Home > Temptation After Dark (Gansett Island #22)(7)

Temptation After Dark (Gansett Island #22)(7)
Author: Marie Force


* * *


Getting the X-rays sucked. They twisted and turned him until Cooper was sweating and nauseated from the pain radiating from his right side.

“So sorry,” Victoria said. “I know it hurts. We’re almost done.”

After they took the last image, Cooper took a series of deep breaths that he immediately regretted. He’d had no idea that injured ribs could hurt so badly. Fuck. This was not how he’d hoped to spend this evening with the woman of his dreams. She was a trouper for sticking it out, even though he wouldn’t have blamed her if she’d cut and run.

He felt like such a fool for the incident at the bluffs. He’d behaved like every other tongue-tied dickwad she’d ever dated by wanting a selfie with her and the car and the sunset. As if he might have to someday prove to someone that he’d once had a date with the captivating Gigi Gibson.

They wheeled him back into the exam room.

Gigi popped up from the chair when she saw him coming. “Why are you all pale and pasty?”

“Turns out that getting X-rays of injured ribs isn’t as much fun as you might think.”

She smiled, which made her eyes light up with mischief. “I wouldn’t have thought that’d be fun.”

“I can give you something a little stronger for the pain,” Victoria said.

“That’s okay,” Coop replied. He needed to keep his wits about him for the time he had remaining with Gigi. Not that he had a chance in hell of a second date after the disaster this evening had become. But a guy could hope.

“Take it, Cooper,” Gigi said. “I’ll get you home.”

“I don’t want to be knocked out. I’d rather look at you than sleep.”

Her sweet smile made him glad to be alive, as he was fully aware this evening could’ve turned tragic. It’d been stupid to try to save the car. He knew that. But he hated to disappoint the older brother he’d idolized all his life. That was what had motivated him to not let Jared’s beloved car roll off a cliff.

Jared would be pissed when he heard what Cooper had done. His older brother had adored Cooper from the time he was born when Jared was twelve. They’d always shared a special bond, and with everything Jared and Lizzie were dealing with, the last thing Cooper wanted to do was cause further heartache for his brother by letting his prized Porsche roll off a cliff.

The doctor returned with a tray of tools that Cooper refused to study too closely, sensing he was better off not knowing what was coming.

Gigi surprised him when she took hold of his hand. “Look at me.”

“Happy to.” Looking at her was no hardship.

She met his gaze and held it as the doctor explained that he’d first be numbing the area with some injections.

Cooper had to struggle not to cry like a baby from the pain of the first shot.

Gigi tightened her hold on his hand, her gaze never wavering as two more shots were delivered.

Thankfully, the first one had kicked in, making the second and third ones slightly less excruciating.

Tears spilled down his cheeks.

Gigi wiped them away with a tissue as if it was no big deal to tend to him that way.

His heart felt light in his chest, which he attributed to the medication. But it wasn’t just that. It was her, too. He’d had this idea of what she might be like in person, but the reality of her was so much more than what he’d imagined.

The splinter search took about thirty minutes. Cooper was thankful he couldn’t feel anything, but suspected it would hurt like a bitch after the numbness wore off.

Gigi held his hand and his gaze, giving him something to focus on other than the pulling and tugging of his skin.

Victoria came into the room. “X-rays show two hairline fractures, and you’re going to have some serious bruising.”

“What do we do about that?” Cooper asked.

“We’ll wrap them and encourage you to take it easy for a few weeks while they heal. But they’ll be quite painful for a week or two.”

Some vacation this was turning out to be.

“We’ll make sure he doesn’t do too much,” Gigi said.

We will, will we? Did that mean she planned to nurse him back to health? He had to immediately shut down the train of thought that led to her in a naughty-nurse getup before he sported wood in front of everyone.

As it turned out, having broken ribs “wrapped” was no fun either.

Cooper walked out of the clinic on rubbery legs, supported by Gigi’s arm around him. Having her touching him was the best part of being injured, but he’d much rather have had that happen organically. They’d given him pain pills to hold him until the pharmacy opened in the morning and antibiotic ointment for his facial injuries.

“Hang on a sec.” He withdrew his phone from his pocket and turned on the flashlight to check the bumper on the Porsche. “Is it possible that they managed to pull the car back without damaging the bumper, or am I seeing things?”

Gigi leaned in for a closer look. “I don’t see anything.”

“Thank God for that. Jared will be checking it with a magnifying glass tomorrow.”

“He will not!”

“Yes, he will.”

Gigi opened the passenger door for him. “Do you need help getting in?”

“I think I’ve got it.” Easing himself into the passenger seat of the low-slung car was almost as painful as the X-rays had been. After he landed, he put his head back against the seat and tried to breathe through the pain.

Shit, this totally sucked!

“Are you okay?” Gigi asked after she got into the driver’s seat.

“Never been better.”


“I promised you dinner. You want to grab something on the way home? My treat.”

“I could eat. What about you?”

He didn’t think he could eat, but wanted her to feel comfortable about stopping for food. “Sure, sounds good. Want to call in an order to Mario’s? I think they’re open during the blackout.”

“I love their house salad. What do you want?”

“A small supreme pizza cooked well-done. Unless you want some, too. If so, get a large.”

“That sounds good, but I’ll stick to salad until we’re done shooting. I swear every pound shows up as ten on film.”

“You don’t need to worry about that.”

“Yes, I do.”



She called in the order for a house salad and a small supreme pizza cooked well-done. When she started the car, it lurched forward and stalled.

Cooper had to bite his lip to keep from screaming in pain.

“Sorry. This clutch is psychotic.”

“S’okay,” Cooper said through clenched teeth. “Takes a second to get a feel for it.” Jared would kill him for letting her drive the car, but what choice did he have? There was no way he could drive with who-knew-what drugs in his system. “Let it out slowly. That’s your best bet.”

She did as he directed, and the car moved smoothly forward and out of the clinic parking lot.

Cooper was glad to see the last of that place, at least for now. They’d promised to call tomorrow to see how he was doing. He could hardly wait.

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