Jobe Tucker is the hottest fireman in Templeton by Lake Erie. Hot, single, and a fireman, he’s caught the eye of Stuart Talbot, owner of a local convenience store. But if Talbot doesn’t stop prying in the fireman’s life, there might be hell to pay. He just can’t control his crush, though.
Enter Talbot’s best friend, the straight Adam Lark, who balances Talbot when needed. Plus he owns a cabin away from the city where the two men occasionally spend weekends for downtime, relaxing. Unfortunately, Adam can’t stop Talbot from stalking Jobe.
When Jobe flirts with him, Talbot’s obsession and liking for the fireman heightens. But he has a heated history of being burned in a long-term relationship. Can Talbot put his tragic past behind him and begin a new love affair with the fireman? Or will his heart go down in flames?
If I don’t know any better I’d say he flirts with me, always winking. But Jobe’s the type of guy who winks at everyone in Templeton: the journalists of WTMP when being interviewed after putting out fires; while chatting with Mr. Ned Christmastine (the head librarian) after finding Binky, his runaway Siamese; and Father Benjamin Brinkly down at St. Mary’s Catholic Church after verifying all the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in the establishment are checked and up to city code. Bottom line: Jobe’s a winker, and a flirt. So don’t fall for his game.
I snag the fiver off the counter, make change, and pass the buck-sixty-two back to him. Our fingers touch during the exchange and my heart rocks some. As I attempt to hold my composure together, I ask him, “Is Harriston’s place livable?”
He nods. “The bedroom isn’t. But she’s loaded. Her insurance will cover it. No doubt, she’ll have a new bedroom in less than two weeks.”
Following his spiel, he does something odd. He steps around the counter, takes my frame in, studies my feet, middle, head, and inquires, “Did you put some muscle on or is it my imagination?”
Good to know someone’s paying attention to me. A smile consumes my face. “I’m using protein, eating better, running, and working out at Lifts.”
“Lifts is a great gym.” He reaches forward with his right hand, wraps his fingers and palm around my bicep, and squeezes the muscle. “Nice job,” he says. “That bicep is a work in progress. I like where you’re going with it, man.” To my surprise, his right hand releases the bicep and falls to my chest. I’m wearing a light blue T-shirt snug against my chest. He finds my left pec, provides the pec with a gentle and pleasurable turn as if it is a knob. “Damn, Talbot. You’re turning into Superman. A man of steel. Totally my type. Keep up the labor.”
“I’m trying. I use Lifts three evenings a week. Every weekend I go for long runs whenever I can. And I’ve cut out all sugars and carbs. It’s turning into a job for me, but I don’t mind.”
“That’s a good start.” He steers his hand down to the base of my T-shirt and finds its rim at my waist. “Let me lift this cotton a little. I want to see your stomach. Show me you’re real status.”
I shouldn’t let him play with me like I’m his toy, but whatever. I’ve had a crush on him for the last two years. Hard for him. Wanting him. Desiring him. Everything for him. It’s about time he has an interest in me. So I let him pull up my T-shirt with his left hand and hold it below my chin. My abs and pecs are exposed. And I let him cross a line between us: admire my hourglass shape; reach for my divot of navel; caress my hairy-blond abs with his stray fingertips; run two fingers along my right hip; lick his lips; bite his bottom lip with his upper set of teeth.
“Talbot, you’re on fire and getting wood. What have I done to you?”
He’s right. An erection builds in my denim, between my legs. Solid wood rises. Eight inches of hard excitement greets him.
Embarrassed, I pull the T-shirt out of his grip, let gravity take and hide my stomach, and turn away from him. I mumble, “Sorry about that. I haven’t been touched by another human being in almost sixteen months.”
He backs away, walks to the opposite side of the counter. “No problem. Men sport wood. It’s a natural thing. Be proud of that erection. Especially since it was what ... seven or eight inches hard?”
“Eight,” I ramble.
“Eight’s a good length, pal. Nothing wrong with that.”
Before I can respond, not that I can respond because I’m speechless, he grabs his liter of chocolate milk and Slim Jim, waves goodbye, and heads out of my store.