It's that time of the week again. Tuesday is FREE STORY day. This is a story I began a couple weeks ago, and plan to write the whole story right here for you to read on a weekly basis. It's a romantic comedy/mystery/suspense and it's something new for me. I hope you'll keep popping back each week to follow the story. It isn't planned, I'm flying into the wind with this story line, so I might call on my readers for ideas.
If you haven't read last week's installation, you can find it here: WEEK 2. And WEEK 1.
(C)Monique DeVere 2012
Jess rose to consciousness at a sluggish pace.
Someone had taken a jackhammer to her head, and they weren’t planning to let up anytime soon.
She came slowly awake to sounds. An electronic beep steadily bleeped somewhere to her left, wheels rolled over hard surface, metal clinked against metal, and voices murmured from a distance.
Hospital smells filled her nostrils—disinfectant, sterilizing alcohol, medicines, chemicals—urging her to open her eyes despite the drilling inside her head.
Jess knew hospital scents when she smelled them. For four months, she’d sat for hours—day after day—while she watched helplessly as her fiancé struggled for his life. At the memory of the stupid fight outside of a nightclub that had resulted in Shane’s death, her throat closed with grief.
Wait a minute, now she thought about it, her throat had felt sore and blocked since she woke, and something big and heavy was sitting on her chest.
And, boy, her head hurt like nobody’s business. Jess touched her head. Something padded met her fingers.
Somebody had bandaged her head.
She forced her eyes open. Light from a nearby window scorched her corneas and she squeezed them shut again, a groan of protest scraping her sore throat.
“Miss Hart? Can you hear me?” The voice was male—deep, and full-bodied like rich wine—and it rattled her brain.
Jess blinked her eyes into semi-focus. She opened her mouth to confirm her name, but no sound came out. Her mouth was drier than her mother’s homemade water crackers.
She blinked a few more times as she touched her throat, hoping the shadowy figure standing beside her bed would get the message and find her a drink of water.
Instead, he dashed from the room.
“Nurse?” His deep voice boomed along the corridor and vibrated in Jess’s skull, making her wince.
She squeezed her eyes shut again and prayed that the jackhammer would lose power and cut out.
Within moments, two pairs of footsteps re-entered the room. “Hello, Jessica.” Cool fingers touched Jess’s arm inches below where her IV drip was attached. “Jessica?”
“Water...” The voice didn’t sound like hers—not even first thing in the morning after a full night’s sleep. It was hoarse—laryngitis hoarse.
“I’m Rae, and I’m looking after you.” Liquid poured into a glass, then the nurse took a gadget from next to the bed and pressed it. The head of Jess’s bed rose smoothly until she was sitting at a forty-five degree angle. “Here you are,” Rae said, bringing a straw to Jess’s lips.
She took a sip. Cool water slid down her throat like shards of glass. She grimaced, pushed the straw away.
Rae settled her back against the pillows. “How do you feel?”
“Like... my head... is... going to... explode.” Her voice came out on a whispered husk.
“Do you remember what happened?” a voice, authoritative—masculine—and deep enough to send tiny thrills through Jess, queried from across the room.
She nodded, and the motion intensified the pain in her head as memories of a giant attacking her replayed in her psyche. She turned her head inch by inch and saw her angel standing near the door. Only this time he looked tired, his short dark hair furrowed from numerous finger run-throughs, and he sported a stubble. He wore jeans and a dark blue T-shirt that stretched across his wide shoulders, the sleeves hugging biceps that looked like they knew their way around a weight machine. He didn’t look like any detective she’d ever seen. But then she’d only ever seen detectives on TV.
Jess raised a heavy hand to her bandaged head and met Rae’s kind brown eyes. “Why?”
“You cracked your head hard enough to have concussion.”
She touched her throat.
Rae’s sympathetic gaze shifted to Jess’s neck. “Besides a few cuts, and bruised ribs, you also suffered a bit of tissue damage to your throat.”
That explained why even breathing hurt so much.
Rae glanced over her shoulder. “The detective here would like to ask you some questions, but I can send him away if you aren’t up to it.”
Jess followed the nurse’s glance. Her angel/detective stood at a discrete distance, yet his presence filled the room. He trapped her in his silver gaze, held eye contact until her stressed-out heart skipped a beat, and her breathing grew shallow.
“How... how... long... have I been... here?”
Rae pulled Jess’s chart from its holder. “Two days.”
To Be Continued...
So now we know Jess’s angel is really a detective. I love romances with cop heroes. There’s something essentially heroic about cops and they make great heroes.
Of course, they’re even more enticing when they’re emotionally wounded. Since no good romance story is complete without a hero with a locked down heart, I’d like suggestions on what you think our hero’s issues should be.
Past love broke his heart? Too clichéd. Let’s see if we can come up with something really original.
I look forward to reading your suggestions in the comments section!
Banner image thanks to FreeDigitalPhotos.net