Authors: Emma Rider
Tags: #contemporary romance, #sweet romance, #contemporary love, #hot hero, #billionaire romance, #millionaire romance, #strong hero, #heartmelting
He smiled. "Beth."
She tried not to relish the way his voice
sounded on the one syllable. Something spiked up her spine at the
way he looked at her as he said her name, but she shook it away.
Before she could make a fool of herself by flirting with a married
man, Joy came in again with a cup full of pills and water. "I
brought something for the pain."
Beth swallowed as she saw the size of the
pills and cursed under her breath. She never liked pills. Never
liked any kind of medicine. She was more into natural healing. Even
as a kid she was rarely sick. She debated if she even wanted to
attempt to swallow the horse-pills or not.
Joy set the pills in Beth's lap and handed
her the cup of water. Then she produced a small scanner that she
aimed at her name tag. After a relative beep she then scanned the
barcode on the pill cap with another beep. Beth could only stare in
horror at the pills in her lap.
Cameron leaned in, his voice gentle.
"They're not going to swallow themselves."
She jumped, completely forgetting he was
there. Shifting in her bed, her hands bunched the fabric of her
blanket. "Sorry, erm—can you step outside for a second?"
Cameron shifted close enough for her to smell his aftershave. His
scent was musky and carried hints of cinnamon. The mixed aroma
calmed her, but just for a few seconds. When she realized he had
swallowed her hand in his again she started to panic.
He immediately let go, but said smoothly,
"It’s okay Beth. I can tell by the way you're looking at those
pills that you're going to have trouble with them. It's transparent
on your face."
"Don't you have a wife to go see?" She
He didn't even blink, but he did glance at
his watch. "Not until a little later, I came in early to try and
find the room. I'll stay to help you."
She shooed him with her hands. "No, it's
really okay. I need to be alone for this."
"Not going anywhere Beth." His tone
arrogant, as if whatever she told him he wouldn't leave. Of course
she could get the nurses to kick him out, but she didn't want to
Instead, she focused on the task at hand and
simply ignored the man. She shook the pills vehemently at Joy.
"These are bigger than horse pills. Do they come in a small size or
"No ma'am. Just try, okay."
"Nawh, it's okay, I changed my mind. The
pain isn't that bad."
"Beth," Cameron's voice was gentle, but held
an underlying note of steel, "just try to swallow them. I know you
She narrowed her eyes at her new friend. "Is
reading minds a talent of yours?"
He shook his head. "I've seen the strain in
your face ever since I came in."
She sighed. "Alright, but this won't be
"I will still think you're pretty."
Warmth filled her.
He thinks I’m
She wanted to gush with the nurse. The hot man thinks
she's pretty. Then she sobered, "Don't flirt with me or else you're
wife will probably wheel herself down here in the middle of the
night and suffocate me with my own pillow."
He laughed. "That does sound like her. She
gets jealous easily. But I'll say anything to take that pain of
She chuckled with him. "Your sweetness is
going to get me killed. Alright, I'll do it, only because you're
such a charmer."
He nodded, a determined gleam in his eyes.
"Down the hatch. One at a time."
She sat the cap of pills on her lap and dug
one out as if it were gum from the bottom of her shoe. Perhaps
staring the abomination down would make it shrink in fear, or at
least liquefy. She took a deep breath, threw it in her mouth and
gulped the water. Only to spit it back out. "Tastes terrible. God
what is this, bleach in pill-form? Something that tastes this
horrible must be poison."
"I'll go get another water." The silent nurse piped in.
Beth forgot Joy was still there. She glared
daggers at Cameron for encouraging her to try it, while she scraped
her tongue with her nails and tried to spit in her water cup. This
was all his fault.
Cameron didn't even glance at the nurse
while he studied Beth with narrowed eyes. "That's okay nurse, I
have a water bottle. I can take it from here."
"Alright sir, press the nurse's button or
yell in the halls if you need any help."
Cameron walked the nurse out and gently
closed the door. "Of course Joy, thank you for your help."
When she left, Beth looked at him, resolved,
her arms crossed. "I'm not trying that again."
"One more try, Beth."
"I'll help you. Do it for the sake of a new
Her shoulders slumped then her eyes trailed
from the water bottle in his hand to his face. "Is it
His eyebrows lifted. "Afraid I have cooties?"
"Well swapping spit with you would be like
kissing you, which I wouldn't appreciate if I were your wife. I'd
be hitting you in the head with my pillow."
He shot his hands up. "Should I be wary of
you and that pillow?"
"At least it's soft. But luckily for my
head, the water is sealed. I was going to drink it later."
She didn't wait. She threw the pill in
again, and chugged the water, making several large swallows.
"Tastes so awful. This would be so much easier with an IV. Joy
could just push it right in."
"One more Beth, you can do it."
She chugged the water and spit it out in the
cup trying to get rid of the taste.
"Don't wait Beth, just do it."
"Bossy." She muttered, then threw in the
last disgusting pill and gulped it down. She had to swallow more
than once to get the damn thing down. When she finally rinsed the
taste out of her mouth as best she could, she glanced down at the
water spots on herself. "Geez. You'd think I had a hole in my
"Don't worry about it."
"Were you in the splash zone?"
He chuckled slightly. "No." Then he looked
at his watch. "I've got to get going."
"Oh yes, your wife. Cameron, thank you for
visiting me and helping me swallow the medicine. I hate taking
They smiled at each other. After a few
moments, Beth said, "I don't want to rush you, but don't you have
"Right, yeah, actually I'm a little late.
I'm glad I could help you."
"Yes, thank you so much."
He made it to the doorway as she called out
to him again. He turned back to her with a frown.
"Can you come back later? I mean, after you
visit your wife. Just for like, five minutes? Please Cameron." If
her head could handle it she'd be on her knees on the hospital
He smiled, blinking.
"Something in your eye?"
"Contacts are drying out." He muttered. "Yes
Beth, I'll be back for you later."
Before she could say a farewell he left.
After a few hours catnap due to the
medicine, some lovely hospital food and a bland episode of
gardening of facts she already knew, Beth shut the TV off. The
hospital had over forty channels and there was nothing on. She was
bored out of her mind. She had scoped her room out. Gingerly gotten
up to use the private bathroom a couple times and attempted to tame
her short, auburn hair. She concluded that there was no cure for
hospital hair. The bandage didn't look so bad with her hair
She'd found that she had various personal
items here. Pajama pants folded neatly in a pink backpack,
cosmetics, hairbrush, and other various necessities. She sulked
that she didn't have a cell phone and figured she lost it in the
crash. As soon as her eyes landed on the smooth paperbacks, she
purred. Stacks of romantic novels were also in her backpack, and
even an e-reader.
She was settling down, about to open one of
her books by a CR Johnson when Cameron came back in looking
refreshed. "Oh thank god, I'm dying of boredom." She put her arm
over her forehead in mock exasperation.
"I have the perfect cure." He held up
"I think a perfect cure would've been a
He shook his head, chuckling. "Cards for
"What are we going to play, strip poker?"
She tried to keep the enthusiasm out of her voice but failed.
He laughed again then coughed into his hand
trying to mask it.
"I was only half joking."
He cleared his throat. "I know. We're
." He dealt the cards and Beth perked up when
she had doubles in her hands already.
At each pair her smile grew bigger. "This is
going to be a short game. I have the best luck."
"We'll just have to play another. Do you
have a two?"
"Go fish." She covered her expression with
her three remaining cards. "So how was your visit with your
His face was impassive as he said, "Earlier,
it went well."
"I'm happy to hear that." She said
She picked up another card, studying it
without glancing at him. "Is she getting better?"
His breath whooshed out, "Yes, in fact,
she'll be able to go home soon. Do you have a five?"
She handed her five over to him. "Oh, that's
"Yes, I'm very happy about that. Do you have
"Go fishing, sir." She cleared her throat
trying for a casual voice, "You never told me what happened to your
wife. Is she sick?"
His mask came apart and he closed his eyes,
but she saw the pain. She dropped her cards, and she wrapped her
hands around his. "Oh, we don't have to talk about her if you don't
Cards forgotten, he scrubbed his free hand
through his hair. "No, it's okay."
"Why aren't you with her? Why are you here
with me, Cameron?"
He shrugged. "It's a little complicated." He
sighed, his eyes fixed on the pile of cards between them. "It was
an accident, similar to yours. She just…she needs to wake up."
Tears gathered in her eyes upon seeing the
love in his. She envied that woman. God, she did. She wiped them
away before he caught her crying. Sniffing a little, she said,
"Well, you said she's getting better. She's improving?"
"Good. I hope she wakes up. No one deserves
to be asleep for a long time."
He smiled sadly at her. "No."
"Maybe if you talk to her, she'll hear your
call and she'll come out of that coma."
"Look, let's stop talking about sad stuff.
Let's play. We both need a distraction."
After several rounds of
Go Fish, War
and several other card games, Cameron left again to hunt for food
and go check with the doctor about his wife, but promised Beth he'd
She was deep into her novel when he came
back; his appearance alarmed her. He appeared to be shorter than
earlier. His back bowed slightly as he stumbled into the room. Beth
didn't smell any alcohol as he drew nearer. Her heart almost
stopped as she saw the deep purple circles underneath his eyes for
the first time. His dark stubble stuck out from his ghost white
"Cameron, when's the last time you slept?"
The book forgotten, she reached her hand out to him and indicated
for him to have a seat.
He shrugged, unconcerned. "It's been a few
days." His hand sought hers out immediately and he had a seat next
to her bed.
"How long has your wife been in the
He didn't say anything. His chin
It killed her to see such a powerful,
confident man so defeated. "I can't imagine what you're going
through." She squeezed his hand.
He squeezed back.
She passed him one of her many blankets.
"Here, I have enough to spare and it looks like you need this. Take
"No, if I go to sleep, you'll go to sleep.
And I'm afraid," He shook his head not saying anything.
"Afraid of what, Cameron?"
"Of starting the day all over again." Her
ears had to strain to catch the whisper of his voice.
"You're not making any sense, Cameron
honey." She paused. Why did that sound natural? She shook her head.
"Look, I'll wake you in an hour."
His eyes started closing, but he fought it.
"It's okay, Cameron. Go to sleep."
Ten seconds later he did, and she had time
to study him some more. Poor man, he must be up day and night,
worried sick over his wife. Coma didn't sound pleasant. She never
wanted to experience it. It could be worse though. At least she
She sighed as she leaned over the bed and
tucked him in with the blanket. A wink of light caught her eye and
she slowly lifted the chain around his neck to further inspect.
Comprehending the object, she dropped it as if she had touched
She picked up her book and tried to dive
back into the story but she found she read the same sentence five
times. Her eyes kept straying back to the chain. She turned the TV
on, hit the mute and sifted through the channels. When she couldn't
find anything to watch she carefully left the bed and slowly paced,
thinking. She stopped when pain lanced through her head again, and
she almost collapsed until Cameron jumped up to catch her. He swung
her up in his arms and placed her back on the bed.
"Why did you get up? You're not supposed to
be up. You suffered from a head injury and you're still healing."
He scolded, his voice harsh.
Not letting go of his neck, she matched his
tone. "Why do you have a damn diamond ring around your neck?"
He exhaled, he said in warning,
She held her breath. "Can I see it?"
"See what?" He placed her on the bed.
"Gimme the diamond, Cameron. I want to see
it for a second."
He dropped into his chair. After a few
moments of a staring contest that Beth won, he reluctantly
unsnapped the chain and placed the diamond in the center of her