Rescue and Redemption
by Daniel Banner
JFK, a firefighter for the Park City Fire Department, is tired of being razzed about his classy nickname. He’s lost weight, and even cut back on the swearing and drinking in an effort to fit the image. Still, he believes people never really change at heart. After all, under those muscles that can bench 250, he’s still the same guy. When a striking beauty wanders into his kitchen with her two-year sobriety coin, he wonders if he’s underestimated himself. A guy like him might just get a girl like her.
Mercy Jewell McGovern, recently graduated from college and is in the process of getting her life back on track when she meets JFK. She’s immediately attracted to the capable chef running his precision kitchen at a charity event. But on their first date, it’s obvious he’s used to hanging out with guys, not with a lady. That won’t fly for Mercy. Despite her rowdy past, she knows she’s worthy of someone who knows how to open a door for her and can sit down to Sunday dinner with her extended family, the Jewells, who could write books on manners.
Time after time JFK comes to her rescue, but will she be the one to ultimately save him from settling for less than his best?
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As Mercy walked into the huge, bustling kitchen, she heard a man snap, “Just because it’s a free meal doesn’t mean they get what they pay for!” She saw a large man in a white chef’s coat and big white chef’s hat that fell back behind his head. He went on to tell a middle-aged man who was slicing potatoes, “These little pieces are going to be starch-mush and these big fat ones will be crunchy. You can’t cook a dime and a hockey puck in the same dish. Keep it consistent, keep it quality.”
“Yes, Chef,” said the man with the dedication of a reality food show contestant.
The chef took a step over to another counter where a row of women were washing and peeling potatoes and picked up a perfectly peeled specimen. “If I need eggs peeled I know who to come to, but we’re making gourmet.” He grabbed a potato out of a huge bowl that had bits of peel still on it. “Gourmet, Mrs. Huxton. It’s like regular food but with more mistakes and smaller portions.”
“Yes, Chef,” she said and screwed up her face as she worked on peeling potatoes in a less perfectionist manner.
The chef was young to be so in charge, maybe 25 or 26. His facial features were large and manly and his eyes took in everything from under a strong brow. His jaw was just as strong and his big lips looked like they could be kissed for hours without wearing out. It had been a while since a man’s physical appearance had such an effect on Mercy, and she shook her head to clear it and get back to work.
It was obvious the chef wanted good work done in his kitchen and he didn’t really care about what people thought about him. Yeah, his bedside manner could be more coddling with the volunteers and paid workers, but they seemed to respond to his brusque manner.
Mercy found his manner attractive, as well as the way his kitchen buzzed with people getting things done right. His big, strong face was just plain sexy, she found herself thinking again. He was nothing like a chiseled marble statue, more like Tarzan, King of the Jungle, but not as ripped. Under the chef jacket he was carrying some extra weight, but he carried it just fine.
The name badge pinned to his chest strictly read, Chef.
“Looking for a job?” he asked her, and she realized she’d been staring. “Or just admiring the specimen?” He spread his hands wide to let her see all of him.
Mercy smiled and brushed her hair back behind one ear and wondered if he liked edgy hair styles. “I’m Mercy, the Volunteer Coordinator for today.”
“Oh good.” Projecting his voice toward some people chopping green beans, he said, “Now I know who to call when Jeff chops his fingers off.”
“I’m being more careful, Chef,” said a skinny man in glasses without looking up.
“What’s your name?” asked Mercy.
“I like your hat,” she told him.
“Thanks, I like your …” he looked at the shaved side of her head, the small stud in her nose, then at her coat, her Chuck Taylors, then his eyes stopped briefly on her neck where a couple of her tattoos came up almost to her hairline. With a mischievous grin he said, “I like your compliment of my hat.”
Mercy found herself laughing naturally. Usually when she met guys her age they were either tripping over themselves trying to impress her, or sneering contemptuously at her. This guy—JFK? Really?—was one hundred percent himself. She didn’t know if she’d ever met someone so real.
“I’ve loved all of the books in this series, but I have to say this was my favorite so far!”
“JFK had Mercy crying happy tears by the 43 percent mark, and I was crying with her.”
Author Daniel Banner
Daniel Banner, a 15-year fireman and paramedic, collects experiences by day and makes up stories by nights, and sometimes vice versa. For Daniel, writing is an escape from the traumatic days, and a celebration of the triumphant days.
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