Spotlight on Fighting the Inferno by Ashley Malkin (@romancerebels69) #downanddirty #getdirty
Down and Dirty
Coming May 22!!
Published by: Romance Rebels Publishing
Cover Artist: Sinfully Sweet Designs
Get in, get down…and get filthy with these sexy, hardworking, blue-collar heroes who don’t mind when things get a little dirty at work or at play.
This collection of 22 brand new stories from USA Today and International Best-Selling authors is full of scorching hot romance tales that will be sure to leave you breathless for more. These men work hard and play even harder.
From cops to mechanics, miners to brewmasters, they aren’t afraid to go all in. At the end of the day, when they find the woman who completes them, they learn love and life can be as messy as their day jobs…and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Featuring stories from: Lori King, Maia Dylan, Sarah Marsh, Elena Kincaid, Cecile Tellier, London Saint James, Bella Settarra, Rose Nickol, RL Merrill, Ashley Malkin, Lucy Felthouse, Scarlett J Rose, Sydney Lea, CR Moss, Samantha A. Cole, Danielle James, Ava Campbell, Eva Moore, Kimberlie L. Faye, Sabrina Sol, Nikki Prince, and Mia Hopkins
Fighting the Inferno By Ashley Malkin
Blayne Simmons is a firefighter, a job he loves as much as he hates the flames he battles. He exists in a world on fire, but is frozen inside by the scars of a fire he failed to conquer. He works hard, plays even harder. Satisfying his needs, nothing more, until Felicity Kendall enters his tightly-controlled world.
Felicity is alone. She has to be, because everyone, everything, she loves burns to ashes. When a ruggedly handsome firefighter attempts to pick her up in a bar she’s stung by the bitter irony. He’s clueless to the depths of her hatred of firemen. They saved her as a child, and delivered her into a world of pain. She should have burned. She wished she had.
When fire thrusts Felicity into Blayne’s arms, he discovers she is the victim of a deadly game. A game he will win, because Felicity is now his.
“What are we heading into, Dan?” Blayne asked, wanting to be prepared. His intense focus had kept him from being burned again, and he intended to keep it that way.
“House fire. Phoned in by a neighbor, no word yet on anyone being unaccounted for.”
If there was anyone missing, Blayne would go in and find them, it was his specialty. He would never leave anyone to the flames. He knew how much it hurt, how frightening it was to feel trapped and helpless. He always got them out, even if they were dead, he never left them to burn.
The house was gone when they arrived, the flames shooting through the roof and high into the night sky. People were huddled in groups on lawn across the wide street. Some wore only night gowns or pyjamas, others had coats thrown over their night attire.
“Go,” Dan said to him. “Put the hoses on the garage,” he called to the other four men on the crew. “I’ve spoken to the home owners, we might have someone trapped on the top floor.”
Blayne turned the headset microphone on, released the valve on his air cylinder and fitted the mask. He was ready to enter by the time he was standing by the door. It was hot, but not molten. He donned his gloves and stepped aside as he flung open the door.
Smoke rushed out, but no flames. He entered the garage, looking for the woman he was seeking, in case she’d made it downstairs before succumbing to the smoke. Flames were coming through the rear wall, and he ducked as a petrol can exploded in the heat. Flames filled the air above him, and he waited for the flare to dissipate before continuing his search.
There was no car in the garage, and he could see the stairs leading to the second level were smoking, but not yet alight.
“It’s clear downstairs, I’m going up to look for her.”
“Kenny will join you when the hoses are set.”
Blayne tested the bottom step, it creaked, but held firm. Taking the stairs two at a time, he swore as another petrol can exploded below him. The door at the top of the landing was intact. He twisted the handle, but it didn’t move. He unclipped his axe, and with one swing, the door knob was gone.
The door swung open and smoke billowed over him. The room was dark and filled to the ceiling with smoke. He was blind, so, this is where he used his other senses. Blocking out the roar of the flames and the hiss as the water hit them, he listened for signs of life.
Walking slowly, he tested the floor with each step, making sure it would hold him. He could see the flames growing higher through the smoke. The fire was going to take this house, all of it. He had another five minutes, tops, and the room was going to be engulfed, despite the water they were pumping at it.
Then he heard it. Sobs, faint, but wracking. The flames were loud, but he’s used to listening for the sounds of the living amongst the roar of the fire’s tempest. She was here. As tempting as it was to throw caution to the wind and run to find this Felicity woman, he couldn’t save her if he was dead. He turned and trod carefully toward the sounds, rewarded as the sobs grew louder.
“No more,” he heard. “Not again, not again. It’s not real.”
He banged into something solid, and heard a small scream. He felt around, and decided it was some sort of desk or a table. Squatting, he could just make out a huddled shape curled beneath the piece of furniture. A woman was curled in a ball, her arms around her knees, as she rocked.
She started and lifted her head. Wide, terrified eyes stared out of an elfin face. A face he’d seen before. It was the woman from the bar, only now she looked fragile and defeated. He knew that with one touch, she’d shatter. She was begging to be saved from the nightmare with that look. Not the nightmare of this fire, but the nightmare of whatever was haunting her, chasing her. She was defeated, scared, alone, helpless. Fuck.
The roar of the flames rushing into the room was deafening, taking all other options from him. It was time to leave. Ignoring the fact that she didn’t like to be touched, he reached in and scooped her up. It was that or leave her to the flames. Not an option.
Blayne scarcely noticed her added weight as he rose to his feet, remaining stooped as the ceiling started to flame. She weighed nothing, but what was more disturbing was that it was her. The woman who had consumed his thoughts, his dreams, for two weeks.
Hunching over the delicate woman in his arms, he protected her from the heat at his back with his jacket and his body. He trod a careful path back to the stairs, fighting an unfamiliar fear with each step on the smoking timber floor. If he lost her now, then he’d never discover who she was and what made her so unforgettable. I need to solve the fucking mystery and purge her from my system. His arms tightened reflexively around her at that thought and he swore loudly at his confusing reaction.
“Are you real? Is this all a dream?” He barely hears her murmured words above the roar.
“No, angel. This is a fucking nightmare.” The fire, and the complication she was proving to be to his sanity.
“All dreams are nightmares,” she murmured, coughing weakly as her eyes flutter closed.
“Fuck.” She was out, her body now hanging limply in his arms. He pulled her close and hated how his heart clenched. She felt good in his arms. Insane. This is fucking insane.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ashley was born in England, but has lived in Australia since she was three years old. Her love of reading has grown into a love of writing stories. All her stories will have a happy-ever-after, because that’s what she feels everyone deserves. She likes to call it ‘Ashley World.’ It’s a world of infinite possibility where love conquers all adversity. She hopes you enjoy escaping into her world for a little while.