Under Control by Shannon Stacey
Series Boston Fire Series
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Carina Press
Publication Date August 28, 2018
Meet the tough, dedicated men of BOSTON FIRE—and the women who turn their lives upside down.
When faced with the opportunity to change shifts while staying in the same house, veteran firefighter Derek Gilman jumps at the chance. His new schedule means not working Saturdays, which means more time to spend with his two kids. His divorce may have been amicable, but being a firefighter and a single dad is a lot to juggle. And when fate brings a gorgeous, wealthy woman into his life, he’s pretty sure he can’t handle more than he already is.
Olivia McGovern loves plans. She planned to start her own business and planned its growth. It’s earning her seven figures now, but her personal life simply doesn’t exist. Getting trapped in a broken elevator figures in exactly nowhere, and freaking out in front of a sexy firefighter definitely isn’t on the agenda. Especially not one with two kids and an ex.
What would have been a random incident with an attractive stranger becomes something more when a charity event brings them back together. They’re from different sides of the tracks, literally—with friends, family and careers to consider. But as Derek and Olivia are discovering, chemistry doesn’t allow for plans, and love doesn’t bother with logistics.
A woman stepped out of an office ahead and turned, walking ahead of him in the same direction. She was notable for two reasons. One, she wasn’t looking at a cell phone. That in itself was enough to make her stand out in this crowd.
But it was her looks that captured Derek’s attention. He only got a glimpse of her profile before she turned, but she had delicate features and dark blond hair drawn up off her neck in a loose bun. Her navy suit looked as if it had been tailored specifically for her body, and the coat flared slightly, accenting the curve of her hips. Her legs were long, and his gaze lingered on her calves before sliding up to the soft spots behind her knees that were playing peekaboo with the hem of her skirt.
And he’d never realized how sexy the click of high heels on a marble tile floor could be. When he was a kid, he’d hated the sound because the high heels usually belonged to an angry teacher he was following down the hallway to the principal’s office. But following this woman as she walked down the hallway with long, confident strides was a hell of a lot more enjoyable.
Of course, she reached the elevator just as the door opened and a man stepped out. Because he’d slowed to leave enough space to appreciate the view, Derek knew there was a good chance the door would close before he reached it and there was no way in hell he was taking the stairs if he didn’t have to.
“Hold the door, please,” he called as the woman stepped in and pushed a button on the panel.
She looked up at him and he saw the hesitation in her body language. She didn’t want to, but he watched the fact he was a firefighter register, plus it would be rude to pretend she hadn’t heard him after making eye contact. He smiled as she hit the button to hold the doors.
“Thank you.” The button for the lobby was already lit, so he stepped back as the doors slid closed.
She only nodded and pulled her phone out of the back pocket of the leather journal she was holding, which was stuffed with notebooks and paper from the looks of it. But Derek could see her reflection in the highly polished metal door and she was looking at him. And not a quick glance to make sure the stranger was staying on his own side, but a lingering look.
He should say something, but he wasn’t sure what to say, since women wearing power suits in the Back Bay were way out of his league. The floors were ticking past like seconds on the clock, though, and he was running out of time.
She was taking a step forward, probably in anticipation of reaching the lobby level soon, when there was a grinding sound and the elevator lurched to a stop. Off-balance, she stumbled and—thanks to good reflexes and maybe some good luck—he ended up with an armful of beautiful woman.
Apparently he was getting an extension.
She tilted her face up to him, and he saw the distress in her pretty greenish-blue eyes. “What’s happening?”
“We stopped,” he said, hoping she’d find the obvious answer funny. In his experience, humor relaxed people. She didn’t even crack a smile, and he cleared his throat before continuing. “There are a few reasons it could happen, but the system probably has a problem or a malfunction somewhere and it shut the elevator down to be safe.”
“This is not safe.” She wasn’t in a full-blown panic, but her anxiety practically crackled around her, and she was clutching his arm so tightly he could feel her grip through the heavy bunker coat. “And what do you mean by a malfunction? So something could be more wrong than the fact we’re not moving anymore?”
“Everything’s fine.” He had to let his arms fall away from her as she backed away, wincing a little. “Are you hurt?”
“No.” He wasn’t reassured by the quick way she said it, as if it was a reflex and maybe not the truth.
He pulled out his phone to send a quick group text to Danny Walsh—Engine 59’s LT—and Rick Gullotti. Elevator’s stuck. Why? Then he peeled off the heavy coat and tossed it on the floor, dropping the helmet on top of it while she sent a text message of her own to somebody. “We’re okay in here. Just try to stay calm and we’ll be out in no time.”
“Stay calm,” she muttered as her phone vibrated and she sent another text. “That’s easy for you to say. Being brave in the face of death is part of your job.”
That was a little dramatic, but she wasn’t totally wrong. About his job, anyway. “You’re not facing death. I promise.”
His phone vibrated with a response from Walsh. Working on it. Stand by.
The woman’s face was slightly flushed. “Shouldn’t you… I don’t know. Go up through the ceiling hatch and climb up the cable or something?”
Derek managed—barely—not to laugh outright at her, but he couldn’t hold back a short chuckle. “I’m a firefighter, not John McClane.”
“Who’s John McClane?”
Oh, she did not just ask that. “The greatest action hero of all time? The guy from Die Hard?”
“I’ve heard of those movies, but I’ve never seen any of them.”
If he’d needed any more of a definitive sign this woman wasn’t his type, that was it. There were six movies, so she had to work at not seeing any of them. “You’re missing out. So, what’s your name?”
“Pretty name.” Classic and elegant, and it suited her. “I’m Derek.”
“Can you pry open the doors?” she asked, clearly not in a place to be distracted by small talk.
“With my bare hands?” He held them up, showing off his lack of tools. “I work out a little, but not that much.”
Her gaze flicked over his body, and he stood up straighter and sucked in his gut. Not that there was much to suck in, but he wasn’t in his twenties anymore. Hell, he was barely still in his thirties. “You work out more than a little.”
Her tone of voice made it sound like just an observation, but he didn’t miss her gaze lingering for a second on his chest or the way her eyebrow lifted as her mouth curved into a hint of a smile. She wasn’t flirting, but she liked what she saw and he’d take the win. He’d need all the ego boosting he could get once the other guys started giving him shit for having to rescue him from an elevator.
Then she shifted her weight and, when she winced again, Derek gave her a stern look. “You’re hurt.”
“No, I’m not. I twisted my ankle a little when the elevator stopped.”
“You need to get those shoes off and let me look at it.”
She laughed and shook her head. “I don’t care how nice this elevator is, I am not touching the floor with my bare feet.”
Derek picked up his coat, letting the helmet roll free, and—with a flourish—spread it over the floor in front of her. “Your carpet, milady.”
Ever since I read my first book by Shannon Stacey she has been one of my top favorite authors. She engages my mind with the deep and raw emotions in the realistic, life-like romance stories about regular people with rambunctious yet loving families and all the mess that goes with living and loving fully with no reservations. There is humor, there are tears, there is heat, and there are sweet, swoon-worthy moments that makes me smile and sigh and be glad that I found her books in the first place.
Under Control is an ardent story that I easily related to. The past hurt and disappointments sometimes make us hold on to the little control we can actually have in life. Compromises are not always easy, the risks of trusting and loving with your whole heart can be scary, and veteran firefighter Derek Gilman and businesswoman Olivia McGovern learn their lessons the hard way.
Derek and Olivia live in different worlds, on the opposite sides of the town. But it is not only the physical distance that is a challenge in their relationship, they seem to be the opposite in every possible way. Yet, the attraction between them is a sizzling, tangible force that keeps pulling them together, despite everything that is pulling them apart.
I loved the energy between Olivia and Derek. I loved the honesty they shared, the connection between them had this aura of trust, flirtiness, and adoration that just pulled all the feels to the surface. I loved that Derek was such a loving, caring father and that the relationship between Olivia and his kids took time to develop, like it does in the real world, as well. I loved that while the story is realistic, it has that magical, whimsical wonder of falling in love, utterly, helplessly, and completely out of our control.
Under Control was an unputdownable, emotional, intense, and fervent story that kept me up late at night. It is a story about family, second chances, giving up the tight hold of control we sometimes hang on to too long, learning to make compromises, and risking it all to fall utterly and completely in love.
A wondrously enjoyable tale
~ Five Spoons
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of UNDER CONTROL by Shannon Stacey, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Carina Press. Giveaway ends 9/11/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Shannon Stacey
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author SHANNON STACEY lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and off-roading with her friends and family. You can contact Shannon through her website, www.shannonstacey.com, as well as sign up for her newsletter.