Sometimes love speaks for itself…
After an accident in the line of duty, firefighter Roberto DeRosa’s life is turned upside down. His career fighting fires is over, and he’s left with an uncertain future and an injury that makes communicating difficult for him. The only time words flow easily is when they’re lyrics and he has a guitar in his hands. Talking to women is definitely out, especially if they have bright blue eyes that seem to see right into his soul.
Dani Hodge is on the brink of realizing her dream of opening a small combination wine and book store in San Diego’s funky Ocean Beach neighborhood. But before she can open the doors, there’s work to be done, more work than she can do herself.
When the tattooed guy who completely ignored her at a bar walks by and offers her a hand wrangling a tile saw, Dani can’t afford to say no—and why would she say no to Mr. Strong and Silent when his stare conveys more than words could?
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A familiar darkness descended as I realized what was happening. The painful thought I’d carried since the accident climbed out from the shadows in my mind, growing bold again, strutting and shouting at me, “You’re not good enough for her.”
I stood still for a moment, fighting a battle no one could see, one I would lose either way. And then I pulled the power saw out to the front of the shop, pulled my earplugs and safety glasses from the top of it and buried every thought and emotion in work.
Dani and I spoke very little that day. We didn’t break for lunch, and a palpable tension filled the small shop, replacing the easy camaraderie that had been there in the past. At one point, our hands brushed as she held up a bracket for me to fasten, and we both jumped at the contact. The atmosphere was flammable, explosive, ready for a spark to ignite a blast of emotion between us.
The work helped soothe my disappointment, calm my mind. But Dani’s constant presence at my side—and my understanding that I couldn’t touch her or talk to her as I wanted to—created a painful awareness within me. It was like being on a diet and being forced to wear a doughnut around your neck. A doughnut that hated you.
About Delancey Stewart
Delancey Stewart has lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns. She's been a pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer and a wine seller. Despite lots of other interests, she has always been a writer.
A military spouse and the mother of two small boys, her current job titles include pirate captain, monster hunter, Lego assembler, story reader, and tech writer. She tackles all these efforts from her current home outside Washington DC.
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