shrugged and waved at them over his shoulder as we walked away. “Hey, can we stop by the Ritz? I want to ask the owner a quick question.”

“Not a problem.”

“Tell me about the girl you were talking to,” he said as he slapped my shoulder.

I looked at him and laughed. “She’s not who she seems to be.” Sometimes there are things you keep close to the vest – especially in my big mouth family.

“I saw her knee that guy in the balls. She seems pretty hard core.”

“She’s something else. Impressed the hell out of me, really.”

“Hmm,” he said as we made our way toward the Ritz.

“What the fuck does ‘hmm’ mean?”

“Nothing. I think you need a ball buster in your life,” he said through a laugh.

“Forget about it, brother.”

“Did you make a plan to see her again?” He eyed me with one eyebrow cocked and a silly ass grin on his face.

“Yes,” I answered as I stopped walking and looked at him.

“Maybe she’ll break you.”

“I don’t need that shit in my life,” I said leaving him to catch up.

“You need to let loose a little, but in the right way. Maybe she’s just what the doctor ordered.”

“You have no idea, Anthony.” I laughed as I grabbed the door handle, opening it to the most ear-shattering guitar riff known to man and followed him inside.

I leaned against the wall, watching the band as they play for their screaming fans. The looks on their faces remind me of watching Anthony when he’s entertaining the crowds.

His adrenaline rush came from the people that watch him like a rock god and mine came from beating the piss out of someone.

When I fought the blood pumped through my body so rapidly that I could almost feel it moving. It’s hard to describe to another person. Every muscle in my body grows rigid and is screaming for release. My breathing increases to the point I feel like my lungs will burst if I suck in any more air. When I step into the ring, everything else fades away. I feel like a warrior, fighting for the thrill and challenge. There’s so much adrenaline in my system that I barely feel the blows of my opponent as they land against my body, sometimes crushing my bones.

“I’m ready,” Anthony said, as he tapped me on the shoulder.

I’d been so lost in my thoughts I didn’t notice his approach.

“Yeah. This place gives me a headache.”

“Wait until we play here. We’re going to blow the roof off this motherfucker.”

His smile touched his eyes as he pumped his fists in the air. Anthony didn’t care about playing music to make a living; he simply did it for the thrill and the pussy.

He loved tattooing too much to ever give it up, but since we owned the shop we made our own hours. We worked out a schedule so that at least two of us were there in the evenings.

“You’re driving,” I said, as I threw the keys to him.

“Fuck yeah, I love driving this truck. Bitch purrs when I got her in my clutches.”

“Just get my ass home in one piece and stop talking nasty.”

Sometimes I wanted to punch him in the face, but I loved the big bastard too much to bloody his face.

“Just don’t wreck her,” I said as he pulled into traffic.

“I should’ve been an Indy driver. I feel the need, the need for speed,” he hollered as he gunned it.

“Shut the fuck up and drive,” I mumbled before closing my eyes, not really wanting to watch his idea of Nascar.

Chapter 7

Throwing down my bag, I reached over the counter and grabbed the phone. Cammie was busy helping a patient book their next appointment.

“Hello,” I said as I surveyed the crowded waiting room.

“I need an appointment as soon as possible,” the lady yelled in the phone, panic evident in her voice. “There’s something wrong with my baby.”

“Is the baby able to breath?”

“Yes,” she cried. “She has a fever and is coughing, help me.”

“How high is the fever?”

“103.1.”

“Bring her in right away. I’ll see you immediately. Hurry.”

“Thank you,” she said before the line went dead.

“Girl, you know were booked. Whatcha doin’?” Cammie, the slightly round and always bubbly receptionist asked.

“It’s a mom, Cam. You know I can never say no when there’s a kid involved.”

“Oh lord, child. Are you going to have time to see her with all this?” She waved her hand toward the waiting room and grimaced.

“Yes, Cammie, I’ll make the time. Let me know as soon as she gets here. I’m going to put everything away and I’ll come grab a chart.”

“It’s a full house today. I brewed a fresh pot of coffee, from the looks of you, you’ll need it.” Cammie felt like a fill-in for my mom when they weren’t around.

“Glad to know I look like shit, Cam,” I said. “Thanks.”

“Not shit, just tired, Mia. I know you don’t sleep well, that’s why I always have a fresh pot on hand when you’re here. Now, get your butt to work, Mia.” She swatted my ass. “We have souls to heal.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

I placed the free medication I was able to score courtesy of the pharmaceutical rep that visited the hospital this week before grabbing a chart off the counter and diving right in.

“Mr. Needlemyer,” I said from the doorway.

He looked up at me and a smile broke out across his face. “Ah, Dr. G,” he said as he pushed himself off the chair, struggling with the simple task. “Looking beautiful as always.”

“How are you feeling, Mr. N?” I asked as he approached.

“Like an old fart.” He snorted.

“I hope I look half as good as you when I’m your age.” I smiled at him, patting him on the shoulder.

“Eh, looks are deceiving. My insides are worn out, but if I were just a few years younger…,” he trailed off without finishing, giving me a wink.

I slapped his knee as he sat down on the exam table. “Mr. N., come on now.”

Since the first day I met him, he flirted with me… relentlessly.

“So tell me, how are you really feeling? Any problems like dizziness, fatigue, or any changes since last time I saw you?” I flipped through his chart, checking his vitals from his last visit.

“I feel about as good as I can for a man my age. Nothing new to report, Doc. Right as rain.”

I listened to his heart, checked his lungs, and felt his lymph glands before I wrote a refill for his blood pressure and cholesterol pills.

He sat on the exam table and watched me as he fidgeted with his hands.

“Something you want to ask me, Mr. N?”

“Well, um, kind of. I’ve been seeing this special lady. I wanted to talk to you about that little blue pill. Can I take it?”

“Do you need it? That’s the more important question.” I inched closer to him so we could talk a bit quieter. “Do you have a problem getting and maintaining an erection?”

His face turned pink as he looked away momentarily avoiding my gaze. “I don’t think so, but it’s been so long since I’ve been with a woman. My wife died over five years ago. I don’t know if the ol’ pipes still work,” he said, giving me a weak smile.

“Ever had any trouble in the past?”

“Never.” He shook his head, looking down.

“With your medical history I wouldn’t feel comfortable prescribing it. If you have trouble with your lady, call me and I’ll help you out.”

“Doc, be still my beating heart.”

“You know what I mean, Mr. Needlemyer.” I blushed.

Did men ever lose their dirty minds?

“I do. If I have any problems with,” he coughed, “I’ll call you.”

“Here’s your refills and I’ll see you next month, just make an appointment with Cammie on your way out.”

“Wishful thinking

at my age.”

“You’ll be fine,” I said as I laid my hand on his. A knock on the door made him jump. “Yes?” I called out.

“The mother is here with her child,” Cammie yelled through the door.

“Coming,” I said. “Mr. Needlemyer, I need to go but remember to call me if you have any problems.” I closed the chart and stood.

“Go ahead, Doc. I’ll be fine.”

“Thanks, Mr. N.” I waved to him as I shut the door and headed to the waiting room.

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