Dr. Ryan Collen detests being a vampire although there is hope on the horizon in the form of a monthly infusion. Not only does Ryan hunger for the light of day but the touch of the man who might save him from his demons.
Eric Beck is a shapeshifting recovery agent by day and Muay Thai kickboxer by night. While assisting at the aftermath of a vampire convention attack, he meets his old high school flame Ryan who ignites a craving inside him like he’s never known. Can Eric help crush the evil that threatens to destroy many lives and lose his heart at the same time?
“Help!” screamed Ryan. “Ambulance needed!”
He turned his head from side to side so his voice would carry amongst the noise and confusion. But everyone within the vicinity of one of the legendary auditoriums in downtown Chicago had their own hell to deal with. Some people ran away while others stood and cried.
The young woman held her abdomen. Her eyes were glassy and didn’t seem to focus.
“Can you hear me?”
“Yes,” she murmured in a shaky voice.
“I’m a doctor.”
“Lucky me.” The thin smile she gave didn’t give the confidence of her words.
After a quick assessment that her airway was open and she wasn’t having any trouble breathing, he checked her pulse. It was fast but strong. The next step was to see where her bleeding came from. He unzipped her jacket and opened it wide. The middle of her cotton shirt was covered in a circular area of blood that grew larger. He unbuttoned the shirt to get a look at the wound and then quickly closed it. It was best to avoid infection as best he could. She appeared to be shot once in the abdomen. As he glanced into her eyes she stared back. He tried not to show in his eyes the worry he had for her life.
“I’m sure you know you’ve been shot. Looks like only once. I need to put pressure on the area to help control the bleeding until EMS can get to you.” Ryan could use any material that was thick, soft and compressible that allowed him to place even pressure over the wound. The scarf around her neck would be fine. “I’m going to take off your scarf and use it.”
Lifting up her head, he gently removed the scarf she had layered around her neck.
The wound was too large for him to handle without aid. He could tell the moment he covered it with the scarf. As soon as he held the scarf against it the blood oozed through right away. More ambulance sirens echoed loudly throughout the streets. Hopefully she’d be attended to soon.
“Are you a vampire?” Ryan looked into her eyes.
“No. But I’m here with friends that are.”
“Where are they?”
“Laying on the ground over there.” She motioned her eyes to the right but didn’t turn her head.
From what Ryan could see they were already gone. Whatever hit them did its job and the area was still smoking. He didn’t know if she knew the outcome of her friends and he wasn’t going to be the one to tell her.
“Are they alive?” Her voice sounded shaky.
“I’m sorry but I don’t know.” Ryan hated lying but the truth wasn’t something he wanted to deliver. “They’re too far away.” He turned his head to holler to anyone who could hear. “Help! I need help over here!”
He glanced up to see a tall, blond man running toward him. The man carried a department store bag in one hand and held a phone to his ear with the other. As the man reached him, he sat the bag on the ground and put the phone into his pants pocket.
“I saw you needed help,” the man said. “What can I do?”
“Bend her legs at the knees and put her feet flat on the ground. It eases the strain on the injury.”
The man did as he was told and held her knees steady.
“I’m trying to put pressure on her abdomen until EMS can get to her. Do you have any update on what’s going on around here?”
The man nodded. “There are more ambulances on the way. It hopefully won’t be much longer. The area is secure. There’s no more shooting. The perps are gone.”
The blood had soaked through the scarf and could be seen on Ryan’s hands. He knew not to remove the blood-soaked material, but simply add to it and continue to apply direct pressure. The man next to him must have known that, too. He opened up his shopping bag and pulled out a new shirt from a top quality store across the street. Ryan saw the tag. It was an expensive, gorgeous shirt.
Ryan looked up at him. His eyebrows rose. “You sure?”
The man nodded. “Absolutely.”
The shirt was placed over the blood-soaked scarf and the bright red immediately seeped. The woman moaned and closed her eyes. Ryan knew she was going into shock from loss of blood. He picked up a wrist with one of his hands. Things had changed. Her pulse was fast and weak and she was breathing heavy. Not a good sign.
“Stay with me, miss,” he demanded. “Tell me you hear me.”
“I hear you,” she whispered.
“It shouldn’t be long before an ambulance gets to you. Stay awake.” Ryan glanced up to the blond man with a troubled look. The woman needed more medical attention than he could provide here on the sidewalk. Although he was a physician, he was powerless. As he glanced at his helper something about the man was familiar. Tall and blond. Where had he seen him before? He had a handsome face and intense blue eyes.
The blond man stood and wildly flayed both arms to get the attention of two workers who had jumped out of an EMS vehicle at the curb. They immediately headed their way.