‘I can’t make any promises,’ Melody reiterated. ‘It was Professor Wilmont’s idea so if it doesn’t work out, you can blame him for dashing your hopes.’

George chuckled. Melody explained the operation to Rudy and once he’d signed the consent form, she headed to Theatre to get everything prepared. ‘It’s six-thirty now,’ Melody said to him. ‘Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though you’ll have time to help me in Theatre.’

‘Why not?’

‘George, you have a dinner at eight o’clock. That’s only an hour and a half away.’

‘I do know how to tell the time,’ he said with an admonishing grin.

‘Stop teasing.’ Melody smiled, enjoying their easy banter. Emir had never clicked with her like this. Perhaps that was why she found George so hard to resist! ‘Carmel will come looking for you and then you’ll have to leave in the middle of the operation. Actually, I’m surprised she’s allowed you a few free hours.’

George chuckled. ‘It’ll be all right. The operation’s going to take—what? Forty-five minutes?’

‘More than likely, if we don’t run into complications.’

‘I seriously doubt it.’

‘You have responsibilities.’

‘I have an hour and a half. We’ll be fine.’

The look he gave her said that she could trust him and for a split second Melody wondered whether he was only talking about the operation or—something more? She decided it was best not to pursue it so she showed him where the changing rooms were and escaped behind the door marked ‘Females’.

‘You’re a cool, calm and collected professional,’ she mumbled to herself as she changed. ‘You’ve been through a lot worse than this. It’s just an attraction. Nothing is ever going to come of it. He’s still carrying a torch for his wife and he’s leaving at the end of the week. He has a tour to complete and even after that’s done he’ll be living in a different state.’

‘Talking to yourself again, Melody?’ Evelyn asked as she walked in to the changing rooms.

For a second she froze. How much of her mumbling had Evelyn heard? Melody adopted an air of nonchalance and continued to put her hair up.

‘So, another opportunity to work with the great Professor Wilmont,’ Evelyn squeaked excitedly. ‘And assist with an operation on Rudy Carlew. Is this the best job or what?’

Melody couldn’t help but laugh. She didn’t need to tell Evelyn to make sure she kept herself the information about Rudy Carlew strictly confidential as the nurse had proved herself to Melody in the past to be a woman of integrity and discretion. If it hadn’t been for Evelyn’s compassion in telling Melody the truth about Emir, perhaps Melody’s heartbreak would have been even worse.

‘The only downside,’ Evelyn continued, ‘is that after tonight my contract with the hospital expires.’

‘I didn’t realise you were doing agency work. You’ve been here for at least the past twelve months.’

‘I’ve been filling in for a nurse on maternity leave. She’s back tomorrow, which means I won’t be around to visit Rudy.’ They walked out together. ‘How did you get Professor Wilmont to agree to operate?’

Evelyn’s question made Melody want to throw caution to the wind and say something like it had been her natural charms that had led George away from his busy schedule in search of a more refined amusement but instead she cleared her throat. Not wanting to create hospital gossip, she said, ‘Firstly, he’s assisting me. Secondly…’ Melody shrugged ‘…he asked.’

Melody checked on Rudy to make sure that everything was going according to plan before she headed for the scrub sink. There was no sign of George but she knew he’d arrive soon. The hairs on the back of her neck and along her arms rose the moment he entered the room and she was amazed at how aware she was of him but tried to hide it as best she could.

As they stood at the scrub sink, he said, ‘Everything ready to go?’

‘Yes.’

‘I called Carmel,’ he told her. ‘So at least she knows where I am.’

Melody glanced at him and almost gasped. The theatre greens brought out the golden flecks in his brown eyes—eyes that she could willingly drown in. She tried not to dwell on it and scrubbed her hands harder but the scent of his aftershave, the deep melodious sound of his voice, the warmth emanating from his body as he stood beside her made her completely forget what she was doing. She glanced at his large, capable hands as he continued to lather them and his arms. So strong. So masterful. So…sensual.

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