As part of the blog tour, I have an excerpt of Kate Meaders’s Flirting With Fire. Enjoy!
Savvy PR guru Kinsey Taylor has always defined herself by her career, not her gender. That is, until she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to be with her fiancé who thought she wasn’t taking her “job” of supporting him in his high-powered career seriously enough—and promptly dumped her for a more supportive and “feminine” nurse. Now, as the new assistant press secretary to Chicago’s dynamic mayor, she’s determined to keep her eye on the prize: no time to feel inferior because she’s a strong, kick-ass woman, and certainly no time for men.
But that all changes when she meets Luke Almeida, a firefighter as searingly sexy as he is quick-tempered. He’s also the second oldest of the Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service—if Luke’s antics don’t get him fired first. When Luke goes one step too far and gets into a bar brawl with the Chicago Police Department, Kinsey marches into Luke’s firehouse and lays down the law on orders from the mayor. But at Engine Co. 6, Luke Almeida is the law. And he’s not about to let Kinsey make the rules.
“I need a word with you,” Luke spat out as he turned and got a load of the PR princess. She was wearing her standard dick-raising uniform of hip-hugging skirt and gauzy blouse, a little sheer but not sheer enough. Sleeveless, it showcased her tanned, toned arms and nicely-curved shoulders. This woman kept herself in shape. He liked that.
But right now, he didn’t like her.
Tucking his hand under her elbow, he steered her to the other end of the locker room. The clack of her heels reverberated like jeers in his skull.
“I’m not doing this,” Luke said in his best not-fuckin’-around tone.
A citrusy scent wafted off her skin, reminding him that he was still cupping her elbow. Elbows should feel coarse and bony, but not hers. She was so damn silky he never wanted to let go.
He dropped that elbow like it was a burning doorknob.
“You are nervous,” Kinsey said with something approximating glee in her voice.
“I. Am. Not. Nervous.” He just didn’t want to be the laughingstock of the whole department. There was a difference. “When did this turn into a billion-ring circus? There’s an awful lot of flesh tourists out there.”
She delivered a look of boundless patience. “Now, don’t be petty. The gray life of the city worker needs a splash of color every now and then.”
Petty? This was his reputation, his job, his life they were talking about. “You’ve got Gage, who actually wants to be your puppet. I mean, look at him. He’s the most colorful person I know.”
In unison, they turned to Gage, who was bobbing his head to a song on his iPod while rubbing something oily all over his chest. Christ Jesus. He caught their stares and held up his underwear choices. “Kinsey. White, gray, or black?”
“Black, babe. It’s classic.”
With a smile and a nod, Gage returned to his task of making his chest greasier than a slab of bacon.
“See?” Luke hissed.
Kinsey’s lips flattened, and she made a strangled I’m-not-laughing-at-you sound.
“What can I do to get you out of your shirt today, Luke?” Her voice held a husky, wheeler-dealer tone, the kind of voice for which he was likely to do anything. He imagined that voice whispering in his ear, issuing wicked orders, making him hard as steel.
Come to think of it, he didn’t have to imagine. The tug of desire in his groin turned painful as his dick climbed to half-mast.
She smiled sweetly. “The big stars usually make demands like a bowl of M&M’s with all the green ones removed, or fresh heirloom roses for their dressing room. I’m not sure the city’s budget can stretch to that, but we’ll do what we can. What do you need, Luke?”
Now she was making him sound like some preposterous prima donna. Feeling more foolish by the second, he racked his mind for leverage. A checklist of the things he wanted scrolled through his brain, half of them shockingly lurid and all of them involving Kinsey’s long, luscious legs wrapped around his hips. Asking for mind-blowing sex in exchange for his cooperation was probably not kosher, though.
What else? What else?
“The proceeds of this calendar go to charity, right?”
“I get to pick the charity.” The kids at St. Carmen’s could do with a new rec room and, while he was under no illusions that this skin-fest would actually raise much in the way of Benjamins, every little bit would help.
“As long as you don’t choose something controversial that could
embarrass the city.”
“Such as the Committee to Elect Anyone but Eli Cooper?”
A smile lifted the corner of that lush, pink mouth. “I’m fairly certain that wouldn’t count as a charity, despite the great service you might think you’re performing.”
That pulled a laugh from deep in his gut. Cute. Kinsey Taylor had a sense of humor about her boss. “I’d like any proceeds to go to the foster home where I volunteer.”
“Oh. That sounds very . . . worthy.” It was the first time Luke had seen her flummoxed, but a few seconds later, she squared her shoulders and was all business again. “You ready to do this, Luke?”
He sighed heavily. “Make me a star, sweetheart.”