Cat Of A Different Color

Chapter 14

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“Max?”

Max was through the door and holding his mate before the first tear fell.

The gold eyes that locked on Adrian’s were fierce. “Find him.”

Unspoken were the words, kill him .

Sheri woke up with the worst headache she’d ever felt in her life. Her head pounded in time to her heartbeat, and nausea danced a tango in her stomach. It felt like something was trying to pry its way out of the top of her head using a jackhammer. “Kill me,” she whispered, groaning.

Even that slight sound made her skin crawl.

“Hey, princess. Head hurt?”

She opened her eyes. Adrian leaned down, nose to nose so she could see him clearly. His deep brown eyes were full of concern.

“Owie,” she whimpered.

He kissed her forehead, reaching above her to press the call button. “I’ll get you some medicine for the pain. Okay?”

She would have nodded but that might have made the top of her head fall off. So she chose not to. She closed her eyes against the minute glare coming through the windows. Adrian must have shut the curtains.

Bless the man.

“Okay, sweetheart, the nurse is coming.”

She could hear the squeaky shoes of the nurse in the overly waxed hallways before he did, but she didn’t say anything. Speaking hurt too much. Even grunting was beyond her at the moment.

If he’d just kill her the pain would stop. She’d be forever grateful to him.

She closed her eyes as he began stroking her hair, careful of the large lump on the side of her head. She heard the nurse enter quietly, and Adrian explaining what was wrong. A few minutes later the nurse injected something into her IV.

“You’ll feel better in a few moments, sweetheart.”

She couldn’t even nod. She sighed, and he seemed to understand.

He left her for a moment. She could hear water running in the bathroom, and a moment later a cool washcloth was draped over her forehead and over her eyes. She moaned as the cold took some of the pain away.

“I don’t want you to worry about anything, princess. I have it all under control. Relax and go to sleep.”

“Jerry?”

“The vet checked him out. He’s fine, just a little banged up. They kept him overnight for observation.

He’s at my place now.”

Her lips twitched up. It wasn’t a smile, she hurt too much for that, but it was the beginnings of one.

“Belinda’s awake and talking. She’s in pain, and she’ll need physical therapy, but she’ll be okay.” His hand moved back to her hair, stroking softly. “Gabe’s looking into who hit her, and we’ve set up security measures for the both of you. Someone will be with you at all times.”

She stirred, frowning. Just as she opened her mouth, his finger pressed against her lips.

“No. I need this, sweetheart. Don’t fight me on it. I can’t be with you all the time, but I need to know you’re protected or I’ll lose my fucking mind.”

She kissed his finger in answer.

“Thank you.” His lips gently touched hers, a barely felt caress that didn’t jar her head. “I put the same security measures on Belle, just in case.”

She bit her lip and tried not to cry. She knew it wasn’t her fault, but she couldn’t help feeling it was. The medicine the nurse had given her began to work, making her drowsy. She felt herself slipping away again as his lips brushed hers once more.

“Sleep, princess. I’ll guard you.”

She wasn’t sure, but just as she drifted off she thought she heard him whisper, “Love you.”

That was good. Because she loved him, too.

“Good morning, sleepyhead!”

Sheri considered keeping her eyes closed just a little bit longer. Maybe four or five hours. Just until Mrs.

Anderson left.

“I know you’re awake, Missy McFaker! Open those eyes! It’s a beautiful day out!”

Oh, dear God, please don’t let her have opened the blinds . Sheri cracked her eyes open and shut them with a squeak as ice picks in the form of sunlight jabbed themselves into her eyeballs. “ Please close the curtains !”

“Dear, you need more sunlight. You’re way too pale.”

Sheri groped the nightstand, trying to find her sunglasses. “Can you hand me my sunglasses, please, if you won’t shut the curtain?”

“Those old things? They’re way too dark. You should try using blue blockers. You’ll see much better that way.”

That would turn the ice picks into broadswords. No, thank you. “I have albinism, Mrs. Anderson.

Sunlight is dangerous for me,” she explained as patiently as she could.

“Oh? OH!” Sheri heard the rattling of the curtains being drawn. As the light dimmed she sighed in relief.

She cautiously opened her eyes.

The room was comfortably dim again. Mrs. Anderson stood at her bedside holding her sunglasses.

“Sorry, dear. I didn’t realize.”

Sheri stared at her, totally dumbfounded.

“Yes, I know. I’m not the world’s most observant person. Are you hungry?”

“Ah…yes?”

Mrs. Anderson beamed down at her, dark blue eyes twinkling. “Good. I’ll just get you your lunch then.”

She marched over to the door and pulled it open. “The young lady is awake and we’re hungry.” She shut the door and marched back over to the bed. “There. Your food should be here shortly.”

Sheri tried, and failed, to stifle a giggle. “Door to door service, huh?”

Mrs. Anderson nodded decisively. “Of course. It pays to be the grandmother of the sheriff and the mate of the Marshal, you know.” She plopped down into the chair next to the hospital bed, grinning. “So, what is it you want to know?”

Sheri thought about it for a moment. “The secret of immortality?”

One salt-and-pepper eyebrow rose into the air. “When you learn that one make sure you share with the rest of the class.”

“How’s Belle?”

The smile left her face. “They had to put a pin in her hip.”

Sheri winced. “She won’t be able to change unless they remove it.”

“Which won’t be for quite a while, unfortunately. And don’t feel guilty, either. Belle said she wants to see you as soon as you feel up to it. She’s worried about you.”

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