Read Winter Rescue (I'll Be Home for Christmas) Online

Authors: Dawn Kimberly Johnson

Tags: #m/m romance, #Advent Calendar 2011, #Nap-size Dream, #Holiday, #Dawn Kimberly Johnson, #2011 Advent Calendar

Winter Rescue (I'll Be Home for Christmas)

BOOK: Winter Rescue (I'll Be Home for Christmas)
11.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Winter Rescue • Dawn Kimberly Johnson

Winter rescue

om? Ma!”

Curt Knutzen tossed his cell onto the seat

“M next to him and squinted out his windshield. He

frantically swiped his gloved hand through the

fog building up on the inside of the window, but it returned

faster than he could rub it off. He checked the defroster

settings on his rental, trying to find a cure for his poor

visibility. Beyond the windshield, large heavy snowflakes

alternated between drifting down and racing by sideways.

Three years
Haven’t been home in three years, and

this shit happens.

The back of the car suddenly lurched to the right—

stopping Curt’s breath—but he quickly compensated and

straightened the car out. As his heart returned to a more

normal beat, he tried to relax his grip on the wheel. He rolled

and stretched his neck, trying to ease the tension building

up in his shoulders. A blast of wind slammed into the car,

and he gasped.

His hand was shaking as he turned up the radio: “

negative nineteen degrees
Plows are out in force, folks, so it’s

best to do as the governor said and stay off the roads. The

storm’s expected to be over before morning, then we can all

start digging out. You know the drill


Winter Rescue • Dawn Kimberly Johnson

Fucking Minnesota
, Curt thought. Three years ago he

moved away to sunnier climes. No matter how breathtaking

the state was during its more mild seasons, winter just put it

in the toilet as far as he was concerned. With his family so

unnerved by his coming out, relocating seemed like a good

idea at the time. His younger sister, Arianna, had been fine

with it—and probably had always suspected—but the rest of

the family had come unglued, his father shouting, his

mother crying and shouting, his brothers staring wide-eyed

as if they were looking at some creature from outer space

instead of their baby brother.

So he headed off to San Diego, escaping the snow and

family drama but finding plenty of sunshine, hard tanned

bodies, and his IT manager position at Spright, Middlesex,

and Blithe, a monolith of a law firm in the state. Curt

shivered. He hadn’t counted on how badly he would miss the

folks, his siblings, their big family dinners, the laughter—

though there hadn’t been much laughter after his

announcement. He carefully slowed the car and leaned

forward over the wheel to try to read a highway sign, then

Just another hour or so, and I’ll be warm. I’ll be home

A mound of snow-covered
suddenly loomed,

filling his field of vision—tiny as it was—and Curt slammed

on his brakes, but the car didn’t stop. He hit whatever it

was, and the car bounced off, sliding backward, off the road,

and coming to rest at an odd angle, headlights pointed at the


For several heart-pounding moments, Curt sat very still,

watching in horror as the headlights gradually grew dim


Winter Rescue • Dawn Kimberly Johnson

from the accumulating snow. The interior was dark except

for his dashboard display, but Curt unbuckled his belt and

reached for the glove box, fumbling it open. A state map,

flashlight, and a couple batteries fell out and into the

passenger seat.

He quickly loaded the batteries into the flashlight and

turned it on, finding the brighter light strangely comforting.

He looked around the interior of the car and saw the

windows were already covered. He’d never been

claustrophobic, but this situation might just cure him of that

immunity. He switched off the flashlight to save the batteries

(how long had they been in that glove box?) and tried to stop


Okay. I’m okay. But the car’s on its tail and running,

which means what… it means something….
Curt shut his

eyes to think more clearly because, for some reason, staring

into the dark was more unsettling than closing his eyes. He

thought of working in the darkroom in junior high school

and how much easier it was to process the film with his eyes

closed, doing it by touch, rather than trying to do it with

eyes wide open, but seeing nothing. It was like his eyes were

trying to drink in as much light as they could, and failing

that, he’d panic.

Then it hit him.
The exhaust might be blocked, so….

Curt hated the idea of shutting off the engine, but

when weighing freezing to death against carbon-monoxide

poisoning, he opted for freezing to death as that would likely

take longer. He turned off the car and the lights and was


Winter Rescue • Dawn Kimberly Johnson

immediately enveloped in silence—but for the wind whistling

outside the car.

Curt rubbed his face in frustration. He had grown up

here. He knew better. You don’t suddenly stand on your

brakes in a snowstorm, you make sure your car has a winter

emergency kit, and you dress warmly.
One out of three is

. Could three years in California have really erased all his

winter smarts?

He remembered driving west with Bobby Bianchi, years

ago. They’d driven through Eugene, Oregon, at one point on

their way to pick up another potential roommate for the tiny

San Diego apartment they’d secured. They had watched in

confusion, and then disbelief, as drivers pulled off the road

because of a dusting of snow—literally a dusting. It was the

kind of snow that settled on the ground for about three

seconds before blowing away to melt elsewhere.

Granted, his current predicament was the complete

opposite of a dusting, but Curt couldn’t help wondering if he

was one of those people now. Would his family be ashamed

of his ineptitude? Would they be amused that after only a

couple of years away from home, he was clueless about the

hazards of a Minnesota winter? Or would they simply be

thankful his body was left unaccosted by wild animals?

Curt fumbled over the passenger seat until his hand

settled on his cell. He activated it and checked for coverage.

No bars. When trying to reassure his mother earlier, their

call had dropped. She was worried about him being on the

road in the storm, wanted him to pull off and try to get a

room somewhere, then drive out to the farm tomorrow, but


BOOK: Winter Rescue (I'll Be Home for Christmas)
11.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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