Braving the Heat

By: Regan Black

One man wants her dead.

Another will do anything to protect her.

Firefighter Kenzie Hughes never thought saving lives would make her a target. When someone rigs her car and sexy Stephen Galway offers to be her bodyguard, the flames of danger burn red-hot. Stephen lost his fiancée to violence years ago, but he can’t resist Kenzie. Can he keep Kenzie safe and out of his arms when they’re forced to confront what they fear most?


She glanced over her shoulder to find Stephen watching her from the corner of the building. Was a man supposed to look that sexy with a scowl on his face?

“More trouble?” she asked, coming back to the bottom step. Why couldn’t Murtagh be satisfied wrecking her career with the lawsuit?

“No.” Stephen crossed to her with a few ground-eating strides and the light from the camper window washed over his face, revealing the depth of concern in his gaze. “You’re safe here with me behind this fence. I promise.”

He looked so earnest, so determined to tolerate her invasion of his space until everything in her world was back to normal. “I appreciate that.”

Leaning forward, she brushed her lips to his cheek. A light, friendly, platonic gesture was all she intended. Instead, he caught her as if he thought she’d lost her balance, his hands hot on her waist. Then his lips touched hers. Bracing her hands on his strong shoulders, she wanted to sink a little deeper, explore his taste as his masculine scent and the summer night enveloped her.

* * *

Be sure to check out the next books in this miniseries:

Escape Club Heroes—Off-duty justice, full-time love

* * *

Dear Reader,

Welcome back to Philadelphia, PA, and the Escape Club! This riverside hot spot is the place to find both great music and a safe haven if you have a problem that doesn’t fit within the framework of typical law enforcement.

Stephen Galway first appeared in Safe in His Sight, my debut book for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and though I’ve written several novels in between, I’ve never been able to put this brooding man out of my mind. I’ve wanted him to have a happy-ever-after since the first moment he showed up on the page, grumbling at his brother.

Kenzie Hughes, a PFD firefighter, is in trouble and her options are dwindling when help comes from an unlikely source: Stephen. For some reason he sees right through her independent nature, which is currently propped up by little more than bravado and a big smile. Time after time he listens and then quietly steps up and does what’s needed and all without trampling her pride.

Life has dealt Kenzie and Stephen some serious challenges and alone they found unique ways to cope and compensate. But now that they’ve met, it’s time to make some hard choices about who they are, what they really need and how those revealing answers will shape their future.

Live the adventure,

Regan Black

Chapter 1

Standing at a prep counter in the Escape Club kitchen, Kenzie Hughes stuffed the last bite of her sandwich into her mouth and added her plate to the rack loaded for the dishwasher. She thanked the cook and slipped the strap of her backpack over one shoulder. Pausing at the doorway to the main floor, she scanned the empty stage, looking for Grant Sullivan, owner of the establishment.

The extra personnel Grant had brought on for the summer concert series were resetting for the evening show. Leaving them to cover her workload through the afternoon changeover didn’t sit well with Kenzie, but her landlord had called. She had only a few more hours to clear out whatever she didn’t want exposed to termite fumigation and the dust and debris from the repair process.

If she hustled she could get to her apartment and back again before the doors opened for the evening session. That would please her as much as it would please Grant. It wasn’t as if she had anything better to do with her time, other than finding an affordable place to crash for a couple weeks.

Though her pay from the Philadelphia Fire Department had continued during her current administrative leave, storage units and short-term room rentals added up fast. She’d asked both her union     representative and her lawyer if she could visit her mom in Delaware while her apartment was out of commission, and been told she had to stay in Philly. Both the union     rep and her lawyer implied that her leaving town could be perceived as an admission of guilt.

“Can’t have that,” she muttered to herself.

If there was anything Kenzie dreaded more than the potential outcome of her current legal trouble, it was having nothing productive to do while she waited out the process.

She had, in fact, been cleared of any wrongdoing during a PFD investigation that followed a complaint from a man she’d rescued from a fire. He’d claimed her incompetence had resulted in minor injuries that could have been avoided. Just when she thought she’d be back on the job, the victim had filed a civil suit against her personally. She knew she wasn’t guilty of any error in the process of saving his life. The victim disagreed. Loudly, publicly and constantly.