Depending on the Doctor (Nevada Bounty Book 2)

Free Depending on the Doctor (Nevada Bounty Book 2) by Margaret Madigan

Book: Depending on the Doctor (Nevada Bounty Book 2) by Margaret Madigan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Margaret Madigan
“There’s no way I can know for sure exactly what’s going on inside him without opening him up and looking.”
    “What the hell good are you, then? Why’d we bring you with us?”
    “I suppose you’re going to have to open him up,” Clyde said from the doorway.
    All eyes went to Clyde.
    Emmett looked horrified. “You can’t be serious.”
    “I’m dead serious.”
    “I’m not doing surgery on this man under these conditions. Not only do I not have the proper equipment, but this is so far from being a sterile environment it’s a joke. Opening him up will kill him; if not from the trauma then definitely from infection.”
    “Lyle’s right, then. What good are you?” He reached for his gun. “I told you if he dies, so do the two of you. You just said he’ll die if you don’t do surgery, and he’ll die if you do. So I may as well kill you both now.”
    “He did not say Ernie would die if he didn’t do surgery,” I said. “He said he wouldn’t know exactly what the damage is without it. So put your darn gun away. For all we know Ernie’s injuries aren’t serious and doing the surgery will only make him worse.”
    We all looked at Ernie, and none of us believed me. He already looked like he had one foot in the grave.
    Lyle shuffled his feet and ran his hand through his greasy hair. “I don’t know, Clyde. Seems awful drastic to cut him open. If the Doc’s nervous about it, maybe we should wait a while. See how he does.”
    Clyde didn’t hide his disappointment. He looked like someone had offered him a juicy rare steak, then taken it away. “Hmph,” he said, and turned to leave the room.

I struggled to keep the bile down where it belonged, but I did it only because vomiting would be bad form for a doctor, even one like me. I also didn’t want to provoke Clyde any more than necessary.
    I stayed by Ernie’s side, trying to be as confident and imposing as possible by ordering the rest of the men to fetch clean cloths, hot water, and anything else I could think of to maintain the illusion I was doing something useful. The truth was, Ernie was dead, or would be soon.
    Lydia, with her practical nature, took it upon herself to seize control of the kitchen and feed everyone. She managed to distract them all with food and the authority I imagined all teachers and mothers have, despite being a petite woman among grown men.
    After she’d fed everyone else, and they were settled and satisfied, she brought me a plate of beans and bacon, and a biscuit with butter and honey.
    “You have to be hungry,” she said, sitting in a chair at the end of the bed with her own plate.
    “I’m starved,” I admitted, digging into the meal.
    She checked the door, then asked, “How’s he doing?”
    By her look she wanted to know his real condition. I shook my head. Not so good.
    I moved my chair closer to her so we could talk without being heard from the other room, although the rest of the men were making enough noise I doubted they’d hear us anyway.
    “He’s not going to make it,” I said, keeping my voice low. “I don’t know how long I can keep him alive.”
    “So we need to figure out how to get out of here before he dies?”
    “Looks that way.”
    I focused on my plate. I didn’t want to think about what escape meant for her. Had it been just me, I’d be fine, but it would be hard on her.
    “You just wipe that look off your face right now,” she said.
    I coughed, and looked up at her.
    “Don’t look so surprised. You’re not that hard to read. You feel guilty, and you’re worried about me.” She leaned in closer, giving her whispered words more power. “Well, don’t be. I’m not much to look at, and most people look right past me, but I’m strong. I can tolerate anything you can.”
    Her little chin came up, daring me to disagree with her. I smiled. “I’m sure you can,” I said. “But escaping here isn’t going to be just a matter of sneaking out in the middle of the night. It’s

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