's still early."
"Because I still feel like shit, trying to get rid of this damn cold. The beer doesn't even taste good anymore." Pete's expression was one of annoyance, and Jay felt himself smile. God forbid the beer didn't taste good.
"Yeah, I got it."
"Thanks, I owe you. Even though I still say Dave's overreacting. He needs to loosen the reins. She's a grown woman, for crying out loud."
"Yeah, but she's his sister. And you know how he gets."
"True. And if I had a sister as cute as Angie, I'd probably act like an even bigger ass than he does. Anyway, I'm out of here. See you first day in." Pete gave him a small salute then turned around and left, leaving Jay standing next to the pool table by himself.
And wondering what the hell he had just agreed to.
Two hours later, and he was still wondering the same thing. Angie had called last call and the bar was empty except for him and the two guys at the end. He had taken turns watching them and talking to Angie since Pete and Dave had left.
Talking to Angie had definitely been more fun, especially when one of the guys kept tossing him dirty looks all night. Jay felt himself smile. Let him think they were a couple. If that stopped them from coming in and giving Angie a hard time, then he was all for it.
He had learned from her that Todd—a small shudder went through Jay when he learned the guy's name—and she had dated for a few weeks, and that she broke it off over three months ago.
Because the guy was immature and egotistical. Yeah, Jay had picked up on that thirty seconds after seeing the guy, but he didn't tell Angie that.
As to why Todd and his friend were here, Angie didn't know. She hadn't bothered talking to either of them except for taking their orders and ringing them up.
Jay watched the two of them now, narrowing his eyes in their direction as they tossed some bills on the counter and finally left. Angie walked over and grabbed the money, staring down at it with a scowl.
"I can't believe those assholes!" She walked over to the register and rang up the sale, slamming the drawer closed after placing the bills inside.
"Yeah. They stiffed me on the tip. No idea why I'm surprised." She reached behind her and bunched her hair in one fist, pulling it off her neck as she let out a deep breath. She rolled her head from one side to the next, then gave a short laugh and faced Jay. "I really shouldn't be surprised. Anyway, I'm almost done here. You don't have to wait around."
"I'll wait and walk you out."
"Seriously, Jay, you don't have to. I don't even know why you stayed."
"Because Dave asked me to watch over you."
"Of course he did. Great." She shook her head and came around the bar, turning off lights as she went. "You know, I've been working here for almost a year. I've closed by myself before, it's not a big deal."
"I'm a grown woman, Jay. I can take care of myself. You don't need to babysit me."
Jay closed his mouth against the comment he was going to make, sensing that Angie was suddenly in a foul mood. But maybe it wasn't so sudden, since he had detected something wrong about her a few hours ago. He had thought that whatever was wrong, she had gotten over it.
So he didn't say anything, just walked beside her as they left the bar and waited for her to lock up. She looked over her shoulder at him, the neon light from the sign over the door casting her oval face in shades of pink and blue. Her dark eyes shone in the light as she studied him, their gaze clear but unreadable. She finally muttered something to herself and turned the key in the lock, pulling on the door to make sure it was locked.
"Okay, I'm done. You can go now."
"I'll walk you to your car."
Angie muttered something again then walked through the parking lot, the gravel crunching beneath her feet. Jay fell into step behind her, not stopping until she reached her car. He honestly had no idea why she seemed irritated, since her car was parked right next to his truck.
She tossed another look at him over her shoulder, shook her head, then opened the door of her car. "Good night Jay."