Excerpt…The Vampire’s Penance

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One

This certainly was not the first time Maddie Van Kool had seen a naked man. On the contrary. As a nurse at Golden Pastures Nursing Home, she’d seen plenty of naked men. Of course, they’d all been damn close to 100 years old and wrinkly and dangly, but they were men, and she’d had the obligatory peek at their naked bodies while bathing them. You had to look if you were completing a skin assessment.
In nursing school there’d been other male patients who’d been on her assignments as she learned the proper care of catheters and surgical preparation and other such procedures that would leave a patient exposed.
However, there had not been one, not one that came even remotely close to competing with Raffaele Valentino. Not one. Ever.
The mold had certainly been broken when he was made. Six-two, dark hair, gray eyes. Broad shoulders and chest and nice everything else. He was, generally speaking, a sight of true perfection. Though, tonight was clearly not one of those nights.
She donned her rubber gloves, ensuring they came up and over the sleeves of her gown, which hung long enough to touch the tops of her rubber boots. Then she checked the gauge on the shower nozzle.
“I think it’s ready,” she said from behind her face shield. “I’ll be as gentle as I can.”
“Yeah, you do that,” Rafe growled then let out an annoyed sounding sigh. “Let’s get this done.”
Seated on the shower chair in the infirmary’s fifteen-foot shower he looked enormous. His muscular frame dwarfed the little plastic seat. Beneath the angry red and festering sores his shoulder muscles rippled. He’d insisted on using the shower chair instead of lying on the specially built table that would allow her to rinse him and turn him without disrupting him too much. He held on to the chair for dear life.
Maddie was certain if she bumped him, she’d knock him right out of the seat.
Stubborn. That was the second word that came to mind whenever she thought of Rafe. The first word was, of course, drop-dead-gorgeous, which, although technically three words always sounded like one when she thought of Rafe.
For as long as she’d known him, he’d been stubborn. Maddie wondered what he’d been like as a human. She’d never dared to ask, too afraid he’d tell her to mind her own business.
He wasn’t a man of many words, especially not with her.
She brought the shower hose up to the back of his head and let the delicate lukewarm water spray his hair.
Rafe hissed and jerked away. “Damn it woman! What’s the sprayer set on? Needle pricks?”
Turning the nozzle away, she apologized. “I’m sorry. It’s only set to mist. It doesn’t get any lighter than this.”
The arm rests creaked under his hands, yet, he sat up straight. “Turn it to an even flow. A full flush of water is better than thousands of tiny stings.” He faced forward, head angled down at his feet. “Didn’t they teach you that in nursing school?”
“No. We never covered the care of vampires.”
“You must have been absent that day.”
“I never missed a day.” She switched the nozzle to a full flow of water and checked the temperature once more. “And as I recall the class on post-mortem care did not even hint of vampires. We were trained to expect the dead to remain dead.”
 
His head bobbed. “Hhmmf.”
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