6:24 PM |
What’s better than a fireman? Twelve of them, naked, on the pages of your calendar.
The hot firemen you loved in Opposites Attract are back with their friends, but now they're wearing a lot less clothing and heating up the holidays like never before. Be prepared for secret identities, a sizzling calendar shoot, smoldering bachelor firemen up for auction, sexy Santas and a whole lot more!
Secret Recipe: A famous lifestyle maven who secretly can't cook? Good thing a sizzling hot fireman/calendar model knows his way around the kitchen and is there to rescue her and her charity event from certain disaster. If they detour to the bedroom on the way to the kitchen, even better.
Mr. December: When the real December calendar man gets sick, a rich department store owner has to step in for him and play Santa. Once he meets the pretty lady photographer sent to cover the event, things really start to heat up. The only problem is, she has no idea who he really is, and he’s not all that keen on telling her.
Can't Buy Me Love: What do you get when you take one over-worked caterer on the brink of a nervous breakdown and add a hunky fireman for sale at the charity bachelor auction she's catering? You get a woman who finally finds the one gift to buy herself that she's never going to want to return.
If you love the old black-and-white classic holiday movies such as Christmas in Connecticut, Shop Around the Corner and Holiday Inn, you’ll love the three Nice & Naughty stories they inspired.
This book was previously published. It has been reedited from the original version.
Excerpt (Rated G)
“Getting called out before breakfast sucks. I could smell the bacon as we were driving away.” Troy sat next to Scott in the fire truck looking cranky. Troy’s stomach let out a big rumble to reinforce the point.
Antonio, the eternal optimist, shrugged. “Hey, it wasn’t so bad. At least it was a false alarm or we’d still be at the call now.”
As the driver pulled the truck up to the open garage bay, Scott had to admit he agreed with Troy. He was pretty hungry and annoyed himself. He was happy to be back at the firehouse knowing breakfast was on the horizon, but his lesson with Alexis was ruined. And he’d been making such progress too. Damn, he could picture her nestled in nicely between him and the stove. Her cute little heart-shaped ass right there in front of him.
Scott yanked his mind off that image before he embarrassed himself and moved into safer territory. “Don’t worry, boys. Give me ten minutes and it’s omelets and bacon for everyone.”
Or maybe not... Scott looked up at the second story of the firehouse and saw smoke billowing out of the open kitchen window.
Troy followed his gaze. “What the hell?”
“Holy shit. Did you leave the stove on?” Antonio was getting out of his seat even before the truck came to a stop.
“No, of course not.” But he had left an unsupervised, unauthorized woman who didn’t know how to cook alone with a six-burner, double-oven, propane stove.
Scott leapt out of the truck just as the driver parked. He barreled up the stairs to the kitchen. The sound of tramping boots told him the rest of the crew was right behind him. They hadn’t taken the time to remove their equipment, which was good, because after seeing that smoke, Scott figured they’d need it.
He reached the kitchen doorway and skidded to a stop.
Alexis stood with the fire extinguisher in her hand and quite a mess of eggs and extinguisher foam on the stove. She turned toward them and her face crumbled. “I’m so sorry.”
She looked like she wanted to flee, but since a mass of hungry firemen blocked the only exit she stood like a deer in headlights.
“Who does she belong to?” Antonio asked.
No way around it. Scott had to fess up. “Um, that would be me.”
“Really?” Antonio sounded impressed. He raised a brow and looked from Alexis, back to Scott.
“Does this mean there’s no breakfast?” Troy asked the question that Scott figured must be on everyone’s mind and that’s when Alexis started to cry.
Scott stepped forward and took the fire extinguisher canister out of her hands. It was heavy. He was impressed with her strength and quick thinking, but he decided to save the compliments for later. He put it on the floor in the corner, about to tell her everything was all right when she turned to him with her eyes brimming.
“I thought I could finish making the omelets for you. I made eight more, just like you showed me except one at a time. There was some egg left over and I didn’t think it would keep so I was making a thirteenth one, but I must have put too much butter because I figured I’d just use it all up rather than throw it away. But there was a lot in the pan and when I flipped the omelet, it splashed and the stove went on fire and there was all this smoke and flames shooting in the air…” She looked up at him from under the brim of her baseball cap, tears streaking her face.
It was a pretty amazing story. She’d actually finished making the breakfast all on her own. Scott opened the oven and sure enough, there was the sheet pan filled with omelets. Some were thinner, others fatter, a few a little browner, and one was broken in the middle, but all in all, they didn’t look too bad. He was impressed.
“I’ll take care of getting those on the table, Scotty. Since you’ve got your hands full here.” Troy tilted his head toward Alexis with a smirk and then grabbed two potholders from the hook on the wall. “Everybody to the table. Bacon and eggs on the way.”
Scott was more than happy when the crowd followed Troy and the food to the dining table in the adjoining room, leaving him alone with Alexis in the kitchen.
He stepped closer, hoping to convince her it was really all right, when she blurted out again that she was sorry, dodged around him and took off through the door. He followed her down the stairs, barely getting hold of her arm before she got out to the street. Damn, she was fast for a little thing. Good thing he was well practiced at running in his boots.
“Wait. Alexis, this is nothing to be upset about.”
She finally stopped and spun to look up at him. “Nothing to be upset about? I almost burnt down your firehouse.”
He stifled a smile. It was pretty ironic, a fire in the firehouse. “But you didn’t. You were smart enough to use the extinguisher and put it out.”
“Maybe I’d make a good firefighter, because I sure as hell can’t cook.” She shook her head and plopped down on the stairs.
“We’re always looking for new recruits.” As if that wouldn’t be too distracting. Alexis next to him at work every day, and in the next bunk at night...
“Great. Thanks.” She rolled her eyes at his suggestion.
“Seriously, Alexis. The omelets you made looked great. You did that all on your own with no one to help. I’m very proud of you.” He lifted her chin and forced her to look at him. “So what do you want to learn for your next lesson?”
“You’re still willing to teach me after this?”
Oh, there was plenty he’d like to teach her, and only some of it involved cooking. “Of course. I told you, I don’t frighten easily.”
She hesitated. “I would like to learn how to make some hors d’oeuvres and appetizer-type things. Can you do that?”
The demand for hors d’oeuvres was not so big in the army or at the firehouse, but no need for her to know that. “Of course I can. I’m the appetizer king. I’m off tonight. Your place or mine?”
“Mine I guess. I have all this cooking stuff people have given me. Half of it’s in the boxes still. I guess I should learn how to use it.”
“Perfect. What time?” Yeah, he didn’t sound too anxious. Sure.
“Five-ish I guess?” She shrugged.
“Great.” Scott thrust his cell phone at her. “Put your number and address in the contact list.”
He tried to control his smile as she did. Yeah, baby. Alexis’s apartment tonight.
After Scott had watched Alexis drive away he ran up the stairs two at a time, his cell phone still clutched in his hand.
He blew into the dining room and came to a halt before the group of guys sitting at the table. “Anyone got a cookbook?”
Antonio glanced up. “Looks like you’ve done enough cooking already this morning judging by the smoke and the smoking hot girl in the kitchen.”
Scott braced himself for the inevitable teasing. He knew he couldn’t get away with having a girl in the firehouse, particularly one who’d almost burnt it down, without some ribbing. “Ha, ha. Okay everybody, get all your jabs in now because I have to come up with some recipes for hors d’oeuvres by tonight.”
“Hors d’oeuvres. What the hell for?” Troy looked up between bites of omelet.
“Because I’m giving a cooking lesson to the girl you just met. I’m going to her apartment tonight.”
“Well if this is how she cooks all the time, make sure she’s got smoke detectors with fresh batteries installed while you’re over there.” Still chewing and with his coffee mug clutched in one fist, Troy rose from his chair, walked toward the kitchen and returned with a book in his hand. He dumped it on the table in front of Scott. “There you go, Scotty. Gift from my sister two years ago. By the way, your girl’s omelets are pretty good.”
His girl. Hopefully by tonight she would be. Scott glanced down at the book, which had obviously never even had its colorful and slightly dusty grease-coated cover cracked open in the two years it had sat in the firehouse kitchen. “Lexi Cooper Cooks. Never heard of her.” Scott started to flip through the pages.
“Sure you have. She’s the party planner working with the children’s hospital on the bachelor auction fundraiser.” Antonio snagged another piece of bacon off the tray.
“She’s the one? So it’s her fault I’ll be parading around half naked and getting auctioned off. Great. Can’t wait to meet her at her little pre-auction bachelor mixer cocktail party thing and tell her what I think about her ideas,” Troy grumbled.
Scott laughed, but had to be impressed. Judging by the photos, there were some pretty good-looking appetizers in the book. Nothing he couldn’t handle making. “Can I borrow this?”
Troy waved a hand absently. “Be my guest. What’s mine is yours, man.”
“Thanks.” Scott grabbed the last omelet and a few pieces of bacon, and settled in with the cookbook to make plans for his evening with Alexis.
Hopefully he’d work up to a dessert lesson next, maybe something involving whipped cream. His mind reeled with the possibilities as he flipped the book over to look in the index in the back…and stopped dead
There, smiling up at him from the back cover of the book, holding a whisk in one hand and a bowl in the other was his cooking student Alexis, only she was really Lexi Cooper, famous cookbook author.
“Scotty. What’s wrong, man? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Antonio frowned at him from across the table.
Scott swallowed and flipped the book over to hide the picture. “Nothing. Just can’t believe I have to make hors d’oeuvres.”
The question of the day—of the whole damn year—remained. Why the hell was he teaching Lexi Cooper, best selling cookbook author according to the book blurb, how to cook anything?
The doorbell rang at five minutes before five. Jeez. Scott must be anxious to get on with the lesson. Lexi was sure anxious to see him. She definitely approved of his hands-on cooking techniques. She had to admit in spite of the small fire, which she had put out, she really had the hang of making omelets now. She’d even tried making one at home and was able to actually eat it.
That was a step in the right direction. She’d had to break the brand new omelet pan that one of the cookware companies had sent her as a promotional gift out of its box first. But the eggs tasted great. Then she’d written an article about how to cook brunch for a dozen for her weekly lifestyle column. She’d thrown in a few tidbits about table linens and centerpieces and viola, she’d gone from firehouse to foo-foo in one swipe of her pen, or computer keyboard as it were. It had been a very productive day.
Now she was about to have an evening alone with Scott. Lexi flung open the door, excited to get right down to more lessons…and maybe a little something else too.
“Something you want to tell me?” Scott, in jeans now instead of his uniform pants but still in his T-shirt, braced himself against the doorframe with one hand. He held her cookbook in the other. Her own photo smiled back at her from the back cover.
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