Uniform Encounters: An M/M Grumpy/Sunshine Romance
- Secret Fire
The last time Fire Marshal Daryl gave his heart away it was stomped on and destroyed. Can a sweet and sexy younger cop inspire him to risk all for love?
Romance is not on Daryl’s list of things to do. As a matter of fact, the less people he’s forced to deal with, the better. Social interaction is overrated anyway, right? Too bad he can’t get the hot cop from his weekend softball league out of his dirty little fantasies.
Zach just sailed past thirty and is sick of meaningless hook-ups. But finding a decent guy he can click with seems impossible. When a friend suggests he give the surly fire marshal a try, Zach wonders if his buddy has been standing out in the Arizona sun for too long. No way is the ruggedly handsome, cranky Daryl potential relationship material.
Apparently, opposites really do attract, and after a bumpy start it seems as if the road to love is paved with sunshine and rainbows. Or is it?
A tragic fire, Daryl’s emotional fortress and a whole lot of danger conspire to keep them apart, but Zach won’t give up without a fight. But first, he has to survive the threat of death staring him down…
Note: Secret Fire is the first novel in the steamy and exciting Uniform Encounters series. It was previously published under the same title with a different publisher as Book Five in the series. This second edition has been revised and re-edited, but the story remains the same. You can expect a grumpy/sunshine romance between a cop and fire marshal, a ten-year age gap and a dose of mystery/suspense. Please check the Look Inside feature for possible triggers. Grab your copy of Secret Fire for some scorching hot action now!
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Publisher: Knight Ever After Publishing
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Age Difference, Bad Breakup, In Uniform, Opposites Attract
Word Count: 51100
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
“You mean birthday boy? The one with the perpetual frown?”
Zach couldn’t believe that Tom Sherwood—one of the firemen who played against him on Mesa’s cop versus firefighter softball league—was suggesting he approach Daryl Richards to see if he might be interested in getting together on a date. The dude was known by all public servants as the crankiest man on the planet. Fire Marshal Daryl made curmudgeons seem jolly.
Zach, on the other hand, liked to have a good time. Share some laughs. Enjoy life. With that in mind, hooking up with Daryl didn’t sound like such a great idea. Even if he only wanted to get laid, he didn’t see the appeal. However, Zach’s former, more carefree outlook on the dating scene wasn’t what he sought anymore. One and done was no longer on his dance card.
“He’s actually a really nice guy.” Tom cleared his throat. “Once you get to know him.”READ MORE
Zach smirked at Tom. “Uh-huh. I’m sure he is. Except I’m not into those sadomasochistic types of relationships.”
Tom frowned. “I don’t think that’s fair. He’s been without anyone for a long time. I heard he really got his heart broken and hasn’t been the same since.”
“That he got his heart broken?”
“No. That he has one.”
Tom crossed his arms with a scowl. “Fine. Be that way. But you’re the one who sounds heartless right now.”
Zach sighed and bent down to pluck a soda from the cooler that Tom and his partner, Eric, had brought to the park. He straightened, then popped the can open and took a noisy sip of the cola. The sounds of kids playing, the happy laughter of families and the sizzle of barbeques surrounded him. The October day was warm, and a slight breeze blew the leaves around, keeping the tablecloths fluttering. Cover from the trees in the section of the park they were in made the ever-present Arizona heat tolerable. What right did he have to complain?
Tom had also helped himself to a soda. “Okay what?”
“I’ll…go talk to him.”
Tom shrugged. “Whatever. At the last softball game, you were bitching because you said that trying to find someone to get serious about is next to impossible.”
Zach snorted. “Yeah, get serious about. Not someone who was serious.”
Tom rolled his eyes and popped the tab on his drink. Zach wasn’t trying to be a dick about the whole thing, but when Tom had said he knew the perfect guy for him, Zach had gotten his hopes up. He couldn’t imagine being in a long-term relationship with someone who looked like he wanted to spit on him every time he was near. Zach didn’t take it personally. Daryl looked at everyone like that.
It really was too bad in other ways because Daryl was one fine male specimen. The guy was a little rough around the edges, which only made him hotter. His nose had obviously been on the receiving end of someone’s fist at one point in his life and there was a small stripe of missing hair at the edge of an eyebrow that was likely from a cut. His cheekbones were defined, chin strong and his honey brown eyes were set deep in his face.
Daryl also sported a scruffy moustache and close-trimmed beard which was the same chestnut brown as his hair and also accented with streaks of gray. Of course, that just happened to be another tick on Zach’s hottie checklist. Not to mention that Daryl’s hair was the perfect length for him to hold onto for cock-swallowing purposes.
He hadn’t even had a chance to dwell on Daryl’s well-built body yet, and already he was about to make an ass of himself by getting a chubby at the combination softball and birthday barbeque.
“There you are, Tom.”
Speaking of well-built men.
Eric Anderson—Tom’s boyfriend and West Mesa’s Fire Chief—approached Tom and casually draped his arm on his hip. He leaned over and whispered something in Tom’s ear, and the young firefighter laughed. They looked so happy together, so unconcerned about what others may think.
Zach couldn’t deny his envy.
Everyone knew of Tom and Eric’s relationship—it had been plastered all over the news the previous year when they’d been outed during an arson investigation. But Tom and Eric hadn’t let the decision to come out as a couple being ripped from their hands to lessen their bond. Zach was glad. He lived openly as well, even when it had been difficult for him at the police precinct when he was first starting out.
“Isn’t there someone you need to go talk to?”
Zach shook his head in resignation. “I can see you’re not going to let this go.”
Eric appeared confused. “Talk to who?”
Tom lowered his eyes as he shifted from foot to foot. “No one.”
Zach scrunched his eyebrows together. “No one? I thought he was going to be the fucking love of my life?”
Eric sputtered out a laugh. “Oh, now I gotta know.”
“Tom wants me to put the make on Daryl over there. Mr. Happy Birthday Boy.”
Eric bent over laughing, slapping his knee. He straightened, wiping a finger under one eye. “Oh, my God. You’re killing me.” He turned to Tom. “Babe, what on earth made you think Zach should get together with Daryl of all people?”
Tom slammed his fists on his hips. “You’re both asses. Just because a guy’s not laughing it up all the time doesn’t mean he might not be a good prospect.”
“Yeah, a good prospect at ripping my dick off,” Zach muttered.
“Fine. Screw you both.”
“Ah, babe, c’mere. I’m sorry.”
Eric grabbed Tom by the waist and tugged him closer, chuckling. Tom playfully pushed him away then seemed to forgive Eric as he leaned against him, the hint of a smile at the corner of his mouth.
Zach thought of Tom and Eric as two of his closest friends, but sometimes he wanted to punch them. They were so damn cute and cuddly all the time.
He sighed, deciding he might as well get it over with. After downing the rest of his soda, he tossed the can into the recycling bin then wiped his hands on his jeans.
“Okay, cover me. I’m going in.”
Eric grasped his shoulder and squeezed, an overly grave expression on his face. “Should it all fall apart, I’ll be sure to notify your next of kin.”COLLAPSE