Today’s snippet theme is Author’s Choice. Below is a scene from a book I co-authored Aliyah Burke. Enjoy.
A snippet from Wicked Burn…
His words pulled her from her thoughts.
“I’ve had such mixed feelings. I was grateful to you for saving Shelby, yet I blamed you, all of you, who were at the fire for not saving my sister and her husband.”
Yasmine stopped, disentangling her hand from his. Rufus whined, but sat, waiting for her to move. She gave her attention to Sedeo. He put Shelby down and held her hand. He met her gaze steadily.
“Why are you telling me this now, so suddenly?”
His statement had come out of the blue. They had been having such a good night.
“I had to.”
“Because I’m so angry with you, but I can’t stay away!” he cried.
She stared at him. She could understand both things. The same need is what drove her to use the picture as an excuse to see him. As a firefighter, she had faced the anger before from the survivors. They needed someone to blame, and it was easy to make the firefighters a scapegoat. Although she understood, it still hurt that he blamed her.
This is what you get for letting yourself get involved with a fire survivor. He might not have been in the actual fire, but he was still a survivor. He had to live with the aftermath. The blame, anger, and results. Yasmine crossed her arms under her breasts.
“I had to tell you. I’ve been doing research on the internet. On firefighters. Trying to understand what you do. Why do you do it? What’s the draw?”
“It’s my job. I love it. I’m not about to defend or explain it to you. ‘Nuff said.”
She wondered if this was some sort of survivor syndrome. Yasmine knew when people were put in such tragic circumstances they could develop an unhealthy attachment to those they perceived had helped them. She couldn’t believe she had missed it with Sedeo.
“This is not some survivor syndrome,” he said, as if reading her mind.
She glanced at him, startled. His look was steady.
“I looked into that, too. My feelings were so strong when I meet you, despite the circumstances. When I saw you again, it was out of control. I’ve never felt that way–this instantaneous attraction, a connection that seems like I’ve known you for so long, instead of the brief time I have.” He stopped, closed his eyes briefly, then opened them again.
She gasped at the intensity of his gaze.
He continued. “I wanted to be sure of what I was feeling. I read everything I could find. Talked with a therapist about it, even. Ultimately, I figured out it wasn’t a false connection, but real. If this was untrue, I would have come to you weeks ago. I wouldn’t have fought coming to you for so long, even after I knew I wanted to know more about you…be with you…see where this could go. I didn’t come.”
His frustration was clear.
“Why did you come tonight?” she asked.
“I couldn’t stay away anymore,” he said softly.
Yasmine observed the need battling with his guilt, a guilt she was sure stemmed from him being alive while his family was gone. Sedeo reached out and cupped her cheek.
“I want to be here. Here with you. I’m afraid of you being a firefighter, but I can’t let that stop me. I need to be here. Let’s see how this goes.”
She couldn’t fault him for his truthfulness. If he had said he had come to terms with her profession, she would have walked away. With what he said, she couldn’t.
Be real. You wanted him from the very beginning. At least now, you know what you’re up against. And he wants you as much as you want him.
Yasmine turned her head and kissed his palm.
Copyright © McKenna Jeffries and Aliyah Burke, 2009.
All Rights Reserved.
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