Today I am so pleased to welcome Annabeth Albert to Joyfully Jay. Annabeth has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, High Heat. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Greetings! I am so excited to be here on one of my favorite review sites with an exclusive excerpt of HIGH HEAT, my sexy new firefighter romance. This is book two in my Hotshots series about smoke jumper wildfire fighters in Central Oregon, but each book is designed to stand alone as well. HIGH HEAT centers around an injured smoke jumper, Garrick, trying to recover from serious injuries and his sexy new neighbor, Rain who barrels his way into Garrick’s life, complete with a lost dog who needs them both. In the exclusive scene that I’ve brought Joyfully Jay today, a sudden summer storm has helped Rain to convince Garrick to cuddle with him under the covers. The building attraction they’ve been enjoying is about to get sexy…
“Wait. You’re way overdressed.” Rain gestured at Garrick’s work clothes.
“You just want me naked.”
“Guilty. But don’t make me come over there and do it with my teeth. Or rather do exactly that. Please.”
“Okay, okay. I’m on it.” Garrick used a nifty grabbing tool to pull off his shoes, then wiggled out of his pants and shirt, leaving him in blue boxer briefs.
“Now that’s more like it. Although I can’t believe you turned down my kind offer of assistance…” Giving a flirty wink, he couldn’t help leering as Garrick climbed under the covers. Damn. Those muscles.
“Trust me, I’m amazed at my restraint too.” Laughing, Garrick arranged himself as easily as if they planned a cuddle party like this every weekend. Rain scooted closer while Cookie found her way to her bed with a mighty harrumph.
“I thought you’re not much on TV.” Rain gestured at the laptop.
“I’m not. But every time we work out, you keep talking about all those reality shows I never watch. Pick one to educate me on all the pop culture I’m missing.”
“Yes, Grandpa. I’ll show you what us youngsters are into these days.” Rain deliberately made his voice more country, earning another laugh from Garrick, who tossed an arm around him and hauled him closer so that Rain could scroll around the laptop. The warm weight of Garrick’s arm on his back made him tempted to suggest porn, but he didn’t want to ruin this cozy little cocoon by bringing up sex too soon either. He picked a show he thought Garrick would appreciate—ridiculously fit people attempting wacky obstacle courses. “Here. Maybe you’ll get more ideas for my workouts, but I draw the limit at dodging inflatable pylons.”
“Hey, if you have your way, you’ll soon be dodging burning debris. Don’t make light of things that improve your reflexes. They might be the one thing keeping you alive.”
“True that.” Maybe he should have gone for a lighter show, one with relationship drama or petty squabbles, but before he could change the selection, Garrick pulled him in tighter, settling him against his chest, and Rain decided he could endure even the worst TV if it meant getting to stay right there as long as possible. Garrick smelled like the woodsy aftershave he favored on the days when he shaved, but he already had some sexy stubble going, and his body was warm and solid behind Rain. He started absently finger combing Rain’s still damp hair.
“I love your hair down like this.”
“It’s kind of a wet mess.” Rain’s face heated at the compliment. As much as he enjoyed dishing them out, getting them always felt weird.
“Beautiful mess.” Garrick blessed him with a kiss on the top of his head, and yeah, he wasn’t moving, not even for brownies, but eventually partway through the second challenge Garrick stretched and retrieved the plate, feeding a bite to Rain.
“If you keep taking such a good care of me, you’re not getting rid of me anytime soon.”
“Good.” Garrick kissed the side of his head. Him free with the kisses like this was worth any number of rainstorms. Hell, Rain would happily endure snow—
Wait. He probably wouldn’t be here come winter, a sour thought that took a little shine off the present coziness.
“Why the frown? Are the brownies that bad?”
“They’re fine. You did good.” Returning the favor, he pressed a kiss to Garrick’s neck. Might as well enjoy it while he had it.
“And no pressure, but you’re welcome to sleep over if you want to text Shirley.”
“You’re blushing.” Rain had to laugh before he sobered. “You’re sweet enough to not want her to worry about where I am, but you’re…embarrassed?”
He had been a walk on the wild side for enough people to not like feeling like a secret people were ashamed of, and some of that must have crept into his voice because Garrick gave him a kiss on the head.
“Not in the way you’re thinking. More like I still feel like I’m too old for…whatever we’ve got going. I like your grandma a lot, and I don’t want her pissed at me or thinking I’m taking advantage.”
“If anyone’s taking advantage, it’s me.” Turning his head, Rain finally claimed the kiss he’d wanted since Garrick opened his door. Garrick’s lips were warm and soft and tasted faintly chocolaty, but even better was his groan as he took over, teasing Rain’s mouth until he opened for Garrick’s questing tongue. Damn but the guy could kiss, especially like this, an intoxicating blend of tightly coiled restraint and sweet surrender. Unlike most of their shorter kisses over the past week, this one went on and on, no rushing and no breaking away either, just the press of their mouths and slide of their tongues until Rain was trembling, actual shudders racing through him.
“Cold?” Garrick stroked down Rain’s arms and torso, hands leaving a cascade of sparks wherever they touched, like the animated trails of a magic wand. And magic was definitely the right word for what this was, this sweet, this sexy, this slow, and this perfect.
Annabeth Albert’s Hotshots series continues—the emotions and intensity of Chicago Fire with the raw, natural elements of Man vs. Wild.
Smoke jumping is Garrick Nelson’s life. Nothing, not severe injuries nor the brutal physical therapy that follows, is going to stop him from getting back with his crew. But when a lost dog shows up on his front porch, he can’t turn her away, and he can’t take care of her on his own. Thankfully, help comes in the form of his new sexy, dog-loving neighbor. As they work together, trying to re-home their little princess, Garrick can’t resist his growing attraction for the other man, even though he knows this guy isn’t the staying type.
Rain Fisher doesn’t take anything too seriously. He dances through life, one adventure at a time, never settling in one place for too long. When his hot, conveniently buff, neighbor shows up on his doorstep, dog in tow, Rain’s determined to not just save the adorable puppy, but her reluctant owner as well. He never expects their flirtation might tempt him into stay put once and for all…
Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts. Don’t miss the Hotshots series from Annabeth Albert: Burn Zone, High Heat, and Feel the Fire.
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.
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Welcome, Annabeth! Thanks for sharing the excerpt from High Heat, and best wishes for its success.