It’s Kacey Shea’s birthday this week and she’s celebrating with five days of giveaways including the release of Birthday Blaze, which is FREE for iBooks, Nook, & Kobo.
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Download your free copy and be sure and join https://www.facebook.com/groups/booksbykaceyshea/ for more birthday fun!
Cover Design: Bridgette O’Hare, Wit & Whimsy Cover Design
Brennan O’Shea might be every woman’s dream.
Built like a tank and inked to perfection.
A fireman. Really, what else is there?
Yeah, he’s a fantasy brought to life if only it weren’t for one little problem. Okay, it’s a big one. He can’t talk to women. The more attractive the lady, the more words fail him. And his beautiful, friendly neighbor Jenny has Brennan lusting for more than chatty banter. Will a birthday wish give him a shot with the woman he wants? Or will his hopes go up in flames?
Today is my birthday.
Thirty years old. Fuck. When did I get old? Besides my firefighting career and my health, what do I have? I pictured myself in a little ranch style house, married with at least one kid by now. Instead, my plan for this Wednesday afternoon is to sleep the day away and hope my friends don’t remember it’s my special day because they’ll drag me to the bar. Fuck. I am old. I don’t even want to get wasted on my birthday.
I slide the key in my lock and the slam of another nearby door pulls my gaze to the neighboring unit.
“Hey! I’m glad I caught you!” Jenny huffs between labored breaths.
Oh. Fuck me. Maybe the universe is feeling generous. Jen’s covered in a sheen of sweat. Droplets form between the valley of her breasts and disappear beneath her sports bra. Her tiny black shorts are practically painted on her skin and it takes all my willpower not to stare.
“Hey, Jen,” I stutter.
“So . . .” She flashes a playful grin and walks over. “I have to work ’til four, but a little birdie told me it was your birthday and I have a surprise for you. Do you have plans later so I can drop by?”
“No plans.” I blow out a breath, take off my ball cap and run my other hand over my head. “Wait! How’d you know it’s my birthday?”
“Facebook reminders.” She laughs and backs up to her door. “Okay, I’ll stop by about five? Gives me time to wash off the blood.” She scrunches her nose up and it’s so fucking adorable I almost forget we’re discussing slaughtered animals.
I smile and mumble “sounds good,” as she retreats inside her apartment. I open my own door and my cell phone chimes from my pocket. I glance at the screen and grin. She never forgets.
“Hey sis,” I say.
“Happy birthday, little bro! I love you! Want me to sing?”
“God, no!” I laugh and she scoffs through the line. “It’s a gift for my ears if you don’t.”
“Fuck you,” she says with a smile in her voice. “So . . . any big plans for your dirty thirty?”
“Not really. Cruz is on shift, so we’ll go out this weekend for beers.”
“You are the worst bachelor ever. What I would give for a night out without crying, midnight feedings, and diapers.” Emily sighs.
“How is my nephew, anyway?”
“Sucking on my boob as we speak.”
“God! Don’t say things like that.” We’re just two years apart and best friends as much as siblings, but she has no filter, especially now that she’s a sleep deprived mom.
Emily just laughs. “Sorry, I can’t help messing with you. But really, you have no plans? Maybe I should come over tonight.”
“No!” I answer a little too emphatically.
“Oh, so you do have plans. Maybe a booty call? You are a first responder, after all . . .”
“God, stop. Sister-brother boundaries. Is nothing sacred?”
“Sorry. It’s been so long since I got laid. Seven weeks exactly. If I’m not getting lucky tonight then you should be. Who’s the lady?”
“It’s not like that. It’s my neighbor, Jen. She mentioned stopping by tonight. She has something for me. It’s probably nothing.”
“She sounds hot,” Emily teases.
I chuckle, because Emily never stops. “Yeah. She is hot, but she’s also really sweet, funny, and smart; but I don’t think she’s into me.”
“Then she has horrible taste in men. But I think if she’s coming by she might be into you. Now’s your chance, Brennan! Sweep her off her feet. Take charge. Be the man! Besides, it’s your birthday; luck is on your side.”
“I don’t know . . .” Maybe Emily is right. Maybe I should stop pussyfooting around and make a move.
“Do it! Now, I’ve got to go change stinker’s diaper. Love you, Brennan. Have a great day. And use condoms!”
“’Bye, Emily.” I smile and end the call.
Before I crash I check the fridge and pantry. Emily’s right. If I want a chance with Jenny I need to pull out all the stops and go with my strengths. I may not be a smooth talker but I can cook like a top chef. Today’s forecast: baked ziti with a side of romance.
Birthday Blaze originally appeared in the Amazon bestselling charity anthology Hook & Ladder 69. This short story is a fun, sexy read that showcases Kacey’s humorous story-telling and colorful characters. For more by Kacey check out http://www.kaceysheabooks.com.