“Clay.” She pressed into the door, looking flustered. “I don’t know what that was, but it was no big deal. You didn’t expect me to be in your bedroom. I startled you.”
“You startled something, all right.”
She bit her lip, hiding a smile. “I’m just saying it didn’t mean anything.”
“C’mon, Shelby. I wasn’t the only one affected in there.” His gaze dropped to her breasts and he could see the faint impression of tight nipples beneath her sweater. He forced his gaze to her face. “I saw you,” he rasped.
Shelby squirmed. “What are you talking about? It was no big deal.”
“So that’s why your body responded to mine, why your—”
“All right!” She blushed furiously. “Okay, so I…noticed you noticing. Just because I responded doesn’t mean I should have. Or that I will again.”
“Maybe you’re right, but I don’t think so.” He stretched his arm along the top of the seat, hit with a purely macho urge to prove she would respond to him again. “I don’t know why something’s started between us, but it has.”
The idea of best friends falling in love has always fascinated me. Perhaps it’s the excitement of two people who think they know each other so well, only to be surprised and amazed by romantic feelings they never expected. I wanted to do a story of a man and woman who have only ever felt strictly friendship for each other, who fell in love with other people first. And then one day, bam! Hormones and emotions go wild. Where did that come from?
Firefighter Shelby Fox and Detective Clay Jessup have been there for each other through thick and thin, through death and divorce. Their bond is unbreakable and reassuringly familiar. So what are they supposed to do when their friendship suddenly feels anything but platonic? When they are both hit with the temptation to give in to their closest friend…who now doesn’t seem close enough?
Like many writers, Debra made up stories in her head as a child. Her B.A. in English was obtained with the intention of following family tradition and becoming a schoolteacher, but after she wrote her first novel, there was no looking back. After years of working another job in addition to writing, she now devotes herself full-time to penning both historical and contemporary romances. An avid history buff, Debra enjoys traveling. She has visited places as diverse as Europe and Honduras, where she and her husband served as part of a medical mission team. Born in the foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains, Debra still lives in her native Oklahoma with her husband and their two beagles, Maggie and Domino.
Debra invites her readers to contact her at P.O. Box 30123, Coffee Creek Station, Edmond, OK 73003-0003 or via e-mail at her Web site at: www.debracowan.net.
In memory of my grandfather, R. E. Warren. The kindest man I’ve ever known and also a master storyteller who passed that love on to me.
Many thanks to David Wiist, retired Chief of Fire Prevention, Edmond, OK, and to Jack Goldhorn, PIO, Norfolk Fire Rescue, Norfolk, VA. You’ve both been unfailingly gracious and patient. I lucked out when I met you guys and I have the greatest respect for you both. To Linda Goodnight, nurse, writer and friend. To Patti Hager, for her help with all things Spanish, and to my nephew, Mason Banta, for answering my questions on bows and arrows.
Typical male, thought Presley firefighter Shelby Fox. Wouldn’t cooperate even with a willing female.
The May night was unseasonably warm for Oklahoma. She stood completely still outside Station House Three, pressed against the brick wall as she watched the stray tomcat slink warily through the shadows and approach the food she had left out for him.
The other firefighters fed the animal but didn’t care if he was social. For the last month, Shelby had been trying to coax the gray furball into sight. Three-quarters of the way through her twenty-four-hour shift, she should probably be trying to catch some sleep before the next call, like everyone else inside, but—
Someone screamed, the sound startling in the midnight quiet. She snapped to attention, her gaze going across the usually busy two-lane street to the nearest residence in the subdivision.
The sound had come from M. B. Perry’s house. Unsure if there was an emergency, Shelby decided to check it out herself. She dashed across the street, wondering if what she had heard had been a sound from one of those horror movies the petite schoolteacher loved so much. But it wouldn’t have been that loud, would it?
All was quiet except for the chirp of insects as Shelby reached the neatly tended lawn. Her gaze skimmed the short, trimmed hedge along the front porch. No sign of an intruder. No sign of anything unusual. Shelby had seen M.B. park her car in the garage a couple of hours ago and she didn’t think the woman had left. There were no cars in the driveway, so it appeared M.B. didn’t have visitors.
Welcoming light shone from the porch, behind the large, curtained front window and from M.B.’s bedroom upstairs. It wasn’t unusual for the woman to stay up so late on a Sunday night, but something was wrong. Shelby knew it by the sharp tingle in her fingertips, the same buzzed nerves she got every time she faced a fire.
The house was quiet, too quiet. She hurried up the few steps to the front door. Just as she knocked, she heard another scream, this one abruptly cut off. She tried the door, found it unlocked and opened it. “M.B.! Are you all right?”
Soon after moving into the older neighborhood, Mary Beth Perry had quickly endeared herself to the firefighters of Station House Three by bringing over all manner of fattening goodies twice a week. Shelby wasn’t the only firefighter who loved M.B.’s pecan brownies СКАЧАТЬ