Authors: Kathi S. Barton
Rare Gems Series
Kathi S. Barton
World Castle Publishing, LLC
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, organizations, or person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
World Castle Publishing, LLC
Copyright © Kathi S. Barton 2013
First Edition World Castle Publishing
, LLC December 15, 2013
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews.
Cover: Karen Fuller
Diamond was exhausted.
She’d worked three doubles in a row and now all she wanted to do was to go home and soak for three days in her deep tub. She thought about using the hot tub that Blair, her new alpha and brother-in-law had had installed just a few days ago, but worried he and Sapphire, her sister would want it and she’d be there feeling stupid. Diamond was getting her things gathered up when one of the doctors came into the lounge.
I was wondering if you’d stay for another half shift.” Diamond was already shaking her head. “Please? There’s been an accident on the highway, and I need all the nurses I can get. There are four cars involved. I will pay you triple time if you stay.”
She tried to tell herself she didn
’t need the money badly enough to be dead on her feet for her three days off. She started putting her things back in her locker when Doctor Jan Talley walked over and hugged her.
I’m not doing this because of the money but because I’m off for the next three days and if you call me, I will say no. I’m too tired to work a good shift as it is now, and I need these days off. Promise me you won’t call me.” Jan nodded. “I want you to say it. I will feel a great deal better if you do.”
I promise I won’t call you even if it’s just me working the shift.” Jan hugged her again as she continued. “I wish I had more nurses like you and your sister. I’m telling you right now that you and Ruby are the very best I have.”
’t disagree with her because she knew that she and her sister were the best. The others were just there to draw a check so far as she could see, and she and Ruby were dedicated. They loved what they were doing, and Ruby was going to make an amazing doctor as well.
The first ambulance rolled in ten minutes later. The woman had a broken arm as well as a head trauma
, neither of which was life threatening. The man with her had some abrasions, nothing that needed attention, but you’d have thought he had lost his arm the way he was going on and on. Diamond had had enough.
Shut up.” He looked at her, stunned. “You go out there in that waiting room and don’t move until I tell you to. And if I hear one peep from you, I’ll come out there and show you what pain is.”
He moved toward the door just as
Jan came around the curtained area. If she’d heard what Diamond said to the man, she didn’t say anything to her but looked over the woman and sent her up to be x-rayed.
The next ambulance had two men, both in serious condition.
One man had been the driver of a limo. He’d been hit in the driver’s side door, the medic had told her, and had slammed his head hard against the window. She was cleaning off his head wound when the other man that had come in with him staggered around the corner.
Is he going to be all right?” he said. She didn’t know and told him. “He’s with a limo service here in town. I would like for someone to contact them. Would that be all right with you?”
You should go back to the bed, sir, and let the doctor look at your wounds. I think someone will call for you.” She didn’t have any idea if they would or not, but the man nodded. “I’ll be over there soon and have a look at you.”
No. Stay with him.” His tone made her think that he was used to having his orders obeyed, but she wasn’t in the mood to be ordered around by someone who was obviously hurt.
Get your ass back in that bed and stay there. You’re taking precious time from the other injured people by acting like some macho dickhead.” He looked at her with a surprised look. “I’m not kidding you. Either get in that bed or so help me, I’ll put you there myself.”
He was chuckling when he
went back around the curtained area. Diamond had to take several deep breaths before she could continue with her job. The man on the bed moaned slightly when she took his blood pressure, and she told him she was sorry. Two more nurses came in an hour later and helped her prep the limo driver for surgery. An hour after that, she was going to the other bed.
’t say anything more to her, but she could feel him watching her every move. The smell of blood was making her lightheaded, and she realized that she’d not eaten anything in the past fourteen hours. Her plan had been to have some leftovers at the house and get into bed.
You should know that I’m impressed by you. Not many people would speak to me the way you did.” She ignored him and cleaned the large wound on his leg. She’d even taken great pleasure in cutting the expensive suit from him. He continued talking while she assessed his injury.
I was wondering if I could make a phone call. I think my phone was lost sometime after the accident. I called nine-one-one, and after that I don’t remember what happened to it.” He smiled at her as she waited on the doctor to tell her to stitch him up. She closed her eyes for a second, felt herself sway a little, and popped them back open.
Your girlfriend will have to wait. There are no public phones in here for you to use.” She sat down on the room’s only chair and had to steady herself against the counter before she fell off it. “If you give me a number, I’ll make sure she knows where you are.”
The room was spinning
. She felt sick. She had no idea what was going on, and when arms wrapped around her, she leaned into the strong male chest that held her. Diamond didn’t even have the strength to lift her head to see who held her.
Come on, breathe for me.” The man on the bed was holding her. “Come on now, you can’t pass out on me, who would I have to sew me together again?”
Let me go.” He didn’t, of course, and she felt herself being lowered to a bed. “I can’t lay here. Let me up.”
’t have it in her to struggle with him. Then she heard him laugh again. He was saying something that made no sense to her. Then she heard another voice, one she was too tired to make out. But her body began to realize it was in a good position and it was going to take advantage of it. Sleep rolled over her like a freight train. Soon she was out.
Thad watched the young woman sleep. He had noticed that she was exhausted when she’d been looking at his driver. He might have stayed and teased her more into arguing with him if he hadn’t seen that she was close to falling over. Thad looked up when someone entered the room he’d asked to have her moved to. He was pleasantly surprised to see Sapphire and Blair.
Thad? What are you doing here?” Sapphire went to the bed as Blair shook his hand. “I thought…Christ, were you in that accident?”
Yes. We were nearly to the turn off on the highway when the car in front of us suddenly just flipped over. I’m sure there was more than that, but it’s all I saw when Jasper slammed on the brakes, tossing me to the floor.” He looked over at the two women, just now realizing that they were related. “Your sister is a nurse?”
Yes.” Sapphire brushed back the hair that had fallen over the woman’s cheek. “She has worked three doubles this week and was supposed to get off over seventeen hours ago. She called and told me that she was staying, but that she was getting off ten hours ago. They are very short staffed here.”
Apparently. She looks like you now that I know the connection. She passed out in my arms and I had them bring her in here. I’ve been in here with her since someone stitched up my leg.” He looked down at the white bandage that covered most of his calf and knee.
You’ll stay with us until you’re ready to leave.” Blair didn’t make it sound like a request, and Thad had to laugh a little. If he didn’t know any better, he’d swear that the nurse was related to both of them.
I was told an hour ago that Jasper, the driver, didn’t make it. And that seven people were killed out there. Do you know what happened?” When Blair looked at Sapphire, he knew that they didn’t know either, but before he could ask, the woman sat up suddenly.
Oh God, I’m going to be sick.” Sapphire helped her move off the bed and to the bathroom. Both he and Blair stood there watching as the door was opened and both women disappeared into what appeared to be a bathroom.
She’s been working for eleven days straight. It’s a small wonder she’d not passed out before now. We’ve been trying for a week to get her to tell them no, but she won’t.” Blair sat in the other chair and smiled at him as he continued. “I’m sure she’s going to tell me that she will take some time off, but I’m betting that she won’t. Too much like her sister in that respect.”
What’s her name?” He had no idea why he wanted to know. “She tore into me earlier when I told her to take care of Jasper. Spit fire little thing, isn’t she?”
Diamond, and she’s been known to hold her own.” Blair stood up when the door opened again, and there stood the two women. When Thad started to stand, she glared at him. What he wouldn’t give to see if she had that much passion when making love.
The thought had come from
nowhere and he was a little startled by it. He had never had those kinds of thoughts about women that had been as rude to him and as mouthy as she’d been. He stood anyway just to see her get pissy again. She didn’t disappoint him.
What is wrong with you? Sit down before you open your wound again. I swear to you that I’ve never seen a man so bent on hurting himself.” She moved to the chair behind him and shoved it under him. He had no choice but to sit. “Blair, will you see if I can stay until this moron is released?”
Before he could tell her that he
’d been released while she’d been napping, Blair snapped at her. “You’ll get your ass to your locker and put your stuff in my truck. I’m not allowing you to work another minute more looking—”
low growl from Diamond had all of them tensing up. Thad watched as Blair took a step back when Diamond moved toward him.
You listen here, you big, overgrown pup. I will do as I damned well please, and you’ll learn to live with it. You do not
me to do squat, do you understand me? I’m a grown woman.”
Then act like it.” Thad hadn’t realized he’d spoken out loud until she turned to him, but it was too late now. “You’ve passed out in my arms, puked what little there was on your belly up, and can barely stand up without holding onto someone. If you don’t want people to treat you like a childish brat, then don’t act like a kid without a nap and do what you’re told.”
She took a step toward him
, and he stood up. He felt his wound tear open, but he wasn’t going to back down from her. She looked…delicious was what came to mind, and he wanted to taste her fiery lips as much as he needed his next breath. When she stood there glaring at him for what seemed a lifetime, he took a step toward her, only to have her take one step back.
I don’t like you.”
, thinking if that’s all she had he was going to have a great deal of fun with her.
Most people don’t. Actually, I think that other than your sister and her husband, no one does. Not even my own family.”
I can see why. You’re bossy and stupid with this self-proclaimed power that you think everyone should just jump when you say so.” He wanted to test her theory about him and have her kiss him but was actually afraid she’d hurt him. “I’m not one of your minions.”
No, you’re not. One of my
as you called them, would never have spoken to me the way you have and gotten away with it. I’ll have to think of a proper punishment for you. Maybe I could think of something while I’m recuperating at your home.”
Diamond jerked her gaze to Blair so quickly that he wanted to laugh. The man looked like he he
’d been pinned to the wall. And Thad had a feeling that whatever he had planned for the little nurse wasn’t going to be anything compared to what she had in store for the big man she was staring down.
The door opening behind her had Thad
want to shove her behind him to protect her. He had no idea where that thought had come from either, and was worried he might have hit his head harder than they all thought. He was just about to ask the doctor that when she turned on Diamond. He was glad now that he was there to see this, because there was no way he would have believed it if anyone would have told him.
You should have told me no when I asked you to work extra. Now I’m down one nurse because you had to get sick in the middle—”
I told you no. Repeatedly, as a matter of fact. And also the day before that and the day before that too, if you’ll remember correctly, when you asked me to work double shift after double shift. And today you said that I’d only work a half a shift after you’d begged me to work another double today. I was here for nearly nine hours after that supposed time to get off.” Diamond moved toward the doctor and had her backed up against the door. “You can kiss my ass. I quit.”
The doctor looked around the room as if she had no
idea what had just happened, and she was still standing there when Diamond shoved past her and into the hall. Sapphire was moving to go with her sister when the doctor, Talley he thought her name was, finally came back to herself.