Friday, 15 January 2021
Thursday, 14 January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When I got to the break room, I let out a whine at the empty pot sitting on the burner. Why didn’t the person who took the last cup make a new pot? We were all coffee addicts; it wasn’t like it was going to go to waste.
As I prepared a new pot, another yawn moved through me. I prayed that sleep would fill my night.
I leaned over the counter of the break room, watching the pot of coffee slowly fill. The smell of the fresh brew lifted my spirits, and it helped me knowing soon I’d have a delicious cup in hand that would help me get through the next few hours.
“Are you okay, Roe?” January asked.
I blew out a breath and turned to her. “It’s the worst case of the Mondays. Please tell me it will get better. Lie if you have to.”
“Oh, sweetie.” Her gaze moved down my shirt. “It will get better. Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
Before I could ask or have her just meet me at my desk, she was gone.
My eyes drooped for a second, heavy as afternoon drowsiness hit and combined with my already tired state. After ten months of caring for my baby niece, you’d think I’d have the perpetual lack of sleep down to an art form, but alas, it wasn’t so. There was no such thing as getting used to operating on just a few broken hours of sleep. A quick intake of breath and some blinks shook me awake, at least for a moment.
While I spaced out, the dripping of the coffee subsided and I poured a cup. The smell was divine, and I pulled a container from the fridge. I loved to mix in some premade cold mocha to cool it down faster and make it even yummier. I took a sip of my coffee, a moan leaving me. Perfect.
In my tuned-out state, I wasn’t aware there was someone behind me. As I turned, my elbow caught his outstretched arm. The jostle sent a wave of coffee over the lip of the mug. Hot, dark liquid splashed across my hand and the clothing covering the person behind me.
My eyes were wide as my body bowed back to avoid more of it landing on me, my hand stinging from the warmth. Thankfully the mocha had cooled it down some.
“Oh, crap. I am so sorry!” My shit day that was having a brighter moment just got even worse.
“Fucking incompetent twit!” he spat as he grabbed for some paper towels.
My mouth dropped open. “I am so sorry,” I apologized again, my brain stuck in blame-taking mode even though his words were grating on me. It could also be partially blamed on the hotness towering over me.
The man before me with his whip of a tongue was just as lashing with his looks. I’d seen him around before. Who wouldn’t have noticed that razor line of a jaw, stunning blue eyes, dark hair, or his perfect body in a suit that had to be custom made?
He may have starred in a fantasy or two of mine, but that was to be expected with a man like him.
My gaze caught on the flicker of his black cuff links as they glimmered with each swipe of his hand. They struck me as odd and off brand from what little personality I’d built up in my head.
“Sorry doesn’t fix this,” he growled at me.
He was pissed, and for some reason, that was funny to me. Of course Mr. Too-Sexy-For-His-Suit had a bad attitude. It was an accident. If he’d done something as simple as alerting me to his presence behind me, it wouldn’t have happened.
Past his looks, I knew who he was in name only, but our encounter showed me that it was more than enough.
“It was an accident. If anyone is at fault, it’s you for sneaking up on me.”
He glared down at me, taking in my stained shirt, and tsked.
“You are incompetent,” he sneered as he brushed a wet paper towel against his shirt.
The word repeated in my mind as I stared at him.
The day had been long, the challenges hard, and I had battle scars in the form of the discoloration of my shirt to prove it.
The vein on my forehead throbbed, and the anger that simmered under my frustration of the day boiled over.
I’d had a shit day, and he was the icing on that cake. Icing I didn’t want. I already had formula, mustard, and coffee.
I narrowed my gaze at him before extending my arm and tipping my cup, splashing another dark stain onto the very expensive, fitted suit he filled out so well.
“Oops.” I smiled, watching the brown soak into the white of his dress shirt before heading to the doorway where January was standing, a detergent pen in her hand, jaw dropped as she witnessed what just happened.
“Thanks,” I said as I snatched the pen from her, ignoring the death glare being burned into the back of my head.
Well, my day didn’t get better, but I sure felt better after that.
All that remains are ashes…
Fighting fires is in his blood. It’s more than a job—it’s part of who Carter Collins is. Everything was going according to plan until one fateful night. Now with only his brothers at the Sunnyville Fire Department and his grandmother to answer to, Collins is content with life the way it is—but then she comes along.
Natalia Vasquez took a position at the Sunnyville Hospital to leave her old life behind with hopes to escape the permanent ache in her chest. When a fire destroys her apartment, a strikingly handsome firefighter comes to her rescue.
With no choice but to move again, Natalia isn’t thrilled to find that the heroic ass is her new neighbor.
Will the tension burning between them be enough to rekindle the ashes that smolder inside of them?
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There’s the sweet, lovely Lolly, but with her is that pendejo from last night who automatically assumed I was illegal and didn’t speak English. I raise my chin up and enter the room. I’m a professional, after all. Lolly deserves my attention and to get the best care, so I’m going to focus only on her.
Lolly is sitting on the bed and perks up when she sees me, “Natalia! I’m so lucky to get you again. How are you?”
Giving her a wide smile and keeping my eyes completely focused on only her, I walk to stand next to her on the opposite side of the pinche idiota firefighter who is looking ruggedly handsome in blue jeans and a fitted T-shirt. “I’m well, thank you. I’m glad to see you, but I’m concerned to see you here again. Are you still having issues with your blood pressure?”
“I fainted again. I think I overworked myself. I got up early this morning to feed the birds, and then I got to messin’ with my flower bed…”
“Lolly, I told you I’d handle the yard stuff. I was coming over.”
“I know, but I’m not an invalid, Carter!”
“I didn’t say you were.”
“You were implying it!”
“No…no, I was not. Stop putting words in my mouth and listen.”
“Don’t you take that tone with me! You think because you’re six four now that you can speak to your grandmother with that tone?”
Grandmother? This sweet woman? “I’m surprised such a sweet lady as yourself has this for a grandson.” As soon as the words are out, I cringe. Oh no, no. So not professional.
Lolly beams. “Oh, Natalia, you are my favorite around here. I don’t even like the hospital, but you more than make up for it.”
“Natalia…wait a minute.” Two large hands grab my shoulders and spin me around. What the hell? Carter leans down so we’re face to face. “It’s you! Natalia Vasquez.”
“Vasquez. And si señor. I help her, yes?” I give him a condescending smirk.
He drops his hands and stands up straighter. “You speak English.” He looks me up and down, I notice his eyes linger longer on my curves. “And you’re a nurse?”
“Registered Nurse, thank you very much.” I cock an eyebrow. I’m normally not hung up on titles. But he’s insulted me, and he needs to know what a fool he’s been. “Surprised?”
“To find you? Yes. That you’re a beautiful, educated woman in a career for helping others? No.”
I laugh. I actually burst out laughing. “You don’t even know me! Nice try at redeeming yourself from being an assuming, egotistical man last night.”
Lolly slides off the bed and comes to stand between us, “What is she talking about, Carter?”
I cross my arms and raise a brow at him again. He huffs. “Last night there was a fire at Natalia’s apartment.”
“My goodness, Natalia! Are you all right, sweetheart? How frightening.” Lolly turns back to her grandson, “But what did you do? You saved her, right?”
Firefighter Douche puffs out his strong chest, “Yes, I did.” He narrows his eyes at me. “I saved her.” He looks back at his grandmother. “Then I tried to check on her and she wouldn’t speak to me. She would only address the EMT in Spanish,” he cuts his eyes to mine, “so how was I supposed to know she knew any English? I was worried that you were in trouble or scared.”I slowly nod my head and bite my bottom lip. “Yes, yes, I was. I was in trouble and also scared because my apartment was collapsing above my head and fire was raining down.”
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Read the First Chapter HERE!
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Gail Haris believes in fairytales, love, and laughter as the best medicine.
She was born and raised in a small town in the Midwest. After graduating with a degree in Mass Communications, Gail went on adventures traveling in America and Europe.
But her favorite adventures are the ones where she gets lost in a book.
Her love for reading and traveling lead her to attend book conventions. Those conventions gave her the encouragement she needed to combine her passion for creativity and storytelling. Using coffee and her imagination, she loves writing contemporary romances that blend laughter and true love out of every day chaos.
When Gail isn’t day dreaming in front of her computer, she’s busy raising her two daughters with the man of her dreams. She loves traveling with her family, binge watching television series with her husband, singing Disney songs with her daughters, and having huge family and friends get-togethers that involve lots of food and usually a cake.
She hopes by following her own dream of becoming an author, she can set an example to her daughters that dreams can become a reality. Maybe she can encourage you too.
Never stop believing in love, dreams, and yourself. And coffee…don’t give up on coffee and books ;)
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