What’s up? Hope all is well in your world. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a teaser, so I thought I’d go for it. I have a new release coming up in September. I haven’t set a date you, but I will let you know as soon as I know.
Tell Me You Love Me is the first in a four book series called Hearts on Fire. I think. I can’t decide between Hearts on Fire, Light My Fire, or Fire Me Up. I can’t wait to release this sweet romantic comedy series about a group of sassy neighborhood women who have a serious love for steamy romance novels and sexy firemen. Lucky for them the local firehouse is just a few steps away and is in no shortage of hot firefighters to fill their wild imaginations. Enjoy this little unedited snippet of fun…
“Hurry up. We don’t have all day!” He stands with his fists digging into his hips, about thirty steps ahead of me.
My nostrils flare, my heart beats faster, and it takes everything I have not to tell him to just fuck off. Instead, I think of that one comedy about turning forty when the husband and wife are lying in bed talking about the ways they’ve contemplated murdering each other. Well, I’m far from forty and the thought has crossed my mind. More than once.
“I’m coming,” I tell him, completely out of breath. Walking the Hill of Death wasn’t really what I had in mind when I woke up this morning. But this man, my husband, had other ideas. He coaxed me awake with a lingering kiss to my lips whispering sweet nothings about getting in a good workout this morning. I had no idea he was talking about hiking. I thought I was going to get a round of hot love making out of him. Or, at the very least, a morning quickie. I guess I wouldn’t classify our sex life as hot or even making love anymore. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Hell, I can’t remember the last time I got sex, hot or otherwise from this man—it’s been that long.
When I finally reach him, I get pissed off all over again. He sprinted up this damn mountain, but doesn’t even appear effected. No hitch in his breath. No red in his face. He’s barely broken a sweat, while I’m dripping like I’ve just played four periods in the NBA playoffs.
I hate it when he calls me by my full name. I feel like I’m being scolded.
“Are we going to do this or what? If you want to lose the weight, you’re going to have to do more than just crawl up this fucking hill. God, I’m out here sweating my ass off trying to support you and you’re not even trying.”
Sweating his ass off, my ass. If he wants to know what it’s like to sweat your ass off, he should come and stick his hand down my crack.
Even while he pisses me off, my throat still tightens at his accusations. Taking a deep breath, I try my hardest to fight back the tears that are surging up to my eyelids. I refuse to let him see me cry. I can’t let him know that he’s getting to me. It will only make it worse and he’ll think I’m weaker than he already does.
“Look, I’m trying. I really am. I’m just not in shape like you are, but I will be soon.” I wipe the sweat from my brow and step around him, continuing up the hill to our home.
The rest of the way, we push up the hill in silence. I dig my feet in, feeling the burn in my thighs and my calves. They are so tight I know I’m going to be sore for days. But it’s worth the pain. He knows I’m really trying and he doesn’t make a peep to tear me down like he did earlier. Thank God.
Both sides of my conscience battle it out inside of me. One part of me wants to run up to my bedroom and pack my bags as soon as I cross the threshold of our front door. It’s common sense and self-preservation to flee when you’re under constant attack. I know I shouldn’t stick around. This isn’t what I signed up for. The constant sneers and jabs at my weight. But I also know this isn’t what he signed up for either. I’m not who he married. He didn’t wed a size sixteen woman with a flabby ass and a double chin. He married a size six who rocked a bikini with luscious curves in all the right places.
What I wouldn’t do to see her in the mirror again.
But then again, I didn’t pledge my love to an idiot advertising executive who cares more about his clients than his spouse. I didn’t marry a jackass who only wanted me when he needed to parade me around like a damn trophy at business meetings where people looked down on me for being a stay at home wife. Shit, I could be doing the same thing he and his partners are doing. I earned my degree too, but instead of using it to become a librarian, we decided that I should stay home and take care of the kids. The kids that continue to be non-existent. I can’t bring myself to stop taking my pills even though he thinks I have. I can’t imagine bringing innocent children into my world right now. It just wouldn’t be right.
Another part of me wants to do whatever I can to make it work. I keep telling myself that once I lose the weight, everything will get back to normal. He’ll love me again. Cherish me. Make my heart skip a beat like he did in college when I met him our freshman year.
A chuckle rises from my belly. I should know better. The problems started long before I gained my first pound.
I’m just about to jump in the shower when he comes into our bathroom. Startled, I drop my towel exposing my soft body to him. His eyes rake over me from head to toe before they meet mine. I watch him as I grab for my towel to cover myself. His adam’s apple bobs up and down as he swallows with a look of disgust. The look in his eyes says it all. He’ll never love me the same again.
All I’ve ever wanted is to be loved, but if this is what true love is… I’m not so sure I want it anymore. It also makes me wonder if any of my memories of our once happy marriage are even real. Maybe I just conjured up the fairytale in my head because I wanted… no… needed it so much. Who the hell knows.
“Molly just called to remind you about your book club meeting this afternoon.” He turns away. “I told her you’ve never missed a meeting and I doubt today would be any different.”
The door shuts behind him before I let a smile creep across my lips. Instantly, the hurt from this morning flees my mind and I feel nothing but giddiness. I have a book club meeting today, and let’s just say it’s not your everyday book club.
Sure, my husband may never truly love me again… but who needs love when you’re about to get an eyeful of hot firemen?
* * *
“I didn’t miss them, did I?” I ask, as soon as I plant my ass on one of the picnic benches next to my girls.
Molly passes me a water bottle. “No, they aren’t due for another ten minutes so you can relax,” she says, with a wink.
My throat burns with the unexpected taste of strawberry cream vodka. “Why am I not surprised?” The girls crack up as I take another sip. “Is this straight alcohol?”
“No,” Rachel says. “She squeezed some fresh lemon juice into it.” She smiles wildly and I glance at her drink noticing her bottle half empty. “It’s just like lemonade.” She flutters her brows while she shakes her drink at me.
“Nice.” I lean back into the bench seat and release a long breath of air. I take a long pull of my strawberry lemonade concoction, feeling somewhat guilty because it’s not even noon yet.
“One of those kinds of mornings, huh, Liz?” Rose always catches on when I’m having a bad day. She’s still nursing wounds from a breakup that happened a year ago. She was with her ex Jason for two years before he called it quits just before their wedding day. She needed to get away from her small hometown where everyone knew her as the jilted bride so she came to sunny southern California and hasn’t been back since. She may be over a thousand miles away from her family, but I like to think our neighborhood of tight-knit friends makes up for it… if only just a bit.
“You could say that.” I don’t mention the details. I don’t have to tell them my husband is being a jerk again. They know how he is. They’ve seen it. The last time we had a neighborhood barbecue, I had to stop Molly from punching him in the face when he took my dessert plate out of my hand and replaced it with a piece of watermelon. I thought I was going to die of embarrassment. I did my best to laugh it off, but my girls didn’t let it go. They wanted him hung from his balls for that stunt. It wasn’t the first time and probably won’t be the last.
My ears perk up at the sound of husky male voices and the slap of boots on the pavement. It always happens like this. Because we’re on such a steep slope, we can always hear them before we see them.
Molly sits up a little straighter, a wide smile plastered across her face. Her dimples dig deep into her cheeks and she glows like Santa is about to slide down the chimney with a sack full of toys. But this… this is so much better. On second thought, Molly’s wild imagination probably has one of the hotties parading up the hill right now sliding down her own personal chimney sooner than later.
“Ready, girls?” she asks. As if she needs to. We’ve been doing this for the last year. Our book club meetings consist of gawking at the guys from the local fire station. It started out that way, anyway. We all moved into the new housing community at the same time. My husband, Jace, and I live two houses down from Molly, who is the oldest of the group at forty. Flirty and forty, as she puts it. Poor thing was widowed when her husband was killed in action in the Middle East. While she’s the life of the party most times, I know she still hurts inside. She keeps herself busy teaching classes at the local university.
Rachel, a kindergarten teacher, lives with her brother and his family at the top of our development. We’re the same age, but somehow she seems a lot younger than twenty six. Maybe it’s just Jace that makes me feel like I’ve lived a hundred years.
And Rose… she’s the baby of the group. She lives alone in a nice condo at the bottom of our community. She might be the youngest, but I admire her the most. She’s Miss Independent, doing her own thing and she doesn’t have to answer to anyone. Not coming from the best of backgrounds, she’s worked hard to make a stable life for herself and boy is she out to prove she can make it on her own. She’s doing a damn good job of it running a well-respected after-school mentor program for at-risk teens.
We all hit it off at a meet-n-greet the builder put together before getting the keys to our new houses. We clicked immediately when we discovered we’re all in the education field. We also bonded over sexy romance novels, over Ethan Blackstone and the knowledge that no other man in the world could make smoking cigarettes sexy. And only a British man of the Gandy Candy variety could make you cum in your panties without even touching you, murmuring a string of words like, “I love your cunt, baby.” I still have to fan myself when I think of Lady Raine’s tales.
Then came the never-ending lists of book boyfriends, glasses of wine, and the vow to be lifelong friends. That vow of friendship was further ingrained in our minds when Rose discovered “the lookout” on a run one weekend morning.
So for the last year, barring any natural disaster or national emergency, the girls of Valley Creek Drive have been meeting at The Lookout for our official book club meetings. Mostly, we meet on a Saturday or Sunday, but sometimes Fridays. While we’ve never come out and said it, we’ve completely planned our dates around the guys’ workout schedule. I laugh at the thought. If my asshole husband only knew what I’ve been doing, he’d “shit twice and die” as Molly Ringwald once put it.
“Ladies, I now call to order the book club meeting of the hottest chicks on the hill,” Austin calls out, as he comes into view. All six foot four inches of him—nothing but sweaty, glistening hard muscles filling out his gray uniform shirt. I love it when they wear the t-shirts. Don’t get me wrong, the full armor of the yellow jacket is hot as hell, but nothing brings out the definition of his body quite like a clingy tee.
“Hey, boys.” Molly is the first to say something. She always is. It’s been a year. You’d think Rachel, Rose, and I would be able to keep our tongues in our mouths and actually speak a coherent thought, but it takes awhile for the novelty of these gorgeous firemen to wear off, if at all.
“Lovely to see you again, Molls.” Austin drops his oxygen tank next to her and leans down to kiss her on the cheek. His thick black hair comes forward and brushes against the side of her face. She reaches out and presses her hand to his hard chest as he does. Damn, that woman has elephant-sized balls. Some might call Molly a cougar, and with Austin around, that’s a title I’d gladly take. But Molly doesn’t bite. She’s adamant about keeping our friendships with the guys just that, friendships. Not to mention, she thinks she’s just plain too old for him.
I say who the hell cares how old he is. The guy is so hot he should come with a warning label. His light brown almond-shaped eyes are courtesy of his Korean mother. His dad is from the south, and Austin sure does give off that southern gentlemen vibe. He’s sweet as a Georgia peach and if I were Molly, I’d sure as hell partake in the steady flow of his juices. Staring at him, I sigh, and in my mind, I’m wiping the hypothetical drool from my mouth.
“Air Packs today?” Rachel says, using the firefighter terminology they’ve taught us. “You guys must be ready for a drink.” Twice a month, the firehouse conducts their P.T. by sending the guys on hikes up the Hill of Death. Our community sits on a steep hill and the firehouse is at the bottom. The girls and I, except for Rose, live at the top. Halfway up is The Lookout—a small picnic area where the ladies and I congregate to get our fill of hot guys.
In the beginning, I swear we were like teenage girls. The guys would hike on by with a quick wave in our direction as we sat still and giggled like crazy when they were finally out of earshot. As time went on, Molly started packing a cooler filled with snacks and water. One day, she offered Austin a drink and all is history. Now, we’re all good friends. Well, we have an understanding. We bring them water and they let us stare at the fine specimens of man that they are.
“Yeah, we almost had to go full gear, but it’s too hot out here so we dumped the jackets and hoses.” He downs his water as Rachel starts passing out bottles to give to the others. It’s barely spring and you’d think it was summer it’s so hot out, but Southern California can be a bitch sometimes. We never know what the hell we’re going to get in the weather department. One day it’s a scorcher, the next it’s drizzling with a chill.
“Hey, Jesse.” Rose hands him the water, her cheeks flushing all shades of red. She may not think she’s over that dick of an ex-fiance of hers, but by the way she looks at the young firemen, I’d say she is definitely over him and dying to get under Jesse. She pushes up her red-rimmed glasses up on her nose as she gazes up at him, and I have to swallow the “awws” that form in my thoughts.
“Hey, Rose.” He smiles at her with his trademark lopsided grin and I almost swoon for her. He’s tall, dark, and handsome, with a boyish smile that could make your heart stop and your panties wet. I wonder when these two are going to quit beating around the bush and get a room already.
“What’s up, Boss?” I ask Owen, the biggest one of all of them. He’s this huge beefy guy, one you’d expect to see on the cover of a fitness magazine. He is a total dork too, but I love him. I just want to hug him like a teddy bear. I toss a water his way and he drops it. “You know you have the coordination of a teeballer. What’s up with that?” Owen is he built like The Rock and clumsy as hell. “I can’t believe they trust you with a hose.”
“I can handle my hose just fine, Liz.” He winks at me and I can’t help but laugh.
“If you weren’t such a meathead, you might find someone to handle it for you.” I tease him. I can think of someone who would like that job. Rachel has been crushing on him for months. Not only is he the biggest, but he’s also the oldest and, for some lame reason, he looks at Rachel like she’s a little sister. Once, I heard him whisper to Austin that she’s too young for him. Between him and Molly, I could go crazy with their outdated thoughts on relationships.
“Damn, Liz. I’m starting to get uncomfortable here. You seem to have a fascination with my dick. First you were talking about my hose and now my meat. What’s next?”
A snicker catches my attention, and that’s when I notice him. A new guy. And a hot one at that. Maybe the hottest of all four of them. A few inches shorter than Austin, maybe just a bit over six feet. His light brown hair looks finger combed back and his hazel eyes could melt my boy shorts off in a split second. There’s a seriousness about him. He doesn’t smile with that gorgeous mouth of his. His full lips sit in a pout and I take it as a dare to get him to break.
“Would you prefer I talk about your cock?” I ask the newbie. It usually takes me awhile to adjust to the surroundings of this crew of stunning firemen, but when I do, all bets are off. Call me Tootsie, I’m on a roll now.
He clears his throat and shakes his head. “Excuse me.” His eyes go wide. “No. No thank you. I’d prefer to get to know you better before we talk about my… cock.” His pause makes me smile inside.
Austin lets out a whooping holler of laughter, slapping his leg and everything. Seriously, it wasn’t that funny but he has all of us laughing now.
“Ladies, let me introduce you to the newest member of the book club.” Austin is crazy. Ever since he found out what we were doing, he has proclaimed himself and the other guys part of our group. “This is Ryan. He just transferred in and we wanted him to meet our favorite women on the hill.”
Austin goes on to introduce Ryan to each of us. Ryan starts with Molly, taking her hand for a quick neighborly shake. Then, he moves on to Rachel and Rose before stopping in front of me. His gaze traces up and down my body, but he doesn’t look at me with disgust like Jace. It’s a completely different stare, making me feel hot and vulnerable at the same time.
I notice my heart beat faster at his appraisal of me…of my body. He doesn’t seem repulsed. If anything, he seems attracted. I actually experienced a moment of feeling attractive. Feeling desired. I am sure that look of his is nothing, but this feeling of tingling skin and a warmed heart…I like it.
And I shouldn’t.
“Nice to meet you, Lizzy.” I know the other guys called her Liz, but with her sweet face, smile, and that sassy mouth Liz doesn’t do her justice. Yeah, that mouth has me thinking all sorts of other things about her. I take her soft hand in mine and hold onto it a little bit longer than I should.
“Hey, Ryan. Welcome to the club.” Her eyes linger on mine for a few seconds. She’s the first to look away and I’m happy for it because I don’t know that I could have. I sure didn’t want to let go of her hand. I haven’t felt the stare of a woman in a long time, but I know when one is checking me out, and she definitely was. Not only that, but she likes that I’m looking at her too. I can tell. I can sense it with her uneven breaths and the flush of her cheeks. That sort of thing does a lot for a man’s ego and I welcome it.
She’s had me on edge since we first reached the midway point to the top of the hill. I observed each of the women as soon as we walked up and she’s the one who completely held my attention. Her long deep auburn hair, pulled high in a loose ponytail. Her green eyes bright and playful. The other women looked too made up and appeared to have spent time at the salon before coming out today. But not Lizzy, she’s so relaxed like she’s ready to head out for a day at the ball field.
I like that about her.
And I also liked her talking about my cock, if we’re being honest. Fuck if that doesn’t have me thinking about her mouth again.
Most women would prefer to use a different word, but cock slides off her tongue like a pro. I glance at her pink lips and instantly my pants tighten, wondering if she can handle more than just the word.
I grasp the cold water in my hand hoping it will act like a iced cold shower for my overactive hormones. It’s been longer than I can remember since a woman has had this effect on me.
“Okay, enough dick talk.” Austin tosses a few strawberries into his mouth. “Drink up, fellas. We gotta hump it.”
“I thought we were done with the dick talk,” the older one says. I think her name is Molly. “Men, I tell you. It always comes back to your peckers.”
I shake my head at that one as the rest of the group chuckles. Ain’t that the truth. For most men, it’s been about our junk since the first time we jacked off. Shit, maybe longer. My mom says she’d always catch me sleeping with my hand in my pants from the moment I graduated to big boy pajamas. Her choice of words, not mine. She still loves to tease me about it.
We toss our bottles into the recycling bin and pull our Air Packs onto our backs before heading out.
“Bye bye, boys,” Lizzy says. I turn back to steal a look at her again. The other women are chatting with each other, but not her. She’s looking at me too.
What did you think? Interested in more?
This book has been so much fun to write. I’ve already written portions of the second, third, and fourth books. The ladies are fun and the men are hot, sweet, and adorable. Well, except for Jackass Jace.
Till next time!