Inferno of Love:Firefighters of Long Valley Book 2(65)

By: Erin Wright

“After all, this dog was found right next door to where the wildfire started, one where three agencies were called in to fight it. If it’s your dog, then it’s a pretty safe bet to say that it was also your tailpipe. Wouldn’t you agree, Chief Anderson?” she asked, turning to Jaxson, making sure to put an extra emphasis on the title “Chief.”

Before Jaxson could respond, the asshat began stumbling backwards in his haste to beat cheeks for the exit. “Damn dog was gun shy anyway,” he tossed over his shoulder. “Good for nothin’ piece of shit. You’re welcome to her!” The man door banged closed behind him.

It was quiet for just a moment, and then everyone broke out laughing, the kind of laughter that hits after the awful stress of a situation disappears. Moose realized he could take a deep breath again, the fight-or-flight response slowly draining away.

“It’s really too bad you can’t actually go after Billy for that fire, and for animal abuse,” Levi said, once the laughter died down.

Abby shrugged. “I may’ve stretched the truth just a bit there,” she said with a shrug and a completely non-apologetic smile. “It’s hard to prove that someone’s tailpipe is the cause of a wildfire, although in this case, the circumstantial evidence is pretty compelling. The county prosecutor would’ve had to agree to press charges against him, and it would’ve been up to him on whether he thought he could make a good case or not. The chances are pretty slim that he would’ve taken it on, although not completely out of the realm of possibilities. But, Billy is always on the hook for one bullshit stunt or another. He’ll end up in jail soon for something, I promise. He can’t help himself.”

Wyatt, who’d been listening to her explanation from his vantage point of the chair at the forms desk, came striding over and pulled his wife against him, laying a big one on her. “It makes me hot when you get all kickass on a guy,” he growled when he finally pulled away.

“You guys,” Juan protested, clearly mortified that his adopted parents were making out in front of him. “Come onnnn…” Wyatt wrapped his arm possessively around Abby’s waist and shot his son a proud grin.

“I think we’ve learned enough about firefighting for one day,” he said to Juan. “Let’s go home. Your momma and I need to…uhhh…discuss taxes. In the bedroom. Right away.”

Juan patted Sparky one last time – she’d settled down as soon as her previous owner had left – and then pushed himself to a standing position. “I know what you two are doing in there and it ain’t taxes,” Juan grumbled to himself, following his parents out the door, Maggie Mae on their heels.

“Isn’t,” Abby corrected him. “I won’t have you talking like Billy.” The door swung shut behind the Miller family, cutting the rest of the conversation off.

After a few reassuring pets of the head to Sparky, the remaining men went back to training, although Moose only just managed to hang in there by the skin of his teeth. He wanted to go file his own taxes with Georgia. After keeping himself from that very pleasurable activity his whole life, he’d quickly found that it was all he wanted to do. Focusing on almost anything else was becoming harder, not easier, as time went on.

He looked over at Troy who was listening intently as Jaxson walked them through a few simple maneuvers. He’d never been much for talking, but lately, especially since the night of the interview with Penny, he’d come out of his shell a little. Moose wondered if Troy and Penny were also…filing taxes together. Troy was such a private person, Moose wouldn’t be surprised if he found out someday that Troy’d married Penny on the sly and just hadn’t told anyone.

Marriage…now there was a topic of conversation that’d filled Moose with dread almost his whole life, but which now thrilled him to pieces. Just another couple of months, and he could finally do what he’d been wanting to do since he knew what the words meant.

Just another couple of months…

Chapter 25


September 2018

“Be careful as you step down,” Moose said in Georgia’s ear, his warm breath sending shivers down her spine. She nodded, trying to keep her feet under her as she felt her way along. Moose had been bouncing along like a little kid beside her, so she knew whatever it was he was about to reveal to her, it wasn’t just a bag of hamburgers and a DVD rental from the RedBox.

Not that she minded an evening in with just the two of them, enjoying life together, but whatever tonight was, it wasn’t that.