Exclusive First Chapter: Up All Night by Amanda Adams
Amanda Adams joins us to share her book UP ALL NIGHT! She's providing you all with an Exclusive First Chapter!
Up All Night - The Walker Brothers Book 3
Once upon a time Mitchell Walker fell in love...and trusted the wrong woman. That one mistake nearly cost him his future and he vowed to never trust another woman.
Now he is a young, successful surgeon. Women throw themselves at his feet, and he gives them what they want, as long as they don't ask for his heart. The strategy is working well for him until he meets freelance reporter Jessica Finley.
She's smart, she makes him laugh, and she sees right through his playboy persona.
Jessica's fire may burn hot enough to keep him up all night, but will their love be strong enough to burn away the ghosts of their past and melt the ice around his heart?
EXCLUSIVE FIRST CHAPTER
Six months later
Jessica Finley tapped the edge of her cell phone against her forehead and tried not to drown in the worry that made her chest tight and her head ache. Something was wrong, she could feel it. She could always feel it when her twin brother was in trouble. She couldn’t explain the hows or whys, but she just knew.
Didn’t help that she was strutting around in her pink boyshorts panties, a five-year-old tank top, and no shoes. Hell, an hour ago she’d been asleep. An hour ago, she hadn’t been fighting to keep her takeout egg rolls and kung pao chicken in her stomach either.
She flipped her phone over and texted him again. He told her he’d be home at midnight. He had an interview with a local radio station at six o’clock in the morning. And if her brother was one thing, it was professional. He’d worked his ass off for the band’s success, and he swore he’d not do anything to jeopardize that. Three years of tours and parties and crazy, and he’d never fucked up yet. Until now.
2:03 am This isn’t funny. Call me.
No answer. Her heart pounded in her chest and beside her Eddie whimpered. The hundred-and-thirty-pound Great Dane-Pit Bull mix was spotted black and white, like a Dalmatian who’d had his black spots smudged like chalk across a canvas. Eddie’s sister, Bella, was panting and jogging along behind them. She was a twelve-pound Peek-a-Poo with curly white hair, an innocent face, and the temperament of a Doberman. She ran the house, and the giant teddy-bear, Eddie, let her.
“I know, boy, I’m worried, too.” Jessica reached down and rubbed Eddie on the head, which didn’t take much since she was five-five and his head was nearly even with her waistline.
One more try, then she was going to start blowing up phones. Tyler was out with Gabriel and the boys from the band. Somebody had to have their phone on. And someone better fucking answer her.
2:06 am Are you drunk? Stoned? Dead in a gutter? Stop screwing around with me, little brother. You’re starting to scare me—which you know makes me mad.
Tyler didn’t play practical jokes. He wouldn’t scare her for no reason. He was her younger brother by seven minutes, and she’s held it over his head their entire lives. He was basically the only sane family member she had, and even that was questionable, depending on the day.
Her phone rang, her ringer turned up so loud that she nearly dropped it. She scrambled to keep it from hitting the floor, more worried than ever because that wasn’t her brother’s ringtone. No, the sound echoing through her kitchen was the plain old-fashioned telephone ringer at top volume.
Everyone she knew personally, literally, every single friend, relative, coworker, everyone had been assigned a song for their ringtone.
Shaking, she turned the phone so she could see the caller ID on the screen.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Finger swipe complete, she lifted the phone to her ear. “Hello?”
“Hello. I am calling for Jessica Finley.”
“Yes. This is she.” Jessica leaned over the kitchen counter, using the decades-old speckled-brown countertop to hold her up. This was bad. So bad.
“Miss Finley, I’m sorry to call so late. I’m Nurse Sandoval, an R.N. here in the emergency department of Rocky Mountain Memorial Hospital. I am calling because you are listed as the emergency contact in Tyler Travis’s cell phone.”
“Oh my God.” Jessica gave up trying to stand and turned around. Her back slid down the cabinets and she landed with a soft thud on the cold tile floor. Immediately Eddie and Bella made a beeline for her lap. Bella claimed the space between her legs, but Eddie leaned in, his head next to hers, and she wrapped a hand around the giant dog’s head and held on for dear life. “What’s wrong? What happened to him?”
“Please don’t panic, Ms. Finley. He is being assessed by our trauma team right now. He was involved in an auto accident. He’s alive and speaking to our staff. That’s all I can tell you at the moment. Dr. Walker is with him now. The doctor will be able to tell you more about Mr. Travis’s condition when you arrive.”
“Wait!” The nurse was about to hang up and Jessica could feel the long pause as Nurse Sandoval waited for Jessica to say what she had to say and let the nurse get off the phone and back to her paperwork, or patients, or the next freaked-out family member she had to call. “Tyler was with his stepbrother, Gabriel Castillo? Is he there, too? Was he in the truck?”
The nurse cleared her throat. “Just a minute. I’ll see what I can find out.”
She put Jessica on fucking hold for what felt like forever, some cheery asshole’s voice piped through the phone, telling her all about their mammography center, how amazeballs great it was to give birth to a baby in their maternity ward, and all about their state-of-the-art cardiac department. Jess wanted to throw the phone across the room, but didn’t. Instead, she sat there and listened to the entire recording—twice—before the nurse got back on the phone. Jess heard someone pick up the line and her heart literally felt like it stopped beating.
“I’m not supposed to tell you anything about Mr. Castillo, unless you’re family?”
“Yes. He’s my brother.” Stepbrother, and a pain in the ass, but nurse rule-maker didn’t need to know that.
“He was in the accident as well and will be arriving in about ten minutes.”
“What?” How was that even possible? “But, I don’t understand. Why is Tyler there without Gabriel if they were both in the accident?”
“Mr. Travis was brought in by Flight-For-Life, Ms. Finley. The ambulance transporting Mr. Castillo should be here in about ten minutes.”
“Thank you.” She hung up and hugged Eddie, hard, for all of five seconds. They’d flown Tyler on an emergency helicopter to one of the top trauma hospitals in the city? Flight-For-Life? That was bad. Bad. Bad.
Was he going to die? Did he still have all his arms and legs? Could he walk? Did he have broken bones? Cracked skull? Had his head hit the steering wheel so hard he had amnesia and wouldn’t recognize her when she got there?
“Shut up, Jess.” She wasn’t talking to herself, not really. As a freelance journalist, an entertainment specialist, Jess wrote a lot of fluff about a shit-ton of famous people she didn’t care about, and a lot of in-depth articles about those she did.
Running for her room, she yanked on the clothes she’d dropped to the floor less than three hours ago, an old black-and-gold CU Buffalo sweatpants, a T-shirt from her favorite incense shop on Pearl Street in Boulder, and a pair of sandals that showed off her new neon-green toenail polish.
She raced to the counter to grab her purse and keys. The dogs would be fine. They had food, water, and a dog door big enough for a linebacker to crawl through. Eddie looked mean as hell, but if a burglar ever broke into the house, Bella would bite his ankles and Eddie would probably climb into his lap and roll over to have his belly rubbed. Big baby.
“Be good, you two. I’ll be back.” She ran for her seafoam-green electric car and slammed the door hard enough to wake the neighbors, especially her friend, the widowed Ms. Beatrice Brown next door. The elderly firecracker was eighty, if she was a day, lived alone, and never missed a single thing going on up and down their street. She was like a one-woman neighborhood watch squad. She also made the most delicious homemade muffins Jessica had ever tasted.
Sure enough, Jessica flinched when the kitchen light flickered to life next door in Miss Bea’s house.
“Sorry, Bea.” Shaking like a leaf, she whispered her apology from the driver’s seat and put the small car in gear. Probably shouldn’t be driving, but there was no way she was staying home, and she didn’t want to waste a half hour calling a cab. The wheels rolled forward and she slammed on the brake to rest for a hot minute, hands on the steering wheel, trying to get calm enough not to kill herself on the ten-minute drive to the hospital. It wasn’t far. It was late. There wouldn’t be much traffic. Right?
Jessica pulled away from the curb, her heart lodged in the back of her throat. She had no idea who the hell this Dr. Walker was, but he better be good. He better be a doctoring genius.
He better be just like her father, Dr. Richard Travis, neurosurgeon with both a medical degree and a Ph.D. in chemistry. Dr. Walker better be an experienced freaking virtuoso, and he better not make any mistakes. If anything happened to her brother, Dr. Richard Travis’s oh-so-precious, sacred, and only biological son, her dad would be on a jet out of New York tomorrow to kick Dr. Walker’s ass into next week.
Or not. Hell, he’d probably just send his lawyers. That seemed to be more his style the last few years.
Imagining the esteemed Dr. Walker looking after her brother was helping her keep calm as she drove. She could just see him now, aged and refined, with serious gray eyes and silver hair. He’d be calm and confident, quiet yet clearly in complete control. He had to be, because that was the only line of thinking that was going to get her to the hospital in one piece.
A few minutes later she pulled into the parking lot, followed the signs for the emergency room and waited impatiently for the security guard to let her in past the locked glass doors. She could see the waiting room and the nurses’ station from here. She wondered which one of them was the no-nonsense woman who had called her.
She stomped up to the bored guard with her ID out. “My brother is in the ER. Nurse Sandoval called me.”
He looked at her over her ID, handed it back to her and pressed a button. The doors buzzed and he waived her in. “Nurses’ station ahead on the right.”
“Thanks.” Head down, she marched through the nearly empty lobby. There was an elderly man speaking to his grown children. Jessica heard them talking about a stroke and assumed their mother must be in here somewhere. A young man sat with his hand wrapped in a kitchen towel soaked with blood. Looked like a cut, not bad, which would be low priority right now with a trauma case here and another on the way. All in all, the place wasn’t bad for two in the morning on a Saturday.
There was only one nurse seated at the station, and about three more buzzing around like bees in a hive. She could hear muffled, but urgent, voices coming from down the hall, but couldn’t make out a damn thing. Was Tyler in that room, behind the curtain?
“Can I help you?” The nurse spoke and Jessica had been so focused on trying to figure out what was going on that she jumped.
Taking a deep breath, she stepped up to the counter. “I’m Jessica Finley. Nurse Sandoval called about my brother, Tyler Travis.”
“Umm-hmmm. Just a minute.” The nurse was Hispanic, with gorgeous black hair pulled into a braid and skin that hadn’t aged. She was in her forties, and looked like she knew what she was doing. Jessica knew an experienced nurse beat a new doctor any day of the week.
“Are you Nurse Sandoval?” Jessica leaned over, trying to read the woman’s nametag, but she couldn’t see around the edge of the computer monitor.
“Yes, dear. Let me see.” The nurse checked some charts and some handwritten notes. “Your brother Gabriel will be here any minute. I don’t have any information on him, other than the paramedics radioed ahead that he’s stable.”
Jessica felt some of the tension leave her. One brother down, one to go. “What about Tyler?”
“Tyler Travis.” The nurse lifted a long medical chart from a stand-up file next to her and nodded her head. Her dark brown eyes softened around the edges and she tilted her head as she looked up. Jessica knew that look. Between her parents, she’d spent enough time around medical staff to write a manual. She knew that look.
“What’s wrong with my brother?”
“I don’t have his chart, honey. He was taken to surgery. Surgical waiting is on the second floor. I’ll call ahead and let them know you’re coming.”
MORE IN THE SERIES
Amanda Adams always loved fairy tales, fantasy and anything magical, especially romance. What’s more magical than true love? If you love old-fashioned fairy tales with a side of naughty, or contemporary love with a bit of magic, you'll enjoy Amanda's books.