Masen Crisfield fell in love with Booth Jones when she was sixteen years old. Booth was the love of her life. The rock she needed to get her through the day. Then she rips his heart out while he’s deployed, leaving him wondering just what he’d done to warrant something so severe as a breakup that neither of them wanted.
Stubbornness is their middle name, and ten long years pass before either one of them try to breach the gap.
Circumstances force Booth to come home, and within an hour of him being back in his home town, there she is. Right back in the forefront of his mind where he knows she shouldn’t be.
The day he starts his first civilian job at Kilgore Fire Department, his worst fear of seeing Masen is realized. And not only does he see her, but he sees her with another man. A fellow firefighter that he has to trust with his life.
It soon becomes apparent that they are both still just as much in love with each other now as they were the moment they met. But there’s a problem. Booth’s married, and Masen’s in a committed relationship.
They fight the pull with everything they have, but they’re both about to learn the true meaning of flash point as their lives crash together. Their love consuming everything in it’s path.
I stared in horror at the rain that started to drip slowly from the sky.
I looked at the Jeep, then contemplated just trying to make it home.
But then the sky opened up once again, leaving me no choice but to throw the groceries into the backseat and start putting the soft top on once again.
Like déjà vu, though, Booth showed at the perfect time and started to help me, not saying a word to me as he did.
And this time, he didn’t even smile at me.
He just finished what he was doing, and started to turn to leave.
And I just…snapped.
“I don’t really know how many times I’m going to have to tell you I’m sorry before you believe it!” I screamed. “My sister was bleeding out of her freakin’ eyes! I was scared and missing you. And I reacted badly to you calling to tell me you couldn’t make it home. So kill me. I’m a girl. Girl’s overreact.”
I was crying by the time I’d finished that statement.
The earth shifted, thunder boomed, but Booth was silent.
I looked up at the man that’d just officially broken my heart, ripped it out and tore it to pieces right in front of me.
He wasn’t crying like me but he also wasn’t happy, either.
He was looking at me like he’d never seen me before.
“And you never tried. You threw us away,” I finished on a harsh whisper.
And some sort of dam broke, and I had Booth back.
Maybe not forever.
Probably only until I stopped sobbing.
But he was mine.
For a few short minutes, at least.
Hard arms wrapped around me and I struggled to get away, but Booth wouldn’t let me go.
He held on tighter, making a cage out of his arms, preventing me from leaving. Or falling.
“Shhh,” he said softly into my hair. “Shhh.”
I didn’t ‘shh.”
In fact, I was pretty loud if the looks I was getting from passerby’s was any indication.
I don’t know how long we stood there. Minutes. Seconds.
But he never let me go.
Not for long, long moments.
He got me into my Jeep, the passenger side, and walked around to the front.
Then he was in and driving away from the grocery store parking lot without another word while I sat in the seat beside him, soaked and crying.
He took me to his parents’ house again, coming around the car and helping me out.
I trudged after him to the front porch and opened it without using a key.
He gestured me inside as he stripped off his shirt and tossed it on the ground next to our feet.
Then he turned to me.
“I was a dick,” he said. “You called me right before a mission so I had to go,” he answered. “Then I nearly died, and I thought maybe it would be better not to come back. Maybe I’d die over there, and I wouldn’t have to leave you behind.”
I sobbed harder.
His arms went back around me.
The cries tore out of my body so hard that my entire frame shook with the force.
Booth absorbed them into himself, burying his face into the back of my neck and holding on for dear life as the last eight years of torment poured out of my body in a huge, sickening torrent.
“I nearly died eight more times that deployment,” he said softly. “Five of which I actually took a bullet to the body at some point.
“You stole that away from me,” I whispered.
“I didn’t want you to have it,” he said just as softly.
I opened my eyes and looked down at the muscled forearm that was strapped around my upper torso.
There were no tattoos on this part of his body.
I leaned forward and rested my face against his wrist, feeling the pound of his heart that matched the racing of mine.
“You tore me apart,” I whispered to him.
“I didn’t break you. Don’t you know I was saving you?” he countered, his voice a low rasp that played along my skin like a feather.
“No,” I denied.
“Yes,” he said. “If you’d have been with me, you’d have spent all of your time worrying, wondering if this deployment would’ve been the one that took me away for real.
“Honey, I didn’t live a good life. I risked it, time after time, to get many brothers out of the fire. Off the brink of death,” he said.
I shook my head in denial.
“Booth,” I said, turning around to stare up at his eyes. Those captivating orbs that had the power to grip me by the heart and hold on for dear life. “You’ve had me since you left. I’ve never not been with you. I’ve always been yours. Through these last eight years. Through thick and thin. Through you getting married. I was never not yours.”