Bitten Under Fire(15)

By: Heather Long

McGinnis was on the horn talking to someone when he stepped inside, so he put her tray on her desk and carried Bianca’s over to the bed. The beautiful woman continued to sleep, her chest rising and falling steadily. The monitors beeped her heart rate and other details. All seemed normal, and his nostrils flared as he sampled her scent…fresh and full of zest, like a bright day exploring hill country with sweet, unexpected turns.

Homesickness swamped him, and his wolf sighed. Placing her tray on the table, he took possession of his coffee and sipped it as he resumed his spot at her side. Realistically, since he bit her, he had to have a plan in place before he addressed the issue with his captain or his father.

Of the two men, Jax would likely be more lenient. Especially in light of his successful pursuit of Kat. Though Kat hadn’t gone through the transformation yet, it was on the schedule. They held off because no one on the team or in the packs wanted the government aware they could turn anyone. The couple was wildly devoted to each other, and it was enough to make even the most confirmed bachelor wistful for the opportunity of more.

Dropping his gaze to Bianca’s bandaged wrist, he tested her scent again. It had been her blood he tracked through the jungle. Filthy, worn, and battle weary, there had also been sunshine and sweetness in her scent.

At least they’d found her something else to wear. The white bathing suit had fit her compact, curvy form well, but it hadn’t provided near enough protection. Bianca had been adorable, a combination of shy and spunky. Earlier, she hadn’t seemed to want him to flirt with her, worried about her looks, and yet she hadn’t shied away from self-deprecation at his questions. She’d teased him in return, or at least the hint of it had been there in her attitude.

Despite the tear tracks through the dirt on her cheeks, she’d not given into hysterics or terror. Instead, she asked questions and assessed her own choices. Different and charming in equal measures. When the doc cleaned her up during her treatment, Cage hadn’t been able to look away. Her hair was dark brown and hung to near her shoulders. It had a funny kind of uneven cut; he didn’t know what women called it.

Her eyes were hazel and reminded him of fancy stones in water with sunlight refracting through it. I’m turning into some weird poet. Those pretty eyes were still closed. Admittedly, his favorite thing about her besides her admirable courage, sense of humor, and self-deprecation was the raspy notes in her voice.

The husky tenor stroked over him like an invitation for sex and play. Both options intrigued him, and not just because she was hot—which she definitely was—but because she was tough and determined. Resourceful, too.

A soft sound escaped her parted lips, and he straightened. Her eyelids began to move, but she didn’t wake. No, she had to be dreaming. Her respiration increased and the pulse monitor began to leap. Fear stained her lemony scent.

Not a dream. A nightmare.

Trusting his instincts, he took her hand. “Shh, I’m here,” he told her in a low voice. “No one is going to hurt you.”

She calmed almost immediately, and his wolf puffed a little. They’d protected her, even if she was asleep and he couldn’t kill whatever haunted her dreams. He had a good idea of what it was, and bad dreams were pretty normal after the terror she’d experienced.

Respiration returning to normal, she released a little sigh, and her pulse continued to calm. Satisfied, he released her, then it began all over again. When her agitation grew evident, he put his hand over hers.

She calmed.

Fine. He’d sit there and hold her hand. He didn’t have a problem with that.

“Sergeant,” McGinnis called from her office. “I’ve got that report for you. Do you want me to give you the rundown or just read it later?”

“Just give me a list of her injuries for now, then I can read the full report after.”

The corpsman exited her office and set the report on the table near Bianca’s tray. “As I said earlier, two cracked ribs and fracture to her wrist. She may need to have it casted, but for now the splint will do. Dehydration, several lacerations along her legs and arms. Likely from traveling through the jungle. Her knee is torn up, but that’s a surface scrape, probably going to hurt like a bitch later. We’ve cleaned it out, and packed it with antibiotics. She doesn’t need stitches there. Some abrasions to her fingers and palms. Again, not pleasant, but also not life threatening.”

Cage listened to the full recitation and bit by bit his tension left him. Those were all expected injuries.

“Contusion on her cheek, severe bruising, and I already said she might want to see a plastic surgeon.” McGinnis flipped through her report. “Oh, and one anomaly, but I did go ahead and give her a tetanus and rabies booster.”