Beat of the Heart


Page 5






Frank's face lit up. "Look who is here!" he exclaimed, pushing himself up in the bed.

Holding the door open for Rhys, we stepped inside. The room could have doubled for a florists with all the Get Well Soon flowers and balloons. I knew Abby and Lily had gone a little overboard on sending daily reminders to Frank about how much he was loved and missed.

I stepped over to the bed. "Hey old man, how you holding up?" I questioned, leaning over to hug Frank's neck.

Wagging a finger at me, he replied, "Almost good enough to smack you upside the head for calling me 'old man'!"

I chuckled as I pulled away. "You look a helluva lot better than the last time we saw you."

"I know. I feel a lot better too."

Rhys stepped forward to hug Frank. "Bray, Lily, and Abby are coming by to see you in a little while, but Jake…" Rhys grimaced.

Frank smiled knowingly. "I understand. He's gun-shy between what happened with Abby's attack and poor Susan's illness. It's only been six months, so it makes total sense that hospitals and illness spook him." He waved his IV-clad hand dismissively. "Besides, he doesn't need to come by and see me. Hell, he called Rob three or four times a day when I was in the CCU, and I've talked to him several times."

My brows rose in surprise. "Really?"

"Yep."

"He didn't tell us that," Rhys replied.

"He probably didn't tell you that he put me on three months paid leave either, did he?"

Rhys and I exchanged a glance before shaking our heads in unison.

Frank smiled. "He wants me to rest completely and be in the best shape possible to take my old job back."

"Jackass coulda told us all this," I grumbled.

"You know Jake well enough by now not to assume that."

"True."

Frank sniffed the air appreciatively while a curious grin spread on his lips. "Is that the Varsity I smell?"

Rhys laughed. "It sure as hell is. We figured they were starving you to death with shitty hospital food, so AJ and I decided to get you some of your favorites." Digging in the bag, Rhys produced the Varsity's familiar red box with a football player on the front.

Closing his eyes in bliss, Frank said, "Chili dogs, fries, and onion rings, right?"

"Oh yeah." Taking the box from Rhys, I added with my best French accent, "And for the Pièce de résistance-a fried peach pie."

I set the food box on the standard hospital table in front of Frank. He lifted the lid and inhaled the deliciously greasy aroma. "Mmm, mmm, you boys are amazing."

Holding up a finger, I said, "Ah, but we're not done yet. Show him, Rhys."

He nodded before his hand disappeared into the bag. "Your favorite drink-a Frosted Orange."

"We kept it in a cooler so it wouldn't melt," I added.

Frank shook his head with a grin. "You two thought of everything."

"Beats flowers, doesn't it?" I questioned.

"Sure as hell does." A look of shame flickered on his face. "But don't tell Abby and Lily that I said that. For some reason, those two gals think a gruff, old widower like myself needs daily flowers and balloons . Not even my daughters-in-law do that shit."

Rhys and I laughed. "It'll be our little secret," I replied.

As Frank went to work devouring a chili dog, Rhys jumped up on the ledge in front of the window, swinging his legs back and forth, while I plopped down into the heinously uncomfortable chair next to Frank's bed. We were just shooting the shit on all that had happened while he had been gone when the door swung open. Immediately, I got a swift kick in the pants of the most delicious kind. A tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed goddess of a nurse strode into the room. Through her standard blue scrubs, I detected she possessed every attribute that gave me instant wood-wide, curvy hips, thick thighs, a voluptuous ass, and a full, natural rack.

"Oh shit!" Frank exclaimed. His panicked gaze swept right and then left, as if he were trying to think of a speedy getaway. I couldn't imagine from the way his Angel of Mercy nurse looked, not to mention her genuinely caring expression, that she could possibly be worthy of such fear. He was acting like she was Nurse Ratched out of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest or something.

She only smiled at his reaction. "Now Mr. Patterson, that's not your usual greeting. You're always so happy to see me."

"I can see why," Rhys muttered under his breath.

"No shit," I replied.

"Er, uh…I'm sorry, Mia." Frank gave her a reassuring smile. "I promise I'm very grateful for the care you have been giving me. It's just, well, you kinda took me by surprise. That's all."

"I'm glad to hear you approve of my care, and I'm sorry if I gave you a shock. I'll be more careful since that isn't good for your ticker." Her gaze flicked over to Rhys and me. "You must be Frank's grandsons. He said you were coming in from out of town."

Frank chuckled. "Actually, those knuckleheads are my bosses."

Mia's dark brows popped up in surprise. "Really?"

With a nod, Frank said, "Yep, that's AJ Resendiz and Rhys McGowan." He gazed over at us. "Boys, this is the most amazing nurse any man could ever hope for, Mia Martinelli."

"You're such a flatterer, Mr. Patterson," Mia replied, before giving Rhys and me a wave. "Oh wait, now I remember. You're the guys my nursing partner was telling me about. The ones in the band."

Pursing my lips into my signature smirk, I replied, "Well, we're not just in any band. We're in Runaway Train."

"I'm sorry, but I hadn't heard of you before," she replied, appearing genuinely apologetic.

Ouch. That statement was a different kick in the pants. I couldn't remember the last time a chick hadn't instantly recognized us or at least been utterly star-struck by being in our presence. I leaned forward in my chair. "Maybe you'll give us a listen?"

She smiled. "Of course I will. It's not every day I come into contact with a Grammy nominated band."

"Thank you," Rhys replied, giving Mia his own seductive smile. I fought the urge to knock it off his face.

"Maybe you could sign something for me?" she suggested.







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