Hi! My name is AJ Jarrett and Victoria was ever so kind to let me come and visit today. I just had a book released on the April 21 titled Set Me On Fire. It’s a love story between two male firefighters and the obstacles they must overcome to find that happy ever after. It was a lot of fun to write and the inspiration was plentiful.
Beyond finding every single firefighter I see attractive, because I’m not going to lie I do, I have tremendous amount of respect for that profession. The courage they possess to do what they do every day is amazing to me. To run into a burning building while everyone else is running out is a type of courage not all of us have. I was taught as a small child to stay away from fire and that is a warning I still heed today.
Here’s one of many factors that helped spark my inspiration to write this story. Three weeks before this past Christmas my neighbor two houses down from me house caught on fire. I will not lie and say I was the first to notice because I wasn’t. I was actually down in the lower living room of my house writing. It was my youngest son who informed me what was taking place outside.
In all my thirty-three years I had never seen a fire that close up before. The house went up like a hale bale during a dry summer and the blackest smoke filled the sky. It took three fire engines filled with men and women to put out the blaze. Only one person was home at the time and he got out with only minor injuries. All in all the story did have a happy ending. Yes the home had to be torn down to the frame and built back up but they were all safe. I can’t image losing all my possessions but as long as my family was okay I could rebuild from the ground up a thousand times over.
So back to my book. After seeing all this transpire it sparked my imagination to life. I paired to unlikely men together. Kelly Lynch sweet young guy with a bad case of klutziness and Nate Anderson the season veteran who only wants to keep the man he loves safe. I believe all good love stories have a healthy dose of drama within the pages along with some humor. Because what’s being in love if you can’t laugh along the way.
Kelly Lynch wanted to become a firefighter to help people, but with his accident prone nature his boss, Nate Anderson, thinks he’s an utter fool. Kelly never planned to fall for Nate but now that he has, he realizes loving is easy; understanding and compromise are hard.
Nate has been attracted to Kelly since his first day at the station house. Watching the younger man day in and day out is frustrating. Kelly’s latest stunt almost got him killed and Nate fears losing the man of his dreams.
Will Nate’s demanding ways cause the embers of their love to die out? Or will Kelly prove he has what it takes to be with Nate, at work and in the bedroom?
Kelly scooted a little more, using touch more than sight to navigate his way through the smoky haze and chunks of debris. He had separated from the team of men he’d come into the burning building with. A choice he now regretted immensely.
He had made a stupid move, but he could have sworn he’d heard someone cry out for help. A completely bonehead move to run off without telling anyone. One of the first things they taught you when you became a firefighter, never leave your team, or at least partner with someone else, but never go off on your own.
But no, he thought he knew better and wanted to be the hero and save the poor individual stuck in this fire pit. Now he was starting to wonder if he’d just imagined he heard the cry for help.
“I’m so fucked.” Kelly rested his helmet-covered head on the ground and then proceeded to bang his head on the hard floor. It was useless, he was trapped.
Kelly sat up at the sound of someone yelling his name. What direction had the voice come from? He couldn’t tell. The sound was so faint compared to all the hissing and crackling noises of the fire in full blaze all around him. “God damn it, Lynch, where are you?”
He heard the shout again, only louder. Kelly felt his way around the floor until he came face to face with a boot. He started to look up when large, glove-covered hands grabbed the back of his jacket.
“What do you think you were doing, you dumb shit? You’re lucky we noticed you missing.”
Kelly could tell by the size of the man dragging him out of the entryway that it was Luke Parsons, one of the biggest guys in the house. He may be a big beefy guy, but he was super nice, and Kelly couldn’t have been more grateful Luke found him and not the lieutenant of their station house.
“I’m sorry but I thought I heard someone call out for help.” Kelly grabbed at Parsons’ hand, still attached to Kelly’s jacket, dragging him along. “Please, Luke, I know I heard someone,” he pleaded as he tried to pull himself free of Luke’s hold.
The fire raged through an abandoned building in the East Bottoms of downtown Kansas City. While the only people in this building were more than likely homeless, they were still people who needed to be saved.
“Are you sure, kid?” Kelly nodded enthusiastically. “Okay then let’s see what we can find. We don’t have much time; this building is going up faster than a hay bale.”
As Kelly followed Luke back into the room, the sound of a faint cry grabbed both their attention. Luke pushed Kelly behind him as he made his way toward the small whimpering sounds. As they got closer, Kelly saw the slight frame of a man huddled in the corner. Luke bent down and snatched the man up in his arms.
Luke looked to Kelly. “Lead the way. Follow the way we just came and you’ll see the crew in the hallway.”
Kelly navigated through the smoke and falling ceiling tiles toward the exit. As he reached the doorway the hall was empty. He turned back to Luke. “They’re not here.” Panic started to eat away at his composure.
“Shit,” Luke shouted. “Here, kid, take my radio and let the guys know we’re coming out with another man in tow. They need to have paramedics ready for this guy.”
“You know the way out?” Luke nodded as Kelly took the offered radio and lifted his face shield. “This is Lynch and Parsons. We got a survivor and we’re coming out.”
“Copy that, son. Make your way out fast. We just got the order to clear the building and let it burn. Move your asses now.”
He looked back to Luke. “You get that?”
“Yep. Head out the door and the stairs are on the right. We need to go up one flight then a little ways down we’ll come to a set of double doors and that will take us outside.” Kelly watched as Luke hefted the man higher on his shoulder. “Start moving.”
Kelly nodded his understanding and made his way toward freedom. Times like this he questioned why he wanted to be a firefighter. No one in his family was one, so it wasn’t about carrying on a legacy or some shit. As he pushed the door open with his shoulder, he was greeted by sunlight streaking through the smoky clouds rolling off the burning building. He looked back toward Luke, the man he was carrying appeared passed out over his shoulder. That was why Kelly had chosen this profession. He wanted to make a difference. Have a job he could be proud of.
Kelly and Luke walked right over to the ambulance and deposited the man with the paramedics. They then made their way over to the engine where the rest of the crew stood watching the fire burn. Kelly flipped up his face mask and removed his helmet. Then he took off his jacket, tucked the heavy material under his arm, and stared up at the building. If Luke hadn’t found him, Kelly would be one crispy critter right about now.
“What the fuck were you thinking?”
Someone grabbed Kelly by the shoulders and threw him up against the side of the truck, causing him to bump the back of his head hard against the metal door. When his vision cleared he saw Nate Anderson, lieutenant of station house sixteen, standing right in front of him with the attitude Kelly had hoped to avoid.
“Hey, Nate, back the fuck up.” Luke pushed himself between him and Nate. “If it wasn’t for Kelly, that man over there would be dead.”
Nate took a step back and looked toward the ambulance where the man was being triaged. Kelly could see the vein pulsing at Nate’s temple. He wasn’t happy and Kelly knew he would be hearing all about that unhappiness later. Nate looked back at him over Luke’s shoulder. “You and I will talk about this back at the station house.” Nate pointed a finger at him and then walked away.
He was so screwed. Every time he made a mistake Nate made sure to tell him how and why he screwed up. Granted, it was Nate’s job to go over the mistakes they made so they could learn from their errors, but his lectures were becoming a broken record. Kelly wasn’t looking forward to this discussion.