Set the Night on Fire

Set the Night on Fire by Jennifer Bernard

Book: Set the Night on Fire by Jennifer Bernard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jennifer Bernard
bottle to her lips.
    “Actually, that’s not the only reason why. Also, Brad.”
    Sean nodded slowly. So that’s where this was headed. He put out his hand for the bottle and she handed it to him. He took a sip, wondering if he should push her to talk more about that night. He knew the rough outline of what had happened with Brad, but not the details. There was probably much more to her story.
    “Something like that can really mess with you. Have you ever talked to anyone about it?”
    “Sort of. I kind of said something to my aunt, Suzanne’s mom, but I didn’t use his name. I don’t know if you remember Aunt Desiree, but she’s a lot younger than my parents and worked as a model and seemed to know all about boys. She told me to keep quiet because people would blame me. She said girls always end up with their reputations ruined.”
    Sean vaguely remembered a bubbly Betty Boop lookalike—who apparently gave very bad advice.
    “What about a counselor, someone like that?”
    “No.” She snorted. “You know what Jupiter Point is like. It’s so small, and there are only two therapists in town. Everyone would find out, and my parents would want to know what was wrong with me. I wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret.”
    He handed the bottle back to her. “There’s nothing wrong with counseling.”
    She took another swallow then wiped a droplet of wine off her bottom lip. He tracked the motion of her little pink tongue. “You’re a big tough fireman. Aren’t you supposed to laugh at the whole concept of needing help?”
    He shook his head at her and reclaimed the bottle. Instead of drinking from it, he stashed it behind him. “That’s a load of bull. Want to know why I got drunk in Vegas and nearly messed up my life and Mandy’s?”
    She raised her eyebrows. “Why?”
    “Because it was the anniversary of my parents’ death. I didn’t know how else to deal with it, so I got drunk. After the divorce, I saw a counselor. I’m not embarrassed by that. In the fire service, we see a lot of bad shit. Sometimes you have to talk about it or it’ll take you down. That doesn’t make me less of a man, believe me. If you want proof, I’m happy to provide it.”
    She licked her lower lip, chasing a runaway drop of wine.
    Okay, that was the last straw. He had to touch her. He reached out and stroked a finger down her smooth cheek. “And I’m pretty sure you’ll still be a sexy, desirable, incredibly gorgeous woman even if you talk to a counselor.”
    She tilted her face into his palm. “I could do that, I suppose. Or…”
    “Or?”
    “We could do something else.” She peered at him from under her eyelashes.
    Man, she was buzzed.
    His lips twitched, but he held back his laughter. “You’re a lightweight, aren’t you? A few sips of wine and you’re gone.”
    “They were really, really long sips,” she pointed out.
    “That is true.”
    “And I’m not really drunk. For instance, I’m not drunk enough to give you a lap dance and then marry you.”
    He ran his thumb across the exquisite arch of her cheekbone. “I get it. I spill my guts and you use my sordid past against me.”
    Her eyelids lowered and she practically purred as he caressed her skin. “It’s all part of my master plan.”
    “You have a master plan?”
    “I do.” Her eyes opened fully, and he lost himself for a moment in their shimmering, silvery-green depths. She was reeling him in, moment by moment. He couldn’t resist her, and wasn’t sure he should try. “My plan is that I’m going to speak up more. How am I ever supposed to get what I want if I never even say it out loud? Brad thinks I’m going to just follow some script written by his press agent. But I’m not going to do that.”
    “Good. I support that decision.”
    “No, no, that’s not the important part. The important part is me.” She took a step away from him and put a hand over her heart, then trailed it down her body. “This. My sexuality.”
    His heart

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