by Elle Boon
ALL HOPE IS GONE…Ando thought his life was over when his fiancée dies before they had ever had a chance to live the life they planned. After the devastation of her loss, he swears he will never risk his heart again. HIS SAVING GRACE…Years later he finds a woman who makes him believe that life might be worth living again. In turn, Jules finds the one man who makes her feel things she never felt before. CAN LOVE SURVIVE…When a cult targets Jules, will Ando finally realize that love is the most important thing in the world before it is too late?
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“You’re awfully quiet. Are you sure you’re okay?” Jules asked as the sign for the hospital came into view.
He nodded, taking a deep breath. “I’m fine, just thinking.” Turning to see how she was reacting to the situation, Ando decided to be honest with her, or at least marginally. “I lost my fiancée in a boating accident. She fell overboard, hitting her head. I held her while she…anyway, I don’t think this little scratch is going to do me in.” He touched the bandage, his fingers came away with a red stain.
“I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine losing someone you love like that.” She pressed trembling lips together. Ando saw her eyes glitter with tears. Holy shit, this woman who didn’t know him or anything about his past was ready to cry for his loss.
Without thinking he put his hand on her thigh. “It was a long time ago.” No longer did his heart squeeze at the words. No longer did he want to go back to the past and shake Melanie, demanding answers. No, only a sense of grief for the loss of life, hers and the child even though it wasn’t his, hit him.
Jules swallowed audibly. “I’m still sorry. Losing a loved one, no matter how long ago, hurts.”
He wondered who she’d lost and if it was a lover. His thoughts were cut off as she pulled into the ER entrance.
“I can drop you at the doors and park, or park and we can go in together?” she asked. Realizing his hand was still on her thigh, he pulled back. “Park and we’ll walk in together. I’m not an invalid even though I seem to be bleeding like a stuck pig.” She laughed, easing the tension. “You really are, aren’t you?”
They found a spot in the front as another vehicle pulled out. “Eureka,” Jules said while they waited for the SUV to move. “This must be our lucky night.” She then looked at his bloody bandage, then grimaced. “Or not,” she corrected. “Come on, woman, let’s get me stitched up so I don’t need to get a transfusion,” he joked, or at least hoped he wouldn’t need one. Hell, he honestly had no clue if he’d lost enough blood to need one. “Nah, you won’t need one of those. It only seems like you’ve lost a shitton of the stuff.”
She reached for the door handle. “You ready?” “You bet. Let’s get this over with. I might need to hold your hand when they stitch me up.” He grinned.
Hopping down she met him in the front of the pickup, engaging the alarm with a press of the keyfob. “I highly doubt that, but I’ll stick by your side just in case you pass out.”
Ando couldn’t believe how easy it was to talk and joke with Jules, a woman he’d just met. Although it could be the knock to his head. However, he doubted that had anything to do with it.
The emergency room was bustling with activity. Jules seemed to know several of the workers and was immediately recognized. If they’d been in Miami, he’d have been whisked back to a private area in minutes. Now, he sat in a chair filling out paperwork while the woman who’d brought him in chatted with a man who looked old enough to be her damn uncle, or dad, and Ando didn’t like it one damn bit. He finished the last of the paperwork, then got up to turn it into the nurse at the front. She glanced up, smiled then he was taken back to a small room marked triage made up of glass enclosures.
Jules was still locked in a conversation with the older man and another had joined them. So much for her sticking next to him. “Your blood pressure is a little high,” the nurse said making notes. Taking a deep breath, he looked away from Jules and the spectacle she was making. He smiled at the middle-aged nurse wearing the red scrubs, thinking it was a truly poor choice in color choice.
“Sorry, try it again. I was a bit nervous.” He steadied his breathing and thought of nothing in particular. “Much better.” She made the correction, then led him into another room down the hall after getting all his vitals. “Alright, the ER Doc will be with you shortly. I’d offer you something to drink, but just in case you need surgery, which I don’t think you will, we can’t just yet.” She winked. “Now, if you need anything just press this here button. My name is Louise.” The woman left as quickly as she ushered him in.
He looked at the bed and the lone chair in the small cubicle they called a room, then decided the bed looked like the best option since he’d have to sit there when the doctor came in anyway. Pulling his cellphone out of his pocket, he decided to text his sister a pic of himself with the wound. If nothing else, she’d get a kick out of his predicament. Gia’s immediate response brought a smile to his lips. Only a sister would tell her brother it was an improvement to his regular ugly mug, followed by a ‘how you doin’ meme. He let her know he was fine, and would update on the number of stiches afterwards. Of course, she wants all the details, which he’d gloss over as best he could when he got home.
The sound of the curtain being pulled open had him looking up from his phone to find Jules there. “Hey there,” Jules said.
Jules tried to paste on a happy appearance, but being waylaid by one of the officers who’d worked the night she’d saved Marietta brought her mood south. To top it off, she then had to deal with Sean, a guy she’d dated off and on, more off than on asking her about Ando and her. Jeez, couldn’t a girl catch a break from all the drama?
“Hey,” Ando said. If artic glare could describe the way his dark eyes stared at her, then that was what he gave her. “Sorry I left you earlier. That was one of the cops who was on duty on a case I was involved in. He was giving me an update on it.” She shut her mouth when he narrowed his eyes. “I thought you were an EMT?” In for a penny and all that she thought.
“I am, but sometimes life brings you into situations out of your control. I was walking along the beach one night and stumbled upon a scene straight out of a nightmare. Suffice it to say, I inadvertently saved a young woman’s life.” When Ando opened his mouth to ask more questions she was sure, the curtain was pulled back, saving her from having to answer and relive the horrifying night again. “Good evening, Mr. Delgado. What do we have here?” Jules stood to the side while a man in scrubs came in, his name tag said his name was Dr. Torres. “Evening, Dr. Torres. I fell off the end of the boat dock and hit my head.” Ando indicated his head. Dr. Torres went through some routine questions and tests, then pulled the bandage away. “Looks like someone cleaned you up pretty good,” he stated. “Jules here is an EMT with Dallas Fire and Rescue.”
Ando’s gaze landed on her. If she didn’t know better she’d swear he sounded proud of her. “I cleaned it out and made sure there wasn’t any foreign bodies in the wound, then got him here as quickly as safety allowed.” “You did a good job. Head wounds tend to bleed like a sieve. Let’s get you stitched up and out of here quickly, son.”
She met Ando’s eyes as Dr. Torres and the nurse set up the instruments needed. “You doing okay?” Ando nodded. “Yeah, I can handle it. You gonna hold my hand?” Her breath stalled in her throat. “Sure.” The word came out breathlessly. “Alright, Suzy is going to clean it up a bit more just to make sure it’s one hundred percent clean. Not that I don’t trust your abilities, young lady, but we don’t want to have anything foreign inside there when we seal him up. I’d say you’ll have about five stitches.”
Dr. Torres took off his gloves and made some notes while the nurse named Suzy came forward. “This is definitely going to hurt a little.” Her dark brown hair was pulled back in a low ponytail, true regret rang through in her tone. Ando held his hand out toward Jules. Without hesitation she took it, entwining their fingers. “I’ll hold still, just work quickly.”
Elle Boon lives in Middle-Merica as she likes to say…with her husband, two kids, and a black lab who is more like a small pony. She’d never planned to be a writer, but when life threw her a curve, she swerved with it, since she’s athletically challenged. She’s known for saying “Bless Your Heart” and dropping lots of F-bombs, but she loves where this new journey has taken her.
She writes what she loves to read, and that is romance, whether it’s erotic, Navy SEALs, or paranormal, as long as there is a happily ever after. Her biggest hope is that after readers have read one of her stories, they fall in love with her characters as much as she did. She loves creating new worlds, and has more stories just waiting to be written. Elle believes in happily ever afters, and can guarantee you will always get one with her stories.
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