Story Excerpt
Hot Mess 12

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My life was a fantasy.

No one knew that better than me.

Unfortunately, it was also fraught with danger.

Again, no one knew that better than me.

I huffed as a paramedic strapped me down to a gurney. I hated this part. Being restrained was not something I handled well.

Unless Sal was the one restraining me.

Salvador Delveccho, SWAT team commander and Italian wet dream come to life. Even after eleven years and six adopted children, I had never quite figured out how I ended up with him as a husband. He could easily have anyone he wanted, with a line forming for those who hoped they'd be noticed by the gorgeous man.

And yet, somehow, he only had eyes for me.

I was one lucky son-of-a-bitch.

"How's your head, Mr. Delvecchio?"

I glanced at the paramedic. He must be new. I'd certainly never seen him before. "A little achy," I admitted. "It didn't bleed as much this time so I'm hoping I won't need a lot of stitches."

The paramedic's eyebrows rose. "You've been hurt like this before?"

I laughed because damn, that was funny. "Once or twice."

"What happened?"

"Oh, I slipped in the snow getting out of the car and hit the steps." Which was better than falling down the stairs or tripping over a rug, both of which had happened more than once.

"That's a pretty nasty bruise on your cheek," the paramedic said. "Are you sure you hit the steps?"

"Oh, yeah." It wasn't like that was something I'd forget.

"I see."

It was all I could do not to roll my eyes. I could hear the censure in the paramedic's voice and knew what he was thinking, but it was the farthest from truth as it could possibly be. Sam would never lift a hand to me. He'd rather die himself than hurt me or one of our kids.

Sadly, I'd run into people like this paramedic before.

Sal called me a hot mess, but basically, I was an accident prone klutz. It was as simple as that. He wasn't hurting me. No one was hurting me. I was just a little...coordination challenged.

My eyes snapped to the paramedic when the ambulance started to move. "Where's Marcus?"

I didn't go anywhere without Marcus.


Marcus was very good at his job, a former Marine, and all around good egg. The man had taken three bullets for me and sustained numerous concussions, bruises, and headaches trying to keep me safe. I'd say we paid him really well for his work protecting me, but no one was that glutton for punishment.

"I'm sorry, who?"

"My bodyguard Marcus."

The paramedic's brow furrowed. "I'm afraid I don't know who that is."


Sal was going to have an aneurism.

"Can I use your phone?"

The paramedic's eyebrows lifted. "My phone?"

"Yes, I need to call my husband."

"Why don't we wait until you've seen the doctor?"

The paramedic smiled as he patted my arm. It was one of those smiles that made me grit my teeth to keep from yelling. The guy thought I was a sandwich short of a picnic and needed to be protected for my own good because obviously, I couldn't.

Well, part of that was true or I wouldn't have a bodyguard, but that didn't mean I was stupid. I was actually quite intelligent. I just had issues walking into things, tripping over them, and generally doing anything most people could do without hurting themselves.

I wasn't even talking about the kidnappings, assaults, people trying to kill me, cars I had crashed, or times I'd had gotten into messes only our vast network of friends and family had been able to rescue me from. I was talking about normal everyday shit.

Yeah, I was a mess.

The thing was, though, people on the outside of my little circle of friends and family didn't tend to understand us...well, me. I suspected that this paramedic was one of those people that didn't understand that these types of things happened to us all the time.

We were kind of used to them.

We pulled up in front of the emergency room a few minutes later. I was lucky. We didn't live far from the hospital. I often wondered if Sal and Vinnie had planned it that way when we traded our two bedroom penthouse of his fifteen acre estate.

The gurney I was on was pulled out of the ambulance and I wheeled into the emergency room. I waved my hand when I saw the security guard. "Hey, Dana."

The security guard snorted as he shook his head. "What did you do this time, Lany?"

I pointed up toward my head since I couldn't lift my arm. I was still retrained. "Slipped in the snow and hit my head on the steps. Is Skip on duty?"

Dr. Skip Jones had been taking care of my medical needs for years. He knew about every one of my accidents. All of the team members on Sal's SWAT unit had Skip on speed dial. Better yet, we had a fully equipped infirmary in our house.

We needed one.

I just wished I had been allowed to stay there and use it instead of being driven off in an ambulance. But, as Marcus reminded me, the infirmary was just a well decorated room if the doctor wasn't there.

"No, but I can call him for you."

"Thanks, Dana. Can you call Sal, too? They wouldn't let Marcus come with me."

"He probably already knows, Lany."

"Yeah, but someone needs to call him just in case."

Dana chuckled. "Not a problem, Lany. I'll give Sal a call right after I call Dr. Jones."

"Thanks, Dana." It paid to know people at the hospital, especially since I tended to spend a lot of time here.

I was wheeled into one of the exam rooms. The restraints were removed and I was lifted up and moved to the exam bed. I don't know why they didn't just let me do it myself. My head was injured, not my legs.

As soon as I was settled on the exam bed, I sat up and reached for the phone next to the bed. I quickly dialed Sal before the paramedic or the nurse could stop me.

"I'm on my way, Lany. How bad is it?"

"I slipped and hit my head on the steps. My head is bleeding, but I don't think I'll need more than a couple of stitches."

Sadly, I was kind of an expert at this type of injury.