Fire & Ice by Robin Lynn

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I'm a queer author and I write for queer audiences, not necessarily genders, but attempting to center the queer experience with the goal of it being enjoyable for anyone.

–Robin Lynn

What's your safeword?

Firefighter Tripp Truett has somehow tumbled into a whole new kind of relationship with his quirky paramedic best friend, Lee, but mutual relief from their high-stress jobs quickly develops into something more.

With all the missed signals and crossed wires, can these two ever figure out that they're so much closer to being on the same page than they think?

A flaming hot queer romance novel where a foray into BDSM helps two friends find themselves & what it really means to burn.

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Excerpt from Fire & Ice © Copyright 2022 Robin Lynn

The air is chilly, the wind outright brisk, and Leander can’t help but reflect back on his earlier ponderings regarding the likelihood that his sweatshirt wouldn’t be warm enough tonight. He was right, but there’s nothing to do about it now.

He’s dazed. So much so that he doesn’t realize he’s been standing in the middle of the parking lot, staring blankly at the engine for several embarrassingly long minutes. It’s not until the side door opens and someone gets out that Leander even makes an attempt to blink himself back to reality.

Tripp, clad once again in only his bunker pants and a fucking t-shirt, hits the ground moving and strides towards him with a worried look on his face. Despite everything, Leander can’t help but smile at Tripp’s stubborn stupidity, his ridiculous predictability, and his lack of simple common sense. It’s inane, and Leander loves him for it.

“You look cold,” he comments smugly, but Tripp isn’t fooled, reaching out to grab Leander by the bicep and yank him into his chest, hugging him fiercely and clapping him firmly on the back, twice. Tears burst violently into the corners of Leander’s eyes, and he chokes and gasps a little while doing his best to force them back.

“I know,” Tripp says gruffly, rocking them both from side to side as Leander clings.

“I really need you,” he mutters, soft and rough, and Tripp gets it immediately, pulling back and holding him at arm’s length, but in a reassuring, possessive sort of way.

“You’ve got me,” he replies, looking Leander straight in the eyes. “I promise. Tomorrow night, soon as we get off shift, I’ll be there.” Tripp squeezes his shoulder while Leander works to put his emotions in check and his face back in order, searching for the right thing to say. Tripp is a miracle, and Leander already owes him so much. What would he have done if they hadn’t gone down this road? That’s not even something he’s capable of contemplating at the moment, so he shoves the thought away.

“Thank you,” he settles on saying, his voice coming out used and gritty. He swipes roughly at his eyes and nods. “Tomorrow, then.”

The fire engine revs and rumbles behind them, like someone has stepped on the gas without first releasing the brake. Clearly, the crew inside isn’t trying to be obnoxious or insensitive, but someone wants them to get a move on.

“Text me,” Tripp says, pointing a finger in Leander’s direction as he walks backward towards the waiting truck. With a last nod and a wave, Leander agrees, and lets him go.

When he returns to his own truck, parked carefully in-between the next set of white lines beside Zosia and Echo’s, the patient compartment is nearly back to its formerly pristine state. “Thank you, Marley,” Leander says quietly, thumbing through his paperwork and the patient demographic information that Marley has kindly retrieved from registration.

“Dude, I should be thanking you,” Marley quips, zipping up the first-in bag and plopping it on top of the stretcher for next time. “If you need—”

“I don’t,” Leander cuts her off quickly and then offers what he hopes reads as an appreciative look when she glares back at him disapprovingly. “I’m fine,” he assures her.

“Oookay, if you say so,” Marley concedes, shrugging as she hops down out of the truck and makes her way to the driver’s seat. Before Leander follows, he takes a second to poke his head into the back of Zosia’s rig, only to find Echo doing the same cleaning routine as Marley.

“Hey,” he says. “You should text Chloe. I don’t know how much she may have seen, but I thought she looked…” Leander trails off and presses his lips together. Echo will understand—she’s been dating his niece for over a year now and knows the interminably stubborn Chloe better than just about anyone. In some ways, the two of them remind Leander quite a lot of him and Tripp: complementary pieces that shouldn’t fit together, but somehow do.

Except, of course, for the fact that Chloe loves Echo back, and she shows it openly.

“Thanks for the heads up,” Echo replies sincerely, stopping what she’s doing to lean an elbow against the cabinets and eye Leander with concern. “And you? You don’t look so good.”

“I’m fine,” Leander grumbles, ducking back out of the box and heading for his own truck. “Besides having to reassure everyone else that’s the case.”

“That’s what Chloe always says when she’s not fine,” Echo yells after him.

“It’s what everyone says when they’re not fine, Echo,” Leander shoots back, noncommittal and evasive as ever. He slides into the cab of the ambulance and motions for Marley to get going before Echo can so much as reply (or before Zosia can show up and pile on him, too). That’s the last thing he needs right now. He is fine. Or at least, he will be.

Tomorrow night.

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