Slade – Laurann Dohner

“Didn’t you used to work for a veterinarian, Trisha?” Trisha frowned, taking a sip of her iced coffee. Her body tensed when she heard the man’s voice. Dr. Dennis Channer was a prick. He always tried to go out of his way to harass her by any means possible. The guy just had it in for her. It was difficult for people to get to know her, she’d come to grips with that, but it still hurt her feelings sometimes. She’d graduated high school at the young age of fourteen and by the time she was twenty-four, she’d finished medical school, had completed her residency, and spent a few years in the trenches of some of the toughest hospitals known for incoming trauma victims. At twenty-eight she had landed her dream job at one of the top-rated hospitals within the U.S. Most people were either intimidated by her or believed she had to be pretty conceited. She wasn’t a snob, didn’t think she was better than anyone else, and she definitely wasn’t a cold fish. Her social skills just sucked. She had always been a bit shy, led a busy life that hadn’t allowed her friendships for the most part, and then there was the fact that few people were friendly to her. It wasn’t easy to warm up to people who gave her the cold shoulder.

Dennis Channer was her boss and he resented the hell out of her. He’d been in his thirties, a full decade older than Trisha, when he’d come to work at Mercy Hospital. He thought her too pretty and he hadn’t hidden his opinion that her looks had landed the job rather than her skill. She’d worked her ass off to get where she had. She’d sacrificed having a personal life for her career. “Yes, I did. I worked at an emergency veterinarian hospital through med school.” “No scholarship?” He sneered at her. She counted to ten silently. “No.

” “You’re up next.” His lined face appeared highly amused, too pleased to suit Trisha. “We have an incoming that is right up your alley.” He laughed, obviously making some private joke, targeting her. Her teeth clenched to prevent her from saying something she’d regret. She dumped her iced coffee and the rest of her sandwich into the trash can before following Dennis down the hallway from the lounge. It will probably be another unfortunate soul, Trisha guessed. Dennis loved to toss drunks, vagrants, or gang members her way. Since he’d mentioned alley, a homeless person came to mind. An image of a highly smelly, unwashed body that would knock her back with its stench flashed through her brain.

It might even be one of the crazy ones who would yell about how aliens from Mars were going to kidnap them all. Trisha had dealt with many of them, unfortunately. A lot of them tended to wrap foil around various body parts to prevent aliens from supposedly scanning them. Removing the stuff to evaluate their injuries usually resulted in at least four of the staff having to hold them down. Trisha passed Sally, a nurse she had become friends with, as she moved quickly toward the emergency doors. The frightened, grim expression on other woman’s face made Trisha tense more. Whatever was coming in had to be pretty ominous since the woman was one tough cookie, having seen a lot of horrendous things in her fifteen years working the emergency room. Trisha started to worry. There wasn’t much that scared Sally. The nurse hadn’t even flinched when two weeks before a gang member had been brought in with three gunshot wounds to the back.

While they’d been working on the young man, a rival gang had sent one of their members into the emergency room to finish him off. Sally had calmly helped Trisha wheel the unconscious man into a closet to hide him while security cleared the building to locate the armed thug. Dennis turned, smiling smugly at Trisha. “We have an incoming half man, half dog.” “That’s not funny.” Trisha sighed. “I dumped my dinner for this? Grow up, Dennis.” He lifted his hands, still smiling. “I wish this were a joke but I’m serious. He’s been rescued from some Frankenstein research facility for a drug company.

We have incoming to different hospitals to the tune of about sixty-five patients. We’re the nearest trauma center and they are flying him to us because he’s the worst of the victims. The onsite paramedics and the life-flight crew have confirmed that this man is human with doggy parts.” Dennis appeared downright gleeful. “And he’s all yours since you know your dogs.” Trisha put her hands on her hips. “You should have saved this one for April Fools’ Day. What is the real story? Are they bringing in a victim wearing a dog suit? Is he a character actor who tripped at some kid’s birthday party while playing a mutt?” “It’s true,” Sally intervened softly. “It’s on every major channel.” She didn’t play practical jokes on Trisha.

Her dark eyes looked anxious. “The cops busted some research facility and they are pulling survivors from the building, saying they are part animal and part people. We do have an incoming life flight with one of them onboard. We called an emergency vet to back us up but he’s twenty minutes out.” Shock rippled through Trisha as she struggled to take in the ramifications of what she’d heard. She spun around to stride quickly to the nurses’ station to peer up at the television mounted to the wall. Two nurses were already watching, their eyes glued to the set. A news helicopter circled a building while filming ambulances, police, fire and SWAT vehicles on the ground. Bold lettering scrolled across the screen. She read enough to cause her to spin back around.

“Time?” Trisha shouted. Cory, the male nurse who did incoming control, spoke from his tucked-away position behind a desk at the entrance. “They are three minutes out. He’s stable so far.” “Crap,” Trisha ground out. Her gaze flew to Dennis and she gave him a grim nod. “What do we know so far?” “Shaky details at best.” Dennis still smiled. “He’s got blood loss, he’s in shock, and they don’t know what is wrong with Dog Boy. They just scooped him and ran when his vitals crashed.

Maybe you can give him a doggy treat and he can bark out his injuries.” “You’re amused?” Trisha glared at him with disgust. “God, you’re a bastard. This is someone’s life.” She turned her back on him and focused on Sally. “Prep an OR just in case since we don’t know what we’ll be dealing with. Get everyone woken up. We’ll have to cross and match his blood type and I want full panels. We—” “Don’t carry doggy blood,” Dennis interrupted. Trisha whirled around and glowered at him.

“I’m working here. I’m a professional. Do you remember what that is?” His smile died. “Don’t speak to me that way. I’m your boss.” “You’re only one of them and I’ll go over your head if you don’t back off me right now,” Trisha threatened. “Either help or get out of my way. The life flight should land in under a minute.” She spun on her heel, jogging toward the outer door. She yelled instructions on her way outside to scan the sky.

She heard the helicopter before she saw it. Noises behind her assured that her team moved into place as the doors whished open and she turned her head, throwing her arm up as the helicopter lowered. The wind blown up by the blades made her turn her head even more, tucking it under her loose white coat sleeve to shield most of her face. Her gaze fixed on Sally and the other two medical personnel who had rolled a gurney outside with them. She hoped she didn’t look as apprehensive as the other three did. The helicopter touched down. Only years of experience kept Trisha calm. She barely glanced at the large, covered bundle being lifted from the helicopter. She gave her full attention to the attendant while he yelled out the patient’s vitals and information. Trisha nodded, listening.

“What’s his name?” “215.” Trisha frowned at the life-flight medic. He nodded vigorously. “It’s all we have. It is what they called him.” “Thanks.” Trisha pivoted, hurrying after the gurney being pushed inside. She flashed Cory a glance as she stormed past him. “Get me more information on him. Call the police handling that mess, whatever it takes, but I need to know everything I can about this guy.

The only name they have for him is 215.” She yanked gloves out her pocket and pulled them on. “I’m on it,” Cory promised, grabbing up his phone. Trisha loved working with him. He was a “can do” kind of guy. He never bitched, never whined about a thing, and did whatever she asked even if it wasn’t technically his job. She knew he’d do what he could to help. She rushed into the exam room and watched as her team transferred the victim from the gurney onto an exam bed. She moved to his head and her gloved hands reached for his face. “Let’s go,” Trisha ordered.

She glanced at the body being revealed as her team began removing his clothing. The victim had dirt smeared on his face and body, some of it dried clumps of mud, making it difficult to make out his features. “Look at this,” Sally muttered. “His clothes have Velcro on the sides instead of seams.” “Handy,” Pete grunted. “Help me roll him, Sally. He’s a big son of a bitch.” “Possible knife wound to the lower back,” Sally noted. “Four inches at least.” She probed the wound with her gloved hands.

“It isn’t deep.” “We have some burns on his right shoulder,” Pete added. “Second degree, so not bad. I think someone used Taser darts on him. There are small puncture wounds centered in the affected areas. What kind of weapon causes burns? I’ve never seen this before.” Trisha had been feeling his head. “He’s got a lump but no visible bleeding. Order a CT scan.” She released him and gripped her mini flashlight.

She gently opened one eyelid, seeing he had beautiful blue eyes. She flashed her light in each eye, checked responses. Her relief was instant when his pupils reacted perfectly. She touched his throat, feeling for anything off. No obvious broken bones, no swelling, she mentally ticked off the checklist inside her head. She focused on his mouth next and pulled apart his lips. And gasped. Her team froze, all focused on her. Trisha shook herself from the stunned moment. She stared at the sharp teeth inside the patient’s mouth.

They resembled vampire fangs. She carefully reached between his full lips and spread his jaw farther apart to check inside his mouth and get a look at his airway. “Are those dog teeth?” Pete’s voice came out shaky. “Gunshot wound to the left thigh,” Sally announced. “Through and through.” “Bleeding?” Trisha released the patient’s mouth. “Manageable but he’s nicked an artery. The medics pressure patched it. His blood pressure is stable at the moment. The fluids they pushed in transit seem to have helped.

” “Let’s move him to OR as soon as we’re done. Wrap it up. It should be prepped and waiting for us.” Trisha ignored the other staff who dashed in and out of the exam room grabbing samples from the victim. She had faith in her team and they worked well together. Mercy Hospital had a reputation of only hiring the best staff. They carefully rolled the patient onto his side and searched every inch of his skin. “Needle marks on his right ass cheek,” Sally noted. “He isn’t a junkie. He would have to be pretty flexible to reach there and with guns like that, men aren’t real flexible.

” “He has a gun?” Trisha yanked her hands away from the patient. “Where? Be careful.” Sally laughed for the first time. “Not a real gun. Guns, Trisha. Don’t you know that means big, buff muscles? The guy is total beefcake. Didn’t you notice?” Trisha shook her head, relieved the guy wasn’t armed. “Let’s get him into the OR and check out that thigh. It’s still bleeding.” She examined the gunshot wound.

She prodded the holes on each side where the bullet had gone through. “Let’s move, people,” Sally ordered. Trisha headed for the door. “I’ll scrub up.” She made it to the hallway before she was brought to a stop where Dr. Jose Roldio blocked her path. He looked pale. “I have this one, Trisha. Thanks.” He shoved past her.

Trisha stood there stunned for a few seconds that Jose had just taken over her patient’s care without her asking for a consult. She leaped out of the way quickly though when her team wheeled the unconscious man from the exam room. She stared at the patient’s face now that she had time to think, her mind allowing impressions to register. He had long, thick, brown hair with blond streaks threaded through it. His eyes had been unusually colored—dark blue with lighter blue streaks swirling in the irises, making them really beautiful. She tore her bloody gloves off and stormed to a trash can. It irritated her badly that she wasn’t the one who’d operate on him. Trisha found herself back inside the doctor’s lounge six patients later. She sipped another iced coffee and tried to cool down. Jose Roldio was one of the leading trauma surgeons in the country and the patient was important, newsworthy.

It shouldn’t bother her so much that he’d come running from wherever he’d been to take over the man’s care but it did. Her shoulders slumped. She always wanted to follow through with her patients. The door behind her opened, drawing her attention. She met the gaze of the devil himself as Dr. Roldio walked in looking worn out. He nodded at her, moving for the coffee machine. Trisha twisted in her chair to face him. “Did he make it?” “Yeah. I had to repair an artery but that was the worst of it.

The bleeding wasn’t as bad as we thought. The vet guy showed up but he was too afraid to touch our patient. He just took up space inside my operating room. You saw the patient’s abnormalities. That’s not from plastic surgery. I checked while he was on my table. They somehow made that guy. He’s got enough anomalies that I’m convinced he’s not totally human. Can you believe this shit? I mean, Jesus.” “Were we able to match his blood?” That mystery had bothered Trisha’s thoughts for hours.

“No. We gave him universal plasma and he didn’t reject it. He’s stable now but I had to send him up to ICU, considering we have no idea what we’re dealing with. We got word from the division handling this nightmare that some of these people are kind of dangerous. We had to put guards outside his door for his protection and ours. I guess there are news crews camping at reception trying to sneak inside too.” Jose slumped into a chair as he met Trisha’s gaze. “I didn’t mean to step on your toes. I think you’re a great doctor but this one was over my head. The big guys were afraid he’d die so they called me in.

The shit is going to hit the fan worldwide over this.” Trisha shrugged. “I understand.” She smiled. “It made me mad at first but I calmed down. It’s your specialty.” “I left your name with security.” He smiled back. “I figured I owed you and thought you might want to look in on him. I know you always do that with your patients.

” She sipped her drink. “Why would you have to leave my name? My hospital badge will be enough to get me into ICU to check on him.” “The guy is a medical freak.” Jose sighed. “We’re having a problem with everyone on staff wanting to gawk at him. They are worried someone will take pictures of him to sell to the media too. Someone spread it around that he’s got vampire teeth.” “Canine. There’s a difference.” “Whatever.

He’s a freak and the hospital is terrified of breaking confidentiality. We’ve got a great rep for protecting our patients. We’ve had to restrict access to him but you are authorized to check on him.” The doctor stood. “I have to get home to my wife. We were on our way to dinner when they paged me and she didn’t take it well. It’s her birthday.” “Hit the gift shop to buy her chocolate on your way out.” Trisha winked. “I’d forgive anything for a few pounds of that.

” Jose laughed. “My wife isn’t so magnanimous. I think I need to call a jeweler. Please check on him for me so I can get some sleep. They’ll page me if needed.” He saluted her as he left. * * * * * Trisha yawned. She’d been on shift for far too long and it was time to head home. She thought about her soft bed and she couldn’t wait to throw herself onto it. She flashed her badge at the security officer.

“I’m Dr. Trisha Norbit. Dr. Jose Roldio asked me to check in on a patient of his.” The guard read his clipboard. “Go on in, Dr. Norbit. You’re cleared.” Trisha walked into the ICU and nodded at a nurse monitoring from the station, someone Trisha had spoken to a few times. She didn’t know many people who worked the day shift and there had just been a shift change.

She glanced at the ICU board and knew which room he’d been assigned immediately. The numbers 215 were written on the board. She turned, going to room three. Trisha eased the door open slowly. The man sprawled on the bed had been cleaned up and his hair washed. It flowed down over his shoulders and she couldn’t help but notice the way it looked, as though streaks of golden sand were running through lines of wet, darker sand. He looked a lot different without dirt and mud clumps smeared over him. He was handsome. He had a very masculine, strong face with beautiful bone structure. She reached for his chart to study it.

Her gaze lifted to him again, her attention going to his bare, broad chest where taped-on leads that connected him to the monitors marred his skin. She gawked a little at his thick, toned arms. Guns. She hadn’t heard that term before but he was extremely muscular. Maybe he is a bodybuilder. Her gaze lowered to his drug screen panel as she thumbed through his chart. She looked for any known drugs that bodybuilders used but he’d tested negative for them. He was only positive for a well-known sedative. Trisha returned his chart to the holder and walked closer. She stopped at the side of his bed and put her hands on the raised bedrail bar that prevented him from rolling out of bed.

She studied his face closely, fascinated. His cheekbones were more pronounced than a typical human and his nose wider and shaped…different. She bit her lip as she leaned closer to get a better look at the generous lips that hid his canine teeth well, until they were pulled back. She only hesitated for a second before digging into her pocket to slip on a glove before she reached for his mouth, intent on getting a second look at those teeth while she had the opportunity. His full lips were soft, perfectly formed, and warm. She hadn’t noticed that last night but she’d been too busy assessing injuries, not facial traits. She gently used her gloved fingers to pull down on his lower lip. His bottom teeth appeared normal except his side teeth were sharp, canine style. She used her thumb to gently lift his top lip as she bent forward to get a closer look and gently cupped his face in her ungloved palm. She opened his jaw wider and held his mouth open.

She had to stretch over his chest to get a better look, studying what she saw. She visually examined the extended teeth, the sharp points, and wished she knew more about dentistry. She leaned lower, realized her hair fell on his bare chest but wasn’t concerned about waking him. He’d been heavily sedated during surgery and it would be hours before he woke. Her face hovered mere inches from his mouth while she examined his back teeth, and took mental notes. The upper and lower molars were definitely canine, sharper than human teeth. His abnormal teeth were there for tearing and chewing. Trisha pulled her finger and thumb out of his mouth to allow it to close, still cradling his chin on her palm. She looked at his face again to study his flatter, wider nose but instead she found herself staring into a pair of wide-open, amazing blue eyes that peered right back into her startled ones. “Hi,” he rasped softly in a gruff rumble.

Trisha jumped. It startled her that the patient was awake when he shouldn’t be. She tried to pull away from him but two hands grabbed her arms. Her hip banged the side of the bed when he yanked on her hard, pulling her down on top of him. Pain shot through her hip from the impact with the metal rail when he flipped her into the narrow space next to him. His weight crushed her body into the mattress when he rolled on top of her, pinning her under him. Trisha began to struggle after a few seconds when she realized what had happened. The patient’s hands slid along her arms to grasp her wrists, yanked them above her head, and a loud growl tore from his throat. The sound was surprising, so scary and vicious that it froze Trisha with instant terror. She stared up at the very masculine face hovering inches above hers.

His strangely hypnotic eyes seemed to look right into her soul as he studied her intently until his eyes narrowed. His tongue slid from between his generous lips to swipe across his lower one. “You’re new. Didn’t they warn you to never cross the kill-zone line?” His gaze lowered to her throat but returned to her face. “And it was really stupid not to chain me down. Didn’t they give you the rundown on how to handle us, Doc? You never remove the restraints.” She found her voice finally. “You’re in a hospital. You’re going to be fine.” He frowned.

Trisha was pinned under him, his body pressed tightly against hers from breast to feet. She also couldn’t ignore his heavy weight or the fact that his body totally blanketed hers. “I don’t know if I should mount or kill you,” he growled softly. He shifted his body over hers suddenly, causing Trisha to gasp when something hard pressed against her. There was no mistaking the fact he had an erection when he settled on her again, pressing his hardened cock right against the seam of her thighs. “My vote is mounting you since I’d hate to kill something so beautiful.” He grinned at her. It frightened Trisha when she saw his sharp teeth. “Ever wanted to be fucked by an animal, beauty?” “I’m Doc—” “I don’t care,” he growled softly, cutting her off. “Kiss me, beauty.

Then I’ll show you what you’ve been missing. I’ve decided to mount you. I just can’t resist.” His nostrils flared as he inhaled and a deep groan rumbled from his parted lips. “I’m so hard for you and you smell so good.” Panic seized Trisha. She screamed. “Help!” 215 stared down at her and smiled. “No one would be stupid enough to come inside this room to try to save you, beauty. You took the restraints off and now you’re mine.

” He adjusted her, putting both her wrists in one hand by holding them together with his spread fingers, freeing his other hand to trail down her body. His hand hesitated on the curve of her breast long enough to make her gasp before it flattened over her ribs, then inched lower to her hip. He shifted over her enough to slide his roaming hand between her and the bed, took a firm hold on her ass cheek and squeezed. “Your ass is mine, sweet thing. Don’t worry though. I’m not going to hurt you and I definitely won’t kill you. I like you a hell of a lot. I just decided I’m going to keep you with me for a few days, Doc. I’m going to do things to you that will make you never want to leave this room. You’ll want me mounting you as much as you want to eat or breathe air by the time I’m forced to release you.

” A loud alarm suddenly blared inside the room. Trisha stared at the man who continued to smile at her. His hand on her ass gripped her more firmly as he shifted his body, forcing his hips between her legs and spreading her thighs when he parted his. The hard ridge of his cock rubbed against the vee of her pants. Her eyes widened at the feel of him pressed so tightly against her. “You’re going to want me as much as I do you,” he promised in a husky tone. He leaned down closer to Trisha, his gaze leaving hers. He nuzzled her face with his cheek, pushing against her until she turned her head away. His lips brushed her throat, opened, and he licked her skin and groaned. Shock jolted through her when he nipped her skin there, but worse, his hips started to move at the same moment.

The rigid length of his shaft rubbed directly against her clit through their clothing. Her body jerked under him, tensed, and he growled, his jaw tightening on her shoulder. It half horrified her when her body responded to him. Her nipples hardened, her stomach quivered, and pleasure at his rocking hips massaging her clit, even through layers of clothing, made her pant. Being restrained had never been a fantasy of hers but suddenly she couldn’t help but be turned on that a powerful, handsome, and very dangerous male controlled her body. She fought it, tried to reason with her physical responses with cold logic but her mind didn’t want to work. He groaned against her throat, his mouth releasing her. “I can’t wait to taste every inch of you. I’m going to bury my face between your thighs and fuck you with my tongue until you beg me to make you come, beauty. I know you’re going to taste as sweet as you scent.

” He growled louder. “Then I’m going to flip you over, put your ass in the air, and mount you until you come again.”

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