Dollars Page 2

Michaels nodded. “Right-o. The surgery is all prepped. I’ll concentrate on her tongue before doing a full assessment.” Snapping his fingers, two nurses rolled a gurney forward, waiting until I’d placed Pimlico on the green material ready for the operating theatre.

My arms ached from carrying her, but I also ached for a different reason. I didn’t like that she was in so much pain.

Fuck, get your head together.

If I let sympathy and protectiveness gather so soon into owning her, I wouldn’t last a week.

“How long before you’ve fixed her?”

Michaels scowled, his red hair and white complexion hinting at his Anglo-Saxon roots. “Hard to say until I’ve assessed what needs to be done. Come back in a few hours, and I’ll let you know.”

Impatience snarled, but I fought it back. A few hours to halt death and keep her in my world? It was a small price to pay.

With a curt nod, I left the sterile deck of medicine, heading back up to fresh air. It was a ritual I never broke. I had to be at the bow when leaving port.

My hands were slippery with Pim’s blood as I strode over an immaculate deck of oak, cherry, and teak. My mind raced with things I should be doing. The urge to take precautions –so I didn’t slip backward into my own personal hell—berated me.

Now Pimlico was mine, I had no way of ignoring my desires. She was close. She was on my boat. The sooner I accepted that I had access to her whenever I damn well wanted and put rules in place so I didn’t destroy us both, the better.

Not caring her blood stained my fingers, I dragged them through my hair as I stood at the front of the yacht. Engines growled below, propellers chopped the tide into sushi, slowly pushing the big beast into motion.

I looked over my shoulder at the bridge where my captain and his team handled my vessel with expert ministrations. Leaving port on such a big ship was never easy, and my heart thudded as Phantom nudged away from her mooring then leisurely opened up, heading toward the open seas.

As salty air replaced smog and the rock of a movable world deleted the landlocked mundane, I closed my eyes and forced myself to relax.

The stickiness of Pim’s blood dried on my skin the faster Phantom flew. I would’ve given away my entire ill-gotten fortune to leap into the ocean and wash away the gore sticking to my flesh. However, I would have to be patient.

Once we were far, far away, I’d get my wish. For now, I was happy saying goodbye to Crete.

My thoughts turned inward to the dirt I’d climbed from, the mud I’d flung off my back, and the filth I’d invited into my world to survive.

A few years ago, I’d found refuge in alleys, wielding a knife to protect the one person I cared about. Now, I stood on multimillion dollars’ worth of prestige with its silken decks, seamless windows, and bullet-shaped hull while glaring at the same mocking sun that’d watched me transform from penniless to prince.

Up until today, I’d accepted the man I’d become to make that happen. I was happy with the man I’d become. But Pimlico refused to leave my conscience—taunting me with memories of hardship, hunger, and helplessness.

She forced me to remember things I had no desire to recall all because she suffered the same way I had. Her prison included a home with a monster. My prison had included the streets with gangs.

Our similarities ended there.

Unlike her, who’d begged the devil for death and lived a half-life in a world she couldn’t escape, I’d cheated and stolen and built a bridge from destitution to untouchable.

Like her, I’d killed those who wronged me.

I was fucking proud of her for that.

She’d surprised and impressed me when she’d pulled the trigger without any remorse.

She was so bloody strong.

I wanted to see how deep that strength went.

It would be a little while before land fully disappeared, but by the time Pimlico woke up, she wouldn’t belong to terra firma anymore.

Not to Alrik or assholes or death.

No.

By the time she woke up, she’d belong to me and the sea.

And there was no escape with water as her new prison and me as her new jailer.

I’m sorry for what I’m about to do to you, Pim.

But you’re mine now.

MY FIRST THOUGHT was of water and drinking and thirst.

My second thought was pain.

Pain.

Pain.

My hands flew up to hug my mouth. I wanted to cradle my butchered tongue. But someone grabbed my wrist, keeping me restrained.

“Ah, no touching. You need to keep all foreign items—including unwashed fingers—away from the wound.”

My eyes widened as I blinked into focus a man with shaggy ginger-red hair. His eyes were the first I’d seen in so long that didn’t harbour sin or evil sickness. His handsome face was normal. He was normal. Not an ogre or troll.

He isn’t Mr. Prest.

Where am I?

My gaze drifted down his doctor’s gown, searching for a nametag.

Nothing.

Not even a stethoscope around his neck or a thermometer peeking from his breast pocket. The only thing marring his clinical uniform was a horrendous splash of blood right over his chest.

He followed my glance. “Yes, you, eh, threw up on the operating table before I could administer anaesthetic.” He frowned. “Do you remember the events leading up to now?”

Wait, did Mr. Prest drop me off at a hospital?

Am I free?

My heart bounced in a cheerleading outfit to celebrate.

Taking my wrist, he counted my pulse, not looking at the bruises or rope-bracelets I’d long since grown used to. “You’ll feel a bit sluggish over the next few hours, but I’ll keep your pain managed with morphine. If you feel any discomfort, let me know, and I’ll do my best to help.”

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