Up All Night (Mount Hope #1) Read Online Annabeth Albert

Categories Genre: M-M Romance Tags Authors: Series: Mount Hope Series by Annabeth Albert

Total pages in book: 81
Estimated words: 74730 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 374(@200wpm)___ 299(@250wpm)___ 249(@300wpm)

A new small town universe from author Annabeth Albert starring first responders in a small mountain town. Full House meets 911 Lonestar for emotional, uplifting happily ever afters for a tightknit friend group with each book featuring a fresh, stand-alone story. Book one, Up All Night, features a sunshine/grump pairing with a forty-something firefighter on a path of self-discovery.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************


One Month Ago


My tie itched and tugged against my neck, a combo of a too-close shave and a lack of familiarity with tie-wearing. I didn’t attend a ton of events that called for a suit. Like my twenty-year marriage, my days of escorting Maxine to faculty functions were long past, and even as a fire captain, occasions for suits were few and far between.

But Doctor Montgomery Wallace’s funeral was one of those nonnegotiable suit occasions, so here I was, best suit I owned and uncomfortable as hell.

“What’s with your tie?” My dad frowned as he reached out to straighten my gray tie, which featured little DNA helixes. Like me, he was in a dark suit, hair tamed, clean-shaven. Other than how his red hair had far more white than mine, we could have been brothers. We could have worn our dress blues, but we’d decided on our civilian best to pay our respects.

Shrugging, I let Dad fuss with my tie and lapels. “I bought it to wear when Maxine received that big fellowship and research grant. Seemed appropriate for today, what with Montgomery having been a doctor. Better than most of my other ties, which are firehouse themed.”

“Fair enough.” Dad nodded sharply. The large reception hall at the Mount Hope Episcopal Church was crowded with a who’s who of Mount Hope residents, and ordinarily, my fire chief father would be making the rounds and greeting folks. He knew everyone. However, he’d stuck close to me all morning and narrowed his eyes as he scrutinized my face. “You need to stop acting married. Get back out there. Meet someone wonderful.”

“I’m aware I’m single.” And how. I suppressed a groan at my parents’ favorite topic for the last three years. Undoubtedly, Dad had glued himself to my side for the chance to resume the lecture he’d started as soon as I’d arrived back in town two days ago. “The house sale closes in two weeks.”

Maxine had kindly let me stay in our marital home while we hammered out the terms of our amicable divorce. No way could I afford to buy her out without emptying my entire pension, so selling had been inevitable, much as I pretended otherwise. And when Maxine was given the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime Antarctic research trip, all I could do was cheer her on and watch as our—my—beloved historic Seattle craftsman sold for a staggering figure.

In two weeks, I’d have an unprecedented sum of money and no clue what to do with it. Or my life.

“And you still don’t have an apartment. Or a job.” Dad wasn’t one to shy away from stating the obvious. I’d taken leave to finish getting the house ready for sale and to free myself to move to a less pricey part of Seattle. “Come home, Sean.”

As soon as my folks had heard I was open to moving, they’d put their bid in for me to return to Mount Hope.

“That’s a wonderful idea.” My mother bustled over to lay a hand on Dad’s elbow. Like Montgomery and Eric, they were relationship goals, the sort of couple that invited envy even from those who barely knew them. “Your old room could be ready in a jiffy.”

Only she could get away with words like jiffy. Smiling, I gentled my tone. “Thanks, Mom.”

I wasn’t about to point out that my old room, like the rest of the house, had been taken over by her obsession with Disney collectibles. No way was I moving into a room dominated by Minnie Mouse memorabilia. Same twin bed, but my desk was covered with boxes of pins, and my bookshelves held box after box of other collectibles in pristine condition.

“Evelyn Rodriguez is going out on maternity leave for a few months. We’ll be short-handed. We could work together.” Dad pitched his voice extra hearty. He knew full well that I’d burned out on admin work as captain. The chance to be out in the field more was tempting as hell, even before he added, “One last time before I retire.”

“Gee, lay it on thick, Dad.” Groaning, I rolled my neck side to side. As I returned to normal posture, I considered my parents more closely. When had they become senior citizens on the brink of retirement? Dad’s shoulders were as wide as mine, but he was more stooped these days, years of hard work taking its toll on his back. This was his last year as fire chief. He’d been a captain when I’d been a rookie, the last time we’d been able to work together before Maxine’s schooling and later work had taken us away from Mount Hope for two decades. Glancing beyond my folks, I saw many familiar but aging faces, the small Oregon mountain town continuing to plod along in my absence. Maybe…

However, I knew better than to admit to either of my folks that I was wavering. Instead, I looked toward the front of the room. After the memorial service ended, the crowd around Montgomery’s family’s table had been so deep that I’d hung back with Dad to wait our turn.