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Chapter 20


Hunter woke up, his body covering Claire's. He was in a moderate amount of pain and bit the inside of his cheek as he went to the bathroom. His urine was better, pink now. The bruising was heinous. His eyebrow was swollen but his lip looked a lot better. He finished rinsing his mouth and checked the cut inside of it. Claire had stretched out from the little ball she had curled up in and he stood in the doorway watching her. Her eyes were closed and she surprised him when she spoke.

“How ya feelin?”

“I hurt.”

“You peein blood still?”

“It’s clearing up.”

“Get into bed. I’ll get ya some ice.” She stood up and he appreciated the view of her legs in the morning.

“I wanted so badly to be here yesterday morning. To see you in the flesh, first thing. Instead, I looked at the picture that Maggie took of us. I drank my coffee and stared at our picture. You were the first thing on my mind Claire.”

“Does this happen often? Havin to deal with stuff like this at your fancy club?” She started the coffee pot while he sat down with a sharp inhale.

“No. I’ve been lax about it. Didn’t want to be the tight fisted bastard my old man was. But I’m finding it bit me in the ass.”

“Got bit on your handsome face too.”

He grinned a lopsided grin at the handsome comment. “You think I’m handsome?”

“Stop bein fresh. You know you’re a handsome devil with angel wings.”

He watched her and finished his water. He emptied his bladder again and there was just a slight tinge of pink.

The bruises were black and blue and he was going to have trouble moving the next couple of days. His phone went off along with Claire’s.

“Stella…checkin on ya. She wants to come look at your stitches.”

“Max just messaged me to see if I was awake.”

“Tell them to come on over.”

He texted Max and put his phone down. “I’d chase you around the kitchen but I can’t move real fast, so I’d appreciate it if you come over here.”

She chewed on her lip, a smile was trying to escape as she moved towards him.

His arms pulled her in between his long legs. “Thank you…for everything. For being good to my people, kind to me. Taking care of me and letting me practically smother you in my sleep.”

“I don’t like this fussin Hunter, it’s botherin me.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t want it to upset you.” He pulled her to him tighter.

“I got my reasons I don’t like it. Are ya hungry?”


She moved away from him and started making pancakes and bacon. A knock on the door sounded and Stella came in, with her scrubs on and Max behind her. The house was alive as the men talked and Stella chatted with Claire over coffee.

“Okay pal…take that shirt off.”

Stella tightened her mouth up. “Urine?”

“Light pink now.”

“I think you got a cracked rib Hunter.”

“Pretty sure I do.”

Claire spun on him. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“You let me snuggle with you. Didn’t want to end up in the spare room because you were afraid to bump me.”

Max burst out laughing at the look on Claire’s face. She went from pink to red in a matter of seconds.

“Well guess where your sleepin cuz I’m afraid to bump you now.” She knew that pain. It could make you sweat, especially when someone insisted on draping their heavy arm on your middle.

Stella grinned and looked at his hand and eye. “Your lip looks good.”

“Claire gave me lipstick.”

“Balm. Not lipstick.”

“She let me kiss it off of her.”

Claire’s mouth dropped open. “Hunter! I did not!”

“You sure are pretty when you’re that color.” He gave her a lopsided grin.

Max burst out laughing again. “You’re in trouble brother…again. Did she snore last night?”

“Like a fucking freight train. Had to practically lay on top of her to get her to stop.” He sniffed and sipped his coffee. He couldn’t even look at her, the look on her face was priceless.

Claire’s mouth dropped open and she felt her fiery cheeks.

“Drooled too. Had to change the pillowcase she was sleepin on.” He turned away from her. If he started laughing, he was going to be in some pain.

Max was laughing so hard he was crying. Stella was giggling and Claire was going from pink to red.

“Hunter Seven Rhodes! You darn liar!”

When she said his road name he felt the call in his blood. He winced as he stood up and started going towards her in the kitchen. “What did I tell you about saying my road name?”

Stella looked at Max who winked at her.

Claire put the spatula down that she was using and chewed on her lip as the large man walked towards her. She took a deep breath and pulled her lips in her mouth, trying to not giggle.

“Claire…what did I say about that?”

She snorted and got on the balls of her feet, ready to run.

“Claire…” he stalked towards her and she hopped from one foot to the other.

He reached her before she could move and put his lips down to her ear. He didn’t even feel any pain anymore. “What did I tell you it did to me?”

She snorted out another giggle. She pulled him down gently and put her lips to his ear. “It made you not want to be a gentleman.”

He growled in response and it made her giggle.

Stella and Max watched as the two shared a private moment. Neither had ever seen Hunter like this before. Stella desperately wished she could hear what they were whispering to each other. She snapped a secret picture and texted it to Miss Betty.

He had his nose to hers a sexy grin. “I’d very much like to kiss you right now, but we have an audience.” He whispered quietly.

She glanced at Max and Stella who both wore Cheshire cat grins.

Claire opened her mouth and managed to get the word pancakes to come out.

“Stop…both of you.” Hunter stood up and grinned at the couple with a wince.

Breakfast was quick and the couple left. Hunter announced that he would stay with Claire for a couple of days who turned red. She had just met him and didn’t want people to think they were sleeping together. She liked him being in her home, she liked him and she was scared to death.

“You need to get in bed. Take this. Go put some lipstick on.” She nudged him gently as he let out a chuckle. He took the pill, washing it down with another bottle of water. The ice felt good on his ribs and he relaxed as the pill kicked in. He closed his eyes as Claire traced the dark ink that decorated his body. Her touch lulled him into a deep sleep. He woke up hours later in a cool, dark room and could hear her murmuring on the phone as he got out of bed. His urine was clear and he was thankful, the last thing he needed was to sit in the hospital half the day peeing in a cup.

He was in a good amount of pain as he moved into the living room. Claire had paperwork everywhere, a computer and tablet open and a lock box that had disks, thumb drives, pictures and a small notebook. She slammed it shut when she saw him and shook her head.

“Thank you. I look forward to your email.” She hung the phone up and sighed.

“I hurt.” He croaked out.

“Okay…okay…go get back in bed.”

She was up and running around as he moved slowly back to the bedroom. He caught the glimpse of a picture that looked like she had a black eye. He pushed it back, he couldn’t go there right now. But he would eventually.

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