Check out descriptions and excerpts from two of the stories featured in the anthology!
Inflamed – Jade Kerrion
Debra Martinez doesn’t believe in happy endings, until Sean Orr, Havre de Grace’s newest firefighter, shows her and her son, Aidan, a new and beautiful kind of “normal.” But the happiness can’t last—not for Sean who is on the run from his own past.
Tension stiffened Debra’s back, but she smiled at the men, two of whom she recognized.
“What can I get for you?”
“Five medium coffees for the boys down at the house.” Jack Landon leaned against the counter, flexing an impressive bicep. He was obviously on duty even though he wore street clothes; firefighting in a small town like Havre de Grace was a casual sort of thing.
“Didn’t know it took three grown men to buy five coffees,” she teased as she filled the order.
“Wanted to show the new guy the town.” Jack jabbed his finger over his shoulder at the tall young man standing behind him. “Sean Orr. He’s taking Larry’s place.”
“Hey.” Debra flashed him a dimpled smile. She estimated his age as mid-twenties, a good eight years younger than she was. “Welcome to Havre de Grace.” She set four cups in a cup holder made of recycled paper and then placed the fifth cup in the middle. “Will that be all, or would you like anything else?”
Ray Peterson, the third firefighter, pushed past Sean and Jack and rested both elbows on the table. He leaned forward, and Debra retreated from his leer even though her cleavage was concealed behind her turtleneck sweater. Ray chuckled as if he sensed her unease and pressed out his cheek with his tongue. “Do you want to come over this weekend? It’s cold out; great night for keeping warm together.”
“Aren’t you and Andrea still together?”
“She’s out of town this weekend. Perfect, you know, for you.” Ray snorted, the sound derisive.
Jack laughed and elbowed Ray. “Let’s get out of here, man, before the coffees get cold.”
He led the way out of the store, but amid the quiet chatter of surrounding conversations, Debra heard Sean ask quietly, “What’s her name?”
Ray’s answer slapped her moments before the door slammed shut on their voices. “She’s the other woman.”
Remember When – Hope Welsh
Laura and Brent really tried to make their marriage work, but in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be. Or was it? When they meet to discuss joint custody of their Akita, they discover they have much more to talk about other than the dog.
The ringing of her phone pulled Laura out of her writing ‘zone’. She sighed and answered it without even checking the caller ID. “Hello?”
There was no one speaking on the other end, but she could hear the breathing.
“Hello? Is this some sort of a prank?” Laura had had these kinds of call before, and had them do silly things like this.
The phone disconnected and she tossed it back on the table. A check of the phone logs showed it was a blocked number. Likely some silly kid.
Laura sighed when the phone rang again less than five minutes later. This time, she did check the caller ID and realized it was Callie.
She signed again—inwardly—as she listened to the phone call. The last thing she wanted to do was go on a search and rescue tonight. Valentine’s Day was two days away, and she’d been looking forward to sitting home and moping. It was their anniversary.
She rolled her eyes at her own musings. Going out on a search might be just the thing. She looked down at Angel, the Akita that was her partner in SAR. “What do you say, girl? Got a search in you?”
“What?” she said, her mind once again on the phone call.
“You’ll be working with Brent,” Callie said patiently. “He’s the only medic we have in the area right now.”
Laura didn’t groan, but she wanted to. The last person she wanted to spend possibly the next few days with was her soon-to-be ex, Brent Anders. “Um, Callie, I don’t really need a partner.”
“You know the rules, Laura. We send out teams of two for a reason. One with the dog and one with the medical training. You two are good together.”
We had been good together, Laura thought bitterly. But, that was before. “I don’t suppose I can talk you out of using him?”