Home > Wintertime Bad Boy

Wintertime Bad Boy
Author: Emelia Blair


Chapter 1

 

 

“Dr. Arnold! Where’s Dr. Arnold?!”

I step aside as Nurse Annie rushes past me, her brown eyes tight. In the midst of closing the strap of my bag, I watch as she grabs another night nurse by the arm and tersely questions her.

I cough discreetly and both women turn to look in my direction. “Did you check the medicine supply closet?”

Dr. Arnold is known for taking long naps in the pharmacy area.

“I’m going to wring his damn neck one of these days,” Annie curses and then shoots me a distracted smile. “Be careful on your way home, Alex.”

I nod, tightening my hand around the strap of my bag. Slipping into the locker room, I change out of my nurse’s uniform and then pull on my jacket, making sure I have my scarf and gloves. Running my fingers through my hair, I glance at my reflection in the mirror, a wry smile on my face. It’s really hard to get some color in the winter. My skin is pale, my cheeks flush with the cold. Bright blue eyes that are large on my thin face, often described as doe-like, and short jet-black hair that is sticking up from my head, gives me more of a tomboyish look.

Maybe I should consider actually going to a salon and not hacking away at my hair with the kitchen scissors. If not for my curvy figure, I would end up being mistaken for a boy, considering how I dress. But if I ever decide to go for feminine attire, I end up looking way younger than I am and constantly being carded at bars is starting to get really damaging to my ego.

“You off for the night, Alex?” a friendly voice says from behind me, cutting me off my thoughts.

My lips curve slightly, as I turn my head to look at one of the male nurses. “Aren’t you leaving?”

Henry William shakes his head, regretfully. “I’m putting in overtime. Mary is due any day so any extra income helps.”

I smile as I close my locker door. “Let me know if you ever need help with babysitting.”

He pats my shoulder heavily. “Considering you live down the street, you should be scared.”

I chuckle and wave at him as I walk out, bidding goodbye to the nurses at the station who are all busy watching Annie scold a yawning Dr. Arnold who is nodding insistently as if he isn’t ignoring everything she’s saying.

It’s a familiar sight and I can’t help but feel comforted by it.

Stepping outside the hospital that’s become a second home for me, I shiver at the harsh cold wind that blasts against my face and bitterly wish that just for once, November in New York would not be this awful. The walk to the bus station is long and I’m mentally calculating whether I have the funds to purchase some more clothes. I know there is a flea market setting up in a week’s time, in a neighborhood near here. If I slip out during my break, I might be able to find something decent.

I wait for nearly half an hour for the bus and then check the schedule in frustration. A curse slips past my lips when I realize that it’s not running tonight.

“Great,” I mutter to the wind. “Freaking fantastic.”

Tugging off my gloves, I reach into my bag and take out my purse to see if I have enough for an Uber. I let out a groan when I realize I am broke at the moment. My salary will be deposited into my account by the end of the week and nearly half of it will go to make a payment on my father’s medical bills.

If Dad were still here, he would grin at me and tell me to buck up and enjoy the walk home considering it’s the only exercise I might be getting. Dear, optimistic Dad. He really didn’t believe that the glass could be anything aside from half-full.

My smile wanes at the thought and a familiar pain fills me, a staggering sense of loss and grief. I take a deep breath and steady myself, blinking harshly against the tears that are quick to come at the thought of my father. It’s been a few months since he succumbed to the cancer that had been eating away at him for two years and left me all alone, saddled with hospital bills that I never let him know existed.

I suddenly slap my cheeks, growling. “Snap out of it Alex.”

What I need is some hot soup and a warm bed. It’s got to be close to midnight by now but I know the small Chinese restaurant around the corner from the neighborhood where my apartment is will still be open. I know the owner so I don’t really have to worry about not having money on hand. I can always pay him back later.

Cheered by the prospect of hot food waiting for me, my steps quicken. Not even the fact that it’s an hour’s walk to my house, deters me.

Usually, the streets still have stragglers at this hour, but the forecast warned of snow and a lot of people seemed to have elected to stay indoors, so it’s relatively quiet and empty. I hear a few cars and one passes by me and I give it an envious look.

Cross Field Hospital is in the city center so I have to walk past clubs and bars that are open all hours of the night and I peek into the inviting warmth, wishing I could just pop in for a drink. Even if I had the money, the very idea of being asked to show my ID and then being interrogated over it, doesn’t appeal to me. Sighing, I hum under my breath, and see a fancy well lit club in the distance. It has a red carpet rolled out, a well dressed bouncer, with an arrogant sneer on his face, and a shiny exterior.

Gold Prey.

A weird name for a club but it’s for the elite. Before Dad had gotten sick, I would go party with friends from work and my childhood friend Jen on occasion—we had never managed to get into it. Not even once. A fond smile touches my lips as I recall the memories from just a year ago. It seems like a lifetime ago rather than just one year. But I’ve changed drastically over the course of this year. I don’t think I can ever go back to being that person I used to be, so carefree, living in the moment.

As I approach the club, I see two men standing at the entrance. One of them has a cigarette stuck between his teeth, his posture lazy as he leans against the wall of the club, listening to whatever the man next to him is saying.

I blink at the sight of him.

He’s ridiculously handsome, tanned skin, wild green eyes, thin lips, and a jaw sharp enough to cut granite. His dark hair is gathered into a small ponytail. He’s wearing a black shirt over blue jeans that are strategically ripped.

I don’t realize that I’m standing and staring at him until his eyes lift from the pavement where he’s been gazing at as he listens to his companion, and I feel the full force of his gaze and my mouth turns dry.

There is something dark and dangerous lurking in those eyes of his and my pulse skitters, a blend of lust and fear.

He stares at me and then his lips curve into a smirk and my cheeks flush.

He doesn’t straighten up or approach me, just watches me steadily, a mocking look in his eyes along with an invitation that the me from a year ago might have accepted. But not the current me, who is currently saddled with debt, working crazy hours and cannot afford to make rash decisions.

When was the last time I had a man in my bed?

A wistful feeling rises in me as I maintain eye contact with him and I squash it. Even back then I would have felt the danger this man wore like a second skin and I wouldn’t have approached him.

I’m still frozen in the same place because now I have to walk past him and I really don’t want to do that. The other option is crossing the road and covering the remaining twenty minutes to my house that are left.

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