Page 4 of The Secret Father

‘That’s a weight off my mind,’ she assured him solemnly, with an answering glimmer in her eyes. She’d seen Sam Rourke do humour, but that had been scripted. This dry, caustic wit was obviously the natural variety and she found it much more attractive than the slick, predictable banter.

It was gradually becoming obvious that, whilst the characters this man portrayed might arguably be two-dimensional, he was much more complex in the flesh. And distressingly perfect flesh it was too, she thought, pulling her glance from the sinewed strength of his forearms meshed with a fine covering of dark hair.

‘Better, Doctor, much better,’ he approved caustically. ‘You know, you’ve got to learn to relax around us glittering, famous types if you’re going to be part of the team.’

‘I suppose I will,’ she agreed doubtfully.

The offer of a job as medical advisor on the set of the film her sister was starring in had seemed like a heavensent opportunity. The doctor they’d had lined up had broken his leg and was in traction. They hadn’t begun shooting any of the scenes with medical content yet, Hope had assured her. It would be a breeze! Lindy had just resigned from her job as a senior house officer at a prestigious London hospital and had needed time to sort out where she was going from there. Now she was here, Lindy was beginning to regret the impulsiveness of her actions.

‘Won’t people resent the fact I got the job because I’m Hope’s sister?’ What am I doing here? she wondered, feeling suddenly very homesick.

‘Nepotism is one of the more savoury ways people get jobs in this business,’ Sam observed drily.

‘You’re not telling me the casting couch still exists, are you?’ she laughed.

‘Such sweet innocence,’ he mocked lightly. ‘I was thinking more along the lines of murder, extortion, blackmail; but the old-fashioned ways are still the best, or so I’m told.’

Looking doubtfully into his cynical blue eyes, she wasn’t sure whether he was joking. ‘It all seems very casual,’ she admitted.

Getting a job to her had entailed gruelling interviews and hard-won references, but here she was being offered a salary that made her blink, to do something which didn’t sound very strenuous.

‘I just got a phone call and a first-class ticket for Boston,’ she said.

‘Don’t look so worried,’ he advised with an amused smile. ‘I’ll make you work for your money. I’d assumed you were star-struck. Don’t explode!’ He raised a pacific hand. ‘But, that obviously not being the case, it must be a man that made you up sticks.’

‘A man?’ she enquired with discouraging hauteur. It occurred somewhat belatedly to her that Sam Rourke was her new boss and it might have been politic to take that into account before she’d started sniping at him. She might just regret her honesty in the near future.

‘Broken heart, love affair, that sort of thing. Though you don’t look the type to…’ Sam paused, weighing his words. Telling a woman, even one as self-contained as this one, that she didn’t look as if she had enough fire in her veins might not go down too well.

‘Make a fool of myself over a man?’

‘My thought exactly,’ he agreed with some relief.

‘I’m not,’ she said flatly. She had no intention of going over her reasons for leaving a job she’d loved. A man had certainly been involved—and love, too, if Simon Morgan was to be believed.

From the moment he’d taken over as consultant orthopaedic surgeon, he’d made his personal interest in his house officer obvious. He hadn’t got encouragement, but he hadn’t needed it. He was one of that breed of men to whom things had always come easily, and he hadn’t thought Rosalind Lacey was any different from anything else he’d wanted.

At first he’d taken her rejection to be part of a game—a game he was happy to play. When he’d discovered he’d been playing alone, things had got ugly and he’d made it quite obvious that the hospital wasn’t big enough for both of them. She could have fought—should have fought—but Lindy hadn’t had the stomach for a messy sexual harassment suit, which could have damaged her professional reputation even if she had won. America had been her way out of a classic catch-22 situation.

‘I admire confidence,’ Sam said softly.

The sceptical note in his voice, of a man who believed no woman was as invulnerable as she professed to be, irritated Lindy.

‘Shouldn’t we be making a move?’ she said, looking around the now half-empty room.

‘See you in the morning, Sam.’ Rick, who was a thin, gangling youth with a shock of carrot-red hair, chose that moment to make his exit via their table. He eyed Lindy curiously.