Protecting His Forever

By: LeAnn Ashers



“So for the last forty-eight hours you’ve halted your life just to play chivalrous hero? Do that often, Kane?”

He shoots me a warning glare, so I probe no further. I am, however, growing frustrated with his overbearing protectiveness. Hell, I’m in the hospital with twenty-four-hour staff monitoring me. My attacker is in jail—or so Kane says. So why is he still here? My frustration mounts, but I keep my tongue in check and bite down on my lip to stop myself from saying something I probably don’t mean. Do I? Ugh, this damn fog! I just need to clear my head. I throw back the covers and place my feet on the ground. I need to get out of this bed, out of this room. It feels like the walls are closing in on me, and Kane’s pacing is doing nothing to help my frayed nerves.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Kane stomps over to me and tries to settle me back against the bed.

Smacking his hands away, I hiss at him, “I have to pee!” With something to prove, I stand too quickly and my world sways as I tip to the side.

“See!” he grounds out between his teeth as he locks his hands around my waist and catches me before I hit the floor. He lifts me off the ground bridal style.

Sighing, I admit, “I just got out of bed too quick.”

Peeking up at him, I’m hit with how unbelievably gorgeous he is. He is rugged and has the look about him that is all man. He is over a foot taller than me. Little scars cover his neck and chest. He has two full sleeves and it’s sexier than hell. I may or may not have a thing for a guy that has that bad boy look. He catches me looking, and smirks, causing me to blush.

He shakes his head no and puts me back into bed, then presses the button to call the nurse. I huff and sit back in bed with my arms crossed across my chest while glaring at Kane. Who does he think he is? If I want to pee by myself, I will go pee!

“Did you need something, honey?” the nurse asks as she enters the room.

“A shower and to pee.”

“Of course! Follow me,” she says and waves me out of bed as she turns on her heels.

Kane’s husky voice stops her. “She needs assistance. She tried to get out of bed on her own and almost fell.”

“Oh, of course. I will help her.” She rubs her hands nervously. Her eyes dart between Kane and me as she makes her way to the bedside.

Rolling my eyes, I push my feet back over the side of the bed. My body protests with every movement. The nurse wraps her hand around my bicep and leads me to the bathroom. I can feel Kane’s gaze watching my every moment.

The nurse walks inside with me and shuts the door. I stand there awkwardly. I don’t need help. This may be her job to help people with things like this, but it makes me very uncomfortable. She turns on the shower and motions for me to step forward.

I push my hand toward her and with too much attitude that isn’t necessary, I bark out, “I can do this myself. That man out there is being too protective. I’m not even sure what he’s even doing here.”

She smiles knowingly and motions to the string next to the shower. “It’s okay, honey. I think he’s being kinda sweet, but I understand how you feel. If you need help, just pull that string and I’ll be right in, if he doesn’t rescue you first.” She winks with a bubbly grin.

As soon as she leaves, I all but rip the hospital gown off my body, not even checking the water before I jump into the shower. The cold water soon turns hot and kneads at my sore muscles. Grabbing some hospital soap, I scrub my body raw. Hoping to scrub the memories of yesterday away.

Once my body is scoured clean with rough, red patches of heat and the entire room is filled with steam, I turn off the shower then wrap a towel around my chest. I step out onto the ceramic gray floor, slipping on a mist of water and fall directly onto my ass. The steam has dampened the floor like it was sprayed with Pam. Groaning, I grab my ass.

“Great, add a broken tail bone on top of this,” I mutter to myself and push up to my feet.

A knock sounds at the door.

“You okay in there?” Kane asks.

“I’m just dandy, thank you!” I know I shouldn’t be snippy with him. Although he’s one of Ethan’s closest friends, and I’ve heard a lot about him, that doesn’t mean I know him from Adam.

I carefully step over to the bathroom mirror and take in my appearance. My lip is busted and swollen. Stitches knit the skin on my cheek together, little speckles of blood dotting the bruised flesh. There’s a knot on my forehead, and my head throbs persistently. Seeing myself, I realize the injuries aren’t nearly as bad as I expected. I’m banged up pretty good, but it could have been much worse. I’m lucky, that’s for sure.

I towel off, careful of the tender bruises on my body. Looking around the room I notice that I didn’t bring any clothes in with me. I peek my head out the door and look around the hospital room, no sight of Kane. Coast is clear. I step out of the bathroom and go to the small locker to see if by chance my mom may have left me some of my own clothes so I’m not dressing in one of those itchy gowns. A husky grunt from behind, startling me. I jump and turn around quickly, clutching the towel to my chest. My eyes trail up his hard and lean body, broad and tight chest, meeting flared nostrils and a pair of hooded, darkened eyes.

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