Welcome Author Lila Ashe with Her Sexy Firemen!
Posted by mahalia2010
Below is a excerpt and the buy links:
Everything was fine until the air conditioner caught on fire.
“It’s not a big deal,” said Grace, blowing at the tendril of smoke that rose from the plastic cover. “Don’t get up.”
Steve Swanson, who had been reclining with his needles in, popped his chair forward. His eyes bulged behind his thick glasses. “Kind of looks like a big deal to me.”
Mrs. Little—who was anything but—also sat forward, adjusting her bosom as she went. “It smells like my toaster when the bread gets stuck. You sure it’s not on fire in there?”
Eliza Cross, ninety years old if a day, didn’t even open her eyes. “Just let me know if we need to evacuate. Till then, I’m napping.” The hush was implied in the retired librarian’s tone.
Grace waved her hands at the smoke. “I think it’s dissipating,” she said hopefully. No, this wouldn’t do, not at all. A fire in her group acupuncture treatment room wouldn’t be the best thing for business. Darling Bay was as progressive as small towns got, but residents were still figuring out what community acupuncture was. Word of patients being treated for smoke inhalation would be downright embarrassing.
The innards of the air-conditioner gave a startling crack followed by pops, as if something were being cooked inside. A larger cloud of noxious-smelling black smoke curled into the room.
“Oh, dear,” said Mrs. Little. “Should I take my needles out?”
“No, no, let me …” said Grace. “Just one sec. I think I can …” She tugged on the front of the unit, pulling hard until the cover came off in her hands. When she peered into it, she saw a bright red flame leap. “Oh, crap.” What were you supposed to do for an electrical fire? Baking soda? This was an office, not a kitchen.
“Get a jug of water!” said Steve.
“Not water.” Grace remembered that, at least. “I’ve changed my mind,” she went on briskly, clapping her hands. “I think the three of you should wait on the lawn. Eliza, let me help you. You can leave your points in—it won’t hurt them to move around a bit.” She kept her voice as even as she could, but inside, she was terrified. What if her whole office burned down because she waited too long to call the fire department? Her fingers shook as she dialed 911. Fire insurance was good from the day she purchased it, right?
“It’s me, Grace.”
“You usually text me. Why are you calling me at work?”
“Um, I might have a fire.”
Grace heard Lexie sigh, and the clicking of a keyboard on the other side of the phone. “What’s on fire?” She gave Lexie the information as fast as she could. The fire was getting bigger, flames licking out the top of the unit now. The metal Venetian blinds were charring, and the cord started smoking.
“We’re on the way,” said Lexie. “Can you get everyone out?”
“I’m trying.” Grace ushered her three patients out, shooing them like chickens. Their acupuncture points bobbed, swaying lightly in their arms, legs and ears.
Steve, on his way out the front door with his pants still rolled up to the knee, said, “Aren’t you supposed to have a fire extinguisher?”
Of course she did! How could she have forgotten? Demonstrating she knew how to use it was one of the check-offs she’d done for the city before getting her business license.
Grace made sure Eliza was comfortable on the lawn (the old woman was remarkably unperturbed and appeared as if she might go back to sleep) and then rushed back inside. The air was acrid, smelling of melted plastic and something harsher, more chemical. Grace felt dizzy and wondered if it was possible to pass out from smoke inhalation when it wasn’t a real fire. It wasn’t, after all, like a wall was on fire. Yet. She was pretty sure it was still contained to the unit. Mostly. Hopefully.
She got the fire extinguisher off the wall, finding it heavier than she remembered. Would she have to read the instructions? The list of words on the fire extinguisher was discouragingly long. In the distance, she could hear a fire engine’s siren. Although now that she had the extinguisher, she bet she could have it out by the time they got there. Grace knew one thing about herself—she was good at handling a crisis.
Well then, crap, why hadn’t she thought to unplug the danged air conditioner? Reaching forward, she yanked out the plug and threw open the window next to it. Fresh air, at least.
Or would that make the fire happier? Fire wanted oxygen, right? What if the fire sped up the wall into the attic? The cottage her office was housed in was more than a hundred years old. She’d barely glanced at the attic when she bought it, just noting it was dusty and had housed mice at some point over the years.
Speed. Hurry. Grace stood straight, willing herself to breathe slowly. She pulled the pin on the fire extinguisher and pressed the handle, directing the nozzle at the air conditioner. The fire inspector, when testing her business, had instructed, “Sweep the spray side to side, hitting the base of the fire.”
The difference was instant. The fire that had been creeping up the wall disappeared in a blanket of white spray. Grace took a deep breath of relief and immediately convulsed in a fit of choking.
From behind her, she heard a man yell, “Got a victim here, roll medics code three!” She turned to see a huge man in some kind of a yellow jumpsuit coming at her. He had shaggy blond hair and a jaw like a cliff. His eyes snapped green fire at her. Or that’s what it felt like.
She tried to tell him she wasn’t hurt, that she had it all under control, but she just said, “Thhbt.”
Then everything went dark.