Star City Crusaders, Book 1
by Ashlynn Monroe
eBook ISBN: 06548-02106
When Doctor Death comes looking for a little fun at the Moonlight Studios Gentleman’s Club, Korine Kerry finds herself at the mercy of the dangerous super villain. The Hunter, and his companion Untamed, show up just in time to keep Kory from becoming the Doctor’s next experiment. The villain wants Kory. When the heroes tell her they plan to draw out Doctor Death by having sex with Kory she doesn’t know if she has the courage to let the hunky heroes have their way with her. She’ll never look at a silk mask the same way again. Will they be able to keep her safe, or will she be the Doctor’s next victim?
Fifteen years earlier
“Take this to the nurse over by that cot,” Jannie, her older sister, said, handing Kory a roll of gauze.
There were about fifty patients in the high school gym. The cases that were beyond medical help had been brought here this morning. The wave of contamination had rolled across the United States in less than an hour. No one knew what it was. Science had never encountered anything like this scourge. It wasn’t radiation. Whatever had hit them, it wasn’t from the Earth. Rumors of alien takeover and government conspiracy abounded; it was nothing but all talk, without proof or substance. The only things the medical staff and volunteers in the gym thought about were the ill and the suffering. The cause of the tragedy wasn’t as important as alleviating the torment of the victims.
Their mother had brought her three daughters here to offer a helping hand. Her family had been lucky. No one had been killed at her house.
There’d been no warning. No one had been able to protect themselves.
The woman kneeling beside the cot was one who worked in the local clinic where Kory had just had her annual physical a week earlier. She thought for a moment and then remembered the woman’s name.
“Oh, hello Korine. Thank you,” Bonny said as she accepted the gauze. There was something incredibly sad in her tone. Kory glanced down at the boy. He looked to be around her age, but she couldn’t tell who he was because of the blistered burns on his face.
“Can I help? My sister has me running around with supplies, but I want to do something more important,” Kory whispered.
“That is important, but I understand. I do have a job for you. Could you hold this boy’s hand? He hasn’t spoken since he was brought in and no one seems to know where his family is. When I take off the bandages to change them, it may hurt.” Bonny turned to the boy and spoke to him, even though he couldn’t see her. “I will be as gentle as I can. If it hurts, squeeze Korine’s hand and let her know.”
Kory gingerly took his hand. It was hot, so hot she almost let it go. She glanced at Bonny with concern and the woman just gave her an encouraging nod. “This might be a little cold,” Bonny said to the boy. Kory watched her wet the bandages with the small bottle marked sterile saline solution. The boy’s limp hand suddenly gripped hers with a firmness that brought a gasp of surprise to her lips.
“It hurts!” Kory cried out. Bonny paused. Realizing that the boy didn’t have a voice for his own pain twisted her stomach. This was the first moment in her life she truly understood what empathy really meant. She took a piece of the boy’s pain into her soul and fought the urge to cry.
“I’m here, it’s okay,” Kory said quietly. His hand went limp again. Kory saw the tension in her face. She realized that this boy was here to die and her heart thundered in her ears. She gazed at his damaged face, and sorrow gripped her until the world faded to black, blocking out her peripheral vision. All she could do was focus on the kid lying next to her. That could have been her. The realization that she’d been spared filled her with a mixture of elation and horror. “I’m sorry,” she whispered to the boy. She didn’t know why she said it, but she did.
His grip remained loose. She wondered if he heard her.
Bonny unwrapped two more layers and the boy didn’t move.
Kory squeaked in surprise when his burning-hot hand squeezed her painfully. “Stop, it hurts again!”
Bonny paused. The boy’s grip didn’t lessen. His hand shook as it held Kory’s in a crushing grip. He was so strong. A whimper escaped Kory.
Bonny reached over as if she were going to free Kory.
“No,” Kory said. It hurt, but she couldn’t even imagine how badly the boy was suffering. Her stomach fluttered and she breathed hard. Tears sprang to her eyes. She didn’t know if the tears were for him or because her hand was aching.
“You’re hurting Kory. Please release her hand,” Bonny said carefully.
The boy’s grip relaxed a little, but it was still tight.
She didn’t let him go. “I’m still here,” she whispered.