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“I refuse to shack up with a total stranger! Well… an almost stranger.
Because frankly, I’m tough enough to not need anyone.
But when the man I up and married in a moment of insanity ends up being my roommate, I found myself knee deep in serious and permanent.
Davis is trouble with a capital T…
Tall, with wavy blond hair, big blue eyes and a firefighter’s build.
He ticked all of my boxes, and he was already my husband, so why fight the temptation.
Only I was already lost before he started sweet talking me, trying to convince me to give us a second chance.
Now I have to find a way to divorce my husband, before I do something stupid, like fall in love with him.
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Welcome to Belle Musique.
That was it. No frills, but not without the famed southern hospitality I’ve been hearing all about since taking the job with the Belle Musique Fire Department, officially formed six months ago. It wasn’t where I thought I’d be when I imagined turning thirty, then again that milestone was still a couple months away and anything could happen.
Moving was something I’d grown used to over the past half decade since I became a smokejumper. I went where I was needed, no questions asked and no excuses. Upstate New York, up and down California, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, all had fires that needed the expertise of smokejumpers to keep the land, the people and the property safe. So yeah, moving was a cinch for me.
Moving with no immediate plans to move on though, was something I’d never done. Ever. But Belle Musique was my fresh start. My chance at a normal life where I made friends outside of work, dated a woman for more than a weekend, and maybe even put down some roots. At least that’s what I told myself as I dragged a trailer full of stuff behind my blue pickup truck through main street.
This tiny Louisiana town was an unlikely choice for an experienced firefighter like me, but the town, and the woman who’d told me about it had left an impression. After my buddy Stryker got hurt during a fire up in Oregon, I started rethinking my future. I was at that age where a man ought to start thinking about things like settling down with a pretty woman, maybe having a few kids. But I knew I couldn’t even think of that as a jumper, not with such an erratic schedule and so much traveling. There was barely time to meet anyone, never mind form a connection and explore it. So, I handed in my notice and began looking.
Then a few months ago a listing appeared for experienced firefighters to help start a small town’s fire department, and suddenly I was interested. When I saw what town it was, I was intrigued and by the time I met with the Chief and the Mayor, I was excited about my new start.
Now though, all I felt was nervous. It had been a long time since I had to start over. All of my adult life I’d been part of a small family, first in the Air Force, and then my fellow firefighters, so the need to branch out and meet new people had never mattered before. Even growing up it was mostly just me and mom. Now I was in a new town on my own which meant it was all up to me.
Not a scary thought at all.
Though looking around the small, postcard town, there was nothing to be afraid off as I drove up the main street. There was a cute little mysticism shop that boasted candles, spells and voodoo ceremonies that sat right beside a souvenir shop. On the other side of the road was one of those greasy spoon diners where the décor and service sucked, but the food was so good that people forgave a lot, a women’s clothing boutique with the cutesy High St. Fashions swirled in elaborate cursive on a feminine awning a few doors down. A bakery and coffee shop that wasn’t a national chain surprised me, as did the huge restaurant and pub near the end of town. I didn’t get close enough to see all of it, but it looked like a place firefighters would go to unwind. It was…nice.
As I followed the handwritten instructions to the house where I was renting a room, I thought about the woman I’d met in Las Vegas, the one who told me all about this little place, and how it had captured her brother’s attention. I wondered where she was and what she was doing. Was she still in town or had she already left for some place more exotic like Prague or Tokyo?
I couldn’t even guess where her nomadic life had taken her, but I liked to imagine, a lot more over the past few months as I got used to the idea of being settled. Settled, it sounded so final, so resigned, but I keep telling myself that’s just morning after regrets. Once I got into a routine between the firehouse and building a personal life, I would feel more relaxed. Not settled. Relaxed. I looked up and spotted the street that held my new temporary home.
I just hoped the fire gods were still looking out for me, because I had a feeling that this small town might end up being more than I bargained for during that last burn over in Oregon.
“You think he plans to set up house right in the pickup?”
“Nope. He’s gathering his courage.” Two women were talking, about me. As if I wasn’t here, but loud enough for me to hear.