Saturday, 18 March 2017

#SneakPeek: Wounded By Abby Brooks


“Have you seen him naked yet?” Lexi Stills, my best friend since the first grade, leans forward, resting her elbows on the table in the crowded hospital cafeteria.
“Seen who naked yet?” I ask, feigning confusion.
Lexi purses her cherry-colored lips. “Liam McGuire, you ass.” She picks at the crust of her sandwich and pops a bite into her mouth. “You know, the super-famous singer who just happens to have been admitted here at Grayson Memorial.”
“Oh yeah. Him.” I shrug, playing it cool just to drive her crazy.
“Yeah, him.” Lexi stops chewing and lifts her eyebrows. “So?”
“So, what?”
“Have you seen him naked?”
Laughing, I sit back in my chair and scrape my spoon around the sides of my yogurt cup. “Nope. No hot nude scenes with famous musicians for me,” I say, even though it’s kind of a lie.
Liam has a habit of leaving his hospital gown open and I’ve seen his ass more times than I can count. I just don’t feel like opening that particular can of worms with Lexi right now. Of all the fangirls in the world, she might be the fangirliest and I'm not in the mood for the slew of questions that will follow the admission that yes, I have seen his ass, and yes, it really is as magnificent as she thinks it is.
“Don’t give up hope.” Lexi looks so crushed I almost tell her the truth. Almost. “I think he’s staying here one more day,” she says. “After that, I bet they ship him right back to Los Angeles for some kind of plastic surgery miracle only someone that rich and famous could afford.” She rakes a hand through her honey-blond hair, pulling little wisps back off her face. “It’s such a shame. The accident and all that. I wonder what will happen now that he’s all scarred up.”
“Maybe he’ll learn some humility. That man is every bit as bad as the tabloids make him out to be.”
Lexi rolls her eyes. “Only you would be immune to the awesomeness that is Liam McGuire.” She balls up her napkin and throws it onto the table next to her mostly eaten sandwich.
“So, how’s Gabe?” I ask, carefully enunciating my words so she knows I’m changing the topic now and have no intention of letting her change it back. Being Liam McGuire’s nurse is bad enough. He doesn’t need to become the sole topic of every conversation on top of it.
“That boy is going to be the death of me.” She’s trying to sound exasperated, but the look of sheer adoration gleaming in her eyes ruins the effect. “He’s as hard-headed as he is sweet. Do you know what he said to me yesterday?”
“I haven’t the foggiest.” Lexi’s stories about her five-year-old son Gabe never disappoint.
“He was playing with his truck on the table and then he looks at me, as serious as can be, and says he’s going to need me to talk to him before I find a husband because he wants to make sure the guy’s truck is good enough for me.”
I laugh as we stand and gather our trash. “Sounds like he’s already on his way to being more man than boy. A little bossy, a little protective, and interested in his truck above all things.”
Lexi lets out a long sigh. “Lord help me,” she says, looking towards the ceiling as if expecting an answer.
The hospital cafeteria is busier than I’ve ever seen it. Ever since word got out that Liam McGuire is holed up here, we’ve had an influx of oddly difficult to diagnose illnesses and injuries. Phantom pains and coughs that seem way more serious at home than they do once the patients arrive here. There’s even paparazzi hanging out at the front doors.
In Grayson, Ohio.
They scurry forward like a swarm of ants every time the doors open, cameras flashing madly, calling out Liam McGuire’s name like a battle cry. When they discover the infamous pop star isn’t coming out to show off his new badass scar and flash his so-charming-it-should-be-patented smile, they collectively groan and retreat as if to lick their wounds and prepare for the next time those doors swing open.
Lexi widens her eyes at me as she throws her trash in the bin. “Can you imagine how much attention you’d get if these people knew you’re one of his nurses?”
A little strum of panic tangles up with my lunch and bounces around my stomach. “You keep your mouth shut, you hear me?” Lexi loves the spotlight. Me? No thank you.
“Fine,” she says, pouting. “But you’re throwing away an opportunity here. This could be your fifteen minutes of fame.”
I link arms with my best friend and we saunter out of the cafeteria. “Nah. I’m saving my fifteen minutes for something way better than this.”
“You say that now, but I bet when you’re old and gray you’ll realize you squandered an opportunity here.”
“I’m glad to see you have so much faith in me. That you think the best I’m ever going to be is a nurse to some spoiled brat of a pop star.”
“I have more faith in you than you have in yourself, you dingbat,” Lexi replies as we arrive at the nurse’s station.
“Of course, his call light is on.” I let out a little growl of frustration. “When isn’t it on?”
Lexi shakes her head. “You are the only female between the ages of fifteen and one hundred to be upset because she has to spend too much time with Liam McGuire.”
“I doubt that,” I say before I head down to his room at the end of the hall.
I don’t know if it’s because he’s been famous since he was fourteen and all the attention spoiled him, or if he’s just got asshole in his genes, but it only takes a minute or two of being around the guy to get my hackles up. I don’t care how good looking he is or how well he can sing, if you’re ugly on the inside, you’re ugly on the outside.
Although, for as much as I can’t stand the guy, there is a small part of me that does feel a little bit sorry for him. A very small part. And just a tiny little bit. I mean, the guy survived an accident that may or may not alter the course of his life. His tour bus swerved off the road just outside of Grayson and rolled over a few times. Everyone survived, although after seeing pictures of the bus, I don’t know how. The thing was just a garbled piece of twisted metal and broken glass.
Liam suffered a concussion and a wicked gash that runs from his hairline to his chin that should have taken his eye but didn’t. All the doctors keep muttering about how lucky he is, but I don’t know if they’ve really thought it through. For a guy who makes his living off his looks, an injury like that is probably devastating. I don’t think I could be human and not feel a tiny bit bad
for him.
But like I said, just a tiny bit.


MORE About Wounded 

For every wound, there is a scar.
Raised on fame and fortune, Liam McGuire is a spoiled man-child. His handsome face blinds the world, but I see through it to what he is inside.
When his tour bus rolls off the road, Liam’s rushed to the hospital where I work. A jagged scar runs the length of his face, ruining his good looks and jeopardizing his career. As his nurse, I’m around him more than I’d like, but the more I get to know him, the more I realize the world wasn’t blind to him.
I was.
Liam McGuire feels deeply and loves wildly, throwing himself into everything he does with more passion than I ever dreamed possible. With that intensity aimed at me, the scars slashed across my own heart start to heal. He is fire and I’ve been cold my whole life.
Am I ready to thaw? Or is life better—safer—when I’m cold and numb?

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Abby Brooks is a romance author who lives with the love her life and their three kids in a small town in Ohio. She loves dancing in the kitchen, laughing with people she loves, and reading way too late into the night. She also loves hearing from her readers!

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