Trapped with the Maverick Millionaire(10)

By: Joss Wood

“Do you need something for the pain, Mr. McCaskill?”

Mac jerked fully awake and looked into the concerned face of a guy a few years younger than him.

“I’m Troy Hunter, your nurse,” he said. “So, some meds? You’re due.”

“Hell yes,” Mac muttered. He usually hated drugs but he slowly rolled onto his good side, presenting his butt to be jabbed as Kade and Quinn walked into the room. “Hey, guys.”

Troy glanced at Mac’s visitors with his mouth dropped open, looking like any other fan did when the three of them were together...awestruck.

Tall and rock solid, in both stature and personality, Mac wasn’t surprised to see Kade and Quinn and so soon after his surgery. They were his friends, his onetime roommates, his colleagues...his family. They were, in every way that counted, his brothers.

After giving him the injection, Troy pulled up Mac’s shorts and stood back to look at him, his face and tone utterly professional. “Let’s get you sorted out. I need to do my boring nurse stuff and then I’ll leave you to talk.” He looked more closely at Mac. “You look uncomfortable.”

Mac nodded. He was half lying and half sitting but the thought of moving made him break out in a cold sweat. “Yeah, I am.”

“I can remedy that.” Troy, with surprising ease and gentleness for a man who was six-three and solid, maneuvered Mac into a position he could live with. While Troy wound a blood pressure cuff around Mac’s arm, Kade sat down in the chair on the opposite side of the bed, his expression serious.

“We would appreciate your discretion as to Mac’s condition,” he told Troy. That voice, not often employed, usually had sponsors, players and random citizens scattering.

Troy, to his credit, didn’t look intimidated. “I don’t talk about my patients. Ever.”

Kade stared at Troy for a long time before nodding once. “Thank you.”

They waited in silence until Troy left the room and then Kade turned to him and let out a stream of profanity.

Here it comes, Mac thought, resigned.

“What were you thinking, trying to move that fridge yourself? One call and one of us would’ve been there to help you!”

Mac shrugged. “It wasn’t that heavy. It started to fall and I tried to catch it.”

“Why the hell can’t you just ask for help?” Quinn demanded. “It’s serious, Mac, career-ending serious.”

Mac felt the blood in his face drain away. When he could speak, he pushed the words out between dry lips. “That bad, huh?”

Kade looked as white as Mac imagined himself to be. “That bad.”

“Physiotherapy?” Mac demanded.

“An outside chance at best,” Quinn answered him. He didn’t sugarcoat his words, and Mac appreciated it. He needed the truth.

Kade spoke again. “We’ve found someone to work with you. She’s reputed to be the best at sports rehabilitation injuries.”

Neither of his friends met his eyes, and his heart sank to his toes. He knew that look, knew that he wouldn’t like what was coming next.

“Who? Nurse Ratched?” he joked.

“Rory Kydd,” Kade told him, his face impassive.

“Rory? What?” he croaked, not liking the frantic note in his voice. It was bad enough seeing Rory in his dreams but being her patient would mean hitting the seventh level of hell.

There was a reason why he never thought of her, why he’d obliterated that day from his memory. He’d publicly humiliated himself and the world had seen him at his worst. Rory’d had a front-row seat to the behind-the-scenes action.

Saying what he had on that open mic had been bad enough but almost kissing his about-to-be ex’s sister was unforgiveable. At the time he’d been thinking of Rory a lot, had been, strangely, attracted to Shay’s petite but feisty younger sister. But he should never have caged her in, tempting them both. He knew better than to act on those kinds of feelings, even if his relationship with Shay had been sliding downhill.

His mother’s many messy affairs had taught him to keep his own liaisons clean, to remove himself from one situation before jumping into another. He’d forgotten those lessons the moment Rory looked at him with her wide, lust-filled eyes. His big brain shut down as his little brain perked up...

In the months afterward he hadn’t missed Shay—too needy, too insecure—but he had missed talking to, teasing, laughing with Rory. She’d been, before he mucked it up, his first real female friend.

That day he’d also unwittingly created a media superstorm and a public persona for himself. He’d been branded a player, a party-hard, commitment-phobic prick whose two objectives in life were to play with a puck and to chase skirts.

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