Patients are dying at Washington Memorial Hospital and no one knows why. When Nurse Chloe Bennett finds herself in the middle of yet another Code Blue, she questions the unexplained deaths. Dr. Brad Markson is a world renowned cardiac surgeon who is confident, brilliant, and sinfully sexy. He does not tolerate losing patients. When his patient suddenly dies, he looks for answers.
The two work together to unravel the mysterious events surrounding the deaths, and soon find themselves fighting for their lives in a fast paced, erotic thriller. When Chloe is accused of the murders, she is surprised to find she has an ally in gorgeous Dr. Markson. Shy, sweet, Chloe is unable to resist his wickedly sexy smile. His passionate kisses ignite her body, and his mere touch induces shivering pleasure. But she doesn't know if she’s ready to give away her heart after her traumatic past, and Brad is battling career demons of his own. Can the two learn to trust in each other? Will they live long enough to surrender to their love, or will they fall victim to their fears and lose everything?
5 Alarming Stars
Paging DR. Brad I need a check -up..... Stat!
What do you get when you have a prestigious doctor, a strong willed nurse and a medical mystery? You get one very THRILLING book called Surrender My Love by Lisa Eugene. I really liked this book for many reasons...,.
1.Unique plot that kept me guessing, wanting more and reading on.
Their have been multiple deaths at Washington Memorial Hospital. Chloe seems to be the common denominator surrounding these unusual deaths. Can arrogant DR. Markson get to the bottom of this or will Chloe's future be in peril.
2. Writing style was impeccable.
3. I'm a sucker for a story that has sadness, kink, complexity and intrigue in it. The fact that it had a the mystery component just added depth and enhanced the plot.
4. The hot egomaniac hero named DR. Brad Markson kept his intensity, inquisitiveness and the spice level rising. I found my self liking him more and more as he let his guard down as the story unfolded.
"He was caught in a maelstrom . It spun through his body and dragged him into a vortex of wickedly dark pleasure."
The heroine Chloe Bennett was likable and relatable to me because she was independent, empathetic and struggling to juggle way more than most people ever have to in life.
"The pull she had on him was strange, a sort of rapturous magic that twisted was his insides with the mere thought of her."
6. Lisa Eugene has talent writing romantic/erotic mysteries her knowledge of the profession was spot on. If you are looking for a book that has more than a typical romance this may be what the....Doctor.. Cough, cough.. I mean I order/recommend....
SURRENDER MY LOVE
By Lisa Eugene
CHAPTER ONEChloe Bennett eyed the blinking red light on the desk. The nurse’s call bell barked incessantly, chopping through the silence of the night.
“There’s no way I’m going back in there!” Susan, another nurse, declared. She planted a hand on her hip. “That patient has been on the bell all night long! It’s two in the morning for God’s sake!”
Chloe issued a sigh and rose from her seat in front of the charts she’d been working on. Her gaze traveled down the dark hall that tunneled off from the nurse’s station. Usually at this time of night, most of the patients were asleep and all that would be heard was the intermittent beep of a cardiac monitor or the deep snore of a restless sleeper. Now in the distance, she could see a light wink on and off over Mr. Barkley’s door. He was an elderly patient who’d been admitted for heart monitoring. The red light flashed in rhythm to the noise bullying the quiet night, demanding attention once again.
“I’ll go. I think he’s just confused.”
“I’ll say he’s confused. He thinks my ass is a squeezy toy!” Susan bristled.
“Poor Mr. Barkley is not himself tonight. He seems more disoriented than ever.” Chloe chewed pensively on her bottom lip. The hairs on the back of her neck stood at attention as her gaze lingered down the hall.
She brushed her palms across the front of her white nurse’s uniform and made her way to his room, her sturdy shoes thudding on the laminate tiles.
Mr. Barkley’s mental status waxed and waned. For a few days he’d been extremely lucid, then his mind slipped between pleasant dementia and foggy reality. Even then, there were times Chloe swore she saw a bead of clarity rolling in his cloudy blue eyes. The bead seemed to condense all the wisdom and knowledge that his eighty-five year old brain had accumulated, and Chloe loved his convoluted stories. Imbedded in those stories was a richness of experience, and the contentment of a life lived well. She’d miss him after he was discharged. Though Mr. Barkley often became overly zealous with the nurses, he was rarely agitated.
She frowned, a strange feeling of déjà vu plaguing her. Just two weeks ago, she’d had another patient who’d exhibited the same behavior: acute confusion and agitation. She’d mentioned it to her nursing supervisor, but Nurse Wall hadn’t thought much of it because many of the elderly patients had some baseline dementia. But Chloe knew Mr. Barkley well and tonight he just seemed…off.
She pushed open the door to the small room and entered, her heart clenching as she heard Mr. Barkley’s raspy voice yelling in the dark.
“Shhh, it’s okay, Mr. Barkley. It’s okay.” She flipped on the soft overhead light and walked swiftly to his bed, something deep inside her responding to the neediness in his voice.
“Who is it? Who…who’s there?” Mr. Barkley asked, his voice jumping with agitation.
“Shhh, it’s okay. It’s me, Chloe, your nurse.”
She watched as his bushy white brows pulled together. “Thanks for coming to the beach with me. I just fell off my surfboard. I hate when the waves are so rough.”
Chloe smiled warmly and placed a hand on Mr. Barkley’s shoulder. “You’re not at the beach, Mr. Barkley.”
She brushed back a strand of paper thin, white hair that had fallen over his eyes, thinking wryly that he’d probably been having a good time surfing in his head before his imagined fall. A red cast glazed his eyes, and she wondered if he’d been rubbing them.
“Mr. Barkley, you’re at the hospital. You’re at Washington Memorial Hospital.”
His mind seemed to clear as he bounced his gaze around the room. “Hmmm…yeah. Those waves were rough. Mom told me not to go in today. She wanted me to stay home. She’s waiting for me. I have to go with her.”
Chloe sighed and tried to reorient him, hoping to nudge him back to the present.
“So,” she announced with a big smile. “Tomorrow you’ll be returning home!” She eyed the IV bag quickly dripping into the clear tube snaking into his arm.
Mr. Barkley pursed his thin lips as his eyes filled with alarm. “No, I won’t. They won’t let me.”
She smiled gently, her eyes returning to his restless blue gaze. “Yes. I got your discharge papers today. Your granddaughter is coming to get you in the morning. It’ll be a wonderful day.”
Chloe flinched as his gnarled hand suddenly grasped her arm, jerking it to a stop as she was about to check the flow of the IV.
“I won’t be going home! They won’t let me leave here! I know they won’t!” Mr. Barkley was almost shouting now, his hand clutching tighter, his jagged nails biting into her skin. His eyes became wild and panicked like a cornered animal.
She softened her voice, trying not to react to his acute distress. If Mr. Barkley saw that she was upset, it might make him more agitated. Instead, she smiled and placed her other hand comfortingly over the one that had a painful grip on her.
“Let’s not think about that now, okay? You should really get some rest.” She looked around and whispered, “You need to keep up your strength for surfing.”
At that, Mr. Barkley’s eyes fogged over and he relaxed his hold on her arm. A dreamy smile pulled at the corner of his lips.
Chloe smiled again, her heart tugging in her chest. She barely noticed the tiny half-moons his nails had embedded in the pale skin of her forearm.
Her gaze landed on his blanket that had fallen on the floor, and she turned to pick it up, almost jumping out of her skin when she felt a firm pinch of her rear end.
“Mr. Barkley!” She turned and waggled an admonishing finger at the elderly man, but her annoyance lost its fervor as she watched a sly smile spread across his lips.
Demented, my ass!
She talked to him while she straightened the cluttered space, telling him how wonderful life would be at home. Mr. Barkley was an active eighty-five year old. From what his family had told her, he loved taking daily walks in the park with his granddaughter, singing old tunes, and going out to the movies.
She folded the blanket into a small square and was about to lay it at his feet when her gaze landed on Mr. Barkley’s face. For a second she stood stock still, her brain fighting with the fear in her accelerating heart.
“Mr. Barkley!” she yelled. When she got no response, she screamed his name even louder. Rushing forward, she placed a palm on his shoulder and shook him roughly, already tasting the bitter dread leaking onto her tongue.
Mr. Barkley’s face was turning a pasty white and the wrinkles in his skin seemed to press flat. One look at his still chest told her his lungs had abandoned their function and he wasn’t breathing. Chloe’s heart bang against her ribcage as she dug a finger into his neck to search for his carotid pulse. Not finding one, she opened her mouth and screamed a Code Blue alarm at the top of her lungs, the sound reverberating through the dark corridors like an agonizing cry.
“Code blue! Code blue! Room 405!”
Willing her trembling hands to work, she initiated CPR, trying to suppress the tears stinging the back of her eyes. She saw a tinge of blue cling to her patient’s lips and horror gripped her heart. In seconds the room filled with people. Footsteps were heard running down the previously quiet hall. Sleepy doctors in blue scrubs filed quickly through the door, shouting in her direction, asking questions, and demanding answers.
Someone pushed her aside and took over doing chest compressions while another person pulled Mr. Barkley’s gown away and started attaching colorful wires to his pale, clammy skin. Again Chloe had to step back as medical equipment, a crash cart, the Code Blue team, and young doctors in training flowed towards the bed in a ceaseless wave of bodies.
One doctor yelled. “How old is this man?”
The question was thrown at Chloe. She blinked rapidly, linking her fingers behind her back to stop her shaking. She felt so cold.
“He…he’s eighty-five,” she replied.
“Are you sure he wants to be resuscitated?”
“Does he have signed orders?” It was her nursing supervisor, Nurse Wall. She skewered Chloe with a beady gaze.
Chloe’s head shot up and she stuttered. “Yes…yes. I mean, no...no. He wants everything done. He wants to be resuscitated!” she answered, hating the quiver in her voice. She started attaching the colorful leads of the heart monitor to his chest.
Just then, she saw Susan rush into the room. She handed off some extra supplies, tossed her a sympathetic gaze, and then scurried away, presumably to check on the other patients.
“Tell me about this patient!” A voice was directed at her. It was Dr. Wasko, the doctor who’d taken charge.
Chloe almost bit through her bottom lip, but she took a deep breath and relayed Mr. Barkley’s medical information. She watched in a robotic state of shock as the team worked on Mr. Barkley’s lifeless body. A large liter bag of saline was thrust at her, and she set it up to flow openly into her patient’s IV. She glanced at the noisy monitor failing to get a blood pressure reading, and the flat line on the cardiac screen. Someone continued compressions, while another person pulled his jaws wide and inserted a breathing tube into his throat. Mr. Barkley’s pale body seemed so puny, unresponsive and crowded with busy hands and medical devices.
Adept fingers pierce his groin with a long, ferocious-looking needle, drawing back dark red blood from his artery. Chloe’s stomach twisted and turned as she began to lose faith. The room was a swirling frenzy of chaotic order and the air was stale and oppressive. Doctors shouted orders, medications were handed over, and monitors beeped urgently. Someone yelled “Clear!” and everyone stepped back from the bed. Chloe watched as paddles discharged on Mr. Barkley’s chest and his inert body flopped like a fish. She felt an arm slip around her shoulder and she turned her head as Susan leaned in.
“You okay? It doesn’t look good.”
Chloe nodded, but swiped at a tear threatening to fall.
“Are the other patients okay?” she asked weakly.
“Yeah. A little shaken up. They can hear what’s going on, but we’re keeping things calm.”
Chloe saw a movement from the corner by the bathroom. One of the new phlebotomists, Nigel, moved toward the door. He shot her a dazed look, then sadly shook his head, his mouth pulling downward. Her attention was drawn away when Susan leaned in.
“I heard that Dr. Markson’s been called. He should be here any minute now. He’s just getting out of surgery.” She informed nervously.
Chloe gasped, her eyes growing wide. She felt her heart rate rev as Susan gave her hand a quick squeeze. Dr. Markson was one of Washington Memorial’s finest cardiac surgeons. He was lauded for making great advances in cardiac surgery at his young age, and was renowned for his expertise in Robotic Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery. He was almost a deity at the hospital. From what Chloe had heard, his colossal ego was the only thing that surpassed his reputed glory. She’d never had the opportunity, thank God, to meet him. Her night shift ended at seven in the morning, just before the surgeons rounded on their patients. She did, however, see the nurses of the oncoming shift sweat nervously whenever they got slated with a patient of his.
“I’m going back outside. You need anything?” Susan asked.
Chloe shook her head, her eyes glued to the activity on the bed. She watched numbly as the doctor in charge stepped back from Mr. Barkley’s body, shaking his head gravely. A single tear meandered down her cheek. Oh, God…
She braced herself as Dr. Wasko’s mouth open, ready to pronounce her patient dead. She was just issuing a prayer when a large shadow filled the doorway, distracting her morbid thoughts.
“What the hell is going on here?” The booming voice stirred the air in the room, causing all noise to cease.
Chloe took a step back as the large looming figure stalked quickly to the bed. She held her breath as she watched a man, who could be none other than Dr. Markson, part the sea of bodies to stand over Mr. Barkley. He was yelling now, his voice belting like thunder as he demanded answers. The chiseled lines of his face pull taut as a storm swirled in his dark blue eyes. He shoved aside one doctor and his powerful arms locked tight as he started aggressively pounding on Mr. Barkley’s flaccid body in an attempt to resuscitate him.
He yelled for medications in the process, growling a nasty curse as one doctor’s shaky hands tarried. Chloe didn’t know why, but as she watched determination sculpt the lines of Dr. Markson’s face, hope started to blossom. Her eyes widened as the cardiac monitor flickered, the staccato beat jostling the glowing flat line, causing doubtful gazes to latch on to it hopefully. For long moments, Dr. Markson worked furiously, but the stubborn line kept lying flat, refusing to jump to life.
Suddenly Dr. Wasko stepped forward, his hand snaking out to stop Dr. Markson’s unrelenting pounding.
“Brad,” he said gently. “Brad!” He raised his voice when he got no response. “Brad! Stop. He’s dead! You have to pronounce him.”
Chloe’s lungs fought to take a breath. She felt as if everyone in the room was afraid to breathe, as absolute quiet settled around them like heavy fog. It seemed even the machines felt the tautness of the moment and had paused their blinking and beeping.
Dr. Wasko inhaled deeply and sighed. “Brad. It’s over. He was an old man. His heart gave out.”
Chloe watched Dr. Markson’s head snap up. His jaw squared angrily and a fist flew through the air. A collective gasp whooshed around the room like liquid swirling in a glass. Chloe’s hand clapped over her mouth in disbelief. Dr. Wasko ducked, but could not avoid the impact of the glancing blow, and his head snapped to the side. Another doctor rushed over to hold Dr. Markson, but just as quickly as he’d ignited, Dr. Markson seemed to calm, and the other man steered clear.
“Christ, Brad!” Dr. Wasko shook his head, his eyes narrowing. He held his jaw and tested it. “I’ll let this go. I can see you’re hurting. But, don’t ever do that again. Best friend or not, I’ll kick your ass.” He took a deep breath and pointed to the body on the bed. “Now. Pronounce him!”
Dr. Markson stared angrily, his silence derisive. Chloe could sense his barely leashed fury coupled with profound loss and grief. The emotions emanating from him were terrifying. She briefly wondered if there was more than a patient-doctor relationship.
Dr. Wasko sighed in exasperation, looked at his watch, and then turned to Nurse Wall. “Mr. Barkley is pronounced dead. Time of death four twenty one a.m.” At that, he turned and left the room. It was as though a tight band had snapped. Suddenly gazes darted about, seeking confirmation on what had just been witnessed. No one dared to look in Dr. Markson’s direction. Feet hurried towards the door, making a hasty escape.
“What the fuck happened here?” The deep voice was controlled, but infused with rage. “Who found him?” Dr. Markson addressed Nurse Wall, his tall frame hovering menacingly over her.
Chloe’s back hugged the wall. She felt her stomach plummet to her feet when Nurse Wall’s head swiveled towards her. A pair of intensely blue eyes locked on hers, and Chloe thought she’d faint from the power of that angry gaze. A cold wave blew down her spine, but ironically she could feel sweat bead on her temple and upper lip. Afraid, she pulled her gaze away and jerked it around the room, not surprised by it’s now near emptiness. Everyone had fled, she guessed afraid of Dr. Markson’s wrath.
In two long-legged strides, he was towering over her, his hard gaze zooming in on her face.
“What the fuck happened to my patient?” he growled.
“I…I…don’t know. He was just so confused and agitated tonight! One minute we were talking, and then…then…” Chloe swallowed nervously, but her weepy gaze kept returning to the bed where her dead patient lay.
“I demand an explanation! Now! Let’s go outside.”
Chloe jumped as the deep baritone shot through her like a blazing cannonball. She could clearly see pain in Dr. Markson’s eyes, but her priority was her patient. God! They had just left him there in a mess of tubes and wires and blood. Even his gown was now on the floor! He was naked.
She squared her shoulders and looked into the penetrating gaze that stabbed her, trying to ignore the fissures it made in her composure.
“I’ll talk to you after I take care of Mr. Barkley,” she said shakily and took a step towards the bed.
His large hand shot out to grab her and she jolted as his touch burned her skin. She looked at the long, tapered fingers circling her upper arm, then stared into the bottomless eyes that seemed to be a pathway to hell. Anger settled in, quickly sweeping away her fear. She would not allow him to bully and intimidate her.
“Get your hand off me. Now. And I refuse to talk to you while Mr. Barkley is laying here, dead. I will not disrespect him like this.” Her words sieved through clenched teeth.
She watched air charge through his flared nostrils as his forehead pinched in a flagrant show of disbelief.
Chloe heard her nursing supervisor shuffle up next to them. Peripherally she could see her wringing her hands, her fingers white with anxiety.
“I’m so sorry, Dr. Markson. She doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s always been a bit of a problem. Chloe, why don’t you step outside with Dr. Markson. I’ll take care of Mr. Barkley’s preparation.”
Chloe’s gaze darted to her supervisor. She could feel the wheels roll over her as she lay sprawled under the bus.
“No. He’s my patient. I want to take care of him. We were…close,” she beseeched the other woman, but could see Nurse Wall’s lips tighten angrily. “There’s no reason why Dr. Markson can’t wait.”
Her supervisor’s face colored angrily. “Listen, Nurse Bennett, when Dr. Markson asks you to do something, you do it! I cannot believe your insubordination!”
Instantly bells started ringing in her head, echoing a warning. He could have her fired in the blink of an eye with just one word to her nursing director, and she desperately needed this job, but now anger and grief overruled common sense. She pursed her lips and turned back to him, noticing he was staring at her. His head swiveled and his gaze roved Mr. Barkley’s body. She saw shadowy grief fill his eyes, and abruptly he dropped his hand from her arm. She inhaled deeply, finally able to breathe again.
“I’ll be out after I’m done,” Chloe informed him firmly.
Nurse Wall’s eyes rounded. “Your behavior is completely outrageous! Who do you think you are? I want you to know we’ll be recommending your discharge!”
Her stomach plummeted, but she pushed back the billowing fear. She did notice that Dr. Markson turned abruptly to Nurse Wall, his eyebrows raised in question. He took a step back and speared his long fingers through his hair, a look of exhaustion blanketing his face.
“I will be waiting in the nurse’s station. And please do not test my patience.”
He turned and stalked from the room, leaving her with her glaring supervisor. Chloe tried to ignore the vehemence leaking from Nurse Wall as she steeled her emotions and focused on the task ahead.
Dr. Brad Markson paced the small room at the back of the nursing station, his long legs taking him from one side of the confining square to the next in just three determined strides. His fingers forked through his hair for about the tenth time since he’d walked into the room. His back ached and his temples throbbed from the unrelenting pressure bearing down on him. Usually he could shoulder the responsibilities of his position and tackle any obstacle that came at him with an innate skill that others openly admired and awed. But today had been a brutal day, a true test of a man wound so tight he threatened to collapse, and this last devastating blow was crushing his shoulders with its mighty weight.
He’d been in surgery for the past six hours repairing a major coronary anomaly that other doctors had deemed inoperable. Not a candidate for a heart transplant, the patient’s prognosis had been grave. The young man would have been lucky to last another week without Brad’s intervention. The surgery had been grueling, requiring every measure of his skill and concentration. The cardiac team had all but fallen at his feet as the stuttering heart had jumped to life and the muscle started to pump vigorously as he’d finished the surgery. Brad had come out of the OR on an adrenaline high, full of hope and testosterone, only to hear the news about Mr. Barkley.
Mr. Barkley had been one of the first patients he’d treated with Robotic Coronary Bypass Surgery. That surgery had been a stunning success and had catapulted his career. Other doctors had thought Mr. Barkley’s cardiac muscle too damaged to tolerate the surgery, but Brad had been successful. Mr. Barkley’s supportive family had been greatly appreciative and extensively generous to the hospital in Brad’s honor. He’d quickly developed a close relationship with the family, frequently attending family functions, and he even had several as patients. It had only been in the last year or so that Mr. Barkley’s mental status had started to deteriorate, but he still had a productive life.
Brad ground to an abrupt halt, staring blindly at the wall. What the fuck? Mr. Barkley was supposed to go home tomorrow. What could have happened? How was he going to explain this to his family? He needed answers and that damn nurse told him he had to wait? He never had to wait for anyone! Yet, here he was, pacing a small disheveled room, waiting. He grumbled with annoyance, stemming the urge to march back to the room and drag her out. He could feel his stress simmering hotly below his skin, blistering his composure.
Brad looked down at his long fingers, frowning deeply when he saw the fine tremors start. Damn! He fished a pill bottle from the pocket of his scrub top, adeptly twisted the top and popped a tiny white oval under his tongue. Feeling the sharp edge of his anger dull slightly, he closed his eyes and sighed wearily. His heart lurched painfully as he thought of his patient’s family, especially Mary. Poor Mary. She was going to be devastated.
. Unable to contain his impatience a moment longer, he took a step towards the door just as it swung open.
“What the hell took you—” Brad’s roaring words crashed abruptly as his gaze landed on the nurse’s face.
Her countenance was glazed with a sickly pallor and the large hazel eyes that had previously glared defiance at him now studied the floor with a dull dispassion. He pulled his lips thin and turned his gaze from her, surprised by how much her doleful expression moved him. He couldn’t imagine what she’d just had to do. She’d said that she and Mr. Barkley were close. He supposed he should be sympathetic, but he had a difficult time considering anything except the task that lay ahead of him tonight. He’d have to call the family to inform them, then meet with them later in the morning. Just the thought sent crushing pressure sliding down his back-bone. He braced his arms across his chest.
“What happened in there?” His voice came out rougher than he’d intended.
Large, sad eyes hesitantly met his and he ignored the sudden jolt of emotion. “It—it’s as I said. We were talking and then he just coded. He seemed to just stop breathing.”
“Had he complained of anything? Chest pain? Trouble breathing?”
She swung her head back and forth, returning her nervous gaze to her feet. “Nothing. He was just confused.” He watched her forehead crease in a frown. “More tonight than usual. It’s so strange.”
“His mental status tends to fluctuate,” Brad explained. “Did he get all of his medication?”
The nurse nodded.
“On time?” he pressed.
At that, her head shot up and her dull eyes narrowed, filling with a glassy shine. She was obviously offended by his question. He almost smiled as he saw a hint of the defiance he’d witnessed back in his patient’s room.
“Of course on time,” she snapped.
He resumed his pacing, hands clasped behind his back. He shot a quick glance at her. She was still a statue by the door, her glare tracking his progress. “He was supposed to have his beta-blocker increased to fifty milligrams. Did he get the increase in medication?”
Her shoulders squared and her narrow jaw tightened. “That increase was not supposed to occur until tomorrow morning, after he was done with the IV taper. Those were the orders,” she stated archly.
Brad gave a perfunctory nod. She was right. He didn’t know why he felt the need to test her. She’d just been through hell and didn’t deserve his wrath. He sighed and delved his fingers into his hair, absorbing the anger and hatred that radiated like dark fumes from the nurse standing in front of him. Her lips were a slash of indignation and her eyes glazed with loathing. He knew if she had the liberty, she’d toss a few choice words in his direction.
He continued to pace silently while she waited in anticipation of his next question. Truthfully, he had no more questions. She’d told him all he needed to know. He thought back to Larry Wasko’s words. Mr. Barkley was an old man. And although he’d seemed to be doing well, his heart must have failed. Brad just didn’t deal well with losing patients. He had a tremendous respect for life. His job was to preserve it and keep people healthy. It pained him to lose a patient, especially someone he was close to. It wasn’t something that happened often. The tough week and this grueling day were beating at him like heavy fists, leaving dents in his usually solid nerves of steel. He stopped and pivoted towards the nurse, feeling like a jerk for having been so hard on her.
“That will be all.”
She hesitated, as if wanting to say something, but then turned to leave, no doubt in a hurry to escape him. Brad’s gaze landed on her arm and he frowned.
“You’re hurt. What happened?”
She turned back, her amber eyes wide with confusion, and then she followed his gaze to her forearm.
“Oh, nothing, really.”
She started to leave again and he strode impatiently towards her. Taking her arm to get a better look, he scrutinized the line of half-moon bruises that marched across her forearm. The flesh was starting to blotch a light purplish-red, and he noticed that some of the skin was broken. He traced a finger pad over the area, registering somewhere in his subconscious the smooth texture of her delicate skin.
“This looks new. Did this happen with Mr. Barkley?”
She jerked her arm away from his grasp, seeming annoyed by the question.
“Yes, but he didn’t mean to. He was just confused.”
“It’s not like him to be combative.”
“He wasn’t combative. Like I said, he seemed more confused tonight.” He watched her eyebrows pull together as she seemed to summon a memory. “He was saying something about leaving the hospital.”
“What was he saying?”
Her pinched forehead showed her clear exasperation with him, but it was his personality to be tenacious, to question everything.
At length, she shook her head. “He said ‘they won’t let me leave here’.”
The nurse shrugged. “I don’t really know. The hospital, I think. He said he wouldn’t be going home. He was just so confused. He was also talking about surfing and falling from his surfboard.”
Brad smiled and noticed her nervous gaze land on his mouth, but then it quickly fluttered away. “He was a big surfer when he was young.”
She nodded, her glance veering eagerly towards the door.
Brad found himself staring at her face. “What’s your name?”
“You may go, Chloe.” He sighed and nodded his chin towards her arm. “Get that looked after.”
The words hadn’t fully left his lips before she was through the door. He stood silent for a moment, staring at the spot she’d occupied then ground the heels of his hands into his eyelids. Damn! He was stressed! He vaguely wondered if he should increase the dose of his medication.
Pulling his cell phone from his pocket, he settled for a different option and dialed the familiar number to his current stress reliever.
“One hour. Be naked when I get there!” He snapped his phone shut and headed through the door.
Lisa Eugene lives on Long Island, NY with her husband and three rambunctious kids. She's been a nurse for over twenty years and is still practicing. Between juggling a full time job and being a soccer mom, she enjoys a good romance.