Home > Dearest Ivie (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15.5)(6)

Dearest Ivie (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15.5)(6)
Author: J.R. Ward

Havers was the race’s only healer, and his subterranean clinic, which was at its new site across the river, treated everything from stubbed toes and bad hangnails to the most complex of cases including births, which were all high risk by definition, and advanced elderly care. Nobody was ever turned away, even if they could not pay, and there was one standard of care for all: the very best Havers and his nursing staff could give.

There was, however, a special unit for people who, by virtue of their wallet size and bloodline, could afford to be indulged—and Ivie had long supposed that that restricted-access part of the clinic was what paid for the many who were too poor to afford what they needed. Havers was running a business, after all, one with fixed costs like drugs and employees and expensive equipment that broke or needed maintenance—and then there was the reality that the massive facility had to be heated, cooled, and lighted.

So yes, if the rich wanted to check in, either because they had a problem or thought they had a problem, Havers and his special team put on their kid gloves and did what they did for the rest of the commoners, and charged the aristocracy an arm and a leg.

Rubes was going to be a perfect addition to that part of the clinic. She was beautiful and cheerful and so positive, you couldn’t help but be uplifted. She was also wired, so working round the clock and catching sleep when she could wasn’t going to affect her performance.

And yeah, wow, two thousand extra a month.

That was a whole lot of Zappos.

“Don’t worry, Ivie, I’ll still be around lots. I can come out and we’ll take our breaks together.”

“I’d like that.” Ivie collapsed her empty bag in her fist and got up, the chair squeaking over the clean floor. “I really would.”

“And you didn’t hear from that private job again?”

“Oh, I don’t expect to.”

Ivie snagged her empty sandwich bag and Coke can and headed across to the trash can. The break room had a kitchenette and three round tables with chairs, along with lockers, a sofa in front of a TV that was usually off, and a lending library of mostly current People magazines and not-as-current hardcovers and paperbacks. A door toward the back opened up to a bathroom that had showers and toilets, and then there was another one that led to the bunkhouse, where the bedrooms for the nursing staff were lined up one by one as if in a hotel.

“How’s your patient in four?” Rubes asked as she got up and ditched her trash, too.

“Getting better. Bone has set beautifully and her hellren came in and fed her again, so she’ll be out by tomorrow night at the latest.”

“Don’t you love a good outcome?”

“Yes, Rubes, I do.”

* * *

And this was why you didn’t let males you’d just been on a first date with take you home.

As Ivie shut her apartment door and dead bolted it, she thought back to the magic float she’d been rocking when she’d come home after The Date. Yeah…nope. Right now, she was pulling a pathetic polar opposite of that happy fizzy buzz, her feet plodding their way down to her bedroom, her back aching from work, her head thumping in a dull way that made up for its lack of magnitude with tenacity.

“It’s fine,” she said into the silence as she flopped down on her bed. “All good.”

After kicking off her shoes and dropping her bag, she fell back onto the duvet and stared at the ceiling. Man, she’d definitely made the right move not getting into that car with that guy. Things had been so electric between them, she might have done something stupid like invite him up here, and then where would she be with all this he-isn’t-calling—

Her phone went off in her purse and she glanced at the clock on her bedside table. Right on schedule, it was her dad calling to make sure she’d gotten home safely from work. And she was tempted to let it go into voicemail, but that was cruel because he would worry.

With a grunt, she sat back up and dropped her hand into her bag to fish around—

Unknown Number. And not “unknown” as it was ten digits that were not entered into her contacts list, but literally the title Unknown Number.

Accepting the call, she said, “Hello?”

“I can’t wait any longer. I did the best I could.”

Ivie smiled so wide, she put her hand up to cover the dopey expression even though she was alone. “Well, as I live and breathe, Silas, son of Mordachy.”

His deep voice was raspy in a fantastic way. “I didn’t want to come across as overeager. So I waited. And waited. My goal was to make it to tomorrow so I didn’t look weak and clingy, but I cracked.”

“I’m glad you called. And if you’re brave enough to admit you broke down earlier than planned, I’ll meet you on that playing field and tell you I was starting to worry you wouldn’t be back.”

Oh, that laugh. “Not a chance. I can’t stop thinking about you—but not in a stalker way, I promise.”

“A stalker wouldn’t have lasted this long.”

“Exactly, so I’m a safe bet. How’s work been?”

Now, as she lay down again, she was back in the float-zone. “Good. One of my patients is going home tomorrow night after a complicated surgery, so I feel like I did my job. How’s being rich?”

“Oh, you know, I gold-leafed my toenails tonight, got the paws on my leopard rotated, and topped things off by burning a couple of Picassos in my fireplace. Same ol’, same ol’.”

There was a pause, and then his voice got even lower. “May I come over.”

Ivie closed her eyes as her body went loose. “It’s so close to dawn.”

“I won’t stay the day. I promise. I just want to see you for even an hour. The night after tomorrow is a long time.”

“I feel the same way. Give me fifteen minutes.”

Talk about hustle. The second she ended the call, she was up on her feet and in the shower, going through her soap, shampoo, and conditioner routine at a dead run. She spun through it all so fast, she could confidently relate to socks in a dryer.

Twelve and a half minutes later, she was dry, in yoga pants and a loose shirt, and out in the kitchen, shoving her First Meal dishes into the sink and making an orderly pile of the two days of mail she hadn’t opened.

The buzzer went off six minutes after that.

Not that she was counting or anything.

Hitting the release for the downstairs door, her heart went Mayweather in her chest as she waited for the knock.

“Screw it.”

Opening her door, she leaned out into the carpeted corridor…and there he was, coming down to her, his smile as big as hers, his body just the same, his face just the same.

His scent just the same.

No suit this time, and that was good. Instead, he had on a black cashmere sweater and a set of slacks that were dark gray. He looked polished, expensive…delicious.

“Hello, stranger,” she said as he stopped in front of her.

“Hi.”

They stood there, her hanging off the jamb of her door, him out in the hall for about twenty-five years.

“Do you mind?” he whispered.

“I’m sorry, what?”

But then he was taking her face in his hands and lowering his head—and she was pulling him down to her mouth, his lips the only thing she wanted in the world.

It was quite possible she moaned as he kissed her. Or maybe that was him. Who cared.

They shuffled inside and she closed them in, and then she was against him and wrapping her arms around his shoulders. It was a long while before they eased back, and even when they did, it was just their mouths. Everything else stayed close.

Silas’s eyes were heavy lidded and glowing as he stared down at her. “Hi.”

“Hello.”

“Guess that’s all we’ve got for vocabulary, huh.”

“Mmm-hmm. But words are overrated, don’t you think?”

“If I can be kissing you instead? Absolutely.”

His mouth dropped down to hers again, his lips plying at her, his tongue coming out and licking for permission to enter. Broad, warm hands slipped around to her waist, and her breasts got tight as they met the wall of his pecs.

It was clear he was aroused.

   
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