Dark Hunger


Page 15



The room passed in an indecipherable haze. Her head lolled back, and she lay limp and unresisting against his chest.

What if it had been someone else? Another man? She would have been powerless. A tear slipped down her cheek.

Nathan burst out of the club into the cooler night air. He stopped at his truck and stared urgently down at her.

“Angelina, can you hear me? What happened? What’s wrong?”

“Someone ... someone drugged me,” she slurred.

More tears slid helplessly down her cheeks. Then everything went black.

CHAPTER 16

Nathan stared down at Angelina’s unconscious form in shock. “Son of a bitch! Julie, get my keys out of my pocket. You’ll have to drive. Get us to the damn hospital.”

Julie fumbled with his jeans and yanked out the keys. She unlocked the passenger side first so he could climb in with Angelina, then she hurried around to the driver’s side.

“Is she going to be okay?” Julie asked in a quivery voice as she pulled out of the parking lot.

Nathan smoothed a hand over Angelina’s cheek and then her neck, almost afraid he wouldn’t find a pulse. When it beat strong and steady against his fingertips, he breathed a sigh of relief.

“This could have been you, goddamn it,” he seethed. “Never again, Julie. You don’t ever go in a place like that without me. You got that?”

It was a testament to how frightened she was that she didn’t argue. She nodded and didn’t give him any grief over his dictate.

“Will she be okay?” Julie asked again.

She took a corner too fast and fishtailed as she overcorrected.

“Slow down, honey,” Nathan said in a soothing voice. “She’ll be fine I think. Her pulse is strong. I don’t know what she was given.”

Julie shuddered. “You think it was one of those date rape drugs? God, Nathan, what if she hadn’t found us?”

“Shhh honey, don’t torture yourself. The important thing is she kept her wits and did the smart thing. We’ll take care of her.”

“We should call Micah,” Julie said anxiously. “He’d want to know even if he’s avoiding her.”

“Of course he wants to know. He’s hooked. He just doesn’t know it yet.”

She shot him a curious look. “Sort of like you when you kept ignoring me?”

He made a low sound of amusement. “There wasn’t ever a time you didn’t have me hooked.”

She smiled, her entire face lighting up. Hell. Did she still harbor doubts as to whether or not the sun rose and set at her feet?

“When this is over, you and I are going to have a long talk,” he said. “With you underneath me. Naked.”

If possible her smile became even more brilliant. Then her gaze dropped to Angelina, and her eyes dimmed.

“Who could have done this to her, Nathan?”

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “Micah is going to be furious.”

Micah strode into the emergency room so tense he was about to explode. He stopped at the front desk and uttered two words.

“Angelina Moyano.”

The clerk looked startled, but she clicked around on her computer. “She’s still here in the ER. There’s someone back with her already, though. You’ll have to wait out here.”

“The hell I will,” he muttered.

He walked toward the door leading to the exam rooms, ignoring the clerk’s cries for him to stop. He nearly bumped into a nurse.

“Angelina Moyano?”

“Room eight,” the nurse said as she continued on her way.

Micah hurried down the hall and stopped outside the room. The door was slightly ajar, and he could see Nathan sprawled in one of the chairs.

He shoved open the door, his gaze searching for Angelina. He ignored Julie and Nathan and went straight to the bed where Angelina lay.

Her eyes were closed, but she looked anything but at peace. Her forehead was wrinkled and a frown turned down the corners of her mouth. Her fingers clutched at the thin sheet as if she was seeking protection. She looked afraid and so very vulnerable.

He laid his hand over her forehead and gently threaded his fingers through the strands of hair falling over her face. He stroked gently, trying to ease the lines of strain furrowed into her skin.

Something inside of him unlocked. Dark and primitive. Possessiveness roared through his system like an out-of-control train.

Mine.

The word rolled over his tongue, begging for release. It shook him to his core. She wasn’t his. She couldn’t be his, but on some level he recognized her.

His.

No one else would have her.

He shook his head, dragging himself from the brink of utter insanity. He was losing his mind and self all at the same time.

Instead he concentrated on her fragile vulnerability. She needed him right now.

“I’m here, Angel girl,” he whispered. “You’re safe.”

He leaned down to brush his lips across her brow. She emitted a tiny sigh and seemed to relax, but she didn’t awaken.

Micah turned to Nathan, his gut so tied in knots he felt like puking. “Who drugged her?” he bit out.

“I have no idea,” Nathan said wearily. “One minute she was fine. Julie and I left her to dance, and the next thing I know she’s falling down at my feet.”

Micah swore viciously. “What has the doctor said?”

“They’re doing lab work. We’ll know more when they get the results back, but from all appearances he said it looks like a date rape drug.”

“Son of a fucking bitch.”

It was all he could do not to put his fist through the wall. He collected himself and glanced over at Julie, who sat on the other side of Angelina’s bed, her face pale and creased with worry.

“You okay, doll?” Micah asked gently.


She gave a short nod, but her eyes filled with tears. And on Julie, tears were not a good thing.

Alarmed, Nathan snatched her out of her chair and settled her on his lap.

“What’s wrong, honey?”

“It’s my fault,” Julie said in a miserable tone. “I talked her into going out with us. This never would have happened if I hadn’t strong-armed her into going.”

Nathan pressed his lips to her temple. “Stop talking crazy, Julie. You did a good thing by asking her to come with us. She needs friends right now.”

His words hit Micah right in the chest. Nathan was right about that much. Angelina was alone in a new city, no friends, and Micah had begrudged her his because he was too much of a goddamn coward to face his past.

“You did a very good thing, Julie,” Micah said quietly. “Nathan’s right. She does need friends, and you guys are the absolute best.”

Julie smiled tremulously at him. The door opened, and Faith and Gray shoved in, followed closely by Connor.

“How is she?” Faith asked anxiously.

“Still out like a light,” Julie said.

“If anyone asks, I’m her sister,” Faith said. “The only way they’d let us back was if we were family.”

Nathan and Micah both stared at her like she’d lost her mind. Julie snickered openly, and Gray just looked at the ceiling, his lips twitching suspiciously.

“Um, Faith. What side of the family exactly does Angelina spring from?” Julie asked with barely veiled amusement.

Faith flushed. “It was all I could think of on short notice. Don’t tease me. I’ll say she was adopted like I was.”

Gray squeezed her shoulders while Connor walked to the other side of Angelina’s bed, a deep frown on his face.

“What the hell happened?” he demanded.

Micah stared at his friend through narrowed eyes. He didn’t want Connor near her. Didn’t want him to touch her. His fingers curled into tight fists when Connor gently touched Angelina’s cheek.

“Date rape drug,” Julie said in a weary voice. “Someone slipped it into her drink.”

The door opened again, and this time Damon and Serena appeared.

“How many damn people did you call?” Nathan grumbled at Julie.

The room was getting crowded. They’d be lucky if they didn’t all get kicked out, and they probably would the next time a nurse made a pass through the room.

“This could have been any one of you,” Gray said in a low voice, his stare encompassing first Faith and then passing on to Julie and finally Serena. “I shudder to think of what could have happened on your last girls’ night out.”

Nathan went pale. “Hell, he’s right. I walked into Cattleman’s and all three of you were flat on your backs on the floor giggling like fools. Anyone could have drugged your drinks and you would have never known.”

The girls all exchanged uneasy glances. Damon’s face had drawn into a thundercloud.

“They would have had protection if a certain someone hadn’t blown off the driver for the night. It won’t happen again, Serena mine.”

“Shit,” Julie breathed. “This is seriously going to cramp our fun.”

“We just want you to be more careful,” Gray said diplomatically. “No more going out alone and getting shit-faced. At least one of you is going to have to stay sober and look out for the others.”

The girls all nodded.

“How long has she been out?” Serena murmured as she moved closer to the bed. “Will she be all right?”

“Doctor says so,” Nathan replied. “He wants to watch her. Wait for her to wake up and monitor her for a while.”

“You don’t have to stay,” Micah said, turning to include the entire room. “I’m going to stay with her. You should all go home and get some rest.” He looked at Julie. “Especially you, doll.”

“We’d rather stay until she comes around,” Faith said stubbornly. “She shouldn’t be here alone.”

“She won’t be alone,” Micah said patiently. “I’m not leaving her.”

“She should have friends around her,” Connor said in a low voice.

Micah turned to see him still standing at Angelina’s bedside. It pissed him off that Connor was passing judgment and it pissed him off even more that Connor was right. Micah hadn’t been a source of support for Angelina. Ever.

That was all going to change starting now.

He could start by sharing his friends with her. It was obvious they all cared about her. Without saying anything else, he pulled up the remaining chair and situated it next to the bed so he could be close to her.

To his surprise, everyone hung out through the night. At various intervals the nurses made noises about shooing them all out, but gave up when the men growled their displeasure.

They took turns dozing. Julie stayed in Nathan’s lap, and Gray took the vacated seat, pulling Faith down to sit across his thighs. Connor remained standing at the foot of Angelina’s bed, his back resting against the wall. Evidently conceding to the inevitable, one of the nurses pushed another chair inside the overcrowded room, and Damon took it, and as the others had done with their women, he pulled Serena down on his lap.

Gray had taken care of calling the police, but until Angelina woke up and could answer questions, there was little they could do. Micah knew deep down that the chances of catching whoever had drugged her were very slim.

It was already well into the next morning when Angelina stirred and let out a low moan. Micah picked up his head from where it lay beside her on the bed and immediately reached for her hand.

“Angel?”

Her eyes fluttered, and she stared back at him, her gaze unfocused.

“Micah?” she whispered.

“Yes, Angel girl, it’s me. How are you feeling?”

She swallowed, then licked her lips. “Water,” she said hoarsely.

He turned, but Connor was already there, shoving a cup with a straw at him. Micah took it and put it carefully to her mouth.

“Take it easy. Not too much,” he cautioned.

She sucked hungrily at the liquid and then he eased the cup away. She laid her head back, and suddenly her eyes widened in alarm. Panic raced across her face.

“What happened to me? Oh God, Micah, what happened? I don’t remember.”

The fear in her voice made him ache.

“Nothing happened, Angel. You’re safe. I swear you’re safe and nobody got to you.”

Confusion muddled her features. She glanced around the room, her gaze lighting on its occupants. Recognition flashed in her eyes. Then she found Nathan and Julie, and relief flooded her face.

“All I remember is coming out of the bathroom. I couldn’t remember if I found you,” she choked out.

Nathan leaned forward, and Julie moved off his lap. “You found me, Angelina. You did exactly what you should have. You stayed conscious long enough to tell me what happened, and Julie and I brought you here.”

Angelina reached out to catch Julie’s hand. “Thank you.”

Julie squeezed back “You scared me shitless, and I don’t scare easily.”

Again Angelina’s gaze wandered over the room. “What are you all doing here?” she asked in bewilderment.

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