Heal your heart with stories of love and heroism!
In honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, some of your favorite romance authors joined forces to create a charity anthology to raise funds to honor the memories of the heroes we lost that day. Starting in September, every single dollar without exception goes to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
So grab a fan for some heat and tissues for some tears, and fall in love with the men and women first responders in this collection of heroic romances.
Featuring stories by:
To keep up to date on the progress of our donations, join our newsletter at
TEMPTED by Carina Alyce
“You are a professional,” ER Clerk Cassie Odon reminded herself, wheeling her computer through the MetroGen ER. The wee morning hours of Thursday night shifts in the minor care pod were supposed to be slow.
The triage nurse at the front door was having a ball because her triage reasons became more outlandish as the night wore on.
Seriously, why were Fabio and Glen sharing a room? And what did “get checked out” mean? They couldn’t be too sick if they were in the minor care pod and not one of the two standard care pods. At nineteen and twenty-eight years old, they shouldn’t have been taking a ton of meds.
STD testing, perhaps?
No, the triage nurse’d have written ‘personal concern w/testing’ on that.
Object in the butt? While everyone said ‘they fell on it,’ it usually appeared as ‘OITB.’
Drunken sex accident? Ideally, they weren’t drunk. Drunk guys, regardless of their orientation, were obnoxious when she had to file their insurance.
She opened the door to Room 78 and understood triage’s note.
There sat two shirtless firefighters ‘getting checked out.’ Even better, she recognized one of them, who had been similarly naked during their last conversation.
And he looked fabulous naked . . .
BRAVE ENOUGH TO LOVE by EmKay Connor
I hooked my fingers around the door jamb and leaned in. “You wanted to see me?”
Lieutenant Niad looked up and nodded, chin jutting toward the door. “Shut it.”
Several inches over six feet, Jack Niad had the weathered look of a career military officer. He wore khakis and a golf shirt with the department logo that revealed corded muscle in his forearms and a still-flat abdomen. His face was angles and slashes—narrowed eyes that made him seem eternally suspicious, thin lips, and a narrow-ridged nose. He was tough but fair. Because of his role as team commander, he needed to maintain a few degrees of separation, but Katie and I were well-acquainted with him and his wife, Denice.
“I hear we might have a problem,” he growled. A kick to his throat at a bar fight in Nice, France, on his first deployment with the Navy had permanently damaged his trachea, resulting in a voice that sounded like sandpaper being dragged over a cinder block.
“Wha—” The word hung in the air as he continued.
“I already know too much about what’s going on with you and Katie.” He bent his elbows and folded his arm on the edge of the desk, reminding me of a praying mantis. “She and Denice had lunch yesterday.”
I pursed my lips, wondering about the conversation between the two women but not sure I really wanted to know. It was out of character for Katie to overshare, even though the guys and their wives were like family to us.
“I can’t afford to have one of my team members distracted, Lou.” His tone softened, but his ice-blue eyes hit me like twin lasers. “Should I be worried?”
I was worried.
The problems in our marriage were my fault. Somehow, despite the month-after-month disappointment, Katie remained patient and loving. She endured my broody silence without judgement and tried to entice me back into her arms when I avoided her. She should have been angry. She should have shouted accusations. She should have called me out for being a coward.
Her request that we attend couples counseling had been her line in the sand. She would not continue to tolerate my behavior. Something had to change, and that something was me.
I wanted to change. I hated knowing she was unhappy, and the cause of that misery was me. Not just my failure to make a baby with her, but my inability to open up and reveal my vulnerabilities.
INCENDIARY by Karigan Hale
My unit pulled up to the scene, a small shed at the back of our ghost-town of a mall, where several bystanders were already watching the blaze.
“Let’s set a record, boys,” I called to my team, who sprung expertly into action. In no time, the only reminders of the once hungry flames were the seared carcass of the storage shed and the thick, gray smoke billowing into the air.
I pulled off my helmet, rubbed the ache in my neck, and walked over to the bystanders, hoping to find the first on scene. A hand on my arm stopped my momentum before I could reach them. I followed the arm up to the man it belonged to: Marcus Dunlevy. My brain and body warred with their reactions to his touch.
As a nosey reporter, general pain-in-my-ass, and ex-big mistake, Marcus caused my brain to want to recoil from his touch and douse him with the fire hose. As a Hollywood handsome hunk with a panty-melting smile and very skilled hands, Marcus made my body want to climb him like a ladder truck and hang on for the ride.
ALASKA DAWN by LoLo Paige
McGuire plopped down on the grassy riverbank and Tara sank down next to him.
He slipped his arm around her shoulders and goosebumps rose on her arms, despite the heat. “Thanks for today. You’re an expert at river running.” He nodded at the raft, resting on the gravel.
“Thanks. I do my best.” She smiled.
He leaned in and pressed his lips to hers in a light, lingering kiss. She tasted beer mixed with the brownies she’d made before bed last night. A tendril of hair fell from her messy bun, and he brushed it back. “Is there anyone I should be concerned about besides your dad?”
“What do you mean?”
“Anyone else that would object to my dating you?” His solemn look made her smile.
She thought for a minute. “Maybe the Lolo Hotshots.”
He pulled back startled. “What, like you dated the entire fire crew? So, you’re one of those women?” he teased.
She laughed. “Ha, no, they’re protective of me because Dad used to work with them. We still spend holidays and birthdays together. They’re family, like having a bunch of aunts and uncles.”
“Glad you told me that. I’ll make sure I tread lightly.”
“How do you plan to do that?” She gave him a seductive look.
“You tell me.” He removed his sunglasses and pulled her close. His mouth covered hers and she became lightheaded when he rubbed her bare back and deepened the kiss. The murmuring river and the slight breeze in the treetops faded, as she lost herself in him.
When his hand paused at the clasp of her bikini top, she tensed.
McGuire broke the kiss and Tara opened her eyes. “We’re officially dating. I don’t kiss just any guy like that.”
“I hope not. Now that I’ve snagged you without a hook.” He stood and offered her his hand. “Let’s grab a pizza on our way home.”
She squeezed his hand. “Pepperoni.”
Tara still reeled big time from his kiss. Her body tingled as she started her Toyota and drove them to get McGuire’s car upstream. Before he got out, he leaned across. “I need one for the road.”
She met him halfway and they swished tongues in a lingering kiss before he climbed out.
Tara liked this new guy in her life. He was a breath of fresh air; someone she wanted to spend time with. Not to mention he was hot as hell. Back when they’d walked around the Smokejumper Base, Tara had inwardly compared him to the wall photos of other jumpers. No one came close to McGuire’s striking looks and splendid brawn. She couldn’t believe that she had snagged him—without even casting a line.
But deep down she knew many would judge, especially Dad and Jim Dolan. Which made McGuire even more alluring—like a bad boy. That excited her more than anything. From what she knew of McGuire so far, he was far from it. So, let everyone else think the opposite.
She liked that even better.
KERRIGAN by LC Taylor
The sun was finally setting, causing the sky to take on an eerie vibe. The fire was out, but smoke continued to billow into the tainted air. My stomach tightened as I took in the casualties of today’s events. The ground was littered with the wounded, waiting to be assessed. But what really got me. What really made my throat burn with bile was all the dead that laid before me. Bodies were laid out on the Pentagon grounds, covered in sheets. There were so many that didn’t survive today’s terrorist attack—and the ones that did would never be the same. Me included.
As I sat down in the grass, I kept my head on swivel. I still hadn’t heard from Kara, and now my phone was dead inside my pocket. If I just sit here, maybe she’ll find me. I stood when I saw the fire chief from Kara’s station cutting across the parking lot. He’d spotted me and immediately made a beeline towards me.
“Kerrigan.” He blew out a breath. “Have you heard from Kara?”
I furrowed my brows and clenched my jaw. “What do you mean? Haven’t you been in contact with her?”
“No. Once the plane crashed, all hell broke loose. I know she and her partner were in the area and were first to respond, but dispatch hasn’t been able to raise them since.”
“Fuck.” I pushed my fingers through my hair. “You’re sure she was here?”
“I’ll go look for her. Meet me back here in thirty minutes. Maybe one of us will have come across her by then.”
“Ok.” The chief took off in the opposite direction.
I pushed through the chaos I was feeling inside and started looking for my wife. Coming up empty-handed, I headed back to the rendezvous spot to meet the Chief. Maybe he had better luck and Kara would be there, too. I paced the grass, scorching a path from my constant motion.
I glanced toward the Chief who was moving toward me, my best friend, Hayward, following behind him. Even from the distance, I could tell something was wrong. Hayward’s body was tense, and his jaw was set in a grimace. My head shook, even before he made it all the way to me.
“No.” I refused to let him speak, afraid of what he was going to say.
“Kerrigan.” Hayward’s voice cracked as his eyes welled with tears. “I’m so sorry.” He paused, trying to get his emotions in check. “She was inside the building when the plane exploded for the second time.”
“No.” I cried out. “You’re wrong.” I pointed my finger into his chest and bit back a sob. “Please. She can’t be in there, Hayward. She can’t be.”
His arms wrapped around my shoulders as he pulled me into an embrace. This couldn’t be happening. My wife couldn’t have been inside. But as he spoke his next words, I already knew. Kara had made the ultimate sacrifice, leaving me alone on this earth without her.
“I’m sorry, Kerrigan. Kara’s gone.”
AN IRRESISTIBLE SPARK by Samantha Thomas
“I should have,” replied an earnest Mackie.
How was she supposed to stay mad at that? She had to give him some credit for at least coming after her to apologize. Most guys would have made it their mission to make sure she was embarrassed by what happened. He wasn’t doing that. It was obvious he meant it, and if she didn’t forgive him, she was definitely the jerk. She was going to have to give in, at least a little.
“I may have overreacted,” conceded Cassie.
Mackie didn’t say anything. If he was expecting more, then he would be waiting a while.
He gave a low chuckle and then he looked back at the bar, then back to Cassie. “Do you want to come back to Brews? Play some darts or something?”
He looked so hopeful, that Cassie almost caved. Almost. “I’m good thanks.”
Mackie gave her that boyish grin. “Do you think that now you’ve forgiven me, you might agree to drinks one day.”
He was incorrigible. Absolutely no shame, and for some sure to be regrettable reason, she found herself liking him, a little more with each moment that passed.
“All things are possible there, cowboy. How about you take the win for today and leave it at that?”
“You realize that’s a yes in my book, Cassie Peck.”
“I know you think it’s a yes,” she smiled and shook her head.
“Alright.” He gave her a wink and then walked back to the bar.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B099MC6VL6/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heroes-Heat-Heart-Charity-Anthology-ebook/dp/B099MC6VL6/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Heroes-Heat-Heart-Charity-Anthology-ebook/dp/B099MC6VL6/
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Heroes-Heat-Heart-Charity-Anthology-ebook/dp/B099MC6VL6/
Carina Alyce is a full-time practicing physician who moonlights as a steamy romance writer and mother of six. Her MetroGen Downtown series is described as Grey’s Anatomy + Chicago Fire+steam+actual medicine. She joined the anthology because she worked for years in the ER side-by-side with many firefighters and EMTs.
EmKay Connor is the author of contemporary romantic fiction infused with quirky humor and engaging characters. Her bright and breezy romances are set in small towns, tropical locations, and glamorous destinations where her heroes and heroines discover passion and fall in love. As a former Navy wife who lived on a military base in Washington, DC, during the 9/ll attacks and aftermath, she believes in honoring those serve and sacrifice for the USA.
Karigan Hale is a wife, mother, high school teacher, and photographer who is highly allergic to poison ivy and early mornings and highly addicted to fountain sodas and true crime. She writes steamy, slow-burn romantic comedies full of sarcastic females and the hot males trying to keep up with them. She chose to participate in this anthology to honor the amazing first responders that not only were heroes during the attacks on September 11th, but also during the recent pandemic.
LoLo Paige is an award-winning author who lives in Alaska and writes full time. Her Blazing Hearts Wildfire Series are action-adventure, romantic suspense stories set in the dangerous and exciting world of wildland firefighting loosely based on her experiences as a wildland firefighter in Montana, California, and Alaska. She joined the anthology because she supports all firefighters who put their lives on the line daily.
LC Taylor is a full-time educator that moonlights as a romance author. Starting out as a paranormal romance author, LC found she loved writing about Alpha Male Heroes. Which led her to writing about first responders. As a former police officer and married to one, LC found her niche in writing. Most of her recent books have a police, fire, military, or EMS undertone. And everyone gets their happily-ever-after. The reason LC chose to participate in the anthology because she worked alongside police officers and firemen for several years.
Samantha Thomas is an author who loves to write sweet, clean books, filled with lots of fun banter, good-hearted men, and the happiest of ever afters. Participating in this anthology is a privilege that allows me to honor the New York community, as well as my family and friends that work as first responders, in all capacities, every day
Social Media Links: