Cover Reveal: Ablaze

Title: Ablaze
Series: Elements of Rapture Series
Author: Swati MH
Genre: Brother’s Best Friend, Friends to Lovers, One Bed/One Night, Firefighter, Age Gap Romance
Release Date: August 31, 2023
Cover Design: Cover Me Darling


** Note: The discreet cover (firetruck) will ONLY be available on paperback. The hot man cover will be available in eBook and special edition paperbacks.



Nine years . . . That’s how long I’ve secretly loved my brother’s best friend. A man who fights fires for a living but sets me ablaze with nothing but a cocky grin.
Dean Meyer has made it clear that we’re just friends–best friends. So when we get stranded in an epic snowstorm, sharing one bed in a roadside motel, what could go wrong?
We may have blurred the lines over the past nine years, but we’d never crossed them. Not the way we did that night.
He promised nothing would change. That he’d forget every kiss and every touch, every whimper and every moan. He promised we’d walk out the door and go back to the way things were.
He promised . . . but he lied.
And now, a year of missed calls and unanswered texts later, we find ourselves forced back together again.
Will the fire still burn between us, or did that one night’s blaze leave us with nothing but ashes?




Six Years Ago…


“Dean?” Her voice is groggy, like she just pulled herself out of a heavy sleep. “What are you–”


I fumble inside without her inviting me in, and she opens the door wider, turning on a small entryway light. The scent of fucking lemon and heaven surrounds me, and I clench my fists to be able to endure it. 


I have no idea what time it is–way later than it should be for me to show up like this, and too early for her to be up, given she needs to reopen the bakery soon–but I’m a selfish bastard. 


“Dean,” she tries again, eyeing me apprehensively as she closes the door. “How much did you drink? Wait,” her eyes widen, “you didn’t drive here like this, did you?”


My finger lifts before I can tell it to stop, and I glide the tip of it over her scar, making her flinch, before my hand closes in a fist at my side again. My voice pricks the heavy silence between us. “Has he seen this?”


Her eyes glimmer, the sleep swimming inside them earlier having disappeared. “W-what?”


My jaw locks as my unsteady gaze lingers on her lips. Her fucking ridiculously plump lips that seem almost unnaturally pink, even without a lick of anything on them. “Warren. Has he had the privilege of seeing your scar?”


Her eyes bounce against mine as her shoulders release and she registers what I’ve said . . . that I know. “I was going to tell y–”


“You were going to tell me,” I repeat with a chuckle. “You were going to tell me? When, sprinkles? Because from what I can tell, you’ve had plenty of time. Perhaps every morning last week when I came to the cafe, or the two times I helped you clean up after my shift? Or–”


“Dean–” Mala’s hand finds my shoulder and I flick it off, making her eyes instantly pool with my rebuke. 


I fucking hate myself for this uncontrolled pyre building inside me, but I can’t seem to douse it.


“Or maybe you could have told me in one of the several hundred text messages we send to each other in a day, or when you came over and we read together on my damn couch for four hours just days ago. Or, oh, I don’t know . . .” I lift my arms letting them drop to my sides. “Today, when we spent an entire fucking day baking!”


Mala nods, her chin wobbling. “Yeah, you’re right, Dean, I could have told you all those times but why . . .?” She takes in a shuddering breath. “Tell me why you’re so angry. Tell me why I owe you an explanation when you were the one who–” Her watery gaze battles with mine, and mine dares her to finish her thought. After a pause, she seems to compose herself marginally. “Tell me why you’re here fuming–”


“Because we’re friends, Mala!” I boom, making her flinch. “Because you’re my goddamn best friend, and I should have known!”


A part of me feels like an asshole for yelling, but fuck! Does she not get it? Does she not know what she fucking means to me? Does she not know how this is twisting me up so hard inside that I feel like a damn pretzel?


She nods as a tear drops to her cheek. “Yeah, sparky. We’re friends. You’ve made that abundantly clear. So, in that light, we should tell each other about who we see and who we fuck, right?” Her eyes blaze, landing on my neck, at what I’m sure is the hickey Megan left there. “Clearly, you’ve divulged all your conquests with me.”


My hand finds the damn bruise on my neck, and I feel like a fucking asshole all over again. “It wasn’t even like that.”


Mala heaves out a sigh as a silence settles between us. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Warren. I should have.” 


I stare at her, knowing I shouldn’t ask but do anyway. “Why didn’t you?”


Mala leans away from me, her head hanging as she struggles to answer. “I don’t know. Fear, maybe? I guess I was scared of your reaction, but I knew I’d have to tell you sooner or later, anyway.”


I nod, despite the burning sensation between my ribs. “Do you like him?”


Her lips lift into a curve and, as much as I hate that they lift at the thought of him, I love her smile too much to want her to stop. “I think so.”


We stare at each other in silence for a moment and a million thoughts race through my head–none of which I can voice, not even to myself. 


“For the record, I already fucking hate him.”


Her shoulders sag as her smile disappears. “You haven’t even met him.”


“I don’t need to meet him to know he doesn’t deserve you.”


“He’s a nice guy, Dean. It’s important to me that you and Rohan give him a chance.”


I hold in the roar that wants to be set free and move toward her door, pulling on the knob with more force than I intended. “Fine.”


I’m just about to step out when she grabs my elbow, questions floating in her eyes surely from my curt response. “Dean–”


“You want me to meet him, pretend I like him, and play nice? Fine, I will. I’ll do all those things. You know why? Because I’d do anything for you, Mala. Anything. But . . .” I give her a hard look, “he gets one, only one, chance to fuck this up. And when he does, I’ll tear him limb for fucking limb.”


Swati MH is a Texas raised contemporary romance author living in the Bay Area with her very own book husband and two beautiful daughters. When she’s not writing stories full of humor, heart, and heartbreak, she’s likely thinking about doing so . . . preferably while holding a glass of wine.


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