RED, WHITE, & BLUE: The Complete Firefighters Collection
For a limited time, three novels for a special low price! New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis delivers a collection too hot to miss, featuring SEEING RED, WHITE HEAT, and BLUE FLAME with a bonus chapter from IT’S IN HIS KISS!
Summer Abrams left everything behind-the fire that took her father’s life, the town where her world fell apart, and her best friend, Joe Walker. Now, twelve years later, another fire has devastated the same town, and Summer returns to search for answers. But what she finds first is an old flame that never went out . . .
Raised as an army brat, bush pilot Lyndie Anderson has always been independent. Living only for the open sky, she rushes to help save the people of a small Mexican town from a raging wildfire. Yet when her cargo is a drop-dead gorgeous fireman, Lyndie suddenly feels a burning desire-one that may ground her for the first time in her life.
Callie Hayes is the manager of the Blue Flame, Arizona’s most remote guest ranch. She’s given everything to the ranch, body, heart, and soul-three things that go haywire when her sexy employer suddenly shows up. Their intense past has taught Callie to never mix business with pleasure. But something about Jake is different now . . .
Excerpt from SEEING RED
A large crowd showed up for the official opening of Creative Interiors II, which kept everyone on their toes.
Joe and Kenny showed up midmorning. Joe wore washed-out, faded Levi’s, Kenny dark blue trousers. Each man had on their white uniform shirts with the badges on them, though only Joe’s looked like it’d never met an iron it liked. He also wore aviator sunglasses, shoved to the top of his head, nearly lost in the mop of wild summer-kissed waves falling over his forehead. Kenny’s blond hair was firefighter short, and he had on his Harry Potter glasses.
Each man was armed, and each looked quite official in his own way.
Summer was ringing up a customer at the time, an athletic woman in her thirties who had a younger sister Summer had gone to school with. They were talking about which hiking trails were the best to take this time of year. The morning out there had rejuvenated Summer, and she couldn’t wait to get out again, right in her own backyard.
Funny, but this hadn’t been her own backyard in a very long time, and yet there was something comforting about claiming it again as hers, something unsettlingly promising.
But then Joe stepped inside, with his see-all eyes and watchful ways, with his gun and the baffling new confidence, bringing the heat of the day and the heat from something else entirely, and she lost her ability to concentrate. She couldn’t help it, she just stood there for a moment, her tongue glued to the roof of her mouth, every thought escaping right out of her head.
Then he turned his head and unerringly found her in one sweeping glance.
The customer touched her arm, bringing her back. “You really brought the trails to life for me, thanks so much. Is it okay to go up there alone, do you think?”
“If you can read a map.”
“Oh.” Her face fell. “I could get lost finding my way out of a paper bag.”
“I could call you next time I go.”
“Really?” She lit up, and searched her purse for a piece of paper to write down her number. “That would be so nice of you!”
Kenny moved into the back rooms. Joe didn’t. Summer couldn’t tear her eyes off him.
“Are you sure that wouldn’t be any trouble?” the customer asked, handing Summer the paper.
“Not at all.”
The customer thanked her again, petted Socks who was sprawled on the counter like a fat, stuffed animal, and left.
Joe stepped close. His gaze searched Summer’s face, his own expression a little tight. “You’re here.”
Had he thought she’d leave because things had gotten tough? Of course he’d think that. Only she was the tough one now and was going to prove it. “You look kinda tired,” she said, and blinked innocently. “Long night?”
“Not too bad.”
That made his dimple flash, and he laughed, and she had to admit, she loved the sound.
Another customer walked in, the hanging bells over the door tinkering merrily. “That’s me,” she said, but neither of them moved. For Summer, staring up at him, she didn’t know what was happening to her, to them, but it seemed to her as if time stopped.
But Joe didn’t say a word, and with no choice, she dropped her gaze and began to move away.
Then he caught her wrist.
He hadn’t shaved again, and those light russet eyes danced with some emotion she didn’t have a name for. There was heat there, too, a carefully banked fire that stoked her own. “Red,” he said. Low. Gruff.
An odd feeling swept through her chest. She would have sworn it was hope.
“Hello?” the new customer called out and waved to her. He was an elderly gentleman with a sweet, kindly smile. “I need some help picking out a birthday gift for my wife.”
“Yes, of course.” She looked at Joe.
He let go of her wrist, then began to walk away. His long legs ate up the distance of the shop, then suddenly he stopped. Muttered to himself. Eyes fierce and hot, he strode back and nudged her around a wall partition. Actually, not so much nudged as shoved. “What—” she started, but he put both hands on her arms, hauled her up and kissed her.
When he pulled back, he was breathing hard. “Jesus.” He let go of her and rubbed a hand over his eyes. “You’re screwing with my head.”
Her own head was spinning, her body throbbing, and she stood there wobbling on her feet. “What was that?”
“I don’t know but it’s your fault.” He plowed his fingers in his hair, leaving it standing straight up. “You gave me that taste last night, and now I can’t stop thinking about it.”
“Excuse me?” The customer was apparently looking for her. “Miss?”
Summer’s knees wobbled through the sale. By the time she’d rung up the man’s purchase, Joe was busy interviewing Braden and Chloe, both of whom had been at the warehouse in the past month.
An interview with Summer wasn’t necessary, seeing as she hadn’t been in town at the time of the fire, and that she hadn’t been in or around the property for twelve solid years.
When Joe and Kenny were done with their interviews, Joe came back into the main room and shot her one long look that seemed to scorch her from the inside out, leaving her achy and needy all over again.
“Meow,” Socks said from the counter.
“No kidding,” Summer murmured as Joe left without another word, needing a fan for her hot face.
Or a kiss.
Excerpt from WHITE HEAT
Griffin parked near two other trucks and two unidentifiable cars. Dust rose up, choking them. He looked at the hanging sign that read RIO VISTA INN. “Not quite the Hilton,” he noted with a smile.
Inexplicably, she felt her defenses rise. “Look, it’s real life, all right? Maybe the rooms are small, and maybe half of them don’t even lock. You might even see the occasional large and unwelcome roach. But the food is spectacular and the ambience genuine. The owner is saving up her cash to remodel. You just go on inside and let them take care of you.”
He blinked, clearly surprised at her passion. “I was just kidding, Lyndie.”
She sighed. “Yeah.”
“Who’s the owner?”
Oh, no. He didn’t want to share himself with her, and neither did she. “Ownership is a rather odd issue,” she finally said. “But it’s open to any weary traveler, which you certainly are.”
They both looked at the inn, at the stucco that needed patching again, at the brick in the arches that were the color of dirt, thanks to the latest dust storm. Due to the drought, the plants out front, the ones that got direct sunlight all day long, had long ago begun to wilt.
But there were lights on inside, and she could already smell dinner—real food, not fast food—that would fill their empty bellies. Far better than any fancy hotel.
Griffin got out of the Jeep and grabbed his gear. “Hey, as long as there’s running water…” he said with a teasing grin she ignored because he had a way of wearing her down, of turning her defenses into something else entirely. “Running hot water,” he added. “I’d do just about anything for a shower.”
“A bath is closer to what you’ll be getting.” She eyed him beneath the lights coming from the inn. He’d do “anything” for a shower? He really shouldn’t have told her that. “What do you hear?”
He cocked his head and listened. “Water.”
“You’re quick, Ace.”
he moved toward the sound, which led them to the side of the inn. There was a small creek running there, around back, disappearing into the vast, dark wilderness beyond. Above them the moon struggled to light their way through the smoke, as around them, oblivious to the wildfire raging not too far from this very spot, insects hummed and a coyote howled off in the distance.
The banks of the creek were mossy and thick, the trees hanging over the water creating a private little haven. “Don’t tell me,” Griffin said, looking dejected. “This is my bath?”
“Okay I won’t tell you.” Oh yes, she definitely had replaced her defensiveness with something else. Mischievousness. “I also won’t tell you that the soap is hanging from the vee of those two branches to your right.”
He eyed the hanging soap, then looked down at his filthy body. “I suppose I need to clean up before going in.”
She lifted a negligent shoulder. “I suppose.”
Dropping his bag, he looked her over. “Do you bathe in here, too?”
“When it suits me.” She didn’t mention that she’d only done so once, in the thick heat of summer, and she’d been giving Rosa’s dog a bath with Nina. They’d gotten a nice tan that day, too.
But for a good, hot shower, nope, she’d go inside and use the communal bathroom.
Which had perfectly fine running hot water.
Griffin was still looking at the water. She imagined that creek—snow melt—was still pretty darned chilly for this time of year.
He lifted his head. “I don’t suppose it suits you to bathe in here now…”
At the look of unexpected heat in his eyes, the one that sped up her heart rate for no good reason except that he looked like wicked fun standing there with a challenging gleam in his eyes, she bit her lip and slowly shook her head.
“Yeah. Thought not.” He kicked off his shoes. Lifted his hands and began to unbutton his shirt. “How it is I got more dirty than you did?”
Oh, she was plenty dirty, and she’d have her shower.
But at the moment it was her thoughts that were the dirtiest. Leaning back against a nice, comfy tree, she crossed her arms, confident she’d come out on top of this situation, that she’d gotten the best of him, because surely he wouldn’t really strip down, not right in front of her—
He shrugged out of his Nomex shirt.
Shucked off the T-shirt beneath, and tossed both aside.
Oh boy. “Um—”
His hands went to his pants.
Excerpt from BLUE FLAME
She glanced at the puppies now being fed by their mother, who still watched her and Jake carefully. “Looks like we got ourselves a new dog.”
So accepting. So willing to gather whoever and whatever to the Blue Flame.
Had his father been like that? It surprised him to feel sad that he didn’t know. “And six puppies.”
She sighed. “And six puppies. You were good with her; she didn’t want anything to do with me.”
“Animals like me.”
“Women do, too.”
He slanted her a glance. “Most, but not all, I’m learning.”
She mused over that for a long moment. Dropped her hand from him. “Sometimes I don’t know what to say to you.”
“Then don’t say anything.” With a great effort, he leaned in so their mouths were a mere fraction of an inch apart. He put his left hand to the curve of her jaw. “Let’s try this instead.” And even knowing he was crazy for wanting this, he put his mouth on hers.
Her hand slid up between them, until her palm settled against his chest. To push him away? Pull him closer? She did neither but let her lips cling to his for a long moment before pulling back.
“What was that?” she whispered.
“Just one little kiss.” He tunneled his fingers up into the wild silk of her hair, glad it was loose, and leaned in again, needing one more taste.
She held him back. “You said one kiss.”
Right, but he’d also said little. It’d been neither. He wanted more but he couldn’t move his other arm worth a damn. With his good hand, he slid his fingers down the length of her hair to the small of her back, nudging her forward into his body.
Her hand fisted in his shirt, gripping him tight, getting a few chest hairs in the mix. He didn’t care if she pulled them all out one by one as long as she stayed with her body up against his for another moment.
“Jake…” She rocked against him, just a tiny little movement of her hips, which was all the encouragement he needed to lower his head and kiss her again.
She moaned softly, then hooked an arm around his neck, and just like that, it was that long ago night all over again; so hot, so sweet and wet, sending an unquenchable hunger skittering down his spine to pool in his groin. He forgot the puppies, his shoulder, his father, everything but the taste and feel of the surprisingly sensual woman in his arms. Her breasts pressed into his chest, and he cupped the sweet curve of her ass in his hand. A sense of déjà vu filled him at that. They’d done this before, and as it had then, the pleasure of her blew him away. Like then, he wanted a hell of a lot more than a kiss, a hell of a lot more than he could get from her while kneeling on the dirty ground surrounded by puppies and dust.
And still she didn’t pull away. Neither did he. Needing more, his hand slid beneath the hem of her shirt, seeking warm, sleek, soft skin. She was slim but not fragile, never fragile. He’d seen her toss a heavy saddle, lift a pig, and face down a panicky horse. He knew exactly how strong she was. And he knew something else. He wanted her, so damn much.
It made no sense. Nothing about this made sense. He didn’t have a place in his heart for the Blue Flame or the woman who ran it, and yet the longer he kissed her, the more he wanted. He kissed her long and deep. He kissed her until he was dizzy with it, until she was making little sounds in the back of her throat that told him she was as far gone as he was. He was fantasizing about how much further he could take them both when she pulled back. Not out of his arms, just away enough that their lips disconnected with a sucking sound that didn’t help any. God, her mouth.
Her eyes fluttered open. “Was that just a kiss, too?”
It took him a long moment to get his brain in gear. Slowly he pulled his hand back, lingering for a few seconds to stroke her warm skin one more time.
“I need to get to the barn.” She rose to her feet. Wobbled. She put a hand to her head as if that would help her think. “Tucker’ll be waiting. I’ll figure out what to do with these puppies later.”
“Callie.” He rose, too, and felt just as wobbly. When she would have moved away, he put a hand on her wrist. “You’re not going to be able to blame that on the whiskey.”
Her lips were still wet, and he thought of a thousand things he’d like her to do with those wet lips.
“I never blamed it on the whiskey,” she said.
“What did you blame it on?”
“Having a misguided sense of what’s right for me.”
“So you’re not denying there’s something almost chemically addictive between us.”
“Like I said, I have a misguided sense of what’s right for me.”