Boston Dragons, Book 2
by Ashlyn Chase
ONE JOB OPENING
TWO SHIFTERS APPLY…
Dragon shifter Chloe Arish is hell-bent on becoming a Boston firefighter. She uses her Irish charm and fake documents to score an interview, knowing she has to work every bit as hard as a man—harder if she wants their respect.
Born into a legendary Boston firefighting family, phoenix shifter Ryan Fierro can’t possibly let someone best him on the training course or the job. He’d never hear the end of it. When a feisty new recruit comes along who’s determined to do just that, Ryan plots to kick her out—until their sizzling chemistry turns explosive…
At the end of their last day, the captain shook everyone’s hand and wished them luck in their new assignments or EMT training if they were continuing on. As they were about to walk out to the parking lot, the trainer called, “Fierro. Arish. Wait a minute.”
Ryan glanced at Chloe and she looked as perplexed as he was. Were they going to get another talking-to? Hadn’t they been thoroughly chastised?
They waited until the last guy was gone and the door had slammed after him. Then the captain stood in front of them with his arms folded.
When no one said a word for several seconds, Ryan cleared his throat. “Is everything all right, captain?”
“Yes and no,” he said. “You two are going to be working together in the same house.”
“Yeah… Not for a while though. We still have EMT training to finish.”
Chloe interjected, “We were told we’d probably be on different shifts either way though.”
The captain’s mouth formed a straight line. It may have been a smile, but it was hard to tell. “That’s what I thought too. But I just got the word that a couple of guys used this opportunity to change their shifts and now you’ll be on the same one.”
Chloe’s jaw dropped, and she stared at him with what could be interpreted as fear or surprise. Ryan tried to school his features, but it may have been too late. The captain was snickering.
“What’s so funny?” Chloe asked.
The captain scratched his thinning scalp and hesitated. Finally he said, “I don’t usually get involved in these things, but I can tell you two are like oil and water. You admitted there was competition between you, and I’m aware that at one time you were competing for the same job. That’s not the case anymore. You both have jobs, and if you want to keep them, you’re going to have to find a way to work together as a team. On theteam.”
Ryan nodded. “Got it, Cap’n.”
The older gentleman chuckled. “I don’t think you’ve got a clue, Fierro.”
That stung. He straightened and waited for the guy to explain himself. All he did was stand there, glancing from one probie to the other.
Chloe narrowed her eyes. “I feel like there’s somethin’ you’re not sayin’. If you want us to hear it, perhaps you should speak plain.”
The guy started to pace and shake his head. Finally he stopped and tossed his hands in the air. “I give up. If you two are so thick you can’t see it, I’ll just have to make it simple. You’re attracted to each other. And you’re about as subtle as seagulls following fishing boats.”
Chloe gasped, then burst out laughing.
Ryan’s first reaction was to protest, vehemently, but would that help? It might just prove the old man’s point.
By the time Chloe was able to calm herself to the point of mere giggling, her eyes were leaking tears. “Sir. I mean no disrespect, but maybe you should have your eyes checked.”
“There’s nothing wrong with my eyes. I have five teenagers. I know what I’m looking at.”
She slapped a hand over her mouth and tried to hide the smile that remained.
Ryan felt like a complete idiot. Should he argue with the guy and back up Chloe? He had a feeling no matter what he said it wouldn’t make any difference. The captain thought he knew what he knew and saw what he saw. But standing there with his thumb up his ass wasn’t helping either.
“Sir. I’m not one hundred percent in agreement with you, but I’m sure that Arish and I will keep our working together on a professional level.”
He nodded slowly and seemed satisfied. “Okay. I just wanted to get that out in the open. Things come up in a house that change the balance sometimes. I’m not maligning your gender, Arish, but a woman on the crew is one of those factors.”
“I was told I’m going to a house that has had a woman in it before.”
“Yes, and I’m glad. That should help. But if any of the guys want to test you, try not to take it personally.” Then he whirled on Ryan and jabbed a finger into his chest. “And you’ll let her fight her own battles.”
He backed up a step. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I?”
“I don’t know. Why wouldn’t you let her complete a botched carry on her own two feet?”
He dropped his gaze to the floor and shuffled his boots. The captain was much too shrewd. The protective side of Ryan’s personality came out, yet he thought he was hiding it in competition.
“I thought he was tryin’ to make me look bad, sir,” Chloe said.
The captain smirked. “Not at all. He was trying toyou.”
Chloe gazed at him with rounded eyes. Now she knew the truth too
She turned on her heel and marched toward the door. “I can take care o’ meself.” Before either of them could comment, she strut through it and let it slam behind her.
“Should I go after her, sir?”
“Nah. Let her go. That fighting spirit may help her deal with a lot of shit. You’re going to have to figure out another way to handle it though.”
“Handle what? The probie teasing?”
“Yeah. That and…if you get involved with her, teasing will be the least of your worries.”
ASHLYN CHASE specializes in characters that reinvent themselves, having reinvented herself numerous times. She has a degree in behavioral sciences and has worked as a psychiatric and a Red Cross nurse for several years. She lives with her real-life hero husband in New Hampshire.