0986388661 (R)

Free 0986388661 (R) by Melissa Collins

Book: 0986388661 (R) by Melissa Collins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melissa Collins
Tags: Romance, new adult
admit, “She was a month-long string of one-night stands. It was a month held together by nothing else, though.”
    “Much better,” he says as he laughs. For a few more minutes, neither of us says anything else. Then, spinning in his stool, Ian looks at me as if an actual lightbulb is going on over his head. “It’s the redhead, isn’t it?”
    Knowing Ian would make a bigger deal out of her than she was, I said nothing about Grace to him since she came to see me at the station. Where Ian is concerned, sometimes less is better.
    But there is no denying it. It most definitely is her. From the moment I saw her at the bar, I needed to know if it was her or not. I’d thought about her over the years here and there. Probably more than was healthy at times. Especially when I was younger, I thought about her a lot. Where was she? How had she adjusted to moving? Did she like her new school? Then as I grew older, I wondered if she had a boyfriend? If her hair was still as red as it had been when she was a kid? Was she as beautiful in real life as she was in my dreams?
    Of course there were times—spans of years even—when she never crossed my mind. College, mostly. But hell, most of it was a blur, anyway. It wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but my parents made me go, saying that I’d need something to fall back on if the fire department didn’t work out. In my own head, I knew it would have to work out. Being a firefighter was the only thing I’d ever wanted to do with my life. So the thought of it not working out was unfathomable.
    It wasn’t lost on me that in those most significant moments—my first day of the academy and my graduation from it, my first day on the job, and my first fire—those were the times I thought of little Gracie McCann the most. It was because of her that my adult life took shape and I wanted nothing more than to thank the little girl I’d saved so long ago for giving my life a purpose.
    Then, with every fire I fought, with every person I saved, I thought of Gracie. Mostly, I lied to myself saying I just needed to know she was doing well. But the more I thought about it, the more I needed to know what kind of woman she’d grown into.
    And now that I knew she turned out damn fine, I couldn’t get her out of my head.
    “Hey, listen.” Ian cuts through the silence. “I can see I’m pulling teeth here.” Dropping some cash on the bar, Ian stands from his seat. “See you at work.”
    “You’re right,” I admit when his back is half-turned away from me. “It is Grace.”
    “Oh, I’m sorry. Were you talking to me?” He laughs, joking with me and my absentmindedness.
    Dropping back into his seat, Ian folds his arms atop the bar. “I’m listening.”
    As I explain who Grace is and the significance she’s had on my life, Ian listens, almost shocked by the very unlikely story. He nods occasionally, but when all is said and done, the only words he offers, are “So then what are you doing here with me?”
    Grumbling my response, I say, “She’s on a date.” After ordering another round of drinks, I explain, “She said it was because she had to be there for her friend. And I did show up completely unannounced. It’s not like I can expect her to put her life on hold simply because I want to get to know her.”
    “Are you fucking serious?” Ian mumbles around the lip of his mug.
    “What?”
    “Look, I’m not going to get all poetic on you or any kind of shit like that.” Swigging down half of his beer, he swipes the back of his hand across his mouth. “But you pretty much won the lottery on that fairy-tale line of bullshit the chicks love. Boy rescues girl from burning house. Girl moves away and doesn’t see boy for eighteen years. I guarantee it, if you want to get to know her, she’ll let you. All you have to do is ask.”
    Maybe he is right. Maybe it is that simple.
    “I guess I’ll have to wait and see. Not much I can do about it tonight.”
    “Yeah there is,” he says,

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