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Authors: Jenna Jameson

Honey

BOOK: Honey
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PRAISE FOR
SUGAR
, THE FIRST BOOK IN THE
FATE
SERIES

 

“A novel of heart and heat … the multiple sex scenes, with or without BDSM, are spectacularly kinky and hot.”—
Romantic Times

 

“Addictive, sexy, romantic, tantalizing—clear out space on your keeper shelf!”—Lisa Renee Jones,
New York Times
bestselling

author of the acclaimed
Inside Out
series

 

“Well-done and intriguing … Tarr and Jameson create an engaging, touching, blazing-hot story that packs a lot of sex, action, and emotion.”—
Kirkus Reviews

 

“Paparazzi, light BDSM, and two sultry characters? YES, PLEASE! Sexiest read of 2013!”—Tish Beaty, original editor of
Fifty Shades of Grey

 

“Like its New York City setting,
Sugar
is hot, sexy, complex—and makes you want to stay up all night.”—Megan Frampton, romance author and community manager at HeroesandHeartbreakers.com

 

“A sweet, sexy, erotically charged romance between two people who are much more than what they present to the world. A welcome respite from the typical Cinderella-style storylines of the billionaire who saves the down-on-her-luck stripper/prostitute.
Sugar
offers a heroine and hero who are well matched on every level.”—Tori Benson, HeroesandHeartbreakers.com

 

“I was really excited to read
Sugar
, a fictionalized account of some of Jenna's real-life exploits, and happily I got more than I expected. It's a well-written, steamy story with great characters, a strong plot, and a whole lot of scorching-hot, sexy scenes that morph into something more along the way.”—LiteraryVixens.com

 

 

Also by Jenna Jameson and Hope Tarr:

Sugar

 

Published by Nero,

an imprint of Schwartz Publishing Pty Ltd

37–39 Langridge Street

Collingwood Vic 3066 Australia

email: [email protected]

http://www.blackincbooks.com

 

Copyright © Jenna Jameson and Hope Tarr 2014

Jenna Jameson and Hope Tarr assert their moral rights to be known as the authors of this work.

 

First published in the US by Skyhorse Publishing.

 

All Rights Reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior consent of the publishers.

 

National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry:

Jameson, Jenna, author.

Honey / Jenna Jameson & Hope Tarr.

9781863956574 (paperback)

9781922231451 (ebook)

Other Authors/Contributors: Tarr, Hope, author.

813.6

 

Authors' Acknowledgments

Our sincere gratitude to Dr. Danielle Friedman and Lisa Davila, RN for their immeasurable help in clarifying the morass of medical terminology and sharing their expert knowledge of healthcare providers, procedures, and practices. Any errors made, or creative license taken, are of course entirely ours.

—Jenna Jameson and Hope Tarr

 

Chapter One

“I don't want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I'm not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It's like Tiffany's.”—Audrey Hepburn,
Breakfast at Tiffany's

February, Emergency Room, Bellevue Hospital Center

“Let's go through this again, shall we?”

Dr. Marcus Sandler surveyed the female patient perched on the edge of his exam table, a standout in an ER otherwise flooded with victims of the flu. Honey Gladwell, if that was even her real name, which he seriously doubted, didn't have so much as a sniffle. What she had was a whole lot harder to fix.

Someone, an
intimate
someone, had battered her. Even coming up on the end of a twelve-hour shift, not the eight hours standard for third-year residents, except when your intern was felled with flu, there was no mistaking a textbook case of domestic violence such as this.

Ms. Gladwell had been lucky—this time. The X-rays and MRI results revealed a radial wrist fracture and a blow to the left eye so severe she was lucky the orbit hadn't splintered. Those were the worst of her injuries, the physical ones anyway. Assessing the psychological trauma of being used as a punching bag wasn't Marc's bailiwick, but it couldn't be good. Whoever had done this to her was one sick son of a bitch.

Beneath the patchwork of cuts and bruises, she was probably pretty, though her face was too swollen for him to say for certain. What he could tell with certainty was that she was small, one hundred and five pounds according to her triage vitals, and five foot six without the ridiculous pencil-thin heels she'd hobbled in on. The one-size-fits-all hospital gown swam on her. They might as well have given her a tent to wear. And she was young—twenty-seven as of last week, based on the birth date she'd given. Without a driver's license or photo ID of any kind, he was left with having to take her word on it.

Looking up from the chart he held, he tried again. “Can you walk me through how you got hurt?”

She lifted her heart-shaped face, a classic symbol of defiance even if, like her loyalty, the ballsy attitude was badly misdirected. “Darling, as I told the nurse already, I fell. Down some stairs,” she added, her stilted speech carefully modulated, borderline British.

Falling down the stairs—talk about your clichéd cover-up. Marc would have laughed if he wasn't so fucking sick of the same old story. Growing up in Harlem, he'd dealt with domestic violence victims aplenty, including his own mother. Why couldn't these women see that covering for their abusers was as good as giving the sick sons of bitches a license to kill—
them
?

“Where?” he asked, his fingers firming on the clipboard.

Twirling a hank of honey-colored hair, waist-length and tangled beyond the retro beehive, she bit her bruised bottom lip. “At home.”

He glanced from her ringless left hand back to her chart. Forty-One Park Avenue, one of those overpriced midtown high rises that invariably announced itself with a water feature in the lobby and boasted a crap-load of amenities that hardly anyone ever used. Her apartment was likewise easy to picture: a featureless one bedroom or junior efficiency with nine-foot ceilings and a private terrace with a partial view. It was the sort of building where a man who could afford it put up his mistress. The wife, if there was one, would be ensconced in a “classic six” in one of the esteemed prewar buildings above 61
st
but below 96
th
Streets. Go even a block higher and you were in Upper Manhattan, including the once dreaded Washington Heights neighborhood where Marc lived. Real estate really was all about location. Nowhere was that truer than in Manhattan.

“Forty-One Park, huh? Sounds like an elevator building to me. Standards must be seriously slipping.” He softened the sarcasm by shooting her a wink.

No dice. She glared. Her eyes were medium brown, judging from the one not swollen shut. The gold flecks crowding the iris told him she was angry—and that for now it was easier and infinitely safer to focus that emotion on him.

“The elevator is being replaced … I mean, repaired. We … I had to take the stairwell. It's a whole … thing.”

Whatever else she was, she was a terrible liar. His God-fearing, church-going, bible-quoting Aunt Edna could spin a better yarn than that without so much as blinking. In contrast, this poor kid was somewhere between twitchy and imploding. The nervous fingers of her unhurt hand twirled the ends of her hair. The one with the wrist fracture was encased in a cast.

“Hmm, I'll bet. You should demand the management company return your monthly maintenance fee.”

No response. She pressed her lips together, and he had a fleeting wish to know what they looked like when they weren't cut and puffy, raw and red. Right now her mouth looked almost as if it was turned upside down, the top lip fuller and wider than its bottom mate. Intriguing.

Not yet ready to give up, Marc asked, “Do you live with a … roommate, someone who can help you out for the next few days?”

She stopped playing with her hair and shook her head. “No, I don't have … It's just me.”

The best lies were half-truths. He'd bet his precious vacation leave she was a kept woman, a mistress, her rent and other living expenses picked up by a man who breezed in and out of her life on a whim—his—and who apparently got off on brutalizing women.

“Who did you say brought you in?”

His question prompted more glaring. “I didn't say.”

He couldn't help but smile. She hadn't given an inch or shed so much as a single tear since he started treating her. She was totally brave and mind-numbingly stubborn. He couldn't help admiring both, even if they were summoned for all the wrong reasons.

“I'm just trying to make sure you get home safely,” he said more gently.

Her slender shoulders slumped as though she were finally succumbing to the exhaustion. “My … boyfriend, but he … had to go.”

“He left you … in this condition!” Whatever slim benefit of the doubt he might have been prepared to tender evaporated in that instant.

She shrugged, wincing as if the minor movement hurt, which he was sure it did. “He has a very important job … in finance,” she added with obvious pride.

So the culprit was some single-malt-swilling hedgie or Wall Street trader, a suit who vented his frustrations with the recession economy by pummeling little girls. Ms. Gladwell wouldn't be the first woman to bear the brunt of a money man's high-stakes, high-stress lifestyle. Nor, unfortunately, would she be the last.

“I can take care of myself,” she said suddenly, defiantly, her shoulders straightening.

Obviously that wasn't the case, but as his attending was forever reminding him, he was a doctor, not a social worker, and most definitely not a cop. Rather than refute her, he focused on her chart. The head wound would justify a full admission if he chose to go there. Who knew, maybe the down time would give her the space she needed to rethink her story—and her life choices.

Pulling the ballpoint from behind his ear, he said, “You sustained a nasty head wound. I'd like to keep you overnight for observation.”

“I have to stay here overnight?!” The way she said it made it sound like he'd sentenced her to Sing Sing.

“A twenty-three-hour observational period,” he corrected. “That way the hospital won't charge you for an overnight stay.” Despite the couture clothes and full-length fur she'd come in wearing, she hadn't listed having any insurance.

Her good eye shuttered. “That would be okay, I guess.”

A nurse pulled back the curtain and poked her head inside. “Dr. Sandler, dispatch just called in a notification: nineteen-year-old male, GSW to the chest, intubated in the field, hemodynamically stable but might have a developing pneumo from a cracked rib.”

Marc sighed. A gunshot wound—yep, typical Friday night. And he still had an ER packed with puking patients. As much as he might like to linger, he didn't have that choice. He had to move on.

“Okay, I'll be there in a minute.” He waited for the curtain to close again before glancing back at the girl. “So, we're set. We'll get you into a room as soon as possible. It's a little intense right now with all the flu sufferers, so hang tight and try to rest.”

“Rest? In this madhouse?” She rolled her eyes, the unhurt one conveying a droll amusement that, under the circumstances, was unexpected—and hugely appealing.

She also had a point. Neon lighting, nonstop scuttling back and forth from the various medical staffers, and callouts from the ubiquitous intercom hardly made it a napping zone—unless, of course, you were an exhausted intern. Back then, Marc could have slept standing. Once or twice, he had.

For the first time that night, he felt a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Right, I know. Do your best.”

The next several hours whizzed by. The gunshot victim from Spanish Harlem with the gang tats was joined by a NYU student goaded by his buddies into sticking a light bulb up his butt, and a fast-food worker burned by boiling cooking oil when the deep fryer malfunctioned. By the time Marc took a breather, it was nearly 1:00 a.m. Hoping Ms. Gladwell might have had a change of heart—and story—he grabbed her chart and went to check on her.

Only she was gone. Shit! Marching over to the nurse's station, he demanded, “Who discharged this patient—
my
patient—without my knowledge?”

The nurse behind the desk looked up from the computer screen and shrugged. “She AMA-ed.”

Left against medical advice, fuck! Incredulous, Marc revved up to rip into her. “And nobody came to find me?”

“It's okay, I signed off.” Dr. Denison, his attending, walked up. Dropping his voice, he added, “Let it go, Marc.” He wrapped a fatherly arm about Marc's shoulders and steered him away from the station. “You're an excellent clinician, Marc, one of the most gifted trauma interns I've had in some time, but if you don't monitor your intensity you're going to burn out.”

“Yes, but, sir—”

“To make it in medicine, emergency medicine especially, you need to accept that you can't save everyone. The sooner you make peace with that, the greater an asset you'll be to me, this hospital, and above all, your patients.”

Knowing he was beat, Marc backed off with a nod. “Duly noted, sir. Thank you for the feedback.”

Thank you for the feedback
—Jesus, what a brownnoser he'd become. He was attracted to trauma as the area of medicine where he could do the most immediate good, help the most people, but the past several months had punctured all kinds of holes in his dream bubble.

“You're welcome.” Denison dropped his arm, muscular and dusted with white hairs, and stepped away. “Do yourself and everybody else here a favor and go home and get some sleep. You'll need it. You've got to be back here in nine hours.”

Marc nodded. “I will. Thanks.”

Watching Denison turn away, he raked a hard hand through his hair. He couldn't save or even help everyone—he got that. But he might have helped her, Honey Gladwell or whatever her name was, if only he'd had more time.

Then again, maybe he did. Forty-One Park Avenue wasn't more than a few short blocks from the hospital. And he had, if not all the time in the world, at least the next nine hours.

*

Honey hobbled into the apartment, vintage mink coat draped over her shoulders and beaded evening bag tucked inside her sling. She slipped off her satin-covered slippers, maneuvered herself free of the fur, and reached out with her good arm to close the door. Stepping back, the silence struck her like another fist in the face. A few quick glances around confirmed that Drew wasn't there, not that she'd expected him to be. The last time, he'd stayed away five days and then come back bearing a freshwater-pearl bracelet from Tiffany's. She wondered what his apology present would be this time—surely a broken wrist merited something with diamonds?—and how long her reprieve would last. A full week, maybe even two?

Setting her keys in the decorative escargot-fashioned catchall, she surveyed the wreckage. Drew's latest rampage had taken its toll not only on her person but also her treasures. Her vintage Danish-modern table lamp, one of a pair, lay on its side on the floor, the fiberglass shade cracked but the ceramic base miraculously unbroken. Most of the contents of her corner curio shelf, bric-a-brac from the fifties and sixties, had been cleared out and used as missiles, the Melamine turquoise divided “fin” dish and one of a trio of glass cat figurines the sole survivors. The circular wall mirror hung at a drunken tilt, a smear of dried blood marking the spot on the beveled glass where her head had hit. Reaching out to right it with what in the past several hours she'd come to think of as her “good arm,” she caught her reflection and gasped. Aside from the short bangs fringing her forehead and the lack of lines bracketing her mouth and eyes, she might be looking at her mother's face, mottled and misshapen from years of serving as her husband's punching bag. After her own nose had run afoul of that same flying fist, Honey had fled, not only her stepfather's house but also her hometown of Omaha. It had taken a progression of Greyhound buses, more odd jobs than she cared to recount, and nearly four months before she finally reached New York City. Ironic that after 1,148 miles and six years, she'd spiraled back to almost the same spot. Despite the icepack the nurse had given her, her left eye was still mostly swollen shut, her mouth so split it would be at least a week before she could even think about picking up a lipstick. The cream-colored complexion she took such pride in preserving, washing off her makeup every night no matter how tired she was, and slathering on sunscreen even in winter, was blotched black and blue. An abused woman. Somehow she'd devolved into that thing, that person, that
statistic
she'd sworn never to be.

BOOK: Honey
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