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Cockloft: A firefighter term used as a structural space above ceiling and below rafters, often connecting adjacent occupancies and permitting fire to spread laterally, often unseen.
Gabriel Martinez is the most arrogant and infuriating man I’ve ever met. He has a knee-weakening smirk that makes me want to kiss—no—slap it off his rude, sexy face. Judging by his ego, you’d think the hose in his pants is as big as the one on his fire truck. Not that I know anything about that nor do I want to. Nope, not at all. He’s already been forgotten like last season’s Michael Kors.
CeCe Kensington is as pretentious and spoiled as they come. The ridiculous purses she shoulders around are as big as her attitude. And don’t get me started on her mile-long legs or full, glossy lips that are meant to be wrapped around a guy’s… If she only knew the dirty things I think about doing to that sassy mouth of hers, she’d be hightailing it back to her side of town.
When the beautiful boutique owner and sexy firefighter meet in the most unlikely situation, their two worlds collide, creating an explosion of misperceptions and combustible heat, trapping them in a fire they never saw coming.
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A piercing alarm yanks me from my blissful sleep. I shoot upright with a gasp, my thundering heart nearly beating out of my chest.
Ripping off my sleep mask, I cover my ears to silence the god-awful sound. It doesn’t take me long before I realize it’s the fire alarm.
Dropping back down, I check my bedside clock to see it’s three in the morning.
Don’t these assholes know I need my beauty sleep? CeCe with bags under her eyes looks like Malibu Barbie after a night of being strung out on crack. Not that I’ve seen what that looks like, but I can imagine it’d be hideous, which is how I look with tired, puffy eyes.
Pepper, my Chihuahua, scales up my chest, his poor little body shaking in fear.
“It’s okay, boy, don’t be afraid,” I coo, holding him close. “It’s just another false alarm.”
Because a bunch of young punks think it’s funny to mess with everyone’s sleep. I have no doubt it’s Mrs. Langley’s grandsons pulling this crap. Those two fourteen-year-old brats are always up to no good. Just the other day I caught them in the elevator trying to peek up my dress.
Although, I really shouldn’t complain since it’s the only form of action I’ve had in the past year…
I let that pathetic thought trail off and try to block out the obnoxious sound. I refuse to evacuate, I’m not playing into these little shits’ hands again.
Pepper burrows in closer to my neck as I stroke his back, hoping to calm him. We wait for the alarm to be shut off but it doesn’t happen.
What the hell is taking them so long?
A few minutes later, I get a whiff of something burning and realize there’s smoke. Then I hear the sirens.
“Oh shit!” Panic grips me as I fling off the covers and leap from bed, sending poor Pepper sailing through the air in my haste. “Oh, Pep, I’m so sorry.” I scoop him up and pull him in close to my pounding heart. “It’s going to be okay, boy, but we have to get out of here. There’s a fire!”
I dash into my walk-in closet to grab some clothes. My Victoria Secret silk tank top and panties are adorable but not something I want all of my neighbors to see me in, especially since the panties barely cover my ass cheeks.
I’ll just bet Tweedledee and Tweedledum would love that.
As I’m swiping through the mounds of clothes in my closet, my eyes land on my very impressive shoe and purse collection. For a heart-stopping second I imagine them bursting into flames. As horrible as that would be, there’s one thing in particular that I cannot survive without.
Dropping to my knees, I begin sorting through the pile. The dread in my stomach tightens when I can’t find what I’m looking for.
“Come on, where are you?” I dig deeper into the back of my closet, chucking all the shoes and purses behind me.
The heated curse penetrates the ringing alarm but I pay it no mind, my state frantic as I continue the search. I’m angry with myself for not paying more attention after the remodel of my closet last week.
“Miss, you need to evacuate! There’s a fire in your building.”
I ignore the deep order, my hope fading with each passing second.
Please, God, let me find it.
“Lady! Are you listening to me?”
“Just a minute,” I yell back.
“Jesus christ.” The curse is spewed seconds before my arm is grabbed and I’m spun around, coming face-to-face with a very pissed off firefighter.
A sexy firefighter but an angry one, if his narrowed chocolate eyes are any indication. For one brief second, I notice how incredible his lashes are. Long, dark, and thick. The kind of lashes I only get with extensions.
“We’re leaving, now,” he grits, snapping me back into myself.
“Hold on. I need to grab something real quick.” Pulling from his grip, I move to the last corner I haven’t searched but I’m twisted back around to face him.
His eyes that were angry a second ago are now raging. “Listen, lady. There is nothing in here that’s worth risking your life over.”
If he only knew how important this is to me.
“Now you have two options. Either you come with me willingly or I’ll throw you over my damn shoulder and carry you out. What’s it going to be?”
My back straightens at the ultimatum. “I told you to wait. This will only take a second.” I move back to my task, knowing if I don’t find it this time I’ll have to leave without it.
The thought kills a small part of me.
A low growl sounds in my ear the same time the fireman’s arms lock around my waist. Right at that moment, I spot the baby blue color I’ve been looking for.
“Wait, I see it.” Reaching out, I snag the strap, ripping it from its buried place. I also manage to snatch up Pep and shove him inside just as Mr. Pissy hauls me to my feet.