Nolan Bentley Legacy Book Three By Kathi S Barton Release Day & Winner Announced 12/14/15

Nolan finally had a practice of his own, and soon his brother Burke would be leaving the hospital and joining him. Now, if the rest of the family would mind their own business, Nolan would be much happier…or not. He was sulking over his dilemma when his nurse told him he had a patient, a hurt kid who wasn’t doing much talking.


Rylee nearly collapsed with worry when she found out her nephew had been hurt. She wasn’t sure if she was cut out to be a parent. She loved her nephew, Shane, dearly and had taken on his care when her sister died, but how she’d missed the warning signs was beyond her. He was being bullied at school daily and she knew nothing about it until he’d been cut with a knife.


“I didn’t know.” Her entire body sagged at her confession. “He said he had it handled. And I thought he did. It’s my fault he’s beaten up like this. I should have…I’m not any good at this parenting thing.”


Nolan reached for her just as Shane moved on the bed. He wasn’t sure what the kid could do, banged up the way that he was, but as soon as Nolan touched her, he knew what she was to him. Her body, warm and strong, leaned into his even as he buried his nose into her neck. Christ, his body screamed at him, she was his. Licking her throat, tasting her, he could hear her moan, but when his head was jerked up by his hair, all he could do was stare at her.

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Chapter 1
Nolan looked around his new office. He’d never had one of his own before. The
other practice that he’d been working for had a community one they’d all
shared…several doctors using the same computer in the same small ten-by-ten room.
This was his and his alone. Burke, too, would have his own office when his notice was
up at the hospital. For now he was working just a couple of hours a week to help Nolan
out. And his office was going to wait, he told Nolan, until he could really devote his
time to it.
The walls were decorated with just Nolan’s things. It was a small thing to be happy
about, he supposed. His diplomas were there, along with his awards…and there were
plenty of those, as he’d always been a hard worker. Plus, he’d been able to bring in
pictures of his family…his mom and grandparents. The photo of his father in his
uniform about a month before he’d been killed had a prominent place on his wall, along
with some of the things that he treasured above all else, such as smaller pictures of just
him and his father. And his brothers too, the ones that were currently pissed at him.
He supposed if he was honest with himself, he was the one that was pissed. He’d
needed their help, yes, and their support on the project that he’d been trying to get up
off the ground for months now. Nolan knew that he’d of gotten it there, but the fact was
he was too broke to go on and would have lost it all if they hadn’t sat him down and
told him they were going to help him, in any way they could.
“But I can do this.” Even Garth, the money maker in the family, shook his head.
“You just don’t understand. This is something that I want to do, and I don’t want you
taking over.”
His mom, the best mom in the entire world, had given him the most disappointed
look he’d ever seen. His heart broke then, and that had made his temper lash out at the
entire family. But his pride had won out on making things up to his mom.
“Fine. Go ahead and take over. Like you do everything else. It wouldn’t be the
Bentley clan thing if you guys didn’t have your two cents in it too, now would it? And
that’s what bothered you so much.” He started to get up and leave them to their
“intervention,” but his mother stood up and ordered him to sit. “I’m not ten. You can’t
treat me this way.”
“You are my son and I will treat you how you act. Sit down.” He sat, but he’d been
a little more than pissed. Holding his temper had always served him well, but right
now he wasn’t trying all that hard. “How much money have you spent on this amazing
project?”
“Everything.” There was no point in lying to them. They all knew, he was sure.
“But it was worth every penny, and I’m going to put more into it when I have it.”
“Good.” Her answer surprised him. “You think that I’m not proud of what you’ve
done? Do you think…well you do, don’t you? You’ve proven that, haven’t you? Do you
think that any of us would want you to not be able to make this dream of yours work?
That we’d just let you fail at something that you’ve worked so hard at?”
“I don’t want your help. I can do this on my own.” His mother only sat down and
pushed an envelope at him. “I’m not taking your money, Mom. It’s what we all worked
for so that you’d be set for the rest of your life.”
“I am set. I have my sons here. And their families. And this isn’t only from me. We
all put money in here.” The envelope was pushed at him until it was right at his
fingertips. “Take it or not. It’s entirely up to you. But if you fail at this—and you will,
because you’re not letting us help you when you need it—then I do not want to hear a
single word from you. And your father’s name on this place will be a terrible legacy to
him should you not let your family support you as he did us.”
She’d gotten up and moved to the door, her last sentence stinging him the hardest.
When they’d all left him, even his two nieces, he sat there for ten more minutes before
he got up and snatched the envelope up before going to his car. He’d not been back
home since.
“Doctor Nolan?” Nolan looked up at Loraine Bean, the nurse that had worked for
him at his old practice and had begged to come and work for him here. “There’s a
patient here that needs some attention. He didn’t have an appointment, and I can’t get
anything from him. I think he’s been hurt pretty badly.”
Nolan stood up and told her to take him to the examining room, that he’d be right
there. She nodded but didn’t move.
“I don’t think…he’s just a kid, not much bigger than my own son. About thirteen or
so. He won’t even tell me his name.” Nolan paused in pulling on his lab coat to ask her
what the boy had said to her. “Nothing other than to show me his arm, and I came to
get you.”
“Show him in and I’ll be there in a moment.” She nodded again and left. He wasn’t
sure what was going on, but he would help the child. Going down the hall, he tried to
think what would have happened, and realized he was probably making it a great deal
worse than it was.
Entering the room, he looked at his patient. The kid turned to him, and two things
struck Nolan at once. The kid was afraid of him, and he was human. The scent of blood,
strong and fresh, made Nolan’s cat make himself known. Nolan decided to go slowly.
“My name is Nolan Bentley. I’m the doctor who is going to look at you.” The kid
nodded, and Nolan sat on the stool while the kid sat on the big exam table. “What is it
you’re here to see me about?”
The kid peeled the dishtowel from his forearm. Nolan could see that it had been
bleeding a great deal. The towel, like his sleeve, was soaked through, and he was
wincing as the skin was exposed. Someone had cut him, badly and deeply.
“Can you tell me what happened?” The boy said nothing, but stared at him. “I can’t
help you unless you help me. If you were cut by a fence or something like that, you’d
need to have a tetanus shot first. Then I’d have to make sure there was no rust or
anything in the cut. If it was a knife, I’d have to know what sort of knife. Were you
cutting chicken and the blade slipped? Maybe you got hit by a piece of falling glass. Or
you—”
“Knife. A switchblade.” Nolan nodded and pulled on some gloves. “I’m…he tried
to take my money. Not that I have much, but I worked for it. He’s bigger, so it’s not like
I didn’t try to protect myself, but…he’s bigger.”
“I don’t blame you.” Nolan rolled a table with all the things he’d need to stitch him
up toward them and had the kid put his arm over it so he could look at it better. “It’s
going to need about twenty-five or so stitches. But it will need to be cleaned out first.
What does the other kid look like? The one that hurt you. Other than big, I mean. Did
you get some good licks in yourself?”
“He just left me there. I don’t think he’s hurting though. He’s a known bully and
has a gang that hangs with him. I might have hit him a few times, but it was just luck,
not anything more.” Nolan told him what he was going to do, and the kid just watched.
Opening the wound up, he could see that while it was very deep, it had cut no major
veins or tendons. But it was going to be sore for a while.
“Do you have a parent or guardian you can have my nurse call?” When the boy
didn’t answer him, Nolan stopped looking at the wound and looked at him. “I have to
make a call to her or the police. If she’s the one that did this to you, then I can get you
some—”
“No. She’d never do that…it’s not her. It’s the man that thinks he can boss her
around a lot that I worry about.” Nolan frowned, wondering what sort of life this kid
had. “He’s a real douche canoe. And no matter how many times she tells him to back
off, he’s right up in our face. And she’s not my mom, but my aunt.”
“All right. We’ll still have to call her. This guy, does he live with you two?” The kid
shook his head hard. “Then I don’t understand how it’s going to be an issue with her
being called.”
“They took the car last week because money is so short. We knew they were going
to. It’s been hard on us since my mom passed away a few months ago.” Nolan felt his
heart break for the kid. “Aunt Rylee has been working hard, but not having a car, she
won’t be able to get here now. Plus, the buses don’t run that late on her second job.
Walking home at night is dangerous, but she is trying really hard.”
“And what is your name? For the records. And if you give me her address, I can
have someone go and pick her up and bring her here.” The kid was shaking his head.
“No one will hurt her or you now that you’re here. I swear that to you.”
“I know that. But she’s…she’s not very…she’s been under a lot of stress. And she
freaks out really easy. Not badly, but…last night she cried for two hours because she
didn’t have the money for me to go on this class thing. I told her it was okay, but she
is…she’s weird about that sort of stuff. She’s this really…she was in the army when
Mom called her, and she was so…Mom said it was army life, but she was so hard. But
now she’s sort of…I guess squishy. Cries about stuff that’s okay, and then gets all
blown up when things are an injustice, as she calls them. I really love her, but she’s
weird, like I said.”
“I see. Let me get her address and I’ll have my mom go and get her. She’s
understanding about this sort of thing.” The kid still didn’t seem convinced, and Nolan
had to admire him for protecting his family. “She’s going to have to find out sooner or
later, I’m afraid. You can’t just hide something like this from her. She’ll be more hurt if
you do, I bet. My mom would be.”
“All right, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you. Her name is really Rylee McClure.”
He also gave him the address. “My name is Shane. Shane Cole.”
The phone in the examining room was there for him to use, but for the life of him he
had no idea how to contact his mother on it. She had a cell phone, he supposed, but
whenever he needed her he would just reach out to contact her through their link. He
did that now.
I need your cell number. She laughed and gave it to him. Okay. I need to call you. Will
you be able to answer me?
Yes. I’m assuming this is for someone else’s benefit? He told her it was and why. I see. Go
ahead and call me then. I’m with Reggie and Chris. The three of us were going to go to the
grocery, but this will be fun too.
He called her and explained again what he needed. Giving her both their names
and the address, he could hear his sister-in-law in the background laughing. Reggie was
talking to one of the babies, he knew from the sound of her voice, and was telling them
how Uncle Nolan was a doctor woctor. Whatever the hell that meant. Hanging up a few
minutes later, he sat back down on the chair and started cleaning the wound out while
talking with young Shane.
~~~
The doorbell nearly scared ten years off her life. Rylee had had her head in the
dryer, trying to find the last sock that had been there when she’d put it in the stupid
thing, but now was missing. She not only bumped her head, but was pretty sure that
the sock was eaten, again by the stupid machine. She was still rubbing her head when
she went to the door and peeked out the side glass.
It wasn’t Mike, thank goodness. But whatever the two women were selling, she had
no money for, nor did she have time for their spiel. Opening the door, she could see
Mike coming out of his townhouse next door and staring at them like he wasn’t going
anywhere until he had all the information she did. The nosey prick was driving her
nuts. Just as the elder woman opened her mouth to speak, Mike cut her off.
“You said you weren’t going to be home tonight. You never told me about no
company.” She ignored him for the two women. “I don’t think you should be letting
them in. They look shifty to me. And if you got no plans, then you can go with me to
the movies like I told you we could. That boy of yours, he can stay home. I don’t like
him either.”
Her temper nearly got the better of her. Rylee hated Mike Packer and wanted to
murder him daily, but lately, since her sister had died, he’d been making a total ass of
himself, bugging her and telling her what she should and shouldn’t be doing. And
when her car had gotten repossessed, he’d been all over that like white on rice. He
insisted that he be the one to drive her all over town, going so far as to send cabs that
she’d call for away when they arrived at her house.
The younger woman spoke before she could. “Fuck off, buddy. We’re not here to
see you, so go the fuck back in your house.” Well, that took religious zealots off the list
of who they might be, Rylee thought with a grin. The older woman tisked at the
younger one, who did not look the least bit repentant when she said she was sorry.
Mike made his way back into his house, but his door, forever opening and closing like a
damned revolving door lately, stood open just a little.
“Are you Rylee McClure?” Rylee told her she was, a finger of fear going down her
back. “I’m sorry, my dear, do you think we could go inside? Your neighbor seems to
think this has something to do with him.”
Mike’s door slammed shut and the older woman smiled at her. For reasons she
could not understand, she liked them both. And when she invited them in, she knew
that she’d be as safe with them as she would with her gun pointed to whoever might be
coming for her. A strange thought, but lately a lot of things had been strange.
“Do you have a child…nephew…by the name of Shane…I don’t remember what
Nolan told us his last name was, do you, Chris?” She told her. “Yes, that’s right. Shane
Cole. Do you know him?”
Her vision began to blur and her heart…she actually looked down at her chest to
see if it had fallen out of her chest. She could not lose him too. He was all she had in the
world now that…when the room began to tilt, she heard the younger women cursing
and thought perhaps she’d like to learn a few of those words soon. Before she knew it,
she was on the floor with her head between her upright knees.
“Just breathe, young lady. It’s not that bad. Or so he said.” Rylee asked her who.
“My son. He’s a doctor. A very good one. And your nephew came to his office a little
while ago and had to be looked at. I don’t know a great many of the details, but I do
know that if anyone can keep him safe, it will be my son.” Rylee wondered if she
thought this was helping, because it wasn’t.
“Gracie, you’re not helping her. She’s scared to death that he’s hurt really badly.”
Gracie, the older woman, Rylee assumed, asked her to talk to Nolan and find out. “I
have a better idea. Why don’t we just take her to him? Like he wanted us to. She might
feel better to see him even if we were to tell her he’s just fine.”
“Oh. Yes. That’s a good idea. I think the man next door…did you smell him?” Chris
must have answered because Gracie continued as if she had. “And what was he
wearing? No man should be out looking like…well, he just rolled out of the barn after
mucking it all day.”
Rylee laughed. As she pushed gently against the hand holding her down, she was
freed. Looking up from her position on the floor, she smiled at the two of them. Then
the door opened again and a woman holding two babies came in too. One of them was
screaming her head off.
“Here.” A baby was handed to Chris, and then the screaming one was shoved in
her arms. “Where is your bathroom? I have to go now. I thought you said you’d only
be…where?”
Rylee told her down the hall, but kept her eyes on the little girl in her arms. Christ,
she was beautiful, and the way her little lips puckered up like she was going to let go of
another healthy scream made Rylee’s heart melt.
“Hey there, little one. Don’t cry. Mommy will be back in a second.” The little girl
just stared at her. Her cheeks looked so downy soft that Rylee had to touch them.
Adjusting her in her hands, she ran her finger down her cheek and marveled at not just
the softness of it, but also how warm she was.
“Her name is Alexis. And this is Anna. They’re my granddaughters.” Rylee looked
at the baby that was now in Gracie’s hands and could see that they were twins. “She
likes you.”
“I never held a baby this tiny before. When Shane was born, I was away and…. Oh
my God, Shane. Can you take me to him?” The baby started to cry again but hushed
once Rylee started talking to the adults again in a calm and quiet voice. “I don’t have a
car anymore. And if I call a cab, I think that Mike will intercept it again and I’ll end up
in his car. I’ll give you some gas money. I don’t…well, not a lot of gas money, but I
managed to find ten dollars in the dryer today. I was going to take Shane out for a treat,
but….” She closed her mouth when she realized she was babbling. Not a habit she’d
developed until recently. Gracie just smiled at her and stood up.
“We were actually sent to get you.” Handing the baby back to her mom when she
returned, Rylee asked for a minute to get something on. She ran to her bedroom and
changed in record time, and put on her jacket as she made her way to the living room
again. When Gracie asked her if she was set, they left with Rylee making sure the doors
were locked three times before she walked down the sidewalk.
“You need a safer place to stay.” She looked over at Chris, who was sitting in the
front with Gracie as she drove. “That man next door, he’s going to hurt you if you
don’t.”
“I don’t think he’ll hurt me now. A couple of weeks ago he tried that crap on me
and I put him in his place. He had been backing off until today. I think he might need
another show of force.” Gracie laughed, but Chris didn’t look convinced. “He’s
harmless for the most part. And when he gets out of line, I put him back in his place. I
have…I can carry and I do now. I don’t care for it, but I have to protect us.”
She asked what they knew about Shane. Chris answered her, but Rylee had a
feeling that she was still worried about the neighbor. He really wasn’t that bad, but she
knew how to handle him when he was.
“Nolan said that he’s been cut on his arm with a knife. I don’t know the extent of
the wound other than without someone there that can authorize him to work on it, he
has to wait. Shane told him that you no longer had a car.” She waited for someone to
tell her she should work harder to keep her things, but none of them said a word about
that as Chris continued. “He isn’t much of a talker, is he?”
“No.” Rylee wanted to tell them that was her fault too. He’d been so depressed
since his mom had died, but she was having so much trouble shaking her own
depression about Shelby dying that it was hard for her to talk to him about his own. She
also knew that there had been some trouble at school, but again, he’d not shared much
in the way of information, only to tell her that he had it handled. Obviously not.
As they drove her to the nicer part of town, she realized that they knew her name,
but other than first names, she had no idea who they were. She started to ask them
when the car turned into a nice office building parking lot and the engine was turned
off. They all turned to her.
“I’m a little scared.” Gracie told her that was understandable. “I’m not…it’s been
hard on us. For the last few months, it’s been really hard on us. We can’t seem to get a
break. To be telling you this…sharing…I’m not sure why I feel I can, but I’ve not had a
great deal of friends over, and those that do come over are more interested in why
we’re so broke. I really hate people.”
“Not all people are like your so-called friends. And so you know, we trust you as
well. But you need help. We can help you.” Rylee shook her head at Chris as she
nodded. “We can and we will. You will need us as much as we do you. Go inside and
we’ll be in soon. Nolan is on the phone right now with his brother about something,
and Shane is with the nurse. Nolan will help you too…he’ll need to. His nurse is
waiting on you to fill out the paperwork.”
The sharp intake of breath from Gracie had Rylee looking at her. But she was
staring at Chris, smiling. There was something there, something that she felt like she
needed to know but wasn’t sure she actually wanted to know it. Before they could tell
her that something else had happened, she got out of the car and made her way to the
front door alone. The nurse was standing at the door like she’d been waiting on her and
let her in.
“Hello, I’m Nurse Loraine Bean. Your nephew is in the office right now. I’ve given
him something to settle his stomach…nothing more than a little soda. Nolan Bentley,
the doctor, is on the phone.” Rylee nodded. “Can you please fill out this paperwork? All
it’s staying is that you give him permission to put stitches in his arm.”
“Can I see him first? I’d feel so much better if you’d let me just make sure that it’s
him. I know it is, but I have to see him.” The nurse smiled and nodded. “Thank you.”
“No problem. He’s a good boy once he starts to talk to you. It took Nolan a little bit
to get him to open up. I think they’ve been talking manly things, because when I come
into the room, they quiet up again.” The room where she was taking her had the door
closed. “As I said, Nolan had to step out for a moment. But you should just go on in and
talk to Shane to help him relax. Then we can get the paperwork finished up. Nolan can
work on him when he gets back.”
Nodding and taking a deep breath, Rylee opened the door and moved into the
room. Shane was sitting there with his head leaning against the wall and his arm
wrapped up in a gauze-like material. There was a kit nearby him. She was sure it was
the sterile dressing and equipment used to work on him, so she was careful not to touch
it. He started sobbing as soon as he saw her.
“I’m so sorry they had to come and get you like that.” She told him it was fine. “I
thought I could take care of it on my own, but I messed up. He had a knife and I didn’t.
Not that I’d use one, but Nolan said I’d need to learn how or I’d just cut myself more.
And he cut me up before I could even think that was what he was going to do…the boy
did, not Nolan. I’m really sorry, Aunt Rylee.”
“Oh, honey, it’s all right. I’m just glad that you’re all right. But who did this? This
kid that’s been giving you problems, he took a knife to school?” He nodded, still crying.
“You should have told me, Shane. We’ll work this out. The doctor, is he taking care of
you all right? He’s not hurt you?”
“No. He’s really cool. He never told me I was stupid for taking him on when I did.
Said that I should have told you so you could have done something smarter. I like him.”
Rylee nodded and hugged him again. “Aunt Rylee, I know we don’t have the money
for this and I told him that. He said that I was his practice patient.”
“Practice? How long as he been a doctor? Surely he’s not just out of med school?”
The door opened just as she asked, and she turned to see a very tall, extremely
handsome man in a lab coat come in the room. “You’re the doctor?”
“Yes, but not Nolan. He had to leave. I’m his brother, Burke. I’m a doctor too, as a
matter of fact. And we’ve both been at it for some time, I assure you.” She felt her face
heat up, but she sat on the edge of the bed near Shane when he asked her to. “Nolan
said that you’ve been cut with a switchblade?”
“Yes. This older boy at the school, he said that he wanted my money, and since I
don’t have a lot, he got a lot of blood on him for nothing. And I think I might have hurt
him a little too.” She was surprised to hear the man say good, but before she could say
anything to him, Shane continued. “Nolan said that I should have told my aunt the
truth from the start and it might not have gotten this far.”
“More than likely not. When my brothers and I fight, we are usually pretty rough
about it. One time when my brother Micah and I had this huge fight, my mom hosed us
down with the kitchen sink thing. It sure made us pay attention when she told us to
take it outside next time.” Shane laughed, and Rylee could see the woman she’d met
doing something like that. “Okay, young man. How about we get you put back
together? Ms. Cole, you can stay or not, but the nurse is going to give him something to
relax him a bit.”
As soon as she nodded to Shane that it was okay, the nurse wiped a swab over his
arm and stuck him. In minutes, he was closing his eyes and was asleep in no time. She
looked at the doctor, worried, when he stood up. She stood as well.
“Nolan seems to think there is more to this than a cut arm. He asked me to have a
look when you got here so that…he didn’t want you to think that we had done this to
him when he came in this way. I assure you, we’d never harm him. May I?” Nodding
again, she moved back out of his way when he stood over her nephew and watched the
doctor lift Shane’s shirt up. “Just as he said it might be. I’m afraid he’s going to need
more than some stitches, Ms. Cole. He’s going to need the hospital.”
She could only stare at the bruising on his ribs and the blood from several other
cuts that seemed to stretch up to his throat and shoulders. When Burke pulled up
Shane’s pant legs too, she could see where he’d been kicked, his legs scraped and
bruised a great deal. Sitting down again, she had started to cry when someone was
suddenly holding her. Sobbing into the shoulder of Mrs. Bentley was the best thing that
had happened to her in months. Being held like this made her cry harder.
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