Facebook friend and fellow author, Alison Kent, asked the following question this morning, online:
"How do we feel about romance novels where during height of emergencies (fires, police & EMT situations) there's much lusting between H & h?"
How do I feel?
Let's face it; everybody wonders about that. It's exciting to think that two people, cooped up night after night~~in a high-mileage sedan with no leg room and the stench of a hundred winos in it~~might want to 'get busy' while the world around them goes to hell. We've been bombarded with just such situations from all sides: in print, in film and on TV. Who can ever forget (no matter how hard we try) the romantic parry and thrust in 'Emergency', 'Rescue 911', 'Hill Street Blues' and every other TV program before and since that has anything whatever to do with the fictional lives of cops, doctors, EMTs, firefighters, paramedics and other rescue workers.
Just for now, imagine yourself~~~
You're a cop. You and your hottie partner have just gone on duty. You've hauled your gear out of your lockers; you've suffered through roll call, where the duty sergeant, who has the reading ability of a six-year-old, has slowly intoned the information on the watch reports, the dispatch log, and the hot sheets from the last 24-hours~~even though you've already read the watch reports, the dispatch logs, and the hot sheets from the past 24-hours. You listen to descriptions of rapists, murderers, and robbery suspects, jotting down notes and accepting print copies of wanted posters from the designated rookie, who scampers around the room handing them out with the earnestness of a spaniel at the Westminster Dog Show. Most important of all, you and your partner have decided who's going to drive tonight, and who gets to talk on the radio and who gets to run the magic lights. It's your turn to drive and run the lights. Hottie gets to talk on the radio.
You and the rest of the shift amble out into the dark, into the back lot of the police station where all the police cars are parked. The two of you open the doors and pop the trunk of your unit. No, not THAT unit~~your police car. You toss your extra gear into the trunk and start your safety check, making sure the spare is full, the tires are all good. You pull the shotgun out of its mount and eject all the rounds in it, checking the action. You reload it, push the safety back on and put it back in the mount. You check that the spotlights work, the headlights and turn signals all work. You pull out the mic for the external loudspeaker, usually making a brief statement to test it's effectiveness, such as: "Dave Smith (who is doing a walk-around at his own unit a few yards away) is a dipshit." You check under the seats for anything that might have been left behind by an arrestee~~like a gun, or a knife, or some dope. Or all of the above. It's summer, and in spite of the Lysol you carry in your gear bag, the car still smells like a foot. Someone else's foot. OK, it smells like ass. You spray more Lysol.
Finally, you shut everything up, climb in and start the car, moving along in the procession of police cars that heads off to their respective beats (this is the neighborhood's favorite part), each driver testing each siren in a cacaphonous chorus: woot, woooot, WOOOOOOOOT. DOOOdah, DOOOdah, DOOOdah. WEEEEoooh, WEEEEooh, WEEEoooh.
So there you are in your own little rolling universe with your hottie partner, and he is gorgeous. His uniform is perfect, badge glistening, ex-marine hair 'high and tight'. He has big hands, neat handwriting. Over the Lysol, he smells like Axe aftershave and leather. His gray eyes twinkle when he laughs, which he does often~~a dimple deep in one cheek. The two of you have been through a lot together. So much that you've no need for verbal communication. You know~~and trust~~each other that well.
You're assigned beat three tonight: a gang neighborhood so dangerous that decent people walk in the gutter to avoid what inhabits the sidewalk. Mute knots of tattooed men surreptitiously watch as you drive by, turning inward so you cannot see what they hold, what they plan. Loud music blares from a passing car. You pass another knot of gangbangers wadded together in heated conversation. You and your partner make eye contact. The hair on your arms lifts. You get the first hit of adrenaline as you make the corner, you and he in silent agreement that this group needs some attention. You drive back up the next block, turn again, approaching the group from a side street when the radio crackles. "345, a 211 in progress, 7-11, 4th and Orange. Handgun involved, shots fired. Repeat, shots fired." Armed robbery in-progress. Three blocks north.
"Clear right," your partner says as you flip on the overhead lights. No siren. There is safety in silence, a chance to catch the perps. Dispatch continues to feed information. The crook is still in the store. Your eyes cut left, and you see no oncoming traffic from that direction, trusting your partner absolutely that the street is clear to the right. The gang on the corner loses importance for now, blurring as you blow through the intersection, bracing your right hand against the car's headliner as you hit the deep dips in the road, tearing through the neighborhood in a race with madness.
Half a block away, you kill all your lights and glide to the curb. You hear the shotgun rack pop as your partner pulls out the 12-gauge. You shut down the car and pocket the keys. "We're 10-97," he tells dispatch. You pull out your handgun, thumbing the safety as you and he crouch, listening~~swiftly scanning the area for pedestrians, getaway cars, bystanders, anything. Anything.
Silent, grim, working in perfect, deadly symmetry, the two of you creep up the sidewalk, using buildings, cars, and shadows as cover. There's an alleyway behind the store. You're moments away from confrontation. Your heart pounds, the heavy thrums vibrating behind the ballistic panel in your body armor. Together you veer left, still crouched, moving into the viscous darkness in the alley. He touches your shoulder. You turn, holstering your weapon as you lean against the still-warm brick of the store. Your partner props the shotgun against a dumpster as he steps between your welcoming thighs.