I'm so excited my book, The Switch is available for FREE on Kindle through tomorrow night. This story has been a fun project, especially since I got to use a lot of my EMT knowledge for the emergencies Danny, the paramedic firefighter from Blank Slate goes on. There is an excerpt below, and at the bottom of the post is a link to download your own free copy!
They could hear the fire truck returning from more than a block away. The siren blared and Tia wondered if her daughter had managed to sweet talk her way out of her seatbelt to run it, or if her baby blues had mesmerized the handsome driver into ruining his own ear drums. It wouldn’t surprise her if they were all deaf when they returned.
After coming to a stop, Danny hopped from the truck and headed around to the other side to help Samantha out. After noticing her daughter removing her seat belt—which meant Samantha’s eye-fluttering powers were still in good working order—Tia thought again about the firefighter. His suave self-confidence bothered her and his flirting unnerved her. She wondered if it ever got him into trouble on the job.
Samantha ran back over and wrapped her arms around her mom’s legs. “I pushed the siren, and Danny ran it for me a lot.”
“I heard, sweetheart. I think the whole state heard, actually.” She tapped a finger on her daughter’s nose
“He said if I’m good I can try on his fire hat.”
“Did he?” Tia didn’t have a chance to decide how she felt about it before he was in front of them.
Danny grinned and crouched so his face was even with Samantha’s. “I’m glad you helped me tonight. Maybe you could bring your mom and sister and help again sometime. I can show you the cool stuff we have inside the ambulance.” He glanced back into Tia’s face and she felt her cheeks flame. “Not while strapped into the gurney this time.”
“I think that’s a great idea,” Nichole said, extending a hand in greeting. “Hi, I’m Nichole Baugh, Tia’s friend, and you are?”
“Danny Tullis.” He angled a glance at Tia’s face. “And very glad you all came tonight.” He turned and beckoned to someone behind them, then returned his gaze to the ladies. “I did promise Samantha a chance to try on my helmet tonight. Do you have a few minutes?”
Tia’s chest constricted and she became self-conscious about what she said around him. Why was he paying so much attention to her? She’d been out on a date or two since Lee died, but none of the men really flirted with her. She got the feeling, however, that flirting was second nature to Danny, so she tried not to make anything of it. “That will be fine.”
Since Nichole agreed, and the girls bubbled over with excitement, they all headed for the building. Danny stopped to talk to another firefighter, a woman with pale golden hair falling halfway down her back, and ask her to drive the truck full of kids until James returned. Then he led them through the building.
“My locker’s back here.” He stopped at one and twisted the combination lock until it popped open. First, he pulled out his firefighter’s helmet and set it on Samantha’s head.
“It smells like smoke,” she said, wrinkling her nose.
Danny laughed. “Fires do tend to smell like smoke.” He pulled out a heavy yellow set of protective clothing like Tia had seen on television and movies. “These are my turnouts, they protect me when I’m doing my job. I have different sets depending on the type of call I go on. This is for fires.” He briefly described how they protected him from getting burned and gave each of the girls a chance to wear the jacket so they could feel how heavy it was.
He returned it and the fire helmet, which Samantha seemed done with for the moment, to his locker and removed a lighter black outfit. “These are extrication turnouts. I wear them when I’m not worried about fires, but if we’re opening up a car so people who are trapped inside can get out. It protects me from glass and other sharp objects. I wear this when I go to accidents on the ambulance, too.” He let them all finger the heavy material and briefly talked about the equipment they used.
“How cool.” Samantha said. “I want to help people when I grow up!”
Tia could see how Samantha’s charm and hero worship were wrapping Danny around her little finger. When he reached out and touched the girl’s shoulder, Tia thought of Lee, and of the way her husband had loved their daughter. She missed the way he’d come in from work and scoop Samantha into his arms, listening to her chatter and grinning at her boundless enthusiasm.
Samantha had cried often, missing her daddy when he shipped out to Afghanistan. It got worse after the funeral when Tia had to tell her Todd wasn’t ever coming home. Two years later Samantha didn’t cry much anymore, but she was starved for male attention, despite Garrett’s best efforts to be there for his dead brother’s family. Tia’s throat felt tight and she had to take a measured breath to hold back emotions that always hit her at the worst moments.
When Danny met her gaze, she saw something flicker there. “I better get back to my post,” he said after a moment. “But you’re welcome to stop in some day for the ambulance tour. Call ahead to see if I’m here and I’ll squeeze in time for you.” Though his words had included everyone, his eyes ended on Tia. “It was a pleasure meeting you all.”
He left them at the table where they were doing rub-on tattoos, and Tia watched him return to duty at the line of kids.
Download it from Amazon now, and please spread the word to your friends!