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Grayson's Angel: Brotherhood Protectors World by Linzi Baxter (1)

Chapter 1

Kara Davidson clenched her teeth and considered ignoring the call. She glanced at the iPhone, wishing a different name had flashed across the screen. This was the seventh call in the same day. He wasn’t going stop until she answered. A mixture of remorse and anger churned in her gut. He was her last family member, and she should answer to find out what he wanted. The only reason he ever called was because he wanted something from her.

She took a few breaths to get her emotions under control. Then she gripped the steering wheel with one hand and clicked the hands-free button with the other. “Hello, Father.”

“Is this Ms. Davidson?” The voice on the other end was a woman with a scratchy voice, probably from too many years of smoking.

“Yes. May I ask why you have my dad’s phone?”

“This is Bozeman Health. We tried calling you from our main line many times, and you didn’t answer. Your father was admitted to the hospital this morning, and you are listed as next of kin.”

The only missed calls on her phone were from her dad’s number. This lady was mistaken if they called her from the hospital. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name. Can I speak to my father?”

“Mr. Davidson is in an induced coma. We feel it would be best if someone from his family came as soon as possible. The doctors are uncertain if he will make it.” There was a long pause on the other end of the phone before she continued. “When can I tell the doctor you’ll be here?”

“I will try to find a flight tomorrow.”

The hospital employee clicked the phone off before she could ask more questions regarding her father’s health. Kara would make it to Bozeman tomorrow to see her father. She would look at his chart herself and make up her own mind. Kara tossed the phone onto the passenger seat and screamed, letting out the frustrations of the past five years.

After her mother died, Frank, her father, turned to booze and gambling to deal with his depression. He started to hit her during his drunken stupors. When her father didn’t look like he would change his ways, Kara packed up her life and moved to Denver, Colorado. She had watched one of her parents die in front of her eyes. She would not watch her father kill himself.

“Fuck,” she muttered as she shoved open the door of her MINI Cooper. After that call, she would spend her nice, long, relaxing weekend in Bozeman, Montana. Kara had spent the last six days working fifteen-hour shifts, so she could enjoy a much-needed long weekend getting caught up on the latest romance novels. Her father always had issues at the most inopportune moments.

The last time her father had called, he’d needed five grand for bail. He had started a bar fight and put the other man in the hospital. That wasn't the first time he had been arrested for the same crime, and the judge had set a high bail because of his many charges. Kara had been saving up for a house. To get her father out of jail, she’d had to take the money out of the savings she was planning to use for the down payment. Kara had nearly replenished her savings, and her father was in trouble again.

A twinge of guilt pricked her conscience. The lady had said he was in a coma. He might not make it out of whatever problem he’d gotten himself into this time, and there was no doubt in Kara’s mind whatsoever that getting hospitalized was her father’s own fault.

She would be going home for the first time in five years. Kara didn’t like going home because everything in Montana reminded her of her mother. When she was home, not a day went by when a scent or an action wouldn’t trigger those memories. In fact, just thinking of home triggered them.

She replayed the memory of her mother demanding the doctors release her from the hospital, so she could attend her daughter’s college graduation. Her mom, whose name was Emma, had withered away to bones by that time, but she stood up to the doctors and demanded they figure out a way for her to attend. The smile that had spread across her face when Kara walked across the stage was worth it. A few weeks later, she passed away when a blood clot traveled to her brain and the doctors couldn’t fix it in time.

At her apartment, Kara put her key in the doorknob but realized the door wasn’t locked. She reached into her oversized purse and pulled out a can of pepper spray while dialing 911 with her other hand. She was ready to hit the send button if there was trouble. Her apartment wasn’t in a bad part of town, but she always kept the door locked, even when she was home. Kara pushed the door open wide and found Stephanie, her best friend, standing in the small white kitchen, pouring a glass of wine.

Kara let out an aggravated sigh. “I don’t care if you come over, but please lock the door, even when you are here.” She entered the apartment and set her things on the white vinyl counter. “I almost called the police and pepper-sprayed you.”

Steph took a sip of her wine. “Maybe we would’ve been lucky and a sexy cop would’ve shown up. It’s been a while since I slept with someone.”

“I love nothing more than seeing you, but you normally call. What’s going on?” Kara grabbed the bottle of wine and filled a glass to the rim. She didn’t care about etiquette. She had too much on her mind.

Steph grabbed a container of chocolate ice cream and two spoons and went to sit on the couch. Kara took her glass of wine and followed.

“Today was the last day of your insane stretch of workdays. I came to celebrate with you. How was your day?”

Kara could tell something was going on with Steph. The tension in her eyes was enough to give it away. She also knew her friend would talk about it when she was ready.

Kara grabbed a spoon and enjoyed a bite of chocolate ice cream before talking about her messed-up day. “It started with a drunk puking on me. A lady got a phone stuck in her honey pot. My father is in the hospital, and I’m flying home tomorrow.”

Steph’s reaction to her news was priceless, Kara thought. Her mouth was opening and closing as if she were a fish out of water.

“Clearly, you got the puke cleaned off.” She waved her hands in Kara’s direction. “Let’s start with the tunnel-of-love lady. Your father can wait.”

“What more can I add? The lady got her iPhone Plus stuck in her vertical smile.”

“I want to know why.”

Kara reached forward to grab her laptop off the coffee table. She needed to look for tickets to Montana. But the story was a nice distraction from dealing with her father’s issue.

“I asked how she ended up with an iPhone in her meat curtain, and she explained that she was developing an app to use a phone as a vibrator. The phone got too slick, and she lost it. I can’t make this shit up.”

Steph looked to be pondering the situation before she commented. “Remind me never to touch anyone’s cell phone. I hope she stopped working on the app.”

“Oh, she did. She had put the app on her boyfriend’s phone, and when she lost it in her hoo-ha, she came to the emergency room immediately. When her boyfriend couldn’t find his phone, he located it on Find My iPhone. Once he made it to the hospital, he proceeded to call the phone over and over while walking the halls. Her fish lips were singing Kanye for about an hour. It took everything in me to keep a straight face.

“When her boyfriend burst through the curtain in the ER, the poor woman had to explain that she had lost his phone in her penis garage. I thought the man would lose it. Instead, he kept a straight face and asked her if she liked the app.

“The woman burst into tears and said she would scrap the project. Her boyfriend leaned in, kissed her on the forehead, and told her she would come up with something better. How can I find a man like that? He didn’t even care that she had used his phone for researching her inner depths.”

“One day, we will find our knight in shining armor.” A shadow crossed Steph’s face. “I have to admit, we did well with coming up with vagina names. Now, tell me what’s going on with your dad.”

There wasn’t much for Kara to tell. The hospital hadn’t given her much information. While they were talking, she purchased a ticket to Montana on the first plane out in the morning. It was already getting late, and Kara needed to pack. She left Steph eating on the couch.

Okay. One week. I can do this. Kara would go to Montana and check on her father. While he was in the hospital, she would go out to the ranch and get everything in line. Then she would be on the first flight back to Denver, and Montana would be behind her again.

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