Inferno of Love:Firefighters of Long Valley Book 2(7)

By: Erin Wright

She had a soft spot for people who donated items that weren’t generating any interest, so she made sure to put down a couple of generous bids for otherwise ignored items. She wasn’t exactly sure what she’d do with an owl clock whose eyes ticked back and forth with every swing of the pendulum, but she’d figure something out. Maybe she could donate it to the senior citizen’s center. Or to someone who was blind. At least they would appreciate the aesthetics…

Georgia wasn’t the only one working the crowd tonight, she noted as she wandered around. Jaxson and Troy were too, but they were doing it with firemen boots in hand, selling raffle tickets for a set of kayaks donated by the local river club.

She was impressed to see Jaxson chatting people up and moving around the gym with ease. If she didn’t know any better, she would’ve guessed that he’d been in town all his life, instead of just a handful of months. When he’d first moved to town, people had struggled to get used to the idea of a “foreigner” being in charge of their fire department, but after he saved Sugar and Gage from the bakery fire…Well, people seemed to be singing a different tune. It was nice to see him fitting in so well.

Troy, on the other hand…he looked like he was in pain as he drifted around with the boot in hand, trying to pretend that he was enjoying himself. Georgia wondered for a minute who thought it was a good idea to put him in charge of schmoozing local residents. She’d known him all her life, and hadn’t heard more than a couple dozen words from him in all that time. He made a brick wall seem downright talkative.

“C’mon,” she said, grabbing Tripp’s arm and pulling him towards Troy. “I want to buy some raffle tickets.”

Tripp grumbled under his breath but followed along obediently behind her. Georgia ignored his protestations. At this point, he’d complain about a bikini-clad girl serving him a meal on a platter. He was bound and determined to be grumpy, and there wasn’t a damn thing she or anyone else could do about it.

It was one of the reasons why their relationship worked so well – she didn’t try to change him, and he didn’t pretend to give a damn.

“Hi, Troy,” she said with a cheerful smile, looking up at the blond man in front of her. He was handsome, as long as you went for the scruffy, blond, silent type. If Georgia ever saw some woman manage to get Troy to say more than three words in a row to her, Georgia’d know it was true love. “How much are the tickets this year?”

“Five for six,” he rumbled as he looked down at her intently. He had these gorgeous green eyes that she’d somehow never noticed before.

It really was too bad that the tall, silent, brooding guys just weren’t her style because objectively, even she could tell that Troy was handsome enough to grace the cover of a firefighter magazine.

“I’ve got a ten,” she said, rummaging through her purse and pulling the ten-dollar bill out triumphantly. He peeled twelve raffle tickets off the massive roll he’d been carrying around. Georgia looked at the roll with a laugh. “Y’all sure are an optimistic group,” she said dryly. There were probably a thousand tickets on the roll. Just how many raffle tickets did they think they’d sell tonight?

Troy just shrugged and smiled.

“Where do I put your half?” she asked, busily separating the duplicate tickets from each other. One numbered ticket would go into the prize drawing; the matching other half would go into her purse as proof in case she actually won.

“Ummm…” Troy said, and then turned to point at a large glass bowl up at the front of the gym.

“Thanks!” she said, and headed off to put half of the tickets into the bowl, Tripp trailing along behind her.

“Troy does speak, right? Not just grunts and shrugs, but real honest-to-God words?” Tripp asked no one in particular as they made their way across the gym.

“Only when he has to,” Georgia said with a shrug. “Not everyone is as loquacious as you.”

Tripp ignored that jibe and looked around, probably hoping to find someone to flirt with. He’d played dutiful assistant manager for long enough; now it was time for him to go have some fun.

“I think the Stephenson girl is here tonight,” Georgia said with a grin and a jerk of her head towards the blonde in question.

“Now we’re talking,” Tripp said with a cocky grin, and then he was gone, making his way across the crowded gym to do some flirting.

Georgia looked around with a heavy sigh. Even as snarky as he was being tonight, Tripp was still at least company. Without him to hang out with, she was going to be awkwardly by herself for the rest of the evening. Social events…they were the bane of her existence for this very reason. She didn’t mind hanging out with the Long Valley community – not like Tripp did, anyway – but doing it by herself was starting to get old.