UPDATE: The winners are…Mary McCoy and Delaine McLafferty!
My story in the First Response Anthology, “Far From Over,” is the first look into my Center City First Responder Series. When I decided to write this kind of a series, it was because I love those kinds of stories—probably starting from my childhood TV viewing of Emergency, Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, E.R., etc. Hey, even my biggest hero as a child, Fred Rogers, said to “look for the helpers.”
Most recently, it’s been Chicago Fire. I wholly admit that the first time I saw the show was an episode featuring a female firefighter. It was eye-opening. In my life, I’d never seen a female firefighter, hadn’t really thought about it either. But here she was, cleaning an area, rescuing a baby from the fire, and then, tired and covered in soot, getting an approving nod from her Captain.
Okay, and later on she gets to kiss the hottest dude on the show, but I digress.
One of the things that quickly became apparent to me was that I wasn’t going to be sticking to ONE kind of first responder. They all came hand in hand. The EMTs who took the victims to the hospital. The doctors who treated the firefighters and police. Even the 911 operators were part of a large and interwoven web of characters. (Side note – my connections chart that I’ve put together is not for the faint of heart)
But I had to start somewhere, right?
I’m really looking forward to sharing this world with readers, these characters have been inhabiting my brain for quite a while now, and I’m looking forward to getting them on the page and out into the world.
Starting with Gina and Webb, you’ll start to see what life in Center City is like. And yes, it’s pretty hot… just the way I like it.
Prizes: Two ebook copies of the anthology on release day… (This contest will close on June 27!)
To enter, answer this…
What are your favorite first responder shows on tv or in movies?
Excerpt from “Far From Over”
His brain was as starved as his lungs. His oxygen tank had lasted a few heartbeats past the shattering of his mask. Layers of protection gone in a few heartbreaking moments.
The edges of his vision had lightened, blanching out in spots and flares.
As long as it wasn’t a light at the end of a tunnel—
“Hey, I got him!”
The weight on his back moved, lifted.
“Hey. Hey! Webb!”
Light hit his face as the debris around his right shoulder fell away.
Russell blinked into the bright light. He couldn’t lift his hand up to block the onslaught. “I’m Webb—”
He heard a bark of laughter and saw the downward swing of a Halligan, punctuated with a heavy thud.
Russell didn’t even blink. He wasn’t afraid of the Halligan. Whoever it was standing beside him knew his job. Each swing and strike lifted a little more of the debris from his back.
When he had full range of motion in his shoulder and managed to pry his arm free, he reached up and pushed at the layers trapping his hips, and more weight lifted free of his other arm and feet.
The heat was like a monsoon in the desert, wet and hot, forming steam in the air and prickling at every inch of exposed skin.
“Come on, Webb!” He felt something slip under his left arm and pull. “All that muscle’s got to be good for something.”
“Hey,” he groaned, “I was dying here!”
Her laughter was warm and smooth.
“There’s time to die later, Webb. If you do it here, you’re going to take me with you, because I’m not leaving without you.”
Pushing up from the floor, he turned his head slightly and saw a pair of warm brown eyes through the facemask above him.
Maybe he was dead.
Or having the best hallucination of his life. “Gina?”
“Who else would crawl into a hole on fire to look for your sorry ass?”
He laughed, and somehow found the energy to lift and backpedal toward the light behind him.
She set him down and leaned out of the hole in the wall to call for assistance.
He tried to roll over onto his side and felt every muscle in his body scream in protest. “I can get up. I can.”
“Oh, I know you can get it up, Webb, but this isn’t a bar, and I’m not one of those girls begging for your attention.”
He laid back down, his body aching in protest from the sudden movement. “I’m willing to beg for yours, Gina. You know I am.”