Damage Me (Crystal Gulf Book 2) - Shana Vanterpool



Chapter One


Out of all of my nurses, this one was the hottest.

Her scrubs were the color of lavender, a soft purple that offset her olive skin. The black strands of her short hairstyle framed her face. Her top stretched over the fullness of her tits, and her ass was tight, the fabric of her pants taut as she bent over to pick up the pen she’d dropped. She tucked the pen in the front pocket of her shirt and then turned the sink on, pumping soap into her palm.

My eyes followed her around the room.

I wondered if it was making her uncomfortable, especially when she jammed her knee into the counter or when she dropped her used, damp paper towel onto the floor instead of landing it in the trashcan.

Finally, she turned around and gave me a tight smile. “Good morning, Dylan.”

I nodded once, eyes pinned on her as she came closer. It was morning. I wasn’t sure it was a good one.

She turned to examine the whiteboard on the wall, reading the last nurses notes. I’d given up hope on trying to understand their abbreviated words and instead studied their handwriting. The graveyard nurse wrote in large bubble letters, and the nightshift nurse wrote in small illegible letters with the pink marker. My current nurse picked up the black marker and wrote beneath it, indicating she was on shift this morning and then scribbled beneath her name, Nurse Carrie.

I would be a complete cliché if I hooked up with her, but then again I was nothing but a cliché now. A fallen bitter man.

“Did you have a good night?” she asked, moving over to a drawer to grab some items.

“Hmm,” I grunted, crossing my arms over my chest.

Again, the word good should have been clarified. Night had come, the way it always did. I laid here because I had no choice. The television kept me company because there was no one to talk to. I’d stared, resigned to this same spot for the past six months. There was nothing good about anything right now. I wasn’t sure there ever had been in my life, but her banal questions had started to get on my last damn nerve.

“Did you have a good night?”

“I did, thank you,” she said, wisely ignoring my bitterness. She pulled the tray over and then slapped on a pair of gloves. “Pull your blanket down, please. Can you sit up as well? I need to check on your wounds.”

I dreaded this part. Taking a deep breath, I used the strength of my arms to lift my body into a sitting position. It had been months since I’d lifted a single weight. The muscles in my body still looked like they were there, but it didn’t feel like they were. I ground my teeth together and pushed once more, sagging in a half-slumped position. “That’s all you’re getting,” I huffed, feeling like a pathetic piece of uselessness. My tone was harsh, but I wasn’t mad at her.

I was mad at … everything.

“That’s good enough.” She toggled with the remote that controlled my bed. She lifted the back to alleviate the pressure on me, and I sagged gratefully against it. “Blanket too.” She ripped open a pack of gauze as I pushed my blankets down past my knees, revealing my thighs. Without flinching or shrinking away like I did the first time I saw my leg, she simply took the antiseptic-soaked gauze and drug the moistened material over my wounds. “You’ve been scratching.” A cluck under her tongue sounded as she reached for the antiseptic, pouring even more onto the gauze. “What’s going to happen when you’re at home? There won’t be anyone there to make sure your wounds are cleaned. Do you want to lose your leg?”

My right thigh looked like a battlefield. There were long lines of scar tissue crosshatched with stitching. There was a particularly gnarled circle of scar where the bullet had entered my leg and shattered my femur. I’d been shown the x-rays and knew the same scar existed on the underside of my leg where the bullet exited. The other scars were from surgery, where the surgeon repaired my femur and attached a titanium rod to keep it in place. I’d been fixed and repaired. But I didn’t feel healed.

I hissed in pain when the antiseptic burned in my wounds. Leaning my head back, I stared up at the ceiling, willing the pain from my mind. “It itches. You