Home > Never Dare a Dragon (Boston Dragons #3)

Never Dare a Dragon (Boston Dragons #3)
Author: Ashlyn Chase

Chapter 1

   “Pride of Midtown. Never missed a performance?”

   Someone with a deep, sexy voice was reading the FDNY patch on Kristine Scott’s dress uniform. She swiveled enough to see a dark-haired, devastatingly handsome Boston firefighter—a lieutenant, from the insignia on his uniform. He was admiring not only the patch but also her. She was tall, five-foot-ten, but he was taller.

   The after-funeral crowd noise obliterated anything but close conversation in the firehouse, and yet she didn’t mind his proximity. Not one bit.

   “Yeah. I guess you wouldn’t know what our motto means, being from Boston and all.” She picked up a canapé from a long folding table.

   He smiled—and, oh God, he had dimples.

   “Enlighten me,” he said.

   She chewed and swallowed the little cracker before launching into her explanation. “We’re located in Manhattan, close to Broadway but in an affordable neighborhood, so a lot of actors live in the area.”

   “Affordable? In Manhattan? Even a mere Bostonian like me knows that’s like finding a unicorn in Central Park.”

   She chuckled. Damn. So sexy, except for that hideous Boston accent. “I work in the second-oldest fire station in the country. The area is known as Hell’s Kitchen. Maybe you’ve heard of it?”

   “Shit. Only as a horrible place where hundreds of thousands of immigrants died of nasty diseases.”

   “Yeah, that was a long time ago. We’re becoming gentrified and fairly disease-free these days.”

   He looked her up and down. “Now there’s a relief.”

   “And what is that supposed to mean, Boston?”

   “Oh, nothing.” He heaved a deep sigh. “You live in Manhattan, and I live in Charlestown—the part of Boston where Old Ironsides is docked. You don’t care about that. The point is…it would never work.” His sad smile spoke of resignation.

   “Oh? Were you thinking of asking me out?”

   That devastating grin of his returned. “Is there any chance you’d consider moving to Boston?”

   “Ha! Nope,” she said, trying to sound casual. Not that she’d date a firefighter anywhere.

   “Then we have an insurmountable problem. I can’t leave Boston because of family obligations. And you can’t—or won’t—leave New York. I guess we might as well break up now.”

   She hoped her disappointment didn’t show, but she had a sinking feeling she didn’t hide it well enough.

   As if he’d just come up with a solution, he snapped his fingers. “I know. Since we can’t date anyway, why don’t we tell each other all of our annoying habits right off the bat? That way we won’t worry about what might have been.”

   She couldn’t help letting out a loud laugh. Probably inappropriate after a funeral, and several nearby firefighters turned toward them. Oops. “Sorry,” she mumbled.

   “I’ll start,” her potential ex said. “I forget to floss about ninety percent of the time.”

   Playing along, she crossed her arms. “Ugh. That’s disgusting. Don’t you know that’s the only way to brush between your teeth?”

   He simply showed off his pearly whites and said, “Your turn.”

   “Okay… I wear granny panties.”

   “No way!” He cringed and recoiled. “Haven’t you ever heard of that not-so-secret store? If we were dating, which we’re not, I’d get you a gift certificate.”

   “Ah. There’s another thing that would annoy me. I want to be accepted exactly the way I am.”

   He let out a snort. “You’re not wrong, but a little sexy something for your man to uncover goes a long way.”

   “Hey. I’m a firefighter. You don’t want to floss your teeth? I don’t want to floss my butt—I’ll leave that to the girls who slide down a different kind of pole.”

   He laughed “I guess it might be inconvenient on the job.”

   She shrugged one shoulder. “You think? Well… It’s your turn again.”

   “Okay. When I’m home, I can be a slob. I leave my clothes in a disorganized pile,” he said.

   “That’s ridiculous! You must have to keep your area at the fire station neat. Why not at home?”

   He smirked. “Because I can. Your turn.”

   One of the nearby firefighters interrupted before she had a chance to respond.

   “Hey, Jayce. If you’re flirting, that’s the worst I’ve ever seen.”

   He laughed and slung his arm around the other firefighter’s shoulder. “This is my brother Gabe, who should be minding his own business.”

   “I was about to say the same thing as Gabe,” another firefighter chimed in.

   “And that’s my brother Noah. Same goes for you, buddy.”

   The family resemblance was hard to miss. Tall, dark, and good-looking, every one of them. But there was something special about the one they called “Jayce.” His brown eyes were darker—almost black, and full of mischief—and he had killer dimples. Suddenly she realized she and he hadn’t even introduced themselves.

   “So, is Jayce short for Jason?”

   “Nope. My given name is J-a-y-c-e. And who have I had the pleasure of breaking up with?”

   “My name is Kristine. Kristine Scott. They call me Scotty.”

   “Hey, Fierro!” a firefighter called to the group.

   “Yeah?” the three men answered at once.

   “Your dad and the chief are looking for you.”

   “Wait,” Kristine said. “The firefighter we memorialized today was named Fierro. Are you related?”

   “Yeah. He was my younger brother,” Jayce said. “A probie.”

   “Holy fuck,” she muttered. “I’ve been joking and laughing with the deceased’s brother?”

   “Guess so,” Jayce answered matter-of-factly.

   “How can you be so callous?” The words were out before she could think about them. Oh well. Since we’re being totally honest… “It’s a good thing we’re breaking up before we even get started. That kind of insensitivity just blows.” She found a hole in the crowd and stomped off before he could object.

   He called after her. “Hey, pride of Midtown.”

   She stopped and turned around.

   He sidled up next to her. “Do you know which is the oldest fire station in the country?”

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