The Blonde Bomb Tech (Siren Publishing Classic) [NOOK Book]

Overview

[Siren Classic: Erotic Romantic Suspense] Commitment-phobic bomb technician, Sabrina Morgan, flies unexpectedly into the arms of firefighter, Jake Donovan, seconds before a bomb explodes. This was her first failure, and in Jake's sizzling embrace, Sabrina is grateful for his comfort in helping her hide her secret fear of explosions. Jake falls in love with the passionate but emotionally wounded Sabrina. He thinks she is perfect for him. Also, who better than a bomb technician will understand and support his dangerous career as a firefighter?
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The Blonde Bomb Tech (Siren Publishing Classic)

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Overview

[Siren Classic: Erotic Romantic Suspense] Commitment-phobic bomb technician, Sabrina Morgan, flies unexpectedly into the arms of firefighter, Jake Donovan, seconds before a bomb explodes. This was her first failure, and in Jake's sizzling embrace, Sabrina is grateful for his comfort in helping her hide her secret fear of explosions. Jake falls in love with the passionate but emotionally wounded Sabrina. He thinks she is perfect for him. Also, who better than a bomb technician will understand and support his dangerous career as a firefighter? Looking to settle down and start a big family like the one he grew up in, Jake pursues Sabrina, who can't tell him her other big secret: she can't have children. Sabrina negotiates a tenuous affair with Jake as she tries to stop a serial bomber from detonating any more bombs in their small city outside of Boston. Her enemy's ultimate goal is to kill her for surviving a tragedy in her past. ** A Siren Erotic Romance
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933563299
  • Publisher: Siren-BookStrand
  • Publication date: 1/1/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,201,147
  • File size: 964 KB

Read an Excerpt

Ten ... Run!

Nine ... Run Faster!!

Eight ... You better move your butt!!!

Seven ... Where the hell is the minimum safe distance barrier?

Six ... Thank God, there's the perimeter. Jump for it.

Five ... Who's that in the way?

Four ... Who cares! Tackle him.

Three ... Damn! Hard, lean, muscular body under me.

Two ... Whoa! Hard, lean, muscular body over me.

One...

Boom!

Sabrina Morgan's entire body shook as glass and flying debris flew into the air from the detonation. The bomb she'd been working on had gone off. The ensuing explosion ripped through the quiet summer morning. She was the bomb technician. She was supposed to have stopped the bomb, but it had blown despite her best effort. How could that have happened?

With no answer forthcoming from the assembled emergency teams cowering down around her, Sabrina panicked.

The bomb nightmares she'd had for most of her life flew through her mind. Then she lost complete control of herself ... which never happened, either. Not ever.

"Oh, no! No!" Sabrina sobbed hysterically into the crisp, clean collar of the fireman who covered her body protectively with his own.

The thought of someone having to protect her from the bomb she'd failed to stop made her cry harder. She heard herself babble nonsensically as she turned her face into the fireman's rough, whiskered cheek. He smelled safe and good. She needed to check out for a few minutes to get herself together.

Sighing, Sabrina burrowed her cheek further into his throat scented with a musky cologne. Her lips connected with his skin as she inhaled his delectable scent. Her senses reeled as she clungto him. In her trance-like, panicked state, he was her only lifeline. She tasted the salt of her own tears.

"Shh, don't cry. It'll be okay, I promise," the man holding her said, his voice honey-smooth. His breath tickled the loose hair next to her ear when he spoke. Booming noises continued to burst from the building. The comforting words from him intruded into her consciousness. She opened her eyes and was surprised to find her mouth still pressed to his neck, her lips rubbing sensuously along the male skin. Her fisted hands clutched both sides of his open jacket, securing him in place. She wanted him to say something else in that seductive voice.

She'd had a moment to appreciate the warm, male body covering hers, and then her panic set in again. Sabrina stopped kissing him. She loosened her fingers from the death grip she had on his protective yellow and black jacket.

The bomb had gone off--the bomb she'd tried to defuse, the very reason for her existence. She'd been a bomb technician for nearly five years. Until today, she'd never failed to diffuse a bomb.

Never.

Her worst nightmare had exploded with a burning vengeance all around her. She huddled under the firefighter, her body shaking, and with his whispered words of comfort, she bawled like a five-year-old after a bad dream.

She'd never lost control of her cool demeanor before today's debacle. The iron-hard bitch fa�ade she'd built over these last several years for protection had slipped off as if the bomb itself had blown it from her.

At long last, the explosions subsided, replaced by the acrid stench of burnt plastic. Sabrina felt the man above her shift to lift his body off her.

Time to get it together. Too bad the girly, lonely, emotional side of her brain would not cooperate. She'd put that part of herself on the back burner for far too long. Now that it had been released, it wasn't giving up without a fight.

The fireman lifted off her slightly. She put a hand over her face and wiped away her tears without being seen. She hoped.

"Are you going to be all right?" he asked quietly. She slipped her fingers down far enough to see him. The sexy voice was attached to the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen. Sabrina shook her head no and sniffed a couple times.

No, I'm not okay. A bomb just went off, and it's my fault.

"No?" he asked, starting to smile. Perhaps he'd expected a different answer. People usually answered with a polite "Fine" even though they never meant it.

Tears scalded her lower eyelids and ran down her face again. Sabrina sniffed and uttered a very unladylike hiccup. She couldn't catch her breath. She couldn't wipe the tears away fast enough. Panic attack alert.

"Don't let anyone ... hic ... see me like this ... hic. Please!" She noticed a few flashes of yellow with black stripes from the other firefighters beginning to stir around them. She desperately swiped at her eyes now, trying to force her tears to end, but nothing could stop them quickly enough. She willed the emotional side of her mind to get a grip, suck it up, and go hide on the back burner again.

"Don't worry. You have a minute or two. I won't leave you yet ... I promise." He tipped his large brimmed fireman's hat down to shield her face as she wiped her eyes again.

"Thank ... you," she stuttered between hiccups.

"No problem." He studied her face, his concern for her evident in his gorgeous, emerald green eyes. She looked away first, closed her eyes, and took several deep, soothing breaths. Calm down. There was no need to let anyone on the bomb squad see her crying.

Instead of thinking about the horror of the bomb, Sabrina focused on the feel of the fireman's body against hers. His rock-hard thighs pressed solidly into hers. She quivered in response to the intimate connection. Eyes still closed, she moved her face again closer to his and took another deep calming breath. With it came the fireman's spicy delectable scent. She inhaled again and forcibly restrained her hips from lifting upwards to encourage a deeper contact. She also resisted the sudden, visceral urge to place her lips on his whiskered cheek and take a lick--to taste him. The sultry shape of his mouth beckoned her with the promise of tactile pleasure.

It had been so long, she had forgotten how incredible it felt to have a man pressed this close, this intimate. The pain she associated with her past relationships had also forced her to abandon her physical needs. She ignored the longing her body endured in the silence of her chaotic and lonely life. Up to now, no one had tempted her. Right now though, she was very tempted. She wanted to melt into the fireman and immerse her body into his warmth. What would be the worst thing that could happen?

She could think of worse things than having a gorgeous fireman connected to her intimately ... or almost intimately. The long-neglected part of her body below her waist was another item on a substantial list of ignored things in her lonely life. She wondered if the fireman currently scorching her lower half was enjoying it as much as she was. What would he do if she lifted up and ground her hips into him? The vision of this fireman naked, sweaty, and impaling her repeatedly with his no-doubt impressive cock skated across her consciousness. Whoa! Sabrina's mind literally skidded to a stop.

"Hey, Earth to bomb technician," his voice intruded. Her eyes popped open in surprise as her hips twitched in regret. She searched his fiery green gaze and wondered if he could read her mind. Would that really be a bad thing?

"Huh?"

"We're going to have to get up, or people will start talking about us. You ready to show your face, yet?" he asked.

She stared at him and fought her libido as her sex-starved body reached upward as if protesting the imminent separation from the vibrant, male body. He squinted his eyes slightly as if in question. Had he read her thoughts? What was wrong with her? She never entertained salacious daydreams about the men she encountered.

Sabrina sighed, and her breath caught twice, whether from her vivid sexual thoughts or her emotional outburst, she didn't exactly know. She blinked and looked away, breaking their trance-like eye-lock.

"I guess so," but she wasn't exactly convinced she was ready to face her lonely world.

He smiled at her as if for encouragement. He lifted to his hands and knees, finally breaking their body contact.

Pity, oh, such a huge pity!

"Hey, Jake, are you finished saving her yet, or do you need to do some more mouth to mouth?" Another firefighter next to them laughed.

"Don't mind him. He's just jealous." Jake looked down at her and winked.

Oh, good Lord! He was gorgeous.

He held out a gloved hand and she took hold. Sabrina shook off her inappropriate, lust filled reverie, knowing a future with him wouldn't go anywhere. She didn't date firemen. She didn't date anyone.

Sabrina stood with Jake's help, readying herself to face the music. She turned and immediately caught sight of a blazing, angry pair of blue eyes drilled in her direction. They belonged to William Murphy, her bomb technician partner. He glared at her from where he stood near the bomb squad's primary disposal truck. Once her eyes connected with Murphy's glare, he strode in her direction, anger punctuating his every step.

She'd been in communication with Murphy through several line of sight spotters when she was inside the building. He warned her to get out when the timer read ninety seconds, but she'd convinced herself she could defuse the bomb. She wanted to at least try because she had never failed before. So, she pushed the edge of the envelope this time. The same as she always did.

She'd signaled the guy in her direct line of sight to get out when the timer hit sixty seconds. She knew Murphy would be screaming for her to get out at the same time, but she waited until the last possible second.

The lowest timer reading she ever got to was five minutes, fourteen seconds. She thought a lot about her record as the bomb had ticked off down to a minute even. She didn't lose faith in her abilities until the timer hit twenty ... nineteen...

She ran and counted down from eighteen seconds.

She'd blown through the building's front door as her internal count down hit ten. She'd run flat out as fast as she could by the time she hit the barrier perimeter ... and the muscular fireman.

It was too bad she hadn't worn her obligatory Bomb Technician t-shirt, which stated: I am a bomb technician. If you see me running, try to keep up. Not that she would have taken the time to look and see if anyone was trying to keep up. It was just the first time it ever would have applied.

"Sabrina!" her partner bellowed, as the sea of yellow-garbed firemen parted to bring her face to face with a furious Murphy. She was about to pay the price for her blatant arrogance. She bore up to take what was coming when Jake suddenly stepped in front of her.

"Get out of my way!" Murphy barked.

"No, you calm down and get that murderous look out of your eyes first," Jake responded in a low, threatening tone.

"Who the hell are you?"

"I'm the one who just saved her from falling debris. I didn't do that so you could take her apart limb by limb."

"Oh, yeah? So, what did you save her for ... your own personal agenda? Jesus! Trust me, pal, she ain't interested. Now, get out of my way."

Sabrina put a hand on Jake's shoulder to pull him to the side. He didn't budge. Instead, he crossed his arms over his chest in the universal stubborn, male position. Murphy and Jake were now locked in an angry staring contest. She had to walk around and step in between them. She tucked in close enough that the back of her thigh rested against Jake's. He jumped at the touch of her body, but he didn't back away. It gave her strength ... and another momentary thrill.

"Murphy, it's my fault, not his, so direct your anger down here," Sabrina stated clearly.

"What the hell were you thinking?" His gaze shifted to hers. "You could have been killed! For God's sake, you're an expert at defusing bombs, but you're still not able to withstand the blast of one."

"I didn't want to fail, Murphy. I thought I was almost ... hic ... there." Her voice hitched in the middle of her sentence as if she weren't quite over her crying jag. Damn it!

The look Murphy sent her was priceless. He'd never seen her crumble, not once in the four years they'd worked together on the squad. He looked at her as if she'd grown another head. She cursed her emotional side for trying to emerge.

"Save it for the review board, sweetie," Murphy said under his breath, his voice softening. He looked back at Jake with a small amount of respect. Perhaps he sensed the protective streak Jake exhibited on her behalf was warranted. Murphy had never seen her needing any protection from anyone in the years they worked together.

Murphy shook his head and looked back at Sabrina. He winked at her, then his eyes traveled over her shoulder to where Jake stood. This was usually the point where she flayed a guy for daring to protect her. Coming onto her was an open invitation for death by scathing words.

"Come on, Sabrina. Let's go brief Hennessey." Murphy stepped back a pace to give them meager privacy. He sported a smug smile as he patiently waited for her to cut Jake down to size for the audacity of being interested enough to stand up for her. This was maybe Murphy's zillionth show. He crossed his arms and waited to be entertained. Sabrina did have a reputation to uphold, but found that the need to eviscerate her protective fireman didn't materialize.

"Thank you, Jake, is it?" Sabrina turned to him and held out a hand. Jake quickly removed his gloves before taking her hand in both of his. His touch was warm, and it sent an electrical vibration up her arm. Her heart started pounding madly. Who was this man? Why did he make her all tingly inside with a mere touch? How did he manage to make her weak with desire and lust for his warm, muscular body?

She didn't want to tell him off. He had kept everyone else present from seeing her cry. That was worth quite a lot to her.

"You're welcome. It isn't your fault, you know. It's the crazy who put the bomb there in the first place who's to blame," he said as one of his thumbs caressed her palm. Bolts of electric sensitivity drilled from her palm up along her arm down her body to zap her right between her legs. He made her wet and weak with needs, needs she hadn't acknowledged in--literally--years. She took a deep breath to calm herself, but his musky scent filled her.

"I'll try to remember that when I get the enormous bill for this building." She tried to joke as the vision of them rolling on the floor naked, sweaty...

Stop it!

Jake's piercing green eyes sparked with interest. "Is it true?" he asked in a low, conspiratorial voice. His thumb burned a hole in her hand, and she wanted to keep holding onto him. If she took a half a step in his direction, her breasts would brush the front of his jacket. Her nipples hardened at the thought of being touched. She felt herself gravitating towards him.

"Is what true? That I've got to buy a building? I hope not." She laughed lightly.

"No. That you ... ain't interested in me." His intense gaze touched her deep inside. It was an I-am-definitely-interested-in-you gaze. She was entranced. She tried to swallow the lump in her throat but failed.

"I ... um ... I wouldn't say that ... exactly," she managed to stammer.

"Good. I'll call you later."

Sabrina cleared her throat. She didn't go out much--okay, ever--and never with men she came across in a work-related environment.

The Heathton law enforcement grapevine was wide and far reaching. Every day, she overheard snippets of gossip from those she worked with in every department detailing confidentially--yeah, right--those who cheated on spouses, those who were fucking someone they shouldn't be, and those who just broke up with so and so because the cheating bitch or bastard fucked someone deplorable. Sabrina refused to add fodder to the ever-continuing daily soap opera at work. So she didn't date. Anyone. Ever.

Now, this man wanted to call her for a date?

"I don't know about that," she said. Damn! Where was the iron-hard bitch fa�ade? Apparently, it ran off to hide. Her girly, emotional side wanted a date and had kicked the hard bitch to the curb.

"Come on. You don't want to go out with me?"

"I don't go out with ... firemen." But her voice didn't even sound convincing to her own ears. Her girly, emotional side wanted her to bat her eyes in flirtatious invitation, but the hard bitch returned protectively.

He still had a hold of her hand, his long, lean fingers lightly caressing her knuckles, not boldly, just gently. Her heart skipped a few more beats. She tried to pull away, but he held on.

Jake gave her a wicked little smile and leaned in to whisper something in her ear. What he said made her face go hot. She looked down at the ground to hide it. He had her.

"You want my number?" she asked, defeated.

"I can get it." He finally relinquished her hand.

She couldn't help but glance down to see if there were burns across her fingers.

"How? You don't even know my name." She looked back at his triumphant face.

"You're Sabrina Morgan, the infamous Blonde Bomber, lead bomb technician to the Heathton Bomb Squad. I'm James Donovan, Jake to my friends. I'm delighted to finally meet you." He smiled. "I'll be calling you very soon, I promise." He winked at her once and strolled away, whistling a happy tune.

Sabrina stared after him, stunned for a moment. She hadn't destroyed Jake or his ego as per the usual. Instead, she had a date. Yet another first for her since she joined the bomb squad. Her partner would give her such hell for this.

In fascination, Sabrina watched Jake and his gorgeous butt as he walked away. She came out of her trance finally and turned to Murphy. He had that priceless look on his face again, one of utter disbelief.

"Shut up, Murphy," she said as she passed him on the way to the bomb squad truck.

* * * *

James Daniel Donovan was having a great day, all things considered. Two hours after the explosion, he cleaned up the debris from the first bomb in a long while to go off in the small city of Heathton. Fortunately, no one was killed or injured. The very best part of his day was getting his long-awaited introduction to the famous Blonde Bomber of Heathton.

Matt O'Brien, a fellow firefighter and Jake's best friend, ambled up during his reverie and punched him on the arm. "Hey, wake up. Now, what are you thinking about? That bomb tech you rolled around on the ground with earlier?"

"Yeah," Jake admitted. "What do you know about her?"

"Enough to leave her alone," Matt told Jake dismissively before starting to pack up his own gear.

"Why?"

Matt looked at Jake and shrugged. "She is ... I guess the politically correct word would be ... unapproachable."

"Unapproachable," Jake repeated more to himself than to Matt. When he looked up again, Matt wore a recognizable smile--the smile that indicated he knew Jake was about to chase after and do his best to get involved with an unapproachable woman.

"The question is ... what do you know about her, Jake?" Matt asked slyly.

Apparently, everyone had witnessed his rolling on the ground with Sabrina Morgan. Jake remembered all too well the pleasure of the delicious pelvis-to-pelvis contact he'd shared with her earlier at the perimeter following the explosion.

"I know enough about her to know I don't want to leave her alone," Jake responded.

Matt sighed, rolling his eyes as he continued packing up his gear.

Jake had seen Sabrina's picture a couple of months ago in the local newspaper where they'd run a special article on women in dangerous jobs in Heathton.

She'd just defused a bomb left by a group of idiot wanna-be radicals set to go off at city hall. The group didn't want to pay taxes anymore. Who ever did? They called in their bomb threat and declared they'd blow city hall to kingdom come if their demands weren't met.

The Blonde Bomber was called in. She'd diffused what she dubbed 'the most simplistic bomb ever constructed' in about seventeen seconds. The radicals, who called themselves The Tax Free Generation, had been on the phone, which was easily traced to their location. They were holed up in the basement where one of them lived with their folks just outside of town.

The Tax Free Generation members were all high on various drugs strewn about the basement. When the local SWAT had burst in on them, they seemed to have been smoking pretty much everything but the sofa they were sitting on. They'd been caught phone in hand, still arguing with the police negotiator over their ridiculous demands.

The first police officer on site discovered a second bomb ticking in their sizable basement arsenal. It had been activated by one of them during the standoff fiasco with city hall. SWAT had cleared the basement of the Tax Free Generation's elite membership and called in the second bomb threat.

Sabrina had raced across town to diffuse that one, too. SWAT tried for a few minutes to get one of the radicals to do it, but he'd been too stoned. If Sabrina hadn't defused the first bomb so quickly, The Tax Free Generation's entire organization would have blown themselves up during the negotiations. The morons.

The article had included a picture of Sabrina. Jake had taken notice immediately. The look on her face in that grainy black and white newsprint photo had been a haunted one.

In the article, Sabrina stated she had arrived at the second bomb location in plenty of time. She had well over five minutes left on the timer when she'd neutralized it. Her quote had been, "No disrespect to Roger Ebert, but I like to defuse a bomb with more than ten seconds to go." Jake liked her attitude. He'd looked forward to meeting her from that day forward. Today was the first time he had the opportunity.

The article didn't have much in the way of personal information about her. There was no mention of a husband or kids. It did mention something about her parents being tragically killed when she was young, but no details. He'd asked around about her discreetly and learned some interesting information.

Sabrina was not married or involved with anyone, nor did she seem to want to be. Several other firefighters and a few cops from other precincts across town had labeled her a ball-breaker. Apparently, they'd been cut down in stride for daring to suggest she might ever want to go out for coffee. She was quite vocal about her lack of interest in the dwindling few who approached her. Matt's comment hadn't been a surprise.

Jake had only recently begun to date again after the break up with his old girlfriend, Candy. Candy had been a career slamming, ego-trashing, princess of tease. When he'd gotten involved with her a couple of years ago, he'd been looking for someone to settle down with and have kids. Candy had been a big mistake.

Jake took a more cautious route with regard to women directly after. He hadn't involved himself too deeply. On some level, he'd always known Candy wasn't the one. He'd never gotten around to taking her to meet his family, even after a year together.

Jake hadn't found anyone interesting until he'd seen a certain bomb tech in a black and white photo. He hadn't been intimate with a woman in a long while ... Had it been six or seven months now? Damn. He missed sex, too.

He wasn't ready to jump in to the sack with just anyone in this small town for the sake of getting laid, though. He was looking for someone special, someone he could marry and start the large family he wanted.

The memory of Sabrina's curvy, well-toned body nestled under him danced back into his mind. She was the first woman in a long time that made him anxious to complete the circle of life, and that after he'd only held her. He couldn't wait to taste her, to court her and learn everything about her.

Jake heard Matt clear his throat and realized he'd been standing there daydreaming. He forced himself to focus on his immediate surroundings and the task at hand.

"The general consensus of our glorious grapevine is that, if the Blond Bomber dates, it's no one in law enforcement or firefighting in the tri-state area," Matt declared.

"Really?" Jake asked distractedly, still drifting in his dream about Sabrina and her luscious body tucked under him.

"There's another prevailing theory you should probably be aware of."

"Oh, yeah, what's that?"

"She buries the bodies once she's finished with them." Matt laughed at the venomous look Jake shot his way. "Hey, you asked, Romeo. Don't shoot the messenger."

"Yeah, whatever." Jake finished packing his gear as their truck driver signaled them to either get on board or walk home. Jake stepped into the fire truck.

Once settled in his seat, Jake's fingers moved unerringly to the spot of his shirt collar where Sabrina's tears had soaked the fabric earlier. His fingers trailed to the place where her mouth had brushed his neck with kisses.

God Almighty, was there any place on his body more sensitive than his neck? Jake smiled at the memory of her lips against his skin. Did she remember putting her soft, sweet lips on him? She must have, or Jake suspected she wouldn't have agreed to see him again. He remembered her scent. Even after her mad dash across the parking lot, she'd smelled delicious enough to eat. It took a reserve of strength he hadn't known he possessed not to grind himself into her as soon as she tackled him to the pavement, until she started shaking and crying. At that point, he controlled his libido immediately, wanting only to save her from whatever had scared her.

Jake had dared her to meet him so they could discuss the kisses on the neck she'd given him. Her aforementioned reputation demanded that she carve his heart and hand it back to him on a platter, but he wasn't worried. He would do what it took to convince her he was worthy. He wasn't just after her for a sex-filled romp. He was completely serious about her. Jake couldn't wait to see her again.

The pursuit was on.

* * * *

"What in the holy hell were you thinking?" Captain Jack Hennessy asked Sabrina. He was her boss, who was also in charge of Heathton's bomb squad. They were in his office. She was getting a repeat performance of the third degree her partner had given her at the scene. He also seemed more upset about her narrow escape from the subsequent explosion.

Sabrina just wanted to forget the whole day.

"I thought I should make every effort to defuse the bomb, sir. I guess I believed my own press. 'There's no bomb she can't neutralize.'"

"You are not Supergirl," he said, pointing a finger at her.

"I'm not?"

"Jesus, Sabrina, I aged ten years waiting for you to come out of that building when the counter hit thirty seconds."

Sabrina could easily picture him in front of a monitor screaming at it for her to get out as the vein on his bald forehead bulged a rhythm. She fought an inappropriate smile.

"I'm sorry, Captain." She tried to sound repentant. She didn't want to talk about this at all.

"No, you damn well aren't sorry. I know that smirk," he said. From her right, she heard Murphy sniff as he tried to stifle a chuckle. "This isn't funny, Murphy."

"Of course not, sir. I signaled Sabrina to exit the building at one minute thirty seconds."

"Yeah, I practically heard you screaming at her from here, for all the good it did you. Do you have anything else relevant to add?" He directed his question at them both.

"Only that I guess now we'll have to think up a new slogan for me." Sabrina made an effort to lighten the mood.

"Quit being a smart ass," Hennessy said, but the wind was falling out of his angry sails.

"Sorry, sir," she said sincerely.

"I want a procedural report on the bomb that just opened a skylight in the old city hall building on my desk within the hour. You got me?"

"Yes, sir," Sabrina and Murphy said in unison.

"What was the problem anyway? Why was it such a difficult defuse?" Hennessy asked.

Sabrina started to answer with a flip retort. Thinking back to the bomb made her reconsider. She collected her thoughts for a moment before speaking.

"The bomb was housed in a large, wooden, slatted crate like the one vegetables come in. The top was off the crate, and there was hay around the main bomb casing. It was a triangular stack of dynamite. It had a wind-up clock attached, ticking away. It fairly screamed, 'Hey, look at me. I'm a bomb!'"

"The bomb on top? There was more than one?" Hennessey asked.

"Yeah, I saw three."

"Continue." He crossed his arms and sat down in the squeaky chair behind his desk.

"I pulled the detonator pin out of the dynamite, and it stopped ticking. I thought it was a joke until I saw the digital display below the base of the dynamite. The second one was underneath. I guess the first one was meant to be an obvious threat to ensure a bomb squad call."

"And the second bomb was what?" Hennessy prodded.

"Standard brick of C-4, digital timer showing over an hour, attached to a single power supply. Also an easy defuse. I checked to make sure it wasn't connected and pulled the dynamite out of my way to work on it.

"I was about to re-route the power source when it occurred to me I better check to see if there were any more. The second bomb was in a silver case, which I lifted out of my way, and there was the nasty third one."

"The nasty third one?"

"Yeah, the first thing I saw was the glass Mercury switch. I about had a heart attack since I'd been jostling the other two bombs around. The third timer had ninety seconds remaining. I knew Murphy was probably already shrieking at me to get out, but I had to make an effort. So I checked the barrel the first two had been resting on, which turned out to be completely full of Semtex."

"So the third bomb was what blew up?"

"Yeah, along with the first two," she said, "because I didn't stop to take them with me."

"Good thinking." Hennessey rolled his eyes.

"All this to save a building already being taken apart. Why would anyone bother? I don't get it," Sabrina said.

"Has anyone claimed responsibility yet?" Murphy asked.

Usually, an entity with a threat and an agenda didn't wait too long to reveal themselves. They'd threaten to menace society until their particular tantrum was satisfied.

"No, not yet. Let's hope this was a prank of some sort," Hennessy responded off-handedly.

"I don't think it's a prank," Sabrina said seriously.

"Okay, note everything in your report. I still want it within the hour."

"Yes, sir," she and Murphy responded. They exited the Captain's office and headed to their respective desks.

The second floor of the sheriff's station where they worked did not have private offices, with the exception of Captain Hennessey's. His office was located at the end of a row of private conference rooms and small interrogation rooms used infrequently to question suspects.

Everyone had a desk in the large open space, but they were all strewn about haphazardly across the space in groupings of two or three desks shoved together, forming odd pathways. File cabinets lined two outer walls, one of which had an oversized doorway that opened to the stairs. The fourth wall comprised of a tall bank of windows and overlooked the parking lot. The space was utilitarian, but Sabrina was used to it after all this time.

"You scared me today, partner," Murphy growled. "First time in over four years I was worried about you. Don't do it again!"

"Whatever. Don't let my emotional response to this failure make you think I'm going soft. I'm the Blonde Bomber," she mocked. "I'm able to leap tall bombs in a single bound as I cut men down to size with a single word."

"You didn't cut that fireman down today. You actually said, 'Thank you.' How come you didn't give him the standard speech?"

"I don't know. Maybe because he saved me."

"He did not. You saved yourself by running fast. He just caught you when you threw yourself into his waiting arms," Murphy said with a dramatic sigh.

"Don't start, Murphy. I just never had a bomb go off before. I was thrown for a moment, that was all."

He winked in response.

Sabrina would eat glass before admitting any feelings for Jake out loud. He'd evoked something powerful inside her when she was in his arms, something she hated to admit she wanted.

Safety. Warmth. Desire. Sex.

God, she missed sex.

Sabrina wanted to take a rare moment to think about her earlier out-of-character actions with Jake, but she didn't have a chance.

Captain Hennessey barreled out of his office. "We just got a call. They found another bomb downtown. This time, the building is a hotel, and it's full of people! Get your gear and go!"

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