Welcome Banditas and readers, please move to the back of the van and buckle up, because we're going on a field trip today. Actually, Jo Davis and I are going to take you with us on a trip out to Station Five to see how her team of sexy firefighters spend their day. Jo needed to do some on sight research, so as her trusty sidekick and handy photographer, I of course got an invite, too!
It's a long drive out there, but we have plenty to talk about, like how happy Howard and Kat are since their wedding. We also talk about the serial killer who nearly took the delicious "Six-pack" from his woman. Now that would've been a shame.
We pull up outside the firehouse, a modest brick building with two large bay style garage doors, both open for our arrival. As we all pile out of the van, who comes out to greet us, but the sexy, but surly Captain Sean Tanner, himself.
As the captain walks over, we notice two other hunks straighten from their task of waxing the engine to smile at us. Oh, my...it's Julian Salvatore and Zack Knight! Is it getting warmer out here?
Sean stops in front of us, over six feet of lean, rough-hewn male. He's in his early forties, dark brown hair just beginning to go silver at the temples. Though his smile is welcoming and transforms his face from hard to handsome, it doesn't quite reach cool green eyes that hint of terrible loss. But we don't have time to dwell on that as he puts us as ease.
Sean: Ladies, welcome. It's good to see you.
Jo: Great to see you guys again! How have you been?
Sean: All right, I suppose. Work has been busy, which is either good or bad depending on where you're sitting.
Suz: I know exactly what you mean. I'm a labor and delivery nurse, so I understand what it's like some to hang around some nights for hours with nothing to do. The second you wish there was something going on...
Sean (nodding): All hell breaks loose. Believe me, we know. (He turns to call to Julian and Zack) Are you two going to stand back there and gawk, or come and meet two pretty women?
Julian: Coming, Cap! Who am I to refuse such an invitation?
Zack (rolling his eyes): He's such a walking gland.
Julian (shooting him a grin): At least I can get a date-
Zack: Who probably needs a round of antibiotics afterward.
Sean: Boys! Good God, those two are hopeless.
Jo and I exchange a Look. Julian and Zack might be hopeless, but they make for darned fine eye candy. Both have black hair, but Julian's is cut a little longer, falling attractively over dark eyes. Zack's is shorter, and his eyes are laser blue behind his wire-rimmed glasses. Both are about the same height and build, though Zack is a little more lean. Julian's grin is completely unrepentant, while Zack's smile is shy.
Zack: Sorry about that, but Jules knows exactly what buttons to push.
Julian: Hey, it's not my fault you're as sensitive as a little girl.
Zack: I've got your girl right here-
Sean: Um, Zack? Why don't you give Jo and Suz a quick tour of the station. I think Jo needs a refresher on some of the procedures and such.
Zack: Great idea. This way, ladies!
Zack leads us into the bay where the big engine, called a quint because it has the big ladder on top, is sitting next to an ambulance. In one corner there's a boat used for water rescues, and there are other mysterious pieces of equipment lying around. Everything is neat and orderly. For a building full of men-plus one woman-that's saying something!
Zack: This is the quint-our single most important piece of equipment besides the ambulance. Not to mention a main attraction with the kids. The aerial ladder reaches 105 feet. The quint weighs 65,000 lbs, or 32.5 tons, and carries a price tag of nearly $200,000.
Suz (running my hands over the smooth, shining chrome): Cool!
Jo: Wow, that's expensive! How long does a quint stay in service?
Zack: It depends, but somewhere in the area of 12-14 years. Retired trucks are auctioned off by the city to volunteer departments. The last one auctioned fetched around $35,000. Ready to go inside and we'll see what Tommy is making for lunch?
Jo (dubious): Uh...Tommy's cooking?
Zack (smiling): Not to worry, Eve is helping him. I promise we won't poison you before we send you home.
Jo: Thank heavens!
Jo and I follow him inside, both of us noting how well his cute rear fills out his regulation navy pants. In the kitchen, an attractive, dark-haired woman who must be Eve is standing beside Tommy Skyler, instructing the blond Brad Pitt look-alike in making something tasty. Glancing up, both give us a smile and exchange hellos.
Zack: Come on, let's leave them to it while I show you the living quarters. Down this hallway are the bunks-two beds in each room with a stand of lockers between the beds for semi-privacy.
Suz: Eve doesn't share a room with a male firefighter, does she?
Zack: No, but that's a good question. Our station is updated and set up so a woman doesn't have to share either bedroom or restroom/shower facilities. Many stations aren't so fortunate, and the women must bunk with the men, use the same showers, etc. Which can really cause unhappiness with some of the wives and significant others.
Jo: I can imagine! How do male firefighters really feel about having a female on the team? Be honest.
Zack: At our station, we're more than cool with having a woman. Some aren't, which is a shame. The physical agility test to become a firefighter is strenuous, so if she can pass, be a team player, she's earned her spot same as anyone else. Eve, in particular, is awesome. You couldn't ask for a better person to have at your back.
Zack gives us a peek into the rooms, which are amazingly small, especially given the size of some of these guys! And those beds don't look like they'd comfortably accommodate a growing teen much less a man!
Suz: I've seen college dorm rooms bigger than this.
Zack: Tiny, huh? You should see Six-Pack trying to move around in here. He's got it worse than any of us. Speaking of the devil...
Lieutenant Howard "Six-Pack" Paxton emerges from one of the rooms and strides toward us. Oh. My. Gawd. The man is six feet, six inches of pure, muscled testosterone. A woman could drown in those big brown peepers and his spiky brown hair bleached blond on the ends is just too fetching.
Six-Pack: Girls, enjoying your visit?
Jo: We are, thanks! Zack is treating us like royalty, and Tommy is making lunch.
Six-Pack (grimacing): Well, two out of three isn't bad. (He throws Zack a pitiful look) Isn't the bottle of Tums empty?
Zack: Eve bought a new one and brought it this morning. Extra-strength.
Six-Pack: Bless her.
A peek into the pantry and we see the LARGEST box of TUMS every! Which makes you wonder just how bad Tommy's cooking really is?
Zack: Say, I was just about to show the girls the locker room, maybe bunk them out in our gear. Want to help?
Six-Pack: Sure, that'll be fun. Ladies?
Our two hot guides lead us to the end of the hallway and through another door. In this long, skinny room are a row of open lockers with hooks in each. Zack explains that each man on each shift is assigned a locker where they store their equipment when off-duty. Sure enough, coats, pants, and hats, and boots are crowded into two thirds of them. The A-shift lockers are empty.
Suz: Where do you keep your gear when you're on-shift?
Six-Pack: Out in the bay, next to the quint. Saves time to have all the stuff out there, ready to go.
Suz: Ah! So that's why there were boots, coats, and things lying out there.
Zack: Exactly. Why don't we get you guys dressed so you can get a taste of how it really feels to be weighed down by all our gear?
Jo: Sounds like fun!
Zack and the lieutenant borrow two sets of gear from another shift in case they need theirs in a hurry. First, Jo and I step into fire pants and then boots several sizes too big. The boys help us pull up the pants and secure them with suspenders. Already, we feel like we're made of lead, but the heavy stuff is yet to come.
Next comes the coat, which is heavier than you could imagine! But the real kicker is the oxygen tank and face mask-a unit we learn is called the SCBA, or Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus. Jo doesn't like having the mask over her face one bit, and we laugh while she gives us a mock glare. Once the microphone is secured to our collars, the thermal imagine camera is last. Since there's only one of those, Zack hooks it to my right front strap. Now that I'm fully equipped, I feel like a slight shove could push me over-and I wouldn't be able to get up!
Jo: Lord, this is like being encased in cement! How much does all this equipment weigh?
Zack: Over 50 lbs. Comfy, huh?
Suz: Right! All the good citizens of Sugarland better be glad Jo and I will never be called out to save them dressed like this, because they'd be in real trouble!
Zack and Six-Pack have a good laugh, then undress us. (Just the uniforms, unfortunately!) After they put their colleagues equipment away, Zack gestures back the way we came.
Zack: So, are you brave souls ready to try Tommy's cuisine?
Jo: You bet!
Suz: Lead the way!
How bad can it be? After all, compared to what these guys have to do every day, the dangers they face, what's a little indigestion?
That's our trip to the firestation, (which Jo and I really did go to a firestation for her research and my personal desire to meet firefighters). And as you can see, Jo's second book about the Firefighters of Station Five, UNDER FIRE, is hitting the shelves May 5th! This is Zack, the sexy shy hero of the group and trust me, it will melt your panties off, again!!
So, do you like heroine driven books or hero driven books? And if you like hero-driven books, what are your favorite group of heros?
Jo is goin to give an autographed copy of UNDER FIRE to one lucky reader today! And if you want to see more of Jo's HOT firefighters, go to http://www.jodavis.net/