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Reduced to Ashes (New Hope Fire Department Book 3) by Kay Gordon (1)

Prologue

 

 

 

 

 

Tori

 

 

 

 

I pulled the helmet off and swiped the back of my hand across my forehead. Spending six hours in a training simulation was more exhausting than working an actual fire. I was just glad that degree of training only happened once a year.

“You did good, Rookie,” Tim Palumbo, nicknamed Dumbo by our company, said as he stopped next to me. “You’re giving us all a run for our money.”

A grin spread across my cheeks as I tried to be modest. “I wasn’t that fast.”

“Whatever. You smoked Dunsworth’s previous record,” Leandro Reyes replied, elbowing Tristan Dunsworth as they approached. “You were smoked by a chick that’s barely old enough to drink. How does that feel?”

Dunsworth didn’t smile but scowled instead. He’d been doing a lot of that over the past few weeks. He glared at Reyes before turning that glare on me. It was a shocking contrast to the looks we’d been sharing just a month before.

“She got lucky.”

He was an attractive man when he wasn’t wearing that ugly expression on his face. He was a little over six feet with broad shoulders and a muscular physique. His black hair was cropped short on his head and his grey eyes were unique, giving him an exotic look. The badge bunnies flocked to him and I had been the one lucky enough to say he was warming my bed.

Until a couple of weeks ago when he started pulling away.

I wasn’t in love with him or anything but the rejection still stung. I’d been with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue for almost two years and he hadn’t originally liked me. Having a woman in the company wasn’t something he agreed with but when he realized I could pull my own weight, Dunsworth warmed to me.

About six months before at a bar where our company was drinking, he admitted that he was attracted to me and that attraction was one of the reasons he’d been so hard on me at first. That was all it took to get me to go home with him. An hour later, I was naked in Tristan Dunsworth’s bed.

He wasn’t some sort of Prince Charming or anything but he’d been good to me for the most part. He wasn’t the first guy I’d slept with but he was by far the most experienced and he taught me things, helped me explore my sexuality. He was fun.

And now he wouldn’t even look at me.

“Load up in the rig, ladies,” Lieutenant Morgan Widener said, breaking up our conversation outside of the training base. “I want to get back to the house and get some sleep.”

The young lieutenant wasn’t too fond of me. He and a few other guys, like Dunsworth, didn’t feel that a woman had a place in the station house. He didn’t make the same lewd comments some of the others did but he was cold towards me and did nothing when he witnessed the harassment.

We all loaded into our separate engines and I stared out the window with a smile as we headed back to the station. I had kicked everyone’s ass today and obliterated Dunsworth, who had been the fastest for three years running. I didn’t want to gloat but at the same time I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.

“Want to shower first, Rookie?” Reyes asked as we all hung up our equipment at the house and I shook my head. I could count on most of the guys to offer me use of the bathroom first but I always declined and let them all go, taking my own private shower afterwards.

“You guys go.”

The men all shuffled towards the bathroom and I went into my bunkroom to wait. While the snooze room was just a large open room with multiple beds for firefighters on duty to sleep in, I had been given a converted storage room to use as my bunk in an effort to give me privacy. Most of the men hadn’t cared, of course, except a select few who claimed I was receiving special privileges.

I checked my phone, responded to a few texts from my friends, and got my stuff ready. It was about forty-five minutes before someone rapped on my door.

“Bathroom’s empty, Rookie,” Dumbo called from the other side, using the nickname that had stuck well beyond my probationary period. “Go shower. I can smell your stink from here.”

I chuckled and stood up with my stuff. “Thanks, D.”

The station house was older and had a floorplan that didn’t have privacy in mind. Like the snooze room, the bathroom showers were all together and all completely open like a locker room. The first few times I’d showered in there, I had been jumpy and afraid of someone walking in. No one had in almost two years, though. They all respected my privacy.

I hung up my clothes and towels and took my caddy to the shower in the far corner. Once I had the water going, I stood under the hot spray and tipped my chin up. I could feel the grime siphoning off my body, taking some tension of the day with it. I knew I was going to be soaking in a long, hot bath when I got home to soothe my sore muscles.

I took a ten minute shower and redressed in a pair of navy blue pants and a matching t-shirt that had the LVFR logo down the front. I didn’t bother drying my long blonde hair and just ran a comb through it and patted it with the towel.

Once I was dressed, I dropped my stuff off in my room and headed out to the common areas. I was almost to where the TV was when I heard Dumbo speak, his voice firm with anger.

“Turn it off. Now.”

I don’t know if they did as he said because no one responded. I continued moving forward when a noise stopped me.

A moan. A throaty, pleasure-filled moan.

Gross. The guys were watching porn.

Dumbo and Reyes were pretty protective of me so I knew they probably had to be irritated that the guys were watching something like that with me around. That crap didn’t bother me, though, so I continued moving forward just as Reyes yelled for someone to turn it off, too. I rounded the corner, ready to tell them it was no big deal, when another moan sounded from the TV and the image came into view.

“Yes! Oh, Tristan!”

It was me moaning.

There, on the sixty-five-inch screen, was me. I was naked and straddling Tristan’s equally naked body as I rode him enthusiastically. The camera, a camera I didn’t have a clue was filming us, was somewhere off to the side, giving everyone a full view of me while I threw my head back, causing my blonde hair to fall down my back and my mediocre breasts to push forward. Tristan was gripping my hips and looking up at me with a grin on his face.

“That’s right, babe. Ride my dick. You’re a slut for it, aren’t you? Your pussy is mine.”

All of the men in my company were looking at the TV. Dumbo was fighting his way to the screen while several guys blocked him and Reyes was in Dunsworth’s face.

“Give me the fucking phone before I break your goddamned nose!”

I gasped and covered my mouth as I stared at the TV. Humiliation flooded through every part of my body. Someone must have heard me because several faces turned in my direction. Some of the guys looked mildly ashamed, some of them wore shit eating grins, but I ignored them all and looked to Dunsworth. He and Reyes had stopped arguing and he was staring at me with those cold, grey eyes. A smirk curled at the corners of his lips and he gestured to the screen.

“You look good on screen, babe. Although I think it’s true that the camera adds pounds because your tits look bigger here. Especially in the next one where I blow my load all over them after you suck my cock.” He paused as the me on screen moaned again. “That’s where your pussy belongs, Jones. In a bed with a dick in it, not in the station house.”

Dumbo finally made it to the TV and turned it off just as Reyes got a swing in and hooked Dunsworth in the jaw. Two men grabbed both Dunsworth and Reyes, holding them back from each other, and I felt someone come stand next to me. I turned my head and through my tears, saw Lt. Widener standing there.

“This is why it was a bad idea to let a bitch into the company,” he murmured so only I could hear. “Look what you’ve done.”

“What I’ve done?” I whispered, swiping at my face. Lt. Widener nodded his head and watched the chaos, not bothering to tell anyone to stop.

“You don’t belong here, Jones, but I think Dunsworth is right. You look mighty fine in the bedroom.”

A strangled sob escaped my lips and I turned as fast as I could. I ran to my room and slammed the door behind me, wishing like hell it had a lock on it before sliding to the floor. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and fumbled until I had the screen unlocked.

Dread filled me when I saw that I had over ten missed calls and even more text messages. Most of them were from my brother, who was a Hazmat firefighter at a station across town. I wiped the tears from my eyes and dared to look at the text messages he’d sent.

 

Vincent:      Vic, where are you? Answer your phone!

Vincent:      Shit, I need you to call me.

Vincent:      Are you on shift? Go right down to your captain’s office. Don’t talk to anyone.

Vincent:      Vic… There’s a video and it’s not good. It’s circulating through all of the houses.

Vincent:      I’m on my way to your station. Either go to your captain’s office or your room and stay there until I get to you.

Vincent:      I’m so sorry.

 

Circulating through all of the houses?

Oh, god. All of those men watching me have sex. My reputation, my career.

What was I going to do?