Title: Lights and Sirens (Emergency Services #2)
Author: Lisa Henry
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 13th 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 231 pages
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Reviewed by: Belen, Ele, LenaR
Paramedic Hayden Kinsella is single and the life of the party. He likes driving fast and saving lives, and he doesn’t do relationships—he does hookups. Except he wouldn’t hook up with copper Matt Deakin if he were the last guy on the planet. Hayden thinks the feeling is mutual . . . until clearing the air leads to a drunken one-night stand, which leads to something neither of them was expecting: a genuine connection.
Police officer Matt Deakin moved to Townsville to take care of his elderly grandfather. In between keeping an eye on Grandad, renovating his house, and the demands of his job, he somehow finds himself in a tentative relationship with Hayden and very slowly gets to know the damaged guy beneath the happy-go-lucky persona.
But the stressors of shift work, fatigue, and constant exposure to trauma threaten to tear Hayden and Matt apart before they’ve even found their footing together. In the high-pressure lives of emergency services workers, it turns out it’s not the getting together part that’s hard, it’s the staying together.
Emergency Services Series
“Okay, who wants to tell me what happened here?”
Hayden Kinsella snapped his head up at the sound of that familiar, stern voice. Great. No, not great. Typical. It was fucking typical. He raised his eyebrows and met Kate’s gaze. “Watch out,” he said. “Constable Dickhead’s here.”
Kate looked down pointedly at the patient lying in the sand between them. The guy’s face was scrunched up with pain, but even he was side-eying Hayden right now.
Hayden grimaced as he checked the patient’s neck brace.
Okay, so he wasn’t being very professional, but it wasn’t like it mattered. The guy’s dirt bike was lying ten metres further down the beach; he had a fractured wrist, abrasions all over him, possible spinal injuries, and his breath stank of alcohol. He had problems of his own. It wasn’t like the first thing he was going to do was dob Hayden in for calling one of the coppers Constable Dickhead.
Still, Hayden’s bravado withered a little under Kate’s frank stare.
Yeah, it was unprofessional and he shouldn’t have said it. The copper just got under Hayden’s skin, and not in a good way. He glanced the short distance along the beach to where Constable Dickhead was trying to get information out of the patient’s clearly unwilling friends. There was a lot of foot shuffling and head shaking going on in response to his questions.
Kate finished bandaging the guy’s wrist and positioned it across his chest. “Can you keep that there for me?”
The guy tried to nod, discovered he couldn’t do it with the neck brace, and so grunted his assent instead.
“Okay,” Hayden said. “I’ll get the stretcher.”
He rose to his feet, sand raining out of the creases in his pants, and left Kate with the patient. Bloody beaches. His boots were full of sand as well. The ambulance was parked up on the road, on the other side of the grassy dunes. Getting the patient out was going to be a pain in the arse, and he was going to have to ask for help. He was going to have to ask Constable Dickhead.
Hayden headed up towards the ambulance, his boots slipping in the sand. A small interested crowd had gathered at the top of the dunes: dog walkers, sunbathers and perverts. The usual Pallarenda types. Between Hayden and the dunes, the patient’s unhappy friends were still being questioned by Constable Dickhead.
Hayden sighed as the copper turned around and saw him. He forced out a smile. It was nothing at all approaching the range of friendly, but more of a ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ type of smile.
Constable Dickhead—shit, he had to stop thinking that. Deakin, Constable Matt Deakin—returned the smile with a curt nod, and that was it.
Hayden looked away, fixing his eyes on the ambulance and fighting down his irritation. A nod. A curt fucking nod. Deakin was just a tool. And good luck to him. Hayden wouldn’t give a shit except it felt like Deakin had been stalking him for weeks now. Somehow their shifts had synced up lately and their respective Comms were sending them to a lot of the same jobs. That was the problem working somewhere the size of Townsville. It was a good-sized regional city, but it was too small to avoid the people you didn’t want to see. Particularly in the narrow field of emergency services.
Hayden climbed the dunes heading for the road, his boots finally hitting the wooden rungs that had been laid down as a path through the beach spinifex and finding some traction again. He quickened his pace and made it to the car park at a jog, then opened the back doors of the ambulance and hauled the stretcher out. It was light enough now, but it would be a different matter when their patient was strapped to it. He closed the doors again.
The assembled onlookers watched him curiously as he headed back to the shore. His boots sank in the sand, slowing him down enough to give him a moment to appreciate the view.
The white beach glimmered like a thread of ribbon under the afternoon sun. The water shone. It was as smooth as glass this afternoon, reflecting the brilliant blue sky above it. In front of him, in the bay, lay hilly, green Magnetic Island. To the north, following the sweep of the beach, smaller islands dotted the water on the way to the horizon. To the south, Castle Hill rose out of the centre of the city. It was only a ten-minute drive away, but it seemed almost distant in the shimmering light.
The salt air filled his lungs as he made his way back towards Kate and the patient.
Would be nice, Hayden thought, to come and spend some time here when he wasn’t lugging a stretcher. Maybe he could even come back here after his shift, and just sit for a while. Soak it all in and enjoy the salt air and the sand without being in the middle of a job.
Things had livened up a little while Hayden had been collecting the stretcher. All of the patient’s friends were talking now, all of them at once, all of them with a different, strident story, and Hayden hid a smile. Sucks to be you, Deakin.
Hayden positioned the stretcher in the sand beside the patient, took a moment longer to enjoy the stony-faced expression on Deakin’s face as the patient’s friends jabbered at him, and then braced himself mentally. He had to ask Constable Dickhead—the living, breathing definition of the fun police—for help.
He walked over to where Deakin and his partner were listening, unmoved, to the friends’ litanies of excuses. Well, Deakin appeared unmoved. His partner was new, and at every job Hayden had seen him he’d been wearing a slightly panicked look like he was barely managing to keep himself together.
“Hey,” Hayden said. “Can you fellas give us a hand with the stretcher?”
Deakin gave another curt nod and closed his notebook. He eyed the rider’s friends. “Stay right here. Understood?”
They mumbled their assurances.
Deakin turned to Hayden. “Where do you want me?”
Holy hell. Wasn’t that the loaded question? And the image that had shot into Hayden’s head the second Constable Deakin had asked it was unprofessional, inappropriate, and filthy as fuck. Hayden shook it off. There was no point fantasising about the cop, or even flirting with him. Jesus, there was no point even being friendly. He’d tried that once, and Deakin had shot him down in flames.
He’d been speeding at the time. Not by much—he’d been doing seventy-one in a sixty zone down Hugh Street. And it had been the middle of the night, and there had been no other traffic on the road, but Hayden had still been prepared to cop it sweet when he’d seen the flash of red and blue lights behind him.
Cop it sweet, hell yes. The cop who’d approached the window was cute. And cute plus uniform equalled smoking hot—that was simple maths. He was slightly taller than Hayden, pushing about six foot, and he was lean. Not ripped, not thin, but lean. The fine light hairs on his arm had gleamed in the streetlight as he’d gestured for Hayden to put the window down. Hayden had caught a glimpse of a tattoo poking out from under his shirt sleeve, just curling down towards his elbow, and he’d wanted to follow it all the way up the cop’s arm to his shoulder and throat.
The copper had light brown hair and blue eyes, full lips, and a smattering of faint freckles on his nose. Too damn cute.
Cuff me, I’m yours.
“Hey,” Hayden had said, handing the cop his licence. God, he was nice. “You new in town?”
A flicker of something had passed through the copper’s eyes. Mistrust? Disgust? Hayden hadn’t been sure.
“I haven’t see you around before,” Hayden had said, flashing him a friendly smile.
The cop had raised an eyebrow and stared back at him.
Which was when Hayden had realised he’d just given him what sounded like a completely cheesy pick-up line, and had tried to laugh it off. “I know most of the coppers in town,” he’d said. “I’m an ambo.”
He hadn’t been asking for a favour or special treatment or anything. There was a line, and Hayden was always careful not to cross it. Dropping where he worked into conversation wasn’t a hint or a demand; it was just making sure the cop had all the relevant information at hand if he wanted to use his discretionary powers. They were all on the same team, right? Generally speaking.
There had been no reaction from…from—Hayden had tried not to appear too obvious as he looked for the cop’s nametag—from Constable Deakin.
Deakin had studied his licence for a moment longer and then eyed him again. There hadn’t been even a flicker of a smile on his face when he’d said: “Then you’re well aware of the dangers of speeding, Mr. Kinsella.”
Hayden had almost choked. Was he fucking serious? Jesus, give me the ticket, arsehole, not the fucking lecture.
“Sure,” he’d managed. “I, ah, lost track, I guess.”
Deakin hadn’t said anything in response to that. He’d written out the ticket in complete silence, and then torn it from the ticket book. He’d handed it over to Hayden along with his licence. “Have a pleasant evening, sir.”
And he’d left Hayden sitting in his car, holding his licence and his speeding ticket and wondering what the hell had just happened.
So when Constable Deakin asked Hayden now, ‘Where do you want me?’ the correct answer was rotting in a shallow grave. Or in lieu of that, living in a cockroach-infested hovel with asbestos in the walls. There was no possible reason in hell he should have suddenly—vividly—imagined Matthew Deakin lying underneath him while he kissed and licked a path along that tattoo he hoped swirled all the way down his shoulders and chest.
“Come on,” Hayden managed, walking back to the patient.
The newbie copper followed at Deakin’s heels like an anxious puppy.
Hayden caught Kate’s gaze. Her lips were curved into a tiny smile, held a fraction away from impassive. The smile was for Hayden alone, because she knew exactly how much the bloody cop got under his skin. Humourless fucking prick. Hot, humourless fucking prick who’d cost Hayden $168 and a demerit point off his licence.
Hayden crouched down beside the patient, his boots squeaking in the sand, and risked a sneaky glance at Deakin.
Deakin was standing back, waiting for instructions. He was resting his hands on his utility belt. One on his Glock, one on his radio. Hayden couldn’t help eying the way the utility belt hung off his slim hips. He also couldn’t help noticing how good the man looked standing in the sunlight with the gleaming ocean at his back. And how the uniform shirt he wore was almost—almost—thin enough to let Hayden see the lean shape of his body in the brilliant light.
Hayden tore his gaze away before his imagination helpfully filled in all the blanks for him.
“How are you doing, mate?” he asked the patient, needing the distraction. And also trying to preserve some level of professionalism at this late stage of the game.
“Good,” the guy wheezed. “Aw, shit, I’m in big trouble with the coppers, aren’t I?”
Hayden smiled at that. “Let’s get you up to the hospital and you can worry about that later, hey?”
“Yeah,” the guy said, squinting at the sky. “What about my bike? Oh fuck, I had my phone in my pocket! Where’s my phone?”
His phone? The guy was lucky they weren’t extracting it out of some bodily orifice during his autopsy.
“You’ll be okay, mate.” Hayden stood up. Yep. No serious injuries here. The neck brace and the back board were a precaution. No doubt this idiot would be up and about again in no time.
He nodded at Deakin’s partner as the guy moved closer. He’d been introduced before, not that it mattered. The newbie took his lead from Deakin and was just as standoffish as his dickhead of a partner.
“Okay,” Kate said. “Hayden will take his head. You guys take his body.” She fixed them with a careful stare. “We’re going to do a log roll. Possible spinal injuries, remember. Take it easy.”
Hayden knelt down in the sand, placing his hands to support the patient’s head and neck. Kate made sure the coppers were positioned correctly, and got the stretcher ready to shove under the guy. “On three, you roll him towards you, onto his side. Ready?” She waited for their nods. “One, two, three.”
Kate slid the stretcher into place and they eased the patient back down onto it.
Hayden stood up. He picked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder.
“Hayden and I will take his head,” Kate said. “You guys take his feet.”
They hefted the stretcher up smoothly.
It took a long time to reach the road, up through the dunes and the grass. And Deakin, to his scant credit, didn’t take the opportunity to give the rider a lecture on stupidity. Or drag him off the stretcher and cuff him.
Jesus though, Deakin was uptight as well as arrogant. He kept his shoulders stiff as he carried the stretcher, and that would cost him in the morning. His jaw was also so tightly clenched that it was surprising he didn’t crack a few teeth.
When his boots finally hit bitumen again, Hayden was probably more relieved than the patient to see the back of the coppers. They loaded him into the ambulance, and Kate tossed Hayden the keys.
“Don’t drive too fast, honey,” she said with a wink the coppers couldn’t see.
Hayden smiled. “I wouldn’t dream of it, dear.”
Kate climbed into the back with the patient, and Hayden flashed a grin at a stone-faced Deakin as he swung himself up into the driver’s seat of the ambulance.
He reversed out of the parking bay, and headed for the road. In the rear-view mirror, he watched as Deakin and Newbie trudged down to the beach again to deal with their unwilling witnesses.
9/13 – Joyfully Jay
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To celebrate the release of Lights and Sirens, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon voucher and a package of whatever Australian goodies I can think of! Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 21, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact email!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
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