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A Christmas Eve blizzard holds the upper Midwest in its icy grip. Two paramedics are determined to brave the storm and get home for the holidays, but Mother Nature has other plans…
Larry Wolf shook his head and grinned as he cleaned out the ambulance. His partner was getting sappy around the holidays.
Jared Browning had tied together a sprig of mistletoe and a quarter-size silver star and hung the ornament from the rearview mirror.
Chief Keegan would have a fit if he thought his two paramedics were treating the ambulance like a Christmas sleigh. Larry untied the red satin ribbon and pulled the decoration from the mirror, then placed it in the center console.
The wind howled outside the hospital ambulance bay. As soon as he finished cleaning and restocking, they’d drive back to the fire station, hand off to the holiday crew, and Christmas Eve could start in earnest.
Maybe he’d stop on the way home for an Irish coffee, see if any unattached friends were hanging out at his usual haunt.
Then home. Maybe watch It’s a Wonderful Life, wrap the presents for his nieces and nephews. And tomorrow…
He grimaced. Tomorrow, to his parents’ house for dinner with his three brothers, their wives and kids. As usual, he’d be the ‘extra man’ at dinner, as his mother called him. Since it was Christmas, she wouldn’t surprise him with a date.
The holidays were the pits when you were single. No wonder people got depressed.
He finished stocking the overhead bins.
Jared walked into the heated ambulance bay. “Hey, ready to go?”
“Yeah, no thanks to you. We’re stocked and locked.” He jumped down from the back of the ambulance and slammed the doors shut. “Let’s go.”
“Snowing like mad out there,” Jared said, sliding into the shotgun seat. “You want me to drive?”
Larry buckled his seat belt and hit the remote to raise the emergency vehicle garage door. “You drove last time.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Jared settled back in his seat. “Hey! What did you do with my ornament?”
“In the console. You know Keegan doesn’t go for that stuff.”
“But that’s my Christmas wishing star.”
Larry grinned as he shifted into drive and steered the rig out into the swirling snow. “A what?”
“A wishing star. Gonna ask Santa for something special.”
“Yeah? Like what?”
“Like a girl for my partner.” Jared smirked.
Larry blew out a gusty sigh. Jared was happily married, with two kids and one on the way. At work, too, Larry was the ‘extra man.’ He punched the remote, and the door of bay number three closed behind them. He started down the ramp, away from the Emergency Department.
Jared tightened his seatbelt. “Man. It’s really coming down. Can’t hardly see the road. Bet the highway’s bad.”
Larry gripped the steering wheel. “The firehouse is only two miles outside of town. I’ll have you back in no time, and then you’re home to Cindy and the kids.”
In town, traffic had dwindled to almost nothing. Larry turned onto Highway 61 and headed for Fire Station number 22. He took a deep breath and left the city behind. Gonna be a white knuckler, driving in this.
The blizzard raged around them as they crawled along. The hurricane of snow, now unobstructed by buildings, obliterated visibility and screeched like a polar bear in pain. The vehicle rocked in the wind.
Larry caught a glimpse of Jared wrapping his fingers around one of the grab handles on the doorjamb.
“My driving making you nervous?”
“This storm’s making me nervous. Maybe we shouldn’t have left the hospital.”
Larry squeezed the wheel. “We’ll make it.”
The sound of tearing metal ripped through the underside of the cab. The ambulance listed sideways and jolted to a stop, and the dashboard lights went out and the headlights dimmed.
“Shit! What was that?” Larry’s gaze flew to the side view mirror. Nothing but white showed at the windows.
“Whatever it was, it’s not good.” Jared pulled on his door handle, and nothing happened. “Door’s jammed.”
Larry reached for the radio handset and clicked the mike, then turned the knobs on the console. “Radio’s dead. How about the computer?”
Jared tapped the keys. “Nada. No Wi-Fi.”
Larry groaned. “Cell phone.”
They pulled out their phones.
“No bars,” they said in unison.
“Shit.” Larry pulled two flashlights out of the console and handed one to Jared, who uncharacteristically cussed.
“Yeah shit. Now what?”
“I could walk for help—”
“No. Too dangerous, and Cindy would kill me if I let you.”
Jared opened the console and pulled out the wishing star.
Larry raised an eyebrow. “What’re you doing?”
“As bad as this storm is, we need all the help we can get. Better make a wish.”
Larry grinned in spite of himself. “Just a big kid, aren’t you, Browning?”
“Hey. Whatever it takes.” He tied the star to the rearview.
Jared was right. They weren’t going anywhere without help.
Like magic, a light reflected in the driver’s side mirror. The light grew and stopped next to them.
Larry stared. “What in the—”
Jared peered out Larry’s window. “It’s a plow.”
A gloved hand knocked on their door.
Larry lowered the window. Snow whirled in and stole the heat.
The plow driver stood there bundled up in heavy clothes. “You boys stuck?”
“Yeah.” The wind whisked away Larry’s words. “Can you give one of us a lift to the fire station down by the wildlife preserve?”
Jared grabbed his arm. “We’ll both go.”
Larry shook his head. “I’ll stay with the ambulance. You go and have them bring a tow truck.”
“Larry, you need to—”
“Time’s a wastin’!” yelled the plow driver. “I can’t stop for long, boys!”
“I’ll be fine,” Larry said. “You’ll be back in no time.”
Jared shrugged into his parka, pulled on his gloves, and clambered across Larry to the driver’s side door. “We’ll be back soon. Stay in the vehicle. No Superman stuff.”
“Yeah, yeah. Go,” Larry yelled.
Jared and the plow driver disappeared. The light moved away from the ambulance, swallowed up in the storm.
Cold infiltrated the cab, and Larry tried the engine. The starter didn’t turn over. Hell. Now he couldn’t run the heater.
“Must’ve damaged something big,” he muttered. He punched on the hazard lights. The yellow triangle flashed as he uneasily watched the dense flakes turn red in the emergency lights. Maybe he should have gone with them. The emergency vehicle belonged to the county, not him, and it could be awhile. Damn it, he’d counted on the heater.
If another plow came along, he’d hitch a ride.
He zipped his heavy winter coat up to the collar and shoved his hands into his gloves, then swung between the front seats into the back of the ambulance.
Nothing looked out of place, even though the vehicle leaned toward the passenger side. He shined the flashlight into one of the wall bins and pulled out a couple of fleece blankets, then tested the battery-operated silver warming wrap. He flipped the switch, and a green light came on, then slowly faded.
“Aw, hell.” The only other heat source. He wrapped up in a fleece, then sat on the gurney.
What a way to spend Christmas Eve.
What difference did that make, Christmas Eve? Not like he had big plans, or someone to get home to, like Jared.
At least the ‘extra man’ would have a good story for Christmas dinner tomorrow.
Assuming he got out of this alive.
Way to be morbid, Wolf.
His breath steamed out, hanging in small clouds in the frigid air. Better get the other fleece. Wrapped in the two blankets, he stepped up to the cab and settled in the driver’s seat. The cold had seeped into the ambulance, and another shiver went through him. A yawn stretched his jaw.Maybe he’d just close his eyes for awhile…
No. Couldn’t sleep. Might get hypothermia or frostbite if it got too cold in here. If he just had his MP3 player, or something to keep him awake. He groaned. What he wouldn’t give for a steaming cup of coffee right now. The warmth had dissipated, and his breath looked like smoke. How long could he stay here without heat?
The blizzard formed mesmerizing patterns like an enormous pinwheel. Absolutely hypnotic. He blinked, then again, and each blink longer than the last, until his lids stayed closed.
A knock on the window jolted him awake.
A figure in red tapped on the glass.
Larry blew out a breath. Thank God. Another plow. Time to get out of here.
He clicked on the flashlight and pushed the door open. Instead of a plow driver, the light illuminated a young woman wrapped in a scarlet parka.
“My car,” she yelled over the wind.
“Get in,” Larry shouted.
The woman stepped on the running board and launched herself into Larry’s lap, and he slammed the door closed. She wriggled, and the friction woke up his cock.
Whoa. Hadn’t felt that in awhile.
The woman swiveled and moved into Jared’s seat, brushing snow off her shoulders. In the glow of his flashlight, she pulled off her hat. Damp auburn hair cascaded around her shoulders. She turned to face him, and his breath caught. The beam revealed a face like an angel. Wide brown eyes, full kissable lips. A gorgeous smile.
A Christmas angel. Maybe there was something to this wishing star business.
Get your mind off your dick, Wolf. This isn’t a date.
“I’m Larry.” His breath puffed out in a white mist, and he freed one hand from a glove to shake.
“Holly. Thanks for letting me in. My car got stuck and the engine died.” She pulled off her mittens and shook his hand.
Her fingers were icy in his. With the flashlight, Larry inspected her skin: waxy white. “Dangerous to be out in this weather. How far did you walk?”
“I don’t know. It seemed like miles.”
Larry leaned in to study her fingertips, and bumped foreheads with Holly. He felt the blood rush to his face. “Sorry. Do your hands hurt?”
A shiver ran through her. “Um, they’re pretty much numb.”
Bad sign. Larry grimaced. “Can I look at your feet?”
She raised an eyebrow, then pulled off her wet boots and socks. Her feet had the same bloodless tallow appearance as her hands.
Larry caught her eyes. “I think you have early frostbite. We need to get you warmed up right away.”
He held her hands between his, feeling the tremors running through her. She was going to think he was trying to get into her pants when she heard the solution. “You need to get out of these wet clothes.”
Her liquid brown eyes widened.
“I swear it’s not a come-on. You’re… you’re safe with me.”
She appraised him in the dim light, then nodded.
Well, that had been easy. He gestured with the flashlight. “In the back.”
Holly swung between the seats, stepped through into the patient area, and sat on the bench.
Larry laid the flashlight next to her and pulled out a fleece blanket and a set of blue scrubs. “Let’s get you out of those wet clothes.”
Holly’s gaze dropped to his lips for a second, then met his eyes. Larry felt a stirring in his groin. Why did he have to meet her like this?
Her voice carried a husky note, and more blood headed south to his cock. He cleared his throat.
“Can you help me with my clothes? I can’t feel my hands.”
More heat warmed his face and his groin. No wonder there wasn’t enough blood left for his brain. He leaned in and unzipped her wet parka, then pushed it off her shoulders.
Cool lips touched his. The flashlight rolled off the bench and spun crazily across the floor like an emergency light. Her mouth was soft but without the expected warmth; still, his body reacted immediately. His cock hardened to steel.
Larry threaded his fingers through her damp hair and inhaled as he kissed her. She smelled so good. Like cinnamon and vanilla. Like sugar cookies. Good enough to eat.
Eat her. Damn.
As if she read his thoughts, Holly pulled back. “Sorry. Your hands are so warm, I just wanted to...”
“No problem. I… liked warming you.” He grinned.
She peeled a wet turtleneck over her head, revealing a red satin bra.
He swallowed hard. Was this really happening? Was he enough of a professional to do this, after she kissed him? He grabbed the light off the floor, and stood it upright on the bench like a torch.
Holly got to her feet. “Can you help me with my jeans?”
Larry complied and stripped off the slush-soaked denim, uncovering a matching red thong. He groaned. At eye level, a near-naked woman’s sex hid behind a thin layer of satin. He could smell her. He could almost taste her. A shiver ran through him, part cold, part desire.
He stood, grabbed a fleece blanket and wrapped it around her, then flipped back the sheets and blankets on the bed. “Get in.”
Holly curled up on the thick mattress of the gurney, and he pulled the covers over her. She turned to face the wall. “God, I’m freezing!”
He lay down on top of the bedding next to her and draped the second fleece over them along with the unheated shock blanket. Larry spooned around her and rubbed her arm. No warmth radiated through the sheets and the fleece.
Holly snuggled against the hollow of his body, and her butt bumped his engorged cock. He tensed.
Did she feel that? Hard to hide something that obvious. What would it be like to— no. Don’t push against her, just warm her up. Forget about sex.
Holly rolled over to face him. Her teeth chattered. “I’m s-s-soooo c-cold.”
Hypothermia. Larry swallowed. “I’m worried about your core body temperature. I need to get you warm.”
“The best way to do that is to take off our clothes and share body heat.”
She shivered. “Okay.”
Wow. That was fast. “You sure?”
“Yes. Please, Larry. I’m so cold.”
He swung off the bed, shrugged out of his parka, then stripped off his two shirts. The cold slapped him like an icy hand, and his nipples tightened. Holly gazed up at him as she shook with cold. He kicked off his boots, then turned his back to shuck his jeans, feeling his face heat again as soon as he unzipped.
Of course, he’d picked today to wear the boxer briefs with little candy canes all over them, and the phrase “Welcome to the North Pole” across the front. He’d never take another dare from his oldest brother regarding underwear. His erection strained at the material. He held his parka in front of him and pivoted.
Holly whipped the covers back and invited him into bed, not commenting on his boxers or his pole.
He slid in with her, then pulled out the parka and spread it over them. He hadn’t been this naked with a woman for... well, a long time. Holly cuddled into his chest and belly and he rubbed her back as he kept his groin out of range.
Her cool palm rubbed his erection.
He gasped, and his resolve crumbled.
This time, he brought his mouth down on hers, hot and hungry. His tongue slipped between her lips. God, she even tasted like sugar cookies, this ice angel.
Did she taste like this…everywhere? Another wave of desire traveled down to his cock.
He moved his mouth down to her neck, and then to her red satin bra. Holly rolled to her back and unsnapped the front closure, and he groaned as the thing parted, revealing pale breasts in the low light.
Her nipples looked like gumdrops, and he closed his lips around one peak, suckled. Sweet as a lollipop. Holly whimpered.
Starting to feel warm in here, at least to him. His inner furnace roared, ready to warm her inside and out.
Under the covers, he kissed his way down her chilly stomach, blew warm air into her belly button, then peeked up at her. “Holly.”
“Did you know an orgasm can burn up to three hundred calories and generate heat?”
“Maybe we should try that.”
Under the covers, he drew off her thong and pushed off his briefs.
With care, he rolled between her legs and urged her knees apart, and smoothed his thumbs up her inner thighs to her center. Here, heat greeted his questing fingers. Had to get a taste.
As he licked up her cleft, vanilla and sugar flavors melted on his tongue, drawing a deep groan from him and a sigh from Holly. Just like a Christmas cookie. The next laps he teased her clit until she arched, and gripped his head.
He gently bit down, and she cried out. Tremors ran through her, this time induced by orgasm instead of cold. Larry shook with his need and shivered with her.
They should conserve the heat. He moved back up her body and curled her against his chest, wrapping his arms around her. Warmth hovered in the scant space between them. His cock basked in the close proximity, wanting to try out the hot glove of Holly’s body.
Cool fingers closed on his erection. He jumped.
“Wow. You’re still cold.”
She let go. “Sorry.”
“’S okay. Give me your hands.”
He flattened her palms against his chest, gritting his teeth against the cold, holding them there until her hands felt warm.
“Can you flex your fingers?”
She made a fist, then opened her fingers like a flower. “They feel hot, like pins and needles. Prickly. Not painful.”
He kissed her palm. “Sounds like you’re thawing out.”
“Does this feel better?” Her fingers stroked his erection. This time, electric pleasure spread out from his groin. Holly squeezed gently, moved up and down.
His hips flexed, and he pushed into her hand. “Are your fingers okay? You don’t have to—”
Holly pressed a finger to his lips, and swung her leg over his hip. “I want you to warm me. Inside.”
His cock throbbed at her words. How could he possibly refuse her? He slid his thigh between hers, pressing on her core.
She moaned. “Do you have protection?”
Larry nodded and snaked an arm out and pulled his wallet from his jeans. Thank God he still carried the two foil packets. They were cold as snow, and he held them in his hand until they warmed. Holly took one and tore the foil, then rolled the latex down his cock.
Larry covered her with his body and devoured her mouth as his skin heated hers. His shaft rubbed against her cleft, and a delicious tightening curled at the small of his back.
“Warm enough?” he panted.
She wrapped her arms against his neck. “Getting there.”
Larry guided his cock to her opening and pushed inside. She gasped at his entry, and he froze.
“You okay, Holly?” God, could he even stop now?
“You’re… very warm. And big.”
He chuckled and pulled his hips back, then thrust again. Holly’s fingers smoothed his hair off his forehead, and she pulled him down for an open-mouthed kiss, her lips now warm and supple. Her tongue came forward to meet his, sliding along his, hot and smooth. Larry shifted his weight to one forearm and cupped her breast, rubbing his thumb across the nipple.
Her skin had warmed, and his cock thickened inside her. Holly moaned. God, he loved that sound. So sexy.
As he found a rhythm, her hips rose to meet his. Larry reached between them and thumbed her clit, drawing moans from her until she hit her climax, calling his name as she shuddered.
He didn’t last long, coming hard inside her.
After he got his breath, he pulled out.
“Are you warm?” he whispered.
“Very warm. Feels good.”
He kissed her. “Good.” A hell of a way to stave off hypothermia and frostbite. But worth it. Definitely worth it.
Jared breathed a sigh of relief when the ambulance came into view, half buried in a snow drift. As soon as the plow stopped, he jumped out and waded to the driver’s door. Locked.
He hammered on the window. “Larry! You in there?”
His partner’s head appeared around the corner, then Larry stepped into the front, dressed in his shirts and wrapped in a fleece. He pushed open the door.
“Jared. Man, am I glad to see you. I have—”
Jared pushed into the driver’s seat and closed the door. “Sorry it took so long, buddy. Let’s get you out of here. Where’s your coat, man?”
“There’s a girl here too. Her car got stuck in the snow.”
Jared raised his eyebrows. How in the hell had she made it through the blizzard to the ambulance? “Okaaaay. Let’s get both of you out of here.”
A girl in blue hospital scrubs and Larry’s coat appeared over Larry’s shoulder. “Hi. I’m Holly.”
Jared grinned. “Let’s go.”
The morning after Christmas, Jared inspected the retrieved ambulance at the fire station. No apparent damage and the thing started right up.
He opened the back doors, and began the cleanup. Larry had apparently utilized every sheet and fleece to warm up the girl. Lucky she’d found Larry, or she might have died.
Larry had invited her to Christmas dinner at his folks. Jared shook his head. No extra man this holiday for Larry. Quite a gift from Santa.
Jared stripped the gurney. Tangled in the sheets at the foot of the bed was a red satin thong.
Jared stared for a moment, then grinned. “Wishes do come true.”
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Copyright © 2010 Whitley Gray
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.