Skip to product information
1 of 1

Finding Hope (Book 3)

Finding Hope (Book 3)

Regular price $4.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $4.99 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.
  • Purchase the E-book instantly
  • Receive Download Link via Email
  • Send to Preferred E-Reader and Enjoy!

Chance O’Connell doesn’t do romance. After the firefighter has his heart broken, his idea of a relationship consists of one night with no attachments. Somehow, the dragon shifter finds himself drawn to Hope, the waitress at the local diner. Rather than make her one of his conquests, he sits in her section and pretends he doesn’t want her.

Hope Sinclair is done with abusive men and being a victim. A new town and a new job at a local diner are all she needs for a fresh start. That is until a sexy firefighter takes up near residence in her section. He wants to be friends, but she wants something more. With the holiday bachelor auction coming up, Hope sets her heart on winning a date with Chance.

One night threatens Chance’s vow to remain single, but by the time he finally admits they belong together, it might prove too late. Turns out Hope didn’t run far enough and her past may be the end of them both.

Listen to audiobook sample

NOTICEAudiobook is done by Google AI.

Main Tropes

  • Second Chances
  • Alpha Hero
  • Emotional Scars


Chance O'Connell, a firefighter, has been scarred by a past heartbreak, leading him to adopt a no-strings-attached approach to relationships. He's used to one-night stands with no emotional involvement. However, when he meets Hope Sinclair, a waitress at the local diner, he feels a strong attraction to her. Instead of pursuing her as he usually would, he tries to keep his distance.

Hope is determined to leave her history of abusive relationships behind and start fresh in a new town with her job at the diner. When she encounters Chance, the handsome firefighter who frequents her section, she sees the possibility of something more than friendship. With a holiday bachelor auction on the horizon, Hope sets her sights on winning a date with Chance.

Despite Chance's initial reluctance, one night spent together threatens to break his vow to stay single. However, by the time he realizes that they belong together, it might be too late. Hope's past resurfaces, and it could spell the end for both of them.

Intro Into Chapter One

Engines 31 and 32 rolled out of the station, sirens echoing into the cold, cloudy sky, and a shot of adrenaline pumped through Chance’s veins. He lived for these moments. The opportunity to serve his community by saving property and most importantly, lives. For all the hell he’d seen in his years of service, every time he rescued a victim he was reminded why he was here. After strapping himself in, he glanced over at Derrick. “So, a wedding. I suppose I should bring a date.”

Derrick gave him the side-eye. “Really? I figured you’d go solo so you could work your magic on all the single women. After all, I understand weddings are the best place to get laid.”

Chance grinned. “Speaking from experience?”

“No comment,” Derrick shot back. “Just remember, Halee will kick your ass from here to eternity if you embarrass her on her weddin’ day.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” He glanced out the window. “Besides, it’s her father who scares the living fuck out of me.”

“Cearul? He seems like a perfectly nice guy.”

“Oh, sure he is, but ruin his daughter’s wedding? You’ll see what a several thousand year old shifter is capable of, and personally, I have no fucking desire to bear witness up close and intimate.”

Derrick laughed. “I thought you were a dragon not a pussy.”

“Funny, ha, ha.”

Minutes later, Reese was situating them in front of a two-story house, fire on the upper floor. Cold Creek was one of the nicer subdivisions located on the edge of town. Its homes of ten years and slightly older were mostly wood frame construction, which meant they could be dealing with fire hidden inside the walls and attics.  

“Chief’s on site. Let’s go,” Gaelen said as he piled out of the passenger seat and headed to locate his brother Kadin, the chief of Station 3. Chance and Derrick jumped out and Chance grabbed a six-foot pike-pole from the engine and ran across the snow-covered lawn. Gaelen met him and Derrick halfway.

“Lines are going to the second floor. You guys get up there.”

“Got it.” Chance’s internal clock kicked in as he dropped the pole, removed his left glove, shoving it between his knees, and pushed his helmet behind his head. The motions now etched into his memory, he pulled down and secured his mask, stretched his hood over his head, shoved his helmet back on and tightened the chin strap before he donned his glove. Picking up his pole, he glanced at Derrick, who had finished a nanosecond before him. This new technique had been courtesy of Derrick, who was able to mask up and be ready to enter a building in nine seconds. Kadin, their chief, had been thrilled with Derrick’s training and the competition of who in the firehouse could mask up fastest had begun.

“A little slow on the uptake there, O’Connell.” Derrick referred to Chance by his last name.

“Next time, I’ll kick your Texas ass, Taylor.”

Derrick laughed. “Bring it on.”

Chance made his way to the front door where he ran into Devin on the nozzle and Torin trailing him, dragging in a charged line. Chance took the stairs with Derrick behind him. At the top, Asher loomed in a doorway, busy shoving aside charred debris. 

Fire tore through the room.

“We need a fucking line up here,” Ash shouted. 

“On its way.” Chance moved into a bedroom across the hall, looking at the ceiling as he went. He spotted a basketball-sized hole and the telltale orange glow that indicated fire. As he walked through the room, he spotted a second hole on the other side.

“Hey, we got fire. We got fire through the entire attic,” he shouted and began jabbing the pole into the ceiling. Once he had an opening, he started ripping down drywall. Burning chunks rained to the floor.

“Hey, I got ya a hole.” He walked back into the hall where the rest of the crew had punched holes into the ceiling, and Devin was on the nozzle, spraying water into the attic. “I got a hole in the bedroom.”

“Another line is on the way up,” Torin answered.

Chance spotted one of the guys shoving a nozzle at Derrick, who grabbed it and headed back down the hall. Chance moved to his friend’s back. 

“Hey, give me more line,” Derrick shouted.

“More line,” Chance yelled and the words echoed down the stairs as men repeated the command. Soon Chance was pulling more hose so Derrick could get into the room and start putting water into the attic.

Evan jumped in behind Derrick to help support the line and Derrick’s back. Nothing made your muscles scream more than hosing over your head.

“Let me get you more holes,” Chance said as Derrick continued to spray. He grabbed his bar and started pulling the ceiling ahead of the water stream. Chunks of burning debris dropped and bounced off his helmet, singeing the carpet beneath his boots. Water cascaded off his shoulders.

“Hey, I’m gonna look at pulling that fucking corner.” He pointed to the other side of the room then proceeded. Jamming his hook into the ceiling, he pulled more drywall and the roar of flames greeted him. “We’ve got heavy fire over here.”

Derrick advanced with the hose and began dousing the flames. Water slicked the floor where there was no carpet and ran across the room. Chance stepped over charred chunks of wood and burning ceiling to make his way back across the room. He was looking for hot spots kicking up where they had already doused the fire.

“Taylor, hit it here.” Chance pointed into the rafters now exposed to the mid-day sky. They were actually lucky the roof had burned through. It helped not only bring in some much needed light but kept the smoke from curling down around them. 

Derrick shut down his line. “I’m sitting at twenty minutes.” It was time for him to get out. His tank would soon be nearing the empty mark.

Someone’s PASS alarm went off then quickly quieted. A common occurrence Chance always paid attention to. He’d heard too many horror stories about the alarms being ignored out of habit only to later discover a fellow firefighter had been in trouble.

Not on his damn watch. Never.

Chance took the nozzle from Derrick. “Get out. We’ve almost got this.”

With three hoses going, the last of the fire quickly abated, and soon the men were heading down the stairs and outside. 

Chance helped with clean up while Torin and Ash grabbed garbage bags and headed back in to collect clothing for the residents who were huddled across the street at a neighbor’s house. While their home could not be occupied, it was salvageable and everyone had gotten out. A young boy ran up to him, holding a thermos and a pack of Styrofoam cups.

“My mom said I could bring you coffee.”

Chance squatted so he was eye level with the boy. “What’s your name?” He accepted the gift of a hot drink.


“You doing okay, Brandon?”

The boy nodded. “Yeah. I remembered what you guys taught us when you came to my school, and I made sure we all got out when the smoke detector went off.”

“God job and thanks for the coffee.”

“You’re welcome. I better get back to my mom.” Then he ran across the street, his mother’s watchful eye on him every second. Chance smiled, thankful he hadn’t been forced to pull the small boy from his burning home.

Today was a victory.

* * *

Hope wiped down a table and looked up at the clock on the diner wall.

“You have looked at that thing a hundred times,” Bea said from behind the counter as she placed freshly baked pies into the glass case for the dinner crowd.

“I can’t help it.”

“You’re going to scrub the finish right off that table too.”

Hope stopped wiping and straightened. Her back hurt and her feet screamed a warning to take a break or else. She walked to a stool at the counter and sat down. Bea poured her a cup of coffee and slid a slice of cherry pie in front of her.

“Here, eat this. You have hours to kill before tonight's auction.”

She groaned then took a bite of pie. “Bea, your pies are always fabulous.” She emptied a packet of sugar into her mug and dribbled in creamer, stirring until it was a rich tan.

“You need to stop worrying. I’m sure you’ll win tonight's bachelor auction.” Bea came around the counter with her own cup of coffee. This was the quiet before the dinner crowds showed up so they would both take advantage of it. Bea was the owner of Kirkwood Diner, often cooking and sometimes waiting tables. The woman was a good soul. 

The auction she referred to was held every year a week before Thanksgiving when all the eligible firefighters auctioned one date for charity. Hope had had a crush on Chance O’Connell since the day she laid eyes on him two years ago. He came into the diner for breakfast when he was working at the firehouse. She’d done everything to get noticed, but while he was always kind, it had been no more than that. Tonight, she was going to enter the bidding war for a single date with him, in hopes he would see her as more than just the girl who brought him his breakfast and listened to his stories.

Faith might spring eternal.

“I am a firm believer that if a couple is meant to be together, nothing will stop that from happening.” Bea broke Hope’s thoughts.

“Maybe I’m being silly. I mean, what do I really know about Chance?” Other than he didn’t really date. He was a man who liked to play the field and play it he did.

“That he is what a lady’s fantasies are made of?”

Hope laughed. Bea had been widowed a year before Hope had moved to Minnesota and come to the diner to answer the help wanted ad. The two had hit it off immediately.

“Sounds like someone might need a date herself,” Hope laughed.

Bea sipped her coffee while Hope polished off the slice of pie. 

“I’m not above admitting I have a special friend.” She smiled. “With benefits.”

“Oh my God!” Hope lowered her voice. “Good for you. I wish I had your balls.”

Bea rose and picked up the empty plate. “When you get to be my age, you stop caring what others think and go for what you want. You’d do well to heed that advice now. Whether you win or lose at tonight’s auction, make Chance notice the true woman you are. He’ll come around soon enough.” Then she went to the kitchen and left Hope with a lot to think about.

Rising from her stool, the bell rang indicating a customer had entered. When she turned, she found herself face-to-face with the man who had spent many nights in her bed. Well, in her dreams at least. He appeared weary yet offered a smile as he took a spot in the booth.

“Hi, Chance. You on duty?” While he was in uniform, he was also here later than usual.

“Yeah. I missed breakfast and lunch but didn’t feel like hanging at the station.”

“Out on a call? I hope no one was hurt.” She didn’t know how the guys and gals of their local fire department did it but was thankful they did.

“Yeah. Everyone got out, but their home will need a lot of work before they can move back in.”

“That’s tough, especially at the holidays, but at least no lives were lost.”

He gave a nod before he opened his mouth and stunned her with what he said next. “You ever think of settling down and having a family?” This from the one-and-done guy?

“I... I’ve thought about it often. Just haven’t met the right guy.” She decided to go with the flow and see where this conversation led. “You?”

He shrugged. “I’d like kids one day, but love’s overrated.”

Well hell. Not the answer she wanted to hear, but then again what did she expect? Hope was forever picking the wrong guy to fall for. Even with that knowledge, she wasn’t about to be deterred in tonight’s bidding.e if she grabbed some duct tape, she could shut up whoever was busy tweaking her last nerve.

“What did you do to her?” The female voice posed the question to someone else. Great, that meant another asshole was in her room, intent on interrupting her sleep. Did these people not know it was best to leave sleeping dragons sleep?

“Saved her life,” the male voice dripped with irritation, which was what Sabrina was quickly becoming. 

“Well, shouldn’t she be awake by now?” The female was clearly panicked.

“How should I know? I’ve never turned anyone before.”

Oooookay. Now they had her attention. Turn someone? Into what? Against her better judgment, Sabrina cracked open an eye and…

“Holy fucking shit mother of a––” She slammed that eye shut and slapped both hands over her face. Speaking through her fingers, she continued, “Turn off that fucking light! Are you trying to blind a person?”

“Quick, close the curtains,” the female hissed at what Sabrina guessed was the irritated male. Soon a heavy set of footsteps stormed across the hardwood, followed by the sound of metal scraping against metal.

“Okay, Mom. Spike closed the curtains.”

Spike? What the hell kind of name was Spike? Tempting fate, she cracked open her eyes through her spread fingers. It took a minute for everything to come into focus and the fog that hung over her to lift. Vision now sharp as a tack, she shot daggers at the two people who stared down at her. Ruby, her daughter and… Well, that must be Spike. Aptly named for the leather jacket he wore, all jacked up with silver studs and a short spike on each shoulder. How ridiculous he looked. Though she certainly understood why her daughter would hang with him. He was ruggedly handsome with his short blond hair, scruff on his jaw, and the brownest eyes she had ever seen.

“How do you feel?” her daughter asked, pulling her from her thoughts.

“Fine, considering you woke me from the wettest dream ever.” And what a doozy it had been. Mr. Tall, Dark and Sinful, with the most wicked tongue ever had been busy giving her the number and not his phone number either. She would seriously consider selling her soul to Satan for a man like that in her bed instead of her worn-out vibrator. The Intimidator had seen better days, that was for sure, and every time she plugged the beast in, she feared electrical shock. Maybe it was time to retire him and invest in something safer.

Pushing herself up, she looked around, now pissed that the skillful tongue between her thighs wasn’t real.

“What time is it?”

“Nine in the morning,” her daughter replied.

This not only caused concern but her black brow to jack up. “Why are you in my bedroom at nine in the morning? And, even more important, why is he and who is he?” She pointed her index finger at who she assumed was Spike.

“That’s Spike, my boyfriend.” Her daughter still hadn’t moved from the edge of her bed.

“I see. Well, while it’s nice to meet you Spike, I have things to do.” She shoved the blanket, which was tangled around her, and swung her legs until her feet were planted on the warm wooden planks. Normally, she didn’t sleep this late, but she recalled tying one on in a big way last night with Robin and Laura. Laura had wanted to drown herself in booze since she was turning fifty this week. The hurricanes had flowed way too easily, and they had closed down the bar. It surprised her at how great she felt now that the sun was no longer blinding her. As she walked across the floor, she realized Ruby and Spike were still in her room and staring her down like she had three heads. Whipping to face them, she sighed.

“Why are you guys still here? Did I forget something?” She racked her brain and came up empty. Her manager covered the coffee shop, and Sabrina had the next couple of days off. So, she stared at them with the patience of a woman who needed her gallon of iced coffee. It was her addiction and God help anyone who stood between her and that witch’s brew. 

“Mom, do you really not remember anything from your night out?”

“I recall drinking way too much and lots of dancing.” Her jaw unhinged itself and nearly smacked her breasts, which, she quickly realized, were far perkier than they should be unbound in her flimsy tee and Spike was busy staring. Crossing her arms, she tossed a lethal glare in his direction, causing him to quickly divert his gaze to the floor and stare at his biker boots. Not that she minded the attention, but he was her daughter’s boyfriend. Sabrina didn’t play that game.

“Did I dance on the bar again?” Dear God, please not again. She wasn’t a big drinker and the last time she had tied one on, she had danced on the bar. The embarrassment had been enough to make her drink nothing harder than mineral water for months afterward. Shit. She needed new friends because those bitches were the devil’s right hand.

“No. I think you better sit, though.” The concern that passed in her daughter’s eyes made her knees go weak. She had done something worse? Fuck. Had she stripped? That wasn’t her thing, so it was unlikely. What was more probable was picking up some hot guy. It had been so long since she had gotten a good fuck on she wondered if her nether region had shriveled up and blown away.

“Public sex?” She cringed as the words came out of her mouth, then got pissed. She had been so drunk she had forgotten getting laid, and that was one thing she wanted to remember. Funny, she didn’t feel sexed up. Maybe it had sucked, in which case not remembering was something she could totally live with.


“Well, what the hell then?” she huffed.

“Mom. Seriously, you need to sit for this.”

Swallowing, she moved to the small sitting area by the heavily curtained window and plopped onto the lounge. “Spill it.” She was a grown-ass woman of fifty-three. Whatever dreadful thing she had done, she would accept it and move on with grace. Publicly anyway. Privately, she would swear to every deity there was to never do it again if the papers didn’t get hold of it. Last thing she needed was her face plastered on the front page unless it was to wax poetic about her sinful coffee and bakery shop, Whole Latte Love Café.

“I’m just going to get right to the point. When you left the bar, someone mugged you. The guy stabbed you and there was so much blood.” Ruby began to cry, and Sabrina wondered why she had no recollection of being mugged. She looked down at herself, noting her skin was without bruising and she had no soreness. Shouldn’t a stabbing cause a shitload of pain? Maybe she was on some kick-ass drugs, and this was just a dream.

“I don’t understand. Did I go to the hospital?”

Ruby shook her head and wiped her nose with a tissue. “Spike and I just happened to come right behind you and found you. Your pulse was so weak there wasn’t time to get you help.” Her breath in was long and slow. “I asked Spike to change you.”

She blinked as if the flutter of her lashes was going to engage her brain. “Change me?”

“Spike’s a vampire, Mom. Now, you are too.”

“Mother fuck!”

* * *


Christoph’s long-time friend and advisor Jonas stepped into the office carrying a black folder which never meant good things were about to happen.

“Who now?” he questioned.

“A vampire who goes by the name of Spike.” He laid the open folder on the massive desk in front of Christoph. “He turned his girlfriend’s mother.”

His jaw ticked again. It happened every time something went wrong, which seemed to be a lot of late. He glanced down at the papers and skimmed the dossier on this Spike fellow, which seemed to be only a couple of pages. The kid was a recently made vampire. One who had moved to New Orleans only six months ago. Still, it was no excuse to break their laws. Vampires had laws for a reason, and as the king of the NOLA coven, these were his rules, and he did not abide by rule breakers.

“Bring him in for questioning.”

“Already on it.” Jonas took a seat on the sofa as the tray of coffee was wheeled into the room. “He should be in custody shortly and in front of you…” He looked at his watch. “Any moment.”

There was a brief knock on the door before it flung open and a rather pale vampire was being escorted by two of Christoph’s men. They shoved Spike in front of the large desk and forced him into a chair. The two vampires, dressed in black suits, stepped to the back of the room, their presence enough to make a grown man wet himself. Not that a vampire king needed guarding. He was the most powerful male in the room, but protocol had to be followed at all times.

He studied the vampire before him. From what he had read, Spike, a.k.a. Stanley Smith had been turned at the age of thirty-five by one of the New York coven and had only been a vampire for less than a year. He had left New York shortly after and moved to New Orleans. Christoph tapped the folder on his desk.

“Mr. Smith.”

The vampire cringed at the use of his Christian name.

“I see here that you recently applied for a permanent visa to live in New Orleans?”

“Yes, Sire.”

“And when you make such an application, you vow to obey not only the local covens’ rules, but all vampire laws. Is that not correct?”

“That is correct, Sire.” Spike shifted in his seat. Apparently, the chair was becoming a bit too hot for him. Well, he was about to turn the heat up full blast.

“Then please explain how it came to be that you have sired a vampire without permission?”

Spike rubbed his palms on his jeans. “She was dying, and my girlfriend begged me.”

“I see. So, what you are saying is that our laws are not as important as the requests of the human you are fucking?”

“N-no. That is not what I’m saying.” He shifted again. “Sire.”

The tick started again with renewed vigor and his brow hiked upward as he folded his arms and leaned back in his chair. “Then enlighten me, Mr. Smith.”

“I-I am sorry, Sire. I never meant to break the law. Time was of the essence and…” he looked down at the floor before he brought his gaze back up. “I couldn’t watch her die.”

Sucking in a breath, he glanced at Jonas and understanding passed between him and his long-time friend. Jonas had been terminally ill, and on his deathbed, when Christoph had turned him. Watching his friend slowly waste away had torn him up and spit him out. The difference was, Christoph was born over five centuries ago in a small village in Romania. The son of Vlad Dracula, he was a born vampire, and he not only made the rules, he broke them when it was to his benefit.

There were only a few born vampires, all of which held authority over their territories. They were in agreement with the vampire laws and then each had their own rules for their covens. The law stated that your king must grant permission to turn a human. After all, they couldn’t have vampires running around turning humans willy nilly.

“While I understand your situation, you still broke our law and must be punished.”

Spike nodded. “I understand, Sire.”

“You have one week to get your affairs here in order before your visa will expire. At which time you will return to your coven back in New York and take your offspring with you. Let the king of the New York coven deal with you and yours.”

The vampire paled further and swallowed. “Yes, Sire.”

“You are dismissed.”

View full details