FuriousR. L. Mathewson
An Anger Management Novel
A Smashword’s Edition
Other titles by R.L. Mathewson:
Anger Management Series
The Pyte/Sentinel Series:
Tall, Dark, & Lonely
Tall, Dark, & Heartless
Tall, Silent, & Lethal
Tall, Dark, & Furious
The Neighbor from Hell Series:
Playing for Keeps
Truce: The Historic Neighbor from Hell
The Game Plan
Christmas from Hell
Fire & Brimstone
The Neighbor from Hell YA Series
The EMS Series:
The Hollywood Hearts Series:
A Humble Heart
A Reclusive Heart
The Cursed Hearts Series:
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations and events described in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Furious © Rerum Carta Industries, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved.
Edited by R.L. Mathewson
Proofreader: Casey Leigh
Betas: Jennelyn Carrion and Laura Rose
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9986017-9-3
As always, this book is dedicated to my children, Kayley and Shane, who put up with me, hook me up with plenty of Coke to keep me going and make me smile every day.
Thank you for purchasing this book and for being there for us every step of the way.
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Table of Contents
Sneak Peek at Destroyed: An Anger Management Novel
Sneak Peek at Misunderstood
Other Books by R.L. Mathewson
About the Author
Kennedy Trauma Center
“I’m going to need you to calm down, Chase,” came the softly spoken words that he barely heard over the sound of his heart pounding against his chest as his arms were pinned down against the bed and the tube that he was choking on was slowly removed.
Once the tube was pulled free, Chase gasped only to end up coughing as he found himself turned onto his side by the small group of doctors, nurses, aides, and orderlies that came running when they realized that he was awake. He barely had a chance to stop coughing when a straw was pressed against his lips and someone was telling him to take a small sip.
The ice-cold water stung his swollen throat as he forced himself to swallow. Before the cold liquid had a chance to do anything more than send sharp pain down his throat, the straw was removed and a small penlight was flashed in his eyes.
God, everything fucking hurt, Chase thought, unable to help but groan as pain shot down his spine while the sounds of the machines monitoring his heart and lungs sent sharp pain through his already aching head.
“My name is Dr. Turner. Do you know where you are, Chase?” a man with warm brown eyes and graying temples murmured absently as Chase was rolled onto his back.
“My…men?” Chase asked, each syllable felt like acid was being poured down his throat.
“They all made it safely out of the building,” Dr. Turner reassured him with a warm smile as he finished his exam while Chase laid there, taking in the small hospital room covered in “Get Well” cards, drawings of smiling fireman, firetrucks, balloons, and flowers, all wishing him a speedy recovery.
Nodding, Chase forced the next words out, hoping that it had all been a bad dream. “The boys?”
After a slight pause, the doctor said, “Give us a few minutes, please.”
As the staff filed out of the room, Chase noted the pitying looks before he forced himself to look away. He stared up at the fluorescent lights as the doctor told him what he already knew.
He’d fucked up.
Chase listened as the doctor told him just how lucky he was that his men found him when they had. While Dr. Turner examined his arms, he told Chase just how badly his arm had been broken and how many surgeries it had taken to fix it. That was followed by telling him how many ribs he’d broken, how many stitches had been needed to close the wounds covering his body, and how they’d done their best to minimize scarring. When he finally got to Chase’s legs, he broke the news to him that they’d kept him in a coma for three months to give his body a chance to heal.
That was followed by informing Chase that he’d broken his back during the fall and all the surgeries they’d performed so that he would hopefully regain partial control of his legs one day with an encouraging smile that quickly disappeared when he ran the tip of his pen along the bottom of Chase’s foot and nothing happened. After checking his other foot, Dr. Turner slowly put his pen away as he finally answered the only question that Chase cared about with a quietly murmured, “The boys didn’t make it. I’m sorry, Chase.”
Clenching his jaw tightly shut, Chase continued to stare at the ceiling as he struggled not to lose his fucking mind. This never should have fucking happened. The stairs never should have given out. They should have made it out of that building alive. They should have–
“We need to talk about your legs, Chase,” came the hesitantly spoken words that had Chase slowly exhaling.
“Where’s Amy?” he asked, knowing that she must be worried out of her fucking mind.
The last time he’d ended up in the hospital, she’d been a fucking wreck. It had taken all fucking night to get her to calm down and that had been over a broken arm. He couldn’t imagine how she was going to handle finding out that he couldn’t feel his legs. She was going to
“I’m sorry, Chase, but she isn’t here.”
“Call…” Chase started to say only to end up having to clear his throat, “her.”
There was a slight hesitation and then Dr. Turner shook his head, sighing heavily as he admitted, “I can’t.”
“Why not?” Chase asked as he tried to breathe through the pain that seem
ed like it had fucking doubled since he’d opened his eyes. He needed to see her. He needed to pull her into his arms and hold her. He knew that once he saw her that everything would be okay. He’d be able to deal with what happened and figure out how he was going to fix this. He just needed–
“She’s not coming back.”
One Year Later…
Sloane pulled the lollipop out of her mouth with a soft pop as she leaned forward and whispered to the woman who was a cross between Mary Poppins and the Pillsbury Doughboy, “She seems really nervous about something, doesn’t she?”
The Mary Poppins/Pillsbury Doughboy straightened to her impressive height of five-foot-one with a huff, putting her nose up in the air as she pointedly ignored Sloane. Not that Sloane could blame the woman. With the insane amount of money that was being offered for this particular job she was willing to overlook the fact that their potential employer, a woman in her mid-thirties, wearing a rather tasteful suit, and who seemed unable to move from her spot in the doublewide driveway, had apologized a grand total of twenty-three times for a man that none of them had met yet.
“Again, I’d like to apologize for how we’re doing this interview today,” Mrs. Harris said, bringing the number of apologies to a grand total of twenty-four.
Two of the women applying for the position looked nervous while the other two looked absolutely terrified.
That was good…very good.
If Mrs. Harris was able to scare off two of them, Sloane was pretty sure that she could help the other two come to a similar decision. She’d pretty much do whatever it took to get this job. Well, almost anything. She did have lines that she never crossed. She would never kiss anyone’s ass, put out for a job, or cut corners in patient care.
Patients were a job, nothing more, and that’s how it had to stay if she wanted to continue working in this field. If she allowed herself to care, she’d die a little inside every time she had to move on or she lost a patient.
Other than her three major rules, Sloane would do anything to get this job, including scaring off the competition. It wasn’t because she was desperate to work with this patient. To be honest, she didn’t know much about him other than he was a thirty-two-year-old man who’d broken most of the bones in his body and wasn’t adapting well to his new life. The other thing that she knew about him, which really didn’t matter to her except that it meant that her paycheck probably wouldn’t bounce, was that he came from a very wealthy family.
No, her reasons for wanting this job were very simple. She was returning to her hometown after five years and she had nowhere else to live. Well, there was that offer from her parents and brothers, but they would just end up driving her out of her goddamn mind, so it was probably for the best if she didn’t take them up on their offer. She had more than enough money in the bank to find her own place, but she preferred to work as a live-in and save her money.
So, here she was at one in the afternoon, standing in the driveway of a large one-level home, sweating, admittedly already a little bored, and determined to do whatever it took to get this job while her potential employer repeated herself between shooting nervous glances back at the house and throwing them apologetic smiles. Interesting. It seemed that Sloane wasn’t the only one to notice either.
Good, very good…
The faster that she got rid of her competition, the sooner she could move in. She really wasn’t looking forward to sharing a bubblegum-pink bedroom with her eleven-year-old niece and her unnatural love of boyband posters, but that’s what would happen if Sloane didn’t get this job. If she had to hear Emily cry one more time because some pop star that she was destined to marry was seen kissing another girl, Sloane was going to kick her brother’s ass for not sending the kid to a convent.
“Are we going to interview with the patient one at a time?” a woman who reminded Sloane of her old fourth-grade teacher asked.
Mrs. Harris shuffled her feet, trying not to look nervous, but by this point, it was really a lost cause. She cleared her throat and then did it again, trying to find the right words and failed. “No, I think it would be best if the five of you were to meet my brother at the same time instead of stretching this out,” she announced with a bright smile that looked a little brittle and failed to comfort them.
There was an awkward pause before she continued. “Once again, I’d like to apologize for my brother. Since the accident, he’s been...isolated. He’s a little rough around the edges, but once you get to know him, he’s a real sweetheart.”
Several of the women shifted nervously while Sloane had to bite back a smile. It sounded like the patient was going to be a terror. That didn’t bother Sloane. She welcomed a challenge. She’d rather have a pissed-off patient than someone who just laid in bed, waiting to die. Judging by the expressions on the other women’s faces, they didn’t share the same opinion.
“If you’ll follow me,” Mrs. Harris said with a forced smile as she gestured toward the house, “I’ll introduce you to my brother.”
As they followed her inside the house, Sloane couldn’t help but notice the anxious looks the other women were shooting each other as they entered the small foyer. She also couldn’t help but notice the stench of body odor, old food, and the thick layer of dust covering everything. The dirty clothes thrown everywhere with old pizza boxes and Chinese takeout boxes lining the walls was a nice touch and probably just made getting rid of the competition a hell of a lot easier.
“As you, ah, can see, there will be some light cleaning involved with this position,” Mrs. Harris said with another one of those forced smiles that actually looked like it was starting to hurt.
Sloane barely stifled a chuckle. Light cleaning? She was going to need a dumpster and a biohazard suit to clean this mess. Ah, but that was no problem for Sloane. That just meant job security, which was a good thing in her book.
“Chase?” Mrs. Harris said brightly, still trying to maintain a hold on that smile. “Chase, there are some people here that I’d like you to meet.”
A moment later, a man in a wheelchair rolled into the foyer and glared at Mrs. Harris while Sloane quickly looked him over. He had dark hair, shaggy and unkempt, a month’s worth of whiskers hiding part of a thick scar that ran from the right side of his temple to his jaw and wore a wrinkled shirt that looked slept in and a pair of boxer briefs that definitely needed to find a new home, preferably in a dumpster somewhere far, far, far away.
“Get. Out,” the man that she was assuming was Chase, bit out.
When no one moved, he clarified his point in case there was some sort of misunderstanding.
“GET THE FUCK OUT!” Chase roared, startling two of the women, who decided that it was in their best interest to leave as fast as their white orthopedic shoes would allow them.
Two down and two to go.
Sighing softly, Sloane leaned back against the wall, waiting for the patient to do the work for her. With the way things were going, it looked like she’d be sleeping in a boyband-free room tonight.
Chase watched as two of the women scrambled for the door, tripping over their white orthopedic shoes in their rush for freedom and probably fresh air. Not that he cared. He was used to the smell by now, even that weird odor coming from the corner in the living room was starting to grow on him.
He threw a glare at his sister as she glared right back at him. When the hell was she going to move on and forget that he existed like everyone else had? It was really starting to fucking annoy him. He’d accepted his new life and so should she. The sooner, the better. He wanted nothing more than to live in peace and quiet while the rest of the world went and fucked itself.
He glanced at the two women trying to hold their ground in front of him. They looked like the nurses back at the rehab they’d stuck him in with their starched white uniforms, bleached sneakers, and resting bitch faces. There was no way that he was h
aving either one of them in his house, not that he planned on accepting any of them. He didn’t need anyone. He shook his head before glancing at the woman casually leaning against the wall, looking incredibly bored.
Now she definitely didn’t look like any of the nurses that he’d seen in the past year. She had short black hair, killer grey eyes, and wore a tight black blouse that ended just above her belly button, leaving a section of perfectly tanned skin bare above her waist-hugging jeans. He gave her a dismissive look before returning his attention back to his sister.
“Take the three bitches and get the hell out of here, now.”
Melissa sighed heavily as she crossed her arms over her small chest. “No.”
He narrowed his eyes on her as he considered her response. “What do you mean by ‘no’?” Chase demanded, daring her to say something that was going to get her thrown out on her ass.
“Exactly what I said. You’re not taking care of yourself. You can’t get out of the house without help. This place, and you, reek. I’m done with this whole mess, Chase. You either accept the person that I hire, or you’re going into a nursing home,” she announced firmly, letting him know that she wasn’t playing around anymore.
Everything in him stilled at the threat. She wouldn’t...
“I already had Michael start up the paperwork. We’re ready to have you declared incompetent. You either accept this new situation, or you’re going to be living in a nursing home by Friday.”
He looked her in the eye, searching for any evidence that this was a bluff.
She didn’t so much as flinch. “Just to let you know that whoever we hire will be under my employ, so you won’t have the authority to fire her. If it doesn’t work out, then you’ll be going into a nursing home. Do you understand?”
He understood all right. She had him by the balls. Her husband was a mean son of a bitch when it came to the law. There was no way that he’d be able to find anyone good enough to defend him before he found himself in the geriatric ward.