Spark of Desire
by Charlotte McClain
Digital Edition $2.99
Jessica dreams of putting out fires but can she cope with fanning the flames of Kevin’s smoldering heart?
When she turns thirty, Jessica realizes time is running out if she wants to pursue her dream of being a firefighter and paramedic. Kevin offers her the opportunity to make her dream a reality, but both are unprepared for the flames of desire their meeting ignites.
But what’s with Kevin? He flirts with her, then pushes her away. Not that she needs the complication of starting a new job with a reputation anyway. Jessica decides she’ll just concentrate on her training instead of the dreamy guy who can’t make up his mind.
Friends complicate the matter even further, wreaking havoc on Jessica’s plans to stay focused solely on her goal. As Jessica’s tests approach, she and Kevin must come to terms with their burgeoning love for each other. Will circumstances snuff their chances for happiness?
WARNING: Light BDSM, kink, explicit sex.
Publication Date: January 4, 2012 - Word Count: Not available – E-Pub Page Count: Not available
Spark of Desire by Charlotte McClain
Copyright 2010, Charlotte McClain
All rights reserved, Lyrical Press, Inc.
“Oh.” Bobbie bit into her burger and then spoke with her mouth full. “So are you?”
“Am I what?” Jessica glanced at the bathroom doors again. What was Kevin doing in there? Wiping sweat off her cheek with her palm, she had the horrified thought that Bobbie might be flirting with her. Hopefully, Bobbie would supply her with an easy out.
Jessica sighed. As easy an out as possible. “No. If it matters.”
“Doesn’t.” Bobbie shrugged. “Don’t worry. I’m not looking for a girlfriend.”
“I didn’t assume you were.” Jessica studied Bobbie. “You’re doing this on purpose.”
“Doing what?” Bobbie salted her fries.
“You’re trying to throw me off.” Jessica narrowed her eyes. “You keep pitching curve balls.”
Bobbie grinned. “Smart girl. I’m just trying to prep you for the guys. Kevin’s a really nice guy. Too nice. He’d keep pumping you up until you fell on your face. I think it’s better to be prepared before you get kicked in the teeth.” Bobbie leaned her elbows on the table. “They don’t just do this to women. In training, they will put you through hell. They need you to break down early if you’re going to so you don’t kill somebody because you freeze up.”
“Strength of character as well as strength of body,” Jessica murmured.
“Exactly.” Bobbie shoved a french fry into her mouth. “Speaking of strength, what do you bench?”
“I’m not sure. I know some of the boxes we receive are about seventy pounds, and I don’t have any trouble with those.”
“You need to be able to carry one hundred and sixty-five pounds over your shoulder for about a hundred feet.”
“Kevin has weights in his basement. Don’t you, Kevin?”
“What?” Kevin slid into his seat. He glanced at Jessica, swallowing hard.
The collar of his t-shirt was wet. He didn’t seem to want to meet her eyes and when he sat down, he’d moved his chair away from her, crowding against Bobbie.
“Weights. You’ve got a set, don’t you?”
“Sure.” Kevin coughed, busying himself with salt and ketchup.
“She said she can lift sixty-five pounds comfortably.” Bobbie’s eyes shifted from Kevin to Jessica and back again.
Kevin nodded. He started going through a list of physical requirements she’d have to meet, but Jessica couldn’t seem to concentrate. She felt pretty confident the department would tell her their set.
What she didn’t feel confident about was Kevin. She felt herself sinking into a pool of self-loathing. The last time she’d felt this way was her eighth grade dance when she walked into the middle school auditorium in her first pair of high heels only to discover that they made her taller than all the boys in her class. A lot taller.
“So you lift three days a week, jog every day,” Kevin instructed, bringing her back from her adolescent insecurity and plunging her right into her adult insecurity.
“You should do some running, too. Get your speed up.” Bobbie polished off her fries. “You know where that gym up the road from your store is?”
Bobbie leaned on her fist. “You should join. You can’t be at Kevin’s house every day, and I don’t have good weights anymore.”
“What about the written exam?”
“Don’t worry about that,” Kevin grumbled.
He met her eyes for the first time since he came back from the restroom. “Because I said so.”
“That isn’t a good enough reason.” Jessica heard herself baiting him and couldn’t believe it. She was provoking him into an argument just to make him look at her. This wasn’t the best way to establish a relationship, even a friendship.
“Trust me. I know what I’m doing,” Kevin snarled.
Jessica drew a breath to snap back.
“Whoa.” Bobbie put her hands up. “Cut it out. It’s not even cute. Jessica, get your strength and stamina up and then we can work on drills.”
“We?” Kevin turned on her.
“Yes, we. You asked me to help. I work a different shift, so I can help her when you’re on duty, and I belong to the gym I told her to join.” One side of Bobbie’s mouth curled up. “Jealous?”
“No.” He turned to look at Jessica again, and she saw something flicker in his eyes. When he spoke again his voice was gentler. “We’ll work on drills starting in August. Plan to work out for at least an hour every day and study. The first test is the written.”
“On September first.” Jessica felt his eyes searching hers. A strange surge of emotion welled up that she didn’t want to deal with right now, and she shoved it aside. It had nothing to do with Kevin. It couldn’t have anything to do with him.
He clapped her on the shoulder. “You’ve got better than a five percent chance.”
“Except for the tools,” Jessica said. She had to work to keep her voice even. The spot where his hand had touched her warmed.
“Tools?” Bobbie asked.
“I’m not very good with tools. I can learn to use them, I just can’t tell them apart,” Jessica wasn’t embarrassed by her lack, but it did irritate her. Was Kevin embarrassed by it? Men grew up breathing tools, girls got dolls. When Jessica had been resuscitating her dolls, it hadn’t occurred to her that she might need a crowbar to get the doll out of her overturned Barbie Corvette.
“Take her to the station,” Bobbie suggested.
Bobbie and Jessica turned to Kevin. Jessica had started to convince herself that he wasn’t acting odd around her and judging by the look on Bobbie’s face, this was very odd. “Why not?”
“I can’t take her to the station.” Kevin shoved his chair away from the table and it rocked back on two legs. He grabbed for the table, but missed. Jessica caught the back of his chair and tipped it forward.
“Slick move.” Bobbie clapped. “Going for the Olympic Chair Ballet team?”