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Denver Heroes #3
Releasing August 18th, 2015
Sure to thrill readers of Nora Roberts and Karen Robards, the breathtaking Denver Heroes series from New York Times bestselling author Kathy Clark continues as two adrenaline junkies find themselves fighting unexpected passion—and unspeakable terror.
Ex-soldier Chris Wilson lost too many friends to war. Back home in Denver, he’s trying to make a difference as a paramedic, treating victims of crisis situations. Not even active combat could prepare Chris for the rush he gets when violence and tragedy collide, but the job isn’t the only thing making his heart race. His partner is his closest confidant from childhood, and the girl he remembers is now a strong, sensual woman . . . who needs him more than ever.
Sara Richards is more comfortable risking her life than asking for help. The petite blonde medic put a wall around her heart long ago, vowing to never let anyone hurt her again. Only now her long-buried secrets threaten to destroy everything she’s built. And though she should be able to trust Chris, his smoldering blue-gray eyes ignite desires that feel more dangerous than whatever’s lurking in the shadows. For once, Sara can’t go it alone. But Chris might just be stubborn enough to stand by her side as she faces down her worst nightmare.
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The gurney, loaded with the elderly and very overweight driver, was heavy and unwieldy. Even though Sara could have handled her share, the firefighter jumped in and did the heavy lifting with Chris. They dropped the wheels and rolled it through the emergency room doors. Orderlies met them inside and took over freeing up Chris to grab a wheelchair and return to the ambulance for the woman. She was supporting her wounded arm with her other hand and almost lost her balance as she tried to step down from the vehicle. Chris caught her and helped her onto the chair.
Next to him, the last ambulance arrived, and in a flurry of activity, they unloaded their patients and wheeled them inside the hospital. Chris got the woman to the registration desk, then helped unload the other patients.
Finally, when everyone was settled in the emergency room, Chris waited in the cab, filling out paperwork until Sara returned, pushing the now empty gurney up to the rear door. He hopped out and joined her at the back.
“How is he?” Chris moved to the other side of the stretcher and helped her lift it into their ambulance.
“We got him here alive, and now he’s in good hands. Apparently, he has a history of heart disease and hypertension. He was awake and talking when I left. I called his wife. She’s on her way.”
“Let’s get the bus ready for the next call,” Chris suggested. Their uniforms were still fresh and it didn’t take long to tidy up and restock the ambulance, since there hadn’t been any blood or other bodily fluids to remove and sanitize. They gave it a quick wipe-down, removed the discarded medication packets and other used items and restocked. Within just a few minutes, they were back on the road. They drove slowly, circling through downtown, heading back to their post.
Although the city ambulances worked out of Denver Health Medical Center, they didn’t wait there for calls. Instead, they would hang out at one of the three dozen or so posts that were all over the city. The spots had been chosen because they were in parking lots near restaurants or convenience stores that provided easy access to food and restrooms while keeping the medics spread out to quicken response times.
Chris pulled into a big, empty parking lot, backed into a space and turned off the engine. Their post was in City Park, across the street from the Denver Zoo and only a few blocks from several fast-food places. They rolled their windows down and settled back, waiting for their next call. The roar of a lion echoed eerily through the night, followed by the screech of a howler monkey.
Sara leaned her head back on the headrest and closed her eyes. “That’s why I like this post. I love to get to the zoo after closing time because the animals are more active at night.”
“Including the ones roaming loose on the streets.” Chris studied her silhouette, which was backlit by the streetlights. They had hung out together as children, but the difference in their ages had seemed huge when they were in high school. He hadn’t given her a second thought as he spent four years in college, then another four years in the Navy. He had hardly recognized her when they were introduced after orientation when he was assigned to her ambulance.
She looked nothing like the skinny little girl he had known, her knees always scraped, her cheeks freckled and sunburned and her feet bare. That was more than eight years ago. Since then she had grown up to be a very attractive young woman.
It was a startling thought. The past six months had been a blur of long hours on the ambulance, rotations in surgery, in OB, in pediatrics and in the emergency room. No sleep and much to learn had left him no time to breathe, much less miss sex.
He gave himself a mental shake. Now was definitely not the time to start thinking about sex. It had been a long dry spell since he’d been back . . . actually since he had left for Afghanistan. But the warning that stuck in his mind was “don’t dip your wick in the company ink.” Even when he was in the military, relations with fellow soldiers had never worked out well. Someone always cared more than the other person, and it wasn’t always the women. He’d seen plenty of men do stupid things when the woman transferred out or went back home to her real life.
Spending so much time together, basically trapped inside the ambulance, bred a closeness that could easily turn to passion. Familiarity might be mistaken for emotion. And there were plenty of stories in the department that proved that intimate relations rarely ended well.
Once he made it through probation, he could relax a little and find someplace else to tickle his wick. And Sara would remain his friend and co-worker.
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Kathy Clark is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have sold more than three million copies in eleven languages. Her plot lines have always championed women’s empowerment, placing strong female characters in real-life situations. Her stories will make you laugh and cry, and her characters will live in your heart forever. She lives with her husband and co-author, Bob Wernly.