Friday, December 18, 2015

On the eighteenth day of December my true love gave to me....
Vowing to be His hero - Granite County 4

Bishop used the small lock opening device attached to his key ring and popped open the lock on the solid oak door. Entering the house, he found a small man lying on the floor a few feet away. Bishop’s breath caught in his throat when he got a good look at the guy. The first thing he saw was the long blond hair that reached past the man’s shoulders. Even though the guy was wearing gray sweatpants that hung past his feet and a sweatshirt whose sleeves covered his hands, Bishop could still tell he was fine boned and tiny.
Setting Crystal on the floor, Bishop knelt down next to the guy, trying to evaluate his condition. Crystal meowed and the guy extended a shaky hand toward the cat.
“Let me get her out for you,” he said. Something inside Bishop wanted to give this man comfort any way he could.
Taking the cat out of the carrier, he went to put her into the man’s arms, but she leaped away and ran across the room.
All of a sudden, there was the sound of screeching and wings frantically flapping, followed by Crystal howling.
Springing to his feet, Bishop ran to the corner and pulled Crystal off the side of a huge white parakeet cage. The damn cat kept batting at the air as Bishop carried her over to the little guy who was trying unsuccessfully to sit up.
Kneeling on the floor, Bishop took a few minutes to get Crystal calmed down. She kept trying to jump off his lap, her eyes never leaving the birdcage.
“I’m going to give Crystal to you, and then I’ll pick you up and carry you to whatever bed you are using.”
Big light brown eyes widened, and a look of panic crossed the man’s pretty face. He opened his mouth, and nothing came out.
Bishop was starting to become concerned but decided to go with his instincts. At least the ones that were telling him to take things slowly so he didn’t frighten the little guy even more than he already was.
“Are you Cooper?” he asked and received a nod in return. “Look, I don’t mean to scare you, but we need to get you to a bed so I can see how bad you’re injured.”
Those beautiful light brown eyes studied Bishop, seeming to see into his soul. It was a struggle, but Bishop kept his face neutral. Cooper didn’t need to see that Bishop was fighting the urge to lean forward and place a gentle kiss on his soft-looking lips. Images of the blond, naked and wrapped around him, kept trying to distract Bishop from the present. Finally, Cooper nodded.
Keeping Crystal secure with one hand, Bishop pushed the crutches out of the way. Leaning down, he placed Crystal next to Cooper. Thin arms covered by gray material enclosed Crystal, and Cooper buried his face in her fluffy white fur. Crystal rubbed her chin and furry cheek against Cooper’s head and started purring
“I’m going to lift you now. If I hurt you, I’m sorry,” Bishop said and carefully slid his arms around Cooper. As gently as possible, he lifted the tiny man into his arms and stood up.
Gritting his teeth, Bishop stood there and took a moment to regain his composure. The little blond in his arms had touched his heart and was stirring every possessive and protective cell in Bishop’s body, all without saying a word.
Bishop estimated that Cooper was around five foot six at the most and probably didn’t weigh much more than one hundred ten pounds. That was way too thin. He was also clearly in a lot of pain. As far as Bishop was concerned, this Oliver dude was a dead man.
A cool, trembling finger touched Bishop’s cheek. Bishop looked down into Cooper’s beautiful light brown eyes. “What do you need, little bug?”
Both of their eyes widened at the same time when he called Cooper that name. But in his defense, it fit. The guy was as tiny as a bug and so cute.
Cooper blinked and then pointed toward a hall. Crystal snuggled down into Cooper’s arms and continued purring.
“I take it your room is that way?” Bishop asked.
Cooper nodded.
Bishop glanced around the room to get his bearings. To the left of the hall Cooper had indicated was a large formal dining room. It contained a square oak table and six cushioned wooden chairs. Behind the dining room, a marbled, green granite counter topped an island that stood in the center of a huge open kitchen. He also caught a glimpse of a small eating area off to the side. Farther back, behind the kitchen, was a doorway. Bishop could see the corner of a clothes washer and deducted that it was a utility room.
They made it halfway down the short hall before Cooper indicated to a doorway on the right. Bishop glanced through a doorway on the left into a large room he assumed was the master bedroom. He saw another door down a bit on the right and figured it was another bedroom.
As with the rest of the old one-story farmhouse, the bedroom Bishop carried Cooper into had high ceilings and hardwood floors. Burgundy sheets and a thick green plaid comforter were pushed down to the bottom of a beautiful Jenny Lind spool bed. A matching dresser with a mirror and the night table completed the warm, inviting room.
Setting Cooper down onto the bed, Bishop quickly shut the door before Crystal could decide to return and harass the birds again. Turning back, Bishop instantly wished he was approaching the man lying on the bed in a different scenario. Big, light brown eyes, surrounded by thick black lashes, dominated a face that contained a cute pert nose and plump lips that seemed to be begging Bishop for a kiss. The long blond hair fanning out across the pillow was like a siren’s call that made the hair on the back of his neck stand up in anticipation.
It was a known fact that Bishop had a weakness for small blonds, but this something that he felt in Cooper’s presence was a whole new ballgame. It was taking all of Bishop’s self-control to keep his dick from springing into the air and demanding Cooper’s attention. Attention, Bishop was sure, the wounded man had no interest in right now.
Mrs. Peterson had been right. Cooper’s beautiful eyes contained deep pain, and not just the physical kind. During the time Bishop spent in the Middle East, he had seen eyes like that, and they had haunted his dreams.
Bishop walked over to Cooper and said, “Let’s put Crystal over here.” Lifting the cat, he put her on the other side of Cooper, where she curled up on the bed against Cooper’s side. “Synn told me you had stitches put in. Are any of them giving you any pain right now?”
Cooper turned his head away from Bishop and closed his eyes. A flush covered Cooper’s face, and the man failed to stop his lips from trembling by pressing them together.
Bishop sat on the edge of the bed, which brought those wide eyes back on him. There was a pad of paper and a pencil on the small table. Bishop picked them up and handed them to Cooper. When Cooper took them, Bishop noted that the hands peeking out of the folds of his long sleeves were a deep red. Bishop had seen this on people that were too thin before and remembered one of his teammates, Mr. MD, saying it was caused by poor circulation. Again his hackles rose at someone mistreating this man.
“What happened to your voice?” he asked, deciding to start there.
The pencil between Cooper’s fingers moved, and the words, “damaged vocal cords,” appeared on the paper.
“Do the doctors think they will heal?” Bishop asked and received a nod.
“Cooper, you need to tell me what hurts so I can check it. There’s a spot on your pants that looks like blood. I need to take a look at it.”
Cooper looked down at his leg and put his hand over the spot. Looking back at Bishop, he shook his head.
“Why don’t you want me to see your leg?” Bishop asked. He tried to keep his tone calm and even, but now he put a little demand into it.
A look of shame covered Copper’s face, and he scribbled, “Scars.”
“Everyone has scars, Cooper. I have a few myself that are pretty gruesome.” Bishop saw that the spot on Cooper’s leg was getting bigger, and his patience was running out.
“Many” appeared on the paper.
Bishop slid his hands under Cooper’s sweatshirt and took hold of the waistband of his sweatpants. “I don’t care how many scars you have, Cooper. We both know that if you ripped open those stitches when you fell, you will need to go back in and have them fixed.”
Small hands covered his, the material of the overlong shirtsleeves between them. Bishop looked up and met Cooper’s eyes. Stark panic reflected back at him. Slowly it turned to pleading. Bishop could already see that he was going to have his work cut out for him in the future trying not to knuckle under when Cooper gave him that sad puppy dog look.
Hardening his resolve, Bishop calmly stared back until their test of wills ended when Cooper let go of Bishop’s hands.
It took every scrap of Bishop’s willpower not to react when he slid Cooper’s pants down to his knees. Hundreds of silver and pink scars, thin and thick, vertical and horizontal, covered Cooper’s slim, pale thigh. A rapidly spreading dark red spot marred the pristine gauze wrapped around the other thigh.
“Did they give you any first aid supplies?” Bishop asked.
When Cooper pointed to a door on the far wall, Bishop wasn’t proud at how fast he left Cooper. Opening the door revealed a Jack and Jill bathroom between Cooper’s room and the other spare bedroom.
Bishop was a big, tough, hard-assed man. Many times he had been accused of being mean, unfeeling, and merciless by former lovers. And yet the tiniest blond he had ever met, who couldn’t even speak, had him rushing out of the room with hated tears in his eyes.
He stood in the bathroom staring at the light blue wall until he regained his composure and anger started simmering under the surface.

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