Valentino's Cowboy [Brac Village 10]

By: Lynn Hagen

That wasn’t the answer he was looking for, but at least his mate hadn’t said that his hand was gone or useless. There was still some hope.

“Will I lose it?” There was so much fear in that statement that it made Abe’s words wobble. He was trying to be brave. But that was a very hard thing to do under the circumstances.

“I don’t think so,” Valentino stated with uncertainty. “Doc seems to think he might have saved it.”

Steeling his nerves, Abe glanced down at his injured hand. It was heavily bandaged, making it impossible for him to see the damage. He tried to wiggle his fingers, but since he really couldn’t see them, he wasn’t sure if they had moved or not.

Abe turned his head when Valentino tapped him on the nose. He stared up into those pretty taupe eyes, watching as his mate revealed straight white teeth, giving him a dashing smile. “Why did the one-handed man cross the road?”

Very confused at where his mate was going with this, Abe furrowed his brows as he shook his head.

“To get to the secondhand shop.”

Okay, maybe Valentino had snuck some of Dr. Sheehan’s drugs. “Was that supposed to be funny?”

“Hell no,” Valentino answered as his eyes rolled dramatically. “I can’t tell a joke to save my life.” The man scratched at his goatee. “Which is very odd since I constantly crack myself up.”

Maybe Abe was still dreaming. This had to be the strangest conversation he had ever had. He glanced around, waiting for a rabbit to run into the room with a timepiece in his hand, screaming “I’m late!”

“My point is,” Valentino said, pulling Abe from his fruitless search, “that when life gives you lemons, you should ask for a shot of vodka instead.”

A smile spread across Abe’s face. “You are so weird.”

Valentino gave a light laugh, his face so devastatingly handsome that Abe sighed. If only he could get out of bed and crawl into the man’s lap. His mate’s hair was still sticking up in all directions and he was beginning to see that it was just his natural style.

He liked it.

“I consider that a compliment.” Valentino gave a half bow in his chair. “Would you care for another joke or are you hungry?”

The man was comically chivalrous, reminding Abe of the bear twins. Only Valentino seemed a little touched in the head. Well, so were Chance and Chauncey.

“I’m starved.” Abe struggled to sit up, but it wasn’t that easy when he only had one hand to use. Valentino immediately stood, placing his hands on Abe’s sides and hauling him up the bed until he was upright. He swayed slightly, but the dizziness didn’t last long.

“I’ll go grab you something to eat.” His mate headed toward the door and then turned back around, wiggling a finger in Abe’s direction. “I haven’t forgotten that you still owe me a kiss and some dessert, my little cowboy.”

Why on earth had Valentino reminded Abe that he was a bad kisser? And here his mood was starting to lift. His mate left the room, Abe wondering if he would be good enough to please the man sexually.

He didn’t dwell on that thought long, not when Johnny and Keata strode into the room, Gabby close behind them. “You’re up!” Johnny said in a cheery voice.

Abe was not in the mood for company. He wanted to roll back over and throw the blanket over his head.

“I don’t think he wants us here,” Gabby said as he worried his hands in front of him. “He has that look.”

“What look?” Keata asked as he swung his gaze over to Abe.

“The one that says ‘go away,’” Gabby replied.

“Nonsense.” Johnny waved a hand at Gabby. “Abe is our friend.”

He was? Although he knew all three men, they had never really hung out together. They talked at the occasional gathering or when they saw each other in passing. He never got a phone call from any of these men or an invitation to just pal around.

Since when were they friends?

“All of you, out,” Dr. Sheehan said as he entered the room. “Abe needs his rest.”

Abe watched the three walk away. Johnny turned and held his fingers up to his head like his hand was a phone. “Call me,” he mouthed before he disappeared.

He was really beginning to wonder if maybe he still wasn’t heavily sedated and hallucinating all of this. Things just seemed…off.

“How are you feeling?”

That was a loaded question. Between worrying about his hand and the bizarre people, Abe wasn’t sure how to answer. “Not really sure,” he said slowly as he stared at the door, still looking for that racing rabbit to enter at any moment.

“That is to be expected when given a heavy sedation. Your mind should clear soon.” The doctor pulled the stool close to Abe’s bed and began to unwrap his hand.

“Starting the show without me?” Valentino walked into the room with a tray in his hand. The aroma of food immediately assailed Abe. His mouth began to water as his stomach growled loudly.

“I hope you brought him something light to eat,” the doctor said to Valentino. “He can’t eat anything heavy right now.”

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