Authors: Red Lights,Silver Bells
Since Dylan has found a home in Flint and the perfect man to share it with, life should be great. However, as the holidays approach, he finds himself being haunted by his past more than ever. Cut off from the rest of his family, this will be the first Christmas away from them and while it was they who shoved him away, Dylan continues to miss his parents. While he still has his brother, Lucas, things between the two have become more stressful than ever as they fight to come to terms with their past issues. Then Dylan gets the news that he will be having to work on Christmas and he sinks further in his holiday induced pity party. While he loves his job as a paramedic, the last thing he wants to be doing is spending the holiday away from his boyfriend, Kaleb.
Kaleb can see that Dylan is struggling with a bad case of Christmas blues. He wants nothing more than to make his man happy again, but everything Kaleb does only seems to make things worse. Kaleb knows something has to change and quick though, before Dylan pulls completely away. Will Kaleb be able to turn things around in time or will he forever lose Dylan?
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Red Lights and Silver Bells Copyright 2010 Stephani Hecht ISBN: 978-1-55487-736-2 Cover art by Angela Waters
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He still didn't understand how he'd got himself in this who-woulda-thunk-it situation. One minute he'd been wheeling Hazel from his ambulance into the ER, then the next thing he knew, she'd stripped off her battered coat, sweat suit and granny panties before she took off running. Not that he wanted to see
chick naked, but even if he'd been straight, Hazel would not have floated his boat.
One hundred pounds soaking wet, she was fortyyears-old, but could have easily passed for seventy. Years of meth use and living on the streets had rotted her teeth out and left her with long, scraggly gray hair. Several scars and lesions covered her dirty skin and she had a tattoo of an eagle on her left butt cheek.
Several of the ER staff stopped to watch the show, but not one of them lifted a finger to help. A couple even had the audacity to laugh at his situation…okay,
of them laughed at him. He knew he'd never live this down. It was yet another one of his humiliating situations that would be all the talk in the EMS community within an hour. It seemed as if Dylan specialized in that area. Not a week went by where he didn't somehow make a fool of himself.
Dylan wanted to point out that if she wanted a kiss, then maybe it should be
who doing the chasing, but he held back for fear that she'd actually take him up on his request. That would only serve to make the whole situation all the more ball-shriveling mortifying.
She ducked down a different hall and he followed, his boots making a screeching noise on the brightly polished, white tile. Of course they had to run by Dylan's brother, Lucas, who worked as a nurse at St. Michael's. No sense in having one of his embarrassing episodes if
didn't have a chance to witness them.
Hazel turned another corner. Dylan cursed under his breath, this had to be one of his worst days ever. Then things got even worse. He took the turn too wide and took out an artificial Christmas tree. Bulbs, lights, tinsel and the figging angel topper all came down with a loud crash. He went down with it, fake pine needles poking him in the face.
Dylan let out a curse as he recognized it as Matt, Lucas's life partner and another medic. Yeah, there'd be no way in hell that he'd live this baby down. Matt would have the blow-by-blow details texted to everyone within the next two minutes.
He scrambled to his feet and stumbled over some garland before he regained his balance. Giving chase, he rounded the corner only to find—fuck!—nothing. All that meet his gaze were white walls, a few empty beds and some medical equipment.
His question never had a chance to get finished before one hundred pounds of dirty flesh and girly parts tackled his back. A loud cry of alarm ripped from his chest as he started to retreat the way he'd just come. The problem was, Hazel hung on and didn't show any signs of getting off him any time soon.
Of course, since Dylan was having one of those days, his feet got entangled into that damn piece of garland again. He and Hazel crashed to the floor. Somehow, against all laws and physics and gravity, he ended up on his back while Hazel landed on his chest.
Dylan opened his mouth, outraged at Matt's inappropriate comment. That proved to be his biggest mistake of all. Hazel let out a shriek of delight before she swooped in, her lips and tongue assaulting his mouth.
He gagged, more because of how far she thrust her tongue down his throat than anything. Desperate for air and just plain wanting to get away, he tried to buck her off, but Hazel proved to be damn wily.
Her nails dug in again, this time cutting into the tender flesh of his cheeks. Dylan didn't even want to contemplate what kind of junk lingered on her hands. When they'd first pulled up on scene to treat her, she'd been digging in a garbage can. She probably had every major disease currently in Flint residing on her digits. Then just as he thought things couldn't possibly worse, they did.
A thin blonde, with the IQ of a flea, came running to join in the fray. She went behind Hazel and tried to peel the woman off him. Since Lisa was weak on her good days, she didn't make much progress and soon Dylan had two females straddling him.
At least the smartass came to the rescue. He jerked Hazel up and off Dylan. At the same moment, Lucas arrived and he helped Lisa to her feet. Lucas next grabbed Dylan under the arms and hauled him to his feet.
Matt still held her up in the air, facing away from him. She windmilled her legs, but never succeeded in making contact with Matt's body. "See, this is why you have so much trouble finding boyfriends. You're just too aggressive. Maybe if you'd offered him dinner first, things would have turned out differently for you."
Then Hazel did something she'd done on every single call Dylan had her —and that said a lot since she came to the ER at least once a week—she opened her mouth and tried to latch onto Matt's hand. Luckily for Matt, he moved quicker and got out of harm's way. Unluckily for Dylan, Matt had to drop Hazel in order to do get away. She made a direct beeline for Dylan, dove to the ground and wrapped her twig-like arms around his calves.
It had the desired effect. Hazel let out a small yelp as she let go. Then the devil herself came down the hallway. On a good day, Gladys looked mean and this was not one of them. Half of her red hair was pulled back in a bun, but several locks had broken free and hung around her overly, round face. Her pink scrubs were stretched tightly over her heavy stomach and thighs. Most alarming of all though, was the great big reindeer pin she had attached to her stethoscope. The fake creature's googly eyes seemed to mock Dylan and its cheerful smile was at direct odds with Gladys's permanent tight-lipped scowl
Even though she barely topped over five-feet, she still instilled fear in nearly every nurse, doctor and medic in the county. Gladys didn't have a kind word to say to anyone and had no friends. Probably due to the fact that she didn't like anyone—that is anyone, but Dylan and Lucas. Even though their friendship had been rocky at best in the beginning, she now doted over the two of them.
As Gladys continued to study his wounds, a tinge of emotion tugged at Dylan's chest. Since she was around the same age as his mother, he couldn't help but be drawn back to the times as a kid when he'd received tender care. Now Mom wouldn't even acknowledge he was her son, let alone talk to him.
"Let's get you into one of the rooms and clean these up," she suggested, her gaze softening as if she knew what he were thinking. She turned, then unleashed on Matt the venom that had earned her the reputation as a meanie. "As for you, how could you have let this happen to him?" Matt's normally cocky attitude wilted under her glare. "I pulled her off."