A very funny kitchen disaster! Spark it up with one wild attraction, toss in a twist or two with a bit of suspense and have it all come together in one totally enjoyable and heady romance.
Hannah pitched forward. Her arms went out to break her fall, when she landed on something not quite as hard as the floor. Her hands rested on the solid wall of muscle of a man’s chest. Lordy, she’d landed on top of the handsome intruder. He was enjoying this too much, judging from the goofy smile on his face. Someone laughed behind her and called him Brian.
She tried to get up, but her feet kept sliding from underneath her. “Help me,” she said.
In the blink of an eye, the man under her rolled on top of her, got to his feet and pulled her up. She stepped back and started to slip again. He reached out and grabbed her. An undeniable charge passed between them, but what did it mean?
Another fireman with fancy things on his helmet entered the small kitchen. “Someone turn off that fire alarm!” He turned to Brian. “I thought you were going to get some sleep, Lancaster? What’s the story here?”
“I live next door, Captain. When I came out, I heard the smoke alarm and saw the smoke. I called it in and grabbed my extinguisher. I entered through that door and discovered the oven on fire. I hit the flames with the extinguisher. We just need some fans to get the smoke out.”
“Y–you–you’re a firearm?” She couldn’t believe she’d just asked that.
“No…not a firearm. I’m a fireman. I live next door. Brian Lancaster.” His slight drawl would have fascinated her at any other time.
“I meant fireman,” she rolled her eyes again. “And that gives you the right to come in my house and ruin my cake?” she shouted. It was irrational but she couldn’t stop her mouth. Worse, it kept going. “Do you know how hard it is to bake a cake? It was for a fundraiser, and now I have nothing to take.” Her foot slipped on the floor and she fell on her butt once more. Frustration and anger boiled over and she started crying.
“We need a paramedic to check her out, possible back injury,” Brian said, kneeling next to her. “Don’t try to get up.” Blue eyes scanned her body.
“The only thing hurt is my pride.” Boy! Had that taken a hit. “My cake is ruined and the fire department is in my kitchen. Just get out and leave me alone.”
He didn’t, but he called off the paramedic. Another fireman set up a fan in the doorway.
“I have to get some information for the report,” the Captain said. “What’s your name, ma’am?”
“Hannah Gibson,” she replied.
“Registered nurse, Southwest Children’s Hospital.” She sighed. It was easier to respond than to fight.
“What were you doing at the time of the incident?”
Hadn’t he heard her earlier? “Baking a cake. I mixed the ingredients, turned on the oven and put the cake in. I was waiting out on the deck when the geese landed. I went down to feed them and came back to find him,” she pointed to Brian, “in my kitchen. The cake had several more minutes to cook.”
The Captain checked the stove’s dials. His mouth dropped open and he glanced back over his shoulder to face her. “You set it to broil?”
They all gaped at her and the Captain dropped his pen. That must have been a wrong answer. “The oven gets hotter that way,” she explained. The older man bent to pick up his pen and shook his head.
Brian walked over and opened the oven. This unmitigated disaster was about to get worse. He used a towel and pulled the cake out of the oven. Her new bowl was a twisted mess of molten plastic. The batter covered the inside and formed a hard crust, topped by foam from the fire extinguisher.
“I think we’re finished. Let’s get these fans out of here,” the Captain directed his men. “Young lady, I would advise you to take cooking lessons before you get near a stove again.” He peered over his glasses at the kitchen, looked at her, opened then closed his mouth. He left shaking his head.
She stood alone with her neighbor. Her embarrassment could have burned a hole in the floor. In fact, she hoped it did, so she would fall in and disappear. What was she thinking? Then he would have to save her. Again.