Lucas Taylor is a hard-working New York City fireman at Station 127, dedicated to his job, even though it has brought him heartrending tragedy - the loss of his lover, Ryan, in an explosion a year ago.
Evan Singer is the new guy in town, a paramedic transferred into Station 127 from San Antonio, and he sets his eyes on Lucas from the get-go.
Neither knowing who the other is, their first meeting is explosive, a night of passion and desire that awakens something inside Lucas he never thought he’d feel again.
But when Lucas discovers that Evan is a paramedic, it all comes crashing down. For despite the feelings he has for Evan, Lucas has vowed to never again get involved with someone on the job, after losing Ryan to it.
Can Evan convince Lucas to open up his heart and take a chance on love again, despite who Evan is?
INCLUDES THE SEQUEL "WHERE THERE'S SMOKE"
It's five months later and Lucas is nearly a full-fledged paramedic. But becoming a medic means no longer being able to work with Evan at Station 127 and giving up his chance at a promotion to Lieutenant. As graduation looms, will Lucas change his mind? Then add in a young man Lucas rescues from a fire that becomes an obsessed stalker, and Evan's altercation with a victim's husband that threatens his career, and things turn explosive at the FDNY.
M/M Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Tropes: First Time, Hurt / Comfort
Word Count: 50000
Setting: New York
Languages Available: English
Evan and Alix got another run much later that night, possible heart attack, and it was just after 11 pm when Lucas heard the bay door open, on his way to the bathroom to brush his teeth before climbing into bed.
Toby had just finished up at the sinks, leaving Lucas alone in the bathroom. He was wiping his mouth with a paper towel when he heard the door swing open. He looked up into the mirror – and saw Evan. And from the look in the young medic’s eyes and the set of his jaw, Lucas knew they were headed for the confrontation he’d been dreading.
“We need to talk,” Evan said firmly, walking toward Lucas.
Lucas turned from the sinks to face Evan. “No. We don’t,” he replied, just as strongly.
“You owe me an explanation, dammit,” Evan countered, and Lucas could sense the hurt under his words.READ MORE
Hardening himself, he flung his reply at the young man. “I was drunk. It was nothing but a mistake, sleeping with you. End of story.”
Evan shook his head. “No. No, I’m not buying that. You never would’ve called me on Sunday if that was true.”
Knowing he was caught, Lucas floundered for a moment before finding his voice, softer this time. “Evan…nothing more can happen between us. So just let it go. Please.”
“I don’t understand. Why are you acting like this?” Evan asked plaintively, taking another step toward Lucas, reaching out to touch him. “What’s going – “
The door to the bathroom opened at that moment and Tom walked in, dressed in only his boxers, a towel over his shoulder. Evan immediately dropped his hand and took a step back from Lucas, as they both averted their gaze from one another. It was obvious from the look on Tom’s face that he knew he’d just interrupted something, but before he could speak, Evan was brushing past him, out of the bathroom.
Lucas sighed and turned back to the sink, bracing his arms on it and hanging his head. Tom walked up beside him a moment later.
“Want to tell me what that was all about?” Tom asked.
“Nothing,” Lucas muttered.
“Certainly didn’t look like nothing. Something going on with you two?” Tom pressed gently. “You haven’t even known him for 24 hours yet and you’ve pretty much been avoiding him since he got here. Something about him just rubbing you the wrong way?”
Lucas hesitated for a minute, then decided to confide in his friend. He blew out a long breath then straightened up, turning to face Tom.
“Actually…we’ve known each other longer than 24 hours,” he confessed.
Tom blinked. “You…what?”
“Remember when I said I wasn’t alone on Saturday?”
Tom nodded. “Yeah…” Then his eyes widened. “You don’t mean…? You were with Evan? How…I mean – “
Lucas glanced away from his friend. “I picked him up at Casey’s.”
“You picked him up? You mean you…?”
“Yes, Tom, we fucked each other,” Lucas confirmed bluntly.
“What were you thinking?” Tom hissed. “Sleeping with some guy you don’t even know? You’re lucky he wasn’t some psycho and killed you!”
“God dammit, Tom! I was lonely! I was hurting and I was lonely. I miss Ryan so fucking much…” Lucas swallowed deeply. “And with Saturday the anniversary of his death…I just wasn’t thinking straight, okay? I’d had too much to drink and he was interested and I just wanted to pretend…”
Tom sighed and reached out and squeezed Lucas’s shoulder. “So I take it from what I saw in here things didn’t go so well that night?”
Lucas gave a rueful chuckle. “Actually, it was just the opposite. I even spent the night. He gave me his number and I called him yesterday.”
“Hang on, I don’t understand. Why are you avoiding him like the plague, then?”
“Because the one thing we neglected to talk about was our jobs!” Lucas pushed angrily away from the sink, his back to Tom. “I told him today there can’t be anything between us.”
Tom was silent for a long minute, then asked softly, “Do you like him? You must if you called him.”
Lucas whirled around. “It doesn’t matter if I like him or not. He’s a paramedic.”
“Ah, Luke…don’t do this to yourself. Ryan was a fireman – “
“We’re ALL firemen, Tom! The medics are in just as much danger as we are. Half the time they’re rushing in right behind us into some burning, collapsing building to pull someone out. Or they’re pulling up on a gang-banger bleeding in the street while bullets are still flying,” Lucas finished, pulling in a deep breath.
“Do you think Ryan would’ve wanted this for you?” Tom asked gently. “For you to be alone and unhappy? Or do you think he would want you to move on? Not to forget him, but just to find someone that makes you happy again.”
Lucas stared at Tom, throat working against the emotions threatening to smother him. Finally, he shook his head, his voice rough.
“I already lost someone I loved to this job. I won’t go through that again. I can’t.”
Then he was pushing past Tom, out of the bathroom, swiping angrily at his moisture filled eyes.
He leaned against the wall next to the doorway leading into the dorm, taking a minute to get himself back under control before heading in, knowing what he’d find. And sure enough, Evan was lying there in his bed on his side, facing Lucas’s bed, wide awake, his expression hurt and angry and confused.
Lucas looked away from him without a word, climbing into bed, facing away from Evan, but he still felt the young man’s eyes boring into his back until he finally fell into an uneasy sleep hours later.COLLAPSE