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Saving the Firefighter, #2

Saving the Firefighter, #2

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He rescues people from danger. Can she convince him to save himself? Trace longs for someone to share his life with. When an old crush reappears, he risks their friendship for a shot at something more. Meanwhile, Brooke seeks answers about her past. A shocking discovery leads her to Trace, but his issues threaten their growing relationship. Will their love endure?

Main Tropes

  • Second Chance Romance
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Secret Discovered

Synopsis

He rescues people from danger. Can she convince him to save himself?

Trace Barton has everything he could want, except for one thing: a special someone to share it all with. But when an old crush reenters his life, he must decide if he's willing to risk their friendship for a shot at something more.

Meanwhile, Brooke Howe has been searching for answers about her past ever since her father passed away. When she discovers a shocking secret, she sets out on a journey to find the truth. Little does she know that she'll also find an old friend, the charming and handsome Trace.

But as their relationship heats up, Brooke realizes that Trace has some deep-seated issues he's not willing to face. Will their love be enough to overcome the obstacles in their way? Or will Brooke be forced to say goodbye to the man she's come to care for so deeply?

Intro Into Chapter One

Brooke Howe stood with the other mourners at the graveside ceremony, her heart a mess of contradictions. Her father’s sudden death had shocked everyone, especially her. How could a vibrant man who’d been such a controlling force in so many lives be gone?

You won’t have to fight to live your life your way anymore.

A stab of guilt struck her. The tears, which had been threatening all morning, the ones she’d barely kept at bay, flowed down her cheeks. The terrible sense of loss overwhelmed her defenses. Her body shook with sobs, loud enough she knew people were turning to look at her. But she couldn’t make the bawling stop.

Rather than disturb the service further, she turned and stumbled away. Audrey followed, of course, and put her arms around Brooke. She buried her face into the older woman’s plump shoulders. The housekeeper had been the closest thing to a mother figure that Brooke had known. Well, as close as her father had allowed.

“Oh, baby, it’s going to be okay.” Audrey rocked a little as she spoke and then hummed the tune of an old hymn.

Gradually, Brooke’s crying slowed and finally stopped, leaving her with a bad case of hiccups. Such a public display would have horrified her father. She’d just turned twenty-five. He’d always held a high standard of self-control and wouldn’t have approved of her losing it in such a dramatic way.

He’d have loved it, though, thinking it was all about him.

“Thank you.” She gave Audrey a big squeeze before stepping back.

Wiping her eyes, Brooke glanced back at the grave. The minister had finished, and some attendees were leaving. Others scanned the crowd until they spotted Brooke. Most approached warily. They’d never seen Randall Howe’s only child put on such a display before.

The people, however, were gracious as they offered their condolences. Fortunately, none stayed to chat, so all she had to do was to nod and give a weak smile and maybe shake their hands. When they’d gone, the only person left was Gary Shapiro, her father’s attorney. He stepped forward, not bothering with small talk.

“You’ve already seen your father’s will,” the rotund man said, pulling out a handkerchief, “so you know you inherit everything, including his interest in the firm.”

Brooke wanted nothing to do with the law office. The original decision for her to work in the law library there had been her father’s doing. He’d encouraged her to study law and become a partner with him. When he’d discovered she’d changed her classes behind his back, he’d gotten so angry at her that it’d scared her a little.

It’d also been the first time she’d openly fought for what she’d wanted. Brooke bit back a smile at the memory. He’d threatened to cut her off. She’d told him she’d move out. Her father hadn’t believed her until she’d packed a bag and headed out the front door where a friend waited to take her away. Suddenly Brooke’s father had decided she could study library science after all and then acted like it’d been his idea.

“Your father’s partners are worried.” Shapiro wiped his sweaty brow.

“Because they’re afraid of who I’ll sell it to.” Brooke sighed.

Her father had partnered with men just like him. She had little doubt that as soon as they’d heard he’d dropped dead, they’d begun worrying about which of them would maneuver his way into the controlling interest.

Weariness filled her. Brooke was sick and tired of control-freak men. She was done with people telling her what to do.

I’m free.

The thought gave her pause. She was free now. Free of her father’s control. But free to do what?

Brooke glanced at the attorney. Free of the firm, for one. She still bore the emotional wounds from his partners’ condescending attitudes, like the attorney who’d always decide to check his phone every single time she spoke in a meeting. Or the one who’d interrupt her before she ever had a chance to speak.

“Anyone interested in my father’s shares can submit an offer to me through you. If I’m not satisfied, I’ll open it to the public to make offers.”

“Your father’s partners will not approve.”

Which made the idea of selling her interest to someone outside of the current partners even more appealing. After three years of putting up with the bunch of misogynistic jerks and their condescension, Brooke enjoyed having a little power for once. If she wanted to be petty, she could have fun with this. It’d serve them all right if she were to find a powerful female attorney to sell the controlling interest to. But she wasn’t like her father and would feel sorry for any woman who had to work there, even bossing them around.

“It’s up to them. I’m only interested in the highest bid. I’ll leave it in your capable hands, Mr. Shapiro.” Brooke took Audrey’s arm. “Let’s go.”

The ride home was a silent one. As a distraction from so many emotionally charged thoughts, Brooke focused on her driving and put her attention on a more practical issue: leaving her job at the law firm. When they got home, she would send the HR director an email.

Audrey fidgeted. Something was bothering the housekeeper. She only did that when there was something she wanted to say but wasn’t sure she should. The dear woman had acted like this a lot when Brooke had been in high school and wanted to attend an event, but her father wouldn’t let her go.

Like that school dance when her friends had talked her best friend Trace into climbing the tree by her bedroom window to carry her down. It’d been raining when they’d returned, and Audrey had secretly cleaned Brooke’s room the next morning. A rush of gratitude filled her, and she had to blink her eyes to see the road.

“Oh, Audrey, what would I have done without you all these years?”

The older woman’s face softened. “And that is exactly why I stayed after your mama had to leave.”

The shock of the words made Brooke freeze. It was a good thing they’d stopped at a light. Her dead mother had been a forbidden topic in the Howe home for as long as Brooke could remember.

You knew her?”

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