Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Ashes: I’ve spent my whole life fighting. Fighting with teachers, fighting with foster parents, fighting with my demons, but my hardest fight was for my life. Someone shot me to protect my sister’s abusive ex. When I get out of this hospital bed, I’m going to find them.
Vivian: Nursing has been my life for so long that I’d forgotten I had a heart. He’s my patient. I shouldn’t be attracted to him, but this bad boy has such a damaged soul how can I not want to heal him?
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Copyright ©2019 Ashlynn Monroe
I stood in the courthouse parking lot, opening my left saddlebag.
My head jerked up and my vision hazed red. Will stood there with an expression that screamed he thought he was hot shit. My gun was in the saddlebag. Temptation begged me to shoot him, but with all the cameras watching, taking revenge here would be idiotic. “Fuck you.” I turned away from him, unable to stomach another moment of his face.
A loud pop reverberated. Sound echoed off the old stone buildings. I stumbled. My legs went numb. I dropped to my knees. Breathed out. Putting my hand against my abdomen. I pulled back and saw blood. Pain. My vision blurred. Blood. So. Much. Blood.
“What the fuck?” I looked up. Will was running. He’d never have had the guts. I glanced around, my thoughts turning hazy. I didn’t see a shooter.
Scathes. Family always came first. They knew this was my sister. They might be low, but no biker would do this when family was involved. I coughed. Blood splattered against the white skull painted on the tank of my bike. Blurred. Focused. Blurred. I tried to push myself up but couldn’t. The urge to clean up my girl was strong, but I didn’t have the strength. I held my injury, and when I glanced down the red seeped between my fingers. It was bad. “Shit.”
Shivering, I tried to look around for my attacker, but the only thing I saw were a few suits running in my direction. The last thing I wanted to see as I died was lawyers. My eyelids were heavy… so heavy…
* * *
I glanced up, stretching my aching lower back the same time. This had been a busy ER rotation due to the recent measles outbreak. I normally worked in the ICU, but with the need for all hands, I was helping in emergency.
I watched the paramedics rush through the ambulance bay with the patient. He was under a thermal blanket, indicating the man was suffering from shock. They had him on oxygen. He didn’t look good.
“Viv, GSW, trauma room one,” Erica, one of the ER nurses, directed.
As one of the most experienced ER nurses on staff I wasn’t surprised she immediately directed me to assist. Hows and whys of injuries didn’t matter. Hero or criminal, this guy would get the same treatment.
In the trauma room, the EMTs were transferring him from the gurney to the bed. “Gunshot wound to the lower right quadrant. There’s no exit wound.” This guy was lucky — Dr. Blair was amazing.
I took my place on the right and took a blood sample. We needed to type him, fast. I glanced up to see the respiratory therapist remove the non-rebreather and intubate.
Dr. Blair stood at the foot of the bed, monitoring the situation while his resident took a spot on the left, ready to stop the bleeding with hemostatic gauze.
“Vitals?” asked Dr. Blair.
“Tachycardic, 170 beats a minute. O2 at 94% with oxygen. Temp 95. Blood pressure is 80/45 with a map of 50,” reported the EMT. “The abdomen is distended. Blood pooled around the wound. His color was ashen and distal pulses were weak. We gave him saline without any change in blood pressure. Victim was in and out of consciousness on the way here. He was lethargic upon arrival to the scene, but unconscious the last ten minutes while en route.”
“Exploratory laparotomy might be needed to stabilize him,” said the youthful Doctor Hanover, the resident Dr. Blair was precepting.
“Agreed. Let’s get our patient into surgery.”
I wasn’t getting a coffee break today. Dr. Blair glanced at me, and I nodded. I’d assisted him often and we enjoyed intense professional mutual respect. This patient was in as good hands as any, and in his condition, he’d need all the skill of our combined knowledge. Dr. Hanover looked over at me. The worry in his expression made my throat constrict. Losing a patient never got any easier.
More from Ashlynn at Changeling Press …
Ashlynn Monroe is a busy working mom. She loves her kids and family. Her greatest joy is creating stories to entertain others, and she hopes they bring a little more romance into the world. She’s been writing since her teens for her own enjoyment but decided in her thirties to share her imagination with readers. Ashlynn enjoys biking, camping, reading, video games, and filling her home and life with love. If she’s not working or chasing children, you can find her daydreaming up her next tale of romance.