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Authors: Jenika Snow

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BOOK: Grin and Bear It
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Chapter
One

 

Recovery: weeks later

 

Rage.

Anger.

Retribution.

Vengeance.

Those
four things Mason repeated in his head over and over again, never losing sight
of the fact when he got out of this fucking hellhole and wasn’t in a damn
wheelchair any longer he’d find the men that did this to him and make them pay.

He
didn’t need his club to exact his revenge, didn’t need the MC having his back
to hunt down the motherfuckers that had shot at him, made him this cripple.
Even if the MC demanded to know who had done this to him, wanted to find out
and take them out, this was Mason’s fight.
He
wanted to find them, and he was going to exact vengeance. He felt weak, pissed
off, and hated his life, but what kept him going was the image that played over
and over in his head: blood covering him, bodies dead at his feet, and the rush
of release he got because he took out the ones that put him in the hospital in
the first place.

He
sat in the chair in front of the window, the rain making all the shit outside
blurry. But Mason was feeling volatile right now, just thinking about when he
could get out of here.

Staring
at his legs now, he tore away the blanket the nurse had covered him with when
he’d first been put in the chair.

“Fuck
this,” he said out loud.

“Good
morning, Mason.”

The
sound of the voice behind him had Mason tensing and stopping from making a move
out of the wheelchair. He clenched his jaw and swore, not caring if she’d heard
him curse. She’d certainly heard him say worse than that. He didn’t respond to
her greeting, though.

“Are
we doing the silent treatment again today?” she said in an amused, slightly
teasing voice.

He
turned the wheelchair around and stared at her. She was clearing off the dry
erase board and writing her name on it, like he didn’t know who she was.

Ryeissa
,
RN

She
turned and smiled at him, but he sat there and glared. He wasn’t really pissed
at her, or anyone aside from those motherfuckers that had put him in this
situation. But because of the problems he now faced, the fact he didn’t even
know if he’d walk again, he hated everyone, was enraged at the world, and he
didn’t know if he’d ever feel any different.

Her
long, blonde hair was in a loose braid over her shoulder. Her eyes were blue
and bright, and the fact she was an RN but looked so young was a little bit of
a surprise the first time he’d seen her. And her body … fucking hell, she had
thick, womanly thighs, an ass that was big and juicy, and had tits big enough
that if they were in his hands they’d be overflowing. And that was saying
something since Mason had pretty large fucking hands. But she was built so damn
luscious, like her body was made to take a good, hard fucking, the kind he
liked to give.

“Come
on, Mason. We do this every time I come in and work. You really going to ignore
me?”

He
scrubbed a hand over his face, feeling the several days’ worth of beard
covering his cheeks and chin. He’d shaved last week, not really caring, but his
mom had insisted that he clean up. But he hadn’t done it since then, didn’t
care if he resembled a mountain man, or if it looked like he just didn’t give a
shit … he didn’t.

“I’m
not really in the talkative mood,” he replied to her, and wheeled himself over
to the bed. She moved toward him, but he held a hand out and shook his head. “I
got this.” He hated having them help, but at times they insisted. It was easier
just letting them because then they’d get the fuck out of the room and leave
him alone.

She
stayed back, and he maneuvered himself so he was now sitting on the edge of the
bed. He felt sensation in his legs, but they were both pretty fucked up, and he
knew he’d need physical therapy if he had any chance of getting back to his
former self.

“Well,
you know the drill, Mason.”

Yeah,
he did. He rested his hands on his thighs and let her do her thing with
listening to his heart and all that. The seconds ticked by, and he couldn’t
help but stare at her. The way her blonde hair brushed along his cheek as she
leaned in closer and moved her stethoscope to his back. She smelled good,
really damn good, like cupcakes or something equally sweet. He found himself
inhaling deeply, taking in the scent of her. His bear rose up, the bastard
having been thirsty for blood, but right now groaning deep inside because he
knew she’d be soft.

He
felt like a pervert for lowering his gaze to her scrub top, the blue V-neck
material gaping open and showing off this little white undershirt she wore. Damn,
her breasts were big and round. For the first time since he’d woken up in the
hospital his cock stirred and started getting hard.

He
cleared his throat just as she pulled away, and he lay back on the bed, pulling
the blanket over him to hide his growing dick. She went to the end of the bed
and started checking his feet, feeling for his pulses.

“What
kind of name is
Ryeissa
?” he asked with a deep voice
thick with his rising arousal.

She
lifted her head an inch, her blonde eyebrow rising. “It’s my name.” She
smirked. “What kind of name is Mason?” she asked back, a teasing note in her
voice.

No
matter how rude and distant he’d been whenever she’d worked as his nurse she
only showed him kindness and friendly banter back. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to
be a dick.”

She
smiled and looked him in the eye. “I was named after my grandmother. It’s
Ukrainian.” She pushed the blanket over his leg to look at the surgery wounds
on his calves and thighs. As she went over to the sink and cabinet to get the
medical supplies she’d need to clean them, like they all did when they came
into his room, he couldn’t help but stare at her.

Out
of all the nurses he’d had she’d been the only one to have an attitude toward
him that wasn’t defensive. Yeah, he did act like an asshole the majority of the
time, and although he should feel guilt over snapping at the personnel at the
hospital, he couldn’t because he was filled with so much hatred and anger.

For
the next five minutes he lay there watching her clean and redress the wounds on
his legs from when he’d had surgery to try to give him a chance of not losing
any ability down there. The higher she went up the more he felt this tightness
in his body. She stopped at his upper thigh, peeled the dressing back, and
lifted her gaze to his.

“This
one is just about healed. I’ll ask the doctor to put in an order to discontinue
the dressing, but he’ll be in later today to see you anyway.”

He
nodded and cleared his throat. She dressed it with a bandage again, and the
soft touch of her finger on him, even though she wore the latex gloves, gave
him major wood. Yeah, he was a dick fuck for popping a hard-on for his nurse
when she was just trying to help him out.

Then
she checked the bullet wound on his chest, cleaned and redressed that, and
lifted her gaze to his. Maybe she’d sensed him staring at her? He certainly
wasn’t trying to hide it.

“You
need anything before I leave?” she asked and walked over to the wastebasket to
throw away the dressings and gloves. As she went to the sink and washed her
hands, the filthy fucking sexual images he had of what she could do to him
before she left made him feel like a sick bastard.

He
cleared his throat again, feeling uncomfortable as hell because of his sudden
reaction to her, but shook his head in response to her question. “I’m good.”

“Okay,
well your call light is right beside you, so if you need anything let me know,
Mason.” She smiled again and left the room. He swore that smile could light up
a damn room, just push the darkness he felt inside of him away for the moment.

He
watched her through the double glass doors of his room, saw her talking to
another nurse, and when she glanced over at him they held each other’s gazes
for a suspended moment. She smiled again, and he knew that whatever it was
about her that made him feel like this, feel off balance, wasn’t something that
he felt especially comfortable with.

Chapter
Two

 

Never
get involved with a patient.

It
was a really simple and easy thing to follow, up until now. Of course
Ryeissa
hadn’t gotten a marriage proposal, or an invitation
to go out to dinner, but that wasn’t the kind of “getting involved” she was
referring to.

She
looked at Mason through the glass window at the nurses’ station, saw him lying
in bed watching TV, and a part of her empathized with what was going on with
him. He was young, older than she was by only a couple of years, but so young
to be in this situation. The threat of possibly not regaining full function of
his legs had to be hard on him, especially given the fact he was also a bear
shifter and she knew his kind needed to be able to run in their animal form.

He
was hurting inside, she knew that, saw it on his face when she looked at him,
felt it in the way he held himself, in the anger that poured from him. She
wanted to help him, to help him heal, not just as his nurse and caregiver, but
as a woman wanting to help a man she’d grown attached to. And yes, she’d grown
attached to him. It wasn’t love, wasn’t even lust, although he was a brutally
attractive male. It was just the fact she wanted him to open up, to
feel
again.

But
she kept her composure, had her “game face” always on, and was only ever
professional toward him. The teasing was her way of trying to get him to open
up, to try to see that she wasn’t an enemy, but someone on his side.

He’d
been transferred from a hospital in Denver weeks ago to the hospital in Steel
Corner, and in town his MC was very well known. She knew about The Grizzly MC.
In Steel Corner they were feared, had a reputation of being badass, a club you
didn’t mess with. But they also were known for helping out the town when
needed. They didn’t care who knew they did illegal things, or who they had to
hurt that threatened their club.

Over
the last few weeks she’d gotten to know everything about Mason, not because he
was especially forthcoming with information, but because she’d seen his medical
history, heard the rumors, and was told by the others who and what he was.

He
was a big guy, tall, muscular, with tattoos that covered his chest and arms.
This darkness covered him though, and she wondered the life he must have led
being in a one-percenter biker gang. Yeah, she knew enough about MCs to know
that The Grizzly MC wasn’t one that followed the rules, so to speak. They did
what they wanted, participated in plenty of illegal activity, from what she’d
heard, and they were feared but respected in town.

She’d
just moved to Steel Corner a few years ago, but in that time she’d come to
learn everything there was to know about the mountain town. This was her home.
The residents within it were friendly, if reserved, and she couldn’t see
herself anywhere else.

“He
scares me a little.”

Ryeissa
turned and looked at Jaxson,
another nurse on duty. He sat beside her and glanced through the window at
Mason.

“Really?”
She looked at Mason, too.

“You’re
not scared?”

She
shrugged, her focus still on Mason. “He can be fearsome, no doubt about it, but
he’s just a guy at the end of the day.”

Jaxson
snorted. “He’s a bear shifter in a motorcycle gang.” He looked at her again.

“He’s
just a kid that got hurt.”

Jaxson
looked at her like she was insane.

“A
kid? Rye, he is a grown man that could probably kill someone with his bare
hands.” Jaxson looked at Mason ago and lowered his voice. “Probably has.”

Ryeissa
looked at Mason, and as the two of
them watched the MC member he turned and stared at them.

“Shit,
you think he heard me?” Jaxson said in a low voice.

“Yeah,
I do. You better run,”
Ryeissa
said seriously, but
smiled.

Jaxson
got up when one of his call lights went off, and
Ryeissa
went back to looking at her paperwork, but the feeling of being watched, the
sensation of the hair on her arms standing on end, had her looking up and
seeing that Mason watched her. They held each other’s gazes for what seemed
like forever, so long that she shifted on her seat and had to look away,
breaking the contact.

Her
heart raced, her face got hot, and she knew what she felt for this man,
technically a man she didn’t know personally, was uncalled for. She needed to
focus on her work, and not on the tattooed bear shifter just a few feet from
her.

That
was safe, because playing with these ideas and feelings she had for Mason was
not something she should even be thinking about.

****

Mason
felt the sweat run down his back, cover his forehead, but he was determined to
do this on his own. He grabbed the bar in front of him and pulled himself up.
It had been another week that he’d been trapped in this damn hospital, but the
doctor had come in and said he’d be discharged at the end of the week. That had
given him the encouragement he needed to get his ass in gear.

He
stared at the wall in front of him, continued to pull himself up and lower
himself slowly. He had been doing this for the last ten minutes, his focus
trained,
his
thoughts on vengeance.

“I
think that’s enough for today, Mason,” the PT said.

Mason
let out this growl, his bear right there at the surface because his anger was
so intense, had been for weeks.

“Listen,
growl all you want, but I’m here to help you.”

Mason
looked over at Jeremy, the guy that had been helping him with his physical
therapy since he’d been here.

“You
want to keep going at this rate you’re going to end up backtracking. I know you
want to heal, but breaking yourself won’t accomplish that.”

Mason
glared at the PT for a second, then slowly lowered himself back on the chair.

“Good.
I know you don’t want to be here, and you think by doing more, that you’ll heal
faster, but it isn’t how it works.”

Mason
grunted and accepted the towel Jeremy gave him.

“I
think you’re good for today. Let’s get back to your room.”

Once
Mason was back in his room he grabbed a change of clothes and headed to the
bathroom. He was supposed to call for help, but he hated the fact he couldn’t
even take a fucking shower in this place without someone waiting for him. But
as he wheeled his way into the bathroom there was a knock on his door.

Ryeissa
stepped inside, crossing her arms
under her breasts, and having Mason’s dick jerk from the sight of those huge
mounds pressing against her top.

“I
didn’t put on my light,” he snapped, hating that he had to use anger because
right now he felt so damn hateful. Her job was to help him, and the guilt that
he was pushing people away pissed him off.
He
pissed himself off.

“Yeah,
I know. That’s the point of me coming in here.” She stepped inside and shut the
door. “Mason, I’m your nurse and here to help. If you were to fall in there you
could really hurt yourself, which would set back your healing and possibly have
you staying in here longer.” She lifted a brow, almost as if challenging him.
“You really want to be stuck here longer than you have to be?”

He
scrubbed a hand over his face, and brought it up and over his head, running his
fingers over the short strands. “Fuck no,” he said, not caring that he’d
cursed, but wanting to apologize. “Sorry.”

“You
don’t have to be sorry. I just want you to be safe.” She moved closer.
“Besides, if you fell I’d have to do a lot of paperwork,” she said in a teasing
voice. “You’d be inconveniencing me, Mason.”

Damn,
he liked when she said his name, and fortunately he had the towel covering his
dick, because if not she’d surely see the erection he sported.

“You
know the drill. I’ll help you in, you can get undressed, and then I’ll give you
privacy. But you have to promise to ring that call light when you’re done. Okay?”

He
grunted and gave a sharp nod.

Once
they were in the bathroom she started the shower, adjusted the chair in the
stall for him, and turned to look down at him. “You need help with your shoes
or getting undressed?” she said with a stoic expression, her voice all
business.

The
very thought of her undressing him had his cock throbbing in arousal, but
self-hatred and shame that he might actually need help at all pissed him off
even more. He used to be a really fucking strong male, and now, in this damn
wheelchair, he felt like a weakling, like a failure. He’d push himself hard to
get back to his former self, because the alternative—this alternative—was not
going to be his reality.

“I’m
good.”

She
smiled at him. “Promise you’ll use that call light when you’re done.”

“Yeah,”
he said but didn’t look at her. He couldn’t. She was beautiful and caring, and
he could sense in the air, from the aroma that came from her, that she was
genuine and really did give a shit about him, and was not just acting like this
because it was her job.

She
stepped out of the bathroom, and he stared at the closed door for several
seconds before finally getting his shit together. He needed to stay focused,
worry about why he wanted to desperately get better. Yeah, he wanted back to
the way things were, to the way he’d been, but also to fuck up those assholes
that had put him in this goddamned situation.

He
got undressed, his focus on the game, on his plans. Hell, he was even more
focused on beating some humans’ asses than the issues he had before it all
started.

Jakob
.

Maybe
the situation with
Jakob
wasn’t that big of a deal,
but to Mason it was. They were family, blood even if they weren’t from the same
parents. He wanted shit to be good between them.

As
much as he’d wanted to patch things up with
Jakob
,
had even tried apologizing because of what he’d done, all Mason had been able
to focus on was himself. And even if that made him one shitty asshole it was
the way things had to go down until things got cleared up.

 
Exhaling, and his thoughts instantly going
back to the humans that had run him down, he stared at his blurry reflection in
the mirror. Although he hadn’t wanted the club to help him take down the
assholes that had hurt him, he had found out who they were. It had been those
human assholes that had crashed a Grizzly party a while back, the ones that had
acted like they’d had big balls to be going up against them.

Yeah,
it had been them that had fucked with the wrong bear shifter.

He’d
hunt them down, preferably on his own. He didn’t want the MC involved in this,
even if they were his family, his brothers. He needed to do this on his own,
when the time was right. Only then would he feel like he could move on.

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