Dallas Fire & Rescue: Red Hot Reunion (Kindle Worlds Novella)
Hope Mathison’s ten-year high school reunion is approaching, and she’s dying to show everyone she’s no longer the poor, overweight girl from the trailer park. She’s not only lost the weight that made her so self-conscious for years but even started her own successful business as a software developer.
Hope’s plan to show her former bullies that she’s overcome the adversity of her home life and the hell they caused her for four long years has one little snag: she’s still single. Her best friend, Marion, has a solution though. Hope will attend a hot-fireman auction and buy herself a date for the reunion. But Hope never expected the hottest fireman at the auction to be Flynn Eaves, a former high school classmate.
Surprisingly, Flynn not only agrees to pretend to be her boyfriend for the reunion, but asks for a favor in return—that she pretend to be his girlfriend for his cousin’s wedding. As they create a fake relationship to fool old classmates and family members, they discover a real attraction brewing, one he wants to pursue, but the insecurities of Hope’s past might just cost her the one thing she’s always wanted most: to be loved for who she is, even if, at heart, she’ll always be that overweight girl from the trailer park.
But can she trust Flynn when their relationship was built on a lie? Or will the insecurities of her past tear them apart?
Best Book Bit 1:
Hope let her mind drift back to high school and inwardly cringed as she remembered the chubby girl she used to be: sixty pounds overweight with hand me down clothes that never seemed to fit quite right and an aching sadness that never seemed to go away.
She had been a frequent target for the popular girls. They had ridiculed her weight, her second-hand clothes, and the fact that she lived in the Elwell trailer park.
There had been many days when she had gotten home from school and went into her bedroom to cry. She hated them, hated school, but she hated living in the old, rundown single wide the most. Taking charity and never feeling like she was enough.
She knew her mother had done her best, pulling double shifts at the diner, but she had barely earned enough money to scrape by each month.
Hope had offered to get a job to help out, but her mother firmly declined. She had insisted that Hope stay focused on school and study hard so she could get a scholarship. It was the only way she could go to college.
When Hope graduated, she had a full ride to Texas A&M. She chose to major in computer science and had taken extra software engineering classes. Now, ten years later, she was successful and had been able to move her mother into a small apartment close to hers.
She was proud of her accomplishments, but still harbored strong feelings of resentment for the girls who had made her high school years a living hell. Especially the ring leader, Brittany Derwin, who had repeatedly called her fat trailer park trash.
Hope gritted her teeth and added an extra mile to her daily run.
Best Book Bit 2:
They walked side by side down the sidewalk, chatting easily and glancing into store windows. Hope stopped to admire a necklace and heard someone calling her name. She looked back to see Delia hurrying towards them and swore softly.
“I thought it was you! Hi, Flynn. Are you two having a date night?”
“We are,” Flynn confirmed, draping an arm around Hope’s shoulders and giving her a reassuring squeeze.
“Excellent! Matt and I are going to do a bit of last minute shopping before our honeymoon cruise. We leave Wednesday. He’ll be here in a minute; he’s parking the car,” Delia chattered on. “Why don’t you join us? We can grab a bite to eat after.”
Hope forced herself to smile. “We just ate,” she declined, “and were about to head back home. I have an early-morning business meeting.”
“Some other time, then.”
“Some other time,” Hope echoed.
Delia burst into laughter as her husband walked up. “Hope Mathison, you’re a liar. There is no meeting, is there? But it’s okay. I get it. You still don’t like me. One day we’ll be friends.”
Hope waited patiently while Flynn and Matt chatted for a few minutes. Her breath exploded into a whoosh of relief when they were finally able to walk away.
Flynn firmly kept his arm around her shoulders as they made it to her car. “A date isn’t a bad idea,” he said quietly. “A real date, Hope.”
Hope froze. “Why?” she whispered.
Flynn cupped her face, his thumbs grazing her cheekbones, and slowly lowered his lips to hers.
His kiss brought her senses to life. Heat spread through her, and her eyes closed as she let him deepen the kiss. Her fingers closed around his wrists as pleasure bloomed. When he raised his mouth from hers, she was filled with an aching need for more.
They were both breathless as Flynn stepped back. “That’s why,” he told her, his voice low and edged with passion. “We’re attracted to each other. Why can’t we explore that? Just think about it, and I’ll call you tomorrow.”
The only negative comment I have about this story is I wish it was longer ! This was my first read by Beth but I can tell you it will not be the last! 5 out of 5 star review!
I thought this book was so funny and relatable. I did not attend my high school reunion because there wasn't anyone who I wanted to see after making high school unbearable for me. I do understand Hope's need to go and say "Hey, you didn't hold me back from life." I wish we would have gotten to read a little more about the development of Flynn and Hope's relationship.
I love Beth Hale's books. They are so easy to read. I would recommend this to other readers and can't wait to read another by her.