Turbulent Desires(10)

By: Melody Anne

Breathing heavily through his nose, Mav didn’t need to look down to know. He’d broken plenty of bones in his day.

“Yeah, my arm’s broken,” he said through gritted teeth.

“I’m sorry, brother,” Cooper said.

“Not your fault, bro. I was fighting like a girl,” Mav told him. Cooper smiled before he pulled out his phone and started to call 911. “I’m not riding in a damn ambulance. Help me up, and take me in,” he said as he began wobbling to his feet.

Cooper dropped the phone and gave his brother a hand. He didn’t argue because he would have insisted on the same thing.

Mav felt the world tilt as he, more shakily than he’d ever admit, climbed out of the ring. No way would he black out in front of his brother or the other patrons in the gym.

His arm snagged in the rope, but Cooper grabbed him before he could go down. Leaning heavily on his brother, Mav let Cooper help him into his ridiculous sports car. Normally, Mav loved the fine piece of machinery, but at the moment, he could only curse at it as he ducked his throbbing head to sit down in the passenger seat.

“Now, you gonna tell me what that call was all about that had you fighting so damn badly?” Cooper prodded, as he started the engine.

Mav swore. “I’ve been trying to get Lindsey to talk to me all year, been trying to get her to get out of the house and go out with me—anything but sitting there in your guest cottage.”

“She’s been back at work,” Cooper pointed out.

“Yeah, she goes to work, school, and then back home.”

Cooper frowned. “Stormy has been worried about her too,” Coop said. “To tell you the truth, I’m pretty dang attached to the girl as well. I know she hasn’t been doing too good, but I haven’t known what to do. It’s not something I’m familiar with.”

“We don’t like to fail. It’s something in our blood,” Maverick told him. They hit a bump and Maverick winced. Cooper smiled at him. A curse word was uttered in his direction, but Cooper pretended not to hear it.

“So what did Uncle Sherman say?”

They were getting closer to the hospital, and Mav was grateful. He would swear on a bible that his brother was hitting every hole and bump on the damn road just to make the trip that much more unpleasant.

“My chair dropped out for the fund-raiser. He suggested I ask Lindsey to step up,” Mav said with a real smile, ignoring his pain.

Cooper was silent for a moment before he grinned back at his brother.

“Damn! That old man is good,” Cooper finally said.

“Just don’t tell him that,” Mav said.

“I wouldn’t dare,” Cooper assured him.

“I’ve been where she’s at. When I was captured . . .” Mav stopped talking. He didn’t speak about those days or what had been done to him.

He’d learned quickly, though, after watching a lot of his fellow soldiers, that if he allowed himself to wallow in it, then he might sink to a place he would never come back from. He didn’t want to see the same thing happen to Lindsey. He cared about this girl, though he didn’t want to admit to anyone just how much.

Why she mattered to him, he wasn’t exactly sure. It wasn’t as if the two of them were close. Sure, they’d shared a night together—once—but he’d shared many nights with many women. Never before had he had a woman he couldn’t forget.

“You are taking me to Mercy Hospital, right?” Mav said.

“Of course,” Cooper told him with a wink.

“Good. There’s a nurse there who I know can heal me all up.”

The sad thing was that Mav knew her schedule. Whether she wanted an angel on her shoulder or not, she’d had one since the attack. But this angel wasn’t willing to sit in the shadows any longer.

“Next time we’re in the ring, you better bring your game,” Cooper told him, changing the subject, which Mav was grateful for. He wasn’t a feeling-sharing kind of guy.

“Sarge is gonna kick my ass,” Maverick muttered as they pulled into the ER parking lot, and Cooper turned to look at him.

“Not worse than I already did,” Cooper told him with a wink.

“Don’t be getting all cocky on me, brother. I didn’t have my head in the game,” Maverick growled.

“Whatever. I’m going to be telling this story for years to come,” Cooper assured him.

“You can start tonight ’cause it looks like I’ll be out of commission for at least a few weeks. Guess who gets to be doing all my meal prepping?” Mav taunted him.

“I don’t want your ugly mug at my place,” Cooper said as he came around the side of the car just as a nurse came out with a wheelchair.

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