Ice Warrior: (Dark Warrior Alliance Book 13), page 3
He grabbed her wrist and held it to the side of his face. A spark zinged again. She had no idea what was causing it, but she felt enlivened from the contact. Ignoring the sensation, she pulled her arm free and checked his wound.
The bleeding had stopped, and the edges of the wound weren’t as red as before. Peter returned to the room with the suture tray in hand.
“Wow, he really did lose a lot of blood. At least he’s out of the woods,” Peter stated as he stood beside the bed.
“He’s responding very well,” Alex replied as she changed her gloves and Peter set out the supplies she needed. “Okay, Ice-Man, I’m going to inject a pain killer around the wound before I stitch it closed.”
There was no response from her patient, so she proceeded with caution, injecting first and cleaning the blood from his skin while she waited for the area to go numb. By the time she completed the ten stitches, she had a layer inside the wound and one closing the skin. Then she moved on and added several more stitches to the smaller wound on his abdomen.
“Do you need anything else?” Peter asked. “Dr. Farrah needs me in Trauma 4.”
“No, I can handle this for now. Thanks,” Alex replied and hung the second bag of blood.
A groan caught her attention, and she turned back to her patient as she picked up the scope from the wall. A trickle of blood slid from the corner of his mouth, and Alex realized she overlooked checking it for injuries.
She wanted to kick herself for the oversight. Not checking his airway was a rookie mistake. One she hadn’t made since her first year of residency. Alex was so busy staring at the gorgeous man she became distracted. She thought the blade’s trajectory missed the oral cavity, but she needed to be sure. With gentle fingers, she pried his mouth open and shined the light inside.
There was blood near the back of his throat, and Alex stuck her finger in his mouth to gently rub it away. Beneath the blood, there was a small hole, and she reached to the supply tray for a tongue depressor. She wanted a better view so she could be certain there weren’t additional injuries.
Her movements froze in the next breath. Right before her eyes, sharp fangs slid down, replacing blunt canines. What in the hell was this guy?
Holy shit! Alex panicked as she jumped away from the bed, staring at the unconscious man, or…vampire? She couldn’t believe she was questioning if this guy was a mythical creature. They didn’t exist in the real world. Then again, she witnessed it with her own two eyes, so what was the truth?
For the past few years, the media reported on mysterious deaths involving puncture wounds and marked blood loss. They’d even coined a term for these attacks. TwiKills. The media hype made treating patients difficult. Inevitably, news crews and cameras showed up at the ER when a victim arrived, and she was forced to deal with their chaos, as well.
Alex assumed, like most of the city, that the perpetrators were misguided adolescents that joined some cult. She gave up trying to understand why someone would bond fangs onto their teeth, and then engage in blood sports.
The sad truth was people did crazy stuff to themselves all the time. She recalled treating a guy with horns imbedded under his scalp and his skin tattooed to resemble a demon. Or the female who came to the ER with an eye infection after she went to a low-grade surgeon to alter her eyes so they looked like a cat.
The guy on her table wasn’t one of those people, though. Right before her eyes, she watched pointy canines slide down from his gums. No surgeon could do that. Was he a living, breathing vampire? She pinched herself to make sure she wasn’t still asleep in the breakroom.
Every instinct told her he was a vampire and the myths were true. An injury so severe it should’ve killed him, yet he was alive and able to communicate. Then there was the super-fast rate at which he healed. And, she couldn’t forget the way his eyes turned from black to vibrant amber. The way he responded so quickly to the transfusion fit vampire, as well. Whatever he was, he wasn’t human. Question was. What was she going to do now?
Protocol stated Alex should call the attending physician and report problems. If she did that, chaos would break out in the hospital. And, it wouldn’t be confined to Harborview. There was no way Randy would keep this under wrap. As the attending, it was his job to tell the Chief. The Chief would then tell others, and inevitably the FBI, CIA, or some other government organization, would get involved.
Talk about a circus. News of this magnitude would have the vultures descend en masse. If Alex thought working with them was hard before, it would become impossible after this leaked.
Her Ice-Man sighed, and she glanced at him. His fangs were gone, and he was resting peacefully for the first time since he arrived. Slight movement around the stitched area caught her attention, and Alex peered closer. The flesh was mending in plain sight. This man’s healing ability was unbelievable. She would need to remove the stitches in the next day, or two, rather than the usual week it took to heal.
Again, she questioned what would happen to him if she called Randy?
For starters, every test available would be administered. No way Randy would pass up the opportunity to explore his biology to learn about his kind. Some of the tests would be painful to endure, she thought, as she considered the situation.
Alex knew his fate if she called in her superiors. Inevitably, the government would take custody of him and do whatever they wanted. Their testing would make the hospital’s look like child’s play. Her mind immediately went to the Department of Defense and using him as a weapon.
She’d gotten a brief look at his anger and strength. The military would love to get their hands on this guy and use him to their advantage. Her stomach churned and knotted, and her mind rebelled against the idea.
She knew nothing about him. Didn’t even know his name, but every instinct screamed that she needed to protect him from such cruelty. That wasn’t surprising, given the Hippocratic oath she’d sworn when she became a doctor. Admittedly, this felt different than simply fulfilling her medical promise.
This patient meant more to her, even though it made no sense. She paused to remind herself that she wasn’t falling for some hot guy, only keeping him safe. Not that she had to worry. This guy wasn’t going to want anything more from her than the treatment she provided.
Peter poked his head into the room. “How’s the patient?”
She stopped pacing and tossed the soiled gauze and other implements in the biohazard bin. She hesitated and considered telling Peter about the guy’s fangs. Would he share her opinion on how to handle the situation?
“He’s stable and doing well. Thanks for your assistance on this one,” Alex replied as she decided it best to keep her mouth shut. The last thing she wanted was to put Peter in an unethical position.
“Call if you need anything,” Peter said and continued his rounds.
Alex swallowed against her dry throat, solidifying her decision. She wasn’t leaving this man to become the hospital’s prized guinea pig. No one was getting their hands on him.
You are insane, her wiser half taunted, but she ignored it. She was taking him home to make sure he healed and returned to his life, whatever that was. It wasn’t until that moment that she concluded she was taking him back to her place.
The man couldn’t take care of himself, and she refused to leave him at the mercy of the doctors coming in after her shift ended. Checking her phone, she noted her shift ended fifteen minutes ago.
“Ice-Man,” she murmured and shook his shoulder. “I need you to wake up. You’re in trouble if you stay here. I need to get you to safety.” There was no response.
Okay, he wasn’t going to be of much help. First things first. The IV needed to come out and the monitors removed. The ripping of Velcro echoed as she unfastened the blood pressure cuff and his eyes fluttered with the sound. With a little luck, he would be awake by the time she had him disconnected.
“I’m going to put you in a wheelchair and push you out the front door as soo
Holding a gauze pad to the site where she’d removed his IV, she paused and wondered when her mind left the building. Hell, she had a higher risk of brain damage than her patient did. She would lose her job if caught. Never had she risked so much for anyone, and yet, here she was, doing it for a total stranger.
Pasting a smile on her face, she exited the trauma room and went to a nearby computer. She quickly scanned until she found her John Doe and erased his name from the treatment record. No turning back now. Perusing the scene, she acknowledged this was the perfect moment. Every doctor and nurse was busy with a patient, and no one was paying her any attention.
It was now or never.
Alex grabbed a wheelchair on her way back, and was relieved to see his eyes open when she walked into the room.
“Are you ready?” she asked.
“Aye,” he said as he attempted to sit then fell back onto the bed.
His motor control was impaired, and she wasn’t sure if it was from the brain injury, the pain medication, or the alcohol she’d smelled on him. Regardless, he was helpless to do anything by himself.
“Here, let me help you up,” she replied and rushed to his side.
With an arm around his waist, she guided him to the edge of the bed and swung his legs over the side. By the time he was to a sitting position, Alex was sweating, and her arms were shaking. The guy easily weighed two-fifty and was all muscle. No way could she do this if he lost consciousness again.
She walked to the far side of the room and grabbed a blanket. “Keep this around your shoulders and hunch down,” she instructed as she wrapped the soft material around him.
The small blanket didn’t completely hide his large frame, but at least his upper body was covered. The last thing she needed was the nurses ogling the man and drawing unwanted attention.
She opened the door and checked to make sure none of the staff was around. Mary exited Trauma Room Two, and Alex waited until the coast was clear before she pushed him through the crowded hall. She said a silent prayer that Mary or Peter didn’t see them. They knew the situation and were likely to question her.
Her palms sweated, and her limbs tingled as she hurried toward the double doors, and safety. It seemed to take forever before the cold night air blew across her face, and Alex exhaled the breath she was holding. She quickly continued around the side of the building and practically ran to her car, pushing the wheelchair as fast as she could.
When the wheels hit a rock, she nearly dumped him on the pavement. Her Ice-Man groaned as he was jostled to and fro.
“Sorry, sorry,” she chanted as she righted the chair and managed to keep him seated.
Slowing her pace, Alex continued her trek and cursed the number of lights the hospital had in the multi-level parking structure. She remembered voting for additional lighting, for safety reasons, but now wished the area was blanketed in darkness. If security drove by, they would have several questions about why she was wheeling an injured man to her car.
Her pulse calmed when they made it to her Cruze, but then it dawned on her that she didn’t have her keys. Thank God her brother insisted she buy a vehicle with keyless entry. Not once had she needed to use it, but at that moment, she could’ve kissed Brad.
It took several attempts to unlock the door, given Alex couldn’t remember the code. When the lock popped up and she opened the car door, she burst into laughter. Getting the giant of a man in her compact car without causing him discomfort was going to be a challenge.
“Suck it in big guy. I’ve got to stuff an extra-large sausage into a small casing, and you aren’t going to like it,” she teased.
He gazed at her sleepily. “Och, I might be big, but I’ll fit.” The comment held a sexual undertone and had her blushing like a virgin.
“C’mon, Ice-Man,” she urged as she wrapped an arm around his waist and helped him stand before she pushed him into the car seat.
Alex shook her head as she looked down at him. Poor guy was bent in half, his face at his knees. She reached between his legs and grabbed the lever to push the seat back to its farthest position.
It took some maneuvering, but she finally got him situated. It wasn’t ideal, but she didn’t live far. She laid the blanket over him and put her hand on the door to shut it.
“I have to do a shift exchange before we leave. Stay here and do not move. If you spot security, try to hide. I will be back in twenty minutes,” Alex explained.
He nodded, and she shut the door then turned to head back into the hospital. Her insides squirmed as reality hit home.
She just kidnapped a patient from the hospital. What in the hell was she thinking?
Breslin rushed into the kitchen. Her heels clacked on the wood floor, echoing the beat of her heart. Something was seriously wrong with Bhric. The asshole had made idiotic choices lately, and she was pissed that she continued to worry about his safety.
Writing him off was easier said than done. They shared a bond that went soul deep. It wasn’t the same as that shared by Fated Mates, but it was close. For long as she could remember, they could sense each other’s presence, as well as, emotions. It was what had gotten them through tough times as children.
She was aware that over the past few months something had him on edge, and she had given him space, hoping Bhric would come and talk to her. He hadn’t opened up. Not that she could blame him because she hadn’t exactly been sharing her problems, either.
What had her sweating was the fact that she briefly lost her connection to him. It was the longest ten minutes of her life, and she was ready to kill someone. Their connection hadn’t completely returned, but she felt a faint trace of him.
Without bothering to knock or announce her presence, Breslin barged through the kitchen doors. If Zander and his mate were going at it again, they’d have to stop. This matter took precedence. She spotted Elsie first, and thankfully, she was cooking instead of canoodling with Zander. Cailyn and Izzy were seated at the nearby island, making cookies.
“Has anyone heard from Bhric?” Breslin blurted as she stopped at the granite countertop.
“Not that I know of, why?” Elsie murmured as she tossed celery and onions into a deep pot.
“I can’t feel him,” Breslin admitted and was surprised when tears threatened to spill.
Crying wasn’t something she did. That was for emotional females, not warriors, and she didn’t deal well with those who became weepy.
When Elsie was pregnant with Izzy, she was prone to bouts of tears and Breslin had been clueless as to how to help. More than once, she sat hugging Elsie, praying Cailyn would walk in and take over because she was the nurturer, not Breslin.
Elsie dropped her knife and crossed to Breslin, followed by Cailyn and Izzy. Her niece extended her arms, wanting Breslin to pick her up. She reached down and lifted the curly-haired girl to her hip. The power of the Goddess was intense when she was close to Izzy, and it settled Breslin’s racing thoughts.
Being close to the Goddess’s power always reminded her of the oath she took, but also of family and community. The Goddess Morrigan created the Tehrex Realm and the supernaturals that made up their group. She’d also given them a purpose in protecting humans from the evil creatures Lucifer sent to earth.
“That doesn’t sound good. Have you talked to Zander?” Elsie asked.
Breslin shook her head and smiled as Izzy picked up the diamond pendant she always wore. It belonged to her mother and was one of the few possessions she still had. It was also one of Izzy’s favorites, she thought, as she watched her niece play with the shiny object.
“Nay, I havena called him yet. I came here first,” she admitted, feeling slightly foolish for her worry.
Bhric was a Vampire Prince, one of the strongest of their kind. It wasn’t like anything could hurt him. Right?
A loud bang resonated from the front of the house and Izzy broke out into a smile.
“Uncle O,” the stripling cheered and bounced on Breslin’s hip.
Izzy’s skills were improving at a rapid pace. An adult supernatural could determine another’s presence, but children didn’t come into those senses until they passed their stripling years, and were relatively powerless until then. The citizens of the Tehrex Realm would be shocked by the level of power their tiny Vampire Princess wielded at such a young age.
Breslin had been an anomaly when she’d come into her power over fire at an early age. Typically, supernaturals didn’t discover any extra abilities until they reached maturity at age twenty-five. When three-year-old Breslin lit their parents’ funeral pyre, Zander had been shocked and confused.
Izzy had surpassed even Breslin. Barely a year old, she sensed others within the house and could identify them, as well as, wield a form of premonition. Elsie had the power of foresight, and her daughter inherited that, but everyone suspected Izzy was more advanced, given she was the Goddess’s vessel.
From the sounds of it, Orlando had barreled into the house, which wasn’t like him. Did he have news about Bhric? Breslin was in motion before she could think further about it.
“What’s going on?” she blurted the second she saw Orlando and Santiago standing in the entry.
Elsie and Cailyn came to a stop beside Breslin, and Izzy reached out for her mom.
“Where’s Zander?” Orlando asked, ignoring Breslin’s question.
She’d known the Dark Warrior for centuries and saw the tension in the lines around his mouth. Glancing at Santiago, she saw sadness in his dark brown gaze.
“I doona know. Tell me what’s going on. Is this aboot Bhric?” she demanded. She didn’t miss the shared look between the males at the mention of Bhric.
BRENDA TRIM SERIES:
Other author's books:
- RamielGuild MasterShattered Warrior: (Dark Warrior Alliance Book 8)Rowan Sisters' TrilogyRavinMaven Warrior: Dark Warrior Alliance Book 20Rivaled WarriorCaptivity
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