Welcome Birthday Guest Stormy Glenn!

TJ’s Birthday Dilemma
~ A Hot Mess Short Story ~

I’d graduated from high school a couple of weeks ago, I was turning eighteen in a couple of days, and today I was my birthday party. Legally, I’d be an adult, able to make my own decisions and choose which direction my life went.
I knew my fathers would be planning a big birthday party for me, and that was great. I always loved it when the entire family got together. It was the conversation I needed to have with my fathers after that party that was weighing on me.
I’d been talking to my dad for awhile now about joining the service. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to follow in his footsteps and became a SWAT officer, but I wanted to do something that mattered. I figured the service would be a good start.
I just had to break it to my other father. Lany was going to flip his lid.
Lany Delvecchio had rescued me from hell, freeing me from a child slavery ring, and then he had invited me into his home and his heart. Between Lany and Sal, they had given me all the love a child should have and the time I needed to become the person I was today, a person I liked being, a person I hoped they were proud of.
I didn’t like the idea of upsetting them, but I felt strongly about this. I’d discussed it with Sal, my grandfather, Burke, Clarke, and even Vinnie. All men I looked up to. Each one had told me the same thing. I needed to do what felt right to me, and joining the service felt right.
It also felt scary.
Our massive estate was my safe place. Being with my family was my safety place. Hell, even the dog felt safe to me. The thought of leaving this all behind was gutting me, and I wasn’t sure what to do about that, but I also felt an overwhelming need to go.
“Hey, son.”
I glanced toward the doorway. “Hey, Dad.”
“Your grandparents are going to be here soon. Are you planning on coming downstairs to join us?”
I smiled. “Yeah.”
Sal frowned. “You okay, TJ?”
“Yeah.” I smiled, but I felt as if Sal saw right through me, especially when he stepped into the room and shut the door. He walked over and sat down on the bed next to me.
“You know you can come to me with anything, right?”
“Oh yeah, I know.”
“Then tell me what has you so upset?”
My shoulders slumped. “I want to sign up for the service, but I don’t know how to break it to Papà. I’m also not sure I’m quite ready to leave home.”
“Only you can make that decision, TJ. If you need to take the summer and figure that out, then do that. On the other hand, if you feel you have to go now, then that’s alright too. You’ll know when you’re ready. “
TJ glanced up. “How do you know?”
“You just do. You’ll still be a little scared, a little unsure. You’re leaving your safety zone and going somewhere new. New place, new people, new activities. I don’t care who you are, that’s always a little scary.”
My eyebrows lifted in surprise. “You’ve been scared before?” Sal Delvecchio was the most powerful man I knew. I was pretty sure there wasn’t anything in the world he couldn’t do.
“I get scared a lot, TJ. I’m scared that something will happen to one of you kids, Lany, Moe, one of our friends. I’m scared that one of these times I won’t be able to pull Lany’s butt out of the fire. I’m scared that someone I am trying to arrest will be faster or stronger than me and I won’t be able to come home to you all. I’m scared of what is going to happen the first time one of you gets your heart broken. I’m scared of a lot of things.”
My eyes widened with each word my Dad spoke. “How do you even get out of bed in the morning?”
I’d be hiding under the covers.
Sal chuckled. “I’m more scared of losing what I have by not appreciating it and living my life to the fullest.”
I wanted to say I didn’t understand what he meant, but I did. My fathers had been through more in the ten years they’d been together than anyone I’d ever met. It was pretty insane, but they always came out stronger, no matter what life threw their way.
“How do you think Papà will react if I tell him I want to join the service?”
“I think he’ll be sad, but he’ll do his best to hide it from you. He wants you to live your life to the fullest, too, even if that means you’re twenty thousand miles away from us.” Sal patted my knee. “Just remember to write home or your dad will hunt down your commander and demand to know what’s happening to his boy.”
“He would, too.” I laughed. I didn’t know who my commander would be, but he didn’t stand a chance against Lany Delvecchio.
“Come on, we need to head downstairs for your birthday party.”
Yeah.” I was actually a little excited about that. Not because of the presents, but because everyone was going to be there. I loved my family.
I knew we were closer than most families due to the different traumas we’d been through, but we all knew we were stronger together. Which was another reason why it was so hard for me to leave them all behind.
I could hear the noise level rise as I walked down the stairs. The kids were going crazy.
I could also hear Lany trying desperately to corral them. If they’d gotten into the cake or the food I’d seen Mrs. Martinez cooking earlier, there was no way they were going to calm down, not in this century.
My smile grew into a huge grin when I walked into the living room. Lany was sitting on the couch, his head in his hands. Jamie, Emily, and Mikey were tossing a balloon back and forth, with Moe, our dog, jumping up into the air trying to get the balloon. The twins sat on the floor out of the way, egging the dog on.
Sal walked over to the couch, sat down, then lifted Lany into his lap. I had no idea what Sal whispered into his ear, but within a few seconds, all the tension left Lany’s shoulders and he was laughing. Even after ten years of marriage and six kids, Dad seemed to have that affect on Papà.
I turned when the doorbell rang. I knew better than to answer it myself. That was Brant’s job. I did walk a little closer when I heard my grandparents’ voices. Lancaster and Cynthia Harris had adopted all of us into their family with welcome arms, thrilled to have grandchildren when they hadn’t thought it would ever happen because Lany was gay.
“TJ,” Cynthia called out as she walked toward me. “Happy birthday, son.”
“Thank you, Grandma.” I leaned in and pressed a kiss to her cheek and then turned to look at my grandfather. “Sir.”
“Is eighteen too old for a hug?” Lancaster asked.
“No, sir.” I’d always take a hug from him.
“Where’s your father, TJ?”
I snickered and gestured behind me. “Having a meltdown in the living room.”
Cynthia’s brow flickered. “Is everything okay?”
That was a loaded question.
“Yes, ma’am. The other kids are on overload.”
“Ah.” She nodded knowingly. “Well, I’ll just go see if I can scrape him off the floor.”
I smiled when my grandfather’s arm came around my shoulders as Grandma walked away.
“Eighteen, huh?”
I nodded.
“Got any plans?”
“I’ve been giving a few things some thought.”
I wasn’t sure I was quite ready to share them.
“Well, you’ve got plenty of time, but if I can help in any way, you just let me know.”
“I will, Grandpa.”
“Now, let me tell you about this new trip your grandmother wants us to go on,” he said as we started walking toward the living room. “We start out by flying to England.”
Lancaster nodded. “It’s like thirteen countries in thirteen days or something crazy like that. I have no idea how we’re supposed to see anything if we spend all our time on a train, but your grandmother is so excited, she could bust.”
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. The last time they had gone on vacation, their yacht had sank and they’d spend several days on a deserted island until they were rescued. I didn’t even want to think about what could happen if they were on a train traveling through thirteen different countries. The fall of Eastern Europe can immediately to mind.
“I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time,” I said, even if I didn’t believe it. “Just make sure you have good insurance.”
Lancaster chuckled. “So, have you decided what your birthday wish is?”
I wanted to not be so scared about leaving home.
I wanted Papà to not freak when I told him what I wanted to do.
I wanted to join the service.
I wanted to stay home.
I wanted someone to tell me what to do.
I was pretty sure I wasn’t getting any of those wishes.
“No to worry, son.” Lancaster patted me on the back. “You’ll figure it out. You’ve got time.”
“That’s what Dad said.”
Maybe they were right.
“We’d better get in there.”
I nodded and then stepped into the living room. The kids had quieted down for the most part. They were all sitting in a circle on the floor, batting a balloon back and forth. Lany sat on the couch with Sal, both men talking with Cynthia. Moe had given up and gone to sleep in his cushioned bed over by the window.
“Happy birthday to you…” someone started to sing.
I turned to find Mrs. Martinez standing there with a big blue birthday cake with my name on it. I smiled when everyone jumped in and started singing happy birthday to me.
“Blow out the candles and make a wish!”
I don’t know who shouted that, but it didn’t matter. My attention was on the eighteen candles lighting up my cake. I closed my eyes and wished on the first thought that came to my mind. When I opened them, I leaned in and blew until every candle went out.


coming November 19th

Many people believe that once you are married and have kids, the romance is gone. It’s not. You just have to work at it a little harder. It’s just too bad that our attempt at a romantic weekend alone ends with me in the hospital. If I survive getting shot, we’re going to have to try a little harder. I refuse to give up the romance with my hot Italian SWAT commander.

My plans for a weekend of romance with the love of my life go up in an explosion of epic proportions when we’re attacked in our very own home and Lany’s life is put in danger. Snowstorms, intruders, and a hit man on the loose. It’s just another day in the Delvecchio household.


“Why am I being relegated to the panic room?”
It had been three weeks since I’d gotten a restraining order against Harry Vanderport and I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him. I hadn’t done anything wrong either. I hadn’t tripped, gotten taken hostage, crashed a car, or even been crushed by an elephant. There was no reason for Sal to make me stay in the panic room.
It just wasn’t fair.
“Please, for me, caro?”
My shoulders slumped. There was no way I could deny the man I married when he looked at me with those big copper colored puppy eyes of his.
Damn it.
“How long do I have to stay in here?”
“Not long, I promise. I’ll come for you just as soon as I can.”
I swallowed tightly. “How much danger am I in?”
It was a real concern.
I was not reassured by the grimace that crossed Sal’s face.
“It’s just a safety precaution, Lany.”
“For what?” That’s what confused me. Sal hadn’t said a word about what was going on. He’d just come into the house and ordered me to the panic room. “Where are the kids? Are they safe?”
“The kids are with your parents.”
I already knew that. My parents had taken them out to do a little Christmas shopping. I just wanted to know if I was going to see them anytime in this century.
“They are perfectly safe.”
So, it was just me in danger then.
“I just need you to stay in here until I come for you, Lany. Just me. No one else. Understand?”
My brow flickered. “What kind of danger am I in, Sal?” I asked again. I needed to know.
Sal’s arm wove around my waist and I was pulled flush with his chest. “I’m going to take care of you, Lany. You know that.”
I did, but that didn’t make me feel any better.
“I’ll be back, caro.”
I huffed and looked around after the solid steel door closed behind Sal and I heard the beep that let me know it was locked. I suppose as panic rooms went, this one was pretty nice. It actually had two entrances, one from our bedroom and one from the twins’ nursery.
Both doors were locked.
There was a small kitchenette, bathroom, a couch and TV, two bunk beds, and a full size bed for me and Sal. For a panic room, that was pretty good. My old panic room had a cot.
I flopped down on the couch and pulled out my cell phone. I sent out a quick text to Lyn. “How much trouble am I in?”
Lyn would know.
Whenever Sal needed help, he called in Lyn Philips, who used to be a member of his team, but now worked on the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Division. He was a mastermind behind a computer screen.
I suspected Lyn would be moving back to the SWAT team sooner or later, especially now that he’d gotten things smoothed out with Sgt. Victor Clarke, the second in command of the SWAT team under Sal.
I jumped up when the door to the panic room opened. Sal walked in, a deep grimace on his face. “What’s wrong?”
“I need your cell phone and your shoes?”
My eyebrows lifted quickly. “My shoes?”
“Hurry, Lany.”
I handed over my cell phone then slid my shoes off and gave them to Sal. “Why do you need my shoes?”
“I’ll let you know in a minute.”
Ten minutes later, I was still waiting for an explanation.
I was back on the couch.
This time I was aimlessly flipping through TV channels.
When the door opened for a second time, Sal walked in with my cuddle blanket. “I need your clothes.”
“My clothes?”
“Shirt, pants, underwear, everything.”
I wasn’t wearing any underwear.
Sal held out my blanket. “You can wrap up in this.”
“You can’t just bring me something to change into?”
“Not yet.”
I slowly stood and started peeling off my clothes. “This is really starting to scare me, Sal. What reason could you have to take my clothes?”
Had Harry done something?
“It’s just a precaution, Lany.”
“A precaution for what?”
Sal tossed the blanket on the couch then grabbed me by the arms. “Baby, I promise I’ll explain all of this just as soon as I can, but time is of the essence.”
I huffed. “Fine, but you’d better have a damn good excuse for all of this.”
Sal shot me a quick smile as he took my clothes. “I do, Lany. I promise. All of this will make perfect sense soon.”
I grabbed my cuddle blanket and wrapped it around me before flopping down on the couch yet again. “It had better.”
I had ways of making Sal pay if it didn’t.
Evil ways.
My balloon kung fu was legendary.
I got through two really insane afternoon talk shows before the door opened again. How people could watch those things, I would never know. I seriously didn’t understand why I had been so fascinated. Didn’t make sense.
I glanced toward the door when Sal didn’t appear. Very few people knew the code to open the panic room door. It wouldn’t open unless the code was typed in.
I swallowed tightly as I tossed the remote onto the couch then stood. “Sal?”
Not a single sound.
I took a hesitant step toward the door. Sal had told me to stay in the panic room until he came for me. He wouldn’t have said that if it wasn’t important.
Where was he?
“Sal?” I called out again.
When I didn’t hear anything, I walked across the floor to the door. I had to peek around the edge to see out into our bedroom. Fear unlike anything I’d ever known—and I’d known a lot—swept through me when I spotted a foot.
“Sal?” I whispered as I took another step and pushed the door out of the way to get a better look. The sight that I found was so shocking to me, I didn’t know whether to scream or run back into the panic room.
Sal lay spread out on the rug we had on the floor in front of the fireplace, buck ass naked.
He wasn’t moving.

17 thoughts on “Welcome Birthday Guest Stormy Glenn!

  1. Thank you Stormy for a look into T. J. growing up. I love all your stories, but the Hot Mess Series have a special place in my heart, because when I started reading them I was in the dumps and they lifted my spirits with the message inside it: those who love you, love you as you are. Thanks again Stormy!!!

  2. Anything having to do with the Hot Mess series is very much welcomed. Have #10 will be starting it today. I do love this series. Thank you Stormy for all the wonderful times I have had over the years. I hope we get to see more of T.J.

  3. I love Lany and Sal. Great to see TJ getting a bit of a story. I just hope his life follows Sal’s and not Lanys.
    Thanks for the story Stormy Glenn

  4. Yay!! Thank you for this! I need to catch up to Lany & Sal so I won’t read this yet but…ahh~~ So glad to know they’re still going strong. lol ❤

  5. Stormy, you know how i feel about the HM series. It’s one of my favorite all time series. Knowing the kids are starting to grow up and move beyond the Estate is intriguing and nerve racking at the same time. I hope you continue to write the next generations stories also.

  6. I adore the Hot Mess series (and friends), they are a must-read on release day LOL, no TBR pile for them, seeing this snippet from TJ was awesome 😀

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