Cover & Excerpt Reveal
Travis Conners is a firefighter who barely made it through high school. Why would Anthony Pappas, an adorable second grade teacher, be interested in him? Travis is willing to find out, if Anthony will give him a chance.
Being descended from a goddess, Anthony Pappas possesses a unique gift—he can tell when people are lying. Sounds good, until your boyfriends all end up lying to you.
Anthony's tired of it. It's easier not to get involved than to have your heart broken time and time again.
When a little redheaded boy brings the men together, these two heroes will have to find the courage to take a leap of faith and follow their hearts...
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal RomancePurchase links: This book is no longer available.
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Amber Allure
Excerpt & More
Rusty and Travis ate lunch at a special set of tables for the dads and their kids. Almost every father and kid stopped by to touch Rusty and to tell Travis how moved they’d been by the presentation.
Travis hadn’t thought all of this through and hadn’t thought of the embarrassment he felt just because he’d done the right thing. He never did like a lot of attention, and he’d wanted this to be about Rusty and his dad, not Travis.
“Mr. Pappas!” Rusty waved to the teacher as he carried his tray toward the table. “Sit here!” He motioned to the empty seat across from him and Travis.
Travis squeezed his milk carton, nearly shooting it all over the place as Mr. Pappas turned and headed their way.
“Sure. Hello again. Travis, right?” He stuck out his hand after putting down his tray and climbing over the bench to sit.
Travis nodded and shook. Warm, firm, not too tight a grasp.
“Mr. Pappas.” Travis didn’t know what else to say.
“You said you’re a firefighter. That’s pretty interesting.”
Travis shrugged. “I suppose. Mostly I sit around waiting, wash the engines and roll up hoses.”
“Oh, so it’s very interesting!” Anthony Pappas laughed.
Was he flirting?
“Being a teacher must be very…” Travis searched for the right word. He didn’t want to sound dumb.
“Boring? Silly for a man?” Anthony sat back, glaring at him, as if he expected to be challenged on it.
“Rewarding. I was going to say rewarding. I figure teaching is like firefighting—you have to be called to it. Like a vocation?” He wasn’t sure that was the right word, but he took a chance.
Anthony’s face lit up. “Exactly! I wish you’d explain that to my father.” He chuckled. After he took a few bites of the mashed potatoes and baked chicken, chewed and swallowed, he said, “I’m sure your parents are happy you do what you do.”
“Yeah. Guess I was never going to be college material. Not like Rusty here.” Travis rubbed his nephew’s hair. “He’s the smartest one in the family, if you ask me.”
“Aw, Uncle Travis.” Rusty ran his fingers through his hair to straighten it, but the grin on his face told Travis the boy was pleased at the compliment. “Mom’s pretty smart, you know.”
“Yeah, she’s wicked smart, and don’t you forget it.” Travis winked at his nephew. “More than enough to keep you in line.”
Rusty rolled his eyes and sighed. “Eyes in the back of her head.”
Anthony laughed and said, “All moms have that, Rusty. I think they get the ability at the hospital before they bring the baby home.”
Travis laughed. This was nice. Anthony was easy to talk to and that surprised him. And he related well to Rusty. Probably did with all his students.
“Listen, can I speak with you after lunch?” Anthony asked, leaning forward and lowering his voice.
“Sure.” Travis nodded. What could Rusty’s teacher possible want with him? “Is this something my sister should know?”
Rusty glanced back and forth between Anthony and Travis. “Did I do something?”
“No, I just have a question for your uncle, that’s all. About…firefighting.” Anthony blushed a bit, his cheeks turning just a light shade of pink.
“Okay.” Rusty relaxed and they continued to eat. When he finished, he got up and gathered his tray. “I’m going outside with the other kids. Thanks, Uncle Travis, for coming and for bringing Dad’s stuff to show.” He smiled and headed to the trash barrel to dump his leftovers and hand in his tray.
“Well, looks like it’s my exit.” Travis rose, most of the food on his tray uneaten. Now he remembered how bad the lunches were in school. No improvement on that since he was a kid.
Anthony stood also. “Can we speak? In the hall?” He followed Travis to the line of kids and adults disposing of lunch. That done, they headed to the door.
In the hall, he stopped and leaned against a spot not covered in artwork or posters, waiting for Anthony to join him. When the teacher came out of the door, he was speaking to a woman, a very pretty woman, and even Travis could see this person had eyes for Anthony.
Deep inside him, for no reason Travis could name, jealousy rose up and stiffened Travis’s spine. He pushed off the door as his fists clenched.
Anthony smiled, nodded toward Travis and said something. The woman nodded, but she didn’t look happy. Travis just smiled at her as Anthony turned and walked toward him.
“You wanted to ask me something?” Travis said.
Anthony came up to him and leaned against the wall, almost in a mimicry of Travis’s pose.
“Yeah. Look, I just wanted to tell you about a drawing Rusty did last term. It was a fall scene, and he drew a cemetery. I sort of wondered about it, and now, thanks to you, I think I can safely say, Rusty isn’t a troubled kid.”
“You thought—” Travis frowned.
“I’ve only met his mom and never his father. I had no idea his dad had died.” Anthony shook his head. “This explains a lot. Tell your sister if she needs anything, let me know. I want to support her and Rusty any way I can.”
“Wow. Well.” Travis cleared his throat. “That’s really good of you. I’ll let her know. Rusty needs good male role models in his life. I’m glad you’re his teacher.”
“He’s got a pretty wonderful model right here.” Anthony gave him a warm smile.
“Naw. I’m just a firefighter.” Travis shrugged. Warmth filled his face, damn it, and he wanted to rub the blush off with his hands, but he kept them folded over his chest.
“You’re—amazing! And not just an ‘anything.’ A lot of guys would’ve stood up there and talked about themselves. You could’ve impressed the class with your fire outfit and hat.”
“It’s called a turn-out coat and helmet,” Travis corrected him.
Anthony took it well. “Right. I’ll make a note of the proper names for future reference.” He smiled up at Travis.
They stood there, leaning against the wall, less than two feet apart, staring into each other’s eyes. The urge to lean down and capture those full lips almost took control of Travis.
Anthony and Travis jumped apart at the school bell right above them.
“Dang!” Travis held his hands over his ears. “That’s louder than the alarm at the station!”
Anthony laughed. “You get used to it. After a while.” Travis glared at him. “Okay, not really. It still scares the heck out of me.”
They laughed. The hall filled with kids and adults moving to their classrooms.
“You have to get back to class, right?”
Anthony nodded, but he didn’t leave. “I was thinking…would you want to have coffee sometime?”
“What?” Travis’s voice squeaked like a mouse.
Anthony leaned in. “I’m not wrong, am I? About you wanting to have coffee with me?”
“No, you’re not wrong.” Travis dug in his breast pocket and pulled out a business card. “Here’s my cell number and the number at the station. Call me.”
Anthony took it, looked it over and glanced back up at Travis. “I will.”
Anthony turned, stepped into the flow of children, and it swept him down the hall. Travis walked off, against the wall, fighting the surge like a salmon swimming upstream, to the front office to check out.
All the way there and to the station, he couldn’t stop smiling
Purchase links: This book is no longer available.
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