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|Throttle Me(Men of Inked #1) by Chelle Bliss|
“Yes, I’ll have the nurses talk with him and send him in. I’ll see you tomorrow, Ms. McCarthy.”
“Thanks,” I said with a fake smile. I had nothing to be thankful for. All I wanted to do was crawl in my own bed and sleep against City’s body. Crunchy hospital sheets, plastic mattresses, and thin blankets were not my idea of comfortable.
I threw my head back onto the thin paper pillow, squeezing my eyes shut. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t have any tears left.
“Ma’am,” the officer said and cleared his throat. “I’ve taken down your statement, but I may need more details. We have your attacker in custody and the statement of Joseph Gallo and another gentleman, but we may still need your side to fill in the gaps. Here’s my card. Call me when you can talk. It can wait until you’re home and more comfortable.” He smiled at me and I could see he was genuine.
“I’ll call you, sir. I just don’t feel like talking about it anymore tonight.” I rubbed my eyes, the lights were making my headache worse and I wanted to sleep.
“No problem, ma’am.”
Drawing back the curtain to leave, I caught a glimpse of City. A frown was visible as he looked at me. I could see the pain on his face. His hands appeared swollen and red dotted his knuckles, blood from the pounding he must have given to the ass**le.
“Hey,” he said as he approached my bed.
“Are you okay, sugar?” He sat down on the bed and held my hand.
“I’m okay, City. They’re just keeping me for observation.” I shrugged.
Touching my cheek with the rough pads of his fingers, he studied my face. His eyes roamed over every inch, stopping on my lips and cheekbone. “God, I’m so sorry, Suzy. It’s all my fault.” His eyebrows were furrowed and deep lines appeared on his forehead.
“It wasn’t your fault. You meant well. I give you an A for effort, but a D in completion, big boy.” I smirked. I couldn’t really be mad at him.
“Don’t make jokes, sugar.” He tried to keep a straight face, but I saw a small smile tug at the corner of his lips. “I could’ve lost you tonight.” He squeezed my hand, his eyes looking at our hands.
“What happened to you? You were supposed to be only a minute behind me, Joey.” Closing my eyes, I remembered the fear I felt when I realized it wasn’t City grabbing me from behind.
“I was on my way out of the bar after joking with the guys but I got held up. I tried to get away as quickly as possible. I didn’t want you to be outside alone. I should’ve never taken you to that bar. Fuck.” He rubbed his face, “What happened before I got there, sugar?”
Tears began to fill my eyes as I spoke, I couldn’t hold them back. “I pretended to drop my keys when I heard someone behind me. I thought it was you. As I bent down to pick them up, he grabbed me by the hair and knocked me off balance.” I paused, trying to steady my voice. “He pulled me by my hair behind the building and I tried to get free of him. I kicked and screamed, but no one heard me. He hit me in the face and called me names. I could taste the blood in my mouth. I don’t remember anything else until I woke up in your arms.” I cuddled into City, needing the feeling of safety.
“Shh, sugar. I’ll never let anything bad happen to you again.” He crawled in the bed and wrapped his arms around me. I cried in his chest until there were no more tears left. He stroked my hair, kissing my head, rocking me until I calmed.
“Where is she?” Sophia’s voice woke me from my peaceful slumber. “I don’t give a shit, I want to see her now.”
“Ma’am, you can’t go in there.”
The curtain opened in one quick motion and a scared Sophia appeared. “Oh my God, Suzy. I’ve been worried sick about you.” She rushed to my bedside.
I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, Kayden. He looked pissed. More pissed than I’d ever seen him and I’d seen him pretty crazy at times over the years.
“I’m okay, Sophia. Just some scrapes and bruises. I’ll heal.”
“You could’ve been killed for shit’s sake and you.” She glared at City, pointing her finger at him. “You were supposed to protect her from shit like this. How could you let her go outside alone?”
“It’s not his fault,” I began to speak, but she held up her hand, stopping me.
“Well?” she asked.
“City, may I speak to you for a moment?” Kayden asked in a calm voice.
I didn’t like pissed off looking and calm sounding Kayden. “You both need to back off,” I said.
“Suzy, this is between City and me. I won’t keep him long,” Kayden said.
I looked at City, silently pleading with him not to go. He squeezed my hand as he slid off the bed. “I’ll be right back, don’t worry.” He gave me a wink and a smile before leaving with Kayden.
“Let the boys talk. What the f**k happened, Suzy?” Sophia sat down next to me, tilting her head before she grabbed my hand. “God, I was out of my mind when City called. This is all my fault.”
“It’s no one’s fault, Sophia. I walked out and everything was going perfectly. I guess City got held up for a second and that’s all it took.” I wiped the remaining tears off my cheek. “The same creep had bothered me before and must’ve been waiting for me. It was stupid to think we could live out that fantasy. It’s not as sexy as it sounds anymore.”