Rising Heat by Elizabeth Hollows
General Release Date: 5th April 2022
Word Count: 68,506
Book Length: NOVEL
MEN IN UNIFORM
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Can a sweet and sexy fireman change a fling into a happily ever after?
Neil Farris is your typical ‘love ’em and leave ’em’ type. He’s been told his biggest fear is commitment, but he’s not bothered by that. He doesn’t see the point of a long-term relationship. He either gets bored or his partners realize he’s too bossy and scathing. It’s easier to stick to one-night stands.
When his boring work conference in Brisbane sends him to the wrong hotel, he finds himself surrounded by gorgeous firemen. Luckily for him, one of them is gay and interested in a good time.
Scott Fields is everything Neil looks for in a fling—gorgeous, good in bed and temporary. He’s also nice and considerate, which is a bonus. It’s a shame Neil only gets two nights with the fireman before he’s returning home.
However, much to his surprise, he runs into Scott a few days later. It turns out they’re both from the same town. When Scott asks him out, Neil is hesitant but agrees. He really isn’t interested in dating or relationships. Can the sweet and sexy fireman change his mind?
Neil Farris had never seen the point to relationships. They only seemed to breed drama and boredom. Why choose one person to sleep with when the options for many were only a bar trip away?
His co-worker Denise often joked that he could find a fling in a haystack. He took it as a point of pride. He didn’t need to settle down into monotony when he could be the envy of many with a few well-placed flirtations. Sex was what he was after, not some white picket fence.
Yet despite her remarks, Neil hadn’t expected to have much luck at his yearly manager’s meeting. Not only did he know better than to sleep with his colleagues if he wanted his flings to remain flings, but the last three years had been the same boring routine.
He managed a men’s clothing store that specialized in affordable formal and stylish casual wear. Hardgroves was a leader in the industry with twelve stores in Queensland alone, and they wanted to maintain their foothold in the market. He’d driven the four hours down to Brisbane with the plan to check into his hotel and catch up with the few other managers he liked.
Instead, he found a mistake in the booking culminating in his lost reservation. Thirty minutes of back and forth with the company and he had alternative accommodation in a different hotel twenty minutes across town.
When he finally arrived, tired and annoyed, the last thing he’d expected was a lobby full of eye candy. A dozen muscled men were carrying duffel bags and chatting in small groups. Some were tanned, and some had tattoos. There were a few women with them, but Neil only had eyes for the guys.
Let it be a convention for gay singles.
He didn’t know where to look, but Neil quickly found his attention grabbed by a man at reception. His upper body had an attractive V-shape, his arms were muscled without bulging and the view only got better farther down. Neil crossed the lobby to stand behind him. The man’s khaki pants hinted at a firm bottom and taut thighs. He was a head taller than Neil with short black hair that was spiking at the top. He was compact in a way that showed he was no stranger to working out.
Now that’s a man I’d happily show a good time.
Neil would have continued his admiration if the man hadn’t stepped backward and turned. He nearly collided with Neil but jerked away in time.
“Sorry,” he apologized. “I didn’t realize someone was there.”
The man’s eyes were as blue as the sky, and his smile was friendly. Neil swallowed down three pickup lines.
“Don’t worry about it.”
The man flashed another grin before taking a better grip on his bag. He walked over to a group congregating farther inside the hotel. They welcomed him with laughter, backslaps and familiarity. Neil forced his attention to the reception desk rather than the man’s biceps. The young woman behind the desk gave him a knowing smile.
“Annual fireman’s training,” she explained. Her eyes flicked toward the men before back to Neil, and she lowered her voice. “It gives us the best view in the city for the next week.”
“I suddenly don’t mind being in a different hotel from my colleagues.”
“Ooh, you get all the firemen to yourself. Well, half of them.” She winked. “I want my share, too.”
Neil laughed. He glanced at the men again, lingering on the one who’d almost bumped into him. He was just Neil’s type. Being a fireman only added to his appeal.
When Neil turned back to the receptionist, he matched her grin.
“How about you get the straight ones and I’ll get the gay ones?”
“Perfect!” They shared another smile before she cleared her throat. “Now, how can I help you?”
“I’ve got a reservation.”
She took a few minutes to sort everything out, but Neil soon picked up his small suitcase and headed to his room. The hotel wasn’t the height of luxury, but it was well-maintained. The two-story building had a bar off the lobby, along with a small restaurant. His room was on the ground floor and down a hall just past reception. It had all the standard amenities with a decent-sized bed. He placed his suitcase on the luggage rack and opened it. Originally, he’d planned to order room service and relax, but the firefighters changed things. Pulling out a nice dress shirt and jeans, Neil headed to the bathroom. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t a club. He needed to look his best if was going to catch anyone’s attention. A quick shower helped Neil feel refreshed, and he double-checked his reflection in the mirror. His sandy-blond hair looked naturally tousled and fell just below his ears. The shirt he wore was white with a subtle pattern of small palm trees. The leather bracelet around his left wrist partially obscured his tattoo of a sun. He grinned at the mirror, knowing he looked good.
Grabbing his wallet, room key and phone, Neil slipped them into the pocket of his jeans and stepped out of the room. The hall was empty, but when he reached the lobby, he noted that there weren’t as many firemen as there had been before. Neil was quick to spot the one from reception. He was at the bar, ordering drinks with four others. It only took one more once-over for Neil to make his choice. He crossed the room and took a place leaning against the bar two stools down from the group. His chosen firefighter glanced at him, his blue eyes locking onto Neil’s green. Neil smiled. He held the man’s gaze, feeling a thrill go through him. Neil knew the game well, and he was certain there was interest in the fireman’s eyes. Neil only looked away when the bartender approached.
Once his beer was poured, he glanced back at the man and subtly listened to the conversation. They were talking about the upcoming training course and their travels to get to Brisbane. Three of them were from the same town but the other two were from different parts of the state.
It sounded a lot like Neil’s own management meeting. He took a sip of his beer and glanced at the men again. His blue-eyed fireman was already looking at him. If they had been at a club, Neil would crook his finger and gesture the man over. Or maybe he’d turn on his stool, sprawling his back over the bar and making it easy for the fireman to step between his open legs. However, with the man surrounded by his friends and colleagues, Neil knew it would be better to wait. He settled for smiling again before taking his beer and heading into the attached restaurant.
Neil selected an empty table with a good view. The group from the bar plus nine more firefighters entered the restaurant for dinner. There were attractive men wherever Neil turned, but he found his gaze kept falling back to the same man. He was watching Neil, too. They exchanged glances throughout dinner, and that found anticipation and desire sparking through Neil. He felt confident enough to move back to the bar after his meal. He ordered another drink and waited. A few of the firemen left to return to their rooms, but the one Neil cared about was soon stopping at the bar stool beside Neil’s.
“Mind if I join you?” he asked
“Not at all.” Neil shifted to better face him and held out his hand. “I’m Neil.”
“Scott,” he replied.
Their palms lingered together for longer than necessary and a noticeable tension was thrumming through the air as their gazes stayed locked. It didn’t take a genius to realize the guy was interested in him, too.
Gay, hot and only meters from my hotel room. Could this be any more perfect?
When they dropped hands, Scott took a seat on the stool. He angled his body close enough that their shoulders brushed. Neil’s desire grew from that small touch.
“I didn’t think there would be anyone else here,” Scott said. “I thought we’d have booked out the hotel.”
“Seems I slipped through the cracks,” Neil replied. “Lucky me.”
When the bartender came over, Scott ordered a matching beer. Neil had another sip of his but kept his gaze on the fireman. Scott was lightly tanned and had a cluster of three small moles on the side of his neck. Neil wanted to mouth at them until the skin surrounding them was red and flushed. This was the type of fireman who’d be perfect for their famous, shirtless charity calendars—only Neil wanted him removed of all his clothes.
“So, what brings you to the hotel?” Scott asked, dragging Neil’s attention from Scott’s neck.
“Annual manager’s meeting,” he said. “There was a mistake with my booking, so I ended up here.” Neil openly ran his gaze over Scott. “Not that I’m complaining. In fact, I’m going to take advantage of my good fortune.”
Because if a one-night stand was practically falling in his lap, he wasn’t about to ignore it. Lately, it took more effort and drinks for Neil to get into someone’s pants. Right now, Neil felt he could score before they reached a second glass.
“Sounds like a good plan to me,” Scott said, his attention dropping to Neil’s mouth. “A lot of the guys are having an early night.” He caught Neil’s gaze again. “But I figure that I’m in a new city, and I should have some fun.”
There was a suggestive note to his voice that filled Neil with eagerness. He held out his glass for a toast.
“To a night of fun, then.”
Scott brought their glasses together with a soft clink. They never broke eye contact, and Neil already knew they would have sex by the end of the night.
In fact, if he played his cards right, Neil was certain it could happen within the hour.
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First For Romance
About the Author
Elizabeth Hollows is an Australian writer of LGBT love stories specializing in homosexual or lesbian romance.
Her preferred genres are fantasy, science fiction and contemporary/modern.
She has been writing since she was twelve, but has spent the last few years writing romance stories and discovering a passion for LGBT romance.
When Elizabeth is not writing she embroiders, reads and plots her next novel. She is a fan of the winter months and always has a book in her handbag and a cup of tea nearby.
You can find Elizabeth at her website here
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