Home > Beyond Just Us (Remington Medical #4)

Beyond Just Us (Remington Medical #4)
Author: Kimberly Kincaid

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Tess Michaelson had been yelled at, bled all over, and thrown up on, and it wasn’t even lunchtime yet. But that little trifecta was like amateur night when it came to being an emergency attending physician, and anyway, the yeller/bleeder had been a twofer with a ten-inch piece of rebar stuck through his hand, and the captain of the vomit comet had been unblessed with a nasty strain of the stomach flu. Legit reasons if ever there were any to go all volume-up, body fluids-out.

And Tess was there to cobble them back together, no matter what. She might not be able to fix her own shit, but she could Humpty-Dumpty other people like a fucking boss.

It was, as it turned out, her only superpower.

“Hey, Dr. M!”

She looked up at the sound of the familiar voice belonging to Connor Bradshaw, who was a former flight nurse-turned-clinic director, a good friend, and a great guy—not necessarily in that order. He sidled up to the spot where she stood at the nurses’ station, which should’ve been a physical impossibility, considering he was basically a (really muscular) house with legs, but of course, the big oaf not only sidled, but did it well. Tess would’ve looked like a grade-A idiot moving her hips like that.

Honestly, Tess. Don’t you think you’re too…I don’t know. Old for that sort of thing now?

“You have that look on your face,” she said, chucking the memory—and the chagrin it had sent through her chest—aside in favor of the hand-crafted sarcasm she wore like armor. “You know, the one you give up when you want something, but you know I’m probably going to say no. And don’t try to get on my sweet side. I’m sure you’re well aware I don’t have one. So, spill, Ginormica.” She looked up, up, up at her friend, who earned his nickname in spades. “What is it that you’re here to wheedle me into?”

Rather than going the contrition route like most folks with a pulse would have, Connor threw back his head and laughed. “See, this is why I miss it here enough to pick up a shift on my day off. You don’t beat around the bush.”

“Good Lord, no.” Damn it, her eye-roll was so much less effective when her smile decided to hone in on the action. Happy little bastard. “I don’t see much purpose in not getting to the point.”

Well, most of the time, anyway. She had hung on to her dumpster fire of a marriage far longer than she should’ve, even though she’d known things between her and Alec couldn’t be fixed far before she’d told him she’d wanted a divorce.

Guess everyone was allowed to wear idiot pants at least once. At least now she knew better than to believe in all that happily ever after crap.

Wasn’t she too old for that, anyway?

“I’ll go ahead and rip the Band-Aid off, then.” Connor’s grin deposited Tess back to terra firma in the ED, and she vowed to stay there as he said, “Dispatch just got a call from Ambo Twenty-Two. They’re bringing in a guy who’s all hopped up on God knows what.”

“Can you give me the bullet?”

“He’s breathing and conscious and was stabilized in the field. GCS 10.”

Now her smile came out to play in full force. “That sounds like an intern’s problem.”

On a scale of one to coding, a high-in-the-sky patient with decent vitals and an equally decent GCS hardly required her attention. She was already on her second pair of scrubs today. Plus, she’d be nearby if the guy started to tank. “Young is on my service today. See if she can—”

“Can’t,” Connor corrected, holding up his hands in surrender as Tess pinned him with her Sunday-best glare. “Dude decided to take on a window in an effort to fly. He only fell four feet,” Connor added quickly. “It was a first-floor window. But it was closed at the time, and Slater said between whatever the guy took, the possibility for a head injury, and the unbelievable amount of lacs the dude sustained…”

“Right.” This one did call for her expertise. The big man wasn’t wrong about the paramedic’s assessment. Still… “You’re helping me out, though.” Sighing, Tess adjusted her ponytail and turned toward the ambulance bay. “This guy gets squirrely, and I’m going to need all the muscle I can get. Let’s grab Young, too. After all, sharing is caring.”

“Copy that.”

Five minutes later, Tess, Connor, and Erika Young stood gloved and gowned in the ambulance bay. Sunlight streamed down, filling the space with warm, pretty light that Tess hadn’t enjoyed in far too long. But between her not nine-to-five shifts in the ED and her adorable but totally teething nine-month-old son, she was lucky she knew that it was June, and that she’d remembered to put on pants this morning.

She turned toward Connor, who had saved her bacon before the sun had fully risen, and she had to smile. “Hey, thanks again for filling in today. Even our charge nurse is down for the count. I didn’t even know where to begin when she said she needed so many shifts covered.”

Last night, a group of the ED nurses had gone out for sushi. Only one of the seven hadn’t gotten violently ill, and Tess—not wanting her ED to do its best shit-show impression—had agreed to help make the calls in an effort to fill today’s shifts.

“Oh, it’s all good,” Connor said with a grin. “I like when you owe me favors for a change.”

Tess lifted one corner of her mouth, allowing her tart smile half of an escape. “I did help train your staff when you first took over at the clinic,” she agreed. Connor had needed all the bailing out his inked-up, muscle-bound ass could get when he’d become the co-director of the hospital’s wellness clinic earlier this year. “But you paid me back, remember?”

“Of course I remember.” Connor arched an auburn brow. “I sang that Baby Shark song to your mini-me until I was practically purple.”

“Hey, you offered to babysit and send me for a pedicure,” Tess reminded him. “No single mother in her right mind turns that shit down.”

Young tried to suppress a laugh, but failed. “I don’t have kids, but my sister does, and that sounds pretty accurate.”

“Oh, I’m not complaining,” Connor said, lifting one massive shoulder in an easy shrug that highlighted his words as the truth. “The song is kinda catchy, and Jackson’s pretty cute. For someone who wears diapers and drools.”

Warmth took a head-to-toe trip through Tess, and not just at the thought of her son. Her friends at Remington Mem were her only family, other than Jackson. Most of that was choice—her idiot ex lived across town, and her mother and both sisters were in Greenville, which was a two-hour hop-skip by car. But she hadn’t seen much of any of them since Jackson had been born, because that choice thing? Was real, and Tess had made it with her and her son’s best interests front and center.

Her friends and her kid were all she needed. Judgy, holier-than-thou asshats who did nothing but highlight-reel her every flaw need not apply.

Connor slung his tree trunk of an arm around Tess’s shoulders, his unyielding camaraderie turning her choice into a no-brainer. “Plus, taking care of people here in the ED is just like old times, and Harlow’s got things under control at the clinic. She knows where to find me if something weird goes down.”

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