Home > Wanting You Close (Archer & Everleigh #2)

Wanting You Close (Archer & Everleigh #2)
Author: Kennedy Fox

 

Chapter One

 

 

EVERLEIGH

 

 

I hear something I can’t quite place. My eyelids are heavy, and I somehow force them open. The bright white room is one I don’t recognize. When I turn my head slightly, Archer comes into view, and a smile touches my lips. Before I can open my mouth to say his name, my brother stands.

“Everleigh.” Tyler walks toward me. Archer joins him. They look exhausted, like they haven’t slept in days, but relief covers their faces.

“Hey. Where am I?” My voice is almost unrecognizable to me. I try to swallow, but my throat is dry.

“You’re in the hospital,” Archer states, his voice low. “You got hurt.”

I don’t remember what happened, but there’s a dull ache in my lower abdomen. I’m hooked to an IV with a blood pressure cuff. The constant beeping drives me crazy. “How long have I been here?”

“Two days. You got stabbed, and the doctors did surgery to stop the bleeding,” Tyler says.

My eyes widen in surprise because I don’t recall any of that. By the expression on Archer’s face, there’s more to it.

“Wow…” I blink, searching my memory. “Who did it?”

Tyler looks at Archer. “We were hoping you’d know,” Archer says.

I shake my head.

The last thing I remember is partying at the bar for Archer’s birthday, then going home afterward. Archer and I made love and exchanged I love yous. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. As I meet Archer’s intense gaze, I swallow down my emotions because I know I can’t say those words to him right now.

Another sharp pain shoots through my body, and I blink hard. I try to reposition myself to get more comfortable.

“How do you feel?” Tyler adjusts my pillow, helping me sit up straighter.

“Like I’ve been stabbed,” I deadpan.

Archer’s face hardens, and his jaw clenches, and I realize how upset he is. It doesn’t help that we can’t talk privately.

“The pain isn’t that bad,” I try to reassure them, but I assume I’m on some good painkillers.

“The doctors said you’d need to rest for a few weeks,” Archer explains. “The wound needs to heal.”

I shake my head. “I don’t have that kind of time. I have to get back to work as soon as possible. I have new inventory arriving next week.”

“It’s non-negotiable, Everleigh. You could’ve died.” Tyler glares at me, but his face softens when I narrow my eyes at him. “Don’t worry about the shop. Right now, Lexie is taking care of it until you can return.”

“Thank God,” I whisper. I trust her to run things.

This bed feels like it’s stuffed with rocks, and I can’t get situated with all the wires and tenderness in my stomach. “When can I go home?”

“Could be a couple more days,” Archer tells me. “You need to recover from the surgery, and they want to make sure the wound starts healing. It was scary for a bit in the beginning.”

I blink at Archer, wishing I could pull him in and kiss his lips.

“We were all so fucking worried about you, Ev,” Tyler croaks out. I can tell he’s holding back his emotions.

“Do you recall anything from that day?” Archer asks.

“I remember the party…” I say, glancing at him, then at Tyler. He doesn’t need to know the details of Archer fucking my brains out the night before.

Tyler speaks up. “So you don’t remember anything from that day or who was at the door?”

I shake my head. “No. I’m drawing a blank.”

“Damn.” He blows out a breath, then glances at Archer.

“I gave the detective the license plates and a brief description of the woman, but I didn’t recognize her,” Archer admits.

“Better than nothing,” I say, wishing he were closer to me. “Were Gemma and Katie here?”

Tyler grins. “Yeah, they literally talked to you for an hour straight after surgery. They were here this morning but left about an hour ago to check on the kids. I’m going to text them and let them know you’re awake. They’ll be relieved.”

I clear my throat. “Is there any way you can get me some water? Maybe let a doctor or nurse know that I’m awake? I have some questions.”

“Absolutely.” Tyler nods and walks out.

As soon as the door closes, Archer takes my hand and kneels beside the bed.

“Everleigh,” he whispers, his voice hoarse with worry as he studies my face. “I’ve never been so fucking scared in my life. I thought…”

“Kiss me.”

Archer doesn’t waste any time and presses his soft lips against mine. I fist his shirt, wishing I could pull him into the bed with me, but our alone time is limited.

“I love you,” I say when we pull apart.

“I love you too, baby. The thought of losing you had me ready to burn down the world without an ounce of regret.”

I lift a brow. “I kinda like the thought of that. Avenging my death and all.”

He shakes his head with a grin. “Making jokes at a time like this is one of your better qualities.”

“Will you tell me exactly what happened? I didn’t want to ask in front of Tyler.”

“It wouldn’t have mattered. I already told him everything because I felt like he needed to know the truth.” Archer gently sits on the edge of the bed and brushes the hair off my face.

“Everything, everything?” I ask with raised brows.

“I didn’t tell him about us.”

I smirk. “I’m not sure you’d be alive right now otherwise. Okay, well, can you give me a play-by-play on exactly what happened?”

“We were in bed when the doorbell rang. You said you scheduled a breakfast order, so you got up to answer it. I followed you out to go use the bathroom, but then I heard a woman say, ‘What do you have that I don’t have?’ and I knew it wasn’t a delivery person. When I walked over to ask what was going on, the woman came at you, and I caught you just as you were falling to the floor. I didn’t even realize she stabbed you until I saw the blood. She ran and drove off in the same black Escalade that’d been following us. I quickly grabbed my phone and called 911.”

“So you saw her face?”

“Yeah, but I didn’t recognize her. She had short red hair and dressed like she had money. The look on her face was fucking frightening like she was cracked out and had nothing to lose.”

“The only person I know who looks like that is Eric’s wife.”

“That’s what Tyler said too,” he tells me. “We gave her name to the police as well.”

I squeeze his hand tight. “I’m glad you were there with me. If you wouldn’t have been, I might’ve…” I stop myself from finishing. “I don’t want to think about it.”

“I don’t either.” He leans over and brushes his lips across mine again. Just as he pulls away, the door to my room swings open. When I see Lexie’s bright smile, my face lights up.

When she rushes forward, Archer steps back to give her space. “Thank God! Do you know how worried I’ve been?”

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