Flirting with Fire by Kate Meader
The first installment in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!
Savvy PR guru Kinsey Taylor has always defined herself by her career, not her gender. That is, until she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to be with her fiancé who thought she wasn’t taking her “job” of supporting him in his high-powered career seriously enough—and promptly dumped her for a more supportive and “feminine” nurse. Now, as the new assistant press secretary to Chicago’s dynamic mayor, she’s determined to keep her eye on the prize: no time to feel inferior because she’s a strong, kick-ass woman, and certainly no time for men.
But that all changes when she meets Luke Almeida, a firefighter as searingly sexy as he is quick-tempered. He’s also the second oldest of the Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service—if Luke’s antics don’t get him fired first. When Luke goes one step too far and gets into a bar brawl with the Chicago Police Department, Kinsey marches into Luke’s firehouse and lays down the law on orders from the mayor. But at Engine Co. 6, Luke Almeida is the law. And he’s not about to let Kinsey make the rules.
Kinsey tried another tack. “The members of CFD, and Engine 6 in particular, are heavily involved in the city’s community, from their great service and public education to volunteer work and charity drives. Our campaign needs to focus on those efforts so we can minimize the negatives. Maybe even wipe those negatives out of existence.”
Laying the list down on her desk, Luke stared at her in a way that completely unnerved her. “When the negatives are caught on camera and blasted onto YouTube, sweetheart, there’s little chance of scrubbing the record. It’s out there forever.”
“Plus, there’s a place in our society for those negatives, as you call them. Usually, men channel their anger into approved routes of violent expression—the military, sports, a charity boxing match between CPD and CFD. When it’s unapproved, that’s where there’s trouble. But, Kinsey, if I had a chance to do it over, I’d still punch the living daylights out of McGinnis and take my lumps.”
Butterflies dive-bombed in her belly at all that passion and conviction. After working so long with constantly remorseful politicians, it was . . . refreshing.
He ran one large hand over the edge of her desk, mere inches from where her thigh flexed tight at the skirt of her cream-colored suit. Momentarily mesmerized by those masculine fingers, Kinsey worked to drag herself back to reality.
“Are you telling me that men are compelled by the mere fact of their gender to choose violence as their first resort?”
“Partly. It satisfies our sense of justice, it makes us feel good, and it always improves our odds with women.”
He hoisted an eyebrow, drawing her laugh. It had been awhile since she wanted to laugh, and now she was choosing to let loose at Luke Almeida’s argument for channeling his inner Ultimate Fighter.
“It won’t improve your odds with all women.”
He considered that for a moment. “No, there’ll always be some who pretend they aren’t turned on by the idea of a man who can defend himself and keep his woman safe. Usually, it’s the same women who wear sexy heels that accentuate their shapely legs or open that top button of their blouse to hint at beautiful, cuppable breasts, then scowl when a guy takes a lingering look.”
Cue lingering look. His gaze fell to the V of her blouse (top button not undone, but cut low enough to get things simmering) and continued downward, the intensity in his eyes sending her sex into a clench.
Kinsey knew she looked good, and with that scorching appraisal, she felt better. How long had it been since a man had looked at her with such candid interest? David had stopped looking at her, really looking at her, a long time ago.
“Are you one of those women, Miss Taylor? The kind who showcases her gorgeous assets and then hides behind the electric fence of feminism to keep the animals out?”
Animals. That word snapped her out of her reverie. So she would never consider herself a raging feminista, but she didn’t need a degree in women’s studies to recognize Luke Almeida’s type. He was the alpha predator, a guy who turned to violence to solve his problems, a man who looked like a suit or a job or a woman could never contain him. She needed to get her head in the game and focus on the mission.
Operation Clean Up CFD. And Don’t Let Luke Almeida Distract You.
The first part would be a cinch. As for the second . . .
“I think we’re getting off track here, Mr. Almeida.”
“Luke.” Warm, sexy, inviting. Oh my.
Her mouth felt as dry as the golden sands of Baker Beach back home, the sensitive area between her thighs not so much. She smoothed clammy hands over her skirt. Drawing her palms down her thighs magnetized his gaze to her heat-saturated body. Every cell was on fire.
Maybe she should call CFD.
Q: Romance readers have a lot of choices these days. What makes Flirting with Fire stand out in the crowd?
A: Firefighters. Who are foster siblings. With tattoos. In Chicago. But mostly because firefighters.
Q: We like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from Flirting with Fire?
A: My favorite quote from Flirting with Fire is:
“Most guys would be happy to have a woman so vocal about her desires,” he said in a voice several degrees huskier than before. “Half the time, we have no clue if a woman is enjoying herself.”
“Not me. Just trying to represent for my maligned gender.”
About Kate Meader
Originally from Ireland, Kate cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boon thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.