I love this month’s promptly penned. I just wish I knew what I was going to write, lol. So here’s the prompt, and the resulting story. I am revisiting Devlyn and Rkyer… there are some older posts, but…. as I left this to the last minute… let’s just jump right on in. Where I last left them, they were in Ryker’s car heading for a safe house… and neither were very happy about the new partnership….
Well, apparently, Rock Bottom has a basement.
Devlyn blinked, startling awake to the gentle shift of her shoulder. She twisted to gaze at the hand cupped around her arm, the fuzzy feeling in her head making it hard to focus. The scenery faded, then cleared, Ryker’s lips pursing into a scowl.
He shook his head. “Seeing double? Or is it all just one big blur?”
She glared at him, cursing the decision when the small movement ignited a round of pain. It started in her head, then throbbed into her ribs, stealing any retort other than a strangled groan.
“Shit.” Ryker rounded the car, opening up her door. He leaned forward, scooping his hands under her thighs and around her back. “Wrap your arms around my neck.”
“What?” She grunted as he levered back, lifting her against his chest. “Damn it, Ryker, I can walk. A fact I told you back in Smither’s office.”
“The same office you barely made it out of before passing out? How could I forget?”
She groaned, reluctantly threading her fingers together behind his neck when he started walking. While she’d be a fool to believe things hadn’t changed in the months since she’d last seen him—that he could be the same man she’d fallen in love with—it was obvious he was still the same stubborn, white knight he’d always been. Even if his rescue was several months too late. Coupled with the fact she doubted she’d be able to support her own weight, made it annoyingly apparent that the bastard was right.
He chuckled. “Damn, you haven’t lightened up at all, have you? I can practically hear you cussing my name. And yeah, you aren’t strong enough to walk so stop looking at me as if I’m the reason you’re barely coherent. This one wasn’t on me.”
“If it weren’t for this joint case, I’d be sitting on my couch, sipping Smithwicks right about now.”
“No, you’d either be dead in the hallway, or on a gurney at Mercy General.” He laughed again. “Or maybe, Smithers would have gotten Dr. Holloway to treat you at the facility. You know how much he loves stitching agents up.”
“Must you make this more of a train wreck than it already is? And I’d rather die than have that jerk treat me. He’s barely human enough to deal with corpses. Anything with a pulse is way out of his league.”
“Then shut up and let me fix your side. Then you can settle in and get some sleep.”
“Is that before or after I kick your ass?”
“Oh, sweetheart, I’d love to see you try. Right up until you bled out.”
Ryker snorted, shuffling her closer as he continued along a darkened walkway, stopping at a red door. He shifted her weight, then flashed a card over a keypad on the doorframe, twisting the handle once the light flashed green. The door swung inward, revealing only a wedge of wooden floor from the street lights, the rest of the interior still shrouded in shadows. Ryker pulled her closer, then twisted them sideways through the opening, kicking the door shut behind them.
His voice echoed through the room, followed by the sudden flash of light as three lamps switched on. He smiled down at her, carrying her through the main area and into a darkened room beyond. Though, she didn’t need the added glow to know he’d taken her into his bedroom, then onto the bathroom, the lingering scent of his cologne a dead giveaway.
He placed her on the counter, waiting until she gave him a shove before moving back. He turned toward the door, flicking on the light then rummaging through a closet against the far wall. He emerged carrying a large red bag with a white cross stamped on the front.
“You think you can balance up there long enough for me to stitch that wound?”
“I’m not dead, yet, asshole. And I can stitch my own damn wound.”
He tsked when she tried to reach for the bag, nearly tumbling off the surface. “Are you determined to upgrade your concussion to the next level? Or are you really that pissed you’d sacrifice your safety just to attempt to piss me off. Prove to me you’ve got bigger balls?”
“Don’t have to prove what we both already know. And I don’t recall saying I’d play nice.”
“You said you’d play it my way.”
“I also said you were still at the top of my shit list. That hasn’t changed.”
His perfectly sculpted lips curled into a smile. “Then you’ll let me stitch your side so you’ll be alive to get your revenge.”
She sighed, wishing she had the strength to back up her challenge, but aware it was taking all of her focus just to stay awake. Fatigue made her muscles feel heavy as she stared at Ryker, finally shaking her head. “Damn it.”
“Is that a yes?”
“Don’t be an ass. Yes, it’s a yes. But only because I plan on being around to stab you in the heart, later.”
“Good to know you’ve found your motivation.” He grabbed the edge of her shirt. “Nice and easy.”
Devlyn scowled but lifted her arms, hissing out her next breath when the fabric pulled against her skin. Another firm jolt of pain throbbed through her ribs, and she closed her eyes against the burning sensation behind her lids.
Strong arms folded around her, drawing her against Ryker’s chest. Her palms landed on his pecs, the steady strum of his heart vibrating across her skin. God, how many times had she dreamt about holding him this way? Knowing he held far more than her body in his hands—that he held her heart. Her damn soul. And based on the telltale kick of her pulse, the heat warming her cheeks, the bastard still did.
His slow exhalation ruffled the hairs around her head. “I know how much you hate this. Just…can we not fight for five minutes?”
She relaxed against him, wishing it didn’t feel as good as it did. “Fine. You’ve got five minutes.”
“You always were a giver, Dev.”
She stuck her tongue out at him, regretting it the moment the tip brushed across his jaw as he shifted his grip. He arched one brow, his smug smile fueling her anger. She thought about smacking him when he eased back, his gaze falling to her side.
He frowned. “Shit. It’s bleeding again.”
He helped her lean against the wall before gently removing the gauze he’d wrapped around her. She inhaled against the fiery sensation each tug of her skin ignited along her ribs, making the room dim at the edges. It wasn’t until he’d bared the wound that she thought she might actually make it through the procedure without blacking out.
Ryker mumbled under his breath, readying a few supplies before holding up a needle. He tapped the clear liquid inside, removing any air bubbles as a bit of the fluid shot out from the tip. “Ready?”
She clenched her jaw, answering him with nothing more than a curt nod. He focused on her side, slipping the needle beneath her skin. More pain sparked to life, and she blinked to find herself gathered in his arms again, as he placed her on the bed.
She glanced around, a wave of dizziness spinning the room. “What happened? I thought you were going to stitch my side?”
Ryker sighed. “Already done. You passed out before I finished freezing it.”
She squinted to try to bring him into focus. “I did what?”
“Just sleep, Dev. Please.”
She collapsed against the mattress, groaning when the room circled again. “What about Slader? Those thumb drives?”
“They can wait.”
“Since when are you willing to put an assignment on hold?”
“Since I thought you were going to die on me, ten minutes ago.” He cupped her jaw, stroking his thumb along her cheek. “Please sleep. I’ll get you something to eat once you wake up.”
Devlyn watched as he straightened, tucking the blankets around her shoulders. “Where are you going to sleep?”
His smile was nothing short of wicked. “Beside you. Afraid there’s only one bed and someone has to wake you up every few hours. Ensure that concussion of yours doesn’t get any worse.”
“Isn’t there a couch out there with your name on it?”
“The bed’s a king. There’s more than enough room for both of us without there being any awkward touching. And I’d rather not spend the next few days unable to move my damn neck.” He winked at her. “Figure one of us should be up to par to see that Slader doesn’t get the drop on us.”
“I’m more than par.”
He laughed. “I love that you’re still so damn feisty.” He shushed her with a finger over her lips. “Sleep.”
She frowned when he back away, watching him walk across the room until he reached the doorway. “Remember in the car when I said we’d hit rock bottom, but then you said things could always get worse?”
Ryker paused, glancing at her over his shoulder. “Yeah. So?”
“Well, apparently Rock Bottom has a basement.”
He smiled. “Then welcome to our brand new low. I suggest you get comfortable. I doubt we’ll be climbing out of this hell any time soon.”
And that’s it for me. Hop on over to the other ladies and see how they used the prompt.