Home > Sean's Sunshine (The Flophouse #3)

Sean's Sunshine (The Flophouse #3)
Author: Amy Lane

The Nurse



SEAN MICHAEL Kryzynski was going to kill Jackson Leroy Rivers. It was a fact. He’d come to accept it, plotted the man’s demise, and had embraced the consequences. Everything was settled. How bad could prison be for a gay police detective anyway?


There had to be another option.

“Dammit,” he said, this time out loud.

“You can’t kill him.”

Sean glared at the source of his problem, the baffling irritant that was all Jackson Rivers’s doing.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he lied.

Billy—probably not his real name—gazed levelly back, and Sean swallowed. Audibly. God. It just wasn’t fair. The kid had fathomless, cynical brown eyes, an almost perpetually arched eyebrow, a square jaw, a nose that had probably been broken once, and the body of a gym-addicted Adonis. He was in his early twenties, which put him and Sean in the same decade, but as far as personal experience was concerned, Sean wasn’t even sure they were on the same planet.

And Billy, whose usual profession was making movies naked with other men—and given his looks, he was probably damned good at his job—was going to help give Sean a bath.

“You’re thinking that you’re gonna kill Rivers for putting you in this position. You can’t. He was right. You can barely walk, you can barely breathe, and you’re going to need help in the shower. Don’t stress, man. I’ve handled naked shit before. It’s no big deal.”

Jackson, who against all of Sean’s original prejudices had turned out to be a really decent friend, had hired Billy to be Sean’s nurse as he recovered from a stab wound that had punctured his lung and broken some ribs and generally made Sean’s entire body hurt in unexpected ways. It was a nice idea—Billy could probably bench press three grown men with those muscles—but… but… well… there were those eyes.

And that full, sardonic mouth.

And the fact that Sean’s last boyfriend had ditched Sean in the hospital and left all his DVDs strewn across the floor as a parting gift when he’d gone through the stack and taken his own out. And liberated some that weren’t his own, because apparently Sean sure could pick ’em.

As a rule, Sean wouldn’t have minded being in the company of a man who looked like Billy No Last Name.

But there was that whole “Mom, this is my boyfriend, the porn star,” thing.

And the “I just got stabbed through the lung and can’t breathe,” thing.

And generally the “My life is a mess, and how can I even be thinking about his eyes?” thing.

But still… there were those eyes.

“Mr. Kryzynski,” Billy said with the same patience he would have shown a ninety-year-old man insisting he could still drive, “you were hurt. You were hurt really bad. And I know you want to shower. Like I said, I handle this shit all the time. I’m not going to lose my mind and molest you because you’re naked, okay? I think we can both deal with this like adults.”

Sean tried to take a deep breath and failed, hating himself because his knees wobbled where he stood. “But will you laugh at me?” he asked, feeling helpless. He was no Adonis, but he did work damned hard to keep himself fit. God, he must have lost twenty pounds over the last week in the hospital, and he could barely stand for longer than it took to walk across a room. It felt like an affront to humanity that he could work so hard on his body and have it all ripped away as he was walking under an overhang and was temporarily blinded by the shade on a sunny day.

Those infinite, cynical eyes did something unexpected then.

They softened. “No, sir. I wouldn’t laugh at you. From what I understand, you’re one of the good guys.”

Sean sighed. “How would you know that? I’m a plain white cop, Billy. I’m practically the devil.”

Billy gave a smile that held surprising faith. “Nossir. You come recommended by Rivers and Henry. They wouldn’t lie to me. You’re good.”

And just like that, Sean no longer wanted to kill Jackson Rivers. “Okay,” he said with a sigh. “Let’s get this over with.”

Reluctantly, he allowed Billy to help him undress in the clean sterility of his white-tiled bathroom and then allowed the young man to assist him into the bathtub and onto the shower seat, where he was able to wash his parts with a minimum of fuss. He stayed there for a moment, eyes closed against the spray, savoring the opportunity to be clean before he sighed and gave it up.

“I guess I’m done,” he said, knowing Billy was waiting patiently on the other side of the curtain.

“Hang out for a minute,” Billy urged. “I know you’ve been dying to shower for real.”

He’d gotten sponge baths in the hospital but had been told he was free to bathe when he’d been sent home. However, he had strict instructions to keep his stitches dry. Billy had spent a good ten minutes with medical tape and a plastic bag, securing the stitches under his ribs where the knife had slid through his flesh like butter, facing upward, the better to puncture his lung.

“There’s a drought,” Sean said weakly, going almost boneless in the hot water.

“Come on, Saint Kryzynski. Indulge a little.”

“I’m not a saint,” he mumbled, suddenly exhausted. If I was a saint, I wouldn’t be drowning in your eyes, would I?

He heard movement on the other side of the curtain, and a hand intruded to fiddle with the spigot. The blissful water shut off, and Billy was there with a giant fluffy towel—one of his favorites—ready to wrap Sean up and dry him off like a child.

Sean was embarrassingly weak as Billy helped him up.

“Crap,” he muttered. “We forgot to bring clothes.”

Billy snorted. “This is your place!” he said. “What’s to dress? You walk commando to your room, let the boys get some air, get dressed there. Jeez, you really are a saint.”

Sean grunted. “I have three siblings,” he murmured. “I’m not used to having room for the boys to fly.”

“Yeah, well I had five, so the minute I was in a place where nobody cared about my boys, they got all the air I could handle.”

“Had?” Sean asked, suddenly very curious about this beautiful boy helping him through the weakest period of his life.

Billy’s face, which had softened for a moment, closed down. “No Catholic family for gay boys, Kryzynski. I learned that lesson good.”

Sean made a hurt sound. “You need to tell my mother that,” he said, and then right when he was about to make his first step unattended, his knees went out.

Billy caught him, swept Sean’s scrawny ass into his arms like Sean was a damsel in distress.

“If it’s all the same to you,” Billy told him, hauling Sean down the hall to his bedroom, “I don’t really need to meet your mother.”

Sean had enough oxygen to snort. “What makes you think you’ll have a choice?” he said, trying not to wheeze. “She’s been waiting for me to get out of the hospital before coming to visit. She lives in Turlock, so it’ll probably be this afternoon, with a reprise in the morning.”

Rivers, his boyfriend Ellery Cramer, and their assistant, Henry, had left shortly after they’d cleaned up Sean’s living room from Jesse Carver’s DVD tantrum—which was almost immediately after Billy had arrived. Sean’s partner on the force, Andres Christie, had stayed a little longer, until Sean had dozed off in his recliner like a grandfather. Sean had awakened soon after, sweating and disoriented, begging for a shower.

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