Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)

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CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

TRISH

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“Jesse! Wait!”

Where the hell does he think he’s going? Didn’t we just hear gunshots?

If he thinks I’m going to patiently wait here while he goes off and gets himself shot, he had better think again. I hurry after him as fast as I can in my high heels. He’s standing at the far end of the building, and it takes me a minute to catch up.

“What’s going on?” I ask when I reach him, out of breath. “What’s happening?”

“Trish, no. Don’t look,” he says in an anguished voice, turning and stepping in front of me to block my view.

Too late.

“Ty!”

I tear loose from Jesse’s grip and take off running across the parking lot.

“Trish, stop!” Jesse yells from behind me.

I don’t stop running until I reach my brother’s body sprawled out on the pavement. His eyes are closed and blood is gushing from a gunshot wound in his stomach. The bright red liquid is dripping steadily and pooling into a big puddle onto the ground.

“Ty!” I cry. “Are you okay? Can you hear me? Ty!”

I tug his shirt loose from his pants and pull it up so I can see how bad he is hurt. I gasp when I see his abdomen. So much blood everywhere, and it isn’t slowing down.

I place my hands against the wound in a pitiful attempt to stop the bleeding. Immediately, the blood seeps between my fingers and soaks my hands.

“Help!” I scream, looking around in a panic, hoping someone is coming to his aid. The bouncers are still standing there with their guns pointed at us. “Call 911! Why did you shoot him?”

“I’m here,” Jesse says, kneeling down beside me.

He quickly dials 911 and tells them to send an ambulance to the Silver Shark Saloon for a gunshot victim before clicking the phone shut.

“He’s bleeding so much,” I say, my voice catching on a sob. “He’s still alive, right? Right? Please tell me he isn’t dead! Why did they shoot him? I don’t understand.”

“Yeah, he’s breathing,” Jesse assures. “It’s shallow, but he’s definitely breathing. We need to try to slow down this bleeding until the ambulances get here.”

He pulls a rag out of his pocket and nudges my hands away so he can press it against the wound. Red blood instantly soaks through the white rag.

“Damn!” Jesse swears.

He leans over Ty’s body to put more pressure on it.

“Please don’t let him die, Jesse. Please.”

He doesn’t look up at me.

“I’ll try my best,” he says.

I sit down on the pavement and cradle my brother’s head in my lap like a little child.

“Hang in there, Ty. You’re strong. You can beat this.”

Tears flow down my cheeks. I sniffle and try to wipe them away with the back of my hand. In the distance, the wail of sirens lets me know the ambulance is on the way.

“Thank God,” Jesse says without glancing up.

In a matter of minutes, an ambulance and fire truck pulls into the parking lot with lights flashing and sirens screaming. I jump up and wave my arms.

“Over here!” I yell. “This way!”

A team of paramedics rush toward us and instruct Jesse to move aside so they can do their job. He quickly stands up and engulfs me in a big hug. His chest is warm and his shirt is now wet from my tears that I can’t seem to stop. He rests his chin on the top of my head.

“He’s going to be okay,” he says, rubbing my back. “I’ve seen guys live through worse.”

“Really?” I ask, knowing he’s probably only saying that to make me feel better.

“Sure. He’ll be okay.”

A male paramedic places an oxygen mask over Ty’s face. “What happened here?” he asks.

“I’m not exactly sure,” Jesse answers. “Someone threw Molotov cocktails through the front glass windows. A fire started inside the bar and everyone panicked. Shots rang out in the parking lot. That’s all I know.”

The paramedics give each other a knowing look. “Fool bikers,” one of them mutters under his breath.

“Will he be okay?” I ask. “He’s lost so much blood.”

“He’s alive, and that’s a start.”

The paramedics carefully load Ty onto a stretcher and carry him to the ambulance with me following close behind. They lift him up gently and start to shut the doors.

“I’m going with him,” I say, hopping up into the ambulance without waiting for an invitation. “I’m his sister, and he needs me.”

Jesse starts to climb in behind me.

The paramedic stops him. “Sorry, only family can ride in the ambulance.”

Jesse backs away. “Where are you headed?” he asks.

“St. Mary’s Hospital.”

“I’ll meet you there,” Jesse yells to me as the paramedic slams the doors shut and flips on the sirens again.

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