Hot for the Fireman: Chapter 2

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Olivia Jones’s gaze locked onto the ass of possibly the sexiest man she’d ever met as he walked toward the gigantic black truck parked behind her Mini. In the liquor store, she’d heard his voice first. I’ll buy your wine. All low and rumbly, it caused her belly to flip over before even setting sight on the man attached to it. And a second later, when her head turned and she saw him for the first time… Dayum.

Her breath had caught in her chest and every thought in her head melted. He was a giant of a man, several inches over six feet, wearing an untucked black dress shirt that fit him like a tailor had designed it around his incredible body. He was gorgeous, but not in a perfect male model sort of way. More like he grew up in the wild and had fought tooth and nail for everything he had, and he wouldn’t hesitate to do that and more to keep it. Jet-black hair, buzzed close to his head, matched the shadow of a beard that seemed to exist as if to tell society that he might act civilized, but he refused to pander to their whims and fully conform.

Why couldn’t any of the guys she went on dates with be like this one?

Her date earlier had been a disaster, a feeling she’d had before ever stepping foot outside her door. On her drive over to the bar—he was within walking distance and couldn’t be bothered to pick her up—the voice in her head had told her to turn her happy ass around, go home, and curl up with a book and her cats. But that’s what she’d done almost every other night for the last two years, and she didn’t want to be that person anymore. It was the whole reason she’d started dating again. Though, if she’d known it was going to be this hard to connect with anyone, she would’ve stuck with her cats.

As the man cut between their vehicles, she decided she couldn’t be too upset about her bad date anymore. After all, it had led her to this store and the few minutes of interaction with that sexy eye candy would be enough to fuel her fantasies for a while. Worth it.

Blowing out a breath, Olivia stepped into the street and walked around to her driver’s side door, keeping her eyes firmly trained on the ground so she wouldn’t be tempted to sneak more peeks at Hottie McBulgypants. Oh my God, I did not just call him that. I didn’t even notice his bulge. I mean, I didn’t notice if he even had one. She mentally winced. Shit! Stop thinking about it! Still averting her gaze, she heard him climb into his truck and pull the door closed. When the engine roared to life, some of the tension in her shoulders eased.

Until she tried getting into her own vehicle…and couldn’t.

Olivia’s stomach dropped as she saw the two things she should be holding right now laying on her passenger seat. “Shit, shit, shit!” she muttered, dropping her forehead to the window. When her best friend, Angelina de la Vega, had called on the drive over, Olivia had been so caught up in rehashing her disastrous date that she’d gotten out of her car with her phone…and nothing else.

She supposed she should be grateful she at least had her phone so she could call a locksm—

“Something wrong?”

The deep timbre of his voice startled her. She’d been so caught up in her blunder that she hadn’t heard the truck’s engine cut off, or its door opening and closing or the approach of the sexy stranger until he stood behind her and spoke. If her father knew how unaware of her surroundings she’d been, she’d get the lecture of a lifetime.

Before turning to address him, Olivia discreetly tugged the hem of her red dress down and the low scoop neck up. It felt two sizes too small, but a few months ago, when they went shopping for Olivia’s “dating wardrobe,” Angie insisted it was the perfect amount of sexy without flashing the goods. After experiencing the current local bar scene, Olivia understood what Angie had meant. A lot of girls went out more naked than not, and that alone was a stark reminder of how long it’d been since she’d ventured into a place where the single and horny reigned supreme. Hell, it’d taken her forever just to admit she was once again a part of the single crowd, but she doubted she’d ever feel totally comfortable in clothes this small.

Hoping her poker face was more believable than it felt, she turned around…and promptly forgot how to speak. He was so damn big. She stood at five foot seven flat-footed and had on three-inch heels, but he still had a good half a foot on her, making him something akin to the Jolly Green Giant or— “Paul Bunyan.”

He arched a brow and the corner of his mouth twitched. “Did you just call me Paul Bunyan?”

Of course it was too much to ask that her internal monologue actually stay internal. She mentally smacked her forehead. Taking a deep breath, she shrugged and said, “You have that man-of-the-wild look about you. Considering your height makes you part giant, I’d say you’re at least a distant relative.”

Paul Bunyan’s smile revealed a hidden dimple in his right cheek that melted her insides, and if he kept it up, she didn’t hold out much hope for her brain. And his eyes…dear God, his eyes…they were the color of amber, like the whiskey he’d bought, and absolutely breathtaking. Add in his thick, dark lashes she’d give her eyeteeth for, and she might as well just hand over her vagina. Here you go. I’m fairly certain it’ll never work for anyone else now anyway, so you might as well keep it.

Nodding to the car behind her, he said, “So what seems to be the trouble?”

She glanced back and then met his assessing gaze. “Well, the good news is, I didn’t forget my purse at the bar after all because it’s on my passenger seat. The bad news is, so are my keys, and my car is locked.”

“You really aren’t having the best night, are you?”

“You have no idea,” she said on a sigh.

He knelt down on one knee and looked up at her as he untied the lace on his black motorcycle boot and started pulling it from the holes. “Bad date?”

“Try a nightmare,” she said, cocking her head to the side as she tried to figure out what the hell he was doing.

After freeing that lace, he switched out feet and started on the other. “What were his crimes, if you don’t mind my asking? You know,” he said with a crooked grin, “so I don’t make the same mistakes the next time I take a lady out.”

There’s no way she would believe that this man could be rude to a date. In the few minutes she’d been with him, she knew he was attentive and thoughtful. She’d bet any date of his would feel like the only girl in the room. Just thinking about it sent a tiny shiver through her. Stop it, Livvie. You’re through with dating, remember?

Banishing the lust that had been creeping in from the moment she laid eyes on Paul Bunyan, she played along and spoke with a professorial tone. “In the interest of sparing women in the greater Boston area the kind of pain I experienced tonight, I’m happy to share. Let’s see. He answered three calls during dinner—one of which was another woman with whom he set up a date for tomorrow night, incorporated the Yankees into every topic of what little discussion we managed, and then had the audacity to look shocked when he learned I wasn’t going home with him, which, by the way, is an apartment over his parents’ garage.”

A final tug and the second lace was completely extracted from his boot. Standing, he gave her an incredulous look. “He was a Yankees fan? You’re right, that is a nightmare.”

She rolled her eyes. “Yes, that was definitely the most tragic part of the entire evening.” He smiled to himself as he tied the laces together and then made a quarter-sized loop in the middle with a weird knot. “What are you doing?”

“Rescuing you, m’lady.” Grasping the black laces with both hands, he tucked the loop behind the upper corner of her door, then worked it back and forth while simultaneously dragging it down. “So,” he said casually, keeping his eyes trained on what he was doing, “what fictional character are you?”

Her eyes widened in fascination as she watched the loop he’d made get lower and lower inside her window until it settled around the lock pin. He pulled both ends in opposite directions, making the loop tighten around the pin like a noose. “I’m sorry, what?”

He paused and flashed her a smile. Good Lord, that dimple was lethal. “If I’m Paul Bunyan, what does that make you?”

She peered down at her hooker dress in consideration. It reminded her of Julia Roberts’s character in Pretty Woman. “I think it’s a toss-up between Vivian Ward and Dance Club Barbie.” With a simple upward yank, the laces pulled on the pin and unlocked her car. Holy shit, that was cool. He was like a real-life MacGyver. Oddly, it was a total turn-on.

Opening the door, he pocketed his laces and turned to face her, draping one arm over the top of the door. “There you go.”

“That was amazing, thank you so much,” she said with equal parts wonder and relief. “Where’d you learn to do that?”

He shrugged. “Just one of the life-hacks I’ve picked up over the years. You’re way off, by the way.”

“Way off?” Her brows drew together in confusion.

“About your fictional character.”

“I wasn’t aware there was a correct answer.”

“Maybe not,” he said, “but comparing yourself to a prostitute or club bunny is asinine.”

Something flipped in Olivia’s stomach. Something she was certain had no business tipping, much less flipping, and her mouth suddenly felt like she’d been sucking on cotton. Trying to keep her outer appearance from matching the hot mess going on behind the scenes, she shifted the bottle of wine from one cradled arm to the other.

“I suppose you have a better comparison?”

He took the wine and phone from her and bent to set them on her passenger seat, grabbing her keys in the process. Straightening, he closed her door, placed her keys in her palm, and curled her fingers around them. The warm, callused feel of his hand wrapped on hers sparked a flare of arousal between her legs. But then he took a step in, leaving only inches between their bodies, and she felt her nipples harden into tight buds against her dress like they were straining to reach his hard chest. And hell if she could blame them.

She tilted her head up to meet his gaze and swallowed to banish her dry throat. Ruggedly beautiful. That was the only way to describe him. The man was a solid ten on his looks alone, but add in his innate alpha magnetism, and his rating flew off the charts.

His gaze lowered to her lips briefly before capturing hers again. “You’re a siren.”

Olivia blinked a few times. “I’m…an ear-piercing warning signal?”

One side of his sexy mouth twitched like he was fighting a smile. “The mythological creature whose beauty and sweet songs lure men to crash upon the rocky shores as they try to reach her.”

Whoa. She was sooooo out of her league with this guy. Her freshman year in college, she’d entered a serious relationship with Brett that eventually led to marriage, so it’d been nearly a decade since she’d dated. Is this what pickup lines had evolved into? Lines that actually worked? How did one even respond to that sort of thing? “I can’t sing. I’m extremely tone deaf.”

Her inner self slapped her palm to her forehead—again—and groaned. That is not how you respond to that sort of thing. Way to go, genius. But despite her lamenting, he rewarded her with a full smile and hearty chuckle. Lord have mercy.

“No karaoke bars, then. I’ll keep that in mind for future reference.”

“Future reference?” she asked with an arch of her brow. “Don’t you think you’re getting a little ahead of yourself?”

“Possibly,” he said. “Or maybe I’m just hoping my timely rescue and power of suggestion will get me a date with my damsel in distress.”

His voice sent a frisson of electricity dancing down her spine. She almost told him the odds were high that it would, but at the last second, she remembered her minutes-old decision. “Sorry, but I’m no longer in the market for a date. Been there, done that, burning the T-shirt when I get home.”

“Fair enough.” He gave her a half grin before pinning his full lower lip with his teeth. His gaze dipped to her mouth. Not long, but enough for her to feel its weight as her knees threatened to buckle. Meeting her eyes again, he asked, “What’s your position on something more casual?”

“What’s more casual than dating?”

“One night.”

She swore her heart skipped a beat. Had he overheard her conversation with Angie in the store? It was entirely possible; she hadn’t exactly been paying attention to her surroundings. She waited for mortification to set in, but it didn’t come. The things this man made her feel with his intensity and close proximity left no room for anything else.

“One night of what, exactly?”

Keeping his eyes locked with hers, he reached up and grazed her cheek with the back of his knuckles. “Whatever you need.”

* * *

Erik had no idea what the fuck had come over him. Wasn’t he just thinking about how he wasn’t down with the empty one-night stands anymore? Apparently his dick hadn’t gotten the memo. Then again, one night or not, something told him that a night with this woman would feel anything but empty.

A cab rushed by them, the burst of wind lifting the ends of her hair and reminding him they were still standing next to her tiny car on the edge of traffic, intermittent though it may be. “Come on, let’s get out of the street,” he said, leading her around the Mini and onto the sidewalk in front of the liquor store. Out of habit, he positioned her with her back to the brick facade and his to the street so that he stood between her and any possible harm. “What d’you say, gorgeous, want to get to know each other better?”

She shook her head. “Getting-to-know-you stuff is for dates.”

“My version doesn’t involve dinner or talking. At least not the clean kind,” he amended with a crooked grin.

“So, what then, drinks and dirty talk?” she asked in a husky voice.

Erik barely bit back his groan. Damn, she smelled incredible. Like rose petals bathed in sunlight, subtle and natural. Completely opposite of the harsh perfumes most women doused themselves in. Erik wanted to bury his face in her neck and fill his lungs with her scent. “Sweetheart, I’m offering whatever you want. Name it.”

She arched a dubious brow that added to her sarcastic tone. “And I suppose I should just assume you’re not some kind of serial killer, is that it?”

Offering a reassuring grin, he said, “I can promise you I’m not a serial killer.”

He’d almost said he wasn’t “a killer,” but that would be a lie. He was a killer. He’d killed more times than he could count. The fact that it’d all been in combat didn’t absolve him. At least not for all of it. Hindsight was a motherfucker.

She chewed on the corner of her lip and studied him, her wheels turning. “How about a knight in shining armor? After all, you did rescue me in my hour of need.”

He huffed out a cynical sound before he could bite it back. “Don’t think I qualify. My armor hasn’t been shiny for a long fucking time.”

“Okay then, what are you?” she asked, canting her head to the side.

Her eyes told him she wasn’t asking about what he did for a living or what his astrological sign was. She was digging for something deeper, something to help her understand him. But there was only one thing he wanted her to understand right now: that he was exactly what she needed in this moment. If he had to play a little dirty to drive his point home, then so be it.

Erik stepped into her so her sex brushed teasingly against the hard muscle of his thigh. He placed one hand on her hip as the other threaded into the thick hair at the nape of her neck, then he spoke low into her ear. “I’m a man who can make you feel like a real woman. A man who will make it impossible to focus on anything but me and the wicked hot things I’m doing to you.”

Her eyes widened and her lips parted slightly with a sharp inhale as a blush bloomed on her cheeks. And then she did the most unexpected thing.

She fucking smiled.

The full kind that lit up her eyes and stopped a man’s heart, and he was no exception. Something about her—beyond her incredible sex appeal—intrigued the hell out of him. She definitely wasn’t the one-night stand kind of woman, and yet a string of bad dates had left her jaded enough to consider it. Her comment on the phone had been flippant and most definitely a joke. But that smile told him he might have crossed her path at just the right time. The universe had created the perfect storm—a series of shitty events that led them to this moment, and he’d be damned if he didn’t try everything he could to make this night memorable for both of them.

“What’s your name, sweetheart?”

She shook her head. “No names.”

“You don’t have to worry about me looking you up or showing up at your place of business, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m not looking to make anything more out of this than you are.”

“I believe you.”

“Then what’s the harm with exchanging names?”

She lifted a slim shoulder in a halfhearted shrug. “In my profession, I can’t take that risk.”

He could understand that. “We can use fake names.”

She didn’t answer immediately, seeming to give his idea some thought, but then she shook her head slightly. “I don’t know…”

Erik cupped her jaw and stroked the corner of her mouth with his thumb, imagining how it would feel to press his lips there. “I can turn this night around for the both of us. I only have three conditions. One: since your place is out of the question, and you no doubt won’t feel comfortable coming to mine, we’ll go to a hotel—and nothing seedy or questionable, I mean a nice fucking hotel—and you’ll text the information to a friend so someone knows where you are. Two: you will give me a fake name because not having something to call you, even in my own head, is frustrating as hell.”

He could see the wheels turning in her head as she weighed her options of giving in or arguing. Softening his tone, he tipped her chin up and said, “Come on, gorgeous. I’d rather you give me a name, but I’ll call you Goldilocks if I have to.”

She sighed and he knew she’d given in. “Livvie. You can call me Livvie.”

“I like that. Thank you, Livvie.” He brought her hand up and placed a kiss on her knuckles. “You can call me Wolf. That’s what my friends call me.”

“Wolf.” She said it softly, as though trying it out on her lips, and it stirred something primal deep in his gut.

“That’s right, baby.” Erik bowed his head and spoke low into her ear. “I’ll make you come harder than you ever thought possible, and when I do, I want it to be my name that you scream and no one else’s.” He nipped her earlobe, making her gasp. “Not even God’s.”

Her shaky exhale bathed his cheek, making his cock twitch in anticipation. He pulled back just enough to watch the play of arousal over her features. Fuck, he wanted her more than he could remember wanting a woman in a long damn time. Her ample chest heaved with her quick breaths and her pupils swallowed her hazel irises. He hadn’t held out much hope, but his lady in red was turned on as all hell, and it made him wonder what would really get her going in the bedroom.

When it came to sex, Erik loved it all, but his true tastes had always leaned a little on the rougher side. Scratching, biting, hair pulling, it was all fair game for his partners. The pain reminded him he was alive, and some days he needed it more than others—days like today. Which was why he was surprised to realize he didn’t care how things went tonight, so long as it happened with this woman. He wasn’t imagining the chemistry between them. He’d bet his beloved truck that if he dipped his fingers beneath her panties, he’d find her slick and hot for him.

“H-how did you get the name Wolf?”

Peering up at her through his lashes, he raised an eyebrow in challenge. “That’s a get-to-know-you question, sweetheart. I’m happy to answer, but…”

She shook her head like she was trying to rattle things into place. “No, you’re right, don’t answer that. Wolf it is. If I agree to this, what’s your third condition?”

“Number three is…” He paused for a beat. “Trust me.”

Her brows drew together. “With?”

His gaze lowered to her succulent mouth, a hundred images of what he could do it flashing through his mind. “Your pleasure,” he said gruffly. “I’m going to set your body on fire with sex so carnal and electric it makes you feel alive. I’ll use my mouth, my hands, and my cock to fuck your tight little body just as my words will fuck your mind.”

“Jesus,” she whispered, her head dropping back to the wall as her lids lowered to half-mast.

“Not even close.” Leaning in, he kept his mouth only a breath away from hers as he spoke. “I’m a man who knows how to read your body and the signals it’s giving me. I can give you what you want—what you need—but you have to trust me.”

Unable to stop himself, he grazed his lips over hers. It couldn’t even be considered a kiss. Just a ghostly brush, a brief interruption of what little was left in the space of propriety between them—the space he desperately wanted to obliterate for at least the next twelve hours.

“So what do you say, gorgeous…do we get our night together?”

She touched her tongue to her bottom lip as though she could taste him there, then dragged it between her teeth. Goddamn, she tested his will like no woman ever had. His dick stood at full attention and strained against the fly of his jeans as it throbbed in time with his racing heartbeat.

Finally, a sweet smile curved her lush mouth and she answered with a confident, “Yes.”

* * *

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