Mace (Cocky Cage Fighter #4)By: Lane Hart
For all the Wicked Readers and Book Hoes
who love my men as much, if not more, than I do.
I may write them, but you ladies bring them to life.
My heavy eyelids have only drooped for maybe five seconds before the annoying, ear-splitting beeping startles me awake, making me feel guilty for almost drifting off to sleep. I shoot straight up out of the uncomfortable plastic chair and examine the row of machines, trying to figure out which one is the pissed off culprit this time. When none state the obvious alerts I’ve become all too familiar with (low oxygen, dropping blood pressure, or the IV bag needs to be changed) I reach over the bedrail and hit the red nurse call button just to be safe. It rings like usual, but there’s no follow-up voice asking how they can help me, or more specifically, how they can help my sister who’s been lying in a coma for three days.
Knowing the sight will be more painful than a million punches to the face, I force myself to glance down at Mandy’s frozen form to check for changes in her condition. Her face is still too pale, with the majority of it obstructed by the clear mask connected to the intubation tube. I reach for her hand that’s cool and limp with IV lines jutting out of it. Like every time, I squeeze gently on her fingers, hoping the contact will invoke some type of response. Of course it doesn’t.
Realizing the call for a nurse went unanswered, I hit the button again as the unknown beeping continues to blare. Actually, the alert seems to be getting louder. My heart races when I realize it must be the dreaded sound of Mandy flat-lining again for the fourth time. Fuck!
“Nurse!” I yell, hoping staff in the hall will hear me. For some reason, I can’t bear to let go of Mandy’s hand. With my free one, I hold down the nurse call button again, but unlike the times before when a herd of people wearing scrubs rush into the room, no one comes. “Someone please help her! Bring the defibrillators!”
Not a soul comes into the dark room, so I do the only thing I know to do, I start CPR compressions on Mandy’s chest. I can’t even give her mouth to mouth because she’s intubated!
I scream again for help, knowing it won’t do any good, but I can’t lose her. Losing mom almost killed Claire and me…there’s no way I can tell her that I let Mandy die, too. Claire’s always done everything she can for me since our mom lost the battle with cancer, and now I can’t even keep Mandy alive until Claire can see her and say goodbye one last time.
Putting my ear to her chest, I try to listen for her heartbeat as tears stream down my face and a sob wrenches from my throat.
Hearing my name, I jerk my head up to see if Mandy is awake somehow. Of course, she’s not. Her eyes are still shut tight as she lies unresponsive.
Wait, Mandy never called me Mace, only Mason. I look behind me toward the hallway, but no one’s there. When I look back down, Mandy is gone, too. The bed’s empty.
“Mace, wake up!”
I gasp, and my entire body levitates off the bed when I startle awake.
I blink my eyes open and stare unmoving at one of the walls in my bedroom, lit only by the rising sun, waiting for my galloping heart rate to slow down to a light trot. Just a dream, I tell myself. No, not just a dream. It’s June, and Mandy has been gone for nine months…only unlike my dream, I was in the room when the team of doctors and nurses tried everything they could to save her. Scrubbing a palm over my face, reality seeps into my tired, hazy mind.
What is with that annoying fucking sound? I thought it was just in my nightmare, but now that I’m awake, it’s still hammering into my skull like a pickax.
"Mace, please shut your fucking phone up," Monica grumbles groggily from behind me as she shakes my bare shoulder, before snuggling up closer to the warmth of my back.
My phone is making that God-awful noise? What. The. Hell?
"Hey, hon, can you reach my phone?" I ask, rubbing a palm down Erica's back until I reach her ass. Since her leg is thrown over mine, I squeeze a handful of her plump flesh and grind her against my morning wood. I'm not ready to move or leave the warmth of this fucktastic sandwich. Erica's brown curls are covering most of her face when she puffs out a breath of annoyance before reaching behind her to grab my phone from where it’s charging on the nightstand.