As I was typing in that title, the Bill Withers song immediately started going through my head. I ended up having to Google the lyrics because I’d forgotten them, and wow, I should have been listening to this song while I was writing Tangled Past because it perfectly describes the relationship between Jackson and Nate…
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on
(Lyrics courtesy of lyricsmode.com. Read the rest of the lyrics)
“I’m right here, Nate.” Jackson slid his hand into Nate’s limp one and squeezed.
Nate grimaced, though whether from pain or at having to stay awake unmedicated, Jackson wasn’t sure.
“What happened, Nate? Belle lose her footing?”
“Cougar. Spooked her. She okay?”
Jackson shook his head. “She broke her leg real bad.”
He’d hated racking that bullet into his gun. The mare had been a good little filly, real responsive. Until she’d damned near killed her owner fighting to get up despite the fracture. A cougar would explain her panic. Still, he couldn’t have saved her, not with the way the bone had shattered.
“Hard to breathe.”
He debated minimizing the damage, but realized Nate already knew from the pain he was in how bad it was. “Doc Shaw figures you busted at least six ribs.” And bruised at least that number front and back. “Bet you got a whopper of a headache too. You’ve got the biggest damned goose egg I’ve ever seen.” With a possible busted skull, for all they knew.
…Recommended Read: Sinful, sexy, mesmerizing and intoxicating. ~Lady Rhyleigh, All Romance eBooks Cafe
“You busted your thigh bone pretty damned good. Came out clear through your skin. Both the bones in your lower leg too.”
The sound and feeling of bone grating on bone when he’d reset it would stay in his memories for the rest of his life. Though the doc had said he’d done a good job setting it, they both knew the break hadn’t been clean, and Nate’s ability to walk without a limp was still questionable.
Jackson struggled to draw a breath against the lump growing in his throat. “We cleaned it as best we could before we moved you, and Sarah and Miss Martha cleaned it again once we got you back home.”
Nate made a half-hearted effort at a grimace. “If it festers…” He dragged in a breath then groaned as his ribs reminded him of the impossibility of that feat. “Remember…your promise.”
He tightened his grip on Nate’s hand. “I remember.”
If it came to that, would he be able to follow through on handing Nate a pistol with a bullet in the chamber? Or have the strength to hold it against Nate’s temple and help him fire, if it got to that point? Promises made at age twelve were different when faced with the reality of doing the deed.
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and now because I’ve been singing this song in my head since I read that title, and figure you may be too…