I guess I already know the answer to that. I closed my mind to him from the very start. I told myself he was a walking, talking cliché before ever bothering to get to know him. I feel like such an ass. I hurt and humiliated him.

“Claire?” he says, and I realize he’s said something that I haven’t heard. My mind wandered off at some point in the conversation. Long hours will do that to a person, but that’s not the only thing wrong. His presence does something to my brain. It warps and stretches it. Delays it.

“Yes?”

“Go to dinner with me.”

There is no question mark in his voice. I swallow hard, the request throwing me off guard. He has a way of doing that. No wonder he’s so good on the field.

“I’m sorry, I can’t. It would be unprofessional to have a personal relationship with the clinic’s main financial provider.” Even if I wanted to—of course I want to, but I continue to lie to myself by denying it—I don’t know if I could eat a single thing. It feels like my stomach is on a precariously put-together carnival ride whenever he’s around.

His smile speaks volumes. With one little smirk, he’s telling me, I know you. I know your secrets. You want me. I feel exposed. Vulnerable.

He says, “I just want to get to know the woman who is in charge of so much of my money.”

As hesitant as I am, he’s not wrong. I am in charge of a large sum of money. What I choose to do with it could make or break an entire medical institution. I tell myself it’s just professional. It’s like any other business meal I’ve had. But the excitement my body feels is telling me otherwise.

I pretend to think about it for a few beats, not wanting to show him how easily I’m willing to jump to his commands. “Okay,” I finally agree.

“Great. Get your coat. The reservation is in thirty minutes.”

I stammer. “But I’m in my scrubs … that’s not enough time to get home, get a shower …”

He’s already walking out the door. “You look great. I’ll meet you in the car.”

I’m left standing in my office with my mouth open. With a sigh, I gather the rest of my things and follow behind him.

As I walk out the lobby and through the parking lot, I try to steal glances of myself in the cars’ reflections. I surreptitiously smooth down my hair. It’s impossible to see if my eye makeup is smudged or even if there are any remnants left on my face from my hasty lunch between patients.

He points his key fob and I hear two quick beeps. I’m surprised to see he’s driving an electric car instead of some million dollar Italian sports thing most famous athletes and celebrities drive. His car is definitely nice, but nothing that I expected. Again, he takes me off guard. I haven’t felt this imbalanced since college.

As I take in the luxurious interior and sneak peeks of him as he maneuvers out of the parking lot, I wonder how awkward this drive will be. But as we drive down the road, he talks about what his plans are for the clinic. Hearing how passionate he is about helping people stirs up something in me I wasn’t expecting. I expect to be turned on by the memory of his huge hands and cock ravaging me, but this soft, sweet side of him? Why is that part of him making me want to climb over the arm rest and ride him like a mechanical bull?

Speaking of arm rest, I look down at his hand. It’s so close to my leg. If I move my knee over just a centimeter, he’d be touching me. God, I’m horny. I haven’t been laid in so long. I want him. I want him with every fiber of my being. I want to tear his clothes off and stick that beautiful cock in my mouth and suck him dry like a ravenous vampire. My impulse control is that of a serial killer.

“We’re here,” he says, and I snap out of it.

I look at the restaurant. Definitely not what I was expecting. I was afraid I wouldn’t be allowed to enter because I’m wearing scrubs, but I’m suddenly feeling over-dressed.

I get out of the car and we enter the little hole in the wall greasy spoon.

“This is … quaint,” I say.

He laughs. I look around at the floral booths and matching wall paper boarders, at the days’ specials spelled wrong on the sandwich board. Everyone is as grubby as I am at the end of the day and I instantly feel at ease.

“Best garlic fries in town,” AJ says to me.

A curvy, older waitress with a bright, lovely face smiles at AJ. “Your booth is all clean,” she says to AJ. I follow him to the private corner of the restaurant. On the way he stops when a little girl, roughly ten-years old, wearing his team jersey with his last name and number on it in pink, stands on her seat and points despite her parents’ desperate attempts to stop her.


Tags: Penny Wylder Romance
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