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Firefighter Ashton Blaise is brave, handsome, kind, and can cook both on the stove and in the bedroom. He routinely saves animals from the flames. Women want him, all except Leah Allain, new director of the local animal shelter, not even after he saves a kitten found in her burning house. Her resistance intrigues him as does the fact that her home was intentionally set afire.
Not totally immune to Ash's charms, Leah is determined not to get involved with another guy out of her league like the married man who took advantage of her. Responsible for her senile grandmother, this time she cannot pull up roots and run. Though she picks on Ash's few faults to drive him away, he keeps finding excuses to be part of her life. Can Ash start a fire in Leah's heart and keep it blazing?Rating: Sensual
“Don’t look at me! Remember, a dog, four pups, and now Bandit. My mom will kill me if I bring any more home. Besides, I still owe you for Jolie’s BOGO and tonight’s tickets. I hope you take credit cards.” He’d tried to make light of the situation, but watched Leah’s face. Obviously, she was having an “Aha!” moment.
Her green eyes went wide and almost glowed as if she’d discovered radium or some other deadly substance. “I knew it! You aren’t perfect. You live with your mother. Ashton Blaise is a mama’s boy. That’s why I couldn’t find your number in the phone book to cancel the kayak trip.”
The bow tie that went with the tux suddenly seemed too tight around his neck. “Come on, this is the South. Lots of guys still live at home if they aren’t married. If you need the number, it’s under Hank Blaise. My mother didn’t change it after my dad’s death. But, I have my own cell. Here, I’ll write the number down for you.” Ash seized a pen attached to one of the clipboards, but not a single sheet of plain paper in sight and all the napkins were linen.
“I can write it on your palm!”
“Why not on my breast, oh most desired of all the firemen in Chapelle?” Leah smirked.
“That would work for me, but the competition isn’t that tough. Most of the men are married. Look, I have extenuating circumstances. If you’d just give me a chance to…”
Some of the guests began to arrive early with the smoke of the casino clinging to their hair and clothes and graphite on their fingertips giving away the fact that they’d been killing time at the slots before the event. Chief Fontenot, wearing a huge white dress shirt and no jacket, but a red pepper patterned tie that seemed too small for his throat and rested on his big belly like child’s fallen kite, made his way to the couple and immediately clapped Ash on the shoulder.
“Mind if I join you, Blaise? How’s your granddaddy doing? Never was a better firefighter than Dalton.”
Ash noticed Tank didn’t say fire chief since he’d preceded Fontenot in that capacity, but he answered neutrally. “As well as can be expected at his age.” No sense going into the rest.
The Chief assessed him from his head to his patent leather shoes. “Looking spiffy except for all the animal hair on your dad’s tux. I can’t recall how many times I saw him wear that. Me, I find those monkey suits damned uncomfortable.”
Ash glanced down. He was indeed covered in dog fur and cat hair from carrying the boxes stored in Leah’s SUV. Plucking a tiny feather from his lapel, he blew it into the air and watched it drift to the ground like his hopes of spending more time with Leah Allain.
Leah threw her head back and laughed, a good, throaty sound if it hadn’t been directed at him. “Never fear. In my business, I’m always prepared.” She found her black satin evening bag and took a lint roller from it. Standing close and starting with his lapels, she worked her way down his jacket, applying some real pressure and getting closer and closer to his crotch. Leah stopped at the bottom of the cummerbund and turned the roller over to him. “I can go no farther in public.”
Fortunately, good tailoring covered the bulge growing in his elegant pants. Ash took the roller, turned his back and completed the job. He started to hand it back to Leah, but paused. “I think you have some on your backside.”
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