Free Read

A Silver Springs New Year's Eve
Tonya Ramagos

            “Watch out!”  
            Captain Dean Wolcott stepped out his office, straight into organized holiday chaos, and directly in the path of a pair of female arms laden with bottles of champagne. He backed himself against the wall of the narrow hallway, then chuckled as EMT Terri Vega frowned at the scant amount of space he’d left to her squeeze through.
            She shook her head, sending her short blonde ringlets swinging. “Not happen, Cap.”
            No, her slim, petite, well-fit frame would’ve had problems moving past him even if her arms hadn’t been filled with teetering glass bottles.
            “Careful,” she instructed when he eased the top few bottles off the stack.
            “Wouldn’t it have been easier to leave them in the box?”
            “The guests can’t drink them if they’re still in the box, silly.” Terri resituated what was left of her load and waited for him to lead the way down the hall. “And they’re going through them like wild fire tonight.”
            Dean shot her a withering look over his shoulder. “I meant it would’ve been easier to carry them in the box, then take them out once you got to where ever it is you’re going with them.” He paused in mid-stride and glanced at her again, this time with his brows drawn together in confusion. “Where are we taking them, anyway?”
            “To the kitchen. We’re stockpiling the supplies in there so we can find what we need when something on the tables in the bays has to be replenished.”
            “Is your doctor coming tonight?”
            “Owen? No. He’s spending time with his sister, brother-in-law, niece, and their loving cocker spaniel.”
            “Not a good mix for you, huh?”
            “You mean the spending time with his family part or the dog?”
            “I know you’re allergic to dogs.” Dean stopped outside the door that would lead them into the kitchen and carefully turned to face her. “I’m not sure about family.”
            “So far, no allergies there, although I haven’t met his sister and crew yet. I could have tonight and doped up on Benadryl beforehand to handle the dog, but I didn’t want to miss out on bringing in the new year with my family.”
            Dean smiled, knowing every firefighter and EMT on B-shift felt the same. They were a close knit bunch, friends who stuck beside one another through thick and thin, a family who had followed one another through the blazes of hell and back on too many occasions to count.
            “I’m glad you didn’t,” Dean said sincerely. “It wouldn’t be the same here tonight without you.”
            The door to the kitchen hung on hinges that he pushed open by backing into it. The action worked easily enough, until the door met resistance on the other side.
            “Hey, now.” David Karlston’s amused chuckle carried through the four inches of space Dean had managed to open.
            Dean steadied his balance as the firefighter pulled the door the rest of the way open without warning.
            “You trying to take me out with the door, Captain?”
            “If that’s what I have to do to get you out of my way.”
            Karlston’s gaze skipped over Dean’s shoulder and a mischievous grin tilted his lips. “At least you’ve got someone behind you who can examine my injuries me when I fall.”
            “Not tonight, Karlston. I might be on shift but, until those tones drop, the only thing I intend to give emergency attention to is this party.” Terri booty-bumped the back of Dean’s thigh. “Now get your ass out of the way so we can offload these bottles before we drop them and everyone is forced to lick their refreshments off the floor.”
            Karlston shifted left, snagging two of the bottles from the stack in Dean’s arms and reaching to grab a few from Terri as the three started walking to the center island in the kitchen. “How about tomorrow night then? We’ll go clubbing, see if we can find a single peep for each of us to enjoy for a few hours.”
            “Sorry, Karlston, my days of clubbing ended a few years ago,” Dean told the firefighter, tongue in cheek, as he set his load on the countertop.
            Karlston shook his head, a truly pained look overtaking his expression. “See, that’s what happens when you settle down and get married.”
            “The last time we went clubbing together everyone thought we were together,” Terri reminded Karlston. “We both ended up going home alone.”
            “Well, that’s an easy fix. If the same thing happens this time, you can come back to my place at the end of the night. Then neither of us will spend the night alone.”
            Terri barked a laugh.
            Dean did his best to disguise a chuckle with a cough.
            Terri offloaded her bottles and leaned against the counter. “Maybe my clubbing days are over, too.”
            Karlston gaped at her. “Captain, call Cory in here, will you? I think Terri is the one in need of some serious emergency medical attention.”
            “Leave Cory alone. He’s in the bay with Ford and Rayne, right where he should be.”
            “Jeez, love is spreading around this department like a disease,” Karlston grumbled. “First the captain, then Jason, then Magee, then Tripp, then Nox, and now Carter. It’s a frigging epidemic! Where’s the lieutenant?” He turned right, then left making a show of looking for Hazmat engineer and B-shift lieutenant Max Jasper. Despite the slew of firefighters and other city officials milling about the room, Jasper was nowhere in sight. “We need him to put on his mad scientist lab coat and conjure up some kind of vaccination before it overtakes us all.”
            “What’s so wrong with people falling in love?” Dean asked, intrigued. He didn’t add that, if his gut was correct, which it usually was,  he was pretty damn certain Max was well on his way to catching the bug already.
            “Nothing, I guess. If that’s what floats your boat. Me?” Karlston poked a finger at his chest. “I’m planning to mingle for a long, long time before I set that ship sailing myself. And, speaking of mingling, I’ll help Terri get some more bottles of the sparking grape juice for us poor saps that are on shift tonight while you go mix with the crowd, Cap.”
            “Why me?”
            “You’re the host,” Terri said. “B-shift is on duty tonight and you’re the highest ranking firefighter, ergo that makes you the host.”
            Dean didn’t bother to argue, knowing it wouldn’t do him any good anyway. He left Karlston and Terri at the center island of the kitchen and started weaving his way through the crowd. He stopped for a moment to speak to DEA agent Michael Cosmos and his pregnant wife Rhonda who stood with Ryan and Tina Magee, hoping none of them heard his wistful sigh when his gaze dropped to Rhonda’s very rounded belly. He couldn’t wait to see Veronica that way, radiant and ripe with his child. They had been married for nearly four years and, though they tried often, Ronnie still hadn’t gotten pregnant.
            Saying goodbye for now, he continued through the crowd and out of the kitchen, stepping into the stationhouse bay. The doors were up, letting in the chilly evening breeze, the fire trucks lining the pavement out front, ready and waiting in the event of a call. A-shift had taken the responsibility of decorating during their shift. Party streamers, balloons, and ribbons had been hung from the support beams overhead and strung to anything and everything the firefighters could find. Tables of refreshments had been set up along the sidewalls, leaving the floor open for people to gather. A fast beat rock tune blared through the stationhouse speakers adding to the noise level in the room.
            “They did a hell of a job, huh?”
            Dean turned at the sound of the voice, raised to be heard over the music, and landed his gaze on Max Jasper. With his spiky brown hair and wild dark eyes, he looked like he might have been lost in a lab somewhere cooking up that vaccine Karlston had wanted.
            Dean tipped his head back, his attention scanning the ceiling, and he chuckled. “I’m wondering why we didn’t get toned out when the explosion went off.”
            Beside him, Jasper stiffened. “What explosion?”
            Dean grinned at his lieutenant. Mad scientist or Hazmat engineer, the man was always sharp as a tack and raring to get into the middle of something. “The one that blasted all the party stuff everywhere.”
            Max visibly relaxed. “Yeah, A-shift over did it a bit. Seeing as how it’s our first New Year’s Eve party at the stationhouse, I suppose we can let them slide. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had everybody together like this. Hell, I don’t think it’s ever happened. We’ve even got MIBs and DEAs here tonight.”
            “I just left Cosmos with Magee in the kitchen,” Dean commented.
            “Adrien Bingham and Cameron Stone are over there with Thaddeus.” Max tipped his chin toward the three giddily smiling men, their arms linked as they carried on a conversation with Jason, Angelina, and Jackson Graham and a woman Dean wasn’t quite sure he recognized.
            “Is that Christa Hutchens with the twins?” he asked Max.
            “No. Christa’s here, though. The last time I saw her she was chasing after a very frightened looking Harry Gosher. That’s Mallory Stone, Cameron’s sister and Jackson’s wife.”
            “Jason told me working with Hutchins had messed with his brother’s mind pretty bad. Hell, I can see why. Hutchins and Jackson’s wife could be sisters.”
            “It’s a damn close resemblance,” Max agree.
            Dean let his focus move on, stopping this time on the Alyson Hannigan look-alike standing with firefighter Kyle Shannon. Fire investigator Regina Zimmer smiled at something Shannon said, deep dimples accenting her bow-shaped lips and lighting her ivory face. “Regina seems to be enjoying herself.”
            Jasper scoffed. “She usually does as long as I’m not within a hundred feet of her.”
            Dean glanced at him and lifted a brow. “You’re barely twenty-five feet from her now.”
            “Yeah, she hasn’t noticed yet either.”
            Dean shook his head, biting back a grin. “When are the two of you going to stop butting heads every time you see one another?”
            “Hey, she’s the pit bull.” Max frowned as he lifted the plastic cup in his hand to his mouth and sipped, his gaze steady on the fire investigator. Dean swore he saw arrows of heated hunger shooting from the lieutenant’s eyes. “I’m just the chiwawa she likes to chew to bits every chance she gets.”
            Dean slapped the back of the man’s shoulder. “Then teach her not to bite quite so hard. Or, better yet, maybe you should bite back.”
            He left Jasper standing with his cup frozen halfway from his gaping mouth and made his way across the bay to Zimmer and Shannon. “You decided to stay. I’m glad.”
            Regina shrugged. “I decided you were right. Hanging out here is better than bringing in the new year alone in my apartment. And since you wouldn’t let me stay with you in your office...”
            Next to them, Kyle Shannon cleared his throat. “I’m headed to the kitchen for some of that sparkling grape juice. Can I bring you two back anything?”
            “No thanks,” Dean and Regina said in unison.
            Regina’s face flamed. “I’m sorry,” she said once Shannon was out of earshot. “What I said. I didn’t mean for it to sound like—”
            “It’s okay,” Dean cut her off. “Really, I’m glad you stayed.” It had taken him a good ten minutes or more to convince her not to leave after they finished talking in his office. Tonight, of all nights, especially after the bombshell she’d dropped on him, he knew she didn’t need to be alone. “You would make me even happier if you would unglue your heels from the concrete floor, though. You know half the people here, at least by name. Here’s your chance to get to know them all better, meet the ones you haven’t met, enjoy yourself.”
            She smiled, but it was far less brighter than he hundred watts of happiness she had beamed at Shannon when Dean had been standing with Jasper. “I will. I promise.”
            Dean turned slightly so he could see the room behind him. He leaned closer to Regina, both to be heard over the music and so he wouldn’t be heard by anyone standing close enough. “All these people here tonight, they’re the perfect fix to clear your mind for a few hours, bring in the new year without all the stress and worry about what you believe is happening.” He put a hand on her shoulder and tipped his chin toward Max Jasper. “Why don’t you start with that man over there. He looks like he could use some company right about now.”
            Regina looked at him, her eyes swirling with an explosive combination of venom and sheer longing. Her smile turned to one of pure feigned sweetness, exhibiting a row of perfectly white teeth that might have sharpened when her gaze had landed on Jasper. “Thank you, but I’ll pass. Your wife was looking for you awhile ago. You should probably go find her.”
            “Will you be all right?” Dean hated leaving her alone. He searched the crowd, looking for Kyle Shannon. The firefighter should have returned by now.
            “I’ll be fine. I believe I heard someone mention some spiked punch around here somewhere for those of us who aren’t on duty tonight.” Regina shrugged. “A little of that and I just might get the urge to mingle like you want me to do.”
            Dean chuckled. “Liquid courage, huh?”
            Regina waggled her eyebrows at him as she started to step away. “Hey, it’s New Years Eve, right? Why the hell not?”
            Why the hell not indeed. Still laughing, Dean scanned the room again, this time in search of Veronica. He spotted her almost instantly on the far side of the bays leaning against the door to the supply closet. B-shift’s radio operator, Zack Houston was talking with Tripp and Bailey Barrett in front of her, but she didn’t appear to be involved in the conversation.
            The group parted as Dean headed her way. He angled his head, puzzled that she would be hanging by herself when she was close friends with nearly everyone in the room. He knew when she spotted him. Her blue eyes lit as her gaze landed on him, sparkling with a mischief and happiness that had his heart swelling even as his mind kicked into wonder mode. He knew his wife, recognized that look, and she was up to something. The possibilities of exactly what that something could be ignited a fire inside him that traveled a path straight to his rapidly stiffening cock.
            “What are you doing?” Dean snaked an arm around her trim waist, drawing her close. He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes briefly as her scent enveloped him. Ripening strawberries in a summer field combined with the innate aroma of an aroused woman and sent his cock into a fit of calisthenics.
            “Waiting for you.” Her arms came around his neck, her fingers delving into the hairs at his nape as she brushed her lips to his.
            “Regina said you were looking for me. Is something wrong?”
            Veronica drew her bottom lip between her teeth, a wicked grin tilting the corners of her mouth. She looked away from him, her gaze scanning the room as one of her arms dropped from around his neck.
            “Who are you looking for?”
            “No one in particular. Just checking to see if anyone is watching us.”
            Not as far as Dean could tell. The music pumping through the stationhouse speakers had taken on a techno tempo and the crowd had opened up, pushing back in a circle to create a makeshift dance floor in the center of the bays.
            “Doesn’t look like it to me.” And why would they be? Smack dab in the middle of that dance floor, Thaddeus Carter, David Karlston, and Zack Houston had drawn everyone’s attention by bumping and grinding with moves they had obviously learned while rehearsing for the Fired Up for Boobs benefit the fire department had held a few months back.
            Before Dean knew what was happening, Veronica slid the hand she still had around his neck down to his chest, fisted his shirt in her fingers and yanked him through the door of the supply closet he hadn’t realized she had opened.
            “Ronnie?” Half amused and half surprised, he blinked in an attempt to get his eyes to adjust to the sudden darkness. A scant bit of light filtered through the cracks around the doorway offering him just enough to see her amazing face and the sinfully wicked intentions in her expression. “What are you doing, baby?”
            “Looking for a place to be alone with you for a few minutes.” She released his shirt, her palm gliding over his chest and sending sparks of desire raining through his system. Her other hand joined the exploration, flattening on his abdomen and turning to travel down his gut to the waistband of his uniform pants. “I was going to catch you in your office earlier, but you had company.”
            “Regina.” Veronica’s devious slender fingers began working the button of his pants free. Dean knew he should stop her, but damn if he had ever been able to. Once his woman got her hands on him, he was toast. Very burnt toast. It had been that way from the moment she had stepped into the stationhouse locker room nearly four years ago and he hadn’t cooled a bit.
            “You were in there an awfully long time.”
            Dean felt the button on his pants give, felt her fingers close on the tab of his zipper, and his cock flexed in readied excitement. He had to swallow before he could speak. “She needed to talk to me about a, uh, situation. It’s got her worked up.”
            “Anything I can do?”
            The closed door muffled much of the music still playing out in the bays, but the sound of metal scrapping metal as she lowered his zipper cut through even that. Dean felt the air in the supply closet grow hotter by the second, diminishing until breathing became a struggle. When her rebellious fingers slipped inside his pants, delved into his briefs, and curled around his cock, he said a silent prayer that no one opened the door or they would all go up in a backdraft of flames.
            Her wicked fingers stroked the rigid length of his cock and he grappled for words. “You can, ah, baby, stop...doing...that.”
            “You don’t really want me to stop, do you?” She raked the pad of her thumb over his cockhead, pushed gently against the slit, and smeared the bead of precome over the mushroomed head.
            “Hell, no,” Dean growled, his head falling back as whips of need slashed at his shaft and balls.
            “I didn’t think so.” She fisted his shaft, squeezing just enough to have him teetering on the edge of insanity. “I meant is there anything I can do for Regina?”
            Dean lifted his head to look at her. The woman never failed to amaze him. She had yanked him into a supply closet, wormed her way into his pants, and she wanted to talk about another woman?
            “It’s...” Christ, with his dick in his wife’s vixen hand he couldn’t even remember what he and Regina had discussed in his office, let alone decide what might or might not help her.
            “Classified?” Veronica suggested, her fist loosening on his cock as it reached the base and turning to dip between his legs to close around his balls.
            “Yes.” The word left him on a breathless rumble. In his line of work, he rarely ran across anything he couldn’t and didn’t share with his wife. He had given Regina his word to keep quiet about the things she had told him, though.
            “Okay, make sure she knows I’m here if she ever needs to talk.”
            Just like that, Veronica dropped the subject. Dean knew she wouldn’t press any further. She trusted him, believed in him, and loved him in a way that had no conditions or boundaries. Jesus, he had to be the luckiest man alive.
            “Want to know something else that classified?”
            Dean could only grunt, but the sound morphed to damn near a whimper when she let go of his cock and reached for his hand, covering the back of it with her palm as she splayed it on her flat belly.
            “I’m pregnant.”
            Dean’s whole world shifted. He felt his eyes grow wide, the scarce bit of oxygen he had managed to take in sticking in his throat as he stared at his beautiful wife. His heart was pounding so fiercely he wondered she didn’t hear it. Maybe she did because she giggled and cupped his cheek with her free hand.
            “Breathe, handsome. It won’t do for me to have our baby if you aren’t here to help me raise him or her.”
            Dean drew in a ragged breath as shock and sheer happiness raced through his system. He hooked a finger beneath her chin and grazed his thumb along her bottom lip as he gazed at her, his heart filling with more joy and love than he had ever felt in his life.
            “We’re having a baby?”
            She nodded, the sultry grin on her lips beaming with her own elation. “In about seven months, give or take a week.”
            Speechless, Dean folded his arms around her, yanked her against him and kissed the hell out of her. Her lips parted on a surprised laugh that morphed instantly to a moan as he drove his tongue into her mouth and lost himself in her taste.
            A baby. They were finally going to have a baby. Thank you God and this amazing woman in my arms.
             “I love you,” he whispered as he dragged his tongue along her jaw, nipped it lightly, then licked his way down the smooth flesh of her throat.
            “Show me.” Her hands fell to his waist, gripped the band of his pants, and started shimming them down his hips. “Here. Now. I need you inside me.”
            Dean didn’t think. He couldn’t. At least not about anything beyond his wife and the baby she was carrying. Their baby. Intense desires ruled his movements as he turned with her, backed her against the only spot of the matchbox closet not lined with shelves, and pinned her to the wall. He skimmed his hands down her outer thighs, fisted her skirt, and dragged it to her waist.
            No panties, he realized as his palms met with the bare flesh of her hips. Sweet Jesus, she’d planned this and made it easy for him. She had known once she broke the news to him that he would have to be inside her.
            He pushed his hands between her shapely ass and the wall, gripped her cheeks, and lifted her, stopping when he felt the tip of his cock pressing at the heated folds of her pussy.
            “Ronnie.” He gulped, not knowing what he had intended to say as emotions clogged his throat.
            Her arms were around his neck again, her fingers playing in the hairs at his nape as she smiled at him. “I love you, too,” she whispered. “Always and forever.”
            The passion of her words spoken in her sultry, desire-filled voice undid him. With her legs wrapped around his body, his cock perfectly positioned to enter her, Dean thrust into her awaiting pussy.
            A sound left his throat, hoarse and primal, as he buried his cock to the hilt in her sodden cunt. Sparks exploded around them, white-hot lights of passion and pleasure converging to create an inferno that sent them both spiraling to the edge.
            Dean felt his fingers dig into the tender flesh of her ass and knew he would likely leave bruises, but couldn’t force himself to ease his grip. Even when he had tried years ago, he had never been able to force himself to ease his hold on this woman in any way, not with his hands, not with his mind, and certainly not with his heart.
            “Please, Dean. Harder. Faster. Now.”
            He gave her exactly what she asked for, using the wall behind her for leverage as he pounded his cock inside her sodden pussy harder, faster, without an ounce of hesitation. Her legs locked more tightly around him, her heels digging into his ass in an effort to draw him even more deeply inside her. He widened his stance, effectively spreading her legs farther and giving her what she wanted. Impossibly deep, mind-altering penetration turned the sparks to flames and what was left of the oxygen in the closet to the consistency of molten lava.
            Dean felt her release as she came apart in his arms. She buried her face in his shoulder, sank her teeth into his flesh, and muffled her pleasured cries. Her pussy convulsed as hot juices bathed his cock. He couldn’t hold off his own release a second longer. He gritted his teeth on the animalistic growl that tried to escape as he came inside her.
            Spent, he nuzzled his face in the bend of her neck as he fought to catch his breath. “Jesus, Ronnie.”
            “Hmm?” Her fingers drew lazy circles on his nape and the back of his shoulder, caressing with a passion that stole his soul.
            “One of these days someone is going to catch us.”
            She giggled. “Maybe, but wondering when and where is half the turn-on.”
            “We’re really having a baby?” Dean couldn’t wrap his mind around it.
            She pulled back to look at him, a realm of emotions twisting in her gaze. “We’re really having a baby.”
            “Fucking amazing.”
            That made her laugh as she started wiggling in his embrace. “We should probably get back out there before people come looking for us and we do manage to get caught.”
            Dean slowly lowered her to her feet and kissed her softly before stepping back enough he could shove his softening cock in his pants. Veronica wiggled her hips as she pulled her skirt back into place.
            “Let’s keep this to ourselves for now. This is my happiness tonight. I’m not ready to share it or you with anyone else just yet.” The moment news got around, they would be bombarded with friends offering their congratulations and who knew what else.
            Veronica nodded and drew her bottom lip between her teeth thoughtfully. “Got a clue how we’re going to sneak back out of this closet without being noticed?”
            Dean grinned at her. “Didn’t think that far ahead, did you?”
            She shook her head. “I had a one track mind, Captain, getting you in here so I could get my hands on you.”
            He reached for her, leaning in to brush a kiss to the tip of her nose. “I like it when you’re mind is on that track.” He released her, glancing down the front of her sinfully curvy body, already picturing her flat belly rounded with their baby growing inside her. “I suppose we could just stay in here till morning.”
            Veronica threw her head back and laughed. “Yeah, and what’s going to happen when the tones go off and you have to roll?”
            “I can’t believe it hasn’t happened already.” Emergency calls on a holiday were usually a dime a dozen. So far, they’d only been toned out for two since the sun started to set and, thankfully, both had ranked low on the seriousness scale.
            Veronica put a hand on his shoulder as she squeezed between him and the door. She angled her head, obviously listening to the sounds filtering in from the bays. “They’re playing our song out there.”
            Dean listened, too, and heard the opening bars of Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing. He pursed his lips. “Think it’s too much to hope they’re all out there in someone’s arms dancing right now?”
            “There’s only one way to find out.” Veronica twisted the doorknob and eased it open. Luck was on their side as they slowly made their escape from the closet. No one spotted them sneaking out. No one noticed as Dean hooked an arm around his wife’s waist and led her to the makeshift dance floor so they could blend with the crowd.
            No one, that is, except Regina Zimmer.
            Dean leaned in to nuzzle his nose in the side of Veronica’s neck as they started to dance, but hesitated when his gaze slammed into Regina’s. The night continued it’s growing record of surprises when he slid his attention to her dance partner and realized it was Max Jasper’s arms that were tightly locked around her.
            He lifted a questioning brow at Regina whose attention shifted from him to the back of Veronica’s head, her eyes gleaming with knowledge, laughter, and a hint of wistfulness. Without moving her head, she slid her gaze toward Max and rolled her eyes before looking away.
            Veronica’s body grazed his as she rose slightly to her toes to whisper in his ear. “What’s wrong?”
            “Absolutely nothing.” He kissed the side of her neck, nuzzled his face in the bend of her shoulder, and closed his eyes. Things with Regina would work themselves out one way or another in time. He didn’t doubt that. And, as for her and Max, he wasn’t about to venture a guess on that outcome.
            “Good, because if anything tries to ruin this New Years Eve I’ll have to get vicious.”
            Dean grinned against the side of her neck, loosing himself in the feel of her in his arms, in the scent of her filling his senses, in the knowledge that he had never been happier in his life than he was at this moment.
            The song cut off abruptly near the end and everyone stopped in mid-sway, pulling away from their dancing partners as David Karlston whistled for attention. “It’s almost time, peeps. We’ve got less than a minute till midnight.”
            On a table behind David, a television flicked on to the countdown in Times Square. Dean tightened his arm around Veronica’s waist, holding her back as the crowd in the bays and those who had been in the kitchen gathered around the TV. Veronica looked at him questioningly, then nodded, smiling when he gestured to everyone with a slow scan of his head.
            Terri Vega, Bailey Barrett, Tina Magee, and Rhonda Ramsey played waitresses, passing out chilled plastic glasses of sparkling grape juice to those on duty and champagne to those who weren’t. Dean bit back a grin when Veronica refused the champagne Terri attempted to hand her and reached, instead, for the grape juice.
            “A few sips to celebrate tonight won’t hurt, sweetheart,” Dean leaned in to whisper in Veronica’s ear.
            “I know, but I’d rather not.” She winced slightly, her gaze dancing around the crowd. “Of course, considering we’re at the department surrounded by very highly trained, keenly observant people, the second they notice I’m not drinking, they’ll start to wonder why, put two and two together, and our secret will be front page stationhouse news.”
            “If they figure it out before we tell them, they deserve to know.”
            They deserved to know anyway and they would. He might want a few hours to fly on his cloud of happiness with only his wife, but he wouldn’t keep their news from his family for much longer than that. He couldn’t. They were all here, fellow firefighters, police officials, FBI, DEA, and the men, women, and children they loved.
            “Here we go,” Terri shouted, scrambling to ditch the tray she’d been carrying so she could take up place near the television as the ten second countdown began.
            Dean’s swallowed around a tightness in his throat and hugged Veronica close as he watched them. Family, each and every one of them were his family and he couldn’t think of any place he would rather be than right here, right now with the most important people in his life.
            “Three,” Dean joined the countdown. “Two. One. Happy New Year.”
            Party whistles and noisemakers blasted through the stationhouse bay as Dean turned Veronica in his arms. He dipped her back, folding himself over her as she laughed before he silenced her with a kiss. “Happy New Year, mommy,” he said against her lips.
            “Happy New Year, daddy.”
            Dean lifted her slowly as he straightened and caught two widely grinning faces out of the corner of his eye. Timmy Walker Magee and Lucas Ramsey Cosmos beamed at them, their expressions consumed with the devious glee of two ten-year-old boys ready to shout to the world what they’d just overheard.
            “And here we were thinking it would be the adults to catch on first,” Dean said to Veronica.
            “Can we tell them?” Timmy bounced with excitement. “No one knows, do they? Can we tell them? Can we? Please!”
            Dean laughed and started to say yes when the ear-piercing shrill of the stationhouse tones cut him off. The bays fell into an instant, total silence as the emergency dispatcher’s voice filled the room.
            “Engine 1, Ladder 12, Rescue 4, we have a report of a structure fire at 216 East Main Street, multiple injuries, possible victims still inside. Time out, 1203.”
            “Go.” Veronica slapped him on the ass as she stepped out of his embrace. “We’ll be at home waiting for you when your shift ends.”
            They would be home waiting for him. Dean nodded, leaning in to grab another quick kiss and grazing the back of his hand over her belly before he turned and double-timed it out of the bay.
            He reached the driver door of his Incident Command SUV parked out front with the rest of the trucks just as the lights and sirens of Engine 1 kicked on and the truck moved out of the driveway. Adrenaline surged with the happiness in his veins as he hopped behind the wheel of the IC SUV and started the engine. No doubt about it, they were already rolling into what would be one explosive 2013 for the men, women, and children of Silver Springs.


The Heroes of Silver Springs:
Caught off Guard
Twin Games
Stormy Nights
All of Nothing
Picture This
Hollywood Lights
Taken By Surprise
Sexual Games
Going Under
Up in Flames
And many more to come...

Get them all at Siren-BookStrand!

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© Tonya Ramagos 2012

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