Ice warrior dark warrior.., p.2

Ice Warrior: (Dark Warrior Alliance Book 13), page 2

 

Ice Warrior: (Dark Warrior Alliance Book 13)
 


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  The vampire lunged forward, and this time, Bhric couldn’t block the attack. Pain exploded in his head, clouding his vision, and bile churned in his throat. Bhric grabbed his face protectively and the world blurred. It was impossible to differentiate between sound and sight.

  A muffled shout came from somewhere nearby, and Bhric tried to focus, but his vision wavered. Gurgling intruded, and he couldn’t breathe. In a panic, Bhric’s hands went to his throat and felt a hard, wet object under his chin. Was that the knife? His mind spiraled out of control. What the fuck was happening?

  A shadow moved in front of him, and he squinted, trying to determine what, or who, it was. He felt a tug on his hand and reached out, but felt nothing.

  A loud roar invaded the chaos clamoring in his mind. Roxy.

  Bhric tried moving, but his body refused.

  He tried shouting, but his voice was trapped.

  Warm liquid ran down his neck and soaked the front of his shirt. The rumble of his motorcycle faded away, along with his heartbeat.

  Was this what death felt like, Bhric thought, as darkness invaded his world?

  Chapter 2

  Alex jerked awake when a loud siren blared through the break room. Half asleep, she landed with a thump on the hard tile floor and cursed the sore wrist trapped beneath her leg. There was nothing worse than being caught between a heavy sleep and trying to wake. She blinked several times, trying to focus.

  Her body surged to its feet, and her heart raced when the charge nurse’s voice boomed through the speakers, announcing Alex was needed at the ambulance bay. Being on duty as an ER doctor was not conducive when wanting a full night’s sleep.

  She smoothed her wrinkled scrubs as best she could and adjusted her long ponytail then snatched her stethoscope from the sofa cushion, wrapping it around her neck. It wasn’t often that Alex could nap during a night shift, given it was the busiest time in the ER. The evening began like any other Friday night, but after the initial rush slowed to a crawl, she snuck away for a power nap.

  Checking her phone, she groaned. It was only two a.m. Hopefully, this new case was an easy one because she was leaving at four sharp, come hell or high water. Nothing would break her recent vow.

  No more staying at the hospital until mid-morning, or later, to take on one more patient. Alex’s reasoning that the hospital couldn’t survive without her was nothing but an excuse to avoid going home. The empty house was a stark reminder of her lonely life.

  After Vincent (AKA the ex, or, more poignantly, evil spawn) ended their marriage, Alex contemplated adopting a dog to keep her company, but nixed that idea, given her long hours at the hospital. Still, she made countless trips to the local shelter, and dog parks, to see if the lifestyle suited her.

  Her brother, Brad, teased her endlessly about replacing her husband with a dog, which surprisingly drained the tension and awkwardness out of their daily conversations. Her mother, however, was a different story, and Alex avoided her unless Brad was there to buffer the conversation from turning ugly.

  Her mom felt like having a husband would make Alex’s life more secure, and constantly pressured her to start dating again. Alex loved her mom, and didn’t want to disappoint her, but she was not ready to put herself out there.

  Alex didn’t understand why her mother was pushing the issue so heavily when she had managed just fine without a man in her life. Hell, Kate was a beacon of strength for Alex. As a single mother with no formal education, Kate raised Alex and her brother while shuffling three waitress jobs. Not once did she hear her mother complain about her grueling schedule or their tight budget. In fact, it was her mother’s example that set the stage for Alex’s outlook when Alex received her diagnosis of breast cancer.

  Unbeknownst to Kate, her mother set the bar high for resilience, and Alex followed in her footsteps. Medical school and then residency was grueling for Alex, but every time she contemplated giving up, she stopped and remembered how hard her mother worked and what she sacrificed to get Alex there. Ultimately, quitting wasn’t an option.

  Exiting the break room, Alex was surprised she wasn’t called sooner. It seemed at least ten patients had checked in over the past forty minutes, and every staff member was busy rushing around to meet the demands.

  As she made her way to the nurse’s station, her obsessive mind inevitably wandered back to her current predicament. Going home. She loved being a doctor, and taking care of sick and injured people, but her job had become a crutch.

  Enough was enough and she needed to get over the fact Vincent didn’t love her anymore. Their divorce happened three years ago, and she needed to move on with her life. Vincent didn’t deserve any more of her energy. She’d faced breast cancer head-on, and beat it, and would do the same where Vincent was concerned.

  “What do we have, Linda?” Alex asked the nurse when she reached the desk.

  “Caucasian male, mid-twenties. Victim of a bar fight, ETA five minutes. He suffered a stab wound to the sub mandibular region. There’s been heavy blood loss, and he hasn’t regained consciousness,” Linda replied as her fingers tap-danced across the keyboard of her computer. The heavyset nurse was the most efficient woman Alex had ever met, and an invaluable asset to the team.

  “This could get messy. Send Mary to Trauma One for a surgical consult,” Alex replied as she checked the board before she quickened her pace to the sliding doors and exited the building.

  Her heart raced, and adrenalin dumped into her system. The familiar rush was better than a shot of espresso, and sweat beaded her upper lip. Alex’s fatigue immediately evaporated and was replaced with focus and clarity.

  Late summer was her favorite season in Seattle, and the cool breeze felt great against her overheated skin. The commercial lights in the parking lot illuminated the area. The lack of cars was surprising, given the number of patients currently being treated inside the hospital.

  “Hey, Doc,” Peter called out as he followed her into the night air.

  “You with me on this one?” she asked the male nurse, and he responded with a wide grin.

  No matter the situation, Peter always had a smile to offer, and Alex felt happier in his presence. He reminded her of a scarecrow with his long, lanky arms and legs. He walked to her side, towering over her. Then again, everyone did. It was one of many problems of the vertically challenged.

  “Yep. You call for a consult?” Peter asked as ambulance headlights came into view.

  Harborview Hospital was a massive medical center connected to the University. Alex had worked there for a decade and knew the layout like the back of her hand. After medical school, she started her residency at Harborview, and hadn’t worked anywhere else. She considered a few other offers, but in the end, couldn’t leave. She belonged there, despite the bittersweet memories of her failed marriage.

  Vincent was a doctor, as well, and worked at Harborview until they divorced. Alex was grateful he left the hospital. She couldn’t imagine seeing him daily after what he put her through.

  “Hey, you okay?” Peter asked, and Alex snapped to attention.

  “Huh? Yeah, I’m fine. Mary should be in Trauma One by the time we get back inside,” Alex replied as the emergency vehicle cut its siren and stopped a few feet from them, back doors flying wide.

  “Status?” she asked the medic as she and Peter took hold of the gurney.

  “Patient is tachycardic, and his BP is dropping. Severe blood loss. Right pupil is fixed and dilated. He regained consciousness and was combative, so we secured his ankles and wrists. No ID was found, and he hasn’t responded to any of our questions. However, his flair for the F-bomb is quite impressive,” the paramedic joked as they pulled the handles on the bed.

  The weight of the patient registered as they lowered the wheels. He was solid as a brick wall and barely fit on the gurney.

  “Get two units of O negative. That bleeder shows no sign of stopping anytime soon,” Alex ordered as they rushed through the sliding doors and towards the trauma room.
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  Her gaze snagged on the patient’s face. There was a deep puncture wound to the lower part of his chin and blood was soaking through the pressure bandages applied by EMT.

  Wheeling him into the trauma room, Alex snatched her stethoscope and stuffed the tips in her ears as she placed the diaphragm over his heart. It was barely audible.

  A moment of panic threatened, and she froze in place. This guy couldn’t die. She would never forgive herself if she failed him. Unsure of where the ludicrous thought came from, Alex shook her head at the notion. She always did everything within her power to save every patient, and this guy was no different.

  Static electricity sparked where her pinky rested on his bare chest. Alex automatically pulled away as she continued to bark orders. When they lifted him from the gurney to the hospital bed, the man was jarred, and his eyes flew open.

  “Fuck you, arseholes,” his deep voice shouted.

  The medic was right about the F-bombs, but he hadn’t mentioned his accent. It was Scottish and made her wonder if he was visiting from another country. If so, was he traveling alone, or did he have family searching for him?

  Alex placed her palm on his arm and flashed a pen-light in his right eye to assess the damage. “Sir, you need to stop fighting and let me do my job. We’re here to help,” she stated in a calm tone. “Can you tell me your name?”

  He immediately stilled, and glanced her way before black eyes slipped closed. The color was eerie, and unlike anything she’d ever seen. Dark eyes weren’t usually black, but closer to a deep brown. With him, there was no distinction between pupil and iris.

  Large hands went lax at his sides, and he settled before consciousness slipped away. A tattoo on his right forearm caught Alex’s eye. Feel The Freeze was written inside what looked like an icicle. The tip pointed towards his palm, and Alex wondered at the meaning behind the ink.

  Her eyes roamed to her wrist where the word hope was inked into her flesh. She recalled the day she walked into the tattoo parlor. It was her first tattoo, and she was scared to death. She almost chickened out until Toby walked from his room, and calmed her frayed nerves. She told him she was starting chemotherapy in a few days and wanted a symbol she could look to for inspiration.

  Toby grabbed a large binder, showing her his collection of tattoos he’d done on other women battling breast cancer. Alex couldn’t believe how many there were. All the images were beautiful, but when she saw the word hope, it spoke to her. Toby quickly grabbed a pad of paper and sketched a drawing, creating a pink ribbon out of the letter h.

  Thirty minutes later, she walked out of the tattoo shop, a different woman. Not because she was the proud owner of a beautiful piece of artwork, but because she faced her fear head on, and survived. It was the first of many victories, she amended, as her attention snapped back to the patient.

  “Okay, let’s see what we’ve got here, Ice-Man,” Alex muttered, and cautiously lifted the bandage from his throat.

  Her mouth dropped at what she saw. She expected blood to gush from the wound, given the amount of discarded gauze in the ambulance and on the gurney. Now, the blood continued to flow, but no longer seemed life-threatening.

  “Seems like the bleeding has slowed,” Peter observed.

  “It has, but it could be because he’s lost too much blood. Where is my O negative? And, get me an x-ray, stat,” Alex called out.

  “Right here,” Mary replied as she stepped into the room, followed by a nurse carrying two plastic IV bags filled with the crimson fluid.

  Alex took a bag and connected it to the IV stand while an x-ray tech rushed in with a portable machine. She captured three images and sent them to the computer before leaving the room. Alex and Mary walked over to look at the films.

  “Do you see the depth of that wound?” Mary blurted in disbelief.

  “That blade went deep into the temporal lobe,” Alex postulated as she evaluated the severity.

  “From his earlier outburst, we know he doesn’t have a problem with his speech, but this wound could impact his hearing. Maybe even memory. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like he needs surgery. The bleeding has slowed, so no major arteries were damaged,” Alex surmised.

  “I concur,” Mary agreed before pulling her gloves off and tossing them in biohazard. “Call me if anything changes.”

  Alex waved to the surgeon and connected the blood bag to the patient’s IV. As soon as fluid reached his vein, some of his color returned. Tension left Alex’s shoulders when she realized he was going to live. Things could go south in a heartbeat, but his recovery rate was astonishing. She’d never seen anything like it.

  “Grab a suture kit,” she ordered Peter and heard his boots echo down the hallway as he left the room.

  He was the only staff member that wore cowboy boots every day to work, and everyone teased him about it, but Alex found it charming.

  As the direness of the situation diminished, Alex took a deep breath. She could finally look beyond the patient’s wounds now that the worst was behind them. Her gaze trailed to his face. He was drop-dead gorgeous, with short brown hair and full lips. She recalled his sexy accent, which added to his appeal. Guilt quickly surfaced over the fact that she was checking out a patient, but she couldn’t help it.

  Everything about the guy was impressive. Her hand ran over his bare chest and across a nasty scar on his left shoulder. She lifted his arm and saw that it circled all but an inch of the skin. It didn’t look like a replacement surgery, and Alex wondered what happened to him. From the raised, thick edge, she surmised that he nearly lost the limb.

  His chest was hot under her palm, but he didn’t have a fever. The muscles pulsed beneath her gloved hand. His massive build took up the entire bed, and Alex bet her next paycheck he was a body builder. No one had that much muscle without hitting the gym for hours every day. And, he was tall. Well over six feet which was her weakness when it came to men.

  She’d always been drawn to big guys, preferring linebackers to the quarterback any day. She had no idea why. Given her stature, one would think she’d be attracted to someone shorter.

  More than once she’d been called a shrimp. The nickname didn’t make her sound very attractive, and wasn’t a compliment, in her opinion. Regardless, her heart skipped a beat whenever a tall man walked into the room.

  Her eyes moved south, and she gasped when she saw a bandage soaked in blood on his lower abdomen. The EMT hadn’t mentioned it, no doubt because he felt the head injury was the urgent issue. However, the location of this wound was close to the liver and could be serious.

  Alex peeled back the bandage and was relieved to see a wound that was shallow and non-threatening. She needed to stitch it, but it wasn’t cause for concern.

  As she grabbed more gauze and wiped his side clean, she noticed for the first time what he was wearing, and couldn’t help but snicker. Leather pants? Who wore those anymore? Sure, she saw celebrities in them, or the occasional costume-wearer, but really?

  She had seen her fair share of oddities in the ER, but not once had a guy come in wearing leather pants. Even stranger was the fact he didn’t look ridiculous in them. He was sexy as hell, and she couldn’t resist feeling the material. Smooth as butter.

  If she ignored the horrific wound to his neck, the man qualified as model material. Maybe that’s what he did, she amended. There was a huge market for guys that looked like him.

  She didn’t know why she was leering at the man. He was out of her plain Jane league. Men that looked like him weren’t interested in her. She wasn’t woman enough for a guy like him. She wasn’t woman enough for any man.

  Alex’s fingers went to her chest and touched the scar that peaked out from her v-neck top. Vincent made it painfully clear that the surgeons took what little appeal she once possessed when they removed her breast tissue. The scar was a reminder of why she was less than most women.

  She quickly shoved her painful memory aside and focused on the matter at hand. “You got lucky, Ice-Man. You mi
ght have some cognitive issues, but you’re going to live. I wish you’d wake up and tell me your real name. Admin isn’t going to approve of my little nickname,” Alex murmured as she turned her exploration into an actual exam, so she felt less like a perv.

  “Nothing seems broken, and there is no sign of internal…ahh!” she cried out when he opened his eyes and met her gaze.

  Warm amber orbs greeted Alex, and her mouth dropped. His eyes were black before. She specifically recalled thinking there was no difference between the iris and pupil, but now they were a beautiful golden hue.

  “Angel,” he whispered while she was busy contemplating his eye color.

  “Is that your name?” Alex asked, slightly uncomfortable with the way he watched her. “I think we can take off these restraints,” she continued, when he didn’t answer.

  She unbuckled the ankle straps first and waited to see his reaction before moving to his wrists. Head injuries often made people hostile and unpredictable, and this guy had one severe injury to his brain.

  And yet, he was a medical anomaly. He wasn’t affected like a typical patient in his condition. Speech should be slurred and difficult to decipher.

  “You’re as beautiful as an angel,” he declared in his thick Scottish accent, clear as day.

  Feeling like a teenager, complimented for the first time, Alex blushed to her roots and instinctively ran a palm over his pectoral muscle. His eyes slid closed, and a sigh escaped him.

  “Aren’t you the sweet talker, Ice-Man? I need you to stay awake and tell me your name. C’mon,” she prodded his firm flesh, concerned about a possible concussion.

  Alex bent closer and checked both eyelids. Still responsive which was a good sign. He smelled of alcohol, which might explain some of his disorientation.

  “Can you tell me your name?” she asked.

 
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