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Shock Advised (Kilgore Fire #1)
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Taima, a.k.a. Tai, is the last person people come to for help. He’s the fuck up… the bad boy… the guy that only looks out for himself.
Which couldn’t be further from the truth.
He’s fought hard to become the man he is today. He’s a hero in the public’s eye. A firefighter that the young all the way to the old turn to for help at the lowest point in their lives.
What people don’t know, though, is that he’s no hero. He’s the reason his sister is dead, and he’ll spend the rest of his life trying to right that wrong.
Then one split second decision has him coming face to face with Mia Darling. The woman changes his life, making him reevaluate everything he thought he had figured out, and showing him the tenderness he never knew he needed.
Just like always, though, his luck runs out.
When the smoke settles, Mia’s gone, and Tai realizes there’s no way he can live the rest of his life without her. He’ll show her just how hard a bad boy will fight to get his woman back, and he’s not opposed to fighting dirty.
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Every action has a reaction. Every step has a consequence.
-Fact of Life
“You’re fucking shitting me,” I said, staring at the papers that my friend just handed me.
“For real. They give you twenty-five hundred dollars just to donate sperm. It’s perfect. Seriously. Easiest three minutes I’ve ever given,” Johnathan grinned sheepishly.
I looked at him.
“That’s all it takes you; three minutes? You’re weak.” I punched him in the arm.
Johnathan hit me at a moment of weakness.
Any other time, and none of this would have mattered.
But then another bill had come in the mail, and I showed how weak I was.
“Thanks, Johnathan. I appreciate you telling me this, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do it. I don’t think I could live with myself knowing I had kids running around out there without me to watch over them.” And I really couldn’t.
My life was fucked up enough. I didn’t need to add a kid to the mix.
But the longer I thought about it, and the more I thought about the debt I had, the more and more appealing it sounded.
I had a thirty-five-hundred-dollar credit card bill right now that was simply gathering interest.
Before, when I’d lived in San Antonio, I was making more money. Nearly double what I was making now.
Now that I was living in Kilgore, though, I was making enough money to cover my house payment, truck payment, leaving just barely enough to eat, seeing as nearly half my check went to my debt.
I was a fucked up teenager, and it’d continued into my early twenties before I’d gotten my act together.
Now I was paying for my mistakes by not using my credit cards how they were intended to be used.
I’d gotten my debt down from more than eighteen grand to just over thirty-five hundred in four years.
Making that money look good since it meant I wouldn’t have to eat Ramen Noodles for the week if I followed through with it.
“Seriously, I think you should think about it. Carrie is letting me do it,” Johnathan said enthusiastically.
Carrie was the new girl he was seeing who he thought might turn into a full time thing.
“Alright, boys. Time for y’all to get to work. That truck ain’t gonna wash itself,” the chief called.
I sighed and picked my rag back up from the bucket, running it over the chrome of the fire truck.
But the idea of being a sperm donor took hold and, before I knew it, I was going up there after work for blood tests and sampling.
I was desperate.
“He’s got leukemia. At this point, the only thing that would help is a bone marrow transplant…or a blood transfusion from a sibling…or a parent that has the same blood type as him,” the oncologist that was taking care of Colt, said.
I looked over at Colt, taking in the deep circles under his eyes.
I had just thought he was sick with a stomach bug, but after four days of him still not feeling well, I’d decided to take him in.
And thank God I had.
“So what do I need to do?” I asked, leaning forward in my seat.
Colt grunted in affront that I would dare to move his bed, and I smiled down at my little boy, even though all I wanted to do was cry.
“We’ll get him in for more blood work. From there, we’ll test compatibility against our registered donors. Then we’ll take it from there,” he said softly.
I looked down at my sleeping baby, now knowing exactly what desperation felt like…because if it were possible to make him healthy, I’d steal, kill or lie to make it happen.
Later that afternoon, as I laid Colt down into his crib across the room from my bed, I stared at him in despair.
With one final caress to his head, I turned and headed down the hall, taking a seat at my computer to start the research process.
By the end of the night, I had a plan of action.
All it would take was getting my hands on a little sperm.
One month later
“But he was a perfect match,” I whispered, looking devastatingly at the phone like it was a live wire ready to lead me to my death. “No.”
I looked over at Colt.
That was my only chance.
Then the lady’s words repeated in my head, over and over again, taunting me.
“We’re sorry, but the man that was going to be the donor asked us to remove his specimen from our catalog. He had a change of heart.”
A change of heart.
Would he have had that change of heart had he known that he would be saving a life?
He’d been our only hope.
Some way–somehow–I had to change his mind.
I just wanted to let you know, since I’ve started working here, my soul has died. You might be able to bring it back to life if you’d let us sip a little whiskey between clients.
-Mia’s secret note to her boss
One month later
“Listen, Chuck, I’ll be there as soon as I can. I just have to run over to the fire station and drop something off. Once I’m done, I’ll be there. I’m not even late yet,” I said for the hundredth time. “Gotta go now, bye.”
I was a language specialist, as well as a nurse.
The only reason Chuck wanted me there half the time was to translate; and, although I was happy to do it when I was there, I wasn’t happy to do it when I wasn’t.
Especially when I didn’t have to be there for another forty-five minutes.
I looked at the fire station in front of me, stomach churning, at what I had no choice but to do.
What I had already done.
It’d been thirty kinds of illegal, and most likely, I would lose my job if anyone found out…but I just couldn’t not do it.
Not if it meant Colt’s life.
I looked over at Colt’s sleeping face in the picture that was pinned to the sun visor in my car, and I squared my shoulders in determination, preparing myself for what I was about to do.
I could do this.