Furious by R.L. Mathewson


Kennedy Trauma Center

Miami, Florida

“I’m going to need you to calm down, Chase,” came the softly spoken words that he barely heard over the sound of his heart pounding against his chest as his arms were pinned down against the bed and the tube that he was choking on was slowly removed.

Once the tube was pulled free, Chase gasped only to end up coughing as he found himself turned onto his side by the small group of doctors, nurses, aides, and orderlies that came running when they realized that he was awake. He barely had a chance to stop coughing when a straw was pressed against his lips and someone was telling him to take a small sip.

The ice-cold water stung his swollen throat as he forced himself to swallow. Before the cold liquid had a chance to do anything more than send sharp pain down his throat, the straw was removed and a small penlight was flashed in his eyes.

God, everything fucking hurt, Chase thought, unable to help but groan as pain shot down his spine while the sounds of the machines monitoring his heart and lungs sent sharp pain through his already aching head.

“My name is Dr. Turner. Do you know where you are, Chase?” a man with warm brown eyes and graying temples murmured absently as Chase was rolled onto his back.

“My…men?” Chase asked, each syllable felt like acid was being poured down his throat.

“They all made it safely out of the building,” Dr. Turner reassured him with a warm smile as he finished his exam while Chase laid there, taking in the small hospital room covered in “Get Well” cards, drawings of smiling fireman, firetrucks, balloons, and flowers, all wishing him a speedy recovery.

Nodding, Chase forced the next words out, hoping that it had all been a bad dream. “The boys?”

After a slight pause, the doctor said, “Give us a few minutes, please.”

As the staff filed out of the room, Chase noted the pitying looks before he forced himself to look away. He stared up at the fluorescent lights as the doctor told him what he already knew.

He’d fucked up.

Chase listened as the doctor told him just how lucky he was that his men found him when they had. While Dr. Turner examined his arms, he told Chase just how badly his arm had been broken and how many surgeries it had taken to fix it. That was followed by telling him how many ribs he’d broken, how many stitches had been needed to close the wounds covering his body, and how they’d done their best to minimize scarring. When he finally got to Chase’s legs, he broke the news to him that they’d kept him in a coma for three months to give his body a chance to heal.

That was followed by informing Chase that he’d broken his back during the fall and all the surgeries they’d performed so that he would hopefully regain partial control of his legs one day with an encouraging smile that quickly disappeared when he ran the tip of his pen along the bottom of Chase’s foot and nothing happened. After checking his other foot, Dr. Turner slowly put his pen away as he finally answered the only question that Chase cared about with a quietly murmured, “The boys didn’t make it. I’m sorry, Chase.”

Clenching his jaw tightly shut, Chase continued to stare at the ceiling as he struggled not to lose his fucking mind. This never should have fucking happened. The stairs never should have given out. They should have made it out of that building alive. They should have–

“We need to talk about your legs, Chase,” came the hesitantly spoken words that had Chase slowly exhaling.

“Where’s Amy?” he asked, knowing that she must be worried out of her fucking mind.

The last time he’d ended up in the hospital, she’d been a fucking wreck. It had taken all fucking night to get her to calm down and that had been over a broken arm. He couldn’t imagine how she was going to handle finding out that he couldn’t feel his legs. She was going to

“I’m sorry, Chase, but she isn’t here.”

“Call…” Chase started to say only to end up having to clear his throat, “her.”

There was a slight hesitation and then Dr. Turner shook his head, sighing heavily as he admitted, “I can’t.”

“Why not?” Chase asked as he tried to breathe through the pain that seemed like it had fucking doubled since he’d opened his eyes. He needed to see her. He needed to pull her into his arms and hold her. He knew that once he saw her that everything would be okay. He’d be able to deal with what happened and figure out how he was going to fix this. He just needed–

“She’s not coming back.”

Chapter 1

Emerald, Florida

One Year Later…

Sloane pulled the lollipop out of her mouth with a soft pop as she leaned forward and whispered to the woman who was a cross between Mary Poppins and the Pillsbury Doughboy, “She seems really nervous about something, doesn’t she?”

The Mary Poppins/Pillsbury Doughboy straightened to her impressive height of five-foot-one with a huff, putting her nose up in the air as she pointedly ignored Sloane. Not that Sloane could blame the woman. With the insane amount of money that was being offered for this particular job she was willing to overlook the fact that their potential employer, a woman in her mid-thirties, wearing a rather tasteful suit, and who seemed unable to move from her spot in the doublewide driveway, had apologized a grand total of twenty-three times for a man that none of them had met yet.