Everyone in Washington, DC, knows that when the heat is on, you call Valerie Wainright. This brilliant, brassy PR maven can spin any hot scandal, and she's never let a client ruffle her feathers. Yet when she agrees to teach DC's bravest how to handle a media frenzy, she faces an entirely different kind of fire. Keeping things all business and no pleasure is far harder than she expected.
After steamy photos ignite the Internet, firefighter Jason Moore instantly goes from hero to bad boy. While he couldn't care less about an online rep, he cares a lot about his job and saving lives. If Valerie can help clear his name, he'll do what she says-even if it means forcing himself to keep his hands off her. But beneath Valerie's cool cover, Jason feels a smoldering desire that lights his own. And this is one inferno he'll definitely want to stoke . .
She inched away on her chair and reached for the first thing on the top of the stack ignoring his statement about simply being a client. He knew as well as she did that clients didn’t kiss each other. “Let’s see what we’re dealing with. Why don’t you read out loud?” She’d struggled to find appropriate reading material. An obvious children’s book would’ve been humiliating, but the newspaper may have been too hard. Finally, she’d found a sample paragraph from a literacy website. It was on a fourth grade reading level, but with adult subject matter.
He tensed in the chair beside hers, but gamely pulled the paper closer and started to read. She was relieved to hear he read it fine. He’d never be an orator or college professor, but his reading was perfectly adequate. He’d skipped a few words here and there, but as they hadn’t changed the meaning of the text, she didn’t think it was a big deal.
She showed him how to take a blank piece of paper or an index card and cover the rest of the text so only the line he was reading was visible. She’d read it helped visually, and it seemed to. By the last sentence, he hadn’t missed any words.
“Hey, that’s a good trick,” he said, looking up from the paper and smiling at her. She grinned back, loving the elation soaring within at helping a student. It was a rush she’d rarely felt in her PR job.
“I’m glad that works for you. I’ve also heard that getting an e-reader is easier for some people, because you can make the text really big,” she said.
He looked thoughtful. “I’ll have to try that. Maybe I’ll even read a book.”
She looked at him a long minute before she realized he’d been joking.
“I do read books,” he said quietly. “Did you think I was such an idiot, I couldn’t even do that?”
“No, I never assumed anything,” she said, placing a conciliatory hand on his arm. “You told me you struggled as a student, so I had no idea what you did or didn’t do.”
“I like action books,” he said. “Clive Cussler, that kind of stuff.”
“My dad loves those also.” They sat in smiling accord for a long minute before she realized she was stroking his muscular forearm, and it felt way too good to be touching him. She moved her hand back to her own space. “Let’s move on to writing,” she said. “That’s what has you the most worried for the application process, right?”
“Yeah. I can think of everything I want to say in my head, but then when I go to write it, it comes out differently on paper. I can’t explain it, but I guess that’s the definition of dysgraphia.”
“I think I understand. Let’s try writing a paragraph on why you became a firefighter. Is that an easy question for you to answer?”
He picked up a pen and applied it to the notebook paper she’d left out for this purpose. After five minutes, he slid the sheet over to her. She read it, and then read it again.
“You look worried,” he said.
She looked up from the paper with five sentences punctuated by grammar errors and no compound sentences. “I’m not worried. I’m thinking.”
He scowled. “Shit. I knew it. We shouldn’t have started this. It’s a waste of time. Now you think I’m a stupid idiot.”
She leaned in toward him. “You are not a stupid idiot.”
He lowered his head a fraction. “I’m stupid for doing this.” He closed the distance between them.
See Sarah's review of Hot Nights with the Fireman.
About the Author
Romance author, Lynne Silver, writes the popular Coded for Love series and other hot contemporary romance novels, such as Love, Technically. Before writing romance, she wrote fiction of a different sort, drafting press releases for technology corporations. Washington DC is her home (non) state, where she resides with her husband and two sons.