The Fireman Who Loved Me (The Bachelor Firemen Of San Gabriel #1)(57)

By: Jennifer Bernard


“You’re in your turnout gear,” she said blankly.

“You wore your glasses,” he answered nonsensically.

“They help me think straight.”

“Likewise.”

They stared at each other. “I saw the news,” he finally said, and thought he saw her blush.

“Will you please take that off? I can’t talk to you like this,” she said, gesturing at his turnout.

“Why not?”

“It makes my knees go all weak and funny.”

He threw down his jacket, pushed the suspenders off his shoulders, and stepped out of his gear. Down to T-shirt and shorts, he swept her into his arms. She felt so good there, he wanted to stay like that forever. “Better?”

She buried her head in his chest. “Oh, Brody. I’ve been so stupid. I shouldn’t have yelled at you about the roof.”

“You were grieving.”

“I didn’t know Rebecca was gone. It was torture seeing you there.”

His arms tightened even further around her. “I’m sorry for that. I thought she still needed my help. It’s hard for me to walk away from that.”

“Because you’re so honorable. You took care of Rodrigo.”

“You’re the one who gave him a chance.”

“I’m trying to apologize!”

“Well, stop.” But he stopped her himself, with a long kiss, deep as the ocean, warm as the sun.

Nestled in his strong arms, with his steadfast heart beating against hers, Melissa’s head spun with joy. “Rebecca’s really gone?” she whispered when his lips finally left hers.

“I got hold of the man she really loves. And who loves her. They’re good together. Not like—” He broke off.

Melissa had her own confession to make. “Everett’s gone too. What you saw in the newsroom . . .” But she couldn’t think of the best way to explain it.

Once again, Brody saved her. “Does he still want you? Because if he does, I’ll fight him for you. I’m a peaceful man, but I think I could kick his ass.”

“Really?” The idea of Brody beating up Everett was so appealing that she giggled. “That’s okay. I think Ella might take care of that for us.”

“She’s just the man for the job.”

“Oh Brody, I do love you so.”

He cradled her face in his hands, rubbed a rough thumb across her cheek. “Do you? Because you know I’m a simple, old-fashioned man. If someone tells me they love me, my next thought is flower girls and reception halls.”

She couldn’t speak. What did he feel toward her? He still hadn’t said. And she couldn’t help it. She needed to hear it out loud. She was a journalist, after all. Words mattered to her. Right now she felt like she’d stripped herself naked—in front of a man in uniform.

“You know I put this gear on without even thinking. I only figured out why just now.”

“Why?” She frowned at him. Why on earth was he talking about his gear at a moment like this?

“There’s a few things I know I’m extremely good at. Fighting fires, saving lives, being a fire captain.”

“You’re the best. Everyone knows it.”

“But saying what’s in my heart—that’s not my strong point. Maybe I thought the turnout would make me irresistible. Do my talking for me. If I was really lucky, maybe a fire would break out so I could ride to your rescue.”

Smiling, she lifted up his heavy jacket as though to help him into it. But instead she deliberately, provocatively, tossed it aside. “I’m not in love with a fire captain. I mean, I am, but that’s because it’s you. I’m in love with you, Harry Brod. I don’t care how many fires you put out, or how many legends people tell about you.”

“You don’t, huh?” He advanced toward her with a relentless step. She backed away. “What about the legend of how the fire captain’s heart was captured by a beautiful green-eyed princess—for the grand sum of three thousand dollars, cash?”

She winced. “Can’t we forget that one?”

“Okay, how about the legend of how the princess rescued the fire captain from eternal loneliness and a lifetime of monster truck rallies?”

Another wince. He took a step closer.

“Don’t you want to hear how it only takes one look at your face to make the whole world shine? Or how the smell of your skin makes my heart melt like . . . like cadmium? Or how I would throw myself into the pits of hell if it could save one hair on your beautiful, extremely intelligent head?”

By now she had run out of room, and felt the backs of her knees press against the arm of the couch. She nearly stumbled, but before she fell he lifted her in his arms and nestled her into the cushions of the couch. He braced himself over her, one muscular arm on either side of her head.

“You’re wrong,” she said breathlessly. He frowned. “It is your strong point.”

He looked at her blankly, until he remembered his own words. Then he laughed. “Oh no, princess, that’s just a tiny bit of what’s in my heart. But if you let me, I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to spit out the rest.”

Laughter burbled from her lips. “Face it, Captain. You have a way with words.”

He bent his elbows so his body lowered and his beautiful gray eyes blazed into hers.

“It’s not just words. When I love, I love hard. You’re stuck with me for good. In your news report, you didn’t say what happened at the end of the bumpy ride. You didn’t say what it takes to break the curse. But I know.”

He brushed his lips across hers with tender intensity. “True love. The kind that doesn’t go away because of a few disasters along the way. I love you, Melissa.”

The last tiny piece of her heart flew to him, and she knew she belonged to him forever.

“Flower girls, did you say?” she whispered.

His eyes blazed even brighter. “As soon as possible. I’m not about to let any other news directors swoop in on the woman I love.”

The words filled her with a warm serenity, like rich hot chocolate flowing through her veins.

Brody looked up at the ceiling. “Subject to your approval, of course, Ms. Nelly McGuire.”

Melissa tugged on his sleeve, and he looked back down at her. “Nice idea. But Grans has promised to stay out of it.”

He nodded thoughtfully. “She’s absolutely right. She got us this far, but I think we can take things from here.”

She curled herself into his lap and inhaled the wonderful scent of man. Her man. “You know what I’m more worried about?”

“What?”

“The rest of the guys. You’ve broken the curse. One less bachelor fireman. Now what’s going to happen?”

Brody rested his chin on her head. “Oh no, you don’t. I train them, I keep them alive. After that they’re on their own.”

“Heartless.” The steady heartbeat under her ear proved her wrong.

“On the other hand, you might want to make that Bachelor Firemen story a regular feature. Your viewers will want updates. Girls are probably already lining up at the door of the firehouse. Good thing you snapped me up first.”

She sighed happily. “Very good thing. Those poor girls don’t know what they’re in for.”

They snuggled for a long while. “Brody.”

“Hmmm.” He stroked his hand down her back until it met bare skin. She shivered in anticipation.

“Any bets on which fireman is next?”





Acknowledgments

Many thanks to everyone who helped bring this book to life. Special thanks go to Rick Godinez, Fire Captain II of the Los Angeles Fire Department, for sharing his firefighting expertise. Any mistakes are mine, not his. Thanks also to Marlene Casillas for her assistance with news production details. Thanks to Alexandra Machinist for loving this book from the beginning, and to the wonderful Tessa Woodward for making it what it is today. I adore you both. Deep gratitude to the Alaska Romance Writers chapter, to my family for all their support, and, most of all, to Scott.