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Home > The Billionaire's Game ~ Kade (Billionaire's Obsession #4)(5)

The Billionaire's Game ~ Kade (Billionaire's Obsession #4)(5)
Author: J.S. Scott

He lifted her, blanket and all, and hauled her off to the hospital.

Chapter 2

Asha came awake slowly, her head foggy and her entire body aching. Blinking several times to clear her vision, she tried to remember where she was and what had happened to her. Strangely, all she could remember was Kade.

Kade…forcing her to wake up to give her medication.

Kade…plying her with fluids.

Kade’s reassuring voice as she fell asleep, so exhausted she couldn’t keep her eyes open.

Asha tried to scramble into a sitting position, looking frantically around the room, her heart thundering as she realized she was still in Kade’s very nice hotel room.

What the hell am I doing here?

Crawling to the edge of the massive bed, she started to cough as she swung her feet over the edge, making her grasp her sore ribs as she continued hacking and barking. “Damn it!” she choked between coughs. Bending at the waist, she held her side, wincing from the soreness of her ribs and abdomen, the muscles strained from coughing.

I can’t afford to be sick right now. Survive! Survive! Survive!

“What the hell are you doing?” Kade’s angry voice sounded from across the room.

He brought her a glass of water and some pills. She swallowed them compliantly, not even asking what they were. She felt too horrible to care, and he’d already had the chance to kill her if he was some sort of crazed lunatic. If the pills would make her feel better, she’d swallow anything he gave her.

“You can’t get up yet,” Kade told her in the voice of a dictator, taking the empty glass from her hand. “You have pneumonia.”

“I need to use the bathroom,” she told him, embarrassed, but the need to pee was so urgent that she couldn’t wait.

Kade didn’t say a word. He scooped up her body remarkably gently for a guy who had a body built like a Mack truck, and took her to the bathroom, plopped her on the toilet seat, folded his arms and lifted a brow. “Go.”

Asha looked up at him. “Seriously? You expect me to go with you standing right here?” No way was that happening. She was dressed in her threadbare nightgown with no panties, clothing she must have donned after their visit to the hospital, but she didn’t remember doing it. The memories of the emergency room were slowly coming back to her, but everything was pretty hazy. “I can’t pee with you watching me.” Having this conversation, this experience with a man she barely knew was mortifying, but she was in a desperate situation where she had little choice but to be blunt. Her bladder was ready to explode, and she was trying desperately not to cough.

Kade grinned and turned his back. “Okay. Now go. I shared a locker room with plenty of guys. It was close quarters and I’ve heard plenty of men take a piss. I’m sure it sounds pretty much the same with a female.”

“I’m not one of the guys. Leave,” she insisted, grinding her teeth with the need to relieve her herself.

“Not happening. You’re too weak and you’re likely to fall. You’re sick, Asha. And I just gave you something for your cough and the pain that will probably just make you loopier. I’m not leaving.”

To tell the truth, she was weak, dizzy, and miserable. Still, how could a woman use the bathroom with a man she didn’t know standing right in front of her? Finally, the needs of her body won out and she quickly did her business, and rose, needing to grab onto the waistband of Kade’s jeans to keep herself upright.

He had her in his arms quicker than she could blink, cradling her against his muscular chest, strong arms enveloping her, making her feel safer than she’d felt…well…ever. How could she feel so vulnerable and yet so safe at the same time?

“Wait. I need to wash my hands,” she told him weakly.

“You have to worry about good hygiene now?” Kade rolled his eyes, but he stopped patiently at the sink, testing the water temperature before he let her put her hands under the faucet. He dried her hands like she was a child and proceeded back to the bedroom at a fast stride for a man who limped.

After he’d tucked her back into bed, she asked softly, “What time is it?”

Kade sat on the edge of the bed, answering, “You came here yesterday afternoon. It’s now…” He glanced at his watch. “Eight o’clock in the evening. You slept all last night and all day.”

“Oh, no! I had a job today. I have to make a call.” She really needed the money from the job, and she had to call and reschedule. Losing the income was not an option, and her fear and survival instincts were beating at her. For so many years, one word had pounded through her brain unceasingly: Survive. Survive. Survive. “I needed that job, and now I have to pay for the hospital visit and the medicine.”

“What kind of job?” Kade asked curiously. “The hospital has already been paid and I have all the medication you need. You don’t owe anything.”

“Then I need to pay you,” she told him adamantly. Her purse was at the bedside, and she stretched for it, grabbing it up and rifling through the contents. “I paint walls,” she answered distractedly, still looking for the piece of paper with the client’s number.

“What kind of walls?”

Triumphant, she pulled out the paper with the number, snatching some photos from the side pocket of her bag with her other hand. “Any wall that a person wants painted.” She handed him the photos. “I’ll pay you as much as I can before I go and I’ll have to send you the rest. I’m sorry. That’s my only option.” There was nothing else she could do since she didn’t have the money to pay him back completely. “Can I use your phone?” Her cell had quit working a few weeks ago, and finding a pay phone in a world where everyone had a cell phone was nearly impossible. She’d had to scramble to find a way to connect with jobs. She used the Internet in the public libraries to check her website and corresponded by email. But calling clients was rarely possible since she’d lost her phone. It might have been a cheap prepaid, but it was her connection to jobs, and the loss was making her scramble even harder to communicate with people who wanted her services.

“Incredible,” Kade said as he flipped through the photos. “You do art on walls?”

Asha shrugged. “I can do designs on anything, but I mostly do walls.”

“So you travel around the country, painting walls? How do people find you?”

“I have a website. Designs by Asha. They usually contact me from there. I get a lot of repeat clients and referrals.”

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