Fighting the Fire (Warrior Fight Club #3) by Laura Kaye

He knew he looked good.

He wasn’t wrong. Damn him.

And damn her for being stupid enough to find out just how good he was. Just once, eight months ago, at that fucking Halloween party with the yummy-but-evil Jell-O shooters and him in that should’ve-been-ridiculous-but-was-insanely-hot gladiator costume. The one that had put his impressive shoulders, chest, and thighs on display. And since he’d been injured earlier that week in a fire, he’d come complete with a healing head laceration and giant bruise on his upper back that made his costume feel even more authentic. So, yeah, she’d given into his appeal just that once.

But it’d been enough to keep her body attuned to him even as her head screamed been there, done that, shouldn’t have done it the first time and ain’t doing it again.

Dani sniffed. “Not you.”

His grin was pure wicked sin. “You sure about that?”

She sighed. “Absolutely.”

He gave a low chuckle. “Well, you’re welcome to try to beat the shit out of me any time.”

“Don’t you have anyone else to irritate?”

“Oh, I irritate you, do I?” he asked, dropping his bag to the floor. He winked at Tara. “Hey, T.”

“Hey, Sean,” she said, amusement plain in her voice.

But Dani was too busy noticing that more people had filled in during the few minutes since she’d arrived to dignify his attempts to goad her with a response. Billy Parrish, Noah Cortez, and Moses Griffin were talking over by the water fountain, and Coach Mack was rolling out a cart of gear with the help of Leo Hawkins and Colby Richmond, two of the original members from when the club had first formed eight years before. All prior military, of course, since being a veteran was the first rule here. It was the one place in Daniela’s life where she remained connected with her old life and career in the army.

Just then, one of the few other women who belonged to WFC walked through the door. “Oh, Jayne’s here,” Dani said, surprised because her friend hadn’t attended in weeks.

Without another word to Sean, Dani and Tara left him to greet her.

Halfway across the gym, Tara leaned close. “Seriously, do you really dislike Riddick or are the two of you in a perpetual state of foreplay?”

Dani threw her a look that made the other woman chuckle. “Ugh, not you, too,” she said, remembering the awkward dinner where Jesse had asked in front of everyone how long Dani and Sean had been together. Apparently others could sense the weird chemistry that tried to tie the two of them together, even though the last thing Dani wanted was being tied to, well, anyone—let alone Riddick. “You really can’t tell?”

Tara twisted her lips and shook her head. “Nope. But something’s different between you guys lately, and I’m dying to know the story.”

“There’s no story,” Dani said. Probably too fast. Definitely too fast, given that Tara had also picked up on the heightened friction between them. Because, of course, there was a big freaking story.

So. Big.

Dani at least had to give Sean credit for honoring his word and keeping their one night a secret.

“Suuuure.” Tara arched an eyebrow, and Dani thanked God that they’d reached Jayne.

Jayne Harper was petite and curvy with warm brown skin and pretty shoulder-length black curls. “So glad you could make it,” Dani said, happy to see the former Marine who was also the sole caregiver for her elderly father and couldn’t always get away on Saturdays for WFC.

They hugged. “I’ve been dying to get back, but Dad’s appointments lately have taken over our whole lives.”

“How’s he doing?” Dani asked as something inside her chest squeezed just a little. It had been her own father’s death when she was just eight had been a big part of what made her want to pursue a career in medicine.

“Actually, he’s been doing pretty good lately,” Jayne said with a smile. “Warmer weather always helps his arthritis and lifts his spirits.”

“Oh good. I’m happy to hear it and to get to see you,” Dani said. “You remember Tara?”

“Yeah, of course.” Jayne extended her hand for a shake.

Tara returned it. “I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. I’m good with faces but terrible with names.”

Jayne laughed. “No worries. I have the memory of an elephant but I’m not always sure that remembering everything is the best either.”