Saturday, 13 December 2014
Book Spotlight: Midwinter's Night Dream by Whitley Gray
Midwinter Night's Dream
by Whitley Gray
M/M Romance/Holiday Themed
Two years ago, Joe Blake lost his secret lover, firefighter Bryce Marshall. Grieving, Joe left his job as a fireman and paramedic to become the spokesmodel for undergarment company Escalade. They lured him into the limelight and drove him deeper into the closet. Modeling doesn't provide fulfillment; Joe wants privacy and to feel useful again. A holiday at his mountain cabin outside Denver is the perfect escape. The last thing he anticipated, or wanted, was sharing his retreat with another man.
Joe squinted into the whirling flakes. A bad night to be out driving. He’d passed half a dozen cars off the highway before he’d gotten to the rural route that led to the cabin. Pine trees formed a dark wall beyond the road when the snow let up long enough to see. The windshield wipers could barely keep up, and with the drifting, the Jeep might get high centered. And that would be a disaster. At least he had enough food and supplies to last ten days if he got stuck inside the vehicle. It’d be unpleasant—not to mention a hell of a way to spend Christmas—but he’d survive.
The headlights caught on the reflector post marking the drive, and Joe downshifted. Something was glowing by the side of the road, next to a clump of bushes. Not normal. There were no lights without generator power, and the only generator for miles was his. In any case, no one had ever installed a lamp down there. What would be the point?
The Jeep rolled to a stop. Joe hoped to hell he didn’t get stuck. He yanked on a heavy watch cap and opened the door. Icy air intruded, filling the Jeep with winter, and he hopped down and slammed the door. The wind whistled through the trees and pushed the snow on the ground. It’d take a couple of seconds to check this out. He waded around the front of the Jeep through the snow. The headlights shone on the oddity, and the hair on his neck stood at attention. A flashlight, half-buried in snow. Next to the light was a black lace-up boot.
Aw, fuck. Not on Christmas. Why are you out here?
Joe knelt next to the figure partially covered in snow and began to dig. A pant leg, then the edge of an army jacket. A hand in a thin rag wool glove. And finally, a face. A young face, motionless, ice crusted over the eyes, nose, and mouth. The guy looked…dead. Joe closed his eyes. Golden hair sticking out of a fire helmet, and soot.
Stop. He opened his eyes and ran his gloved fingertips along the man’s cheek. A knit cap. Ice, not soot. The pale face in front of him was a stranger’s. It’s the holiday, the location preying on you. Shake it off.
Joe shoved his hand down the man’s collar and found a slow and weak carotid pulse. The skin was warmer beneath the clothing. Letting out a steaming breath, Joe sat back on his heels. Not dead, thank God, but unconscious, hypothermic, and possibly frostbitten.
Instinct kicked in. He had the knowledge and skills to save this guy. The snow pummeled him as Joe began scooping the drift off the man. It took a couple of minutes to free the motionless victim from the grip of the blizzard. Joe squatted and threw the man over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. The guy couldn’t have gone over one hundred sixty pounds, and lay limp and lifeless. Joe headed for the Jeep, the snow squeaking beneath his boots.
Fighting the wind, Joe opened the back door of the Cherokee, settled the ice man supine on the bench seat, and buckled him in. With the Jeep in gear, Joe headed up the drive. Monstrous drifts threatened to block the way, and he maneuvered around them, avoiding the rough on the sides of the road. If the storm kept up, he’d be snowed in by midnight. Snowed in and not alone.
Merry Christmas and welcome home.
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