Story Excerpt
Hot Mess 3

flame div

Two years ago, to the night, my world changed when Lt. Salvador Delvecchio rescued me from a beat down and decided I belonged to him. A year ago, he changed my life once again when he asked me to marry him. It had been a week after our actual one year anniversary, but what's a few days in the game of life?

As I sat at the impeccably decorated dining room table, set for a romantic dinner for two, I wondered if I would be spending my anniversary alone yet again. Sal had been due home from work two hours ago.

He still wasn't here.

I had already eaten my way through the basket of breadsticks and drank a good portion of the wine I had chosen to go with the dinner I had cooked for our anniversary. I was ready to start chewing on my napkin.

Last year, when Sal had missed our special dinner, I had packed everything up, saved the food in the fridge, and gone to bed. I wasn't so ready to do that this time.

I was pissed.

Sal had promised me he would be here tonight. I had written the date on the calendar, entered it into his phone, called him earlier today to remind him, and sent him a text. Three times. If he didn't know we had special plans tonight, he had to be living on the moon.

I pressed my hand to my sternum, pretending the ache I felt were hunger pains.

They weren't, but I was good at pretending.

I glanced at the clock on the wall. Time was going by faster than I could stop it. I wanted to stop it. I wanted to just hover in a bubble until Sal arrived and let me out. I didn't like feeling as if the thing which were important to me, didn't matter to Sal.

I knew he loved me. I felt it every day.

Just, sometimes, I didn't think I was his whole world.

He was mine.

I lived to breath Sal in. Cinnamon and whiskey. It was the scent I had come to associate with home, safety, and just about everything I craved. It was Sal's scent.

I loved it.

I needed it.

I needed Sal.

I picked up my phone, hoping I had missed a phone call or a text.

No such luck.

I sent off another text asking Sal when he was going to be home. I hated sounding like I was nagging, but I was nagging.

 If he was on another undercover operation without telling me, I was going do something really mean.

Last year, he had been assigned an undercover operation. He had been ordered not to tell me. He had followed that order and it had led to more hell than anyone should ever have to endure. Sal had promised it would never happen again.

I prayed he was keeping his word.

Until I saw him, I had no way to be sure.

My heart lodged in my throat when my phone rang. I answered it without looking to see who was calling. "Sal?"

"No, Clarke."

My shoulders slumped. "Oh, hey, Clarke."

Sgt. Victor Clarke, the second in command of Sal's SWAT team, and a good friend.

"Where are you?" The man's voice had a frigid chill to it.

"At home," I replied, growing confused. "Have you heard from Sal? Do you know—"

"You haven't?"

"No. I expected him home over two hours ago. I've been sitting here waiting for him. We're supposed to be having dinner together." I swallowed tightly. "It's our anniversary."

"No one called you?"

"Called me for what?" I sat up straight, bracing myself. "What's going on, Clarke?"

"Fuck!" Clarke snapped.


"Sal's here at the hospital, Lany. They should have called you already. He's been here for three hours."

My breath caught on a sob.

" he..." I couldn't say it. My entire world rested on Clarke's response.

"He's alive, Lany. We were on a call and it went bad. Sal got hurt. They took him to the hospital in an ambulance. I just got here. I had to stay and secure the scene until I could turn it over to the detectives and crime scene investigators."

Tears sprang to my eyes as my heart started beating again. "He's alive, though, right?"

"He's alive, Lany."

"I'm on my way."

"Let me send a car for you."

"No, I'll catch a cab. It'll be quicker."

And I wasn't allowed to drive. Something about destroying twelve cars in four years. It wasn't my fault if things just sort of jumped out in front of me.

Except the elephant.

That one might have been my fault. I did crash into the circus tent after all.

Still, my uncle, who was also the police commissioner and my boss, had threatened to put me in jail if I ever got behind the wheel of a car again.

"If you talk to him, tell him I'm on my way, okay?" It broke something inside of me that I hadn't been there for Sal. Instead, I had been sitting at home, being pissed at him because he wasn't here.

If anything happened to him before I got to the hospital, I'd never forgive myself.

"I'll tell him, Lany. Just get here."

I hung up on Clarke without saying goodbye. The man would understand. I dialed the doorman downstairs and asked him to get me a cab and then hurried to my bedroom to change. I didn't think a g-string and see through mesh shirt were exactly appropriate for a hospital visit, or anywhere public.

Faded jeans, thick socks, a heavy fishnet sweater over my long sleeve shirt, and boots. There wasn't any snow on the ground right now, but it could happen at any time. And as cold as I tended to get, I needed to bundle up if I even looked out a window.

Before leaving the penthouse apartment I shared with Sal, I made sure the oven was turned off, grabbed my keys, my carry bag with my Ipad, wallet, and phone, and then I was out the door.

A cab was waiting for me.

Unfortunately, once the cab was underway, I didn't have anything to do but watch out the window and worry. The city scenery passed me by in a blur of tears. I knew I was totally wussing out, but this was Sal. He was the only one who truly understood me, and still wanted me.

I needed him to breathe.