Kasey was standing in her kitchen when the phone rang again. She’d not answered it all afternoon and she wasn’t planning on it now. She knew it was her uncle; he wanted to know what the doctor said. Well, she wasn’t ready to talk to anyone just yet.
Royce had taken her home that night after he’d told her he loved her. She remembered thinking her heart was going to explode with happiness when just as suddenly as he’d said it, he told her he couldn’t be in love with her. It felt as if he’d broken it. She glanced at the papers on the table and then walked to the refrigerator to get something to drink. She couldn’t look at it or the check that was lying there that Curtis had given her before he’d left.
“I think my brother is an ass if you want to know the truth.” She’d looked over at him. He’d taken her to the doctor as he said he would and had brought her home after.
“You shouldn’t be mad at your brother, Curtis. You never know what might happen and you’d never be able to live with yourself if you were mad at him like this and something horrible happened. What’s between us…what’s happening between us is only temporary. I told you what I wanted.”
“I think that’s a mistake as well. Kasey, please let me talk to him before you do something stupid.”
She wasn’t being stupid. She was being smart for the very first time in all her life. She was giving Royce just what he wanted. His child. She sat at the table and picked up the papers. They said that the money was hers to use as she saw fit and that all she needed to do was to give the child his name and put his name as the father on the birth certificate.
Picking up the pen with shaky fingers, she signed her name and dated it then she promptly burst into tears. Falling in love shouldn’t hurt this badly. She signed the check and then before she changed her mind, she put it all in the next day air envelope and picked up her phone. She noticed there were seven messages there, but ignored them. She called the courier service and made arrangements for them to pick up her package then called her uncle.
“I’ve been worried about you. What happened? Is everything all right?”
She gave a wavering smile. “Yes. I’m pregnant. I have a due date of February fourteenth. Everything looks fine. The baby is small, but he said that would change. He told me it was too early to tell the sex, but I told him I didn’t care. How are you?”
He was quiet for a long time before he spoke. “Now that you’ve gotten that out of your system, tell me what’s really going on.”
She nearly lied to him again. It wouldn’t have been easy, but she knew that starting a conversation with, “I’m giving up the baby” wouldn’t be the best thing for her right now. But she knew that she had to. If nothing else then to give him time to get used to the idea.
“I’ve come to some decisions. Major ones that involve my future. Things that—”
“Just tell me, girl. You’re killing me. What is wrong? Is it the baby or is it you?” She heard him take a deep breath before he continued. “You’ve decided to get an abortion, haven’t you?
She felt the tears fall. “No, not an abortion. I couldn’t do that. But I can’t keep it. I’ve…I’m giving it up. It’s better that way.”
She waited for him to explode. But he didn’t. He was calm and rational, something she needed and actually should have expected from him.
“You’re the one that has to live with your decision either way. I can’t say I’m not disappointed, because I am. I think you’d make a terrific mom; you’re too much like your mom not to. But I can also see why you’d feel the need to do this.” He sighed again. “Honey, what does Royce think about this?”
Now came the hardest part. She needed her uncle to trust her more than anyone she knew. Trust her with her secret.
“I’m signing the baby over to him as soon as it’s born. He doesn’t know. He…I need him not to know until it’s done. You have to trust me on this.”
“May I at least ask you why?”
She wiped at the tears as she formed her answer. “He can give the baby the best. Something that I can’t do, like education, opportunities, and everything that it will need.”
Those two softly spoken words crushed her. She knew he wasn’t saying it, but it made her feel like a failure—like somehow, she’d failed not only her child but her family as well. She couldn’t answer him. She hurt so badly that she simply hung up the phone.
The courier came ten minutes later and after he left to take the envelope to Curtis, she laid down. It was early yet, not quite six o’clock, but she felt as if she’d been run through a gauntlet. She was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
When she woke around two in the morning she felt sick. Her body ached and her head was pounding. Moving to the kitchen she put on her tea kettle and, while it was set to boil, she got down her mug. The pain ripped through her like a knife. The next pain knocked her to her knees. That’s when she noticed the blood.
She reached for the phone, knocking it off the table and onto the floor beside her. She reached for it, the pain making her scream out again. Pressing what she hoped was the number two, she prayed for her uncle to answer before the pain took her away. Even as someone answered, she felt her body let go. The blood poured from her as she said help.
Royce rushed to the hospital, not even aware if he stopped at any of the lights on the way. Daniel had said she was hurt and that the doctors wouldn’t tell him anything. Royce remembered asking about her uncle and was assured he was on his way as well. Royce rushed in the emergency room and right into Jay York’s arms.
“Where is she? Is she all right?” He realized that Jay was speaking to him but couldn’t seem to understand. “Just tell me she’s all right.”
“They took her to surgery. She was awake when I saw her briefly, but she… There was…oh God, there was so much blood. All I could think about was her mom. I saw Leah all over again.”
Royce held the man as he cried. Blood, Royce thought, so much blood. He wondered if it was an aneurism and tried to shy his mind from that. But he knew she’d lost the baby, lost their child.
“She didn’t lose the baby,” Jay said before he could ask. “She…the doctor said that she was lucky and that she’d have to stay down for a bit, but there was a good chance that
she’d deliver to term. She was so scared and crying. She said to tell you she didn’t do anything to hurt the baby. She wanted you to know that she’d never do anything like that, ever. I didn’t…she’ll be all right, he said. He said she’d be just fine.”
Royce looked at him. Why would… “I never thought she did. Why would she think something like that? Why would she have you tell me something like that?”
“Because she had it in her head that all you wanted was the kid.” Royce turned to his brother Daniel as he spoke. “She talked to Curtis today. Everything was set up that you’d get custody of the baby once it was born. The money you sent to her last week was going into a trust fund for her aunt’s care. And then once she left the hospital she was leaving the area.”
Royce sat down in one of the plastic chairs, feeling as though someone had hit him. He rubbed his chest where most of the pain radiated from. She believed that. He knew he had given her no reason to believe otherwise, but it hurt him to know that he’d hurt her.
“The doctor, did he say what happened? Did he know why she’d lost so much blood?” Jay was shaking his head. “Then what happened to them?”
“He said that she’d been slightly underweight anyway and her body was telling her that she needed to take it easy. He said these things just happen and that she was one of the lucky ones. After a few days in here, she can go home with me then I’ll—”
Royce saw his mother come through the doors. He needed her. Needed to have his mother tell him that things were going to be all right. He stood up when she came toward him. Between the three of them, she was brought up to speed and they went up to the surgery floor.
The doctor had closed off the small tear in her womb, but it would be hours yet before they would be sure that everything was fine. Two hours later they were all sitting in her room. Jay had cleared it with the hospital that they could be there. Royce had already told them that he was staying until she left or threw him out. He was reasonably sure that he could very well be thrown out, but he was willing to take the chance. He looked up when Kasey made a small noise.
She looked right at him. He could see the pain in her eyes and he hurt for her. He moved his chair closer to the bed and took her hand. He kissed it gently and smiled at her.
“The doctor said you’re going to be fine. That you might be weak for a few days, but otherwise, you’d be all right.” She nodded. “Do you need anything? Food? Something to drink?”
“No.” She looked over at the people behind him then back at him. “Why are you here?”
“Daniel called me when you called him. He thinks you might have hit last called when you picked up the phone. He said you kept calling for your uncle.”
“I don’t remember that. I was…I was hurting and I thought I’d dialed Uncle Jay. I’m sorry I bothered him.” She turned her head and wiped at the tear with her other hand. “I lost the baby. Your baby. I’m sorry about that. You don’t need to hang around now. I’ll understand if you—”
“No, Kasey, you didn’t. It was close, the doctor said, but you didn’t lose him. You’ll need to be on bed rest for a while, but that…Kasey, I love you. I’m sorry for the way I’ve been—”
“Don’t please. It’s not important anymore. It’s okay that you don’t love me. The baby made you—”
He put his hand over her mouth gently. “Don’t tell me that I don’t love you. It’s taken me nearly thirty years to figure out that I do and I plan to say it a great deal. So unless you have something profound to say back to me then I want you to hush and get better.”
She looked over his shoulder as he felt someone coming near. He thought it was her uncle and moved out of his way so that he could see his niece. Royce didn’t let go of her hand and stayed close enough that he could see her. Royce didn’t want to be rude, but the thought of leaving her right now was something he didn’t want to think about. When Jay kissed her forehead and moved back Royce slid his chair back in front of her.
“You should go home. There is no reason for you to hang around here. I’m really…I’m really tired anyway.” Her voice broke as she spoke and he brushed her tears away with his thumb. “Royce, please.”
“I’m not leaving you, honey. I do love you and I want to be here with you. Short of you kicking me out, I’ll just sit outside at the nurse’s station, but I’m not leaving.” She turned her head and he pulled it back to face him. “I love you, Kasey Marie York. The sooner you get used to hearing me say that, the better off you’ll be.”
Stay Tune for Next Week Chapter 17
Books In the series
THE HUNTERS -
1 ROYCE – http://smarturl.it/royce
2 CURTIS – http://smarturl.it/curtis
3 JESSE – http://smarturl.it/jessethehunters
4 DANIEL- http://smarturl.it/danielthehunters
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Emma McBride loves working in the law firm, and hopes someday to hang out a sign that has her on name on it. But for now, she has some proving to do. By the time she is caught up for the day, it’s nearly ten o’clock. If this doesn’t help her make partner, she has no idea what will. Emma is going to her car when she hears someone coming down the lane she was in. Instead of getting in, being trapped in her car, she pulls out her gun….
Landon McBride owns the ranch next door to the Double Deuce. It is the largest ranch in the state. His health is failing and he figures it’s time to sell. Lord knows, his son Dirk isn’t fit to run the ranch, and Landon can’t think of any person better to buy it than Mason Douglas. Mason is a good man and could manage the large spread better than he could.
Mason is interested, sure, but knows he can’t afford a spread that large, and tells Landon that. Landon jokes and tells him to marry his daughter and he can have it for free. Mason isn’t amused. Although he’s never met Emma, he knows Dirk, and if the siblings are anything alike it’s not no, but Hell no.
Emma is more embarrassed than she is hurting, but the entanglement with those men did a number on her body―she hurts everywhere. Recuperating at her parent’s ranch seems like the logical thing to do, but with her brother showing his ass and getting kicked out, she’s wondering if she’s not better off in her apartment in the city. But when the man next door shows up and shifts into an angry cougar, all bets are off.
The scent, the fear, and the smell of Emma is making Mason’s cat wild. He knows that he is scaring her—hell, he is scared himself…. He growls low, “She’s my mate. And hurt.”
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