Their Own Terms by Chelle de Notte

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SKU 978-0-3695-0748-8

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Hearts on Fire, 5

Things got a bit spicy before they settled down together...

For Tony Escrand, one of the benefits of the FDNY is the number of women who want to be with a firefighter. However, all that goes out the window when he sees Carmen Mitucci again. She’s more beautiful than ever, and he’s learned how to please a woman since he saw her last.

A lifetime after the middle school dance that ended in humiliation for both of them, Carmen is stunned at Tony’s growth from an awkward kid to a confident, well-built man. She didn’t know a lot about boys then, but she knows what she wants now.

As Tony and Carmen put old misunderstandings aside, a new chemistry forms between them. But when events take an unexpected turn, can they trust each other again?


A taxi pulled up to Tony’s summons, and he leaned over to talk to the driver. “Can you take her to… Where do you live, anyway?”

“Kips Bay.”

He reached for his wallet, but she put a hand on his arm to stop him. “I got this, but thank you. Thank you for everything.”

He shrugged with a smile. “It’s all part of the job.”

“Still, you didn’t have to do all that, and—”

“You coming or what?” the cabbie asked impatiently.

“I am. Thanks again.” She lightly squeezed Tony’s arm in a gesture of gratitude and got in the car.

Carmen reflected on her evening on the way home. She still felt like an idiot for losing it in the middle of the show, but it could have gone so much worse if Tony hadn’t been there.

Tony. She couldn’t believe how strong, capable, and caring he’d gotten in the lifetime since she’d seen him last. Before, a person could’ve spontaneously combusted in the middle of the school cafeteria, and he would’ve been too busy joking around with his friends to notice.

He’d also gotten so inconveniently hot since then. The absence of all the heavy gear had given her a better look at him, and touching his arm had been like touching a rock. Sitting that close to him had allowed her to pick up the scent of a fresh body wash or aftershave. And after having his hand in hers, it was hard not to think about what it would be like to have him touching her everywhere.