Firefighter Sebastian Marinello enters a burning building and saves the life of a man he finds unconscious on the bathroom floor. Once outside he discovers that the guy is romance writer Owen Schroeder whom he’s had a crush on for months but has been too afraid to confess how he feels.
As a friendly gesture Sebastian offers Owen a room in his condo where he can recuperate and get back on his feet. But after just five minutes alone in the apartment with the man of his dreams Sebastian wonders if he’s done the right thing.
A loud beeping sound woke Owen from a crazy dream. He opened his eyes slowly. They burned and his breathing felt labored. Where am I? He had one lulu of a headache and his stomach ached. There was an oxygen mask over his nose and lots of beeping machinery next to his bed. A hospital. Owen felt around for a remote and brought the bed, and himself, to a seated position. He wasn’t alone. There was a person sleeping in a chair close to his bed.
Who is that? The guy looked familiar. Owen raised his left hand and tried to wipe his eyes because his right one had an IV in it. Sebastian? What is he doing here? Sebastian was a gorgeous firefighter he had the hots for, and who lived in the condo apartment next to his building. My building? Shit! The fire! Owen snatched the oxygen mask from his face and the machines beeped louder.
Sebastian sat up. “Oh, you’re awake?”
Owen’s heart did a double thud at the sight of the sexy dark five o’clock shadow on Sebastian’s chin. “Yes.” His voice sounded raspy. Owen touched his throat.
“You inhaled a lot of smoke,” Sebastian explained. “And you had an asthma attack.”
Shit, as if nearly dying in a fire wasn’t enough, Sebastian had found out about his illness. Owen’s throat felt on fire. “Was anyone hurt?”
Sebastian shook his head. “No, thankfully. Do you remember anything about it?”
Owen struggled to remember. Everything was kind of jumbled. “I was trapped.”
“Yeah. We had to rescue you. I found you unconscious on the bathroom floor.”
Owen scowled. That wasn’t exactly how he wanted to get to meet his Prince Charming. “Thank you.”
“No thanks needed,” Sebastian said. “It’s my job.”
“Gone,” Sebastian answered. “It collapsed. The fire started in the Laundromat on your floor. One of the dryers caught fire. Faulty wiring.”
It took a few minutes for everything to register in his head. The building fell down and he had nothing. Owen groaned. Sebastian rose and walked toward him, dressed in a pair of tight-fitting jeans and a blue T-shirt that stretched across his massive chest. “Everything is going to be okay. You had renter’s insurance, didn’t you?”
Owen nodded, quite aware of the sexy fireman looming over him. The damn policy had gone up in flames with everything else in the building, but he was sure the company had another copy available. He groaned again. “My manuscripts.”
“Sorry,” Sebastian said. “The entire building caved in.”
Luckily for him he’d backed everything up on an on-line storage. If he could get his hands on a computer he could retrieve the documents. The door to the room opened and a nurse entered.
Sebastian went back to his seat.
“Oh, you’re awake, Mr. Schroeder. You gave us quite the scare.”
“How long have I been unconscious?” Owen asked. It hurt just to form the sentence.
“About twenty-four hours,” the nurse said. “Your brother has been here watching over you the whole time.”
My brother? I don’t have a brother.
Sebastian raised his hand to get Owen’s attention.
Owen smirked. So the big firefighter had lied. He guessed the hospital had an immediate family-only policy in place. “Yes, he’s a good brother.” Sebastian was big with jet black hair and gorgeous hazel eyes, while he was slender with brown hair and eyes. The only things they had in common was that they were both guys, they both had southern accent and up until yesterday, they had both lived in the same neighborhood.
He sank back with another groan. Now where was he going to live? He had some money saved and he had a big royalty payment coming from one of his publisher in a couple of days. Luckily that money would go to the electronic funds transfer he’d set up, since he suspected his mailbox had been burned too.
The nurse checked his vitals while Sebastian watched. “Are you still having trouble breathing?” she asked.
Owen nodded. He usually felt like he had an elephant sitting on his chest when his asthma flared. But he had a sinking feeling that his breathlessness now was caused by the firefighter with the hazel eyes watching him intently from where he sat. Owen felt his cock harden. At least that is still functioning.
The nurse put the oxygen mask back on his nose. “Just take a couple of deep breaths.”
Owen inhaled deeply. The oxygen made him feel lightheaded. He coughed a couple of times and then he felt better.
“Thankfully the firefighters were able to get to you before you inhaled any chemicals,” the nurse continued. “The doctor ran a couple of tests and he didn’t find any signs of carbon monoxide.”
That was good to know. Having asthma was enough.
“When will he be able to leave?” Sebastian asked.
“That’s up to the doctor,” the nurse said. “He should be in shortly.”
The doctor appeared right after the nurse left. The man gave him a thorough examination. Luckily that pesky erection had gone away.