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Love Me Not by Amy Stephens excerpt

“Looks like we’re going to have our hands full with this one,” Lt. Kyle Champion said as soon as he noticed the thick cloud of gray smoke billowing in the sky.

“Thank God we’ve got back-up already on the way.” I rub the backside of my hand across my forehead to wipe the beads of sweat away. “Yeah, we’re going to be here awhile.”

As soon as the engine came to a stop, Kyle and I jumped down, and I quickly began to fasten my helmet into place. Kyle, though, stopped and looked up at the multi-level apartment complex.

“Oh, dear God!” he exclaimed and pointed to one of the balconies.

I sensed panic almost immediately just hearing him say those three words. “How long before the ladder truck arrives?” I shouted to no one in particular, my gaze glued to the fourth-level unit. “Ladder truck! Where the hell is it? There’re two kids up there.”

“I’m going in,” Kyle said breathlessly. “We can’t wait for the truck to get here.”

“Hold on, let me grab my air pack.” I slide my pack from the truck’s side compartment then step to the side so Kyle can get his. Except Kyle is no longer behind me. He knows we’re not supposed to enter a blazing building without back-up. This was instilled into our heads, over and over throughout the course of our training with the Academy.

“Kyle, you can’t go in yet!” My scream is muffled because of the face shield. “Kyle, stop!”

I storm towards the front entrance when I catch sight of him. Numerous people are barreling through the doorway heading to safety, yet he’s anxiously waiting for a spot to slip inside.

“Kyle, no!” I sound like a broken record, repeatedly pleading for him to wait.

“I have to get to those children!”

“Kyle, your air pack, you have to put it on or you’ll never—”

“Tell Tori that I love her. David, just tell her, please.”

The sound of glass being blown from the window halts me in my tracks. Screams erupt from every direction.

Tell Tori that I love her.

Tell Tori that I love her.

Tell Tori…

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