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Authors: Ashley Suzanne,Tiffany Fox,Melissa Gill

Rekindle (8 page)

BOOK: Rekindle
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“That’s fine.  Remember, I’ve lost everything and still survived and thrived.  I can take some hazing.  Seriously, I’m young enough as it is doing this job and even you gave me shit, but I proved myself.  And I will every day until the day I die.  But not for you and not for me.  For them.”

Nodding my head, I pull Frankie in for a quick hug.  If anyone can break the stereotype, it’s going to be this girl, and I can’t wait to be sitting front row to watch it happen.  Breaking from my embrace, she quickly files away the notebook and shuts the cabinet doors, locking it up tight. 

Medic 30.  Ladder 9.  Rescue 91.  Structure fire.  26582 East Irene.”

Smiling at Frankie, she smiles back, and we exit the back of the ambo, walking around to the front.  Pausing at the driver’s side door, I call Frankie over and hand her the keys.  “It’s about time you start proving your worth.  Let’s roll.”

Nodding her head, she takes the keys and starts the rig.  Strapping into our seats, she whips out of the garage like a bat out of hell, even before the guys are loaded in the trucks.  Taking corners like she’s been doing it her entire life, we arrive at the fire three full minutes before the trucks.  We’re waiting on the sidewalk, staring up at the house, when Nick and his crew start making their way inside the building.

It’s always amazed me—the job our guys do.  When I was younger, I remember watching a movie with my dad about Detroit firefighters.  The one thing I took from that film was listening to the commentator tell the viewers Detroit is one of the only fire departments that fights fires from the inside out.  It never made sense to me until my first fire call.  Watching these guys run into a fire to save people who might still be inside, shoving aside their own fears, they’re some true heroes. 

Nick’s inside a few minutes before he walks out, giving the all clear.  Mack and Jones grab the hose and head inside to extinguish the fire while Nick directs the rest of the crew to do their respective jobs.  He’s in his element.  I’d be blind if I didn’t recognize his authority out here.  It’s inspiring and sexy as hell.

Max gives Frankie and me the all clear to head back to the house since there’s nobody to take to the hospital.  Just before we pull into the garage, we get another call, sending us out for a gunshot around the block.  Arriving on scene, we’re greeted by the police and family of the victim.  It’s never a dull day out here.

Taking the backseat, I let Frankie run the call, once again, proving her worth.  She does excellent and takes my direction better than any other partner I’ve ever had.  This young woman’s going to make everyone who crosses her path proud, including her family looking down on her.



After a few weeks, things seem to be getting back on track.  Nick hasn’t addressed the night I moved into my apartment nor have I brought it up.  We’re falling into a groove of being co-workers and not much more.  It all feels a little … I don’t even know what it feels like. 

Frankie started the fire academy and to my surprise, as well as delight, none of the guys have been giving her shit.  That’s not to say they won’t, but for the time being, she’s kicking ass and taking names. 

So, yeah, everything’s pretty normal.  Well, except for Lacy, who’s gone into the bridezilla stage of her wedding planning.  She’s always been a little crazy, but she’s excelling at stepping that insanity up a notch or ten.  I’ve been biting my tongue, reminding myself this is her day and she just wants it to be perfect, but my resolve is wearing thin.  If she has me try on one more fucking dress, I’m going to snap and show up wearing leggings and a tee shirt.

Not really, but it’s nice in theory.

“Can you please come out and show me?” Lacy asks in her sugary voice, knowing she’s grating my last nerve.  Putting my finger gun to my head and pulling the trigger, I open the dressing room door with the fakest of fake smiles on my face.

“What do you think?” I ask, spinning in circles, stopping to look in the mirror.  Withholding my desire to gag, I bite the inside of my cheek and silently pray she hates it.  I know I said no more dresses, but I was wrong.  I’ll try on fifteen more as long as she doesn’t choose this one.  God-awful purple with lace where lace shouldn’t be.  I’ve never felt so uncomfortable in all my life.

“I like the cut, I’m just not sure about the color.”  Thank you all things holy.  The cut, we can work around, the color, I’d have to put my foot down. 

“Lacy, why not get something simplistic?  I mean, I’ll wear whatever you want me to wear, of course, but if you get something simple, you can do so much more and won’t have to worry about matching colors exactly,” I offer, trying to remember tricks from when I planned my own wedding and the easy ways to appease bridesmaids of all different shapes and sizes.

“What do you mean?” she asks, scrunching her nose up in an adorable thought provoking face. 

“Pick one color for dresses.  A normal color that will be easy to find.  And everyone can wear a different style, according to what looks good on their body.  Then you pick the shoes.”

“You’re a genius, Christina Mitchell, a freaking genius.”  Hugging me, she unzips the back of the dress.  “Now get out of this before I throw up.  For such a pretty girl, you look hideous in this.”

“I know,” I laugh, walking into the dressing room, letting the lilac hell puddle at my feet.  I wait a few minutes until Lacy knocks on the door again.  Opening slightly, she shoves a black hi-lo dress through the crack.  Sighing in relief, I shimmy into the stunning number and look at myself in the mirror.

“You ready, Lace?  This one might be it.” 

“Just get out here, already.”

As soon as she sees me, my thoughts are confirmed; this is the one.  The fabric clings to my figure like a dream, hugging curves I didn’t even know I had.  Shorter in the front, showing off my legs, and longer in the back, like a train, but not quite reaching the floor.

“Oh.  My.  God,” Lacy squeals, jumping up and down in place.  “This is it.  Red shoes.  Red freaking shoes and this dress will look so amazing.  Do you love it?”

“Absolutely,” I respond, nodding my head and grinning like a teenage girl on prom night.  This is the most beautiful I’ve felt since my own wedding. 

“We’ll take it,” Lacy yells over her shoulder to the woman assigned to help us.  With a grin of her own, she waits until I change into my own clothes before taking the dress to the front to ring up our purchase. 

Grabbing our bags, we head out into the mall in search of food and a dress for Lacy to wear tonight to her engagement party.  Lacy’s parents are really happy it’s a smaller affair, so they’re dumping more money into the party tonight.  Compared to my wedding, Lacy’s is significantly less frills and ruffles, but watching how happy she is and her only real concern is my dress … I think she might have the right idea.

After a bite to eat and a few cocktails, we walk into the closest department store.  Not because it’s a favorite of ours, but the dress in the window apparently talks and calls out to Lacy.  She runs up to the mannequin, immediately spotting a rack of the same pattern right next to it.  Seeking out her size, Lacy runs into the dressing room and is out spinning in front of the mirror within minutes.

“You look fantastic,” I say, picking my jaw up from the floor.  When we discussed what she was looking for earlier, she was adamant on white and whimsical, whatever that means.  Watching her so happy and looking more beautiful than I’ve ever seen her, I’d go ahead and say this is exactly the definition of whimsical.

“Do you think?” she asks, facing away from the mirror and looking over her shoulder to look at the back of the dress—lace and sheer all the way to the top of her ass—and smiles.  “Yeah, I think.”

Changing into her street clothes, she pays an obscene amount for her dress and I pick up a pair of strappy black heels on our way out.  Hugging our goodbyes, I head to my car and she goes to hers.  Checking the clock on the radio, I have approximately two hours to get dressed and be at the restaurant for this evening’s affair.  I risk a glance at myself in the rearview mirror and curse Lacy for taking her sweet-ass time at the mall.  Because of the puffy circles around my eyes, my makeup’s going to take longer than usual.  Not to mention my greasy, hasn’t been washed in a day or two hair is going to need some serious maintenance to look halfway decent.  The only thing saving my ass … my dress is already hanging on the back of my bedroom door and the perfect shoes are sitting on my passenger seat.


  Fishbones has never been one of my favorite places, but when Lacy told me this is where her parents were hosting her engagement party, I knew I’d have to suck it up.  It’s usually customary in a divorce for the friends to choose sides.  That was never the case with Lacy and I.  We had a common force holding us together—our only link to Yaris—and neither of us were willing to sever that connection.  Thankfully, Tina never made a big deal about it, either.

I’m standing near the bar when Tina strolls through the front door, clutching her long grey jacket together at the neck.  Stopping at coat-check, she hands it over to the attendant, smiling sweetly as she takes the ticket and puts it in her purse.  Goddammit, I want to put it back on seeing what she’s wearing underneath all that wool.  And I’m not the only one who notices her beauty.

Wearing a longer black dress, not quite long enough to flow to her feet, the flowing fabric stops somewhere between her knee and ankle.  From this distance, the shiny body of the dress looks like it would be just as soft as all of her exposed cream-colored skin.  Then somewhere around her waist, it flows out, looking like one of those little ballerina skirts, reminding me how innocent she actually is.  Finally, it’s the shoes that kick any innocent thoughts from my head.  Perched on a thin spiked heel, a buckle strapping around her delicate ankle and one across the top of her foot, I’m not sure how she managed to walk through that damn door. 

But it’s when she turns around, pulling her long chestnut colored hair over shoulder that I see the back, or lack thereof.  There’s no possible way she can be wearing a bra.  Knowing her perfect handful is held in place by only the bodice of the dress, I have to focus to catch my breath.  I literally put my knuckle between my teeth and bite pretty hard.  It’s enough to bring me down and keep me from pulling her in that little coat-check closet and checking to see if she’s not wearing any other kind of undergarment. 

“Get your shit together, Conrad,” Lacy interrupts all my dirty thoughts, placing her hand on my shoulder, redirecting my attention.

“Sorry, I was daydreaming or something,” I say, trying to distract her from the fact I was just undressing her best friend with my eyes.  “What’s up, bride?”

“Yeah, yeah.”  Lacy nudges me in the side with her elbow, looping her arm through mine and dragging me away from the bar.  “Tina’s not for you, tonight.  I have a surprise for you.”  Smiling up at me, I grit my teeth to tell her to shove it.  We both know if I wanted Tina tonight she’d be more than willing based on the last few times we were alone together.

Granted, I’d been on my best behavior and work’s gotten back to normal, but it doesn’t mean I’m not still thinking about the last time I was inside Tina.  But Lacy’s the bride, and I’ve learned enough through my life to know she’s going to get what she wants, so it’s better to just go along with it.  Plus, she said she has a surprise for me.  Maybe it’s a replica of Tina?  Probably not, but wishful thinking never hurt anyone.

“I’m game,” I say, slamming back the last of my drink and setting the empty glass on a nearby table.  Approaching a woman sitting alone near the back of the room, far away from the head table, the girl’s eyes light up as we get closer.

“Leslie, this is my good friend Nicholas Conrad.  Nick, this is a friend of mine from work, Leslie Gill,” Lacy introduces.  Leslie’s no Tina, not even close in comparison, and that might be a good thing.  Where Tina’s hair is a dark shade of brown, Leslie’s deep red curls intrigue me.  And Tina’s chocolate eyes are nowhere to be found on this woman, instead replaced by a deep blue.  Their bodies are comparable, but only in stature, and that’s where the similarities end.  I’m not sure if I’m okay with the pawning off of the ex-husband gig that’s not lost on me; however, my dick seems more than happy to participate. 

“Hello, it’s nice to meet you,” Leslie coos in a small, meek voice.

“Can I get you a drink?” I ask, anxious to get back to the bar.  When Lacy sees I’m not bucking her apparent set-up, she smiles and saunters back to Tony and her family. 

“Yes, please.  Martini, please.”

Excusing myself, I’m nearly at the bar when Tina catches my attention once again.  Who am I kidding?  She never lost it to begin with.  Based on her relaxed demeanor, it’s safe to say she hasn’t noticed me yet.  If she had, she’d be on alert, watching me just as much as I’m watching her.  I can’t help that we love to torture each other.

The man standing to her right, between her and Lacy, reaches around her waist and rests his hand on the small of her exposed back.  Grinding my molars to nubs, I shake my head in annoyance.  Of course Lacy would put me in the corner with her co-worker if she were bringing a guy for Tina.  For the first time ever, I wish I wasn’t close to Lacy.  It’d be a lot easier to walk out of here instead of watching some dickhead paw at my ex-wife. 

Pushing all thoughts of Tina and my anger toward Lacy to the back of my mind, I order drinks for myself and Leslie.  On my way back to our table in Siberia, I promise myself I’m going to have as much fun as I would had I not seen that public display of affection.  I’m not going to let Tina ruin something else for me.  Leslie’s nowhere near my type, but at this point in time, the only kind of type I have is a pair of tits to grab on to and somewhere to rest my dick for the night.

Setting the martini down in front of Leslie, I smile and take the seat directly to the left of her.  Taking a sip of my whiskey, I lean back in the chair and listen to the band playing in the distance. Out of habit, my knee bounces with the percussion instruments then I catch Leslie humming along with the soft voice of the singer.

“Would you like to dance?” I ask, not knowing where it comes from since I don’t dance.  Like, I
.  Not that I don’t know how, actually I’m pretty good; it’s just not something I enjoy.

“I’d love to,” she says, all but jumping out of her seat.  Taking another drink, I stand to join her.  Placing my hand on the small of her back, I grin, knowing if Tina sees this, she’s going to be just as pissed as I am.  No.  No more Tina.  No more revenge.  No more thoughts of her toned legs and sexy heels wrapped around asshole’s back.  Just no more.

Taking the beautiful ginger in my arms, I expertly spin her around the dance floor, following the melody of the song.  One of my hands rests dangerously low on her back, my pinky grazing those sexy little indentions, my cock loving those subtle dimples and responding accordingly.  As we make our way to the far side of the floor, Leslie’s head comes to rest on my chest.  Looking down at her messy, yet sexy, mop of red curls, I smile at her comfort, knowing all too well the rest of the night’s in the bag if I want it. 

Then I make the mistake of raising my head and catching the folded arms and scowl of Tina’s stare boring holes straight through me.  My first instinct’s to push away Leslie; however, I remember the scene from only moments before.  Instead, I pull her closer and place a chaste kiss to the crown of her head.  For a split second, I swear Tina’s eyes mist over, but as I look down and then back up, she’s gone.

BOOK: Rekindle
11.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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