Silent Night

an excerpt



Chapter One

Even as he lay dying, Hunter Beams could not believe how lucky he was in the end. After all, he was in the arms of the handsomest man he'd ever laid eyes on. The man wore a black expensive wool coat and a black fur-lined hat. His cologne smelled like ginger and sandalwood. The only thing that would have made this the best death in the world was if he were gay and would kiss Hunter goodbye.

The man took off his coat and wrapped it around Hunter. "The ambulance is on its way."

Hunter didn't feel the cold even though it was Christmas Eve in New York. His entire body had heated to a nice toasty degree just by staring up into long-lashed dark brown eyes.

"What were you doing on the bridge?" the stranger asked.

"Running toward the water," Hunter answered.

"Why?"

"Because it was the only way to cure the loneliness."

"Didn't you see my car?"

Hunter shook his head slowly. "I was concentrating on the distance. I wanted to run fast enough so I could throw myself over the railing without hitting it."

The man looked at him oddly. "Why did you want to do a damn fool thing like that?"

"Because I have nothing and no one," Hunter answered. "I thought it was a very good idea at the time, but I guess your car hitting me will be an easier death. I feel like I'm drifting away."

"Stop that," the man said. "Don't you dare die on me. It's Christmas Eve for God's sake. No one should die on the holiest of nights."

Hunter adored the stranger's voice. "Why didn't someone like you come into my life a year ago, when everything started falling apart?" He heard sirens off in the distance.

"What do you mean? You're a young man. What could have possibly happened a year ago, to make you want to take your life?"

"I realized that I really was gay. Well, I suspected it before that." He chuckled weakly. "All the signs were there. It wasn't until a guy that I thought I could trust tried to take advantage of me, and when I refused he got me fired and kicked out of my apartment." He was starting to feel the cold. "You wouldn't happen to be gay, would you?" Hunter knew that it was just too much to ask. Why did he think his luck would change just because he was about to go to hell?

"Yes," the man answered just as the ambulance arrived.

"Please grant me this one last request. Would you kiss me?" The man hesitated for a moment then he leaned down and placed his lips against Hunter's. They were warm and moist and the best first kiss a dying man could have. Hunter closed his eyes as he felt his rotten, pathetic life slipping away.

The man's tears fell on his face as the kiss ended. "Don't die," he said. "You're not alone."

The last thing Hunter remembered was feeling warm all over again before everything went black.



Chapter Two

Hunter knew the moment he opened his eyes that his suicide attempt had been a big fail. Damn, he couldn't get anything right. From the sounds and scents of disinfectant around him, he deduced that he was in a hospital room. He gazed over to his right and saw an IV hookup and a tube running from it to his right hand. He had small veins so he was surprised that the nurse had actually found one. There were all kinds of wires running from him to other machines. One, he suspected was monitoring his heart and the other was probably checking his pulse. He had a numb feeling in his ribs and in his head. Something had hit him. The last thing he remembered was making a mad dash across the Brooklyn Bridge trying to get to the other side. I guess I didn't make it.

"The patient is awake," a female voice said. Moments later a young pretty woman with blonde hair, and a middle-aged man with gray hair and beard peered down at him.

"How do you feel young man?" the man asked, flashing a light in Hunter's eyes.

He wore a white lab coat so Hunter figured he must be a doctor. The nurse began to check his vitals. "Drowsy," Hunter said. "Where am I?"

"You're at Womac General Hospital. I'm Doctor Bedford, your attending physician."

The name of the hospital didn't ring a bell. "Are we in Brooklyn?"

The doctor shook his head. "No, we're in Chelsea, New York."

Hunter frowned. How in the fuck had he gotten there?

"Are you in any pain?" Doctor Bedford asked.

Hunter shrugged. "Just in my head. How badly am I injured?"

"You were hit by a car. Do you know your name?"

"Hunter Beams."

"Age?"

"Twenty-one.".

"Date of birth?" Doctor Bedford asked.

"October sixth." He paused. "Am I going to die?"

"No," the doctor said. "No, you have several bruised ribs and a concussion. What were you doing on the Brooklyn Bridge?"

"I don't remember," Hunter lied. Broken bones and a concussion? Damn! Why did he feel that there was something he was supposed to remember?

"Do you smoke, drink alcohol or take medication?"

"No, no, and no," Hunter replied. What's with all the questions?

"Do you take any recreational or prescription drugs?"

"No."

"Good," the doctor said. "One more question. Are you allergic to any food or medication?"

"No," Hunter answered again. He wasn't stupid. Doctor Bedford knew it was a suicide attempt and probably was trying to find out what led to it.

"You're a lucky young man. The guy who hit you took good care of you until the ambulance arrived."

"A guy?" Hunter asked. His thoughts were all jumbled and his head throbbed.

The doctor nodded. "Yes, he was here all night then the nurse convinced him to go home and get some rest."

Someone knocked on the door and entered. Hunter was still flat on his back so he couldn't see who.

The doctor turned. "Oh, you're back. The patient is awake."

Another face appeared over him, along with Doctor Bedford's. The heart monitor resounded with a louder beep than normal. Both the doctor and the nurse checked it.

"His pulse is racing," the nurse said.

The new arrival kept looking down at him with intense brown eyes. He was younger than the doctor, maybe in his late twenties or early thirties with a head of thick brown hair. Hunter felt desire stir in his body. The other guy was drop dead gorgeous with long eyelashes, a perfect nose, and lips to die for. He wore a black coat and a fur-lined hat.

"I don't know what happened, the monitor just went crazy for a moment," the nurse said.

The other man smiled down at him and the machines went off again.

Hunter tried not to moan. If he didn't stop, everyone was going to think he was some kind of pervert. But his body liked what he saw. Boy he was a mess.

"Hunter, this is Mr. Donte Womac," Doctor Bedford finally said. "He's the guy whose car you ran into."

Yes, the good doctor knows what happened. Well, it wasn't hard to figure out since he had no business being on the Brooklyn Bridge late at night. He wondered how all of this attention was going to be paid for. He had no money, health insurance, or job.

"Hello Hunter," Donte Womac said. "How are you feeling?"

Hunter raised an eyebrow. The guy had a great voice. Why did it sound familiar? "I have a headache. The doctor said you've been here all night. Thank you."

"No thanks necessary," Donte said. "It was the least I could do since I ran into you."

Well, that wasn't exactly true. Mr. Donte Womac with the beautiful brown eyes could have just driven away.

"I'll be back later to check on you," Doctor Bedford said. "Have a nice visit with Mr. Womac, and be nice." He walked out and took the nurse with him.

"Womac? Do you own this hospital?"

Donte chuckled. "Not exactly. My family does. What about yours? Have they been notified?"

"I don't have a family," Hunter said.

"No one?" Donte asked, coming closer.

Hunter's monitor started making that sound again. His heart was beating so loudly he heard it in his ears. The man's cologne just drove him wild. He shook his head. "Nope. I was orphaned at birth like a puppy."

Donte Womac had the most fascinating expressions. He seemed perplexed and his eyes lost their spark for a moment. "Oh," he said. "You did mention something like that." He paused. "Do you remember what we did last night?"

Damn, he wished he could remember. He shook his head. That made it throb. "No." There goes that face again. Donte looked confused.

"We kissed. You don't remember it?"

Hunter raised his free hand to his head. There was a big bandage on it. He lowered it and closed his eyes. "I do remember something like that, but I thought it was a dream."

"It was no dream," Hunter said. "It was your last wish."

Images flashed in his mind. They were of him and Donte. "Oh!" Hunter said as the memories came rushing back. His body heated with desire. "You are a good kisser."

"Do you remember the last words I said to you before you passed out?"

The fogginess in his head began to clear. Hunter nodded. "You asked me not to die and told me that I wasn't alone." Boy, did he feel stupid. He had kissed a complete stranger. Now what was he going to do?

"I meant what I said," Donte said. "Don't ever try anything foolish like that again. So what if you're gay? Most of my friends are, and they enjoy it."

"Do they all look like you?" Hunter asked.

Donte nodded his head and chuckled. "Some are even better looking."

Hunter found that hard to believe, but appreciated Donte's sense of humor.

"Please promise me that you won't try something like that again. The whole situation could have turned out differently if I hadn't been on that bridge."

"Yeah, I'd probably be sleeping with the fish right now," Hunter said with a weak attempt at joking. "But nothing else has changed. I may be alive but I'm still broke, unemployed and homeless. I don't even know how I'm going to pay for this hospital stay. I don't have health insurance."

"You let me worry about that," Donte said. "You just concentrate on getting better." He leaned over and kissed Hunter again. "You aren't alone anymore. You have me. So, don't worry about the hospital bill. It's all taken care of."

"I can't repay you for this," Hunter said, still reeling from the kiss.

"I don't want repayment. I just want you to get better." Donte paused. "Do you live in Brooklyn?"

"Yes," Hunter answered. "I did." He shook his head and willed the tears not to fall. He was tired of feeling sorry for himself and ashamed for almost committing a sin. If he had completed the jump from the bridge, he would be burning in hell right now.

"Don't cry," Donte said. "I'll come back and visit you later."

The nurse came back into the room after Donte had left and put something into Hunter's IV. Hunter felt tired again. He closed his eyes and went to sleep.