Caught in the Flames by Kacey Shea
Release Day: August 23
Model: Shane Williams
Photographer: Eric Battershell
Designer: Perfect Pear Creative Covers
Preorder price of $2.99 only available through release week!
iBooks: Coming soon
Callie Gordon is more than a little obsessed…
I Love firemen.
Heroic. Selfless. Brave.
Not to mention the uniform with those damn sexy pants…I can’t get enough.
Imagine my surprise when local fire captain, Chase Matthews, wanders into my yard on moving day. I’ve hit real estate gold. Hot as sin with that all-knowing smirk creates an instant spark. Welcome to the neighborhood never looked so good.
But dating a firefighter isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Chase keeps me at distance even when I attempt to break down his walls. A friendship with the nosy eccentric woman down the street reveals there’s more to Chase than he’s willing to share. I’m playing with fire and bound to get burned.
Truths are brought to light.
Can I handle the heat? Or will my love for this man prove that sometimes even good girls have to burn down the house?
I hate coffee.
Okay, that’s a lie. I just hate the way it’s impossible to jog and drink coffee at the same time. After tossing and turning alone last night when I should have been tangled up with Chase, I woke early and decided if I’m not getting lucky I might as well get in better shape. Besides, what else do I have to do on a Sunday morning?
I lace up my sneakers and hit the pavement with purpose. But that energy fades with each advancing step. My abstinent morning exercise plan messes with my normally caffeine infused routine. So when I turn the corner about a half mile into my jog and Kiki flags me down with a cup of java in her hands, I have to stop.
The cool morning air hits the hot brew and causes a swirl of steam to rise over the mug. She observes my infatuation and invites me inside to join her in a cup. I can’t not say yes. Not saying yes to coffee is like refusing Jesus. Okay, bad example. Lots of people refuse Jesus. I can still be friends with those people. But people who refuse coffee? I don’t trust those fuckers.
So, instead of running to stay in shape for my hot ass fireman boyfriend, I’m having coffee with Kiki at her kitchen table. Enjoying every second. I inhale the roasted brew before cooling it with my exhale to take a long sip.
Kiki’s interior décor is a mix between eclectic grandma and boho chic. Really, I wouldn’t expect normal from Kiki, so it fits her perfectly.
“So, what is it you do for a job, Callie?”
“I’m a graphic designer.”
“Oh, that’s lovely, dear. Do you make T-shirts?” She furrows her brows and sips from her mug. I grin in response. “I actually do design for a firm that specializes in website development and company re-branding. Sometimes I get to design logos that go on T-shirts.”
“A creative mind. I knew we were kindred spirits.” She pats my arm. “Plus, you’re a coffee addict like me.”
“How did you know?” I sigh as I take another sip. She laughs, a throaty chuckle with a knowing look on her wrinkled face.
“It’s written all over your face. I’m what I like to call seasoned. I’ve been on this earth a while. I can tell these things.”
I bite my lip. She does seem to exceptionally intuitive. Maybe she can help me out. “What else can you tell about me?”
“You love yourself one of those fire boys,” she answers with a glint in her eyes.
“How do you know that?” I almost gasp. Maybe she’s psychic or a fortune teller. Oh, maybe she can read my aura.
“I just know.” She shrugs as Silas jumps onto the table. Kiki shoos him down and he complies with an irritated meow. “That, and the ladies at tai chi told me you’ve been dating the captain.” She smirks. When she raises her mug to salute mine I have to let loose a little laugh of my own. No special mind reading powers, just good old fashion neighborhood gossip at its finest.
“Yes, I’ve been dating Chase for a few weeks now.” Remembering the disappointment of yesterday and our missed date I have to resist the urge to pull out my phone to see if he’s called or texted. I’m sure he hasn’t. He won’t get off until nine and with this being his third shift in a row I don’t expect he’ll want to come over.
“Trouble in paradise already? That’s not good! You’re a beautiful woman. He’s hot as sin. What’s the problem?”
“No trouble. Really.” My lips pull into a frown as I remember the Evil Grocery woman. Maybe there’s more trouble than I’m aware of.
“I’m not convinced. Tell Kiki about it and I’m sure I can help. Besides, I know everything about everyone.”
I grin and consider her offer. I’m sure she does know everything. But I wonder how good she is with sharing secrets. I don’t have the time or energy to be involved in neighborhood politics. She
scratches at her neck and it reveals a little of her weathered skin. I’m surprised at the colorful ink scrolled across her shoulder. This woman is full of surprises and there’s something in the way she smiles at me that makes me
want to be her friend.
“Okay. I’ll tell you my problems on one condition.”
“You tell me the stories behind all your tattoos.” I smirk and she does that throaty chuckle again.
“You sure about that? That could take days. I have lots of ’em.”
“Stories or tattoos?”
“Yeah. I’m sure. What’s that one on your shoulder?”
“Oh, this ol’ thing? This is one of my favorites.” She pulls down the neck of her blouse and her bra strap so I can see better. It’s a bouquet of flowers. I recognize the violets, periwinkle, and lilies, but it’s the foreign words scrolling through the center in script lettering that captures my focus. It’s beautiful.
“What does it say?”
“Il dolce far niente.” The words roll off her tongue in a soft caress.
“Is that Spanish?”
“Italian. It means, it is sweet doing nothing. This was my first tattoo. I got it the summer I turned eighteen. My friend and I took our life’s savings and flew to Europe.” She chuckles that rough laughter. “You can imagine our parents weren’t too thrilled. We had been raised to grow up and find a spouse. Maybe spend a few years in college first, but then find a mate. Instead, Bets and I took off for an adventure. My parents tried to keep me from going. Insisted I was doing nothing with my life.”
“So you got a tattoo about doing nothing?” I grin.
“Yes. Though it was far from the truth. I ended up doing my fair share of Italian men that summer.” She waggles her almost translucent brow and I lean forward over the table. This woman is fascinating.
Her fingers stroke the rim of her mug, and light bounces off the diamond on her left ring finger.
“Did you marry one of those Italians?” Her eyes follow mine to her ring and she just grins.
“My turn is up. Tell me about the captain.”
I can’t help the way my face pulls into a smile just thinking about Chase. I take a gulp of coffee and try to put my feelings for him into words. “He’s the most attractive man I’ve ever dated. And I’ve always been a bit infatuated with his profession. But I didn’t pursue him. He asked me out, and, well, it’s only been a few weeks
but I’m a goner. He really is the most perfect man.” I know I’m gushing and sound more like an infatuated teen than a grown ass woman but I can’t seem to stop. Kiki smiles warmly and then pats my arm before standing to move to the counter. She brings back the coffee pot and motions to my cup. I nod with a
“Beautiful men. They were always my downfall, too. And a man in uniform is difficult to resist. I’d warn you to be careful, but sounds as though you’ve already crashed and burned for this one.”
“Is there any reason I should be careful with Chase?” I ask because something tells me if there is, this woman would know.
“Oh, honey, there’s always a reason to be careful in love. Doesn’t mean the heart listens.”
She smiles and I return it. I should excuse myself to leave now. It’d be polite after taking up so much of her morning, but I don’t want to take off just yet. I want to know more about Kiki—her tattoos, her stories, her life.
“Will you tell me about another tattoo?”
“If you have the time, dear. I’m sure you have other places to be than spending your day
with an old woman.”
“I have time.”
At my answer her grin pulls into a smile that fills her entire face. Her eyes crinkle so much they almost close.
“Well, how about this rose here . . .”
I get so wrapped up in Kiki’s tales that it’s hours before I finally jog home. The afternoon sun beats down on my skin and the humid air makes it difficult to breathe, but there’s a lightless on my soul and even in my steps as I trot the familiar path home. I’m glad fate crossed my path with Kiki today. Rather than spending the entire day obsessing about Chase I gained a new friend, one whose wisdom and life adventures fascinate me beyond measure. I can tell she’s a little lonely, and who wouldn’t be, living in that house alone with no career
and no family. But today I think I needed her company as much as she needed mine.
About the Author
Kacey Shea is a mom of three, wife, and indie author who resides in sunny Arizona. She enjoys reading and writing romance novels as much as her son loves unicorns, which is a lot.
When she’s not writing you will find her playing taxi cab to her children while belting out her favorite tunes, meeting friends or family for food and to share some laughs, or sweating it out in the gym. Kacey finds that picking up heavy weights repeatedly is good for her mental health as much as it is for the physical.
She has an unhealthy obsession with firefighters. It could be the pants. It could be the fire. It’s just hot. On occasion she has been known to include them, without their knowledge, in her selfies outside the grocery store.
Kacey one day aspires to be a woman hand model in a sexy photo shoot. You know, the woman’s hand raking across the muscular back or six pack stomach of the male fitness model. Yep, that hand.
Until that day comes she will continue writing sexy, flirty romance novels in hopes to bring others joy!
Kacey enjoys interacting with her fans so please feel free to stalk her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.