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An Everyday Heroes Novel
BY TERESA L. ARROWOOD
My Name is Nathan Becker. I’m a fire chaser.
My life had always been uncertain. From the time I was a child, nothing has been what most would consider normal.
My father became a raging alcoholic, and my mother a runaway.
My stability came from one person.
It’s been seven years… Seven long years since she left my life.
Now she’s back, and if my life as a fireman wasn’t dangerous enough, she is sure to burn me down.
“Darn it,” she exclaimed. “Jack must be wondering what happened to me.” She was still in his shirt, and found the jogging pants he laid out for her the night before, which were too big for her. Her auburn mane was still held in place by his tie, and had it been any other woman, they would have looked frumpy in his clothes—not Allie. She could make a sack look good. She was starting to get anxious again. There were no messages that could have gotten through, and no way for anyone to get to them unless they were in for a hike.
He had to stay cool. Both of them couldn’t fall apart. He sauntered into the kitchen, and poured both of them an ice tea, as Allison continued in vain to get a signal. He handed a glass to her, and she looked at him as if she wanted to say something, then let her gaze drift away. “What’s wrong, Allie?” He could see she was uncomfortable, but couldn’t imagine why.
“Nothing,” she responded, as she turned away facing the opposite wall. “Are you sure?”
“No, there’s nothing wrong.” She stepped away, just enough to be out of reach, and remained with her back turned. He took a drink, and observed her as she worried the cell in her hand. “There is too. What is it?” Nathan wasn’t angry, but he raised his voice just enough to get her attention. He hated to see her in distress. Something was bothering her.
She didn’t turn around as she worried her cell in her hand again. “It’s just that… um…”
Without turning, she pointed behind her. Looking around, there was nothing in the room that would have been disturbing. “What is it Allie?” He again waited for her response. She crossed her arms in front of her and looked down.
“It’s… um… um.” She was stuttering again, and he knew her feathers were ruffled over something.
He took a step toward her, and she took a step away. “What is it?” When it dawned on him, he backed away. “Is it me?” She didn’t say anything, just nodded her head. “What about me?” She couldn’t seem to put the words together, and it annoyed him. “If you don’t tell me, I can’t fix it.”
She walked away, not turning around. “Allie!”
She picked up the T-shirt she had worn the night before, and backed up, with her face away from him. She handed it to him, reaching it behind her. He chuckled. “You’ve got to be kidding.” She shook her head. He’d come from the shower, dressed in a pair of old, faded worn-out jeans that were ripped at the knees, and no shirt. He hadn’t thought a thing of it. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t seen him like that before. “Allie, you saw me dressed in less clothing when we were teenagers.” Her arm remained extended behind her. Taking the shirt, he smirked as he slid it down his body.
“Okay, I’m decent,” He laughed. She turned around, and he could see that she was outraged, which made it more comical to him.
“How could you,” she yelled, and took a few more steps away. By this time, she was more than six feet away from him.
“Allie, come on, you’re a caregiver, you see a man’s naked chest, and more every day.” Then he went a step too far. “I’m sure you’ve seen Jack in various stages of undress.”
Her face turned crimson, and she fumed as she made her way toward him, standing directly in front of him. She was so close now that their noses could have touched. “How dare you?” She paused for a moment. He knew she was calming herself. “Yes, I’m a caregiver, and I see men and women in different stages of undress every day. And not that it’s any of your business, I’ve never seen Jack. None of that matters, none of them were you!”
What did she mean she had never seen Jack? Did that mean? No! It couldn’t be. She was how old now—twenty-five? She had to be, her birthday was in April. That made him snicker a little more.
“Now what,” she demanded.
“You. I can’t believe you.”
‘Me! You’re the one who comes out here half-dressed.” She again waved her hands from his shoulders down, he guessed, implying that he was indecent.
When he seen that it really upset her, he quit teasing her. She stood with her arms crossed over her chest, looking down. He took a few steps toward her, slowly. He was cautious as he took a step toward her, and she made it clear she didn’t want him near her.
Clasping her face, he turned it up to him. Her eyes closed tight, slowly opened on him. “Allie, are you telling me that you and… you never have?”
Her face flushed. Embarrassed? “No,” was all she would say. Somehow, it lifted him. She was still untouched? At least not by Jack. The silence was awkward. Nathan sat on the couch as she stood where he had left her.
“Come sit by me,” he coaxed. “We’re not going anywhere. We might as well catch up.” Allison turned to pick up her glass from a nearby table, and sat in the chair across from him. Again he laughed. “Allie, I’ve had my shots, I won’t bite, and you did spend the night in my bed last night, or have you forgotten?” He followed her every move as she reluctantly stood, walked over, and sat beside him. The friction was thick between them, if there had been one spark they would have burnt the house down around them. She sat stock-still, looking down into her drink, then took it to her lips. He fought the idea of what her lips would feel like on his. He wanted to kiss her, just as he had the night before. Not sure how he wanted to enter into the conversation, he sat saying nothing. There were so many questions he wanted to ask, and was sure there were none she would have answered. “So,” he started, “what do you want to talk about?”
She looked at him as if she could choke him. “This was your idea.”
He shrugged, and kept cool. “Sorry, I just thought you would want to start.”
He turned and looked at her as she gazed of in the other direction, making every attempt to keep from looking him in the eye.
“Okay, why don’t we start with how you ended up here last night? Last night was your engagement party, what happened to Jack? I thought you would have been with him.”
“I’m Teresa Arrowood and I have been writing since I was a teen. I decided to write a book when my son and his now wife married a few years ago. These books are meant for the enjoyment of others but to also make you think how precious life can be. I always wanted to write a story that would bring the reader into it and keep them there until they read the last page . With the release of my first book I hope to achieve that goal and bring along some new friends for the ride. Fire Chaser will be my first release although I have had two others released previously. Those books have been pulled for recirculation at a later date. All of my books so far have dealt with the lives of first responders and how they handle life in a nonstop adrenaline rush. These books, for the most part, are romance suspense to a romance thriller. Fire Chaser is about a bad boy fireman who grew up with his best friend across the street. His parents, who at first seemed to be a perfect couple until their lives fell apart, leaving Nathan Becker with a runaway mother and a alcoholic father. This is the first in a series called the Everyday Heroes and I absolutely believe we see them everyday. What makes me an expert? I am a Critical Nurse in a small rural hospital. I have been in the nursing field for over thirty years and I have seen many strange and beautiful things. Like everything in life, with the good always comes the bad. I am writing these books to help those who have been impacted by many aspects of difficulties and have come out stronger on the other side. It is my intention to give you characters you can relate to and fall in love with. Ones that will leave you laughing, crying and cheering with everything in between. I absolutely love what I do and want to share it with you.
Links to Teresa’s website, blog, books, etc.
Thanks, Teresa, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!