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    This is the back story of Rod, a firefighter at FDNY, and his son Jamie. Their story continues in Jamie's Gift, a love story of Second Chances. This entire prequel is available for FREE to my newsletter subscribers. Join my newsletter for more freebies. Be sure to watch for the newsletter signup verification email.


     Jamie set Rod’s slippers at the bedside and ran toward the kitchen. “Daddy’s awake, mom!”

     Rod swung his legs off the bed, shook his head and stretched before slipping into his sweats and slippers. His clock showed seven-thirty. The aroma of coffee drifted down the hall as he made his way to the kitchen. Cindy had the table set and handed him his mug while she reached for the pancakes that were done. He poured in half and half until his coffee was the right color and then savored the first sip.

     As Cindy leaned over the table to plop a few dollar-sized pancakes on Jamie’s plate, Rod smoothed his hand over her backside. “I guess you wore me out last night. I didn’t even feel you get up this morning.”

She kissed him. “You just don’t know when to quit once you get started with that kind of late-night entertainment, baby. I always love the beginning of your four-days-off.” Cindy winked.

     Rod sat down and grabbed a link sausage with his fingers as he watched Jamie cover his pancakes in maple syrup. “You can’t drown those, buddy.”

     “They’re better when they float, daddy.”

     A shudder ran down Rod’s spine as he thought of how sweet those were going to be. “I like mine with lots of butter and only a little syrup.” He proceeded to do just that and enjoyed the hotcakes.

     Cindy sat with them and nibbled on a few sausages while she enjoyed her black coffee. “Our plane reservations are all completed to go visit your parents in three weeks. I can’t wait to get out there.  Something about the mountains is so relaxing. Maybe it’s the lifestyle they have out there. No one is ever in a hurry.” Her hand reached toward him and her fingers curled over his forearm.

     Rod met her gaze. “I know, unlike here in New York. People actually thrive on this busy city life. I just enjoy the income I’m able to earn here that makes life easy for us.”

     “I’m going to take Jamie shopping with me while you’re working on the patio pavers today. That’ll keep him out of your way. Maybe you’ll get more work accomplished.”

     Her soft laugh made him smile as she looked deep into his eyes. Her blond hair fell to one side and over her shoulder. Rod remembered the feel of it between his fingers as he fisted them in her hair last night. Changing his position in his chair didn’t seem to help the sudden tightness of his jeans. This woman had always had a way of getting into his head to drag his thoughts into the gutter, but he loved that about her.

     “Daddy, I’m getting a new suitcase on wheels to go visit grandma and grandpa. Then I can pull my own bag. Just like you do.”

     “That’ll be a huge help. You’re getting so grown up, son. You won’t need me at all pretty soon.” Rod laughed.

     Jamie bunched his brows together and tipped his head sideways. “I will always need you, daddy.” Jamie stabbed another pancake, plowed it through the syrup and popped it into his mouth as he gave Rod a wide-eyed look. Syrup dribble down Jamie’s chin and his tiny tongue tried to catch it.

     Rod just shook his head and remembered his own childhood. His parents didn’t get to know Jamie because they lived so far away and guilt seeped into his heart for that. Perhaps money wasn’t always the important thing. Being young, Rod wanted to earn all he could, while he could, before he got too old to be a firefighter. Healthy lungs among firefighters was a top priority at the FDNY, especially since nine-eleven. Guys who fought that day were still dying a slow death associated with what happened inside the twin towers.

     Seeing his father in three weeks would be good for both of them. His father was proud that he’d followed in his footsteps and Jamie would likely do the same thing. The toy box overflowed with fire trucks, hats and miniature turnouts. He loved watching everything Jamie did, his little antics, whether he was eating or playing firefighter.

     Warm fingers covered his wrist and he looked at his wife, love sparkling in her blue eyes. “It will be good to see your parents with Jamie again. I know they miss him, too. So often I’m sorry we live so far from them.”

     Cindy always said the right thing to make his heart feel better. “I miss them, but I also know this is where we need to be so I can provide a good life for us the way I want to live. We’ve been able to save so much money for our future, baby. Back there, the money just isn’t in the job market the way it is here in the east.” He reached up to rub the back of his fingers against her satiny cheek and into her blond hair.      “And I wouldn’t have met the love of my life had I stay out there.”

     Her smile lit her face like an angel. “I love you, too.” Cindy finished her coffee and took away the empty plates. “Go brush your teeth and I’ll help you change so we can go to the store, buddy. Daddy’s going to work on the patio pavers while we’re gone. Maybe we can find you a new comfy chair for the patio.”

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