Firefighter Joe Allegretti has some flames that need putting out the minute he meets sexy fellow firefighter, Dallas Williams. But the heat he's feeling has nothing to do with the burning buildings nearby.
Not counting one curious kiss with another guy in college, Joe has always dated women. But as soon as Dallas appears Joe can't seem to ignore the scorching fire underneath that rages for the other man. But Joe struggles with what others might think of him if he dates Dallas openly, and Dallas isn’t interested in hiding what he feels for Joe. Joe’s a brave man, but is he brave enough to fight for what he wants?
Be Warned: m/m sex
The first time I saw Dallas, he appeared like an archangel from the burning church. Or at least, what I always imagined an archangel might look like. Tall and imposing, he strode confidently through the black smoke swirling around him like a heated tornado, and he carried Father Bronte over his shoulder like he was a feather pillow. I grabbed the padre and helped lower him onto a nearby stretcher.
“Is everyone out?” Father asked weakly. Then he fell into a coughing fit that would have made a pneumonia victim sound healthy.
“You don’t need to worry about nobody but you at the moment,” I muttered, shaking my head, and holding him down gently as he tried to sit up. “We’re in charge of saving souls right now.”
The EMTs approached, nudging me out of the way, and descended upon Father Bronte with needles and oxygen masks. Dallas and I moved back so we didn’t get stuck by mistake with one of the syringes.
Two guys from my truck ran into the building to take our places, and I pulled off my mask while Dallas did the same. His smile was white against his tanned face, and his blue eyes were rimmed by long, black lashes. I wasn’t the kind of guy who usually noticed things like that, so I was embarrassed when I did.
“Thanks for the assist,” he said, checking the back of my helmet. “Allegretti, is it?”
“No problemo.” I stuck out my hand. “Yep, name’s, Joe Allegretti. Fourth generation firefighter.”
He hesitated and pulled off his soot covered gloves. Then he grabbed my hand in his strong grasp. The warmth of his flesh against mine did weird things to my knees. What the fuck is wrong with me?
“You a probie?” I asked. It was an innocent question, but he looked like I’d accused him of running off with my Aunt Marie’s silverware.
“Is that some kind of a joke?” His bright gaze that had seemed so warm and friendly earlier now looked rather hostile.
I laughed. “I only ask because I haven’t seen you around before.”
“Well, I’ve never seen you around before either, but that doesn’t mean I’d call you ugly and kick your dog.”
I wiped my face with the back of my sleeve and grimaced. “Let’s start over. I’m Joe, and you are?”
He grinned, and oh, Jesus, it was pretty too. “Dallas Williams. Not a probie.”
“You should just introduce yourself that way from now on. It’ll save a lot of trouble.”
“I might have to do that. You’re the third guy today who asked me that same question.” He glanced over his shoulder toward Father Bronte. The older man seemed to be doing better now, and his cheeks had some pink in them. “I’m no probie, but I’m new to this part of town.”
“You with 55?”
“I am now.”
It was obvious the fire was winding down since the smoke had stopped billowing from the steeple, and most of the crews were pulling in the hoses. Dallas scanned my face and his eyes stopped on my mouth. That strange fact sent a little shiver of something through me. Not an unpleasant shiver either.
“You’re Engine 480?” he asked.
I nodded. “Best damn house in the city.”
One of my guys high fived me on the way past. “Hellz yeah.” He continued on his merry way without another word after his show of solidarity.
Dallas held back a smile, but I could see amusement in his pretty eyes. “That’s going to come as a huge surprise to the boys at my house.”
“Pfft. You boys at 55 like to dream big.”
“That’s because everything about house 55 is big.” He wiggled his brows and I flushed.
“It’s weird I’ve never seen you around before.” I moved toward my truck as I spoke, and he followed like he didn’t want to stop talking with me.
“Not really. I was at a small house in upper Buffalo. I kind of miss the small town thing, but I was looking for a little more action, so I transferred to 55.”
“This city will keep you plenty busy. We got lots of pyros and lousy drivers. Never a dull moment around here.” I slammed shut one of the locker compartment doors on the engine. “It was nice to meet you, Dallas.”
“Today’s my birthday, so I guess God was smiling on me.” A lock of blond hair fell onto his forehead as he spoke, like a supermodel photo shoot arranged from heaven above.
My stomach warmed and I wrestled with the perplexing attraction I was feeling for this guy. I wasn’t into dudes. Never had been, really. Okay, I’d kissed a guy once in college when we were both drunk off our asses and curious. But since then I’d only been with women.
“Why you working on your birthday? Shouldn’t you be in a hot tub somewhere with a bottle of bubbly and a redhead?”
He ran his gaze over my auburn hair and he smirked. “The night is young.”
Oh, fuck. Was he coming on to me? The fact that I wasn’t immediately repulsed actually worried me.
I laughed and jumped a little when the Captain leaned on the horn of the engine.
“We got another call, Allegretti,” he yelled at me. “Stop flirting and get in the truck.”
I felt like it was my face that was on fire now, instead of the church. “I guess I’ll see you around.” I waved and headed for my company.
“If you feel like wishing me a proper happy birthday I’ll be at Soronto’s around eleven tonight.” Dallas wasn’t shy, that was for certain. “Ask your mom if she’ll let you come out and play with me.”
I shook my head and climbed into the truck, ignoring the curious glances of my fellow firemen.