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The tall man who’d rudely shoved her out of the way stalked toward her with long strides and heavy footsteps.
“Lady,” he said, his face red with either heat exposure or anger. Georgie crossed her fingers for heat exposure. She was wrong. “Are you nuts or stupid? You don’t look crazy, so I’m going with stupid. There’s a fire ban right now. That means no fires. At all. For any reason.” He jerked the helmet off his head. Dark wavy hair fell over the forehead. “Well?” he demanded.
“Are you crazy or stupid?”
Georgie cocked her fists on her hips and widened her stance, hoping she looked intimidating. It worked sometimes with her patients. Not with this guy, however.
“I’m neither, thankyouverymuch. I just got into town. I didn’t know about the burn ban. Sorry. It wasn’t part of the orientation to my house.” She waved her hand toward the white clapperboard house, as if he wouldn’t know which house she was talking about. “Besides, no real harm done. I’m sure I could have put it out with a garden hose.”
The man was a good six inches taller than she and he took advantage of that stature to lean over her. “You know how a big fire gets started? With a small one. Yours would have spread fast if I hadn’t seen the smoke rising. And ignorance of the ban is no excuse. Any person with a modicum of intelligence would have noticed the parched grass and dying trees around them. Get some glasses, lady, if you can’t see that.”
Ire rumbled in her gut. Standing on her tiptoes, she poked her finger into his chest, which was akin to poking butcher block countertop in the kitchen. Dadgum near broke her finger. “I’m not stupid. And I’m not blind. And I’m sorry.” She dropped down off her toes. “Thank you for showing up. Am I going to get a fine?”
The corners of his mouth twitched as though he might smile, but the movement went no further. “That’ll be up to Sheriff Singer, but he’s a good guy. He might be easy on you if you explain.” His crystal-blue eyes squinted into a serious expression. “No matter where you live, always check with the fire department before you burn.”
She stepped back and saluted. “Yes, sir.”
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