Obsidian Page 1

Author: Laurann Dohner

Series: New Species #8

Genres: Fantasy , Romance

Chapter One

Dr. Allison Baker knew what it was like to lose patients. She’d sat next to them and held their hands as death hovered to take them away after their last breaths. It was part of the job and it came with the territory to understand that some battles couldn’t be won. It wasn’t something a textbook could teach but experience and loss had burned that lesson deep into her soul. It was why she’d left the hospital to become a member of the NSO medical staff. They represented hope and new life.

Her gaze flicked over the monitor readings and helplessness settled in. Her patient wasn’t improving but he wasn’t growing worse either. Limbo sucked. She gripped the cold metal railing that would prevent him rolling out of the clinic bed but it wasn’t needed. He didn’t move, wouldn’t wake, and hours had passed into days. Then weeks. Eventually months.

The male New Species had really long, silky black hair and it shone from being washed and brushed. She’d tenderly cared for it as if it were her own. Small, thin scars marred handsome, fierce features. His lips were really full and plush. His nose was a bit wide, a little flat, and his cheekbones jutted out, pronounced. Tape kept his eyes closed but she knew their chocolate-brown color well. Every day she removed it and hoped she’d see a response in his pupils. It hadn’t happened.

“Doc Alli?” The gruff male voice startled her.

She glanced over her shoulder at Destiny. He was a big primate Species with pretty brown eyes and really long eyelashes. He stepped into the room and his mouth curved downward.

“What’s up?”

“You shouldn’t be in here. You know the rules.”

Her focus returned to the man who lay meekly on a bed with tubes and needles attached to him. “He hasn’t woken and it’s driving me crazy. His wounds have healed, he’s got brain activity and I’ve run every test I can think of on him. So have the other doctors. What am I missing?”

“He could become conscious and you’d be in danger.” Destiny moved to her side, his big body only inches away. “He could hurt you if that happens. He’ll believe he’s still at the mercy of Mercile Industries and you’re human. He’d consider you the enemy.”

“I wish he would attack me. He’d be awake then.”

He growled softly. “The rules state that you aren’t allowed to enter this room without me or another Species male present. The officer was gone and I scented you down here. Where is Book?”

“He went to lunch.” She hesitated. “He locked the door but I know where you keep the key.” She shrugged, not bothering to apologize for what she’d done. “I come in here sometimes when one of the officers takes a meal break. I’m always hoping for a change.”

“He has no will to live.”

“I won’t accept that as the reason. I just don’t understand what physical injury I’m missing. His body is healed. He should have come out of the coma. I ordered new drugs to try and hopefully they will bring him around.”

Destiny remained silent for long seconds. “Perhaps we should remove the feeding tube and allow his body to finish what his mind started.”

Horrified, she jerked her head around to gape at him. “No!”

“We discussed it.” Sorrow filled his eyes. “We know so little about him, except he lost his mate. She died in front of him and he injured himself attempting to end his suffering. He has no reason to fight to survive.”

“Who discussed stopping intervention?”

“Everyone. There is no dignity in forcing him to live when his will is not there.”

“Screw that.” Her temper flared. “There could be a medical condition that we haven’t diagnosed yet. We just don’t know for sure.” She stared at the scarred face that she’d grown to care for so deeply. “I won’t give up on him.”

“You’re a good female with a kind heart.” Destiny reached out slowly and curled his big, warm hand over one of hers. “You’re suffering more than he is. It might be better to allow nature to take course.”

“It’s ‘allow nature to take its course’ but no damn way.” She jerked her hand from beneath his and shook her head.

Her teeth dented her bottom lip while she worried over the decision others could make. She was the patient’s doctor but she had bosses. The NSO pulled her strings. “There’s something I’m missing and I just have to figure it out.”

“I came to bathe his body. I was informed that Field washed his hair this morning.” He hesitated. “You brushed it out for him.”

“Yeah. It was tangled. Field is becoming a great nurse but he’s not very good at things like that.”

“We’re learning.”

“You’re doing a great job.” She flashed him an encouraging smile.

“You need to leave while I bathe him.”

“Of course.” New Species were weird about allowing the opposite sex to see an injured one of their own naked. She understood, respected it, but she was a doctor. Part of her was curious since she’d never seen a Species male totally bare from the waist down but she wasn’t a voyeur either. She’d feel perverted if she stayed. “Call me if anything changes.”

“It will not. He lost his mate and he no longer wishes to live.”

She turned away from the bed but paused by the door. She studied the Species nurse-in-training. “Do you really think that’s it?”