Shifting Gears: The Complete Series (Sports Bad Boy Romance)

BOOK: Shifting Gears: The Complete Series (Sports Bad Boy Romance)
4.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

SHIFTING
GEARS

The
Complete Series

By
Alycia Taylor

Copyright
2016. All rights reserved.

 
 

Get
Future New Releases In This Series For 99 Cents

 
 

Click
Here to Like My Facebook Page

 

Get
An Email When My Next Book Comes Out By Clicking Here

 

 

Get your
free copies of 3 books and a 4
th
never released novel when you sign
up for the authors VIP mailing list.

 

Click here to get your free books

 
 

Chapter
One

Painting Candy Canes

Kate

 
 

The emergency room is
uncharacteristically slow at St. Mary of Egypt Medical Center. It’s not a
regular part of my job, helping out in the ER, but I am coming to the end of my
shift and, for once, it might just be slow enough for me to run out the clock
here.

I’m having
an innocent conversation
with my friend Paz
when a patient walks by, his upper lip pulling into a sneer as he passes.

“You see the way he
looked at me, like he thinks he’s better than me?” Paz asks, just loud enough
for the patient to hear.

“Paz,” I say, “you’re
doing the crazy lady routine again.”

There
are many
and varied
reasons
my twenty-eight-year-old friend has the highest resting
blood pressure of anyone on staff, but looking at her the wrong way will set
her off faster than nearly anything.

As the man’s standing
there, though, his eyes big, his mouth open, I notice something.

“Oh, I know you did
not
just make that face at me again,”
Paz says, this time to the patient.

“Paz?” I mutter, barely
audible even to myself.

“You just think you can
stand there and smirk while I’m doing a thankless job for no money and I’m just
going to take it, huh?” she accuses the patient.

“Paz?” I say a little
louder than before.

“Yeah, you’d
better
turn around and get back in your
room,” she mutters.

“Paz!” I
yell
, the size of my voice startling even me.

She snaps her head around
toward me. “Oh, chica, you wanna remember who you’re talking to,” she snaps at
me.

When she starts with the
Spanish, that’s when you know you’re in trouble.

I got her to admit once
that she doesn’t speak the
language; she
knows a few words and likes to think it gives her “street-cred.” Those are her
words. It's her way of telling me if I don’t back up, I’m
getting
hit.

Paz isn’t the
standard smiles-and-platitudes kind of nurse. She’s
not the burnt-out nurse who’s been doing this forever and is understandably a
little jaded. She’s more the “Why would
she
ever want to get a job dealing with people?” type.

Paz is
hostile all on her very own.

Fortunately,
though, she’s a friend of mine.

“Look at
his chart,” I tell her. “I think he’s got Bell’s Palsy.”

Being the daughter of a
mom who’s chief of surgery at one hospital and a dad who is a resident at the
only other hospital in town, I’ve picked up a few things over the years. Right
or wrong, this might just be the insignificant slight that puts me on Paz’s
list.

Paz’s list is not a
metaphor. She has a notebook containing the names of the people she thinks have
wronged her over the years, and those names don’t get crossed off until she’s
exacted some disproportionate response.

“That true?” she barks
after the patient.

Through the doorway, I
can hear the man’s timid voice as he answers, “Yes.”

Without any ceremony—or
apology—Paz turns toward me saying, “You’re getting pretty good at that, kid.”
Then, as if nothing had happened, our conversation resumes. “So
back to what I was saying
: I told Marco if he
wasn’t going to stop spending all his time with that puta, I was going to break
it off.”

I’m trying to conceal a
grin. “How relieved was he?” I ask.

She raises an eyebrow,
saying, “He stopped smiling when he found out I didn’t mean the relationship.”

“We’re talking about his
mother, right?” I ask. “She’s the
puta
?”

She rolls her eyes.
“Whatever,” she says. “So then,
he
tells
me
that I need to go to
counseling
or something because I’ve got ‘anger
problems.’
Can you believe that? Paz
means peace. How am I going to have anger problems?”

She’s not great on
self-awareness
.

I looked it up
once. The
name Paz does indeed mean peace. That
said,
calling a
baby girl Chastity all
but guarantees she’s going to strip at some point during her lifetime. I’m
pretty sure that’s the type of thing we’re looking at here.

The thing I love about
Paz is that it doesn’t bother her one little bit if I’m quiet. She’s more than
happy to talk for the both of us. I think it’s about my only requirement for
friendship anymore. Between work and school, it’s not like I’ve got time to be
picky.

I’m a candy striper,
although I could have sworn the job had a different title when they
let
me start volunteering here. I got into it
because the parents wouldn’t pay for the college they wanted me to go to in the
first place if I didn’t.

I wish I could say that
my job is some amazing, fulfilling experience, the likes of which I can hardly
even fathom. The truth is that I’m a glorified—and unpaid—hospital maid.

Every once in a while, I
get put in the gift shop, but that’s about the only time I ever see a smile in
this place.

There’s a commotion at
the far end of the ER and without a word, Paz rushes over to see what’s causing
the disturbance. A couple of doctors and nurses wheel a man into the ER on a
stretcher.

I’d love to follow Paz
over there and help out, but I’d just get in the way. Candy stripers are
ideal
for autoclaving—not as exciting as it
sounds—but whatever’s going on, it’s over my head.

Still, I do find myself
gradually making my way over in that direction, though I make sure to leave
plenty of room between
the patient and me
.
I’ve been yelled at by doctors before. It’s not fun.

“I
'm all right,
” the bloodied man on the stretcher says, covering his
nose with his hand. “Seriously, I’ve got that peroxide stuff or whatever at
home. Seriously.”

As I’m leaning against
the counter of the nurse’s station, just trying to blend in, a man comes over
to me, saying, “Call me crazy, but just taking a look at him, I’d say that’s a
bad idea.”

I glance over, asking,
“Do you know him?”

“Yeah,” the man says.
“Right before he decided to take a detour into an oak tree, we were on our way
to a thing. He’s going to be okay, right?”

“I’m not a doctor,” I
tell him.

“Hey, Mick, this lady out
here says you don’t have a chance, jackass,” the man calls to his friend.

“Shut up, Rans,” he says.
“I’m fine. Will you tell these doctors to get off of me?”

“You know,” I tell Rans—whatever
kind of name that is, “if he’d just stop struggling, they wouldn’t be trying to
strap him to the bed.”

Rans smiles at me and
turns back to his friend. “What?” he calls, “So you’re just going to lie there
and take it? If you’ve got a problem with it, put up a fight. What’s wrong with
you?”

It’s not easy, but I
manage to conceal my amusement. “You see, that’s kinda the opposite of what I
was telling you,” I say to Rans. “By the way: Rans?”

“Short for Ransom,” he
says.

Ransom. That’s the
stupidest
nickname I’ve ever heard, and I
've come across a
lot of them, preferred
nicknames being one of the lines on our intake form.

“You can call me Eli,
though,” he says and then starts cackling as Mick gets an arm free and starts
swinging it wildly.

“He’s going to hurt
himself,” I tell Eli.

He snickers. “Good thing
he’s in a hospital, then.” I’m not sure if the guy wants to see his friend
injure himself more than he already has or if Eli’s just got
an unusually
harsh sense of humor. Either way,
the next words
out
of his mouth are,
“You’re doing great there, bud. Don’t take any garbage from these people.
You’re a free man!”

Either this is just some
big practical joke that both these guys are in on, or Eli’s friend is a bit of
an idiot. I’m not to make judgments about people, but the man on the stretcher,
who must have agreed to come to the hospital in the first place, shouts
something to the effect of, “I’m an American citizen! You can’t do this to me!”
The next thing I know, Dr. Perlman is calling for full body restraints.

“This’ll go a lot easier
if your friend calms down,” I tell Eli.

“Yeah, that’s not going
to happen, though,” Eli says. “The guy’s scared stupid of hospitals. The only
way I even got him to agree to let me bring him was to
take
him in here myself and promise to talk to him.”

“Do you think this is
what he had in mind?”

Eli grins. “You know, now
that you mention it, we may not have gotten that far in the conversation.”

I’m not sure if there’s
anything I can do to bring some sense of calm back to the room, but the view is
funny
. The man on the stretcher
can’t be
too
injured,
or he wouldn’t be throwing punches while the doctors are just trying to get him
moved to
the hospital bed.

At
least,
that’s my justification for laughing along. It’s certainly not the fact that
Eli’s tall, athletic, and has the kind of
rich
brown eyes that make me quiver a little on the inside.

I’m just waiting
for Paz
to start going off on the guy. Eli’s
friend may have the adrenaline, but Paz has the violent streak.

“Mick?” Eli calls. “How
are you doing, buddy?”

“Did you see my car? How
screwed is
my car?” Eli’s friend—Mick,
apparently—says.

“I wouldn’t worry about
that too much,” he answers.

Mick stops struggling as
much. He’s not calm or rational by any means, but at least he’s stopped
throwing elbows.

“That was actually rather
nice-” I start.

“I’m pretty sure the
thing’s in so many pieces they’ll never know who owned it,” Eli interrupts me
to rile up his friend. “Yeah, you’re out about fifty thou, but at least you
won’t be spending too long in prison after the doctors here transfer you over
to the state.”

Before Mick can react, my
palm is coming into contact with my forehead and I’m letting out a sigh.

“Would somebody shut that
guy up?” one of the doctors barks from inside the room.

I turn to Eli. “You
should probably ease back a little bit or they’re going to kick you out of the
hospital,” I tell him.

“What about Mick?” Eli
asks. “He’s in there going for kidney shots.”

“Oh, they’ll just dose
him with a sedative. To tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure why they
haven’t done that already.”

“That should be pretty
fun to watch.”

“Rans, I need you to talk
to me, man!” Mick wheezes.

“You’re doing great in
there,” Eli says. “Just remember to keep your hands up. You don’t want to get
caught exposing your chin.” I’m somewhere near telling Eli he should probably
cool it now when he turns to me, saying, “So, what brings you here?”

BOOK: Shifting Gears: The Complete Series (Sports Bad Boy Romance)
4.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Tommy's Honor by Cook, Kevin
A Flag for Sunrise by Robert Stone
How to Marry a Rogue by Anna Small
The Penitent Damned by Wexler, Django
Married to a Balla by D., Jackie
Sleeping Beauty by Judy Baer
Chickenfeed by Minette Walters
Rital of Proof by Dara Joy