Home > Miracle Worker (Chicago First Responders #3)

Miracle Worker (Chicago First Responders #3)
Author: B.J. Harvey

 

1

 

 

Alex

 

 

I park my pride and joy, my Ducati motorcycle, alongside the tall brick garage of the firehouse, and cut the engine. After flicking out the kickstand with my boot, I swing my leg over and ease off my helmet. As I shake out my long brown hair, I take the opportunity to survey what will be my new home away from home—so to speak.

It’s definitely a far cry from the small station we had back in small-town Iowa. There, my father was the former fire chief and my twin brother was his incumbent--I couldn’t sneeze without someone knowing about it.

When I was growing up, my mama used to always tell me that good things come to those who wait. Which is why, just six months after she passed away from a stroke, I jumped at the chance to further my training and experience with the Chicago Fire Department, my ultimate goal being to become an arson investigator. And it was time for a change. I’d lived in the same town my whole life, I’d finally pulled the plug on a relationship I’d let go on for far too long, and I was living back at home to help Dad after Mom’s death.. I love my family, but working and living with them definitely made it hard to spread my wings. That’s why I’m here in Chicago. I’m finally expanding my horizons beyond my tiny Iowa bubble with hopes of making my own mark on the world.

But now that I’m here at my new firehouse to meet with the Captain and confirm my shift schedule, it’s finally hitting me just how far away from home I truly am.

I’ve been here a week, and I’m already in love with the new city, along with all the opportunities it promises, but I’m realizing how I took having my family and friends around and the small-town closeness for granted. I still have Adam on speed dial, and Dad’s mandated regular check-ins, but I’m also a tiny goldfish who has jumped from a tiny pond into a giant lake, and that’s going to take a little time to get used to.

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Butterflies jump inside of me as I walk through the front door of the station in search of the Captain’s office. I don’t miss the curious eyes of a few of the crew floating around as I stand in the entryway, feeling a little like a lost puppy. Thankfully, a rather handsome man wearing a duty shirt, uniform pants and boots walks toward me from the garage, veering my way as soon as he spots me. “Hey. Can I help you there?”

Plastering on a smile, I hold out my hand. “Hey. I’m Alexandra Maxwell—Alex—the new transfer. Can you point me in the direction of the Captain’s office?”

His brows lift and a slow-growing smile curves his lips. He reaches out and shakes my offered hand, the glint of his silver wedding ring catching my eye.

“Alex, eh? We’ll you’re definitely not the man we were all expecting.”

I snort. “Not last time I checked.”

“I’ll have to take your word on that,” he says with a chuckle. “I’m Cohen, head paramedic here and apparently, your impromptu welcoming committee. I’ll show you the way to Cap’s office if you want?”

“That’d be great. Thanks.”

“No problem. Gotta drop off my reports anyway,” he says, waving a pile of papers in the air. “So where’re you coming from?”

“Iowa. But please, don’t make any pork jokes,” I say with a faux groan. “I swear, everyone I’ve met in this city has something to say about that. I grew up on a farm. We had pigs. We also had cows and goats. Doesn’t mean I’m all about the hogs.”

He grins and shakes his head. “Not a word from me. But how are the pigs doing anyway?” I narrow my eyes, which just makes him laugh. “Besides, it’s not me you’ve gotta worry about. I’m not the joker in this firehouse.”

“And who’s that? Maybe you can give me the inside word so I know what to expect. I’m anticipating at least a little hazing.”

“Where’s the fun in warning you? You should be fine, though. We’re not complete animals around here. My wife would kick my ass if I gave the new girl any shit,” he says with a smirk just as a loud voice comes out of an open door to our left.

“No, Scotty, you can’t have Hayley’s new address. Yes, I’m sure, and no, you can’t use my phone to try and find it.”

“Lieutenant,” the man whines. “I’m not going to bother her. I just want to—”

“Give it up. She’s hooked up with one of the team physios now. You really think you’re in with another shot at that, man? Besides, she’s almost my sister-in-law.”

“I just wanted to catch up with her. Say hi, you know? She changed her number and must’ve forgotten to update me.”

A snort escapes my lips before I can stop it, earning a smirk from my guide.

Cohen and I stop in the doorway and I sneak a glance through to the workout room to find a guy in a navy long-sleeved Henley and standard issue uniform pants on his back lifting weights, another in a shirt with Lieutenant written on his chest standing behind him and acting as a spotter, and a third in the middle of the room with his hands on his hips and a pout wearing turnouts and a tee. Hello, Mr. Whiner.

Cohen taps his knuckles on the doorframe and all eyes turn our way.

“Lieutenant Marco Rossi, meet Alex Maxwell,” Cohen says.

The Lieutenant looks over, lifting his chin. “A few days early, aren’t you?”

“Yes, sir. Just checking in with the captain to get my schedule.”

He nods. “None of this sir business. Marco is fine. Rossi or Lieutenant when we’re on a call. The man trying to build up his strength here is Luca, my brother.”

“I can kick your ass anywhere, anytime, Lieutenant. Remember that,” Luca retorts with a smirk. “Hey, Alex. Nice to see you’re not a guy.”

Marco reaches out and whacks him around the head. “Dude. Don’t make me send you on another sexual harassment seminar.”

“Fuck no.”

The man who must be Scotty walks toward us with furrowed brows. He looks from me to Cohen. “Thought we were getting another guy.”

“Alex here assures me she’s definitely not male,” Cohen says, amusement lacing his voice. Apparently a female firefighter is a novelty in these parts.

Scotty’s expression becomes even more puzzled. “How in the hell did you . . .”

“Scotty . . . shake your new colleague’s hand, three seconds or less, then step away. We can’t have you scaring her off before her first shift,” Marco jokes.

“Yeah, yeah. Give me some credit. Nice to meet you, Alex.”

“You too, Scotty,” I say as I shift aside and let him walk by.

It’s obvious Scotty is the firehouse clown/goof that everyone loves to tease, but it’s good-natured ribbing, so he must be a decent guy. Luca and Marco remind me of my own brother and the rest of the crew back at my old firehouse. They’ll be part of the core group of stalwarts—the career firefighters who trained here, serve here, and will retire here. They’re the guys I want to shadow and learn from because they’re always the kind who follow the book but scribble in the margins sometimes too. And since I’ve always been one to draw all over the damn page and sometimes off it, I totally dig that approach.

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