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Hearts on Fire

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Arwen Butler has no time for love, but when she joins a gym and hot firefighter Tyler becomes her personal trainer, she may have to rethink her priorities.

Arwen Butler has no time for love–she’s too busy focusing on her new career as a therapist. But when she joins a gym and hot firefighter Tyler Reed becomes her personal trainer, she may have to rethink her priorities.

After losing the woman he loves, Tyler is determined to protect his crushed heart by never falling in love again. Then he meets beautiful and confident Arwen. Though drawn to her, he desperately fights his attraction.

When Arwen is thrust into a deadly situation, Tyler will have to choose–overcome his resistance to love or keep his heart locked up for good.

Scroll down to read the first chapter.

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Chapter 1

Working out had never been Arwen’s thing, but when she decided to do something, she gave it her all. And she’d decided it was time to get into shape. Sitting on her butt all day was not doing nice things to her body, and she was tired of getting out of breath just from climbing the flights of stairs at work—something she tried to do daily to get in a bit of exercise between appointments with her therapy clients.

The doors to the gym slid open and Arwen stepped through, then strode to the front desk.

“Hi there,” a young woman with a bright smile said. Her name tag said Michelle. “What can I help you with?”

Reminding herself that coming here would improve her health, Arwen smiled back. “Hi. I want to join your gym.” Maybe want was the wrong word. She needed to do this.

“That’s great! What’s your name?”

“Arwen Butler.”

The girl’s fingers clacked on her keyboard, then she looked at Arwen. “Would you like to take a tour?”

A tour? This wasn’t exactly a vacation destination. Then again, she’d be spending good money every month to come here, not to mention the time she would put in. She should probably take a look and make sure she would like it. “Yeah. Sure.”

“Perfect.” The girl’s smile grew. “Hang on a sec while I grab Susan.” 

“Okay.”

The girl typed on her keyboard again, and moments later a fit woman with short blonde hair walked toward Arwen.

“Hello,” the woman said with a warm smile as she stopped in front of Arwen. “I’m Susan.”

“I’m Arwen.”

“Welcome, Arwen. I understand you’re considering joining our gym.”

Decided, actually. She didn’t have time to gym shop. “That’s right.”

“Perfect! I’d love to show you around.”

Arwen walked with Susan, assessing each room as they passed through it.

“We have several personal trainers on staff,” Susan said as they stood in the doorway of the main workout space and watched the men and women using the various pieces of equipment.

Hiring a personal trainer had never crossed Arwen’s mind, but she considered it now. With no clue how to reach her fitness goals, a personal trainer could be useful even though she preferred to do things on her own.

“Your first session with the trainer would be complimentary,” Susan added.

Arwen saw right through Susan’s sales ploy. Still, having the help of a personal trainer could have some value. Maybe just get some guidance at that first session and then she could take it from there. “Sure. I’d be willing to give it a try.”

“Perfect. Why don’t we go into my office and get you signed up?”

By the time Arwen walked out of the gym and into the warm August air thirty minutes later, membership card in hand and an appointment with a personal trainer scheduled for the next evening, she was actually looking forward to this new challenge.

* * *

Dressed in sweat pants and a t-shirt with the gym’s logo emblazoned across his chest, Tyler stopped by the gym’s office to see what they had lined up for him. He’d been doing this personal training gig for the last few months and was still building his clientele, so when the gym had a new member who wanted to try out their personal trainer services, Tyler was often the one to take them on. Which was fine with him. Several of those he’d initially trained had become regular clients.

“What do you have for me?” he asked Michelle, the girl manning the front desk. 

She looked up and smiled shyly at him, but rather than being flattered by her obvious interest, he held back a frown. After his heart had been irreparably destroyed the last time he’d been in love, he had no intention of encouraging Michelle’s—or any other woman’s—attention. Ever.

“A new member,” Michelle said. “Her name’s…” She tapped a few keys. “Arwen.”

Arwen? What kind of name was that? Wasn’t that a character from the Lord of the Rings? Smirking, Tyler shook his head. “Okay.”

“Anything exciting happen at the fire station?” Michelle asked, her gaze steady on him.

Tyler had finished his two-day shift with the Park City Fire Department early that morning, and though he was proud of being a firefighter and paramedic, he didn’t like to advertise it here. Not after he’d noticed that some women at the gym seemed to act differently once they found out what he did for a living. Like he was some kind of hero or sex object. That wasn’t how he wanted to be seen. He’d become a firefighter because he loved the adrenaline rush he got when he was thrust into emergency situations that only he could fix. Knowing he was the one who could rescue people in distress, to solve their immediate problem, always gave him a high that he craved.

“No,” he said in answer to Michelle’s question. No point in encouraging her hero worship or whatever it was she had going on.

“Oh. Well, your appointment is here.” She pointed to a woman fast-walking on a treadmill who could be seen through the glass wall separating the reception area from the workout space. “The one in the green tank top.”

“Thanks.” Tyler walked across the room and pulled open the door to the workout space. Familiar sounds washed over him—the clanking of free weights being set down, the whoosh whoosh of the treadmill belt coupled with the pounding of running feet, and the panting of people working hard to put their bodies through the paces.

The woman—Arwen—had her back to him, and as he assessed the fitness of her body, he nodded. Not bad. It wouldn’t take too much work to get her toned. If that’s what she was going for.

Her light brown hair was pulled into a high ponytail, and it bounced with each step she took. As Tyler approached the treadmill, the woman’s face came into view. Cornflower blue eyes, arched eyebrows, full lips. Each feature was beautiful, but when they were all put together—stunning. Tyler’s eyebrows pulled together in consternation.

Why was he noticing how attractive she was? She was a client. Nothing more.

* * *

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