Protecting What's His Page 33

Long fingernails punched the keyboard slowly. The woman shook her head. “No one has been admitted with that name, miss.”

Ginger finally lost her patience along with any composure she’d managed to keep since entering the hospital. She got angry. And when she got angry, she cried. Hiccupping once, twice, sloppy tears began rolling down her face once more. She leaned over the desk until her face was inches from the redhead.

“Check again. Now. Or I’ll throw this goddamn machine out the window.”


Chapter Nineteen

Her heart stopped. Sagging back from the counter, away from the woman’s stunned expression, Ginger turned to see Derek standing at the end of the corridor, underneath a sign that read Waiting Room.

With his ever-present badge clipped to his waist, Derek looked bone-weary, his white shirt wrinkled and speckled with blood. Stubble covered his wide jaw. He looked at her in shock as if he couldn’t believe she stood there, just a short distance away. Her eyes ran over him, taking in every detail, never wanting to forget a single thing about him.

She sobbed. “Oh God. Oh, Derek.”

Ginger’s body shook so severely, she couldn’t run to Derek as fast as she wanted to, but somehow made it to the end of the corridor. She leaped into his open arms, wrapped her body around him, and held on tight. His steady heartbeat drummed against her chest, reassuring her. With her face pressed into his strong shoulder, she wept harder than she could remember.

“Shhh, baby. I’ve got you. It’s going to be okay. God, you’re frozen.”

Derek hadn’t been shot and killed. He was alive and vital, holding her in his arms where she belonged. Ginger repeated those facts over and over in her head. Or maybe she said them out loud. She couldn’t be certain.

Slowly, she became aware of her surroundings. They stood in the center of a waiting room occupied by at least forty uniformed police officers and detectives. With her legs wrapped around his waist. Crying like a baby. Yelping, Ginger buried her face against his neck to block out all the amused grins.

Derek strode out of the waiting room and stopped in the first unoccupied hospital room they came across. Even after the door closed behind them, she could hear the whoops and catcalls echoing from the waiting room. Making no mention of the noise, he set her down on a narrow hospital bed, scanning her tearstained face.

“Sweetheart, talk to me. What’s wrong? Did something happen to Willa?”

“No,” she hiccupped, staring into his handsome, concerned face. “They told me someone shot you. They said I should get here as soon as possible.”

“Me? No, one of my officers was wounded. We’re just waiting for him to be moved into recovery.” Derek looked dumbfounded. “Who called you?”

“Patty,” she sniffed. “So you weren’t shot? You’re really okay?”

His jaw hardened. “I’m fine. Though I won’t be able to say the same for Patty much longer.”

“I don’t understand.”

Derek sighed. “Think about it. Did she actually say I’d been shot or did she just let you think it?”

She thought for a minute, paling at the realization. “Why would she do that to me?”

He made an irritated sound. “She must have guessed that based on my mood this morning, we’d broken up or had a fight. I’m guessing this was her misguided way of throwing us together.”

Ginger brushed the final tears from her eyes. “Wow. That is a woman who takes matchmaking seriously. And here I thought she wanted to fix me up with her nephew.”

“Over my dead body.”

“It almost was.”

Derek smiled, but it quickly disappeared. “How did you get here?”

She had to think. “Um…I drove my truck.”

Eyes pinching shut, he took a steadying breath. “You drove yourself here, upset, in the middle of the night. Dressed in your pajamas.”

Ginger glanced down, surprised to find herself in short terry-cloth shorts, a nightshirt and cowboy boots. “Huh. Look at that.” Gazing into his green eyes once more, she stroked his jaw until it relaxed a little. “I wasn’t thinking straight, I suppose.”

Derek still looked displeased.

Her hands moved to his chest, stroking over his shoulders. “So I’ve made my big, dramatic scene. Isn’t this the part where you kiss me, Lieutenant?”

“I can’t kiss you right now.”

“Why not?”

His chest rose and fell with a shudder underneath her hands. “I’m looking at you sitting there all puffy-eyed from crying over me. If I kiss you right now, I’ll never stop.”

Her heart pounded a wild beat. “Just one little kiss?”

Derek groaned. “God, this is how it’s going to be with you, isn’t it? When I can’t make love to you properly, you’ll beg me for it? I think you’re trying to kill me.”

Smiling, Ginger ran her nose along the side of his neck. “I need you alive for what I have in mind.”

His head dropped forward. “Being shot would have been easier than this.”

Ginger jerked back with a gasp, her eyes going wide. “Don’t say that.”

“I’m sorry.” Derek grabbed her wrists and blocked her with his hips before she could slide off the bed and get away from him. “Bad joke.” When a tear slipped out, Derek watched it track down her cheek.

With a soft groan, he kissed her, tenderly at first. She let her head fall back, parting her lips underneath his, granting permission.

Ginger whimpered and molded her body against his harder, muscular frame. Derek’s hands were everywhere, running up her bare calves and thighs, whipping off her nightshirt to reveal her naked br**sts, then cupping and kneading them greedily. He gripped her knees and yanked her forward to the edge of the bed so he could rock into her body, despite their remaining clothes.

“If you keep quiet, I’ll give you what you need. Can you do that?” He drove his demanding erection forward between her legs, and Ginger’s eyes rolled back in her head.


“But you’re going to give me what I need first, Ginger. Do you remember what you said to me the other night? I do. Every f**king word.” His mouth found her breast, drawing a nipple between his lips and sucking hard. Ginger bit her lip but a moan of longing escaped, echoing through the room.

“I told you to keep quiet. If you don’t listen to me, we can’t do this.”

Her hands clutched at his hair as he tongued her ni**les. “I’ll be quiet, I swear,” she whispered.

“If even one of my men hears your sweet little noises when you come, I’ll be very upset. Those are for my ears alone. Do you understand me?”

“Yes. Yes, I understand.”

“Good.” He rewarded her with a slow, provocative kiss of her mouth. “You asked me if I wanted to put it in your mouth. You asked if I wanted to be your first again.”

She watched through hooded eyes as his hands worked the buckle of his belt. Then he reached behind him to flip the lock on the door, his savage gaze not leaving hers for a second. Ginger felt drugged, but completely focused at the same time. She desperately wanted to please Derek and didn’t care if that made her weak-willed, because she planned on demanding he please her just as thoroughly afterward. Her body shook and heated under his regard to such a degree, she almost climaxed then and there.

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