‘Tough.’ She handed him the laser pointer then walked over to Melody. George watched as Melody chatted with both PAs before standing and heading to the podium. She moved with grace and ease, smoothing a hand down her skirt before adjusting her papers. She held herself perfectly, her back straight, her shoulders square as she read from the notes, glancing up to look at the assembled crowd. Her voice was clear and her words well modulated. He liked listening to her talk.
Before too long, she was turning to face him, smiling at him, and he realised he hadn’t heard a word she’d said. He’d been so captivated by this new acquaintance that he really had drifted off into la-la land. What was wrong with him? It wasn’t like him to behave in such a fashion, and especially not when he was standing in front of a large crowd of people—people who were all looking at him expectantly.
He needed to pull on his professionalism, to brush aside any intriguing thoughts he had about Melody Janeway, and do the job he’d been sent to do. He was Professor George Wilmont, orthopaedic surgeon, and widower. He was not a man who experienced an instant attraction towards a colleague, or acted on it.
This time, when he politely shook her hand to thank her for introducing him, he exuded a cool reserve. This time there was no jolt of awareness. This time he was the consummate professional and he was determined to remain so for the rest of his stay in Sydney.
LUNCH WAS A lavish affair for a ‘few’ special guests—all fifty of them. Thankfully, as St Aloysius Hospital was situated in the heart of Sydney, there were a plethora of delightful restaurants in the vicinity, and Melody knew Rick had booked several of them for lunches and dinners throughout the week.
When she’d arrived, she’d discovered that she was seated next to George. The scent of his spicy aftershave teased at her senses, making her aware of his nearness. Closing her eyes for a moment, Melody composed herself, needing to remain polite but professional.
She’d never had the greatest luck with men, as her older brothers, David and Ethan, would attest. After her last break-up, one that had fed the hospital gossips for a good six months at least, she’d decided to focus on her career. Two years later, she was now where she wanted to be, but she was also lonely, spending more and more hours at the hospital in order to curtail the emotion.
When would it be her turn to find an honest man? A man who wanted to settle down and start a family? A man who wasn’t already married, or who believed in monogamy? Probably when you become brave enough to date again, her head answered her heart. She had been shy, not wanting to put herself out there again, hoping that fate would simply bring the right man to her doorstep.
She glanced at George Wilmont, watching as he chatted animatedly with the doctor seated on the other side of him. She liked the way his lips curved into a smile, the way his deep, rich tones could wash over her and ease away her tensions. No man had ever turned her head, made her laugh and captured her interest as quickly as George Wilmont.
Melody forced herself to look away. She needed to rein in her crazy romantic notions and her desperation to find the man who was her soul mate, because George Wilmont was definitely not that man. At the moment she should view him as nothing more than a handsome diversion who would leave at the end of the week.
When the time came for George to say a few words, Melody accepted her notes from Rick, who was really earning the title of ‘right-hand man’, and headed to the podium. After she’d once again introduced George, he’d thanked her but this time when he’d smiled her way, it hadn’t been the polite professional mask he’d had in the lecture theatre. No, this time, while she’d been standing at the podium in a room full of her peers, George had decided to hit her with a one hundred percent, full-watt smile.
The pep-talk she’d just given herself vanished from her mind as she allowed herself to be dazzled by him. She might have even gasped at the sight but her mind hadn’t been functioning properly, given his enigmatic presence, so she wasn’t certain.
What she was certain about, however, was the way her body seemed to be tuning itself to George’s frequency without her permission. In fact, once he’d given his short talk and returned to sit beside her, his spicy cologne once more started to wind its way around her, causing a devastating effect on her equilibrium. She didn’t want to be so aware of him, yet she was.
She focused on the conversation taking place about the latest medical breakthrough, listening intently to George’s opinion on the subject. During their entrée and main course, George answered many questions. It was a rare opportunity to have access to someone who was travelling the world, hearing and seeing at first-hand new innovations in the ever-changing orthopaedic world, and her colleagues were making the most of it.