Flame (Firefighters of Montana Book 5)

By: Victoria Purman



The only time in his life when he hadn’t held his tongue, when he’d told someone what he really thought, he’d seriously pissed off Cady Adams.

Yeah, Cady Adams of Cady’s Cakes on Main Street, Glacier Creek. Cady of the wild green eyes and russet brown hair and the mouth he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about every minute he’d been in Missoula. Cady Adams, the woman he hadn’t spoken to in the entire year he’d been home.

Yeah, that Cady.

Dex eased his truck into the drive of his apartment building and turned off the engine. He rested both wrists on the top of the steering wheel and peered out the front window into the fading, early evening light. He’d been living there since he’d come home to Montana, since he’d begun working as a smokejumper. It was a modern apartment in a modern complex with everything a regular person could ever want—stainless steel appliances, a brick fireplace, gas heating, a walk-in master closet, and a fenced yard. Everything he could ever want, that was, if he wanted to keep things simple, and it was only thirty minutes to base. It suited him for now. Who knew what he might want to do in a year’s time?

He got out of his truck, stretching out the stiffness from the drive, and began unloading his gear inside. He had decided to secure his fire fighting equipment in his living room rather than leaving it in the truck. He took a look around. Yeah, everything was still the same. Dex didn’t have much stuff. He hadn’t even bothered to make this place look like home in the year he’d been here. There was a big TV, a big old leather sofa, a rug and a coffee table where he usually ate dinner leaning over his plate.

Dex rubbed a hand over his chopped, dirty blond hair, scratched the stubble on his jaw. Didn’t bother to stifle the yawn.

He was home. And tomorrow, he’d be back at base, ready and more than damn well willing to get into the nearest DC-3 and jump into the middle of the big, Montana sky with a parachute harnessed to his back, all in the name of keeping people and property safe.

But right now, he needed some shut-eye.

He showered, went to bed, and was asleep in twenty minutes, trying not to dream familiar dreams about Cady Adams’s green eyes and her sweet pink lips.

*

Cady Adams started work each day before the sun came up. She didn’t rise with the birds. She’d already had two coffees, made trays of cupcakes in the most popular flavors—double chocolate chip, red velvet, and vanilla—rolled out miles of buttery dough and pinched it over racks of pies, when the first bird song of the day echoed between the buildings of her home town.

She’d always been an early riser. Even when she was a teenager, she would be awake before her mom and gran were up. By the time they were coming down the stairs in the morning, complaining with a smile about their old bones creaking, she would have been in the kitchen for an hour. A pot of coffee would have already been brewed and Cady would have made them something special for breakfast before she went off to school. Gran’s favorite was pancakes with maple syrup and blueberries with just a dash of whipped cream on top, which she’d tried to convince them she didn’t want, but ate with a wicked grin anyway. Her mom’s favorite had always been granola muffins. “They’re healthier.” She would tell Cady with a lecturing tone in her voice but a grin in her eyes. From them, the two most precious people in the world to her, she’d learnt the all-important balance between sweet and savoury, between pleasure and restraint.

So, every morning Cady had prepared food for both. To show how much she loved them. It was a small thing, but it had been a tangible way of showing them how much she appreciated all they had been doing for her. The three of them were all they had but they were happy. Cady’s grandfather had died young in a car accident, well before she was born, and Cady had never really known her own father, who’d run off to Florida with a sales rep before his daughter had started school. Her mom and grandmother made up for the lack of men in the household by making sure Cady never missed out. Both had worked long hours—her mom as a pharmacy assistant in Glacier Creek, and Gran part-time in a florist shop next door to the pharmacy—to help supplement what Cady was earning from her various part-time jobs. They gave up their time and got creaky, old bones so they could put together a college fund for the only Adams child.

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