Sweet Temptation

Page 38

He tried to pull her shirt away from her shoulder so he could see her wound, but it stuck to her skin via the dried blood, and the last thing he wanted to do was cause it to start bleeding again.

“What have we got?” the medic shouted behind him.

Micah moved back out of his way, though he hovered just a footstep away.

“She told me he shot her in the shoulder. Looks like he roughed her up pretty good.”

“We need to get her out of the truck and over to the chopper,” the medic said. “I’m light on equipment. This isn’t my usual ride, but Mr. Roche needed me fast so I grabbed my jump bag and hopped aboard.”

“I appreciate you coming so quickly,” Micah said. “I’ll help you get her to the chopper.”

“I’ll hook under her shoulders and pull. You get her feet when you can and make sure you don’t jostle her. Since I’m not sure what we’re dealing with, I don’t want to chance aggravating any injuries we don’t know about.”

Micah nodded and then he swallowed. “Look, you need to know ... She’s pregnant.”

The medic grimaced. “How far along, do you know?”

Micah mentally calculated the possibilities. It had to have been that first time. The night at The House when he’d all but raped her. He wanted to puke. “Can’t be more than a few weeks at most.”

“Okay, I’ll be sure to put it in my report so the hospital knows. Let’s get her out of here.”

The medic reached under her shoulders and gently pulled her out. Micah moved forward and hooked his arms under her knees, and the two maneuvered her out of the truck.

Connor was standing by the old man who’d stopped for Angelina, and the two were deep in conversation.

“Is there room for me to ride along?” Micah hollered as they neared the waiting helicopter.

“It’ll be tight but you should fit.”

“Let me tell my buddy I’m going. Don’t leave without me. I’ll be right back.”

The medic nodded as he and Micah placed Angelina flat on her back on the floor of the helicopter. The medic hopped in beside her and reached for his bag as Micah turned back toward Connor.

He jogged over to where Connor stood talking to the man, both silhouetted in the beam of Connor’s headlights.

“I’m riding along with her,” he told Connor. Then he turned to the old man. “I can’t thank you enough, sir.”

The man nodded and ducked a little self-consciously. “I couldn’t very well drive on with that little girl needing help so badly. I hope she turns out okay.”

Micah extended his hand to shake the man’s, then he nodded at Connor and started to leave.

“What hospital?” Connor asked.

“I’m not even sure. Holler at Damon. He’ll know.”

“Okay, meet you there.”

Micah nodded and ran back over to the helicopter. The pilot motioned for him to get up front. Reluctantly, Micah left Angelina in the care of the medic and climbed aboard.

Angelina woke to instant disorientation. White. Everything was white and harsh. It hurt her eyes and she quickly snapped them shut again.

The second thing she registered was the smell. And then pain. Dull, not completely overwhelming, but nagging, distant.

Relief. If she hurt, she couldn’t very well be dead. Now that she was certain she was alive, the pain could go away, thank you very much.

She opened her mouth to ask that the pain go away, but her voice didn’t cooperate. She coughed. Big mistake. A groan escaped. A pitiful-sounding groan, but at least she hadn’t lost all her vocal capabilities.

“Angel? Baby, you awake?”

She chanced another peek, cracking one eye open, and saw Micah standing over her bed, his eyes so worried she wanted to reassure him.

“Light,” she croaked. “Hurts.”

“Sorry,” he said contritely.

She closed her eyes again until he returned, touching her cheek tentatively with his hand.

“You can open now.”

She opened her eyes and found the dark much more comforting. His outline became discernible when he flicked on the bathroom light. She blinked at the sudden burst, but then he closed the door so that only a faint glimmer shone through.

“Where am I?” she asked hoarsely when he returned to the bed.

He sat down in a chair by her head and cupped her cheek with a gentle hand.

“You’re in the hospital. Do you remember any of it? They had you in the ER for quite a while. The bullet wound wasn’t serious so they moved you to the floor. You cracked some ribs, though, and they want to watch you for a few days.”

She licked her dry lips. “The baby?”

She couldn’t look at him when she asked the question. The pregnancy had been a huge shock to her. She could only imagine what the news had done to him.

He nudged her chin, still stroking her cheekbone with one finger.

“The baby is fine for now. They did lab work to confirm the pregnancy, and they said your HCG levels were normal.”

Fear sliced through her chest. “For now?”

“Shh, sorry. Bad choice of words. You’re pregnant. I just meant that we have to play it by ear. You went through a hell of a lot.”

You could still miscarry.

She heard the words as surely as if he’d said them.

She sagged into her pillow, pain pounding a little more fiercely through her shoulder. She took a deep breath and immediately regretted it. Fire swelled through her rib cage. Tears slid down her cheeks as she panted.

Micah swore and pulled his hand away from her face. “Let me get the nurse. She can give you something for pain.”

He punched the call button, and when he didn’t get an immediate response, he abruptly got up and strode out the door. A few minutes later, he returned with a nurse in tow.

Angelina gratefully extended her good arm with the IV line in her hand for the nurse to give her the injection. When she was done, the nurse patted her softly on the arm.

“Try to get some rest, hon. I’ll be back to check on you later.”

“I have so many questions,” Angelina murmured when the nurse had gone. “So much to say.”

Micah bent and kissed her forehead. His breath stuttered unevenly over her skin as if he held to his control by a thin thread.

“We’ll talk later, Angel girl. We have all the time in the world. Right now you need to rest and get better.”

“Stay with me,” she said.

The drug worked through her veins, leaving in its wake sweet relief and marked lethargy.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“Hold me?”

“I wish I could, baby. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Won’t hurt. There’s room. I can move over a little.”

“No! No,” he said in a softer voice. “Stay where you are. I’ll manage.”

She held her breath as he gingerly settled himself next to her, but she shouldn’t have worried. He took such care that she barely felt him when he edged close.

Awkwardly, he put his arm over her waist, lower than her injured ribs.

“This okay?” he asked.

She nodded against his chest and nuzzled her cheek against his shirt. It didn’t hurt to dream a little longer. Dreams were a safe harbor against hurt and grief. For just a little while she could escape, because when she woke up, she had to let Micah go.


Micah lay next to Angelina, listening to her breathe. She’d drifted off almost as soon as he’d climbed into bed with her, and he didn’t dare move now for fear of disturbing her. Plus he liked holding her. He needed to hold her. He’d come so close to losing her.

He carefully moved his hand from her back, sliding over her hips and then low on her belly. He cupped the area just above her pelvis where the baby—his baby—was nestled.

That knowledge blew him away. His baby. A life created by him and Angelina. Part of him was shamed that the baby had been created in a moment of blind lust, at a time when he’d lost complete control. He would have rather the conception happened when he’d tenderly made love to Angelina. But their relationship wasn’t tender. It wasn’t easy. It was volatile. She gave and he took. But that was going to end. Starting now.

A soft knock sounded at the door, and he stiffened. Then it cracked open and Connor stuck his head in.

“Uh, I can come back,” he said.

“No, it’s okay. She’s sleeping. Just keep it down,” Micah said.

Connor walked in, followed by Nathan. They stopped at the foot of the bed and stared down at Angelina sleeping in Micah’s arms.

“How is she doing?” Nathan asked.

“She woke up for just a few minutes and the nurse gave her pain medication. She’s been out ever since. Doc said the shot was just a flesh wound and she’ll be okay.”

“And the baby?” Connor asked softly.

“According to lab work, everything’s normal.”

“Hey, that’s great, man. You gonna kick my ass if I congratulate you?” Nathan asked.

Micah smiled. “No, not at all. I think I’ll be happy about it once it’s all said and done and I know for sure Angelina’s going to be all right. She’s my priority right now.”

“They found Devereaux,” Connor said. “Just like Angelina said. Tied up in the abandoned house he took her to. She worked him over pretty good. He looked like shit.”

“Good. I wish she’d killed the bastard,” Micah gritted out. “I was such a goddamn fool for trusting him. I brought him right to her front door. Hell, I practically gift wrapped and delivered her up on a silver platter.”

“Don’t beat yourself up, man,” Nathan said. “He wasn’t going to stop until he had her. She took care of herself. You should be proud of her for that. Think I’ll have her teach Julie a thing or two about self-defense.”

Connor snorted. “Men are already afraid of Julie.”

Nathan grinned. “That’s good. Then I don’t have to worry about beating their asses for getting too close to her. Now I can lead a peaceful existence.”

“Not if you keep her around for a long time,” Connor said.

Nathan smiled. “As a matter of fact, I’m going to pick up the ring tomorrow.”

“Hey that’s great, man,” Micah said sincerely. “Julie’s a great girl. You know I love her to death.”

He hadn’t seen Nathan so happy since he’d hooked up with Julie. He remembered how happy he’d been with Hannah. He wanted that again. He wanted what his friend had. It hit him like a ton of bricks. Longing. Envy. He wanted what Angelina had so sweetly offered him. Her love. Her trust. And he never wanted to let go.

He’d wanted some kind of guarantee that he’d never hurt again like he’d hurt when Hannah died. But what he’d experienced in the hours following Angelina’s abduction was a hell like no other. There had never been any hope when he’d learned of Hannah’s death. It was quick, merciful. He’d spent the longest day of his life not knowing if Angelina was alive or dead or if he’d ever see her again.

Now that he had her back, he only wanted one more day. One at a time. To make the best of each and every one.

“You okay, man?” Connor asked.

“I’ve been such a dumbass.”

He pressed his lips to Angelina’s temple and breathed in the scent of her hair.

How much had he hurt her with his adamancy? He’d told her he’d take whatever she had to offer but told her in no uncertain terms not to expect a damn thing from him. He winced as his own words played over and over in his memory.

“You finally figure it all out?” Nathan asked.

Micah turned to look at his friend. “Figure what out?”

“What the rest of us have known from the day Angelina walked back into your life.”

“I didn’t love her then,” Micah admitted. “She blindsided me.”

“Don’t they always,” Nathan drawled. “Julie ring any bells? Woman was as subtle as a freight train, but hey, us guys live in stupidity, or so I’m told.”

Connor pinned him with an even stare. “So what are you going to do about it?”

“Whatever it takes. She’s pregnant with my baby. Even if she wasn’t, I’d never let her go. I want us to be a family. She’s my second chance, one I tried to throw away so many times it’s a wonder she never gave up on me.”

“We wouldn’t be men if we didn’t do stupid shit women don’t understand,” Nathan said. “ ‘It’s genetic’ is a perfectly good excuse.”

Micah cracked a grin. Angelina stirred beside him and he looked down, his finger over his lips. But all she did was snuggle a little closer to his chest and go still again.

Not caring that he had an audience, he ran the tip of his finger over her jaw and to her chin.

“We’re going to skate on out of here,” Connor said. “We just wanted to check in on Angelina. Let us know if there’s anything you need, okay?”

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