Holding You Close (Ex-Con Duet Series #4) by Kennedy Fox



She nods. “I'll bring some. Anything else?”

“I don't think so, thanks.”

Tracy leaves and eventually returns with a small pitcher of water and some ice chips. “Press your call button if you need anything.”

“Thanks,” he says, and she leaves. I pour a glass of water as he tries to sit on the edge of the bed and put his feet on the floor. “I feel like I got my ass beat.”

I hand him the cup, and he drinks it in a few gulps, so I give him more. “Last night, I just remember wanting to talk to you. You called, and I dropped my phone on the passenger side floorboard.”

Staying silent, I just listen.

“Then the crash happened, and I saw my entire life flash before me,” he says, and I can tell sitting upright is taking a lot out of him. When he drinks all the water he wants, I help him lie down.

“What else do you remember?” I study him.

“You showing up and me telling you that I loved you. Then you said it back.” His gaze pierces through me.

A smile touches my lips and grows wider. “I do love you.”

“I meant it, Katie. I love you so damn much. It was one of the last thoughts I had before everything went black.”

“You mean more to me than words can express.”

I move forward and kiss him. Emotion pours out of me in waves, and I sink toward him when his tongue swipes against mine.

“Lie down with me,” he says, holding me close. The hospital bed is small, but somehow, we manage it.

Noah chuckles. “Maybe I should get into more accidents.”

“Maybe I should kick your ass?” I look up at him with a smirk.

“I might like that.” Noah wiggles his brows. “I’ve missed you.”

“Same,” I admit. “I'm happy you're awake.”

“There's no other person I'd rather see right now than you,” Noah says. “You're so damn beautiful, Katie.”





Chapter Two





NOAH





I've only been home for twenty-four hours, but it already feels like a lifetime because I can’t do much. The doctors stressed that I needed to take it easy, and Dad said he’d make sure I did. Now that he’s retired, I’m positive he will. The ride home from the hospital was absolute torture because I felt every bump and pothole. It took a while for me to make it upstairs and get settled in bed, and I’ve been in here ever since. For most of the afternoon, I’ve been in and out of sleep, but I called my parole officer and let him know what happened. He was gracious enough to reschedule our meeting as long as I called and checked in with him regularly. When Katie got off work, she brought Owen to visit, and I assured him I was fine.

This morning, I woke up with aches in muscles I didn't even know existed. Getting comfortable enough to fall asleep was nearly impossible, but the pain meds helped, even if they don't last long. Doing basic tasks like showering or brushing my teeth seems to take every bit of strength I have, but I manage. The last thing I want to do is ask my dad for help regardless of how many times he's offered. I think this accident shook him up as much as it did Katie and Gemma.

After I'm ready, I go downstairs and attempt to make myself something to eat but settle for toast. I slap some butter and jelly on it, then go to the living room and sit on the couch. Though I turn on the TV, I'm not listening because I'm too lost in my thoughts.

I know what I heard at the hospital, and I'm positive Brittany was there with a man. The only thing I haven't figured out yet is her motive to kill me. Hearing that she's responsible for breaking the window at the gym and the pipe bomb that was thrown through my dad's window makes me fucking sick. All this time, she's probably been busy trying to impress me to make it easier to take me out. Too many scenarios float through my mind as my cell phone rings.

I don't recognize the number, but I answer it anyway.

“Noah Reid?” a man with a deep voice asks.

“Who’s speaking?” There’s no way in hell I'm admitting this is my number when I'm on someone's hit list.

“It’s Detective Sanderson. I've been reviewing your case and wanted to touch base with you. Heard you were released and are at home, so that's good news.”

I let out a relieved breath. After I was awake, the detective asked me to explain my side of the story. The meds have put me in a brain fog, and it slipped my mind that he’d call. “Yeah, thanks. Happy to be home and resting. Did you find out anything new?”