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Derek aka Phoenix is a New York City firefighter and has dedicated his life to saving people. When he loses two of his men in the line of duty, he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to see the light again.
However, when an angel in the form of a woman named Fia appears before him, his world as he knows it is turned upside down.
Fia has been working hard to make money so she can finish her last semester of school. A fire in her building sets her back to square one, but the fireman who saves her turns out to be more than she ever expected.
Once he gets his arms around her, there’s no letting go. Because when you’ve got your forever in your arms, nothing else matters.
Warning: This is hot and fast insta-love that ignites the pages. It’s burning heat that combusts into an inferno of lava. Okay, that’s all the fire words I could come up with. Now insert a pun about a big hose. It’s quick, dirty, and ridiculously over the top.
Chapter 1 *Fia*
“You finish your shit, Fia?”
Sam’s gravelly voice from years of smoking barks from behind me as I hang up the phone in his back office. A mixture of annoyance and relief fills me. I really didn’t want to have to cover Kim’s shift at the women’s shelter tonight and was thankful she was able to make it in. I would have done it if they needed me; I’d do anything for that place. But I’m dead on my feet as it is. I’ve been on my feet for the past twelve hours and haven’t slept in over twenty-four, and it would be my luck that if I went back to the shelter, it would be a busy night.
“Already clocked out.” I turn to look at Sam, whose eyes are trained on my ass. He slowly pulls them up to my face as a smirk plays at his lips, showing off his yellow-tinted teeth, not a care that he’s openly running his eyes over my body. Sadly, I’ve become used to it. It still creeps me out, but he’s never tried anything.
Or maybe my luck is about to change, I think, as he shuts the door to his office, trapping me in. The door is always open. The waitresses here at Moe’s always keep our stuff stored back here, where we clock in and out for our shifts.
“You think about my offer?” He cocks his head to the side like he’s giving me the world, not a management position at the diner. I’d stay later after waiting tables and help with paperwork and orders and get a raise, but I think Sam has a few more strings he wants to add to the position¾things I want no part of. I’ve turned down the offer twice now, but he keeps telling me to think on it.
Normally I just mumble a, “no, thanks,” on my way out the door, but now it’s closed and I’m trapped. Trapped with a man twice my age, maybe even pushing three times my age. It’s hard to tell with his shaved head. He’s double my size, and I don’t mean in muscle or height. No, there’s a lot of gut on old Sam.
“I really don’t have the time.” I tell him the same thing I’ve said every time it’s been brought up. At least, not without giving up my shifts at the shelter, and that’s not something I’m willing to do, even if the pay is way worse over there. I love that shelter. I owe them so much after what they did for my mother and me. I’m just thankful they pay me at all, because I would do it for free. I hope that one day I can do it for free, but at the moment that just isn’t possible if I want to keep a roof over my head and food on my plate.
“We’ll cut your serving time,” he suggests, taking a step towards me. I try to match his in retreat but only hit the desk. I don’t want to cut my serving hours only to spend more time with him in his cramped little office alone. Hell, I’ve been in here for two minutes and I feel like I’m having a panic attack. I can feel my heartbeat pick up speed. My anxiety grows with each pull of my breath. I know all too well how men act when they don’t get the responses they want. I’ve seen it for years with my own father and how he treated my mother.
I just shake my head again, trying to push the words past my lips. “I really¾” My words are cut short when Tracy throws open the door.
“Who in the hell put the¾” She stops abruptly when she sees us both standing in the tiny office. Her eyes narrow, going back and forth between us. Tracy has been working at the diner for years. She trained me a few months back, and many might even think she owns the place by how she pushes everyone around. And I’m pretty sure she and Sam have a thing. I stay out of her way. I want my tables and tips and nothing more from this place. It’s a means to an end. A slow means, but I’m getting there, dollar by dollar, and this place has the best tips I’ve come across so far, so I put up with it.
“I’m having a meeting.” Sam turns to look at her. Tracy purses her lips at him, clearly not liking what he’s saying.
“No, it’s fine. I really should be going. I’ll miss the bus,” I lie. I always walk home. I grab my purse and coat and don’t even bother to put them on. I just hold them close to my body over my cheap polyester uniform that fits a little too snuggly on me. “Maybe Tracy would like the manager position,” I throw out.
“What!” Tracy half-screams, her face scrunching up. I steal the moment to slip past them both as fast as I can and out the side door of the diner, into the chilled night. The street is empty now that it’s almost midnight on a Tuesday.
I slip my coat on and make the half-mile walk to my apartment, which sits over an old laundromat. Locking the door behind me, I waste no time pulling my uniform from my body and tossing my tips from tonight on the table before jumping into the shower. I have to get the smell of grease off my hair and body. I let the warm water run over me, relaxing my muscles as I wash away the day’s work.
When I’m done I grab a shirt and a pair of panties and pull them on. I sit at the small fold-out table in my half kitchen, if you can call it that. It doesn’t even have a full refrigerator, just one of those tiny ones you find in a hotel, which is probably where it came from. There’s a small sink and microwave, and that’s about it. My exhaustion outweighs my hunger as I count my tips. A hundred dollars on a double shift for a Tuesday isn’t too bad. Every dollar counts at this point. I’m so close to being able to pay for my last semester of college. Twelve more credits and I’m done, I remind myself. I can do this.
I grab the money and place it carefully, along with yesterday’s money, between the pages of a book I keep on the table. I still need to go to the bank and deposit it. After that, I walk the few feet to my bed in the corner of the room and fall face first into the cushioned surface.
“I miss you, Mom,” I whisper into the pillow before sleep takes me.
Alexa Riley is two sassy friends who got together and wrote some dirty books. They are both married moms of two who love football, donuts, and obsessed book heroes.
They specialize in insta-love, over-the-top, sweet, and cheesy love stories that don’t take all year to read. If you want something SAFE, short, and always with a happily ever after, then Alexa Riley is for you!