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Wet Down

Wet Down

Out with the old, in with the new…

Or so Sherry Thacker thinks. Problem is, her ex is always on her mind—shirtless, sweaty, sooty, way too handsome—and right across the street. When a “Wet Down” ceremony to retire an old fire truck is planned by the city council to raise funds for the firehouse, she has to put aside her hurt and anger and do her job. Blake Thacker wants his wife back—in the house they shared, in their marriage bed. Still confused how Sherry’s becoming mayor managed to drive a wedge between them, he’ll use whatever means necessary to win her back.

Sex is always best served WET.

Note: WET DOWN has previously been published as part of the “Five Alarm Alphas” box set.

Read an Excerpt

Sherry stood so near the closed blinds, she could feel the heat trapped between the white wooden slats and the double-paned glass. Dust motes floated in the gilded light slipping between the blades. All she could do was stare.

She finally had what she wanted. So, why wasn’t she happier about it? Perhaps because now that the election was over, the whirlwind pace of her life had slowed. And little things became as glaringly clear as the floating specks.

Being mayor of a small West Texas town didn’t pay squat, meant she couldn’t step out of the house in sweats, a holey tee and no makeup, and pretty much guaranteed she’d have to run into her soon-to-be-ex-husband on occasion.

The only upside was if she kept super-busy, maybe she would barely even think about him.

“It’s a wet down ceremony. We have to make a speech,” her assistant said, her gaze fixed on the tablet she always held filled with hen-scratched “notes to self.”

Only the notes weren’t to herself, they were to Sherry, the mayor. A strange quirk Sherry tried to find endearing. But Martha had made it very clear, by the way she’d commandeered Sherry’s schedule and made executive decisions about the appointments she ought to keep, that she didn’t consider Sherry mayoral material. Martha likely thought Sherry was too young and flighty. Caldera’s last mayor had retired from public service after twenty-five years sitting in this office. And in the past few, he’d allowed Martha free rein, something Sherry would have to deal with, but was reluctant to approach.

Sometimes, her EA creeped her out with her bifocaled, unblinking stare and constant use of the royal we. Sherry was the mayor, not the queen bee.

Although she had been a member of Caldera’s royal court for homecoming. Back in the day when she and Blake had been inseparable. High school football star, homecoming princess. They’d both been so beautiful. So freaking stupid. And there she was thinking about him again.

She flipped the blinds and stared across the street at the fire engine parked on the concrete drive, already looking cleaner than her kitchen counter—and they were giving it another bath? Why? Soon, they’d be retiring the truck because it was too old. She snorted. A fireman would have an obscene name for a ceremony that retired one loyal, trusty engine and introduced a prettier, sleeker new model.

Sherry drew in a deep breath. She wasn’t going there. Wasn’t going to imagine what a firefighter’s personal wet down ceremony might entail. Again, she gripped the cord, ready to flip back the blinds. As a force of habit, she kept them permanently turned to prevent even an accidental view of the station across the street. The open bays faced City Hall, and on any given day, she could look out and see the firefighters on shift in their torso-hugging t-shirts and dark pants, looking sexy as hell as they crawled all over their big engines…

Holy shit, her mind was wandering again. “Can’t someone on the city council take the ceremony?” she asked, not looking back.

One of the firemen was speaking to someone just out of sight.

She waited, her breath held as the other man moved into view. Blake. Her entire body sighed. Head-to-toe tingled. She might be mad as hell at him, but she still loved everything about the way he looked—close-cut dark brown hair, brown eyes a girl could sink into, shoulders so broad you just knew you were safe when he appeared—and right now, he was shirtless, holding his tee in a crumpled wad and wiping his damp chest. She swayed closer to the window.

Why was he such a sweaty mess? Was he hydrating? Good Lord, did the man never age? She worried about every pound that made its way to her ass, but he looked better than when they’d split. Did he spend all his time in the fire station gym because he was lonely? She stiffened. Maybe she should head to Curves instead of eating rocky road ice cream while watching reruns of Dr. Quinn and Sully making moony eyes at each other.

He rubbed his chest again, and then lifted the shirt to swipe the back of his neck, revealing his pale underarm. Oh, she’d loved that dark tuft of hair beneath his arm. She smiled as she thought about the time he’d awoken to discover she’d made a teeny-tiny braid with that silky hair. He’d chased her through the house, threatening to spank her for disrespecting his manhood, but when he’d caught her, he’d bent her over the kitchen table and given her a different kind of pounding instead.

“We’ll make sure Lois Freely from Texas Weekly is invited, too,” Martha said, her pencil scratching across the pad.

Her warm and fuzzy regrets dried up in an instant, and Sherry flipped the blinds, cutting off the delicious view. “You do that,” she said, unable to keep the bitterness from sneaking into her tone. “Can’t have her missing out on watching a fireman use his hose.”

She remembered what her granny had said about wishes and assholes. Ever’body has ‘em, shoog. At least, she could cut one asshole out of her life. The papers were in her top drawer. The sooner she had them served, the better.

Of course, she’d have to check her schedule first to see when she’d have time to call a process server. Hell, she should have done exactly what Blake’s brother had advised when he’d drawn up the divorce papers.

“Honey, let me handle this for you.”

She’d noted the sparkle in his eye and knew he didn’t believe she would ever go through with ending her marriage. Did he think she kept him on retainer just because she needed an expense to write off her taxes? Never mind the fact he only charged her twenty-five dollars a year.

Years ago, Blake had asked Ryan why he’d accepted her as a client, seeing as how Ryan was his brother. Ryan had smiled. “Bro, don’t you want someone in this family knowin’ what’s goin’ on in that pretty head of hers?”

Well, she would have the last laugh. Her puny retainer still ensured attorney-client privilege, and she’d specifically forbidden Ryan from warning Blake about what she was up to. If she worked up the nerve, maybe she’d deliver the papers herself and slap his naked, sweaty chest with that thick sheaf of legalese that would finally, and permanently, put an end to their seven-year marriage. Then she wouldn’t care how many wet down ceremonies he had. He could leave all the women of Caldera, Texas shiny and clean and wondering how the hell they’d ever find a lover like him again.