Dark kiss (the two sides of me book 1)

 

 

 

All rights reserved. © 2014 Amy Lynn Garcia  No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in anything, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Amy Lynn Garcia or her legal representative.

 

Authors Note:

 

This series contains adult content not meant for anyone under the age of 18. Those under the age of 18 are discouraged from reading this material. 

 

 

Formatted by:  Brenda Wright

 

Acknowledgments:

I want to thank my children who have graciously given up time with their mommy so that she can fulfill her dream of completing this novel. I would also like to thank my friends and family who have supported me through this long grueling process, listening to me obsess about Dark Kiss until they probably wanted to strangle me! I would also like to thank my beta readers Becky Alexander, Brynn Richardson, Andrea

  Loukota, Carrie Ortega, Kisha Grant, Jacki Aranow, Brittany Weg, Margaux Beckett and Jennifer Humphrey I know you tried, sorry you could only see me as the main character and had to stop before any sex scenes! 

And finally Jacque Perkins, without your encouragement I would never have dared to write an erotic romance novel, thank you for always being my cohort in reading mom smut! 

A quick shout out to my Passionate Page Turners book club members, I love you all and guess what? Dark Kiss is this month’s book of the month to read!!

 

 

This Book is Dedicated to my Mother

 

Jeanne Ann Waldron

June 26, 1946 - July 19, 1981

 

She was a vehicle of her own life, her path was her own and sometimes in the inner stillness her

footsteps mingled with ours.

I miss you every day and I will love you forever.

 

 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 “You Found Me.” by Kelly Clarkson

Chapter 2 “Can’t Get You Out of My Head.” by Kylie Minugue

Chapter 3 “A Lonely Man.” by Daniel James

Chapter 4 “Look After You.” by The Fray

Chapter 5 “Brain Stew.” by Green Day

Chapter 6”I Dare You to Move.” by Switchfoot

Chapter 7 “Wake Up Dead Man.” by U2 “Crazy love.” by Van Morrison

Chapter 8 “From This Moment.” by Shania Twain

Chapter 9 “Just Another Day.” by John Secada

Chapter 10 “Not Alone.” by Red

Chapter 11 “Madness.” by Muse

Chapter 12 “Hips Don’t Lie.” by Shakira

Chapter 13 “Purple Haze.” by Jimmy Hendrieks

Chapter 14 “Diary.” by Alicia Keys

Chapter 15 “No Ordinary Love.” by Sade

Chapter 16 “Demons.” by Imagine Dragons

Chapter 17 “Goya’s Nightmare.” by Jocelyn Pook

Chapter 18 “I Always Get What I Want.” by Avril Lavigne

Chapter 19 “Your Love is King.” by Sade

Chapter 20 “High and Dry.” by Radiohead

Chapter 21 “Radioactive.” Imagine Dragon

Chapter 22 “Urgent.” by Foreigner

Chapter 23 “Dominus Illuminatio Mea.” by Catholic Gregorian Chant Songs

Chapter 24 “Yellow Light.” by Of monsters and men“Stay.” by Rihanna

Chapter 25 “Say.” by John Mayer

Chapter 26 “Fix You.” by Coldplay

Chapter 27 “Love Story.” by Maria Carey “Can’t Buy Me Love.” by The Beatles

Chapter 28 “Rolling in the Deep.” by Adele “A Case of You.” by James Wolpert

Chapter 29 “I Put a Spell on You.” Jacque Lee “Home.” by Phillip Phillips

Chapter 30 “Nobody Does it Like You.” by Selena Gomez “Don’t You Worry Child.” by Swedish Mafia

Chapter 31 “Make You Feel my Love.” by Adele

Chapter 32 “Starting to Turn Away.” by Andrew Paul Woodworth

Chapter 33 “Wash it All Away.” by Evanescence “Fear.” by Sara McLaughlin “Run.” by Adam Lambert

Chapter 34 “Come Home.” by One Republic “Won’t Go Home Without You.” by Maroon five

Chapter 35 Part 1 “No Air.” by Jordan Sparks “Every Breath You Take.” by The Police

Chapter 35 Part 2 “Need You Now.” by Lady Antebellum “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” by Bonnie Tyler

Chapter 36 “Nothing Compares 2 U.” by Sinade O’Conner “We Belong Together.” by Mariah Carey

Chapter 1

“You Found Me.” by Kelly Clarkson

Going up the elevator to work I yawn, working four twelve-hour night shifts in row was finally getting to me. I stepped off the elevator and walked down the hall to the ICU.

“Hey Mia!” Callie, one of my closest co-workers greeted me. “I’ve got something special for you tonight!”

She sounded really excited.Uh oh, that’s never good,I thought.

“So what’s up, a new patient?”

“Yep and you’re gonna love him,” Great, a ‘him’. Callie’s always trying to hook me up but with a patient, that’s going a bit far, even for her. Callie doesn’t know about my past; she has good intentions but I have a very good reason for not dating…I just don’t want to talk about it with her.

“So…is he a loon or combative?” I ask, actually hoping it’s one of the two. “Let me have it, what do I have to look forward to for the next twelve hours?”

“The guy in bed 8 was in a car accident this morning, the passenger was DOA and this guy is in pretty bad shape, fractured leg and a head injury with swelling of the brain…. hasn’t regained consciousness”

“Yea so, sounds like a typical patient here.”

“Oh there’s nothing typical about him; you’ll see when you go in the room, his family hasn’t been here yet, he just has a sister, she lives out of state, we called so she’s on her way.”

“So are we talking hunchback of Notre Dame or what, Callie?  I’m not following why this guy’s such a big deal.”

“I’m not saying another word but I’ll stay until shift change and you’ve gotten the report on him and done your assessment,” she sings ‘assessment’ like some goofy kid.

“Ok…whatever.”

Working in a smaller private hospital in Seattle has its advantages; all the rooms are private, excellent staffing, a lot of elite patients who are wealthy and famous and top-of-the-line equipment. Not to mention that it didn’t look much like a hospital in the common areas, with water fountains and beautiful artwork on the walls. I’ve cared for famous athletes, movie stars and business moguls so I’m a little curious about this patient, what could possibly be such a big deal? I take the report from Anna who worked the day shift; it seems like typical injuries from an MVA, and I’m wondering all the while why Callie is so worked up.

With a little anticipation I walk through the door to room 8; it’s a large, spacious room, the bed located in the center of the room surrounded by equipment, IV poles and monitors that read all the patients’ vital signs and heart rhythm. Behind it all are floor-to-ceiling glass windows looking out on one of the many thick forests of Seattle, Washington; it’s a breathtaking view, even if most of the patients here never get to see it. The man in bed 8 is in traction due to his badly broken leg from the knee down, naturally as a nurse, used to doing a head to toe assessment I start with his face and inhale sharply, my mouth going dry, and the room suddenly seems too small; an actual physical sensation of pulling between him and I occurs. This is a beautiful man; he looks like a Greek God from the movies. Unreal, but the reaction I have to him is like nothing I’ve ever felt, especially with a man, it’s magnetic, like he’s drawing me toward him even in his unconscious condition. I’m compelled to move to his side.

Abrasions cover his face, as well as a softball-sized knot on his forehead; it’s obvious he’s athletic, strong, and gorgeous. I move closer with no hesitation, I am a very confident nurse and not afraid of anything, I’m never put off by patients personality but something about this man emanates power even seriously injured and in and unconscious state.

He has a square, powerful jaw covered in a five o’clock shadow, thick dark brown hair that looks to be wavy when it isn’t full of blood and glass shards; it’s not cut short but not too long either and his skin is bronze, of Latin descent I think. But the most noticeable part of Evan Lawson is his size; he’s easily 6 feet 5 inches tall and solid, lean muscle, this man has to work out hard and often and takes care of himself well.

Getting myself together, I wonder why the hell am I suddenly feeling so much apprehension; I move closer to assess his injuries as I would with any patient. Pressing the blood pressure button, the sound of it inflating and the beeps of the IV are the only sounds in the quiet room and when it releases his arm I hear his soft, regular breathing as well. I move the sheet to his waist carefully and listen with my stethoscope to his chest; this brings me face-to-face with Mr. Evan Nathaniel Lawson, who is managing to be intimidating even with his eyes closed. Lung sounds clear which is good, looking over his upper body feels like ogling instead of assessing; he’s covered with air bag abrasions and cuts, he smells of river or lake water.

Ok, so get it together Mia, you’ve been a nurse for 10 years, seen it all.  Why was this guy making me feel so…I don’t know…. weird? I look him over once completely, check his leg and the traction; everything is in order and technically I’m finished but I can’t manage to pull myself away from him, I’m stuck, cemented at his side, unable to move.

I suddenly surprise myself by leaning down and whispering in his ear, “You’re going to be ok, I’ve got you. I’m Mia and I promise to take very good care of you until you wake up.”  Nothing… I don’t know what I expected; he’s not sleeping beauty, waking from a coma at the sound of my voice. I have never spoken to a patient this way when I don’t expect them to respond. Then, without thinking I take his big, obviously well-manicured hand in mine and cover it with my other hand, this is so out of character for me. I’m a compassionate nurse but I know my boundaries and this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to touch a patient other than clinically.

I stand there for several minutes until Callie comes to the door and I quickly drop his hand as if it was hot, and I blush…

“HA, I knew you would think he was hot!” Callie exclaims, eyes bright and playful.

“Callie, shhhh, he might be able to hear you!” I move toward the door and nudge her out, following quietly.

“Can you believe that guy’s body, he has muscles that never quit, did ya look under the covers?!”  Callie’s practically jumping up and down, stirring something protective in me.

“Don’t talk like he’s a piece of meat Callie, the poor guy’s been through hell,” I chastise her. 

“Oh come on Mia, you know it’s nice to have some eye candy to look at while you work! Shit, it’s one of the benefits of working in this hospital, hot, famous and rich people to look at and gossip about!” 

“Yea but he’s…. I dunno…”

“Gorgeous, panties melting hot…. yea, duh that’s why I gave him to you, I gotta go, enjoy!” 

“Later Callie, see you in the morning.”

“Okidoki.” Callie trots off toward the elevators. Evan is due for some medication; I get it out of a locked drawer and go back into his room. That same magnetic pull and tingle came over me again, this guy seemed to be seriously rattling me; I have never had feelings for a man, any man other than my father. My entire adult life has been dedicated to running in the opposite direction, avoiding men and relationships like the plague.

Being kidnapped, attacked and raped to near death for 3 days at age 19 has done this to me. I have a dirty, dark past that I work hard every day trying to overcome.  After pushing Evan’s meds into his IV, I gaze at his face, lost in thought and I have no idea how long I stand there. I’m startled when Shae pokes her head into the door. 

“Sorry Mia, I need some help in room 7, you have time?” 

“Sure, sure, I’ll be right there.” I leave the Evan’s door open, just in case he wakes up while I’m helping Shae. The rest of my shift is uneventful; Evan lies still and beautiful in a dim overhead light, screens from medical equipment glowing and casting shadows over his body. I sit outside his room watching through the window that separates his room from my charting station, captivated by this insanely handsome man. I don’t want to leave in the morning when my shift is over, after working four nights in a row I’m usually running out the door to get home and catch up on sleep, but today leaving Evan somehow feels wrong, distressing and even painful. I give my report to the day nurse and go back to his room, again I find myself whispering into his ear, “I’m leaving to go home and sleep now, rest easy, I’ll be back for you, try to wake up while I’m gone so I can see those eyes open.”

I squeeze his hand and leave the room. I can’t believe I’m doing this… he’s a perfect stranger, with an emphasis on perfect. But for some reason I feel deeply connected and drawn to him. Walking to the parking lot I’m feeling the exhaustion of working but the further I travel away from the hospital the more anxiety I feel about leaving Evan alone.  What the hell?

Knock it off Mia; get a grip, he’s a patient just like all the patients you care for. Just go home and get some sleep, you must be working too hard. I think.You’re losing your damn mind!


Page 2

 

Chapter 2

“Can’t Get You Out of My Head.” by Kylie Minogue

Sleep… something that’s so easy for most people eludes me every time I slipped between the sheets. Even though I’m exhausted I have to medicate myself heavily to sleep without the night terrors that accompany it. My past haunts me when I close my eyes; during the day I’m able to press the attack down deep, far from the surface, but being vulnerable during sleep enables the horrific experience to return and torture me all over again. My recovery has taken a long time, and I still attend a support group for victims of violent crimes and take medication to sleep but I make it through each day, and that’s about it.

I have friends and family but the absence of a partner, a man, boyfriend, husband or whatever in my life is routinely brought to my attention by those who don’t know my secret. I try to convince myself that being an aunt to my sister’s children will fulfill my maternal needs, and that living my life as a single woman isn’t all that bad. 

My fear of men has crippled me; I’ll never have a relationship with a man. I have an awesome career though, I’m financially stable and I remind myself how lucky I am every day. I pull on a tank top and shorts, take my pills and snuggle up with my pillows, the only things I’ve slept with for ten long years, I drift off into a dreamless, blissful state and my last thoughts are of Evan. If I could dream. I know it would be of him.

I’m off for three nights after my four-night stretch, and Evan is never far from my mind. This obsession or whatever it is, is driving me nuts. ‘Thanks a lot Callie!’ I keep wondering what this bizarre connection is all about. I fill my time with my normal activities, workouts at the gym, visiting my sister and playing with her kids, Kylie and Tanner, whom I adore. Being with them is as close as I’ll ever come to having children.  After my attack I was encouraged by my shrink to pick up a hobby, and I have no idea how I came up with glass blowing but I did. I spend a lot of my time at the Seattle glassblowing studio; it relaxes me and brings out my creative side. While trudging through my days I sometimes have this nagging feeling that I should be somewhere else. It tugs at the back of my mind constantly. It’s all I can do to restrain myself from making up an excuse to drop by work, I do check in with a few co-workers to see if Evan has regained consciousness but that’s a negative, he’s still out. His sister has apparently arrived and is sitting with him every day. Somehow I get through those three days off and while driving to work for my next shift I have an urgent feeling, I have to justgetthere. Walking back into the ICU I go straight to the charting station connected to Evans room, he lies still in the middle of the big room, a beautiful woman at his bedside. She holds one of his big hands in hers and reads from an iPad with the other. Dressed in expensive-looking jeans and a soft, cream-colored sweater, she seems to have a glow that surrounds her;  angelic. Long black hair hangs in a low ponytail down to her waist, and it’s obvious that she’s related to him; she has the same beautiful bronze skin and long legs crossed with one foot swinging slowly back and forth as she sits dutifully at her brother’s side. At least I’m assuming it was his sister; I haven’t been here for three nights and she could be his wife or girlfriend, but no… they look too much alike, and what is it to me who she is anyway?

Disgusted with myself, I go to the locker room and put my purse away, clock in and find the day nurse that had been caring for him. She quickly gives me the report; his condition hadn’t changed much, some of the swelling had gone down in his brain, he’s still in traction, and still hopelessly gorgeous.

Going to the room to look him over and get his vitals, I greet the woman at his side.

“Hello, I’m Mia, I’ll be taking care of... your brother is it?”  Sitting up straighter in the chair and uncrossing her legs, she puts her iPad down on Evan’s bed and extends her hand.

“Yes, yes, I’m Gabriella, nice to meet you.” I shake her hand, feeling a little awkward; I don’t usually shake hands with family members. I suddenly realize just how much she looks like Evan, like exactly like him.

“Nice to meet you Gabriella, how’s he doing today?” 

“The same I suppose, he’s so still; I’ve never seen him like this….it’s strange. Evan is perpetual motion, always has been; we’re twins, we haven’t been close the past few years though,” she says this with a sadness that makes me feel her pain, after being with him just one shift I can’t imagine life without Evan.

“Twins, ahh, I was just thinking how much you look alike, it makes sense now. I was told you don’t live here in Seattle, where did you travel from?” 

“Maine…about as far away as we can get from each other.”

I move to the bedside and take his vitals, listening to his lungs while we keep up this little nurse/family conversation. I notice she seems sad about the distance between them, but don’t want to be too nosy. Twins that don’t keep contact…there must be something serious going on there. Gabriella relaxes back into her chair and takes Evan’s hand again.

“We don’t have any other family, our parents aren’t alive and there are only the two of us,” she explains. 

“I’m glad he has someone here with him. He can probably hear when you talk to him you know. I always tell family to talk to their loved ones, you never know, it could help him wake up.”

“Oh, I wasn’t sure if that was a myth; I’ll start taking to him more, do you think I should read to him?”

“Sure, anything to stimulate his brain is good.”

“Ok, I really wish he would show some sort of response…well sort of.” Gabrielle sounded a little worried about the prospect of Evan waking up.

“What do you mean?” It’s none of my business, but I can’t help asking. “Well Evan is a little… difficult, maybe I shouldn’t say anything in front of him if he can hear me…”

“Oh…ok, well if you want to talk about it I’m always just outside the room on the other side of that window, I’ll be charting there.”

“Ok, thank you Mia,”

Leaving the room I sit at the charting station right outside Evan’s door and wonder what she meant by “difficult”, and why didn’t they keep in touch, they’re twins! I catch up on my charting and start considering looking through Evans chart to see what kind of work he does, or Googling him to learn more about him. What the hell is wrong with me? I don’t research my patients, but then again I’ve never had a patient this mysterious and handsome before. Ok, so looking to see where he works isn’t too ‘stalky’, is it? I can do that can’t I? I flip to the first page of his chart with all of his admitting information, looking for the place of employment section and it says ‘Dominus’, he’s the owner.   Hmmmm that sounds a little like ‘dominatrix’… feeling silly about comparing the two, I giggle to myself. I wonder what kind of business Dominus is’ I could Google it.

No, it’s none of my business.

Just take care of the guy Mia, God! 

Just then, bringing me back from my thoughts, Gabriella steps out of his room with a long, expensive-looking camel colored coat on; she wears the same colored boots with a higher heel than I could ever hope to walk in. She pulls off a look of casual and dressy, expensive and exotic with ease. She holds her head high, looking very confident, and nothing like the look from earlier when she mentioned Evan was ‘difficult’; that was more like fear. 

“Good bye Mia, please take good care of my brother, I’ll be back tomorrow.” 

“Sure, of course I will, and we have a number that we can reach you at if he comes around right?” 

“Yes I gave it to the day nurse, and please call me right away, I’ll come any time.” 

“Ok, I’ll see you tomorrow then.” 

“Goodbye.” Gabriella strides to the elevator and disappears when the doors slid shut. I suddenly can’t wait to be alone with Evan and I’m  glad his sister has gone home.How selfish Mia, geesh, what is your deal?! 

Again I administer his scheduled medications into his IV and touch his warm, soft hand. I hope nobody is watching me from the hall; I closed the blinds to the window facing my charting station and shut the door. Leaning down close to his mouth I suddenly have the urge to bite his perfect full bottom lip. What the fuck, I’ve never bitten or wanted to bite anyone before.

What. Is. Wrong. With. Me?! 

Instead, I reign in that compulsion and whisper to him, “It’s Mia, I’m back tonight, I’ve got you Evan, you’re in good hands.” I need to do something that will allow me to touch him, but professionally, and I settle on a shave, opening a cupboard in the room to gather supplies to shave his face with. I can’t believe no one has done this in the four days I’ve been off; he’s going to look like a lumber jack soon if no one does it, albeit the sexiest lumberjack who ever lived. I move the oxygen cannula from his face and lay it next to him on the pillow. Propping my hip on the bed next to him, I settle in and feel the heat from his body against mine, I take a deep breath and blow it out, his hair flutters from my breath. Foreign feelings spark through my body, feelings I’ve never experienced before. I calm myself and begin to smooth shaving cream across his face and neck. Slowly and carefully I begin to shave his face, moving the razor up his neck I gently grasp his chin and move his face around to the correct angles to get a close shave. I take my time and enjoy touching him in such an intimate way without him being conscious. I feel a little guilty, this could have been done much quicker but I draw it out, I just can’t get enough of him. When I’m finished I place a hand on each side of his face and feel the smooth skin that is now exposed. Wow he’s even more handsome with a clean-shaven face, it that were humanly possible. I move my hand to brush the dark curl of hair from his forehead; he has a gash at the hairline that isn’t clean enough for my liking. I remove my hands from Evan’s face and collect supplies to clean his wound. Speaking in a soft, low voice I explain every move I make as I clean and bandage him up. Suddenly I lean down and rest my cheek against his, feeling his warm breath on my neck I turn and softly press my lips on to his.

OH. MY. GOD.  What am I doing?

Quickly I replace the oxygen, clean up my mess and leave the room, shocked at my own behavior. This is ridiculous; I’m out of control, maybe I should have someone trade patients with me…. no…I can’t. I don’t want anyone else touching him, but where is this possessiveness coming from?

For the rest of my shift I keep my hands to myself unless I have another nurse in the room with me to reposition him. It’s miserably difficult but I make myself do it.  Again I can hardly pull myself away when my shift is over. Melissa, his day nurse today tells me his sister comes around 9 a.m. This comforts me somehow and makes it bearable for me to go home and sleep, but I have the security of knowing I’ll be back tonight at seven p.m.. although it seems like forever from now…

 

Chapter 3

“A Lonely Man.” by Daniel James

At home I wash my face, tie my obscenely long, thick blonde hair in a knot and grab a bottle of water before curling up on my bed for a little while before I take my sleeping pills. I pull out my iPad, hesitating for a moment before I Google Evan’s place of business that’s listed on his chart.

Dominus; it’s an exclusive, very elegant looking restaurant with a nightclub included. After investigating further, I learn that Dominus is not just one single restaurant. There are many locations all over the world, from here in Seattle to San Diego, Chicago, Italy, France, Miami, New York, Brazil and even Australia! Holy crap, this is a very successful man. And the pictures…. wow, I can’t believe the degree of extravagance, it seems no expense was spared decorating these places, and the nightclubs look a little dark and mysterious, a little creepy even maybe. Ok, now I’m even more intrigued, and a little voice in the back of my head is telling me I should stop right here. Digging any deeper is only going to be trouble, dangerous even, but do I listen? 

NO! SHUT UP little voice! 

After searching a little further, I learn he is 36 years old, lives here in Seattle and grew up in Maine but was born in Italy.  Hmmm, Gabriella lives in Maine; he was the one to put down roots on the opposite side of the country. Strangely this is all I can find, I’ve hit a brick wall. There are pictures of him at Dominus in various locations around the world.  Oh those eyes…. so that’s what they look like when they are open…. green, no not just green, so bright green that they’re almost glowing, like a cat.  Seems strange he has green eyes with such a dark complexion and Latin descent; I would have guessed them to be brown. Looking at several photos, I realize that in every one he’s alone, as in no women or date; he’s also never smiling, although he’s not frowning either, he’s just more like, withdrawn or defensive.

He owns places where important and famous people gather and spend shit loads of money, why wouldn’t beautiful, famous women surround him? 

Scrolling down I come across a collection of photographs taken in Dominus locations all over the world; famous people, I mean like REALLY famous people are posing in every one. Frustrated I finally put down the iPad and take my sleeping pills. Maybe I could ask his sister about it, but then again she said they weren’t close any more… images of Evan standing in his restaurants float through my mind as I drift again into my dreamless sleep.

 

Waking up during the day can be unsettling; the room is dark and I don’t quite know the time. I roll over and realize it’s still early and I’m feeling creative. The Seattle Glass Blowing studio is a place of healing for me, somewhere I can fully throw myself into, making something beautiful and escaping reality, if only for a short time. Hopping out of bed and grabbing my iPad, I start some music and head to the shower. I stop in front of the bathroom mirror where I examine myself, I have crazy bed head with long, tangled blonde hair that worked its way out of the knot it was in. What was I doing in my sleep these days? 

Shadows under my eyes give me away as having been working too much and I could use a vacation somewhere warm, where I can get some color to my skin on a sandy beach. I turn on the water, strip down and step into the hot shower that instantly steams up the bathroom. I work on washing all of my hair and tap my foot to the beat of the music while dancing around periodically, washing and shaving. I rarely do anything without music, except at work and even then when it’s slow I sneak in my ear buds while charting or observing a sleeping patient. Evan sleeping, and there he is again, invading my thoughts.

Am I ever going to get this guy off my mind?

Stepping out of the shower I look in the mirror again. Hmmm, slight improvement; I now have some color in my cheeks from the hot water. I dry off and blow-dry my hair, which takes time and patience. I dress in old jeans and a tank top and layer a navy blue UW sweatshirt over top. Layering is necessary; the fall weather is bringing cooler temperatures, but it’s roasting hot in the studio. I gather my hair back into my usual thick braid and grab some boots. Purse…where is my damn purse? I lose my belongings on a regular basis. I don’t know how I manage that; it’s probably a 50 lb. purse, how the hell do you lose that? Ahh, it’s on the floor by the front door and I scoop it up, heaving it onto my shoulder and pulling the hood up on my sweatshirt when I step outside; the wind is chilly today. My red Volvo S60 is parked on the street, my one indulgence in life. I make good money and I have all my student loans paid off, but I live well beneath my means. I own an apartment above several small shops, a bakery and boutique; the smells from the bakery that drift up to my place are heavenly. I go out occasionally with a very select group of friends; trust is a monumental issue for me since my attack, and I suppose the very safe car is in a way related to that as well. I panic at the thought of breaking down and being alone on the side of the road, exposed and vulnerable. Simply put, my car is my baby.

When I arrive, I see my friend Jay working on another vase. I think he’s made a million; he turns toward me and I see the beads of sweat covering his bald head, sliding down his neck and disappearing into his shirt. Jay is one of the only men in my world that I trust, I’ve known him for 10 years, since I started coming here searching for a therapeutic hobby.

“Hey Mia, long time no see!” he calls out enthusiastically. 

“Hey Jay, nice vase,” I tease.

“Yea practice makes perfect right?” he answers, shrugging his broad shoulders.

“Well you should be faultless by now, you must give your wife flowers every day to keep them all in use!”

“Naaah, she puts ‘em all away; I think she’s sick of me making them too.”

“Maybe you should branch out, make a candy dish or something,” I reply playfully.

“Ehh I’ll stick to what I know.”

“Ok, suit yourself.” I shed my sweatshirt and grab a steel rod. I begin to gather molten glass from the first oven and my vision is clear in my mind; a multicolored light fixture, that will hang from the ceiling, spiking out in all directions. Working the glass onto the steel rod, it’s like turning caramel onto an apple and I let my mind wander to Evan. I wonder what he’s like when he’s awake? Of course I want him to wake up, but a teeny tiny, selfish part of me likes him sleeping so I can admire his beauty without feeling self-conscious; he’s just that gorgeous. I carry my glass to the marker and begin shaping, repeating the process with red, lavender and blues, yellow and greens that flow, merging the glass into a beautiful, enormous artistic light fixture, colors flaring out all over.

Looking at the photographs of Dominus inspired me, it’s to be a beautiful light that could be hanging in any one of his restaurants or clubs. Jay shoots me a shocked look.

“Holy hell Mia, that thing’s a monster! It’s gorgeous though; I’ve never seen you make anything like that before!”

“Yea, had some inspiration hit me this week.” Yea, inspiration named Evan Lawson.

Man I’m sweating my ass off, I’ve spent so much time working on this piece that I’m soaked by the time I’m satisfied and place the light into the anneal to cool overnight. Overnight… shit, I need to get out of here so I can get home and shower before work. As I’m cleaning up my supplies, Jay gives me a little wave.

“Leaving so soon?”

“Yep gotta work tonight.”

“Okay, see ya next time Mia, come by more often, I miss seeing you around here.”

“Will do Jay, and have fun with your millionth vase,” I tease.

“Yea but it’s perfect right?” He holds up his nearly finished product. “Yea Jay it really is.”

It’s a perfect, tall and slender purple vase, I really do like it.

“Hey do you have plans for that?”  I ask.

“Nope, just gonna add it to the collection I guess.”

“Can I have it? I have a patient that’s going to be with us for a while and he could use something beautiful to look at when he wakes up. He’s in a coma.”

“Yea sure, you got a little thing for this guy, shame on you for taking advantage of a guy in a coma!” he snickers and my mouth drops open; how could he know that, is it that obvious?!

“Of course not!”  I’m blushing a dark shade of pink, I can feel it crawling up my neck to my face.

“I’m just messin’ with ya Mia, sure you can have it, just take it out of the anneal tomorrow when you pick up your piece.”

“Thanks.” I hurry out the door to avoid any further teasing, and because I’m going to be late for work.


Page 3

 

Chapter 4

“Look After You.” by The Fray

I get dressed in my scrubs; it’s nice to basically wear pajamas to work. I braid my long damp hair, effectively keeping it out of my face, apply a touch of mascara and dash out the door.  At the hospital I request Evan as a patient tonight and I’m assigned him and another woman who has a gunshot wound to the head; she isn’t expected to live.

She’s the wife of a very wealthy man, and it was a stray bullet; she was shot sitting in her car at a stop light. Multiple family members stand around in the lobby, crying at the news, and her husband is at her bedside. He is devastated, lost, holding her hand and sobbing openly. It makes me think about losing a loved one, a partner, a husband and a soul mate; I shudder, even though I have never known that kind of love, I imagine it must be terrible. I check on Evan first, he’s still unconscious but tonight his sister isn’t alone at his bedside. A very handsome blonde man is standing on the opposite side of Evan’s bed, dressed in a dark pin-striped very expensive looking suit. He’s talking softly with Gabriella and when I enter the room they become quiet and greet me.

“Oh hello Mia, I’m so glad your finally hear, this is Isaac,” she introduces me to the striking blonde man with crystal blue eyes and he offers me his hand to shake.

“Nice to meet you Isaac, it’s always good to have friends visit, maybe it will spark something and he will wake up.”

“Oh, we aren’t friends,” he says nervously, glancing quickly at Evan and back to me. “I work for Mr. Lawson.”

Gabriella speaks up, sounding a bit embarrassed at Isaac’s denial of friendship.

“Isaac is Evan’s right-hand man and he manages one of Evan’s restaurants located here in Seattle, he is invaluable to him. I’m sure he considers you his friend Isaac.” She too glances at Evan.

What’s going on here, this guy seems afraid Evan might hear him claiming to be his friend, and what could be wrong with that?

“Well a familiar voice can be helpful too.” I’m attempting to cut some of the tension in the room. Isaac gives me a crooked smile and then his eyes are on his feet, hands in the pockets of his pants, shuffling his feet around like a kid who has been caught doing something wrong. I check Evan over and leave the two of them to talk. I need to see my other patient anyway, and this room is feeling uncomfortable. Isaac doesn’t stay long, he leaves after looking over some paperwork with Gabriella in the hallway. Gabriella touches my arm.

“Mia I’m leaving now, I’ll be back in the morning.”

“Ok, I work tomorrow night again, I imagine I’ll see you.”

“Oh you will, if you’re working I’ve requested you to always be his nurse.”

“Oh…” I’m a little surprised and I’m not sure what to say.

“I know it’s silly and you probably won’t believe me.” She looks down at the floor and back up to me, holding my eyes in a serious gaze that pleadsbelieve me.  “I feel like he’s more comfortable when you’re here.” She pauses waiting for my reaction, which I do not give away because I truly don’t know what to say.

“His color is better and I swear his heart rate goes up for you.”

Oh my God, I must be seriously transparent; first Jay and now Gabriella thinks I have a thing for Evan, which I do but holy crap, it must be very noticeable. I need to work on that… blushing, I turn to Gabriella.

“Well thank you, I do enjoy taking care of him,” more than she could ever know.

“Ok then, see you tomorrow.”

“Bye,” I say quietly as she strides to the elevator once again. Secretly, I’m glad he’s alone again and I’m immediately drawn to his bedside, that magnetism hard at work again. Does his heart rate really go up when I’m around? As a nurse, it’s something I probably should have noticed. Note to self, go back and look at Evans’ heart rate in the computer and see if Gabrielle is right; at the moment he’s running at about 70 beats per minute, which is perfectly normal. I sigh, wouldn’t it be flattering if a man of his magnitude in a coma noticed my presence?

Yea because he’s got his eyes closed,I chastise myself.Reality check Mia, get back to work!

As I have been compelled all week, I lean close to Evan’s face and whisper softly, “It’s Mia again; your sister thinks you like me, funny huh?”

I look up at the monitors; no change in heart rate, so much for that experiment. Time to get this guy adjusted in bed, I move him slightly and carefully with the turn sheet under him that we use to reposition patients, not going too far as his leg is still in traction. He’s really heavy, full of solid muscle and he fills the bed top to bottom. He could really use a bath; the nursing assistants on the night shift usually do this to ease up the day shift’s load of work, our assistant isn’t here tonight though. I can’t help but smile, I’m happy to take on this task. I’m trying my best to think clinically about giving Evan a bath but he’s so handsome, it’s really difficult. His bruising is turning yellow and the knot on his head is significantly smaller; his face is even more angular now that most of the swelling has gone down; he looks even more like Gabriella now. That’s what I’ll concentrate on, how much he looks like his sister, that has to decrease the sex appeal doesn’t it…? Yea right… I gather up what I need for his bath and run some warm water in a washbasin and make sure his blinds and door are closed. Then I set out to complete my work as clinically as possible. I gently wash his face; he has more than a five o’clock shadow going on today. I’ll save shaving for tomorrow night, something to look forward to, unless he wakes up of course. I gently caress the dark hair that hangs on his forehead with the back of my fingers, brushing a thick curl back off of his face and resisting the strong urge to run my fingers through all of that thick soft brown hair. I rinse my washcloth and fold down his sheet, I work to remove his hospital gown and begin washing his chest, and I revel in feeling every abdominal muscle through the thin washcloth. ‘Keep it together Mia, he’s just a patient, he’s just a patient’, I chant in my head. Oh who am I kidding; he’s more than a patient to me. I’m having feelings for him and I’ve never actually met him. ‘Ok, breathe Mia, deep breath in, blow it out.’ I dry him off quickly, feeling shame for taking so much time and staring inappropriately at his chest. In the back of my mind I’m thinking I must check on my other patient, make this snappy…. I continue down his arms to his hands, and I wonder how it must feel to be held by these arms, touched by these hands.

I move the sheet slightly further down past his waist, my breath hitches in my throat; oh my god, he hasthe Vpointing to the part of his body I’m most apprehensive about. He is absolutely exquisite, a perfect human male specimen. I finish washing and drying him above the waist and move the sheet up to work a clean hospital gown back onto him. I cover him; my heart is racing and I can hear my pulse swooshing in my ears, ‘Get a grip woman! More deep breathing…’ I move to finish by bathing the leg that isn’t in a cast. Another example of perfect anatomy, defined and long, lean muscles cover him from head to perfect toe; yea I’m a foot woman and he has smooth lovely feet, I’m weird about feet, it’s just a thing, what can I say? I’m sure there’s a name for my foot fetish; they have a name for everything these days. I can tell he must have regular pedicures, no dry skin or calluses for this guy. Being meticulous, I wash his leg and foot, between his toes, I wouldn’t want him to wake up and think we had been neglecting this foot!

The toes of his other foot are peeking out the end of his cast, too much swelling to get to those for now. I clean up my things and return the sheet over Evan, and I feel bad for not cleaning up ‘down there’ but really I’m pushing it as it is; someone else is going to have to do that, as much as I hate the thought. I just can’t do it right now. I’ve been touched without consent before, when I was attacked, and I can’t bear the thought that he might feel assaulted. I know it’s part of being a nurse, and I’ve done it a thousand times, but usually the patient is aware of what I’m doing and realizes it’s necessary; with my feelings for Evan and wondering if he’s is aware of me being there, I just can’t bring myself to do it. He has a catheter, so it’s not life threatening to avoid it, right? Yes that’s good, keep rationalizing with yourself Mia; it’s not neglect… not really. I should have had another nurse help me turn him to wash his back but my selfishness wins out; I don’t want to share him with anyone and I’ll get it tomorrow…. I gaze down at my good work and I’m satisfied. He smells of soap; I could stand here all night but I need to see my other patient. ‘She is dying you know Mia, others need your attention’. Snapping out of my trance I turn the lights in the room down a bit and open the blinds that lead to the hall so I will be able to see him from my charting station. I lean down and speak in a quiet voice, “All clean now Evan, you can wake up any time, and I’m waiting for you.”

Back to work, I alternate my time between Evan and my shooting victim all night; she’s not doing well and it won’t be long now, her family is here with her. We don’t usually allow so many people in an ICU room but in this case, what’s the difference? Working in this department makes anyone a tiny bit callous after a few years, and in cases like this it’s basically hospice care, no hope. The day crew arrives and I’m almost ready to turn over my obsession to another woman, why do I hate that idea so much? I remember Gabriella and her comment about Evan’s heart rate, and I decide to click through the computer and compare my ‘brain’ or the paper that organizes my work by the hour, with his stats.  I look for the times I have been in the room during the night and compare his heart rate when I’ve been in the room with times I wasn’t.  Oh my…they totally correlate! He goes from 70 bpm to 90-100 bpm whenever I’ve been in the room. She was right, he knows I’m there, no, no, no…. it’s not just me, I’m sure this happens whenever anyone is in the room.

I check back through his chart and no, his heart rate was almost exactly the same all day long yesterday, but the night shift results are all over the place, and I was his nurse! Ok, so maybe it’s because I’m the only one that talks to him so closely, so intimately; yes, that has to be it. Tomorrow night I’ll test it out; I’ll just come in and chat with Gabriella without talking in his ear, and I’m sure when I match the times up it will be a coincidence.

Duh, it has to be, he’s unconscious Mia…

 

Chapter 5

“Brain Stew” by Green Day

Evan 

Fuzzy, it feels like I’m moving through water, it’s so dark here, wherever ‘here’ is… Maybe a dream… am I alive? If I’m dead, this must be hell because I know a man like me would never end up in heaven. My existence is unclear, is that someone speaking?  Soft, beautiful murmurs float in and out through my clouded mind but I can’t make out the words.  They calm the storm going on in my head…so confusing…. the voice is unfamiliar but soothing, pleasant, I need this voice to survive somehow, I know this one thing for sure. I try to hold on but it drifts away… NO, FUCK…. I want something to hold on to and that voice…. I know it’s the key to my survival, my way back… stay with me…but I succumb to the darkness unwillingly and she’s gone again…

She’s back, telling me something… focus damn it… what is she saying? Her voice moves in and out of my mind, every time I try to reach out it’s gone again, what the hell is happening to me? I detest being out of control…there she is again, ok; work at untangling the words and make some sense out of them…she’s taking care of me…. is that what she said? Nobody takes care of me, and that’s the way I like it; dark thoughts disconnect me from her…NO, no, no…come back! Shit, I hate feeling dependent on someone, but there is a pull to this woman’s voice that I can’t deny. Yes… she is taking care of me, that’s definitely what she’s saying, but who the hell are you and what has happened to me that I need to be taken care of?!

Oh… pain… yes that’s pain… finally something I’m very familiar with, this I can relate to, this I can firmly hold on to. My head, it’s indescribable actually; I’ve felt literally thousands of types of pain but this… this is miserable. There she is again, something about cleaning a wound, what? I must have been in some sort of accident… yes that’s it, a few pieces of the puzzle fall into place. I was in a car, wasn’t I? Yes, yes… we drove off a bridge. Shit, Cameron…. I see her face floating in front of mine…. we are under water, or is it the feeling in my brain that is making me submerged? No… no it’s Cameron, her hair is floating around her face, she’s looking at me with eyes wide but no expression, white as a ghost, empty; she’s not…. fuck the darkness closes in around me again…

I can feel her, warm hands, she’s speaking to me again… so softly, talk louder damn it, my mind screams! Hang on to the pain; my leg, I think it’s my leg that hurts… I don’t know for sure but I grip tight to familiar sensation of pain. There is also the sensation that someone is touching my face… no, not just touching, scratching… shaving! That’s it, someone is shaving my face… what the fuck, nobody has ever done this, and I don’t like it. It feels so foreign… no maybe it’s ok. Mmmmm I feel soft skin and warm breath on my face and….oh soft lips on mine….she kissed me?  Now I can make out what she’s saying better, Mia…that’s her name… she’s going to take good care of me…. well that’s comforting, NOT!

Wake me up Mia!! If you want to take care of me, wake me the fuck up!!! I’m suddenly consumed with fury and exhaustion; please, please Mia just wake me up…. the black fog returns and she’s gone…

Oh that feels good, I can’t even wrap my mind around what is going on with my body but I know I like it and I know I’m missing out on something…. It’s Mia again; I can smell her, such a soft, pleasant smell, almost like cotton candy mixed with clean linens. She’s touching me slowly, my face… my arms and hands, my chest…I want to reach out to her, part of me to stop her; no one touches me without my consent. The other part of me yearns to restrain her hands and put my mouth on her; shit I can’t see anything, why can’t I wake up? Will it always be this way, am I paying for my sins in life by being trapped in a body that can’t respond, with no control, vulnerable! Fuck I hate being vulnerable, Evan Lawson doesn’t do vulnerable. I feel her moving down my body to my leg and my foot…. fuuucck I love having my feet touched, I’ve always taken such good care of my feet and now this person Mia is doing it for me. She’s getting me hard as fuck, I wonder if she’s going to take care ofthatpart of me as well?

I’m grateful though that she’s keeping me clean; I’m OCD, or metrosexual as some people put it, about cleanliness. Not that I’d ever admit that to anyone other than myself, part of me wants her to stop. I can do this myself. No, no I must not be able to… fucking wake up!!! I fight the darkness that surrounds me but I’m not strong enough and finally I succumb once again.

How long have I been here? I have no concept of time, it feels like fucking forever…. I can hear voices again… so far away… a woman, not Mia but familiar, Gabriella! If Gabriella is here this must be bad, I’ve been so evil to her she would never come unless I was going to die… shit am I dying? I’m filled with sudden terror that my life is going to end soon…. I’m not ready; I was ready, before I heard my angel’s voice I had been on the edge of giving up.

I haven’t lived my life in a way that would land me in a better place, which means I’m going to hell. Oh no, no, no, this is NOT happening; fight Evan, give yourself time for redemption, time to meet Mia, and see if her face matches up with her beautiful voice; if I could just wake up! Another voice floats into my mind, a man; Isaac? Am I hearing this right? Yes, that’s Isaac; what the fuck is he doing here, and talking to Gabriella! I can’t make out the words, they are too far away, that fucker better be taking care of my restaurants while I’m where ever the hell I am or so help me I’ll kill him when I finally wake up! He will…. he knows better than to let anything fall through the cracks, he’s more than aware that his very life is on the line working for me, I’m ruthless with my employees, and that’s what makes me so successful, fear motivates people.

Fear is motivating me now, and the pain in my head is distracting; I need to find a way out of here, but where is Mia? She’s my savior, I don’t know how I know it, but I do. She told me she would be back; I remember that, she’s coming back…hold on, I just need to hold on until I hear her voice again.


Page 4

Chapter 6

“I Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot

Third night in a row and I’m already stressing about being off for a few nights, unable to see Evan. Popping a K-cup in my Keurig, I wait the 5 seconds it takes to brew and pour way too much creamer in my travel mug, probably ruining the true taste of coffee but I don’t care, it’s the way I like it. My drive to work is uneventful, one of the perks of working nights, no traffic and great parking spots.

I have a plan for tonight; I’ve made a few playlists on my iPad for Evan, and brought my ear buds with me- it’s a risk. I have no idea what kind of music he prefers and I don’t want to bombard him with sounds that irritate him so I’ll watch his heart rate while I play it for him, and maybe only one ear bud. I struggled when I chose the music, one playlist is all classical soothing music; nobody hates classical do they? One includes an album I’ve titled ‘Relaxing Sounds’ of nature, rain, ocean sounds, jungle sounds, birds; I listen to this when I sleep. The last is filled with my favorites, a wide variety of love songs, classical, jazz, Latin and alternative music. I listen to a wide range of genres.

I haven’t asked anyone if I can do this and I’m not going to, it just feels right. I feel a strong, unexplainable urge to wake him up, almost like he is calling to me for help through the atmosphere. It’s a slow night, I like it, it gives me more time to really look at Evan. I’ve memorized his skin, every tiny scar of which there seems to be many and several larger ones; I’ve wondered what could have caused the random spattering of marks.

He needs a haircut; I can’t do it with him immobile though, I shaved his face earlier in the night. Gabriella brought Evan’s toiletries to the hospital today, he has the most delicious smelling shaving products, shampoo and skincare products I’ve ever smelled. Not that I have much experience with the way men smell, usually my male patients just use what the hospital provides. He smells of spearmint and eucalyptus, the scents of his body wash and shaving gel; in fact the entire room smells this way. Most of these things are from other countries; all the bottle labels are in foreign languages, I recognize French and Italian but not so much the others.

Switching on my iPad and maneuvering to the classical playlist, I gently place an ear bud in his left ear, putting the other in my own ear to make sure it’s not too loud. I actually set it pretty soft to begin with, just in case this causes him distress. Moving about the room, giving his scheduled medications and doing range of motion exercises with his arms and free leg, I watch his face closely for any reaction to the music. There is nothing extreme, but I swear his face looks more relaxed, less severe. When I’m finished I arrange Evan’s covers and hospital gown, and as I’m about to move to my charting station I see movement, ever so slight… oh my god! His finger on his left hand moved…. I swear it did. Going back to his side, I watch closely for more but there is nothing… I think I’ll pull up a chair and sit with him, but before I do I speak into his ear, “Evan, I know you’re trying, I saw you move. Don’t give up, I’m waiting for you.”

Another small twitch of his hand…. oh this is good….maybe I should keep talking… maybe I should turn the music up, down, shit I don’t know! My heart speeds up and I’m sweating, nervous, excited and a little scared but I wait… and wait… that’s it, he’s still as a statue again. I am so disappointed, but I still have a few hours, and I’ll sit here and keep watch. Three hours go by; it’s almost time to go home, I’ve called the physician to tell him about Evan’s slight progress; he wasn’t very impressed but I am, I know it won’t be long now until I can finally meet him. Leaving is more difficult than ever today, and I wish I could crawl in bed with him and be there beside him while I sleep my day away. I’m overwhelmed with anxiety and anticipation; soon, it has to be soon.

It’s raining on the drive home, as usual; this is Seattle, so it’s always raining here. I decide to stop at the glass blowing factory and pick up my light and the vase Jay made, Evan will be awake soon, I can feel it, and his room is so drab. The ICU doesn’t allow much in the room due to the risk of infection or reactions of other patients, but the vase will be perfect. At home I dump my purse on the floor and remember I’m supposed to go out with my girlfriends tonight for drinks; usually I’m pretty excited to have a girls’ night out, but tonight I really just feel like curling up on the couch and watching T.V. 

My phone rings in my pocket, it’s Lilly; shit, no chance of bowing out of girls’ night out unnoticed now.

“Hello.”

“So where are we going first?!” Lilly’s excitement is contagious.

“Hey Lil, what’s up?”

“I just hung up with Claire and Kat, plan on being ready at 10, but I need to know where we’re gonna meet.”

“ I dunno…Flair?”

“Oooooo, yes, yes good idea, Flair. I’ll let the girls know; dress up woman, were going to partaaayy tonight!”

“Oh Lil, your gonna stroke out if you don’t calm yourself.”

“Naaa, you’re just not into it yet.  Get dressed up, do your hair and get your sexy little butt to Flair!!”

“Ok, ok.. keep your panties on, I’ll see ya then.”

“Ok, ciao Bella!”

“Bye Lilly.”

So dramatic, if I hadn’t known Lilly all my life I’d swear she was on something illegal; no normal person has that much energy! After about 6 hours of restless sleep I’m awake and scrounging in the kitchen. I grab a sandwich; no sense in tempting fate by drinking on an empty stomach, nothing good ever comes of that. Time to shower, and sighing, I drag myself to the bathroom. After showering, I dry my too-long blonde hair and straighten it with a flat iron, I don’t have curly hair but it’s not straight either, it’s just got that in-between wave.

I dig out my makeup bag, something I rarely need, as I don’t wear it much, and get to work. Satisfied with smoky eyes and glossy lips, I head to the closet to find something fitting for a girls’ night out. When these girls say ‘dress up’, you better take them seriously, I choose a black mini and silver-sequined top with a cut out in the back and black boots with a stiletto heel, I love shoes and I’m kind of known for my ultra-high heel fetish. I’m gonna freeze outside in this, the bar will be hot and packed but getting there is a different story.

I choose a white cashmere short sweater to cover my arms, my legs are just gonna have to suffer. I grab a small clutch instead of my suitcase-sized purse; it fits the essentials, like my phone, driver’s license, money and lip-gloss. Once out the door, I immediately regret the mini; shit it’s cold, and hurrying to my car I jump in and blast the heat. Finally after a few minutes I welcome the warmth blowing on my feet, oh the things I do for these girls!

Parking sucks, but after driving around for what feels like forever I find a place not too far from the door and hustle in. The girls are there already of course, and holding a spot at their table for me.

“Heyyyyy girl!” Lilly shouts.

“Oh my gosh Lil, keep it down,” I murmur…my request is promptly denied.

“You’re looking HOT mama!”

“Thanks Lil, Hi Clair, Kat, can’t you two keep her under control?”

Two sets of eyes roll severely at me, yea I know that feeling.

“Hey Mia, what do you want to drink?” Clair asks, and I consider for a moment just how intoxicated I’m willing to get tonight and decide a martini is safe.

“How many have you guys had anyway?” I ask raising my eyebrows with the question mainly directed at Lilly.

“She was here first, I have no idea how many she’s had,” Kat says defensively, holding her hands out in front of her and shaking her head back and forth.

“We just got here, this is our first.”

“Oh good, I hate being behind, things are more fun when we keep the same pace,” I say.

“Agreed,” Kat and Clair say together and look at Lilly.

“HEY, I’ve only had 3 drinks, and you all know I can drink you under the table any night,” Lilly says, defending herself now.

“Yea, she’s got a point there.” A pretty, petite waitress comes and takes our order and quickly moves on to the next table. This place is packed for a weeknight, she’s got her work cut out for her but she returns in a couple minutes with our round of drinks.

“So Mia, any hot dates lately?” Lilly has spent every waking moment of the last 10 years trying to get me onto the dating scene. “Uh yea Lilly, sure, I’m getting married next month, did I forget to tell you?”

I shoot back sarcastically; did her eyes actually just light up for a second? Will she ever learn?

“Such a waste Mia, you’re a catch ya know, little Miss Hottie; independent, creative, you just need to get out there and find your prince charming.”

“I’ll get right on that Lil.” This is getting irritating.

I throw back my drink in an attempt to loosen up and not let this crap bother me.

“Oh look at her go!” Lilly screeches.

“Lilly, keep it down or they’re gonna throw us out of here!” Kat hisses, embarrassed.  Kat is the quiet one of our group, she has a boyfriend and of the four of us she’s the most challenging to drag out on girls’ night, which makes her the most intelligent in my opinion.  She’d rather stay in with Jack.

Clair is the member of our group I’ve not known as long as the others, just a year or so, and I’m still not sure what I think of her. There have been times she makes references to a lifestyle I know nothing about, she doesn’t have a boyfriend per say, but spends time with a man regularly, refusing to claim him as anything serious. I really think she’s into some dark stuff but I don’t pry, I’m not really sure I want to know any more than I have assumed.

My phone is vibrating in my clutch on the table, weird; I’m with everyone that would be calling me at this time, unless they need help at work, in all honesty I never know when they’re going to call.

I get out my phone and sure enough it’s the hospital, I press deny; I can’t work after a drink anyway so why answer? As soon as I deny the call it begins again, what the hell? Something clicks in my mind, Evan! Something’s wrong, I punch the answer button and Shae is yelling at me, “MIA! We need you to come down here, the patient in 8 is FREAKING OUT and he’s screaming for you!”

Oh my god…He’s AWAKE!

 

Chapter 7

“Wake Up Dead Man” by U2

“Crazy Love” by Van Morrison

I knew it would happen on my night off, damn! And why is he yelling for me, he’s never actually met me?

“MIA!! Can you hear me?!”

“Yea, yea, what’s going on?!” I hear a man yelling in the background… and he’s yellingmyname… shit what’s going on?

“He just opened his eyes and starting trying to get out of bed and has been yelling for you for 20 min; he won’t shut up, security is here trying to keep him in bed, please can you come?!”

“Uh, yea of course; I’ll be right there, don’t let him hurt himself!”

“Oh thank God, I’m gonna hang up and tell him you’re coming maybe he’ll calm down,” Shae says, relieved. I’d been moving since I answered the phone, the girls are yelling behind me…

“Hey!”

“Mia! Where are you going?!!”

“Gotta go, he’s awake,” I call over my shoulder; they don’t even know who I’m talking about but I don’t have time to care right now. I have to get to him, he’s awake and screaming for ME…me… he must have been able to hear me, I wonder if he could feel me touching him too? Who cares, I just need to get to him. I’m trying so hard not to speed, still over the limit by 10 mph; I’ve recently had a drink, and I’m a nurse!  I really don’t need to be pulled over, that will just waste the precious time I need to reach Evan. I pull into the parking garage at a dangerous speed, swing into a spot and jump out of the car, not bothering to lock it.

I’m running, running in these heels.Shit! Don’t fall and break your leg or you’ll end up in a bed next to him!Ok so that wouldn’t be so terrible…What the hell, I’m definitely losing my mind! I fumble for my badge and flash it at the security guard by the door. He looks confused at first but quickly recognizes me in my short skirt and heels instead of scrubs. Going up the elevator I start to hear him; he’s yelling hysterically, his voice is deep but loud and he sounds panicked. I can’t make out the words, but I feel the desperation coming through them and it pulls at my heart, the doors open and I race through toward his room. I stop abruptly at his door, shocked at the scene before me.

Shae stands at the foot of the bed, arms extended as she motions and begs him to lay back down. She’s trying to reason with a madman, which is funny because she’s about five foot 2 inches and 100 lb. He dwarfs her several times over. Four security guards are at his bedside attempting to restrain him while he thrashes and screams, and I meanattempting; he’s stronger than I ever imagined. Adrenalin can make a person temporarily superhuman and that’s what he looks like at this moment,super human!Gown torn off, chiseled chest exposed, hair wild and sexy; yep, he’s super in my book any day.

The security guards turn briefly to see who is entering the room, each one has their own personalized look of shock, mouths gaping, wide eyes, one even dropped Evan’s arm that he had been trying to restrain…what’s their problem? Oh yea, my outfit, or lack thereof.

Not exactly appropriate hospital attire, it’s probably the furthest thing from scrubs I could be dressed in and I didn’t even grab my sweater at the bar. That’s a lot of skin exposed in the bright lights of the ICU. They all turn their focus back to Evan when he begins to struggle again. Worried about what he may do next, the guards grip him tighter and the atmosphere in the room is chaotic. I’m frozen in the doorway, shocked.  I don’t think he’s actually seeing me; wait he’s never seen me, but I need to speak to him, that’s what he knows…my voice.

I finally succumb to my now-familiar magnetic draw; it’s always been there for me, I wonder if he feels it now too? Moving toward the bed while he continues to struggle with the guards I begin to speak to him. “Evan…Evan…look at me! It’s Mia; I’m here for you now, right here, remember me? I’ve been talking to you, waiting for you,” I remind him in a calm voice as if I’m talking to a cornered wild animal. He stops struggling immediately and looks at me, emotionless empty green eyes staring back at me, the security guards hold their ground around the bed, restraining his arms and good leg; they steer clear of the casted leg, he would no doubt use it as a weapon if given the chance. He looks at me for what feels like an eternity… and finally his eyes begin to move from my face down over every inch of my body, lingering at my breasts and bare legs for the longest time. He makes me feel naked; much more exposed than this outfit had 15 min ago.  He’s leering at me… holy shit… this man just returned violently from a coma and he’s stripping me down, undressing me with his eyes, what kind of man have I summoned? Gabriella said he was ‘difficult’ is this what she meant? Evan continues to rake over my body with his eyes, he’s so quiet now, and he seems frozen as well.

“Mia?” he whispers,.

“Yes, it’s me; your nurse says that you woke up and you’ve been asking for me…”

“You’re my nurse Mia…you said you were waiting for me…” he trails off, sounding hurt, like a boy instead of this massive, powerful man, it’s like he has turned into another person; my experience as a nurse has me considering brain damage.

I slip that into myShit to Worry About Laterbox.

Figure out what he wants from me right now and try to settle him down; that’s what I need to do. Sweat beads on his forehead, his muscles are tense and the sheet covering him is trembling with his anger, fear, or perhaps his confusion? Most likely all three. His eyes change again suddenly, it’s disconcerting, and I’ve never seen such a severe swing in character in a person.

“You don’t look like a nurse…” This is a smoldering, sexy man looking at me now with a smirk on those lips of his, one side pulled up, slightly narrowed eyes and a barely-there wink.  He’s sitting straight up in the bed.

Zero to one hundred in a split second, he’s gone from vulnerable boy to sexy and sensual predator. 

“I was out with my friends, I’m not working tonight,” I say softly.

“Out with who?” he asks accusingly, a small wrinkle forming between his brows. As if he has some claim on me.

“Girlfriends.”

It’s none of his damned business who I’m out with but I’m trying to diffuse the situation, so I appease him with reassurance that I’ve been with female friends and not on a date, because it sure seems like he’s thinking I was on a date! 

“Oh…” he says, confused.  Now he’s coming around, relaxing slightly and looking at the security guards as if he just noticed them standing there.

“Guys, I think I’ve got it from here, you can let him go,” I say.

“You sure Ma’am, this guy’s been going nuts for an hour.”

“Yes I’m sure, let him go,” I order with authority; it’s obvious he’s calmer now and the security guard is kinda pissing me off; who is he calling ‘Ma’am’?  I know he’s just trying to protect me, but that irrational part of me that lays claim to this practical stranger wants to protecthim, not me. All four of the men let go slowly with apprehension and take a step away from the bed.

I move in close to Evan and Shae moves out.

Placing my hands gently on his familiar shoulders, I ease him down into the bed, head against the pillows. I feel him looking at me all the while but I avoid eye contact.

“See, he’s fine, and I’ll call if I need help, don’t worry I’ve got this,” I say and give in, looking directly into his eyes; it’s like looking at the sun, and emotions and feelings blind me.  I’m hypnotized, but he looks back at me the same way.

“You’ve got this…” he says, inaudible to anyone but me. “You said that to me didn’t you?”

“Yes Evan, I did. And I’m here now ok?”

Everyone slowly files out the door and into the hall. Shae, the nurse who is taking care of Evan tonight and the one who called me is standing outside the door, eyes wide with bewilderment. I move to close the door and shrug; I don’t know what’s going on any more than she does really.

“Just give me a few minutes to talk to him.” Shae puts her hand on the door stopping me from closing it.

“Mia, are you two…. I mean do you know him…from before?”

“No, just as his nurse, but I know he won’t hurt me.” I feel it somehow and I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.

“He’s dangerous Mia, you can’t be in there alone with him!”

But I’ve decided to go with my instincts; he may have brain damage but I’ll risk it, I just know he wouldn’t hurt a hair on my head, even though I have no facts to back that up, it’s just an extremely strong feeling.

“Ok, put on the emergency light if you need us,” Shae says with worry in her voice.

“I will, I promise,” I softy close the door and turn to Evan, who is now laying back in bed staring at the ceiling, zoned out. Back at his side I take his hand in mine carefully; he slowly turns his head to me. “Where’s Cameron?” he asks flatly, looking at me now with lifeless eyes.

“I don’t know who Cameron is, Evan; is she someone I should call for you?” I ask. I can see the effort he’s applying to sorting the details of his accident out.

“She was with me… I saw her hair floating around her face, we were under water.” Shit, he must be talking about the person in the accident who was DOA; I hadn’t thought to look up that information and see who was with him.

“Evan, can I get you anything, are you thirsty?” I attempt to steer the conversation away from his dead friend, or girlfriend, whoever she was; he doesn’t need to deal with that right now, especially since he’s still showing signs of shock. He turns his head back so he’s once again staring at the ceiling.

“Yes,” he says. Good, let’s get him taking this a little at a time. Stepping out into the hall, looking back at him twice to make sure he doesn’t panic when I leave the room. I get him some ice water and return to the room, my co-workers are in various stages of working but they all stare curiously. I try to avoid eye contact again; I feel like I’m the spotlight featured float in a Macy’s parade. Scooting back into his room I close the door, moving quickly to close any distance between us.

“Here, take a drink.” I offer him the cup and he does as I say, pulling a long drink from the cup and begins staring at me again.

“I heard you talking to me,” he says.

“What do you remember?” I question.

“You said you would take good care of me…  it pissed me off,” he says with a steely coldness I wasn’t expecting.

“You were angry? Why?”

“I take care ofmyself, I always have; I don’t need anyone helping me,” he spits back.

“Well you look like you need help now,” I snap, without thinking about keeping him calm. I step back half a step and scowl at him.

“Mmm, a smart mouth, I didn’t see that coming, Nurse Mia.”

Oh so he’s going to be snarky now is he?

“Well you seem to be pretty ungrateful Mr. Lawson, I’ve just left a night out with my friends to come here because of your freak out episode.”

Shit, I need to knock it off, why is he making me react this way, I have better interpersonal skills than this, pull yourself to together! Evan looks smug, as if he has accomplished exactly what he set out to do, irritate, alienate and push me away.

“Look, obviously you were confused and just remembered the last person to speak to you when you woke up from a terrible accident, I’m sure your irritable; let’s get you comfortable and I’ll be on my way,” I say trying for a little more compassion.

Suddenly he reaches out and tenaciously grabs my wrist; every single muscle in my body tightens. I lick my lips deliberately and hold my breath for what might be next.

“Don’t go… stay with me Mia,” he says in a deep, quiet voice.

My mind instantly throws me back 10 years when 3 men were holding me against my will in a dirty house that smelled of urine and mold and I begin to sweat; I think Evan realizes I have gone white and eases his grip on me, but he doesn’t let go. Slowly, I take my free hand and remove his from my wrist and step out of his reach. Any other time in my life I would have run, run and never ever looked back, but something makes me sit down in the chair next to him.

“I’ll stay, but don’t grab me like that again.” I should be snapping at him but my voice is calm and quiet. He looks at me with confusion, but then his face relaxes and I see what a beautiful man he is when he isn’t volatile;myEvan, the one I knew before he woke up and started terrorizing people.

“You’re staying?” he asks, vulnerability showing unexpectedly.

“Yes I promise, close your eyes and rest, I’ll be here when you wake up.”

“I don’t want to sleep, how long have I been out anyway?”

“Eight days.” I answer “Eight days?” 

“Fuck, I have a business to run, where is my phone, I have to find out what’s going on.” He’s panicking again, looking around the room for his phone, and clutching the sheets on his bed.

“Ok…let me see if I can find it for you, it may have been destroyed in the accident.” His eyes lock with mine and I feel instantly that he doesn’t want me to leave to search for his phone, no matter how badly he needs to contact someone at work, having me stay right here is top priority.


Page 5

“Oh…well is there a phone in here I can use?” he asks, not waiting for me to look for his phone, I think he’s still trying to put the pieces together. I hand him mine and he pauses, looking at the keyboard and then back to me.

“I can’t remember the number.” He seems dumbfounded that he can’t remember a phone number.

“Well maybe you just use your contact list when you call familiar places?” I offer.

“No…I never forget anything, I have a photographic memory,” he replies defensively as frown lines deepen on his forehead.

“Who do you want to call, I’ll look up the number for you.”

“Dominus, I need to talk to Isaac…. now.”

Ok, ok Mr. Bossy, keep your gown on; I hold my tongue though and Google the number for Dominus. I dial it for him and hand the phone over. It couldn’t have rang once before he’s barking into the phone. “This is Mr. Lawson, give me Isaac…. now!”

I’m acutely aware that I’m very glad I’m not an employee of his, no warm fuzzies with this man. Seconds later he’s connected with Isaac; he must have been right by the phone unless the person answering was working some serious magic.

“Isaac, I need updates… no I’m fine… you need to come here as soon as the kitchen closes, let Kimberly handle the club. I’ve been down for eight fucking days, I want to be filled in on everything; bring me my laptop and a new phone.” He disconnects without even a ‘thank you, have a nice night, glad you kept all my business going while I was in a coma’! Evan puts the boss in ‘bossy’.

He drops the phone in the bed next to him absently and looks over at me.

“What?” he asks.

“Um…you just seem a little I dunno… grouchy… bossy. You’re lucky to have staff to keep things in order during a crisis,” I answer, his outburst on the phone has me just a tiny bit intimidated, but not so much that I won’t speak my mind. He’s surprised at my comment.

“No one talks to me like that, you’d be smart to remember that.” What?! Ok, I’m all for keeping the peace but this guy is too much! “Mr. Lawson, you’d be smart to remember that you’re incapacitated and require help dong the MOST basic of things,” I challenge. Narrowing his bright green eyes and studying me for a beat, the corner of his mouth raises slightly.

“I’m going to enjoy your smart mouth, Nurse Mia.” I instantly feel the heat rising up my neck; blushing fiercely, I wonder what he means by THAT? A combination of being turned on and irritated clash in me, a quick flash of Evan and I entangled in an erotic kiss, naked bodies pressed together bursts through my mind… STOP!  He is SO cocky, but provocative; how was a man in a hospital gown with a cast on one leg able to turn me on? While my body defies my mind by internally melting down to lava low in my belly, a yearning so deep it’s almost impossible to ignore builds. I try to appear outwardly unaffected.

“Mr. Lawson, you’ve had a stressful night, I think you need some rest, even if it’s not actual sleep; close your eyes and rest…. now,” I say with my most authoritative nurse voice and narrow my crystal blue eyes at him slightly. Raising his eyebrows in surprise and then lowering back down to the pillow, he seems to acquiesce. But then, in his oh-so-irritating way, he closes his eyes and snaps,  “Wake me as soon as Isaac is here with my things, I have work to do.”

“Yea sure…” I mumble and roll my eyes. Opening one eye looking at me he gives me a look that says ‘don’t mess with me lady’ and closes it again. This guy is seriously not used to being told what to do. Whatever, I know as soon as he’s asleep there’s no way I’m waking him again, lesson learned! Leaning back in the hard chair next to his bed I attempt to get comfortable; he may be irritating but I’m not leaving him, the magnetic force between us now that he is awake is so much stronger, earthquakes and monsoons couldn’t pry me away. It’s not long when I hear soft steady breathing from Evan; sleeping, he’s my Greek God once again, still and beautiful. Isaac arrives no more than 30 min after Evans call. I usher him to the hall, keeping Evan from waking up. Isaac is looking more than a little confused. “Uh…has he gotten the nurses to change the dress code already?” He smirks. I looked down, remembering my club attire.

“Of course not, I was out with friends, he woke up asking for me and I came without changing first,” I reply.

“He was asking for you specifically?” he says, surprised.

“Yes… I’m his nurse, we met a few days ago remember?”

“Yea but you’re not his ONLY nurse, and you weren’t even here.” Isaac is obviously not used to Evan asking to see someone without a particular need in mind.

“Well he did, he was quite upset and the nurse on duty needed some help settling him down,” I downplayed the incident, not wanting his right hand man to know his boss went psychotic and tried to take on four security guards.

“Oh.. ok…well he wants his laptop and I have a new phone for him.” “I’ll take those, he’s resting, I’ll make sure he gets them when he wakes up,” I say, but Isaac is having no part of that plan. Shaking his head back and forth he says, “No, he wanted them now when he called, I can’t just leave them with you, that’s not how it works with him.” Isaac sounds a little unnerved.

“Well it’s how it’s going to work tonight; he’s been through a lot and certainly doesn’t need to start right back into work immediately, he may not even be sure what he’s doing, and we can’t know if he has any brain damage until some tests are run tomorrow.” My tone and this information have totally taken him aback. 

His jaw tightens but he hands over the laptop bag and new phone reluctantly.

“He may kill me for this, you know?” He sighs a long sigh and looks temporarily defeated.

“Tell him all his contacts, apps, appointments and notes are programed into his new phone; also there’s a file on his laptop titled ‘Updates’ that includes everything of consequence that has gone on since his accident in every Dominus location; please tell him or I’m out of the best job I’ve ever had,” he pleads.

I can only imagine what a tyrant Evan must be to strike such fear and compliance into his obviously dedicated employee.

“Of course, as soon as he wakes up I’ll make sure he gets all of it right away,” I soften my voice.

“Don’t worry about your job Isaac, I’m sure he’ll appreciate you keeping his business running while he was unable.”

“You don’t know Evan, it’s nothing to him to let me go, no matter how hard I work or ‘invaluable’ I am, someone else is always just as competent as I am and I can be replaced.” 

“I may not know him well but I will tell you this, he needs a lot of care and help right now and he won’t be up and able to work for a while, he needs you more than he knows.  I’ll explain it was my idea to let him sleep.” I attempt to relieve him of some of his anxiety, unsuccessfully.

“I think I should wait until he wakes up and give him what he asked for personally,” Isaac says and removes the laptop and phone from my hands.

“Suit yourself, there’s a chair outside the door, you can wait there. I’ll let you know when he wakes up.”

Every muscle in Isaacs’s body relaxes simultaneously, he takes another long breath and turns to sit in the chair, laptop on his lap, straight back, like a soldier arming his base camp. Returning to Evan’s bedside I readjust myself in the chair and close my eyes just for a minute….

The smell invades my senses; urine, mold, sewer, the bile sits right at the edge of my throat, threatening to empty my stomach, my wrists ache from the rope that restrains them above my head, where I’m tethered to a pipe, and my feet touch the ground but my body is so exhausted I just let myself hang slack from my wrists.

Light peeks through the edges of the window… I have no idea where I am but I do know I’ve been here too long; I try to hold as still as possible, particularly as moving just brings the reality of my injuries to the forefront of my mind. I can hear one of them walking around outside the door of the room and I stiffen, then the door begins to crack open and I ready myself for more pain…

 

Chapter 8

“From This Moment” by Shania Twain

I am aware of being awake but keep my eyes closed, my back aches and my right arm is numb;  my hair feels like it’s tangled in something and being tugged and my mind moves from the nightmare to reality. I’ve fallen asleep without medication for the first time in years, and I paid for it by having to relive my past in an old, familiar night terror. I open one eye and see my left hand spread wide on Evan’s lower abdomen, the sheet pulled down-  somehow he must have gotten out of his hospital gown last night because my hand is on hisbareskin and my head is resting on his chest. Holy shit, how did I end up moving my chair so close and sleeping practically half the way in bed with him?!! I try to raise my head but realize Evan’s hand is what’s holding me down; his fingers are twined through my long hair as he sleeps. I’m stuck!

Slowly I begin to move my left hand away from his abdomen, where it suddenly feels scorching hot, but at the slightest hint of movement in my fingers, Evan’s right hand shoots to hold my left in place. He’s awake, I was wrong. My pulse quickens and I stay still; maybe he’ll think I’m still sleeping.

“Good morning nurse Mia, you can’t believe how happy I am that you joined me in bed,” he croons. I can sense the sly grin that accompanies his arrogance. Shaking my head so that he’ll loosen the grip on my hair, I turned to face him.

“It wasn’t done intentionally, let’s get that straight,” I say, looking him in the eye and then gazing down at my restrained left hand. He immediately releases me and I sit up, still trying to untangle his fingers from my hair. I reach back to help him and feel the magnet that continues to hold us together, along with a shock of warmth flowing from his hand to mine. When I’m free, he continues to hold my hand, looking intently at me- the close proximity and those bright green eyes start the lava pooling between my legs… I can see this man could have any woman he wanted with just this one simple look- including me if I’m not careful.

“You have beautiful hair.”  Abruptly I let go and move back in my chair as he raises his head to leer at my exposed legs. “I thought you were a dream last night, when I saw you here in that outfit,” he says, looking up at me through his long eyelashes.

“Nope, no dream- are you hungry? Can get you some breakfast?” I try to change the direction of the conversation yet again; it seems like I feel the need to do that a lot with Evan.

“Hmmmm hungry…yes….for breakfast…..not so much,” he purrs. Is he serious? I swear he’s hard under that sheet, or maybe it’s just morning woodLook away Mia, look away…. Focus on breakfast, the kind with food as an entrée, not him!

“Uh… I’ll run and get you some eggs and toast, no allergies to foods right?” I rattle and scramble out of my chair toward the door.

“No, no allergies and I eat only egg whites and no bread, with bacon.” Bossy Evan has returned.

“So bossy…” I retort.

“Yes I am the boss, the king, master- whatever it takes to get the job done, baby.”

BABY? I am NOT his baby! I control my fury, just barely; if this were a cartoon, smoke would be shooting out my ears!

“Mia…my name is Mia and you could say please, it wouldn’t kill you.”

“It might…. Mia,” he says, turning his head slightly to the side and looking at me with a strangely sad sort of expression. I turn to the door, trying to understand what that was all about.

“I’ll be right back,” I say, scooting quickly through the door before he can give me any more of those urgent “stay with me” looks. Sitting next to the door, exactly as I left him, is Isaac with Evans laptop and phone on his lap. “Isaac! Did you sit there all night? Didn’t you sleep?” I ask, incredulous.

“Yes and no, I couldn’t leave, Evan told me to bring his things, and I had to be here when he woke up. And I’m used to staying up all night, I work at Dominus, the restaurantandthe club, it’s open late.”

“Oh.. I see…I’m going to get Evan some breakfast, can I get you anything?” I can’t decide whether to pity him or admire him for sitting there all night. He’s either completely loyal or seriously afraid.

“No thank you, but is it ok if I go in and give him these?” he asks. “

Yes, I suppose, he’s awake so go ahead, I’ll be right back.” As I walk down the hall, Callie grabs me by the arm.

“HEY!” I squeak. “That hurts!”

“Sorry Mia but you can’t seriously expect to walk out ofhisroom dressed likethatwith no explanation, come on now!” she hisses.

“I’m sure you heard he woke up last night, I say, with a little sarcasm- the rumor mill here is ridiculous. I know she’s heard he woke up screaming for me by name.

“Yes, but why are you dressed like THAT, and why was he screaming for you specifically?” she asks incredulously.

“How am I supposed to know?  But he did and I came; I was out with some friends for drinks, hence the inappropriate attire,” I answer, waving my hand down my body exaggeratedly like Vanna White. 

“Oh…crazy…what did he want, why are you still here- is something going on between you two?” Her questions come at me with all the subtlety of rapid gunfire.  Geesh, I should introduce Callie to Lily, they’d get along famously. I should also have let Evan starve; hiding in his room seems a pretty good idea right about now. Sucking it up, I face the wrath of Callie.

“Ok Callie….” I begin, trying to be patient. “Because I know you so well and I know you’re relentless, I’ll answer all your questions as best I can. First of all,  I’m assuming he asked for me because I’ve been talking to him every day when I take care of him. Secondly, I’m still here because he asked me to stay, and third no, nothing’s going on between us. For God’s sake Callie he’s been in a coma, what could possibly be going on between us?!” I exclaim, annoyed beyond words.

“Hmmm. Ok...seems weird.”

“Yea, itisweird, but I need to get him some breakfast- may I be dismissed?” I ask sarcastically.

“Yea, yea- go ahead.” She stares now, unfocused and distracted by her own thoughts, probably trying to figure it all out. I hope she fills me in if she does. “ But why don’t you let him order from his menu?” she asks.

“I thought we were done with the questions?”

“Sorry,” she says, looking off over my shoulder at the door to Evans room, where Isaac steps out and passes us, saying, “I’ll get his breakfast, I know what he likes and he asked me to- please don’t argue, it’s what I do and he wants to see you.” Isaac breezes by on his way to the elevator before I can argue.

“Well ok then…” I say, and Callie and I look at each other in surprise, her mouth hanging open. When she recovers the questions start again, “WHO WAS THAT? He’s gorgeous; acts like Evans wife though- are they gay? Is he single?  Can you introduce us?” I had assumed she was shocked at Isaacs briskness, but of course not, it was his looks. She’s always on the hunt, and as for him being gay, well…I hadn’t even considered that, although why I don’t know, because I know nothing about him. And thatcouldexplain him not being photographed with any women. Shit, I’d better figure that one out right away, “He’s Evans assistant, right hand man, slave I’m not exactly sure what, and yes he’s good looking and again, I have no idea if he’s single or if they’re gay. I haven’t exactly asked him about his private life.” I don’t even bother asking if we’re done with this conversation, I turn away from Callie and head back into the lion’s den. I really want to shower and change into something comfortable but I can’t leave him, I told him I’d bring breakfast back and with all that magnetism, I can’t seem to deny him.

“Isaac is going to get your breakfast, apparently he knows…” I stop in my tracks;  I didn’t knock before I came in and Evan is lying in bed looking down at his cock, examining it and holding the sheet away from himself.

“What’s this?” he asks.

“Uh…. If you have to ask, you must have really hit your head hard,” I snicker. I’m a nurse after all, but I’ve taken special care not to look under the sheets because in all honesty I wasn’t sure I could keep my hands off of him. I close the door quickly.

“No, this tube coming out of my cock, what the hell is it? And get it out!” he demands with horror. I smile and move closer to him, getting a better look. I am genuinely impressed, and glad I didn’t look before!  I’ve seen lots of naked men and all their glory parts, but this guy is absolutely spectacular. He keeps his eyes on me, fear of the catheter mixing with smug pride at my obvious reaction to his exposure and size. I know there is a standing order to remove the catheter when a patient becomes conscious so I ask, “Do you want it removed? I’ll get your nurse if you do?” I’m somewhat hesitant.

“You’re my nurse, I want you to do it,” he says.

“Well actually, there’s a day nurse assigned to you right now,” I inform him, but he doesn’t let me go any further with that excuse.

“No! Only you. I don’t want anyone helping me but you…” he barks, with a deep adult  male voice and the attitude of an astonishingly spoiled child.

“I’ll take it out, but I can’t be here constantly Evan, you’ll eventually have to accept help from another nurse.” Am I really going to do this?  Retrieving a pair of gloves from the box at the bedside and a syringe out of the drawer, I see his eyes widen almost comically.

“What’s that?” He scoots away from my edge of the bed. “You’re not going to inject me with something are you!”

“No, there’s a balloon of fluid at the end of that catheter inside of you holding it in, youreallywant me to deflate that before I take it out, trust me,” I reassure him, and his face relaxes slightly as I turn and put my gloves on, silently wishing someone would reassureme.

“You look really sexy in that outfit putting your gloves on, looking at my cock,” he says crassly.

“I’m a nurse Evan, this is not my first rodeo, so try to get your mind out of the gutter,” I snap, but I’m feeling a bit like I’m in a porn flick right now, and more than a little apprehensive. I have to really touch him to do this, like touch him, touch him. But he’s awake, so at least I don’t feel like I’m assaulting him. His eyes follow my gloved, shaky hands to the catheter, I attach the syringe and let out the fluid from the balloon, and as carefully and clinically as possible I grasp his penis toward the base and ease the catheter out of him. He inhales sharply. Unbelievably he’s at half-mast, and I turn my head to look him in the eyes and remove my hands.

Before I can move to throw the catheter away and remove my gloves, he reaches up and takes my face in both hands, pulling me toward him and kissing me quickly and softly on the lips. He whispers, “That hurt.” Jerking upright and stepping back, I’m speechless. That was so inappropriate, not to mention unexpected; I was taking out his catheter for God’s sake, what a time to make a pass! And we can scratch gay off the list of questions…for sure.

“Uh…. Sorry, I guess I figured you’d know it wouldn’t be comfortable,” I say, throwing out the contents of my hands. “What was that?” I finally ask.

“A kiss Mia, I can familiarize you further with my kisses if you come back over here, I’m sure you’ve been kissed before.”

“But wh…. why…?” I stutter. 

“Because you were finally close enough to me, and with you holding my dick in your hands, it seemed as good a time as any.” He’s so cocky, pun intended. This guy is so hard to follow.

“Oh…” I’m still shocked, and the earth shifts under my feet; my lips tingle where his touched mine and my heart flutters. I have a million butterflies in my stomach. There’s a knock at the door then and I realize he’s still exposed, and aroused. I moved swiftly and protectively to his side and cover him with the sheet, blanket and comforter attempting to disguise his growing erection. He’s smiling on one side of his mouth, eyebrows up, “What’s wrong, nurse Mia, don’t want to share?”

“No.. I mean Yes…I mean oh! Just cover yourself will ya, who knows who it is?!” I sputter. He knows he’s embarrassing me and he likes it…

“Come in!” Isaac enters the room with a bag from Dominus…he went all the way to the restaurant and back already? It doesn’t seem to be a place that would be open for breakfast. I wonder who cooked for him at this early hour.

“Your usual Sir and this,” Isaac drops a white gold chain with a rather large crucifix hanging from it into Evans open palm before automatically arranging the food on Evans bedside table, for all the world like he really is his wife. The food smells exquisite; an omelet made with only egg whites, bacon and fresh squeezed orange juice. Somebody who knows his preferences must have been cooking for him. My stomach growls loudly, and both men look up at me.

“Sorry, I need to go home and shower and get something to eat,” I say, while gathering up my purse and blushing; my damn stomach did that on cue I swear it!

“No, Mia….sit. Eat with me, you can’t leave…. do you work tonight?” Evan asked, trying unsuccessfully to keep the alarm out of his voice. Isaac looks up from the food, surprised by Evans response to me leaving.

“I’ll step out,” he says, and leaves the room abruptly.

“I don’t work tonight. I’m not scheduled for two more nights,” I inform him. He starts looking around the room nervously, clutching the sheets on both sides of the bed again, and a fine layer of perspiration forms on his forehead.


Page 6

“Are you ok…. Evan?” No response. I sit on the edge of the bed and take one of his clenched hands in both of mine. “Evan…can you hear me? Do you know where you are?” I ask. Slowly he turns to look at me. “Mia?”

“Yes Evan, where did you go just now?” I ask.

“Where is Cameron?” he responds, the same question he asked me last night.

“Is that who was with you in the accident?”

“Yes…I told you that last night didn’t I?” I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding, God I’m so relieved that he remembers.

“Yes, you did- was she your friend?”

“Yes…a friend, she worked for me in my club, the one here in Seattle,” he answers flatly, no emotion visible on his face. No other way to do this, he needs to know she’s dead. “Evan, the passenger in the car with you didn’t make it,” I say softly, and his hand grips mine so tightly it’s painful but I stay quiet.

“I know.”

“You do, so you remember the accident?”

“No, but I saw her floating next to me in the car, in the water- she was already dead, her eyes were open and so empty. She just stared at me….”

“Oh Evan I’m so sorry, do you need me to call your sister for you, maybe some family here with you would help?” 

“No,” he snaps,, avoiding my eyes by looking at the wall opposite me.

“You know, she’s been coming every day to sit with you, your sister Gabriella,” I say. “I could hear her, I wish she hadn’t come.”

“Why Evan? She really seems to love you. She sat all day, every day by your side and made sure you had the best doctors, she even requested that only I take care of you if I was working.” 

“She wasn’t here because she loves me, she was here because she fears me, and she knows if she let anything happen to me she’d be in a lot of trouble.” He’s looking at me now, sorrow spreading across his face as he continues. “She deserves everything I have and more, and if I die she gets it all. I’ve made sure of it.” I sit, stunned and confused. “Why do you think she fears you, I didn’t get that feeling at all.”

“You don’t know anything about us Mia, believe me when I tell you Gabriella is scared of me, I’m not saying any more about it, we’re done with this subject.” Hmmmm, well fine then!

“Has anyone called to tell her you’re awake?” I ask.

“I don’t know, you’re the only person besides Isaac I’ve spoken to, and the hostess at Dominus, to ask for Isaac. Don’t call her, I don’t want her here,” he orders, narrowing his eyes at me with a stern look.

“I promised her I would.”

“I don’t care, I donotwant her called, understand?” His heart rate is accelerating and he’s let go of my hand.

“Ok, ok, I won’t call her but I hope you’ll reconsider.”  A light knock at the door interrupts us. Evan calls, “Come in!”  And Isaac pokes his head around the corner .

“Can I get you anything else sir?” he asks.

“No, just email me updates and schedules for the Seattle and Miami locations, you can go now.”

“Yes sir, I’ll send them right away sir.” Isaac closes the door and he’s gone.

“I need to leave too,” I say reluctantly, the magnetic pull between us is so strong it feels physically impossible to leave him. I have his full attention now and he reaches out to grasp my hand again.

“Come back.,” he says severely, his bright green eyes darkening. “Please?” I snort, and he hesitates, “Pleasecome back.” He pleads with me.

“Since you asked me nicely I will,” I tease, but then ask seriously. “Why did you ask for me when you woke up?” I can’t keep from asking him this, it’s been nagging at me all night.

“I don’t know….I just knew I needed you,” he admits, reluctantly it seems.

“You needed me? But you hadn’t even met me…” His brow wrinkles into a frown. “I don’t fucking know. I just woke up and needed you, I’d been listening to you but I couldn’t respond, I was paralyzed but I knew you were there and when I could finally move and speak you’re voice, your touch was all I could think of, all I could remember.”

I don’t know how to respond to his outburst of honesty, and a silence hangs between us as we stare at each other and my heart constricts; he seems so alone right now, and I realize heisalone. No family other than his sister, whom he has some serious problems with, co-workers that are petrified of him, and no girlfriend or wife at his bedside. Evan Lawson is completely alone in the world, and I have a feeling he’s made it this way on purpose, until now…until his mind wasn’t in control of his body; until me…

 

Chapter 9

“Just Another Day” by John Secada

Sitting on the edge of Evans bed I stroke his arm and hold his hand. Holy shit, his body is solid- he tenses slightly and moves his fingers over my knuckles slowly, his touch burning like fire and electricity combined. How am I going to get out of here and home to shower, I can hardly make myself leave the room to get him breakfast, let alone go all the way home. Evan is looking at me with anticipation, darkness in his eyes; the emotions that continuously cross his eyes worry me.

“Evan, I’m going to try and run home to shower and eat, but I promise I’ll come right back.” 

“Do you have to go, what do you mean bytry?”

Ok decision time- do I let him know how he affects me? Like a super nova, exploding in space, outshining the entire galaxy? Should I explain why it’s been an effort to leave his side every second since I first lay eyes him in that bed, or should I keep my heart safe and stay quiet? I’ve never had these feelings before, and for a virtual stranger it’s ridiculous that I’m having trouble tearing myself away.  Men have pursued me in my life, and I’ve shot them down immediately every time, even if my body reacts positively. My mind rejects anything more than friendship from a man. Evan has shattered the glass separating my fear and my heart, without even trying. Maybe that was the key, the slow progression of my introduction to him in his unconscious state. I was allowed to explore his physical presence with no fear of him, with no response or judgment from him. I don’t know how it happened but it has, so I plunge in feet first and admit my feelings….

“It’s hard for me to leave you, it has been since the first time I lay eyes on you in that bed, so when I saytry, I mean it takes a conscious effort to go.” So there it is, let’s see what he does with it. He’ll probably think I’m a needy, clingy nutcase. 

Evan sits up, propping himself on one elbow letting go of my hand. Shit, that can’t be good, but it’s only for a moment, and then he reaches out with the same hand and tucks a long strand of hair behind my ear and feathers the back of his fingers down my cheek, resting his hand right above my breast.  My heart stops beating, I don’t think I’m breathing…. “I don’t want you to go, I don’t know what it is, I don’t know a thing about you, but I’m drawn to you. I realize you can’t hold vigil at my bedside, but I need you to come back today, soon if you can…. Please,” he sayspleaselike its foreign and painful, but he said it.BREATHE; my heart is pounding with the lack of oxygen from all this holding of my breath. But he feels the same way, or at least it sounds like it. Relief spreads through my body, warm and comforting.

“I’ll be back in and hour, one hour, I promise.”  I hold up one finger for emphasis. My experience as a nurse has taught me that giving a specific time that you will return can ease a patient’s anxiety. Wrinkling his brow and biting that sexy, full bottom lip for a long moment he finally concedes.

“Ok, an hour- one, I don’t want that other nurse giving me a bed bath.”

I smile wide and giggle, “Don’t worry, you won’t get a bath unless it’s from me.”

“Ok, go! The sooner you go, the sooner you’ll come back to me.”

“So now your pushing me out the door huh?” I tease, but his face darkens and I realize that must have not been the best choice of words.

“I’m kidding, just kidding,” I reassure him.

“I know, hurry up,” he commands, and I’m happy to comply. He moves his hand from above my breast down to my waist and nudges me to get up. I rise from the bed and slowly back out of the room cautiously like I’m backing away from a dangerous animal, through the door it clicks and I make a beeline for the elevator to avoid a new storm of questions from Callie.

Leaving the hospital I feel like I’m emerging from a fog…the Evan fog… Checking my phone for the first time since I left the club last night, I see 14 missed calls and 10 texts, all from of the girls and most from Lilly. Wherethe hell did you go? Who woke up? Mia!!! Answer me!!And on and on- I shoot a quick group text back to them;I’m fine, don’t worry, it was a patient at work sorry, I’ll call you later.There, I pray that appeases Lily, I can’t talk about any of this right now, I don’t even know what the hell I’d say.Uh yea, this crazy gorgeous patient I’ve been flirting with while he’s been in a coma for 8 days woke up and decided he couldn’t live without me so I had to go…sounds insane to me! Checking around me for strangers while I walk to my car, a habit I’ve perfected after 10 years of looking over my shoulder, I press the unlock button and hop in quickly, lock the doors and hurry home. I’ve learned this anxiety stems from knowing one of my kidnappers is still out there…somewhere. Years of expensive therapy and that’s what I’ve gotten, yea…nice… The morning is brisk and my bare legs are covered with goose bumps when I finally unlock the door to my apartment. Shower…I really need to clean up; sitting in a hospital chair in club clothes all night has left me feeling grimy. After I’m cleaned up and dressed in jeans, a cashmere sweater and flats, I braid my hair and drape it over my shoulder so it hangs in front. Grabbing my purse I dash out the door- it’s been 40 min, I have 20 to get back to him…Or what? He’ll panic, it’s completely irrational but I know he will, I gave him a specific time so he wouldn’t freak and I have to be punctual or security will be getting their morning workout in room 8.

“Wow, that was fast, why are you back you don’t work tonight…and its only noon?” Callie stops me on the way to Evans room. Oh god, how can I explain what I’m doing here when I don’t even know myself? I go with the truth, or at least a partial truth, “He asked me to come back, and hey did anybody call his sister last night?” I ask.

“Yea, I think Shea did, no answer though.”

“And she hasn’t been by today either?”

“Nope, which is weird too because she’s always here at 9.”

“Did Shea leave a message?”

“Yea I think so, why?”

“Oh nothing, I just wanted to make sure she knew he was awake, I promised her I’d call right away but it was kinda hectic last night and I wasn’t on duty,” I lie. I’m really just worried about what Evan said about not calling her.

“I think they are talking about moving him to a regular floor now that he’s not critical anymore,” Callie offers.

“Oh…that’s great,” I say with absolutely no enthusiasm; if he leaves my floor someone else will be taking care of him, and now I’m the one panicking.

“I better go see how he is.”

“Ok, Monica is his nurse today if he needs anything.”

“Ok.” I work my way down the bustling hall to his room, and when I enter he’s sitting up in bed with his laptop on his bed dark glasses propped on his head and various papers strewn around him. He looks up and I see pure relief in those bright green eyes and I feel it immediately, the pull. I go straight over to him as if we were close friends and sit down in my chair next to the bed.

“You came back,” he says softly.

“I said I would.”

“You look beautiful, I love the braid, I’d love to pull it.” His eyes darken with lust and my newfound blush spreads up my neck.

“Thank you I think, and you’d better watch yourself Mr. Lawson.” Crossing my arms over my chest and raising my eyebrows, I wait for a response but he continues to probe me with those sharp green eyes. I cross my legs and fidget. Wow he’s good at this, I’m so uncomfortable and he loves it. A broad, panty-melting smile spreads across his face and he chuckles quietly, pulling his gaze from me he gathers the papers up and pats the bed beside him an invitation to sit with him…uh is henuts?Inevervoluntarily get close to a man,ever. But I’ve been close to him, intimate actually, although that was different. He wasn’t leering at me like a puma then, ready to pounce on his prey.

“What, you want me to sit on the bed?” I ask, unable to control the rise in my voice.

“Yes. I do,” he says, the timbre of his voice filled with so much authority I actuallywantto comply. But if nothing else, I know it’s not a good idea with his leg in a cast.

“Um, I think I’m good right where I am, y... you know, your leg and all,” I stutter.

“Sit. Here, now,” he repeats, with a poignant pause after each word. He issonot used to being told no.

“No,” I snap defiantly.

“Oh nurse Mia, when I get out of this cast you’ll regret saying no to me, and for making me repeat myself. No one says no to me.”

“Oh really? Well you’d better get used to it if you want me to stay around, I don’t take kindly to bossiness.” I fidget again in my seat. I’d actually like nothing more than to crawl into that bed with him and touch every single muscle on his hard, sexy body, but I don’t dare admit it. I wonder if he remembers me touching him when he was unconscious? The fact that I’m even thinking thoughts like this floors me. Evan is the first man I’ve touched intimately since I was attacked. I had boyfriends in high school, but I never slept with them. The only thing I’ve ever associated sex with is violence, pain and suffering, and what he just said sure sounded like a threat. But somehow I know he wouldn’t hurt me,ever.I have no foundation to base this on, I just know it- this should all be so unfamiliar to me, but I feel a deep, undeniable connection to him. Unfolding my arms and crossing my legs the opposite direction I wait to see what’s coming next. Maybe a change in subject would help.

“So, I hear they may transfer you to another floor since you’re doing so well.” I smile sweetly. Well that did it, he’s taken by surprise and there’s no more smoldering- he obviously didn’t know this bit of information. He’s quiet for a moment, and then a light seems to turn on and his face brightens. “Mia, I want you to come home with me and be my private nurse, I’ll pay you triple what you’re earning here and you can have your own wing of the house and use of all of the estate.” What? Is he serious?Wingof the estate? I knew he was wealthy butwingof the estate?? Shit, I can’t quit my job, I’m not quitting my job, I’ve worked here since I graduated from nursing school 10 years ago!

“That’s a very generous offer, but I couldn’t leave my job here, I love it. It’s all I’ve ever known, and what happens to me when you’re better?”

“I’ll have my lawyers draw up a contract with the hospital so you can come back when I’m well,”  he says, like it’s no big deal. People just take another job and come back when they see fit every day you know, but not in my world.

“You can’t do that, administration will never go for it.”

“You must have a hearing problem nurse Mia, nobody tells me no, so I’ll have it all arranged and you can go home with me when I’m discharged, I’ll send someone to collect your things from your place and move you into my house.” FUCK this guy is totally rearranging my life, drawing up a contract, having me go home with him, moving my stuff to his house, I can’t believe this… I won’t just uproot my life for a stranger, even a dark, brooding, mysterious, gorgeous stranger!  I can just hear Lilly now, “Why the hell not, he’s hot, rich and obviously has a thing for you, what’s the problem?!” It’s just somuch, and he acts like it’s no big deal.

“Really Evan I can’t. I love my job and my apartment. I’ve been on my own a long time, I have a life, friends, and family and I’m not going to leave all that, I don’t even know you.” Clenching his jaw and pinching his lips together he reaches up, running his hand through his hair, wincing when he feels the cut on his head. He’s frustrated- I can see how much he wants this, or perhaps it’s how much he hates being refused. Focusing on his problem, he’s silent for a while and I’m actually starting to feel a little guilty. Whoisgoing to take care of him at home?Ah hell, he’s loaded, he can hire any nurse to come help him…my mind halts,anynurse. No way, I don’t want anyone else helping him; I need to come up with a solution fast.

“How about you come home with me when I’m discharged and help me until I go to bed every night and then come back in the mornings?” he offers.

“Hmm I’m impressed, youarecapable of compromise,” I say, with much more confidence than I’m feeling. My mind is scrambling to decide what to do; the overwhelming feeling of possessiveness is going to win this war, no contest.

“So, then it’s settled, you’re coming home with me,” he says confidently, basically reiterating his original statement, he knows he’s just won…big.

“Yes, as long as you can assure me I still have a position here, theexactsame position when you’re better, I will agree to this.”

“Consider it done.”

“Just like that, you don’t know if the hospital will go for this, they could say if I leave that’s it, no more job.”

“They won’t, I have very good legal representation, strings and favors owed, you’ll have whatever you want,” he assures me, and I have no doubt he can make it happen.


Page 7

 

Chapter 10

“Not Alone” by Red

He seemed satisfied with the striking of a deal, or more like bullying me into getting his way.  Who am I kidding; I’msosecretly excited to work for him that my insides are doing a happy dance. He turns back to his laptop. “Well, if you refuse to come up here with me I’ll just have to go back to work.” Pouting he begins running his fingers over the keys and shuffling papers around again. I relax and uncross my arms, letting out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. Digging through my purse for my iPad and my phone, I peek out of the corner of my eye and catch him doing the same, that zing of electricity passes between us but I try my best to ignore it, yea right…Evan Lawson is not someone who is easily ignored. I begin to busy myself with Internet shopping- that should fill some time and God knows I love to buy shoes. Tapping my fingernail on my front tooth I scroll through the dozens of shoe web sites, purchasing a few pairs along the way and checking my text messages. My sister has left a message asking me to come visit the kids, mom is asking where I’ve been hiding lately, which is typical of her- if I don’t call every day I’mhiding.I quickly send appropriate responses and check through seven messages from Lilly demanding to know details on what’s going on, those I ignore… for now. Evan works silently for an hour or so before looking up.

“I need some water,” he states, matter-of-factly, as if it should appear out of thin air for His Highness.

“Mmm, you do, do you? Maybe you should get up and get it yourself,” I sass. I can’t help it; he really needs to learn some manners. Who raised this man anyway, a remote band of Indians hiding in the mountains in Peru?

“I’m keeping tabs on that mouth of yours nurse Mia,” he chuckles and rolls his eyes. “Really, well I’m keeping tabs on your lack of manners Mr. Lawson,” I return, and fidget in my chair, wondering what he means to do about my smart mouth. I kinda can’t wait to see. He huffs in reply, “Would youpleaseget me some water Mia?” he asks, pausing after each word dramatically and drawing out thepleasewith exaggeration.

“I’d be happy to.” Hopping up, I walk down the hall to the galley and get him fresh ice water returning thankfully without an encounter with any of my coworkers. It must be busy today. Moving to his side I pour him a glass and pop a fresh straw in, leaving the tip of the wrapper on the end. He raises his eyebrow at me in an unspoken question.

“So you know it’s clean, I haven’t touched it where your mouth goes.” Shaking his head, he smiles ever so slightly. I see where I have walked right into that one. “Don’t say it.”

“I won’t say it, I won’t say anything about where I want to put my mouth, the dirty things I would do toyourmouth, or the fact that I don’t mind you touching anything that goes intomymouth.”Oh my god, did he just say that?I feel a panic attack coming on; does everyone react this way when they get turned on? But before the crimson blush makes it to my face he’s asking me to help him adjust his pillows. I’m not sure I should go close to him after that last comment.

“Could you please adjust this pillow behind my back?” he asks, continuing to make a production of being polite. Good manners are the last thing on my mind right now!  Leaning over as he sits up slightly, I adjust his pillow and he snakes his arms around my waist, suddenly pulling me off balance and onto his chest.

“Oh!” The shock and surprise of his stealth attack catch me off guard. His eyes are on me, all over me, dark and piercing and for just a beat before his lips are suddenly consuming my mouth with urgency, the world as I know it ceases to exist. I can hear nothing but the rush of my blood and my heartbeat; I momentarily stiffen in his arms. Evan eases the intensity of the kiss, sensing my strange reaction and moving his lips softly over mine now, gently encouraging me to allow his tongue to sweep into my mouth. Gliding his hands up to my waist and brushing over my straining nipples through the softness of my sweater, he  places them on either side of my face, guiding me through wave after wave of electric currents. It’s as if my mouth has a direct connection to my core and I liquefy against him. Moving my arms of no will of my own around his waist and up his bare back, which is exposed from the hospital gown he has on, I thread my hands into his hair from the base of his neck, and then run my fingers up and grip hard. He deepens the kiss with a growl and I allow it, yearn for it, and encourage it, as a small whimper escapes my throat. For the first time since my attack, hell, the first time ever, I’m enjoying intimacy with a man, and not just any man- the man of my dreams if I could have them, the man of every woman’s dreams. Nipping my mouth with his teeth gently and feathering his lips against mine, he pulls away. Oh please God, don’t stop this, my eyes remain closed, basking in the experience of our first real kiss,myfirst real kiss. He has his forehead pressed against mine; I can feel his warm breath against my face the smell of his eucalyptus body wash I have used to bath him with hanging in the air between us. I finally open my eyes to see the heat in his- oh those emerald green eyes, they slay me. It’s at this moment I realize I would doanythinghe asked of me, I’m a helpless fly caught in his web…”I….I’d better get up, um, what if someone walks in, I work here you know,” I stammer.

“Not any more, you work for me now.” A smooth, smug smile spreads over his face. “Nothing’s written in stone yet, I could lose my job….wait…you did that on purpose didn’t you?”

“Yes I did. You’re so innocent, sweet Mia, I love that. But I didn’t do it to get you fired. How many times do I need to explain this to you? Ialwaysget what I want. And I want you.”

A warm blush creeps up my neck and I squirm on the bed, tearing my eyes from his penetrating gaze. “Well, if you’re my employer I really shouldn’t be fraternizing in this bed with you, it could be considered sexual harassment,” I sass back playfully, trying like hell to lighten the intense mood between us and regaining some of my temporarily lost sanity.

“It’s not harassment if both of us are willing.”

“I don’t know how I feel about being paid to kiss you, isn’t that considered some sort of prostitution?” I continue with my playfulness.

“I’m not paying you to kiss me, I’m paying you to be my nurse, kissing is just one of many added benefits.”Hmmm benefits, huh?I wonder what other kinds ofbenefitsare going to come with this job?

“Well until I sign the paperwork I’m sitting over there,” I say, moving quickly before he realizes what I’m doing and attempts to hold me in the bed, my legs are like jelly. It’s a good thing the chair is close, or I wouldn’t have made it. Our kiss had quite an effect on my entire body; an ache still resides between my legs, unfulfilled.

“So, what’s for lunch?” he blurts out, changing the subject. Lunch, who fucking cares about lunch? I have a slide show of erotic scenes running through my mind, including me riding Evan in his hospital bed, oh my God!  I quickly follow his lead and cool those thoughts with lunch options.

“I don’t know, whatever your wife Isaac brings you I suppose.”

He throws his head back and roars with laughter, “Mywifehuh? He would love that.” This is the first time I’ve heard him laugh, and its heartwarming to know he has the capacity to do so. I love the tiny crow’s feet that form at the corner of his eyes, and his whiter-than-white teeth that show when he laughs.

“I think the only feeling Isaac has around you is fear,” I snort.

“Well nurse Mia, most people don’t enjoy being around me. People are necessities used to get a job done and they are sent on their way when I’m finished with them,” he says sharply. What a 360.

“So I’m a necessity, just here to get the job done, and then you’ll be rid of me?” I ask, genuinely wanting an answer because I’m not about to let the first man to melt my panties off use me up and throw me away. His face changes from stern to confused, tilting his head to the side he narrows his eyes and wrinkles his brow.

“I don’t know what you are Mia, I intend to find out though. You summoned me from the brink of death with your promises to care for me, you only have yourself to blame.” With one hand holding my elbow and the other tapping my front tooth, I consider this answer. Summoned from the brink of death, really, I just spoke to him; I had no idea how big an influence I had been in his return to consciousness. Apprehensively I ask him, “What do you mean brought you from the brink of death?”

He busies himself with closing his laptop and arranging the papers that are scattered on the bed. “Nothing…I need to call Isaac and get us some decent food.” Ok…. he’s shut down, what’s that about? I’m letting this go for now- this morning will make a serious entry in my diary and I don’t want to ruin it with an argument or by pushing him too far, when he’s ready he’ll talk. “What are you in the mood for?” he asks, handing me his things as if I’m his personal assistant.

“Um…surprise me. What do you want me to do with all this?”

“There’s a bag over there, just put it all inside.” He points across the room and dials the phone, I’m assuming to call Isaac. After he finishes a brief lunch order and an update on Dominus with Isaac, he sets down his phone and again pats the bed next to him for me to sit.

“Oh no, I know what happens with I get too close to you. I’m not losing my job before any contracts are signed.” I hold up my hands to reinforce my reasoning and move to my chair.

“Move the chair closer to the bed,” he orders, and I do as I’m told with no sass this time. He moves the head of the hospital bed down with his controls and reaches over to tug my thick braid, and then wiggles his fingers in a gesture to take his hand. Looking up at him, I see that his eyebrows are raised expectantly and I slowly put my hand in his. “I won’t bite you nurse Mia,” he says sarcastically and then adds, “Unless of course you want me to.”

Oh my… he really needs tonottalk like that! I’m appalled at my urge to give in to the magnetic force and climb in bed with him to see about this biting, not to mention where is all this coming from; the mere thought of sharing a bed with a man has caused bile to rise to my throat for ten years. I’ve literally not had one passionate thought since being attacked. My therapist has worked so hard to get me past this, to no avail, and in eight days Evan has me considering things I’ve never even thought of.

Blushing bright red, I look at my lap and I know my palm is sweating, which is not the response I want to be having while holding this sexy man’s hand-  which is a sweet gesture on his part that I have a strong feeling he doesn’t usually extend.

Time for a topic change again. “You really should rest, I think you’ve been awake since 6 a.m. and it’s not good for you to overexert so soon.” I’m trying so hard to slip back into my nurse role, but my suggestion sounds pathetic in comparison to my usual authority. He surprises me yet again by agreeing, “Ok, you’re right, I am tired. Wake me when Isaac arrives with our lunch.” He’s back to ordering me around, but I let it go again because when it gets down to it he really does need to sleep, and I so love to watch him do it.

 

Chapter 11

“Madness” by Muse

Watching Evan sleep, I attempt to remove my hand from his but instantly his grip tightens and I give up and scoot my chair quietly closer so that my arm isn’t overextended. Opening up one of my hundreds of romance eBooks on my iPad, I settle in to wait for Isaac. Ten min later Evan begins to stir in his sleep. I’ve never witnessed him dreaming, as he’s been in a coma every other time I’ve watched him sleep. Small jerking movements begin in his arms and he mumbles something. I’m uncomfortable with this, feeling like I’m listening to something private, but he has a death grip on my hand now so I can’t get away. Mumbling soon turns into actual talking and he’s upset, beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead. “No, no, no..don’t touch her. It was me, it was me!” he’s shouting now, and I shake him and shrink back to protect myself- he’s a massive man and I’ve seen him in action when he’s upset. If he comes out of this dream swinging, I’m not going to be caught in his path. Startled, his eyes snap open and he stares at the ceiling for a moment, then looking down at our hands clasping together, he seems instantly aware that he has been talking in his sleep, this must be a common occurrence. “What did I say?” he barks at me, and I jump in my seat, not expecting his anger to be focused on me.

“Uhh nothing I could decipher,” I lie. Shit, what does he usually say in his sleep, and why is he so worried about it?

“I know I said something, I was dreaming and I’m told I’m quite the sleep talker. Plus, you’re a shitty liar, so what did I say?”  he demands. Unable to lie to him twice, I admit what I heard.  “Something about not touching someone, and it was you.” Paling, he turns away from me, releasing my hand to push it through his hair, and a deep sigh escapes him.

“Are you ok?” I ask.

“Fine, just a dream. Where the hell is Isaac?”

“You’ve only been sleeping about 30 min.”

“Mmm, I need to get out of here, who is the Dr. in charge of my care?”

Wow, he’s so grumpy after this crappy nap. “Dr. Krane, but Evan you can’t go home, it hasn’t even been 24 hours since you’ve regained consciousness, you were in a serious accident.”

“I don’t care, I’m leaving.” Ok, this isn’t good; I need to come up with something to keep him here, and quick.

“You can’t go home until I can come with you, and nothing has been settled with my job here. If you want me to work for you Ineedto know I can come back here when you’re on your feet again.” There, that ought to detour him for a little while. I know he really wants me to be his private nurse and I pray for his sake, and maybe my own, that he accepts this excuse and stays a bit longer to continue healing.

“Work for me, doing what?” His usually sparkling green eyes are glazed over. He can’t remember, shit we just talked about this and he’s forgotten already. And then, realization that he may have some sort of brain damage hits me like a brick.

“Evan, do you know where you are?” I ask him gently and watch him as he assesses his surroundings, confusion clouding his face I continue to question him. “Evan, do you know what day it is?”

Still nothing, just that blank expression on his face as he stares at me. A knock at the door has us both switching our attention there where Isaac pokes his head in. “Sir, I have lunch for you and Mia, is it ok to come in?”

“Of course, it’s about time. Set it up right here between us on that table,” he says, as if he weren’t on planet Mars just seconds ago. Giving a little shake of my head, I try to figure out what’s going on… Seeing Isaac must have somehow triggered his mind, bringing him back to the here and now. Maybe seeing me didn’t make a difference because he hasn’t known me for long, who knows. But I do know that I need to talk to Dr. Krane, and now.

“I’ll be right back, I have to use the bathroom.” Surely he can’t object to that, and I’m right- he nods as if he is allowing me to leave. Whatever, as long as I can get out of the room for a minute, so I again let him have the impression he is in control.

Outside the room I scan the hall for Monica, his day nurse…where the hell has she been all day anyway? No one has come into his room all morning. I don’t know what I’m complaining about, it’s a good thing she didn’t walk in earlier when I was practically being mauled in Evans hospital bed! After a quick walk around our small unit, I find her coming out of another patient room. “Hey Monica. Evan in room eight is having some problems and I really think Dr. Krane needs to come see him.”

Eyes wide, Monica replies, “Oh is he, ok. Does he need anything? I figured if you were in there he would be ok, I’m so sorry Mia.” She’s apologetic.

“No, no, that’s ok. It’s just that he’s having trouble with his memory, and he had a sudden onset of confusion and wasn’t oriented to place or time. He’s threatening to leave the hospital. Dr. Krane needs to come and see him., I sound more urgent than I intended to, it’s important but certainly not an emergency.

“Oh ok, I’ll call him right away.” And she’s off to the phone. I return to Evan’s bedside and he’s arranging our lunch on his hospital over-the-bed table. Whatever it is, it smells absolutely delicious. More food from Dominus I’m sure; I hate to cook, so I could really get used to this. After what seems like a pretty intricate display of organization, he looks up at me, smiles and beckons me closer. “Let’s eat.”

“Evan, do you know who I am?”

He’s looking at me likeI’mnuts. “Yeeesss Mia, what’s wrong with you- you look distraught.” He thinksI’mlosing it, not him.

“Evan I think you’re having some blackouts, just a minute ago you didn’t know who I was or where you were,” I explain, and he waves his hand in the air to dismiss my concern. “I’m fine, let’s eat and then I want to talk to the Dr. I’m getting out of here today.”

This wasn’t good, coming from the man who says healwaysgets what he wants. Isaac stands idly by gauging the situation, and from what I’ve seen of the relationship between the two what he says next is not typical. “Evan, sir, I think you should listen to Ms. Galloway, if she believes you should stay maybe you should.” Evan turns to glare at poor Isaac and a very long silence falls over the room. Finally, and I was surprised after Evans reaction to Isaac speaking up, he agrees to see Dr. Krane, but says that then he is leaving, no matter what.

“I can get the same care at home as I can here, and with Mia I’ll be fine. If I need a test I’ll come and do it outpatient.” He appears to believe that he’s compromising, but we all know this is a master manipulator at work.

“What about my contract with the hospital?” I question.

“I called my lawyer this morning, everything should be finalized by this evening, you can sign the paperwork and come home with me.” Somehow I feel like I’m being sold, the way he speaks of the transaction that’s changing my life seems so businesslike. I’m taken aback by his ability to make this happen so smoothly and effortlessly.

“Uh, ok, but what if Dr. Krane doesn’t think it’s a good idea for you to be discharged yet?” I’m grasping at straws here; he’s going home and I’m going with him. In the short time I’ve known him, I’ve learned that he’s completely undeniable.

“They can’t hold me prisoner, nurse Mia, I can go home and I’m going to, period.” And that’s that. Dr. Krane comes, recommending he stay another 48 hours at minimum to have a scan of his brain. Evan refuses, saying he’ll come back as an outpatient for any testing, and before I know it he has me packing his things and Isaac is on the phone arranging a private ambulance to transport Evan home. From what I can tell from the one side of the conversation I can hear, he’s also talking with staff at the house about having things ready for our arrival. Unknown to me, my life is about to change forever. Nothing could have prepared me for any of what was to come and really, it was better that way.


Page 8

 

Chapter 12

“Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira

A woman from the legal department of the hospital comes to Evans room. I really would have liked to have a lawyer of my own go over this paperwork before I sign anything, but a sense of urgency has been sparked under everyone involved in orchestrating Evan’s discharge and I feel pressured to not hold up the operation. Paperwork completed, we load Evan into the ambulance and head home, well home for him at least. Riding in the back of a cramped ambulance with Evan is like being in a microwave, with electromagnetic radiation, 300 GHz zapping through the air, crackling between us. When the doors are closed he reaches out for my hand.

“Are you afraid Mr. Lawson?” I tease.

“No I’m not, but maybe you should be.” One corner of his mouth pulls up slightly in quite possibly the sexiest smirk ever given, and my core melts from the blazing heat in his eyes. I squirm on the bench across from him, why does he do this to me? I can see in his expression that he enjoys toying with me and purposely making me blush red-hot from my toes to the tip of every hair follicle if that were possible. “Why do you resist me Mia, haven’t I proven myself to you? There isn’t one thing I haven’t gotten that I wanted in the short time we have been acquainted, and surely you know that I want you for so much more than your nursing skills, although those will come in handy at some point as well, a bonus if you will.” Bonus…a bonus- what exactly is he talking about? My head is spinning and I actually feel faint. As in foggy around the edges of my vision and my hearing fading in and out alarmingly. He tugs on my hand and through the sparkles in my vision I see his face change from smoldering smirk to concern. “Mia.” His brow is wrinkled with worry and he’s saying my name as if he were trying to shake me from a bad dream, loud and abrupt with authority and demanding my focus and attention. “Mia, breathe; fuck you’re going to pass out if you don’t take deep breaths.” He drops my hand, reaching up to wrap it around the back of my neck and shoves my head between my legs.

“I’m ok, I’m ok. Really, let me go, it’s just close in here and I’m a little dizzy.” I try to sit up, with no success; his one arm is so strong that he can hold me captive with little or no effort, even strapped into a gurney with broken leg. Any other time, with any other person, I would have gone ballistic in a full-on panic attack if a man was holding me against my will, but once again I feel it in the finest fiber of my being that he would never hurt me.

“Stay down until you’re sure,” he orders and I do, inhaling deep breaths for a few moments until he’s confident that I’ll be all right.

“I think I’m ok now, please let me go,” I squeak from between my legs and he releases me immediately.

“What wasthat,you’re supposed to be nursing me back to health, not passing out from a little flirting!” he exclaimed.  God, could I possibly be anymore embarrassed? Yea probably. “I told you, it’s hot in here the circulation is terrible. And…you shouldn’t flirt with the help, you’re paying me remember?”

“Yes I certainly am, a lot, and I can’t have you fainting when I smile at you. I know I’m irresistible but Mia you’re going to have to toughen up. I really happen to favor you and I wouldn’t want to see that pretty head of yours injured. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not in any condition to see to it that you land in my arms and not on the metal floor of this ambulance.” Well that was unexpected, infuriating and flattering all at the same time. Toughen up, I’ll show him tough, and obviously I would never expect him to catch me falling, what an ass.I know I’m irresistible, really? Screw you Mr. Conceited, I need to turn this back around to me being in control, and fast! Straightening up and leaning away from the unexplainable intoxication surrounding him, I gather myself. “Mr. Lawson, you are one cocky son of a bitch, and I willneverrequire you to prevent me from falling, you will refrain from flirting with me. We have a professional relationship when I am your nurse and you will do well to file that bit of information away for future reference,” I snap…so shove that in your pipe and smoke it HA! I can’t believe I just told the most beautiful man in the universe he was a cocky son of a bitch. Shit, I hope I didn’t push him too far, but thankfully and much to my surprise, he throws his head back and roars with laughter.

“Oh nurse Mia, your quick, smart mouth slays me- no one speaks to me that way…no one, in fact I hope the driver didn’t hear that. I have a reputation to uphold as a cocky son of a bitch you know!”

I have no idea what to do with that remark, and I’m more than a little happy to feel the ambulance pull to a halt. Shit, I’m glad were getting out of this fucking box. I should have followed in my own car. The ambulance driver swings open the doors and light floods into the cab, unusually sunny for a fall day in Seattle, but I love the warmth on my face. Hopping out, I’m stunned by the beauty of the grounds surrounding Evans house, no “house” doesn’t even come close to describing this place- it actually looks very much like a castle, with two stone towers on either side of a grand, purple-colored double front door that opens instantly when we begin unloading the stretcher. A man about 10 years older than Evan strides toward us with a tight expression, obviously all business.

“Mr. Saint,” he introduces himself to me curtly. “You must be the nurse.”

“Uh yes, that’s me, Mia.” This man is intimidating, but not the same way Evan is.  It’s more as if he was a military drill sergeant and it was my first day in boot camp. Mr. Saint is about 5 foot 11 inches tall with crystal blue eyes; he’s very tanned, and from what I can tell he’s in pretty good shape, bald, borderline handsome, and what’s more frightening in my opinion is the scar on his cheek running down to his neck, reinforcing my observations.

“Yes Mr. Saint, this is Mia; she’ll be staying with us for a while until I’m able to get around on my own. Ready a room near mine so she’ll be easily accessible to me,” Evan instructs. Oh no, he doesn’t- he’s not manipulating me into living here, that wasn’t in the agreement and he damn well knows it!

“Nice to meet you Mr. Saint, and there will be no need for a room, I’ll be going home at night and returning each morning. I have my own home and I’m staying there,” I say, looking directly at Evan and making sure he has perfect eye contact with me. He isn’t pleased, but he accepts my objection for now. Somehow I know this isn’t the end of this subject.

“Mr. Saint, make up a room anyway, just in case Ms. Galloway needs to lie down, she becomes faint quite easily.” He’s biting his lip, trying not to laugh at me, I’m fuming.  Mr. Saint looks at me with raised eyebrows in question of Evans comment, or is it his playful behavior that has Mr. Saint looking back and forth between Evan and I with a shocked look on his face? I glare at Evan, but I don’t give him the satisfaction of a reply.

“Do as your please Mr. Saint, I don’t need a room, and don’t mind him, he hit his head quite hard in the accident,” I say jerking my thumb toward Evan. This banter seems to please Mr. Saint, and his expression is less severe as we roll Evan through the huge front doors on a gurney.

“Welcome home Mia, I hope you enjoy it here because I plan on keeping you for a very long time!” he bellows as we enter themansion/castle, sounding a little like the Mad Hatter from Alice and Wonderland. Maybe this is the brain damage, I really should be starting a log or diary of his behavior and maybe I should interrogate some of his staff to see what exactly his normal behavior is, if he’s ever been normal at all. Several people approach at once, closing the doors behind us and bustling about while we move through  what appears to be virtually an empty foyer with a spectacular chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The staircase runs up the middle and branches out on either side to separate areas on the second floor. To my right there’s another set of double doors that I guess may be some sort of office. The left is open, flowing into an area that moves under the stairs and toward the back of the house. Continuing through rooms furnished with old English pieces, we turn to the right and pass through a living room with large floor to ceiling windows covered in deep purple, heavy curtains that drape into pools of fabric on the floor. In fact, there’s alotof purple I realize, everywhere I look. Not a particularly feminine purple, the color makes me feel royal, which is the feeling I imagine the decorator was going for. Open double doors right off of the living room lead us into what must be the master suite of the house, Evan’s bedroom. A young Hispanic woman moves past us toward his bed, pulling back the covers and then she heads to the window to open the heavy white drapes that cover more floor-to- ceiling windows.

“That will be all Cecilia.” He dismisses the girl without a ‘thank you’ again, and I can’t help but notice his lack of manners, thinking that maybe we should start to work on that. The ambulance drivers lowers the gurney next to his bed and begins to attempt to move him over. “No, I’ll stand,” he quips.

“Ah Evan, it would be better to let them help you, you haven’t been out of bed on your own yet,” I recommend. 

“I’m doing it myself.” The drivers look at me with question and I shrug and raise my hands in frustration.

“Let him try, but be right there in case he can’t make it,” I say, and Evan scowls at me. “What? I’m your nurse, and I don’t know why you want me here if you don’t plan on following my directions?” I explain, after that dark look he’s given me. No reply- just stubbornness all over his face. The driver lowers the rail and moves the gurney close to his bed. Evan swings his good leg over and puts his foot on the ground. I tense and begin to move toward him instinctually, and he looks up at me with a

“Don’t you dare!” look on his face, which makes me stop in my tracks. He uses his hands to guide his casted leg off the gurney, hops on his good leg turning and sits with unexpected grace on his own bed. Now he looks at me with total satisfaction at his self-sufficiency and raises the casted leg up onto mattress and the pillows that have been arranged by Cecelia. I am actually impressed. It’s as if he has done this before, or maybe it’s the absolute control he has over every muscle in his body? Either way, I’m enjoying seeing him move on his own, I didn’t think it was possible for him to be more attractive, but Evan in motion is living art. He could be in an anatomy book, the chapter on ‘Muscles of the Body’; every part of him is sculpted, hard and polished. He’s dressed in a long sleeved charcoal grey Henley that stretches across his fine chest in the most distracting way, and a pair of soft jeans with one leg cut off at the knee to allow for the cast.

Oh yes, I had done that when helping him dress, and if that wasn’t torture, I can’t say what is. Pulling that shirt over his head and helping him raise his hips to scoot the jeans on, my hands had trembled the entire time and he had loved it as usual. Mr. Saint stands quietly now, directing everyone and scooting the ambulance drivers out, turning to me he asks. “Anything else Miss. Galloway?”

Surprised that he is directing the question at me and with such formality, I shake my head no, but before he can leave I say, “Mia, please call me Mia.”

“Yes, very well Mia, I’ll go check on dinner with Cook while you get Mr. Lawson settled, then I’ll return and give you a tour of the house.”

“Thank you.”

He turns and backs out of the room, closing both doors at once and reminding me of a butler in an old movie. I turn to Evan; he’s looking expectantly at me. “Can I do anything for you? Pain meds or water? Let’s get your things unpacked and the essentials within your reach.” I’m rambling and my heart is racing, alone with this man in his bedroom, on his territory not mine. I really should have thought this through, but I can’t turn back now, I signed up for this and I’d better figure out a middle ground right off the bat. He’s smiling a face-splitting smile when I look up at him. Why oh why does he love making me sweat?

“Come here.” Against my better judgment I do as I’m told, moving beside the bed, shuffling down by his feet so he can’t actually reach me. “You know you can’t stay out of my reach all the time don’t you Mia? I’m going to need some assistance, albeit minimal, I like doing things for myself.”

“I know…”

He crooks his finger at me to come closer and I do, the pull too strong for me to resist. He takes my hand and examines it, turning it over with both of his, smoothing one hand up to my elbow and back to my hand.

“You’re so soft,” he purrs, his touch lighting my skin on fire and burning every inch of me as he continues to caress my arm, lifting my wrist to his face and inhaling deeply. “You smell sweet, like cotton candy.” He moves my hand away from his face and closes his eyes, instructing me to do the same. “Close your eyes with me.” I hesitate and he opens his and repeats himself. “Close your eyes,” he says with a slightly lower tone, and I do, peeking slightly to see that he has closed his again as well. He moves my hand with his down the side of his smoothly shaven face to his neck, guiding me to his throat, and then changes to the opposite side of his face and repeats the motions. A small growl vibrates in his throat and he moves my hand now to his forehead, gently encouraging me to explore every curve of his face. “My favorite Aunt was blind. She knew me, she loved me, and this is how she learned to read me.”

I inhale a quick breath as this gift of information about his past is given to me. Somehow I know he doesn’t talk about his past with just anyone. I move my hand on my own now, exploring and memorizing his face, gliding over a dimple on one cheek that I remember so well from shaving his face. Seeing it in my mind with eyes closed makes it so much more intimate, instead of just seeing him I feel him, connecting on a level I didn’t know was possible. I free my other hand from his and place one on each side of his face, thumbs caressing his cheeks and fingers touching his ears and down his neck. My breathing comes in quick pants, as does his and he places his hands on my forearms and moves me into a tender kiss, his mouth gently covering mine as he softly licks my lips, nipping at each corner in that way he does. Kissing the tip of my nose and each cheek tenderly he returns to my mouth, deepening the kiss, his tongue gliding and exploring every part of my mouth and entwining with mine. Hands moving to my hips, he eases me to the bed next to him but I take it even further unbelievably, and climb on top of him, straddling his hips. Being careful not to apply any of my weight protecting his leg, I just kneel over him and return to kissing. A low growl escapes him through our greedy mouths and a whimper from my own as he thrusts his hips up, forcing his thick erection to my core, holding me firmly against his body and bringing us chest to chest. I resist, worrying about hurting his leg.


Page 9

“I’m fine, don’t worry about my leg,” he breathes.

“It’s my job to worry about your leg,” I pant between kisses, and he pulls his face from mine so that we’re nose to nose.

“You’re officially off the clock,” he says with that smirk, oh my God, that smirk I can’t resist. I attack his mouth with more passion this time, and wind my fingers through his soft, thick hair on both sides of his head urgently, as he moves his hands from my ass up my back and under my sweater, caressing and unhooking my bra with skill.  I’m unaware until it loosens that he’s managed this, and then he feathers his hands around to my bare breasts cupping them one in each, and teasing my nipples into hard peaks. I suck in a sharp breath and he rocks his hips upward into me. Hot lava replaces my blood and I’m so far gone that I have no awareness of my surroundings. It’s just Evan and his sweet, wet mouth on mine, moving to my neck and as he raises my sweater up over my naked breasts and he sucks one and then treats the other to the same attention. I feel like I’ve been drugged, like I’m in the midst of an out of body experience, floating above us and looking  down on the woman grinding atop Evan in his bed…that woman is me…. Fuck what am I doing? A hard rap on the door breaks the spell and I sit up, looking Evan in his heavy-lidded, lustful eyes and I swing myself off the bed with quick agility before Evan has time to restrain me. I reach behind to hook my bra just as Mr. Saint opens the door and realizes he has interrupted something. Probably from my flushed cheeks and Evan’s fury, he begins to back out and close the door before uttering so much as a word.

“FUCK, if he hadn’t worked for me for 10 years he would be FIRED!!” Evan yells, loudly enough for the entire island to hear, and I jump and move even further away from the bed. Still dazed from my actions and startled by the yelling I move toward the door, grabbing my purse on the way. I need to get out of here and think about what I’m doing; so unprofessional, and this is supposed to be myjob.“Mia, where are you going?” Backing out, I look at his lovely, twisted and angry face. “I need to get home, it’s late, and I’ll be back in the morning at 7.”

“You can’t leave me, I need you, and I’m paying you to be my nurse.” He’s going into panic mode now, I can see it starting.

“You said I’m officially off the clock.” Hmmm how’s he going to argue with that one? “Well, I changed my mind. I need help with dinner and getting undressed for bed, don’t you have meds to give me or something?” Shit…good point. I really can’t refuse him, it’s only eight o’clock and technically I’m scheduled until eleven according to our agreement. I set my purse down slowly and he visibly relaxes, shifting back onto the pillows behind him. “Ok…I’m going to find Mr. Saint though to get that tour of the house and see about your dinner, no more ofthis,” I say, waving my finger in a circle between us.

“All right…but what’s wrong withthis?” he says repeating my gesture.

“It’s totally unprofessional and if you want me to do my job we can’t be doing this again.”  I sweep my finger between us in an exaggerated circle this time, he chuckles and grabs the remote, switching on a massive television that appeared from behind two sliding panels in the wall behind me.

“I’m not known as a patient man Mia, but for you I will try.” That’s it, apparently I’m dismissed and he begins watching a basketball game. Well I’m glad he finds it that easy to turn all ofthisoff, because I’m in serious post hot/wet panty mode with no relief in sight; having morals sucks! I take a quick glance before I open the door and yep, he’s still hard as a rock inside those soft jeans; guess he’ll have to handle that one on his own. I smile to myself closing the door behind me.

“Mia!” he calls, and I open the door a crack.

“Yeess?” I sing song with trepidation. I thought we had this all settled. “Leave the doors open, I want to watch your hot ass walking away.” That smirk is spread across his face again, is he trying to kill me? I open both doors wide with a little exaggeration and purposely add extra effort into the sway of my hips walking away the lyrics of Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie pop into my head and I giggle, this may be kind of fun after all.

 

Chapter 13

“Purple Haze” by Jimmy Hendricks

All wound up and no place to go, I wander through the living room checking out the surroundings more closely now that I’m alone. A large cream-colored sectional is positioned around a fireplace like none I’ve ever seen…ever. It’s a grandiose monstrosity; a full-grown human could walk right into this fireplace. I’m not even sure that’s what you call it; you could cremate someone in there for God’s sake. It’s the centerpiece of the room, with five windows lining the side of the room facing the ocean with their deep royal purple curtains. Deep purple, grey and cream-colored throw pillows cover the sectional. Wooden claw feet peek out from under it, tying it in with the other old world wood furniture in the room. I’m no antique specialist but the pieces in this room must be very old and very well cared for, not to mentionveryexpensive. He owns restaurants, how the hell is he so wealthy? I must research this topic in more detail with my b/f Google later. There has to be something else bringing in this kind of money, but then again I don’t know shit about the restaurant business and he said clubs too, didn’t he? The dining room is next, through more double doors off the living room and I approach a table that seats 12 or more; what is it with guy and size anyway, everything isso big! Touches of purple continue in this room as well, a large breakfront on one side.  There’s a mammoth plant in the corner, one that looks like it belongs in a jungle and not the dining room of a millionaire on Mercer Island. A hutch completes this area; the space is huge and accommodates the furnishings nicely. I hear movement and voices around the corner and follow them, hoping to find Mr. Saint for a proper tour. I could get lost roaming around in here alone. Rounding the corner, I enter the kitchen and Cecelia and Mr. Saint stand talking in hushed tones to each other, they stop abruptly when they see me… Shit…this is embarrassing, “I’m so sorry Mr. Saint…. About earlier with Evan, I don’t know what got into him.” I figure I may as well just get to the point. His muscles stiffen and for a moment, just a split second, I think he glares at me, and then a mask replaces the anger.

“Are you ready for a tour now Ms. Galloway?” He’s just going to ignore my apology, or the fact that he had walked in on something he shouldn’t have seen, something that shouldn’t have been happening… Ok well if that’s how he wants to play it I’m game, less shit for me to deal with.

“Yes please, I’d appreciate that,” I reply, Cecelia is looking at the floor and Mr. Saint fails to introduce us so I step forward and offer my hand “Nice to meet you…Cecelia isn’t it? I’m Mia.”

Peeking up at me, she’s surprised by my introduction and she shakes my hand gently, pulling away and returning to something she’s been cooking before I interrupted. Man, the people around here are all a little off, but then again, look who they’re working for, right?

“Well as you can see this is the kitchen.” Mr. Saint gestures to the impressive, obviously chef worthy kitchen, all of the appliances oversized and quite possibly of commercial quality. There is white wood cabinetry with glass panes that you can see the contents through, and everything is intricately organized. It seems each thing in those cupboards is lined up perfectly, maybe obsessively would be a better description. I nod and Mr. Saint starts walking away. I hustle to catch and follow him back through the dining and living rooms, and he points at the closed slider doors that I saw when we arrived earlier. “Mr. Lawson’s office.” Not much for chitchat is he? We continue past the office, down a long hall peppered with lighted pieces of artwork, some looking familiar. Wow, those must be famous if I can recognize them; I know nothing about art. Mr. Saint points along the way, educating me on what each area is used for; a study, sun room, library, and another living room type area, just more casual with a large television instead of a mammoth fireplace. Circling back from where we started to the staircase, we climb and take a right, and I can see that this must be what’s considered a “wing” of the house. Several bedrooms, bathrooms, and a few spaces used for storage, one made completely of cedar and smelling divine. How big a house does one man need anyway? We follow a path that wraps around facing the back of the house, through floor-to-ceiling windows I see an elaborate garden, pathway and pool; it finally ends with the ocean and a dock all lit up by old fashioned lamps. I can’t wait to see it in the daylight tomorrow- I love gardens. My parents have a beautiful one that I spent lots of time in growing up, but I have no yard or garden living in an apartment now.

We continue on past the stairs and through the opposite wing, and return to the foyer. “I should really get Evan some dinner, it’s late and he hasn’t anything since lunch,” I inform Mr. Saint.

“Cecelia is seeing to his meal,” he answers, in his cold monotone voice.

“Ok then I’ll check on him and see if he needs pain medication.”

“Ms. Galloway, I know it’s not my place to say, but you should be careful around Mr. Lawson, he isn’t like most men…he seems different with you, I admit, but the man I know can be…challenging and demanding…. to say the least.” I’m shocked. Yes, these people live under the same roof as Evan and have known him for years and I have only known him for little over a week, but for some reason this comment really pisses me off and defense mode returns, exposing my claws. What the hell is he talking about anyway?

“You’re right Mr. Saint, it’snotyour place, and I am here as his nurse, to care for him.” Answering him sharply, I take a step closer to him. He raises his eyebrows at my boldness.

“Well don’t say I didn’t warn you, I’m just trying to…. protect you.”

“I don’t need protecting!” I’m so angry my hands are clenched into little fists at my side and my vision blurs for a second, my eyeballs are shaking in their sockets.

“Well, alright then, suit yourself, and let me show you to your room.”

“I told you I wouldn’t be needing a room.” What’s with these people, do they not hear? 

“Mr. Lawson wanted it readied for you so it has been, I’ll just show you were it is in case it becomes necessary,” he says, as if he knows something I don’t. Back to business, we head back past the mammoth fireplace to a door in a nook behind the living room andrightnext to Evan’s. I sigh and roll my eyes at Mr. Saint’s back. Opening doors that match the master suites, he gestures me inside and I appease him by stepping in to check it out. It’s lovely, all white and soft lavender, and a large canopy bed in the center with gauzy material draped over it. The ensuite bathroom light is on, so I peek inside another large room; feminine is the first thought that comes to mind. A gilded mirror over a vast vanity, a claw foot tub surrounded with so many candles it’s probably a fire hazard when they are all lit, and a door with a small window in it peaks my curiosity.

Padding across the room’s thick carpet, I open the door to a sauna, as hot as the Nevada dessert inside and I close it and catch myself in the mirror. Mouth hanging open in awe and disheveled, I look pathetic. This day has been entirely too much to absorb. Mr. Saint stands on the threshold of the room, waiting patiently.

“Is that everything?” I ask.

“Yes, I’ll leave you to him now- if you need anything Cecelia and I live in the west wing of the house, and there are intercoms throughout which are very easy to use. Just press the button and speak,” he instructs.

“Thank you.” I pass Mr. Saint and return to Evan’s room to find him finishing his dinner. “Almost finished?” I ask.

“Yes, did you eat?”

“No, I’ve been getting the grand tour, takes forever to see it all.”

“Oh, you didn’t see it all, there’s more, he didn’t take you downstairs. There’s a full gym, lap pool, and squash court.”

“How did you know he didn’t take me there?”

“I have a security system, I followed along with you from here.” He points at the television screen, where several small square boxes that remind me of the Brady Bunch show, with a view of each room in the house.

“Wow, paranoid much?”

He chuckles, I really love it when he laughs. “Just like to know what’s going on under my own roof.”

“Well if you didn’t have such a massive roof you wouldn’t have to worry about all that.” I gesture at the screen.

“I make a lot of money nurse Mia…it needs to be spent somehow, and I give an obscene amount to charities,” he answers, with his chosen endearment for me, will I always be known asnurse Mia?His generosity to charities intrigues me though; I wouldn’t have pegged him for that. 

“Well Mr. Lawson, you’ve done a good job of spending money that’s for sure. What charities do you give to? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“Safe Horizons, Joyful Heart Foundation, and shelters for battered women all over the country, Futures without violence, I can’t remember them all really.”

Wow, those are some interesting choices’ makes me wonder about his past- maybe he’s a victim like me. Knowing all too well about being a victim, I know not to push the subject, and he needs to rest anyway.

“Are you getting tired, need pain medication?”

“No pain meds, but I do need my sleeping pills.”

“Sleeping pills, I don’t remember bringing any sleeping pills with us from the hospital.”  “They aren’t from the hospital, I’ve taken them for years, they’re in the bathroom.” He points toward his ensuite bathroom. “

Can I take your dishes to the kitchen?”

“Yes, and have Cecelia see about some dinner for you while you’re there.”

“I’m ok, I can eat when I get home, I’m used to eating in the middle of the night anyway, night shift, ya know?” His demeanor changes and he looks down at his hands, I feel a shift in the air in the room.

“Evan, you ok?” No response. Oh no, not this again. I approach the oversized bed and crouch down next to it so I can look up into his downturned face- his eyes are glazed again. Shit, he really should have had his damned brain scanned before leaving the hospital. “Evan, do you know where you are?” I repeat the questions from this afternoon and he continues to stare, expressionless, at his lap. I can’t give him sleeping pills when he’s having trouble with blackouts.

“Mia?” he says, looking at me, confused. He’s back… thank God.

“What’s the last thing you remember?” I ask him and he starts scowling at me.

“Why are you down there?”

“Evan you blacked out, you were unresponsive, and you didn’t answer my questions. I’m really worried about you, please let me make you an appointment for a CT tomorrow.” He looks at me, expression changing dramatically. Thoughtfully tipping his head to the side, he reminds me of a puppy I had when I was little that cocked his head when you asked him a question. But thankfully, he answers me with what I wanted to hear.

“Ok, if you spend the night tonight, I’ll go.” Oh…my…. God…. this guy was good at manipulating situations to his benefit; he knows how much I want him to go tomorrow. I’m now seeing how he works; no wonder nobody ever says no to him. I look down between my knees at the floor, slouching my shoulders in defeat and sigh heavily.

“Yes,” I reply.

“Yes you’ll stay?” He sounds surprised, although why I don’t know. Could he possibly be unsure of how much I care about his health at this point? I took the damn job, didn’t I, and left what I’ve been doing for 10 years?

“Yes Evan I’ll stay,” I sigh again, I’m so tired, it’s almost a relief to stay and not worry about how I’m getting back to my car, and I am so subjugated. After sleeping in a chair last night with no medication to chase away my nightmares, and dealing with Evan all day, I’m totally exhausted.

“You’re tired, go ahead to bed, I admit I have manipulated all of your time today.”

“And last night,” I add.

“And last night, yes.” I look at him expectantly, exasperated at his lack of manners as I rock back, resting my bottom on my heels.

“What?” he asks. “A thank you would be appropriate.”

“Mmmm yes…thank you,” he says painfully. What is it with this guy and manners?

“Well I have to get you squared away before I can go to bed. Dishes please.” I stand and gather the tray with his dinner dishes from his lap and carry it to the kitchen, where Cecelia is cleaning up.

“Oh Ms. Galloway I can get that, it’s my job to do it, please.” She’s so skittish, man, what does he do to these people to make them all so edgy?

“It’s no problem, I don’t mind. I’m going to help him get ready for bed and I just needed to get them out of the way.” I reassure her, going back to his room I notice a fire burning in the fireplace, a huge fire. I wonder who made that; it must take a forest to get that thing lit! When I enter his room I lay it on the line about the sleeping pills. “So, I’m not giving you the sleeping pills Evan. You blacked out twice today- it’s not a good idea to take sleeping pills to alter your consciousness until we know what we’re dealing with.” 

“I need them, I won’t sleep at all, so I always take them, have for years.”

“Well, you didn’t have a brain injury all those years and you have one now.” How long is he going to argue with me about this?

“If I have to get out of this bed and hop to the bathroom dragging my cast behind me to take them myself, believe me I will, and if you get any smart ideas about hiding them, I have backups, more than one stash so don’t even bother.”


Page 10

My god why am I even here? My professional opinion obviously means nothing to him. “Well let’s get you comfortable to start with, what do you wear to bed?”

“Nothing.” Of course, why did I ask?

“Ok…well how about boxers, think you can tolerate that?” 

“I really don’t like wearing clothes to sleep nurse Mia.” I’m really weary of his attitude, so here goes nothing; I strut to the bedside, putting on a stern face.

“Arms up,” I command and he raises his arms like a child with a sheepish grin. I strip it over his head briskly and order, “Jeans.”

“I’ll need help with that.” He smiles up at me through his long, thick eyelashes with fake innocence, teasing me. I reach out to unbutton his jeans, trying to think boring thoughts but it’s far from working, my hands tremble as I unfasten his jeans and pull down the zipper while he watches my every movement.

“Up.” I motion my hands for him to raise his hips, but he smiles that sexy smile of his. “What?” I ask

“You’re quite bossy nurse Mia, I like it, but commanding meupisn’t necessary, I’mupwhenever you’re around.” Queue the smirk…fuck I need to get out of this room before I maul him again. Ignoring his remark, I wiggle his jeans down his hips as best I can over the casted leg and then more easily his other lean, tanned leg. I avert my eyes and fold the clothes neatly.

“Those can go in the wash. I won’t wear them again without being laundered.” 

“Where is the laundry?” I say, turning to look at him I forget my plan to keep my eyes off of him. Shit, shit, shit, why did I look? He lays there in that larger-than-life bed, with his larger than life cock straining proudly against his briefs, dark purple briefs I now notice. I need to find out the deal with purple and this man. The smirk is back, one corner of his mouth drawn up ever so slightly, making a partial wink of his eye. How can he make that one look so intensely sexy? An ache low in my belly takes up where it left off earlier, and my mind fights for control over my body.I’m his nurse, I’m his nurseI keep repeating to myself,be professional, and get a grip. He points his finger toward the bathroom, indicating where the laundry belongs, but his eyes beckon me the entire time. I try to move to put the clothes away, but my feet are not listening to reason and I find myself at the edge of the bed,notthe bathroom. Reaching out, he removes his folded clothes from my hands and drops them on the floor, keeping constant eye contact with me. Dark hooded eyes speak to me, he reaches up to my thick braid that hangs over my shoulder and pulls me down with a sudden yank. I whimper in surprise, not pain, and a sudden, overpowering need to be closer to him consumes me. Our mouths crash together violently, hungry for one another, the undercurrent of attraction and need taking control. He holds me by my braid and pulls me into his lap, dragging his mouth down my neck and nipping at my skin roughly, almost painfully, yet sensually. Intense, urgent kisses cover my face, and I let my head fall back, offering him better access to my neck, submitting to this internal fire. I clutch his bicep with one hand and reach between our bodies to feel his thickness throbbing into my hip, I feel the deep vibration of a groan in his chest. He shifts under me, and I feel his muscles tense slightly; realization that he is in pain jolts through me, and I pop myself off of his lap as he attempts to keep me captive by clutching my braid. Panting, I look him in the eye.

“This isn’t right,” I say, between ragged breaths.

“Isay it is.” His voice is deep and demanding. “Let me go, you’re in pain, I can’t do this.” “Pain isn’t foreign to me Mia, this is nothing, and you misinterpreted my reaction.” He tugs my braid again to reinforce his words.

“No,” I say sternly, and snap my head hard enough to make him release his grip. “No means no,” I say.

“Until it means yes.” He flashes a mischievous smile.

“Evan, really I.... I don’t know what’s come over me, I’m not like this, I’ve never been like this,” I stammer.  My heart is pounding so hard in my chest; my palms are sweaty and that damn dizziness is starting again.

“I don’t know how you usually are Mia, but I’m quite enjoying the way you are now, except for the constant worrying.” Sparkles again- fuck I’ve passed out once in my life and this man puts me in such a tizzy that I’ve been on the edge of fainting two times in one day. “You’re doing it again, sit on the edge of the bed and put your head between your knees, you need to eat something,” he bosses, and there’s no time for pride; I have no choice but to do it or I’ll be on the floor unconscious momentarily.

Looking at my shoes for the second time today, and feeling double the embarrassment, I breathe in through my nose and out my mouth several times until I feel okay. I stand up slowly. “I think you’re right, my blood sugar is probably low, I need to eat,” I say, attempting to save a bit of my dignity with the excuse.

“Go to the kitchen, Cecelia keeps cheese and fruit trays in the refrigerator.” Walking out of his room, I feel him burning a hole in my backside as I make my way toward the kitchen. Just as promised, a cheese and fruit tray is in the fridge and. I pull it out, unwrapping it and pop a strawberry in my mouth. I spot some orange juice, pour a glass and chug it. Feeling a little better after a few more bites, I return the food to the fridge and roll my eyes, sighing and remembering suddenly that he’s probably watching me on his security cameras from his bed. Time to return for round 3.

 

Chapter 14

“Diary” by Alicia Keys

“So, feeling better?” he asks, studying me carefully when I return to the room.

“Yes, thank you, so you all set for the night?”

“No…. I need my sleeping pills- are you getting them or do I have to hop?” He’s so fucking stubborn!

“I can’t do it, what if you never wake up, we don’t know what’s going on until we get an MRI and another CT.”

“You can lay next to me and watch me breath all night if you want, but I’m taking those pills no matter what you do, whether I hurt myself in the process is your choice.” Marching to the bathroom, I snatch the pills off the counter and lob them on the bed within his reach, he can have them, but I’m not staying to watch him sleep. I can smell the manipulation and I’m not falling for it again.

“I’m going to bed, do you need to go to the bathroom or anything before bed?” I ask,please say no, please say no. I’m his nurse but right now I’m weak and he doesn’t play fair. I really hope he doesn’t have to get up. “No Mia, I’ll be fine, leave the door open, and yours too in case I need to yell for you.”

“Ok.” Not bothering to remind him of the words thank you, particularly as I just don’t give a shit right now, I head toward the room next to his, leaving all the doors open.

Lights have been turned on to a dim setting inmyroom. I pull back the thick, heavy comforter, kick off my shoes and sit on the edge of the bed before I notice the short lavender night gown at the end of the bed, what the hell?! Does he expect me to wear another woman’s lingerie? What an arrogant pig! Before I have a chance to get rid of it, I notice a price tag still attached to the bodice. So it’s new… holy shit, who pays that much for a damned nightgown? Evan…that’s who, but at least it’s not someone else’s. It’s better than sleeping in my jeans and sweater, or in my underwear, hell no! I don’t trust him not to come in during the night. I wonder if he is watching me on his cameras from his room. He did say there was a camera in every room- what about the bathroom?That’s ridiculous, I think,he wouldn’t, would he? Yes he would.I switch off the light and quickly shed my clothes and slip into the extremely overpriced provided nightwear and between the deliciously soft, million thread count sheets and close my eyes, when I’m suddenly reminded that I haven’t taken my sleeping pills. I seriously don’t feel like going through another night terror so I throw back the warm comforter and pad as quietly as I can to Evans door. The only light is a dim lamp on his bedside table and his eyes are closed. He’s still, just like the first time I saw him in the hospital. I tiptoe to his bedside, where I can see the pill bottle on the night table. I know what I’m doing is so wrong; you should never take other people’s medication. I also know because I’m a nurse that he takes one of the same medications that I do for sleep. It won’t put me entirely out but it’s better than nothing. I reach for the bottle and hear Evans’ deep, growly voice. “Thief.” Clutching my chest, I realize I’ve probably jumped a foot into the air!

“Shit, you scared me, I thought you were sleeping!”

“I was trying to but someone is trying to steal my pills. Lavender looks beautiful on you, I knew it would.” Eyes roaming over the thin material, he makes me squirm.

“Thank you.”

“Why do you need them?” 

“I have trouble sleeping too, nightmares.” I can’t believe I just told him that, something about him compels me to be totally honest.

“Sit, tell me, I promise to behave.” He points to the other side of the enormous bed and I walk around and sit as far away from him as I can. I feel exposed, and I’m sure that’s how he intended me to feel.  No sense tempting myself again though, my control is a thin thread straining, ready to snap concerning him. “So…why the nightmares?” He frowns at me with concern and I nervously look down at my hands in my lap.

“I… I’ve never really told anyone other than my parents and my therapist about them.” He stays still, his hands to himself, even though the magnetic attraction between us is all encompassing. I think he senses some distance is important for me right now. I close my eyes briefly and begin, “When I was 19 my friends and I got fake ID’s and went bar hopping.” He visibly tenses in anticipation of what I’m about to say, and I reconsider for a moment. Something in his eyes encourages me to go on. “I got separated from my friends, the place was so packed it wasn’t easy to stay together. I’d had way too much to drink and I wandered out a side door into the alley beside the club. That’s when they grabbed me, took me away…” I take a deep shuddering breath and he reaches out his hand and takes mine in a firm grip, I see him swallow hard.

“Kidnapped from the bar?” he clarifies.

“Yes, they picked me up and dragged me, screaming, to a van parked right there in the alley, like they had it all planned or something. I fought, but it was three to one, obviously they won.”

“Oh my god Mia…you don’t have to tell me anymore. But I need to know, were they caught, did they go to prison?” His voice has changed to icy, angry. This was a mistake, why the hell did I tell him this? He’s going to know I’m damaged goods now and he’ll never want to touch me again. Who am I kidding, thinking this beautiful man could ever want someone like me? I’ve come this far, may as well finish.

“Yes, two were caught and are still locked away, but one wasn’t home when the police raided the house and he’s still out there.” He was shaking now, the grip on my hand becoming painful, veins straining against his skin. Fuck this is bad; I need to shut upnow.

“This happened 10 years ago?” he asks, through tightly clenched teeth.

“Well more like eleven but Evan it was a long time ago. Relax, I shouldn’t have told you, please don’t get worked up about it, it’s not good for you.” The look on his face is lethal; in fact I can’t say I’ve ever seen another human being look so angry. Sharp pain shoots up my arm. “You’re hurting my hand,” I say softly, and he loosens his grip immediately. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry Mia, for what you’ve been through, for what they did. If I had 2 minutes alone with any of those men, just 2 minutes….” His jaw twitches, and I sigh. “Don’t pity me, it happened, and I can’t change it. I have issues as a result, but I really don’t want to talk about it anymore right now, it’s hard.” He takes my hand again and tugs my arm, pulling me close to him, pulling back the comforter for me to slide in next to him and I do. Relief spreads through my body; he still wants me. Tears threaten to fall but I bite my lip hard and blink them back. I rest my cheek on his chest and stretch one arm across his waist as he wraps his arms around me, resting his chin on top of my head. I inhale the familiar scent of eucalyptus and spearmint and finally relax. He hasn’t rejected me after the story of my past, thank God. After a moment he reaches to the night table for his pills and passes them to me, along with a bottle of water. I take the pill gratefully and close my eyes, feeling more safe than I have in my entire adult life nestled in his strong arms.


Page 11

 

Chapter 15

“No Ordinary Love” by Sade

Eyes closed but awake I feel warm…no…hot, and something is seriously cutting into my leg. When I open my eyes I realize where I am and a little burst of butterflies flutter in my tummy. I’m in his bed… Evan is still asleep, breathing soft and steady, holding me close to him. He has turned himself slightly toward me, cast propped on pillows, that cast…that’s what’s cutting into my leg, which is slung over his good leg and pinched by the plaster. Shit! I need to move my leg off of his cast, I try to move and his arms tighten around me.

“I was wondering how long you would sleep.” His voice is gravely with sleep.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you but I need to move my leg off of your cast, it’s cutting into mine.” Sliding my leg off and hitching off of him I try again to get up.

“Don’t…I want you right here.” Pushing his hip up and brushing his morning thick length against my leg, I can feel him smile into my hair…I knew this was bound to happen after sleeping next to him, I tip my head back, bringing us face to face.

“Evan, we can’t…. “He cuts me off. “I’m not going to lie Mia, I want you. Badly. But we need to take this slow, I understand now.” Oh great, he’s going to treat me like glass now that he knows, the absolute worst reaction, confirming to me that he does realize I’m damaged goods.

“I don’t want your pity,” I respond bitterly, twisting to get away from him, again with no success. He sighs, rolling his eyes and then looks directly into mine. “I amnotpitying you, I want to breathe you in, feel your soft skin against mine your warmth, I want to be so deep inside of you that you don’t know where I end and you begin. You’d tempt a saint Mia, there’s no pity here, just understanding.” I open my mouth and close it immediately after I see the honest sincerity in his eyes.  Snuggling down into the crook of his arm, I believe him, and honestly there’s no place I’d rather be right now or ever… How can I feel this way about a man I hardly know? He feathers his fingers along my arm as we lay entwined together; no more advances, just closeness and I am completely tranquil when he speaks again. “Mia now I need to get up.”

“Oh. Of course, bathroom?”

“Yes, unfortunately.” He loosens his grip on me and I crawl out of bed. Crutches stand propped against the wall next to the bed, where did those come from?  It seems like someone is always one step ahead here, anticipating all of our needs. I look at Evan, eyebrows raised in question. “I have a very efficient staff.” He shrugs, and now those people know that I have slept with Evan. Great.…”I see that, well let’s get you up then.” Shit, I realize the slip in words before they are out of my mouth and he chuckles. “I won’t say it.” He smiles his movie-star smile, and I grab the crutches and take them to him, we make it up and into the bathroom, “Can you handle it from here?”

“Yes Mia, I can handleitjust fine.” Oh brother, this guy is fond of puns… I roll my eyes and turn my back to him. “I’m going to get dressed and make an appointment for your MRI and CT today.” He grumbles something about not needing a scan and I scoot to the room next door, retrieving my clothes from the floor and discovering a full set of clean things laying on the bed… jeans, lavender silk boy short panties and matching bra and a thin, cream sweater with tiny buttons up the front, all my size. This guy doesn’t miss a beat, how does he arrange all of this while held up in bed? I grab the clothes- who am I to say no to clean things? After I shower and dress, I pull my hair into a messy knot at the base of my neck, it’s wet but who cares? I dig in my purse for my phone, only to find that it’s dead. Great. I’m sure mom has been trying to reach me, not to mention Lilly and Sage. Shit. I made plans to see the kids, I really need to call her. Maybe Evan has a charger; I think he has the same kind of phone. Back in his room I hear the shower… how is he showering with his cast… damn it I left him alone for 20 min! I crack the door. “Evan…do you need help, how are you showering with your cast?”

“Come in here, fuck I hate needing help,” he’s cursing and sitting on a stone bench in the most elaborate shower I’ve ever seen in my life, with at least ten shower heads spraying in various directions. He has a bag taped around his cast. Well at least he thought to do that.

“Why didn’t you wait for me? That’s what I’m here for!” Suddenly I’m all too aware of his nakedness. I’ve seen almost every inch of him bathing him in the hospital but I’ve been missing out on the best part! He is glorious, a bronze Adonis, as soon as he catches sight of me he hardens, with no shame and no inhibitions, sitting in the shower with water running down every defined muscle on his body and an impressive erection pointing right at me…. I look away and my heart pounds in my chest.

“Mia! Don’t look away from me damn it, you’re very aware of my attraction to you, but I really need some help here as much as I hate to admit it.” I pull it together and remind myself that I’m here as a professional… yea right. I’m here because I can’t drag myself away from this man, can’t stand the thought of anyone else touching him. I reach in and redirect several of the shower heads to spray away from me, grab his shower gel and squirt some on his loofa and begin to work at washing every amazing part of him. All the while, his eyes sear into me and I avoid his gaze purposely and direct him to turn so I can get his back. When his back is clean I help him turn back toward me. Kneeling, I start washing his feet and work my way up his calves until, his smooth silky erection is right at eye level with me, no way around this.

“Um, do you want me to …?” He nods and I drop the loofa, my breath coming in short pants, heart racing, I am so nervous, but suddenly I take him in my soapy hand and stroke his impressive length base to tip, a guttural moan from him encourages me on. “Use both hands,” he instructs through gritted teeth, and I eagerly bring both hands around his cock, stroking and twisting in opposite directions, the motion coming naturally to me. I look up at him. “Like this.” He moves his hands to cover mine and glides one over the head of his cock and back down to the base repeating the motion until I have a rhythm going. He releases my hands to grip the stone bench, I continue, and then he leans forward suddenly, grasping me behind my neck with one hand to kiss me with force, smashing my mouth with his, nothing tender or gentle about it. I’ve lost concentration; he stops and removes my hands from him. My breath coming quickly, knees aching from the hard stone floor as I look at him silently, questioning his action. “Not like this…I want you first.”

I’m stunned…. how can he be so close and stop like that? “But…I want to, I’ve never done this before.” This bit of information genuinely surprises him

“Never?” I shake my head.

“You’re very good at it.” He smiles with a glint of pride in his eye,nowI blush; where was that 10 min ago! He takes my hands and supports me so I can stand, grabbing his shampoo and massaging his scalp while he sits obediently, hands to himself, rinsing and shutting off the water. I towel him off and help him out, one arm draped over my shoulder. I’m really not much help to him, he’s so big that if he went down I’d go right with him, but I attempt to steady him while he hops to a leather stool near the shower. I remove the plastic and tape; he’s’ still at full mast and I’m not sure what to do next, so I glance around nervously.  He did say he didn’t want me to finish so what now? “My closet is in the bedroom around the corner, just grab me some jeans and a sweater,” he says, with such an even unaffected tone. What super power enables him to go right to the brink but not over the edge? He catches me wondering. “I’m trained well in discipline, don’t worry about me. That felt fucking wonderful Mia; I just want to pleasure you first. Anticipation is the best aphrodisiac you know.” He winks at me I stand there staring like an idiot.

“Ok…” Who am I to argue about that?  I choose his clothes and help him dress, shave and walk into the dining room.  We work together to elevate his leg on a chair with pillows and Cecelia serves us breakfast. “I need to charge my phone.”

“Next to my bed there’s a charger, didn’t you find the one in your room?  I told Mr. Saint to make sure you had everything you might need.”

“Oh, no I didn’t even look, uh did Mr. Saint bring me these clothes?”

“No, you can thank Cecelia for that, she knows your size and what I like.” For some reason that reminds me of Isaac. “Where’s Isaac been, I haven’t seen him since the hospital?” “I sent him to Milan, I usually travel once a month to a different Dominus, I sent him this time.”

“How did you get started with the restaurant thing?” I ask, pushing my food around on my plate. I’m still curious how he’s becomethiswealthy. Money’s not really my thing. It’s nice, but all I ever wanted was to support myself, live comfortably, pay the bills and have a little savings. All of which I’ve achieved, anything beyond that seems extravagant…. and Evan is the epitome of extravagant.

“I was born and raised in Spain, technically I’m a Duke,” he says that while wiggling his eyebrows mischievously.

“Duke, like of Spain or something?”

“By lineage yes, I have no real ties or responsibilities, just the title. Anyway, my aunt taught me to cook, my mother wasn’t much for feeding her children,” he says with disgust. “I’m quite good at it actually, when she died she left me everything she had, and she had a lot. It allowed me to open Dominus but that wasn’t enough. She was everything to me and I wanted nothing more than to continue honoring her with my success. I expanded all over Europe and then to then the U.S.” “My aunt was blind, she couldn’t see with her eyes but she always saw me with her heart,” he says quietly, with reverence, his eyes an unfocused gaze. I’m so taken with the adoring way he refers to his late aunt that my heart aches in my chest, when he reaches across the table and takes my hand in his with a little squeeze, an electric zing passes through our fingers while we continue to eat. We finish in silence and Cecelia removes our dishes as I help Evan to the couch, arranging him comfortably in front of the fireplace.

“Comfortable?” I ask.

“Yes, we need to plan out our day though. I need to go to Dominus and check on things while Isaac is out of town.” I open my mouth to argue and realize it’s futile; he’s smug, knowing that I have finally caught on to how things work around here.

“And we can fit in an MRI and CT scan right?”

“Yes Mia, I always keep up my end of a bargain.” He’s not happy about going to the hospital, but I could care less, I feel something deep for this man and I need to protect him, even if it is from himself. 

“What’s with the fireplace anyway, it’s so huge!  You could cremate someone in there?” I say, trying to lighten the mood.

“I do everything big Mia, may as well get used to it.”

Yea well, after his shower this morning I’d have to agree with him. “I’m going to charge my phone and make your appointment, can I get you anything?” Oh, the smirk is back with a slight head tilt this time, my belly flutters deep down and I’m wishing we could get to the ‘me first’part now!Face flushed, I turn to go charge my phone and he calls out after me, “Oh Mia, how I love watching your beautiful ass.” I shake it just a little for him and I hear him chuckle a little. Is there such a thing as death from anticipation? If so I’ll be in the ground by noon!

 

Chapter 16

“Demons” by Imagine Dragons

“I’m a Bad Bad Man” by Bobaflex

Shit! After my phone has charged a tiny bit, text messages start chiming, one after another. Mom, Sage and Lilly… there are multiple from each of them. I call Sage first and apologize for not showing up to see the kids, explaining the situation and she gives me a fair amount of shit for taking a leave of absence from my job for a perfect stranger. If she only knew. I reassure her it’s all been taken care of legally with the hospital and that I am fine working with Evan. She’s not buying it, but doesn’t say anything more- she knows how stubborn I am. On to mom and another explanation of my new temporary life situation, she quizzes me about Evan’s full name, occupation and address, I know she’s going to hang up and Google him immediately, and probably call a private investigator knowing her! She won’t be finding much, been there and tried that. Satisfied that I’m alive, although suspicious of the situation, she lets me go on the condition that I promise to keep my phone charged and within my reach.  She adds a reminder of the emergency 911 buttons on the phone…oh my God, mother! Then, with dread, I dial Lilly. She’s furious and overwhelmingly concerned, over the top as usual. “You moved in with him?!!” she shrieks.

“I just explained it to you Lilly. I’m doing home health care for himtemporarily,” I assure her.

“This guy is hot isn’t he? What’s his name again? I have to look him up and see what kind of fire you’re playing with. Don’t get me wrong; I’m over the moon that you’re involved with someone, but you really need to be careful. I can’t believe youquityour job!” she continues in her hysterical tone.

“You’re not hearing a word I’m saying Lilly! I’m his nurse, it’s a professional relationship, and I didn’tquitmy job, it’s aleave of absence.”I attempt to explain to her again. “Fucking A Mia! I just Googled this guy! HE. IS. SO. HOT! Are you kidding me with the professional relationship shit, really I’m insulted that you think I’d fall for that! Have you fucked yet?  Is he good?  I bet he’s a machine. Wait, didn’t you say his leg was broken?  How do you do that with a broken leg?” And on and on she goes, asking questions like I’m not there. I try to slip in an answer once and a while but she’s on a roll, so I just lay on my back on the bed and stare at the gauzy mesh draped around the canopy of my bed. I listen until she has apparently worn herself out.

“You finished?” I ask, exasperated with her lengthy onslaught.

“Yes… no…I don’t know. I’m so blown away Mia this is so not YOU!” Blessedly, she pauses and I begin to answer her questions.

“Well first of all yes, he’s very handsome, and yes he has a broken leg, that’s why I’m here, no we haven’tfuckedso I don’t know if he’s amachine.I wasn’t trying to insult you I was telling you the truth.” Well, not really but I’m afraid if I’m honest with her she may have a stroke or a heart attack. I’ll wait until there’s something more to tell, give her a chance to get used to the information she has so far. I love Lilly, we’ve been friends since high school, but she’s super high maintenance and very overbearing. We hang up, and I call the hospital and pull a few strings, not that I really needed to. People know who Evan Lawson is. He’s donated a lot of money to the hospital. The appointment is made for this afternoon. Returning to Evan, I inform him of the appointment time.

“Then we need to go now to Dominus before lunch starts.” He opens his phone and calls Mr. Saint, requesting that a car be brought to the front of the house in 15 min.

“You do remember you have a broken leg right?” I remind him with a little of my trademark sass. “Oh, I was wondering where that smart mouth had gone. And yes, of course I remember. Mr. Saint will drive and my car is quite spacious, I can stretch out in the back.” Smart mouth, really?

“You’re taking pain meds before we go, I won’t take no for an answer. You haven’t had anything since we came home and moving around all day is going to make it worse.” “For you, but I don’t need it. I’ve told you before, pain is familiar to me. My tolerance is very high, but if it makes you feel better I’ll take something.” He shrugs and I wonder for the second time what the hell he’s been through. A mother that didn’t want to feed him, comfortable with pain, nightmares, and sleeping pills…I sense he’s told me more than most people, but only scratched the surface. I’ve opened up about my own experiences, my baggage. I can only wait for him to trust me more.  It’s a delicate balancing act, sharing demons, and I sense he has just as many as I do, maybe more…. I hold out two Percocet with some water, and he rolls his eyes at me. “Aren’t these bad for me if I’m having black outs?” he asks, and he really has a point.

“Well the sleeping pills didn’t kill you so may as well not be in pain,” I quip, and he laughs at me and brushes my hand away, refusing the pills.

“Help me up, we can start heading out.” I offer him the crutches and we make our way slowly toward the front doors. The car waiting in the circle drive issoEvan…I’ve never seen a car like this before “What. Is. That?” I ask.

“A Maybach Landaulet convertible, you like it?”

“Huh?” The huge, pearl-white sedan is parked, waiting for us at the door, ridiculously extravagant, just like the man himself…

“It has more room than any of my cars, and I actually prefer it most of the time.”

“How many cars do you have?” Open mouthed and staring I cannot fathom why anyone would need another vehicle when they had this one, and he has to think a while about how many he has, oh my God…really?

“Six I think…well no, 5 I guess since one of them is underwater.”

Shit, I wasn’t thinking about that connection. “I’m sorry Evan, I didn’t mean to bring it up.” He passes over the subject and moves to the car. I help him into the back, he sits and pulls himself in effortlessly with his arms and fills the back seat completely, all six feet five inches of him. “I’ll sit up front with Mr. Saint,” I say, after assessing the back of the car, he nods with a sigh. He wants me back there with him, but there just isn’t enough room. Closing the door I slide in front with Mr. Saint, who acknowledges me with a curt nod as we take off. I realize why Evan was disappointed about not sitting together, and I tend to agree- the front of the car is completely separated from the back with a dark window, which would provide total privacy to the occupants in the rear. Mr. Saint catches me checking out the window and presses a button that opens the window so I can see Evan, and he me. I wish I could reach him, touch him, hold his hand; it’s such a small amount of separation between us, but it feels like the distance between the east and west coast. It’s irrational, crazy, unreasonable, insane…. But it is what it is, and I see it in his eyes that he feels it too.

“Stop the car,” I command and Mr. Saint looks at me like I’m nuts, and maybe I am. But right now I don’t care what he thinks. He pulls over to the side of the road, I’m out in two seconds, crawling into the back with him. Understanding the need for contact, Evan lifts his casted leg and I slip under it, sitting on the seat with his leg in my lap. It’s heavy but anything is better than sitting up front where we can’t touch. Smiling, he takes my hand and the two magnets connect. I see Mr. Saint’s shocked face in the rearview mirror briefly, before he closes the partition, leaving us alone. We ride in silence to Dominus.

“Sir?” I hear Mr. Saint over some sort of intercom.

“Around back,” Evan answers, and we drive a bit further, stopping at what must be the rear entrance to Dominus. It’s a cold, wet day like the other 300 days of the year in Seattle Washington, we make our way out of the car with the crutches and into a dark hallway that leads to an office with a massive mahogany desk in the center, typical Evan style. “I’d give you a tour, but they’re setting up for lunch. We can go out when they’re done, before the first reservation arrives.” Gesturing to a couch for me to sit on, he sits behind the desk and Mr. Saint follows, bringing Evan’s laptop and efficiently setting it up in front of him, he then exits, closing the door behind him.

“I have a couple of things I have to tend to, do you mind staying with me and waiting?” he asks.

“Of course, I hadn’t planned on leaving you alone.  I’m yours for twelve hours, knock yourself out,” I say.

“Twelve hours, hmmm? I’m going to have to let you go home at some point aren’t I?” he mutters. 

“Well yes, my family and my best friend are freaking out about this arrangement,” I say the words but I’m realizing that I can’t imagine being away from him for any amount of time. I couldn’t even sit in the front of the car without him for God’s sake, what am I going to do?

“Tell me about your family.” As he sits back in his chair, I realize his leg isn’t elevated and I look around for a stool, moving to retrieve one near the desk and propping his leg as I fill him in.

“I have one sister, Sage, who is three years older than I am, she’s married with two children that I love like my own.  My mom is a gymnastics teacher and my Dad a veterinarian, pretty normal family, nothing exciting really.”

Evan looks thoughtful “Did she teach you gymnastics?” he asks, with a teasing tone. “Why yes Mr. Lawson, she did, and I can deliver a calf and give ahugeinjection of penicillin thanks to my father so you better watch yourself,” I answer, with chin up and a quick nod.

“Well nurse Mia, I’ll remember that when I have a pregnant horse or a massive infection.” He chuckles and I hear people shuffling around outside the door to his office. Before I can return questions about his parents and family, he begins to work and just like that I’m once again dismissed. I wonder about this habit, is it him being rude, or is something else going on? I wish I felt comfortable talking to someone who knew him before the accident, maybe Cecelia- if I can get her to loosen up, that is.

“Do you have a restroom nearby?” I interrupt.

“Yes, out the door to the left,” he answers absentmindedly, and I go to search it out. So it’s ok to be away from him as long as he’s guaranteed an immediate return. I store that tidbit away. Entering the restroom, I stop in my tracks inside the door. Wow, I immediately feel underdressed, if these are the facilities for the staff I can’t imagine what the public is treated to. Black and white everywhere, glossy black counters with raised sink bowls, white stone walls, stalls separated with black pillars, and it’s all so clean you could eat off of any surface, almost clinically clean like an O.R. I enter a stall just as two women come in, unaware of my presence. I overhear their conversation. “Did you see the car?” A woman with a Spanish accent speaks first.

“What, no, who’s car?” The second answers with note of caution in her scratchy voice, like someone who has smoked for a long time.

“The beast is back, I saw them pull around in the Maybach, I can’t believe he’s out of the hospital so soon!  Cameron died in that accident, God rest her soul!” The Hispanic woman complains.

“They let him out? Oh never mind…knowing him he probably just left.” Wow, they know him well. “I thought he was in a coma, I was actually a little relieved, it’s been nice around here with him gone.”

“Yea, I haven’t had to iron my panties or scrub my hands with a Brillo pad for 10 days!” The smoker giggled. No way am I letting them know someone is in the bathroom, I want to hear more aboutthe beastas they called him. Maybe I’ll learn something about his personality pre-accident. Slowly and quietly, I press my hands to the sides of the stalls cool stone walls and lift my feet to the toilet so no one can see them under the door. Not breathing, I perch on the toilet edge and continue to eavesdrop. Twenty-two years of gymnastics is coming in handy today, thanks Mom! 

“Isaac isn’t much better, but at least he doesn’t time our breaks to the second and threaten us with death if we sneak out to smoke,” Accent says. “Or make you clean your area with a toothbrush for hours…oh wait, never mind Isaac made me do that once too, he’s a mini beast.” The women chuckle and take care of business in the restroom; coming out of their stalls to the sink, they continue their conversation.

“If the pay here weren’t so damn good I’d fuckin’ be out of here right now,” scratchy voice says. Shit was he really that bad?

“Did you know Carly says he’s in the Spanish mob or something? You ever notice people that he fires are never around again, like I mean never around anywhere, ever?” Accent says.

“Mob, like you think he’s having them killed? Carmen, you’re nuts- he’s awful, horrible even, but murder…. No way!”

Accent snorts, “You’re so naive Kate, in my country people are killed for much less, life has no value in Columbia. You’re just a warm body here to do what the boss wants, and if you’re lucky you get to go home to your family at night.” Wow, Carmen is full of educational information. Note to self, never fucking go to Columbia, and where have I heard that comment about being a warm body before? Must be a speech Evan makes regularly, and not just to me.

“Well, that’s Columbia not Washington, and nobody’s going to kill me if I get a new menu item wrong. I just don’t believe that shit.”

“Suit yourself, but if I ever disappear, you pack your bags and run far away, I’m telling you,” accent says, very seriously. Scratchy doesn’t respond and I imagine her mouth hanging open in shock at the thought of her friend being murdered. They finish up, taking alongtime washing their hands and drying them. Either they’re stretching out a break or the beast has the idea of cleanliness burned into every fiber of their being. God they wash a long time, my legs are actually starting to become numb. When they exit I let myself down and pee, while I try to make sense of this new information. Mob. Maybe it’s just denial but I’m with Kate. No way is Evan in any mob, is there any such thing as a Spanish-based mob? He does have an awfully extravagant home though. No. He said his aunt left him money, and I choose to believe and trust that explanation. I wonder where Aunt Sophia got her wealth; I’ll have to ask Evan.


Page 12

 

Chapter 17

“Goya’s Nightmare” by Jocelyn Pook

I slip into Evans office, no more employee run-ins. I think they must all be in the kitchen now, or out front as it’s nearly time for lunch. Evan is on the phone, and I return to my spot on the couch, checking out the decor of his office. It’s big of course, that’s a given. No windows back here, the lighting is dim, other than the light on his desk. A fireplace, much, much smaller than the one at his house, burns gas in the corner. An entire wall of mahogany book shelves are built into the walls behind Evan’s desk, all the contents protected by glass panels covering each shelf. There is nothing on those shelves that appears to be for pleasure reading, they hold business books, manuals for Dominus, training information. This is his version of a filing cabinet, just incredibly organized and visually pleasing to the eye. Evan’s office is another space of clinical cleanliness I note, along with the smell of cinnamon and maybe clove. I think I smelled the same scent in his house, he has an interesting taste in scents. Finishing his call, he hangs up and announces he’s ready to give me a tour of Dominus.

“Let’s go have a look around. Isaac better have things in order.” 

“Or what?” I ask, seriously wanting to know, but I think he takes it as teasing.

“Or I’ll fire him, everybody else in the place and burn it to the ground with them all in it.”

I look up at him, mouth gaping apparently, as I work to remove his leg from the pillows. He reaches out to me and puts his finger under my chin, closing my mouth. “Joking Mia, I’m joking.” He dips his head, looking up at me through his eyelashes to make sure I understand. I shake my head a little, shaking off my shock. If I hadn’t overheard Accent and Scratchy earlier, I probably would have laughed that comment off for what it was, a joke. Evan keeps his eyes trained on me as I help him up; he’s gotten the hang of the crutches quickly and doesn’t need much more from me other than to open the door. Pausing outside his office, he points toward the right and we walk together down a hall that opens into…. well…. heaven…. white, everywhere. We stand together on a balcony of sorts, looking down on the dining room. There are tables covered with white linen cloths, white carpet, and white chairs and walls; the only color is a small arrangement of lavender roses in the center of each table. I inhale a sharp gasp when I see the chandelier that spans the entire room, like sparkling rain drops falling from the ceiling. It’s the main light source for the room, dim, intimate, romantic and breathtaking. A few tables are already occupied, and another couple is being seated.

“Oh Evan…it’s… I’m speechless really.” His eyes sparkle with pride and satisfaction as he watches me take it all in. Smiling, and completely satisfied with my reaction, he indicates with a quick motion of his chin where the entrance is, and which direction the kitchen is in and I can literally not speak, I just nod.

“We can’t go down to the dining room this way, I can’t maneuver the stairs.” There’s a solid white curved staircase that leads from this landing right into the center of the dining area.

“Is there an elevator?” I’ve finally found my voice.

“Yes, this way.” We turn around and go back the way we came. An elevator takes us down to the kitchen where the staff are all immediately timid, anxious and apprehensive. A hush falls over the room, and I feel the tension immediately. Cooks avert their eyes, back to their masterpieces, the waitresses scurry around readying dishes, going in and out of the kitchen.

One brave and beautiful Latina woman approaches, clutching her hands in front of her. She’s dressed in a cream-colored outfit that is very well tailored, it’s a very expensive looking pantsuit that fits perfectly in all the right places, and her silky black hair is gathered into a loose chignon. “Mr. Lawson, I’m so relieved to see you back. How are you feeling, can I get you anything? Would you like to look over the reservations for this afternoon and tonight? Things should be in perfect order.” She rushes the information, rattled but apparently used to anticipating his needs.

“Maria I’m fine, just a broken leg and yes, I’d like to see what’s going on today.”

She actually takes a step back from Evan as if she had just been slapped, and begins to stutter, “Ah…ok…ok then let’s go out front.” What is her problem? His tone wasn’t threatening, he responded appropriately…didn’t he? Maybe that’s it…from what I heard in the restroom he’s usually an intolerable ass…. is the Evan I’ve come to know so different than the one they are used to? He’s irritating and rude at times, but I’ve never been intimidated or frightened of him. The MRI…. we really need to get that done and see what’s going on. I wonder if he’s had some sort of personality change since the accident, from the reactions I just witnessed, reasonable and agreeable are not normal traits of Mr. Evan Lawson.

I continue to observe the gorgeous pair talking about endless celebrity reservations and wines that are on backorder until Evan turns to me. “Ready?”  He’s looking tired, I know he’ll never admit it, but we need to get to the hospital and back home before he makes up an excuse not to go.

“Um, Mr. Lawson, there are some repair receipts that need your signature in the club, would you like me to get them for you?” Maria asks. I get the sense she’s next in line after Isaac in the ranks of Dominus employees. 

“No, we can get them, it’ll give me a chance to show Mia around,” he replies. I feel Maria’s tension easing ever so slightly, maybe she thinks of me as a buffer? Well if so, good. Seems like she could use a break. 

“All right, if you’re sure, I’ll keep you updated on every detail.”

“Yes Maria, do that.” Still no thank you, Geesh. We pass through double doors off the main foyer of Dominus and into the club. A mammoth fish tank, like none I’ve ever seen monopolizes the wall behind the bar. I imagine sitting at the bar would feel like being submerged in the ocean; salt-water fish swim in schools, with none of the constrictions of a small tank. There are five small, raised areas scattered among maybe twenty or thirty small table and chair sets. A huge stage monopolizes the side of the club opposite the bar. Several thick aerial silks hang from the ceiling, a theatre-sized screen is mounted behind the rear of the stage, and a giant bowl full of water large enough for a person to swim in fill the space. What on earth happens here, Cirque du Solei?

Music plays softly throughout the room, strange music. Forest sounds, rhythmic drums and a haunting woman’s voice sings in a foreign language. I look at Evan with raised eyebrows, the unspoken question on my face.

“Jocelyn Pook, Goya’s Nightmare.”

“Oh…I’ve never heard music like this before,” I say softly, listening to the unfamiliar chanting.

“No, I’m sure not,” he agrees.

“What kind of clubisthis?” I’m curious about what the platforms are used for although I have some idea.

“Entertainment, sort of an adult version of Cirque de Solei,” he answers casually, making his way past the entrance closing the doors and further to a tall desk. Ha, I knew it! Well the Cirque de Solei part, I don’t know about theadultpart, strippers perhaps? He signs some forms that have been conveniently left on a stone desk where he will not have to search for them. Looking up, our eyes meet and he reaches out to me, I step to him, it’s almost completely dark where he stands, and the only light is a glowing blue hue from the fish tank. Balancing on his crutches, he places his hands on either side of my face and quietly instructs me to close my eyes again. Narrowing my eyes for a moment in hesitation but then closing them as he has asked, I hear him inhale deeply through his nose, breathing me in and exhaling with a contented sigh.

“Can you feel it, the way the music flows through you, without sight your other senses are heightened.” I reach to touch his face and he turns his cheek into my hand. The music’s timbre is dark and eerie at times, but the rhythm is contagious, and strangely intimate. The magnetic connection between us is pulling stronger than ever as I step closer. Keeping my eyes closed, I touch his face slowly, tracing his cheekbone, the corner of his mouth and the edge of his eye, brushing the pad of my thumb over his long, thick lashes. I feel his pulse quicken when I skim over his neck and rest my hands on his chiseled chest. He accepts my exploring touch naturally, I move into him and he envelopes me in his arms and holds me around the waist, almost completely standing on one foot, his crutches propped against his body under his arms while the music pulsates around us. Without warning, Evan lifts me onto the tall stone desk behind me- he actuallyliftsme, balancing on one foot and propped on his crutches.

“Evan!” I gasp and protest simultaneously, but he is shaking his head back and forth, moving between my legs. His smirk has returned and it’s over for me. I’m completely helpless, I can’t move or speak, or even breathe as he smooths his hands down my neck and over my breasts pebbling under my thin sweater. I instinctively arch into his touch and he lowers his mouth over mine, kissing me deeply and penetrating my mouth with a desire that mimics the music that surrounds us. My hands suddenly remember how to move and trembling, I slide my fingers into his hair and take hold, the music picks up tempo and our mouths respond equally. Evan unbuttons the front of my sweater slowly, never breaking contact with my mouth. A tiny voice in the back of my mind reminds me that we’re in a public place, that while we’re alone, someone could walk in at any moment. Shut up! I tell my inner voice. He pushes the sweater off of my shoulders, his hands traveling down my arms, around to my bare back where he skillfully unhooks my bra, the bra he had Cecelia choose for me. He removes my hands from his hair to slip the sweater the rest of the way off. Peeking, I see he still has his eyes closed, as he pulls away from me just long enough to move his warm mouth to my breast. A hitch of breath escapes me as he ravishes one and then the other with his tongue, traveling down my belly and nipping and kissing a trail down to my navel. His hands leave me suddenly and I hear scraping on the floor, my eyes snap open. I see Evan has somehow moved a chair I hadn’t seen before close to the desk, and he sits with his face directly level with my belly, oh God. Reaching up, he gently brushes his hand over my eyes, and closing them again I feel my other senses sharpen immediately. The music has changed to something very similar; it’s the same artist I think, just a different rhythm softer, slower. Without thinking, I resume threading my fingers through his soft, dark hair while he returns to licking and kissing around my belly button, causing me to suck in my tummy. I whimper as he traces the skin at the top of my jeans with just his fingertips. Beginning to unfasten my jeans, he stops abruptly and I again open my eyes.

“Are you ok…is this ok?” he asks, with concern in his eyes. They’re nearly black now, with only a rim of bright green.

“Yes…. please..” I beg, and he begins to work my jeans off.

“Lift,” he instructs, and I place my palms flat on the desk, lifting my body as he peels them off, panties included, and drops them on the floor, my shoes drop with a light clatter. “The door is locked, no one will come in,” he reassures me as I sit naked before him on the cold desk, completely at his mercy, open and vulnerable. Miraculously, not to mention oddly, I have no inhibition, none. I watch as he caresses me with his hands, from my ass, down my thighs to my knees, and spreading my legs wide. Kissing the sensitive skin between my legs lazily from each knee to my core, he stops and repeats the torture until I’m dizzy, breathless and wet, desperate for release.

“You’re so wet for me Mia,” he says, right before dipping two fingers into my folds and groaning. I gasp, and he pulls me to the edge of the desk roughly with his other hand forcing me to lay back and support my upper body with my elbows, bowing his head between my legs and licking from behind all the way up to my clit with one sweep.  Gasping again, I instinctively clamp my legs together. He repeats the process of spreading my legs with my knees, opening me wide and giving a little sharp jerk that clearly saysdon’t move.I grip his hair tightly as he alternates circling my clit and licking my outer folds with his expertly skilled tongue. I thrust my hips forward, offering myself up to him, an orgasm building quickly with every electrifying movement of his tongue. He grips my ass on both sides, tilting me up fractionally and I lose control and come violently.

“Oh God… Evan!” I yell, as my body clenches and pulses violently with the first orgasm given to me by a man, ten years of unrealized lust and passion released. I relax my hold on his hair as I come down from ecstasy and Evan props his arms on my thighs and looks up at me through his beautiful long eyelashes.

“I’ve wanted to do that from the moment I heard your voice, when I was in the dark.” “What if I had been an ugly 300 lb. ogre with a sexy voice?” I ask playfully, I can’t believe I’m teasing him while I’m spread naked on a check in desk in his club while he’s fully dressed!

“I knew you weren’t, no one with that voice could be anything but angelic…you were my angel pulling me out of the darkness. I was ready to go you know, there was nothing holding me here. I’d done all I had set out to do in my life, honored my aunt, and I was ready to die.” Stunned by this admission, I stare at his beautiful face. How could such a vital, successful, loving man be finished living, be ready to give up?

“Oh Evan.” I pull him close, his head against my belly, and wrap my arms and legs around him as I lay my cheek on top of his head. “Why? How could you consider giving up? You’re young and strong, you have more than most people could ever imagine!” Dragging my fingers through his hair, I can feel him frown against my skin.


Page 13

“My life is one dark, fucked up disaster after another.  You know nothing about me Mia, hellIdon’t even know everything about me, but if you did you’d run. When I’m with you I feel…. Naked- my soul, my spirit exposed. Everything I’ve ever secretly yearned for, everything I’ve ever dreamed of but that I had no hope of having because of my past, you see it, you seeme.”Wowis an understatement; this man has serious feelings for me. I knew we had a physical magnetism, but didn’t dare to allow myself to consider real feelings. I wanted that, deep down I always had. All of my adult life I’ve wanted a relationship with a man, to have a partner to walk through life with, to be a best friend to and devote my life to. Just like Evan I have secret wishes, ones I gave up on long ago. I never thought my fear could dissipate enough to allow any man into my heart…until now. We’re very much alike in one way, damaged. “Stay with me,” he pleads.

“I will,” I whisper, and he begins to untangle himself from me, dressing me and not allowing me to help, he buttons, clasps and zips me into my clothes and tenderly slips on each of my shoes. Next on our agenda, the hospital.

 

Chapter 18

“Give Me What I Want” by Avril Lavigne

Evan is quiet; maybe he’s tired, maybe he’s thinking about what just happened at Dominus and all the things he said to me, maybe he regrets it all.  This makes me worry, a skill I have perfected. This relationship, or whatever it is, has started to go in a direction that I have to admit I wanted it to from the beginning. But I’m having trouble believing a man like Evan could really care about me. Can this all be real? I have no idea who Evan was before the accident, and what little I do know now is complicated. What if his current personality is temporary, something related to his brain injury? What if he changes back intothe beastas his employees referred to him at the restaurant? This way of thinking isn’t helping me, but this whole thing is so tangled. I’m supposed to be this man’s nurse, but so many lines have been crossed? Somehow I have to find a way to separate the attraction from the professional aspect of the situation. Yea right…caring for someone intimately suggests a personal relationship, what happened between us at Dominus and in the shower this morning suggests a very personal relationship. Him not wanting me to leave his side, professing his feelings, all of those things make me feel that this is serious but what if it all changes? I’ve seen little signs of the old Evan, the one I don’t think I ever want to know, like when he dismisses me abruptly, the way his employees seem terrified of him, there are red flags waving all over the place yet I keep trying to hide my eyes. I’m relieved and scared at the same time while we wait for his MRI. If it’s all clear, I’ll be reassured that what is happening between us won’t go up in a puff of smoke one day, leaving me brokenhearted and alone. I’ve been alone for as long as I can remember, and I was content. But since Evan landed like a meteor in my life, I feel a completeness that I wasn’t aware I needed so badly. If he were taken from me, my old life wouldn’t be enough. I’ve never been thorough a break up because I’ve never had a relationship, but somehow I know losing Evan would be devastating, I can feel it in the very essence of me that some part of me a big part of me, needs him, craves him, would not survive without him…and this is not good. I need to stop thinking about it, so I throw myself into my “job” so to speak. Helping Evan change into a hospital gown in a small room outside MRI, I continue to assess his mood, catching his eye occasionally. I actually feel like maybe he’s thinking the same thing…does he know he used to be a total dick, that people are afraid of him; is he worried too?

“What are you thinking?” he asks. Shit, I suck at lying. “And don’t lie,” he continues without a beat- fuck can he read my mind or what? If so he shouldn’t have to ask what I’m thinking.

“Just about the MRI,” I answer, and it’s not a total lie. I’m concerned he has had an injury that may have altered his personality, but I’m sure as hell not bringing that up right now! He has to lie in there, perfectly still for a long time and keep calm, so it’s not an optimum time to have a deep conversation about who he is and what we are together. Evan covers my hand with his as I tie his gown behind his neck and narrows his eyes slightly.

“Good try. Actually, shitty try, you’re are an open book to me Mia, no sense in keeping things from me, you’re worried aren’t you?”

I attempt to skirt the edges of my concern again, giving a half-truth, “Yes. I guess I’m worried. I just hope we find out what’s causing the blackouts, and that it’s nothing serious.”

“It’s not, don’t worry Mia.” He has no way of knowing that, but we will soon enough though. I smile. “How do I look?” Really, Evan Lawson could wear tattered shreds and still be the most handsome man on the planet.

“Stunning,” I answer honestly. Holding the door for him to enter the hallway leading to the MRI room, I silently pray they find nothing and that this Evan, my Evan, the one right here, right now, is the real Evan.

We return to the house and I climb out of the car to help him up the steps and inside. I notice the front of the house resembles a castle, two stone towers on either side of the door rise above the height of the rest of the structure. 

“What is a house of this size called, it seems wrong to merely call it a house?” I ask him, craning my neck and shading my eyes with my hand to look at one of the towers.

“A manor is probably most accurate I suppose,” he answers.

“The Lawson Manor then,” I murmur. 

“Sure, but if you need a name to call it, you could just call it home, you know,” he says, blatant about his desire to have me living under the same roof with him. Honestly, the idea is starting to sound more appealing to me. I can’t imagine tearing myself away from him for a second. That can’t be healthy, moving in here may be setting myself up for a world of pain, I’d have to leave at some point, when he didn’t need a nurse anymore, wouldn’t I? Yes, I need to force myself to put distance between us until we know if this side of him is permanent, for my own good.

“I still have a home, I promised to stay and I will while I’m needed.”

Knowing this isn’t what he wants to hear, I mentally cringe and wait for the argument about to ensue. Stopping next to his bed, he turns to face me and captures my eyes, saying very deliberately,  “You’re needed hereallthe time, and I can’t imagine a time when you won’t be.” Sitting down on the edge of the bed and swinging his casted leg onto the pillows left there this morning, he nudges his crutches toward me to take, since I’m speechless again, I go about helping him as if he hadn’t said words that melted my heart and made my knees weak. “When do you think they will have the results of the MRI?” he asks.

I had insisted on leaving the hospital before the results were back, Evan had had a long full day, and I could tell he was worn out.

“I’ll call right now and see if I can find anything out.”

“No. Sit.” He pats the mattress on the inside of the bed next to him. I round the bed and crawl across to him and he tucks me under his arm. I lay my head on his warm, smooth, hard chest and sigh, listening to the steady beat of his heart. I inhale his unique combination of scents, could there be a better place to be? I answer that in my mind,hell no! Evan reaches across my head and removes the rubber band that’s holding my hair up, shaking it loose and tangling the fingers of his other hand in it. “I love your hair, I’ve never known a women with hair as long as yours.” My hair is pretty long, not intentionally really, I’m just lazy about having it cut.

“It needs cutting.” 

“No. Leave it,” he insists, and takes my chin in his hand to tilt my face up to his. “Mia, I really do want you to stay here with me, and I won’t take no for an answer.” Well shit! He turns me to mush with his compliments and then goes in for the kill, the master manipulator in action; if he smirks I’m finished.

“Well I can’t help you with that one, I’m going home tonight to sleep, but I’ll be back first thing in the morning.” I need to start now with a little distance before I risk having my heart shattered into a million pieces. His eyes search mine, so close that I can see he has a ring of blue around the pupil of each eye, surrounded by the brightest green I’ve ever seen in a person’s eyes, except for maybe in magazines or Internet photographs that have been Photoshopped to look this way. But never face to face. They’re beautiful and penetrating, as though he can see right through me. I have to look away before he hypnotizes me into staying right here forever.

“How about another compromise, you stay with me all the time for a week, just so I can get accustomed to getting around on crutches. And then we can reassess the situation.” With the heat of his body against mine, nestled in his arms and with his hand massaging my scalp, stroking my hair I am utterly at his will, I concede.

“A week, and that’s it, I go back to twelve hour days, or evenings whatever is better for you.”

“Deal.”

What a sucker Mia, he knew exactly what he was doing here and you totally fell for it, as usual. Evan got what he wanted, if only temporarily.I feel his body relax immediately, and after a short time his soft breathing indicates that he’s sleeping, I closed my eyes and nap away the afternoon in his arms.  This nursing job is such a sham.

 

Chapter 19

“Your Love is King” by Sade

“Mia...Mia…your phone.” I open my eyes to a dark room wrapped in Evans arms, with my phone vibrating in the pocket of my jeans.How long did we sleep?He releases me from his side as I lift my hips up to get at my phone.

“Hello?” I answer, while whispering to Evan that I’m sorry I’ve woken him up. “It’s the hospital,” I tell him, covering the phone briefly so as not to interrupt the person on the other end of the line. “Yes this is she.” They have been given my name as a contact, then I listen while they tell me the results of the MRI, the results I do not want to hear. Possible nerve damage in the frontal lobe and a large tumor, and after that my hearing begins to buzz and I’m not able to make out what the physician is saying anymore. I hand the phone to Evan absentmindedly and silently scoot to the opposite edge of the bed and begin walking toward the bedroom door, while Evan recovers the call. Frontal lobe is where personality is controlled, along with behavior and emotion. The very things I had hoped would not have been affected. Sitting on the couch in front of the warm, crackling fireplace I gather myself, attempting to clear the fog from my brain. Ok. So this may be permanent, and that would be good, I’m falling for the Evan I know right now, the one in bed in the next room, but what if it’s just temporary? Virtually no progress has been made by having the MRI, except the confirmation of my deepest fear. We have no way of anticipating our future, if there even is a future together. Time will tell, but the longer I expose myself to him, the deeper I will plunge into a precarious relationship that could possibly end with the man I’ve started having deep feelings for turning back into the tyrant he was before the accident. Thoughts spinning, I hear the click clack of Evan approaching on his crutches, as he arranges himself next to me on the couch, silently turning his body to face me while I stare into the fire. “I haven’t had a blackout for a while.”

“No... no, you haven’t.”

“Maybe it’s over,” he says softly. “Maybe.”

“What are you so afraid of Mia? Talk to me.”  I don’t know if I can explain my concern without sounding selfish, he’s facing possible permanent brain damage and all I can think about is protecting my heart.

“I was really hoping it was nothing, that’s all.” I turn and face him, smiling weakly, he shakes his head back and forth.

“Forget it Mia, I can see it’s more than that to you, although I can’t imagine why, I’m fine, so what if they say there’s a problem, I feel fine. You wanted the test, now you’ve had it done, so relax with me and don’t make me regret giving you what you wanted.” I don’t regret it, he had to have it done, just in case it was something life-threatening. But it didn’t answer my questions and now I am unnerved.

“Are you fine? I mean how would you know, if your personality has changed, if you’ve forgotten things, who is here to remind you? Not me, I barely know you.”

“I don’t know what you think I’m forgetting, I feel the same as I always have, a little stir crazy being stuck in this damned cast and not having my finger in every aspect of my work. I’m a very active man Mia, independent and controlling, but you seem to believe this accident has caused me to change or lose my mind, or I don’t know what! But I assure you I have not!” His voice raises, bordering on a shout, and his eyes dart from one of mine to the other, as he clenches his fists.

“Calm down, I’m not saying you’ve lost your mind.” 

“Then what exactly are you saying?” Well here goes, I decide to tell him the truth about my fear.

“I…I feel something with you,” I stutter and hesitate to continue.

“As I do for you,” he interjects, believing that’s all I have to say.

“No, I mean I havestrongfeelings for you that I haven’t felt for a man before…I’m afraid of losing you.” He furrows his brow, trying to understand where I’m going with this and I continue.

“What if this isn’t you?” I whisper, and his frown deepens and he replies.

“What do you meanisn’t me?”

“I mean…what if that damage has caused you to be… different, not who you were before the accident.” My attempt to explain myself is failing, big time.

“You’re fond of me, I know you are, so what does it matter if I’m different? Which I am not, you’re not making any sense Mia. Are you sure you’re not the one with a head injury?” he teases and taps the side of my head with his finger, I give him a tiny, brief smile before I return to my grim thoughts. I should just tell him why I’m afraid, but what if my fear is unwarranted?  What if heisthe same and he reallydoesjust care for me? I would be planting a seed of doubt and uncertainty in his mind about himself and giving up the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I wish I had more time to sort this all out but I don’t, so I decide to play dumb for now and work on it later when I can think it through.

“I don’t know what I’m worried about Evan…really, I’m a nurse and I tend to think about things more clinically. I’m sure you’re fine; so don’t mind my grey mood. “What did the Dr. say about a plan?” I purposely perk up my tone to hide my fear.

“Nothing…because there’s nothing wrong that needs fixing.” He takes my hands in his and pierces me with his stare, searching for the truth in my face. Thank God he appears to be accepting the front I’ve put up. “Ok then, you had your test and we can forget about it and concentrate on more important things.”

“What could be more important than your big brain?” I laugh.

“Oh Mia, I have other big parts that are far more interesting, let me show you.” The smirk that has changed my life spreads across his face, and he doubles the effect with a wink. I abandon any thoughts that this isn’t the real Evan as he pulls me onto his lap easily so I’m straddling his hips. I feel his rock-hard cock through our clothes, jutting out against my belly.

“See?” he says, grabbing my ass and pulling me to align my core with his bulging cock. I instantly pool wetness between my legs, our mouths collide, tongues searching, demanding, claiming each other while Evan gathers my hair with one hand behind my neck and twists it around his wrist, pulling my head back to expose my neck. Panting, I close my eyes and move my hands under the hem of his shirt, sweeping up his hard abs to his smooth chest he pulls back releasing my hair.

I open my eyes to protest but he gathers his shirt, pulling it over his head and then does the same with mine, forgoing the buttons this time. As he removes my bra my blood is pounding, rushing in my head, if he’s saying anything to me right now it’s falling on deaf ears. That damned flash of awareness that we’re in the living room where his staff can enter at any time plagues my thoughts, but just as quickly as the thought came, it goes. Pressing my naked, warm breasts against his bare chest, I sigh as he trails a path of kisses down my neck to my shoulder and continues down to my breast, pulling my hair gently to control my position on his lap. I shudder as he lowers me, my back to his thighs, and circles my belly with his tongue, pausing at the waist of my jeans, feathering both hands along the inside of my arms passing over my hard nipples I feel him gazing at me and I hold my breath as he circles my waist with his powerful hands and pulls me upright again. I open my eyes again as he nuzzles my cheek with his nose and I feel him smile.

“What?” I whisper.

“I’ve never had to ask for help removing a woman’s clothes before, I can’t fuck you properly I’m a little incapacitated here….”

“Oh,” I say in a tiny voice. “Stand up.”

He nudges his hips against mine and it’s all I can do to manage to remove myself from the heat of his body, but I do. For the first time I notice music playing very softly in the room, similar to the music from this afternoon, erotic and slow…a woman sings words that sound eastern European. Standing over Evan with the hot fire at my back as the only light in the room, I feel for the first time the power of being a woman, beautiful and cherished by this man under me, adoring me with his eyes. Never before have I associated power and sex in a positive way, always the opposite. My newfound feelings irrefutable, I can’t hold back another day, another min, another second. Evan reaches up to unbutton my jeans; I place my hands on his and shake my head back and forth. He immediately drops his hands and his face twists in confusion. Giving him a wicked smile, I begin unbuttoning them myself and peeling them off slowly, leaving the panties he’s provided me with this morning untouched. I kneel to remove his jeans, never taking my eyes from his, which have regained their dark lust after realizing my need to take some control. The glory of Evan Lawson naked is unmatched by any sight I have ever seen, and trembling, I reach out on each side of him and take two of the huge pillows off the couch, gently propping his casted leg on them, my hair blanketing the front of my body as he smooths his hands along my face and gathers it behind my neck, baring me to him. I stand again slowly; never losing contact with my skin, he slips his fingers into the edge of my panties and drags them down my legs. Closing his eyes, his hands travel the length of my legs, around to my ass, pulling me astride him again. I hover there trembling, shaky hands gripping his shoulders before sinking down, impaling myself on his throbbing head slowly, stretching to accommodate to his size. Our eyes close as I take him completely inside of me, and pausing I feel him pulsing, a guttural groan is releasing from deep in his throat.

“You’re so tight, you feel so fucking good Mia,” he says through gritted teeth. “Can you move yet?” he asks, I nod my head, unable to form words, and he grips my hips and with slow gentleness he lifts me, gliding easily as my wetness covers him until his tip is barely at my entrance. I inhale sharply with anticipation and we both open our eyes and watch our bodies connect as he eases me back down, gripping my hips with his large strong hands painfully, the scene so erotic I burn it into my memory for safe keeping.

I know he’s holding back for me, trying to allow me some comfort, but that’s not at all I want. Taking over, I push him deeper, further than I knew was possible and that seems all the permission he requires. We begin to move together in a steady rhythm, gripping each other tightly, our skin blazing, Evan takes my mouth in a deep, winding kiss. I whimper in euphoria with every thrust and I find the ability to put words together that make sense.

“I’m going to come,” I whisper in his ear.

“Wait for me.”

Wait?! He may have super human control over his body but I do not!

“Can’t!” I’m out of control and he follows me, spiraling down into ecstasy together, with every part of my body convulsing as he spills into me, yelling my name. Clinging to him, sweat trickling down the center of my back, and my face buried in his neck, I return from the highest high.

“You still concerned about my brain?” he asks, panting, I can hear the smile in his voice. I sit up, nose-to-nose with him, my hair sticking to our sweaty bodies everywhere and I inform him, “You were right, there is another part of your anatomy that I’m much more concerned with at the moment.”

“Told ya.” He winks.  “So, along with always getting what you want I suppose you’re always right too?” I sass. “You’re a quick study with a smart mouth, which happens to be my favorite combination.”

“Glad I please you Mr. Lawson.” Moving off of him and reaching out with one hand to help him up, I grab his crutches. “I can’t believe we just did that and you’re in a cast, I’m a terrible nurse.”

“Didn’t hinder my performance a bit, and you’re the best nurse.” Now it’s my turn to smirk…

“You were a perfect ten, baby.”

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