Ride Wild(10)

By: Laura Kaye

“Blue Bear!” he exclaimed, grasping his favorite toy, lumpy and misshapen, into his hands. Belying its name, it was more gray than blue from being washed and loved on again and again.

“I knew he might worry about you,” she said, “so I thought he should come.”

“Yeah, he does worry sometimes,” Ben said, rubbing the bear’s face against his own. “But I’ll make sure he doesn’t get scared.”

Just then, the doctor came into the room and detailed more specifically exactly what Ben’s condition was. He had a broken elbow, for which they were waiting for the orthopedist before they set it and put on the cast. His bandage hid a cut on the forehead, which had already received five stitches. And he had a concussion that required some scans and overnight observation because Ben had briefly lost consciousness.

But he would be okay.

That left Cora feeling like she might float right up to the ceiling. She’d known him only a few months, but she’d become really fond of Ben. Of all the Evans men, if she were honest. Even Slider. For all his brooding reserve, he was a good dad. And the way he’d come after her this morning proved that, on some level, he cared about her, too. Even if it was just because he valued her as a caregiver for his kids.

That was more than she’d ever gotten from most people.

When the doctor left, a nurse ducked in. “Your other son is here, but only two visitors are allowed in the room at a time.”

“Oh, okay. I’ll go so he can come back.” Cora pressed a light kiss to Ben’s forehead. “You just concentrate on getting better.”

“Don’t leave,” Ben said.

She smiled. “I’ll just be in the waiting room. Don’t worry.” Cora made her way around the bed, surprised when Slider reached out and grasped her hand.

“Thanks,” he said, pale green eyes peering up at her from underneath the long strands of brown.

Nodding, she left and found Sam waiting at the desk with Haven and Dare, along with Dare’s cousin and the club’s vice president, Maverick Rylan, and his girlfriend, Alexa. Phoenix and a few other Ravens were there, too. They weren’t all related by blood, but this was still every bit Cora’s idea of what a family was. People who cared. People who showed up. People who claimed you, no matter what.

In his agitation, Sam looked like he might vibrate right out of his skin. “How is he? They wouldn’t let me ride with him, Cora. It was so unfair.”

She grasped his face in her hands. “He’s going to be fine. He was super brave. But he’d love to see you.”

Swallowing down his fear, Sam nodded. “Are you gonna leave now?”

“No. I’ll be right out here.”

His shoulders relaxed. “Good. Okay.” He went with the nurse through the double doors.

And that left Cora alone with a whole lot of bikers wearing their leather-and-denim club cuts covered in patches and the Ravens’ colors.

“What happened?” Dare asked, expression fierce. Everyone else gathered around.

“He fell off the monkey bars at school and broke his elbow and hit his head. He’s going to be fine, but between the tests they have to run and his concussion, they have to keep him overnight,” she said. Their collective sighs of relief mirrored the way she was feeling herself.

“This is the last thing Slider needs,” Dare said, raking his hand through his dark brown hair. Ruggedly handsome, her best friend’s man looked older than his late thirties, as if he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. And in a way, he did. The weight of the Raven Riders’ whole community, and the responsibility for the people they helped in the club’s mission to stand up for and defend those who couldn’t do it for themselves. Given the way Cora and Haven had arrived on the club’s compound, and knowing all the Ravens had done—and been willing to do—to protect them and try to give them new, safer lives, Cora knew firsthand exactly how great a responsibility that was.

And it made her feel fiercely loyal to the Ravens, even if she didn’t belong to that community the same way her bestie now did. As the club president’s girlfriend—not to mention as a fantastic baker who’d baked her way into most of the men’s hearts—Haven unquestioningly belonged with the Raven Riders.

But Cora? She wasn’t sure she belonged anywhere. One more thing to figure out about her life.

“What can we do to help?” Maverick asked, standing at Dare’s side. With blond hair and deep blue eyes, Mav was almost pretty in an utterly masculine way.

“I don’t know,” Cora said. “I guess Slider will need to stay here overnight with Ben. So maybe nothing in the short term.”