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       Jacked, p.10

           Tina Reber

  Adam shook his head and flexed his fingers, almost brushing over my breast. “Burns a little. It’s like a hell of a paper slice.”

  Typical man, trying to be tough. “Yeah, I can see that. How’d this happen?”

  “Was chasing a runner. Followed him up over a fence and landed on a pile of old junk. Put my hand right through an old window and down over a piece of corrugated sheet metal. Happened so quick.”

  I hoped my prodding didn’t hurt. “This is deep but nothing that a few sutures won’t fix. Are you cut or injured anywhere else?”

  His hand was caked with dried blood, but I couldn’t help myself. I did a quick assessment of his fingers, searching for the telltale gold band or indentation that alerts all women to keep their distance.

  No ring, thank God. Maybe there’s hope for some single woman after all. Doesn’t look like he wears a ring, either. The skin on his finger is smooth, unblemished, but that’s not proof he’s single. Surely he has a wife or at the very least, a steady girlfriend.

  He probably has a kid with some girl that lets him visit every other weekend. Some long-legged bimbo he used to date. Yep. A man this fine—someone’s surely claimed their rights to him by now. I bet his ex-wife and current girlfriend fight over him. I could probably beat a few of them if I had a stick. No, a baseball bat. God, listen to me. I’m ready to start beating down other women for this one. What the hell is wrong with me?

  He let out a small growl. “No. Only my hand.”

  I had to recall my last question. Oh, any other injuries…

  “And your current address?” Sarah’s glance locked on mine briefly, confirming my guess that she was doing more than entering him into the hospital’s system.

  I was shocked to hear him say, “Drexel Hill.”

  “Doctor Novak, don’t you live in Drexel Hill, too?” Sarah asked, but the sneaky bitch knew exactly where I lived. So did the wounded Adam Trent.

  “Detective Trent,” I started to say.

  “Adam,” he corrected me, tilting his head to silently say, “come on—we’ve already met once.”

  “Sir, has your family been notified that you’ve been injured?” I asked. As soon as the words left my mouth, I felt like a foolish ass. Sarah smirked while taking his blood pressure.

  Is he staring at my chest?

  “There’s no one to notify,” he said when he met my eyes again.

  I nodded once, feeling extremely relieved for some reason.

  I glanced outside his exam room, wondering where the other officers had wandered off to. “I presume you’ll have someone to drive you home.”

  A little smirk warmed his face. “Not sure.” His chin jutted up—so confident, almost challenging me. “You offering to give me a ride?”

  Sarah’s mouth fell open. So did mine but for different reasons. He knew I couldn’t drive my car and he knew exactly why that was.

  “No… I…” Shit.

  “You what?”

  Was he amused, riling me like this? His smile faltered. “Sorry. That was, ah. I suppose your boyfriend wouldn’t approve of you getting teased like that.”

  I stood there, completely dumbfounded.

  “Oh no, she’s single,” Sarah quickly clarified, tossing a big, fat elephant into the room with a simple flutter of her hand.

  Is he grinning at that now? Great. As much as I’d like to lay someone this gorgeous out on a hospital bed and have the kind of spontaneous, wildly passionate sex you only see in smut movies, even casual flirting like this was breaching patient/doctor ethical code.

  I had the overwhelming desire to flee. “I’ll be right back so we can get to stitching you up.”

  A warm, meaty hand with very long fingers clasped firmly onto my wrist, halting me from taking another step. “Sorry, Doc. I was just joking, trying to lighten the mood. It’s been a long night. One of my team members is waiting on me.” Damn, those eyes were so repentant, like a young boy caught being naughty. I imagined they worked well on his mother. He waited until he received my unspoken acknowledgement before releasing his hold on me.

  I grabbed Sarah’s elbow when we got to the nurse’s station. “What was that?”

  “What was what? What are you so mad about?”

  I pointed down the hall toward his room. “That, back there. Telling him where I live.” She didn’t know he already knew where I lived but regardless, I didn’t want my busybody friends telling strangers my personal information.

  “You’re kidding, right? Have you not noticed the way he’s been staring at you? He’s been eyeballing you like a hungry lion since you got in his line of sight.”

  A split second evaluation of her observation led me to believe she was cracked in the head. “He has not.”

  She laughed at me. “He sure as hell has. You may not have noticed but I sure did. Hungry. Lion. He licked his lips every time he looked at you.” She growled for emphasis. “I think he likes you.”

  “Shh. He does not. And stop smiling at me like that. Do you know how much trouble I can get into here, Sarah? Do you?”

  She shrugged, peering past me toward his exam room. “He looks worth the trouble, Erin. Did you see those biceps? And those tribal tattoos? Damn. That extra large cuff barely fit around him.”

  His build was hard to miss. Intricate black ink tattoos, which resembled bands of braided rope, peeked out underneath the sleeves of his T-shirt. They wrapped around the thickest part of both of his arms, stopping at points at his elbows, adding to the whole sexy package.

  “Yes, I noticed, all right? I’m not blind. Shoot.” This was so dangerous, breaking so many ethical protocols.

  “Why are you so upset? And what was up with that camera crew? That was weird. Why the heck were they filming him?”

  I finished my notation in his chart and curled a stray hair back over my ear, knowing he was being filmed earlier in the day when we met, too. “I have no idea. Maybe cops are tired of getting sued or something.”

  My dear friend, Jen, rushed over to us, all flushed with excitement. “Oh my God! Did you see the gorgeous cop in room six? He looks so familiar.”

  My friends were incorrigible. “You ran all the way up here from the pharmacy to look at a patient?”

  “He’s Erin’s,” Sarah said, mirroring Jen’s enthusiasm.

  Jen fanned herself with some paperwork, tugging at the neckline of her scrub top. “I was called on a code. Dayum. You are so lucky. Is he single?”

  Sarah draped her stethoscope around her neck. “He isn’t wearing a ring.”

  Jen glanced back toward his room, her long black ponytail swished over her shoulder. “Oh, if I wasn’t already married I’d be all over that. Wonder if Josh would let me date?”

  Sarah nudged her elbow into Jen and then rubbed her baby belly. “I’m thinking the same thing, although he might not go for an instant family.”

  So much for professionalism. They were salivating over an injured patient. “Geez. Do you two even hear yourselves?”

  Sherry bounced in between us, springing around just like Tigger. “Heard you have the gorgeous cop patient in six. I just walked past there to check him out. Did you see his arms? Man he’s built. I bet he has a twelve pack going on.” She ran her hand around her own stomach. “You need to cut his shirt off. I want to do a tequila shot off those abs.”

  Jen laughed. “And what? Break your tequila shot virginity?”

  Sherry mockingly gaped at her. “For your information I am no longer a tequila shot virgin. Took care of that in Orlando just this past summer, don’t you remember? Besides, guys who look like that are the very reason body shots were invented.”

  Sarah nodded profusely. “He’s got these awesome tribal tattoos that wrap all the way around. Makes me wonder what else he’s got tattooed, ya know?”

  Sherry shrugged. “Get him to change into a gown and make him turn and cough.” She flipped her multi-hued bangs back out of her eyes. “Or you can push some Versed in him and we can take turns cathing his peni
s. That sounds like fun. Jen quick. Run and get some.”

  Unbelievable! I glared at all of them. Had this been anyone else but the cop who almost arrested me I would have probably been privately laughing right along with them, but joking about sedating and groping him was not funny.

  “What? He’s freaking hot. You know we’re just kidding. Go. Tend to his wounds,” Sherry teased, shushing me away with her hand.

  Unfortunately, I had to agree with her on that part.

  When I reentered his exam room, I had a hypodermic needle loaded with Lidocaine on the small tray in my hand and my nerves wound extra tight, trying not to imagine his penis. “You ready?”

  I heard the rustle of the hospital bed behind me, presuming he was looking forward to receiving stitches as much as he would be getting a tooth pulled. “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, Doc.”

  I wished I could say the same, though his words seemed to be a double entendre. I fumbled with the prep tray, stalling.

  “Erin, look at me.” His voice brooked no other choice.

  As soon as I did, he smiled gently and said, “How’ve you been? Everything okay?”

  I glanced over my shoulder to ensure we were alone. Everything was not okay, but I didn’t know him well enough to discuss it. I’d been emotionally twisted over everything that had happened in the last twenty-four hours and was barely hanging by a thread.

  Instead, I nodded and shrugged, doing my best to appear convincing and professionally detached. “Just surprised to see you again.”

  “Me too.” A small dimple appeared on his cheek. “I thought maybe you were still mad at me.”

  Yeah, no… maybe. I hoped no one was within earshot. “I just don’t want to have to explain anything to them,” I whispered. “But I don’t think anyone here knows what happened… how we, um, met. I looked all over the local news sites earlier, but I didn’t see anything.”

  “And you won’t,” he stressed.

  I wished I could believe that.

  “Hey, you have to trust me. I made you a promise, okay? Nothing is going to come back on you. Your job is safe here.”

  “I’ve worked so hard…” Adam’s sincerity tugged at my heart. “Are you sure?”

  He sighed. “Come here.”

  I twitched at his request and melted a bit under his commanding gaze. When I hesitated, he held out his hand. Instant attraction pulled me right to him.

  Adam placed his good hand over mine, sending his warmth right through my chilled skin.

  “Cold hands,” he murmured.

  I gulped. “Warm heart, though.” I felt a million tiny impulses when he slipped his fingers around mine, as if he had every right to take possession of me. And man, did my body want him to take possession. His simple gesture seemed so natural and completely foreign and totally comforting all at the same time, making me feel dizzy and incredibly lonely.

  He pegged me with those amazing eyes. “I never go back on my word. Ever. If I tell you that you’re good, you’re good. Okay?”

  My spine stiffened just a bit at his direct order not to doubt him. A small “okay” came out of me, feeling it in my gut that even though I didn’t know him I could trust him.

  “Okay,” he breathed.

  “I need… I need to examine you now.”

  Adam glanced at our entwined hands, brushing his thumb over my skin before relinquishing his hold. A hint of a smile appeared.

  The cut had fragments of dirt and debris within. “This looks like it hurt.ˮ

  He grunted a little at that. “It did.”

  That deep rumble in his chest was sexy as hell. “I need to give you a local. I’ll numb this up, we’ll irrigate it, and then I’ll stitch you up, okay?”

  “Am I going to live?” Again with the sexy smirk and innocent eyes.

  “Probably. But the medical bill afterward might kill you. This might burn a little at first.”

  I wondered how many panties he’d separated from women with that wicked grin. “Then do what you have to, Doc.”

  Adam’s fingers toyed with my hospital identification badge hanging off my breast pocket. “Doctor Erin Novak,” he said with husky exhaustion, ignoring the needle. “Good stick, by the way.”

  “Thanks. I’m trying to be gentle.”

  “You did real good.”

  “I actually stuck you more than once.”

  His nose wrinkled a little. “I know. I felt it. Thanks for not jabbing me.”

  Before I could stop it from happening, I winked at him. “You’re welcome. We’ll give that a few minutes to numb you. Your tetanus shot is still current, so you’ll only get one needle stuck in you tonight.”

  “Lucky me,” he grumbled.

  One of our new interns slid her perky ass into his room. Megan was still fresh; she hadn’t been at this long enough to have the spark squashed out of her enthusiasm. “Doctor Novak, do you need help?”

  Megan would have been more convincing if she’d actually been looking at me when she asked that question. I was just about to tell her “no” to make her just go away when she said, “Doctor Vonore told me I’m to assist with the suturing.”

  Of course Miriam would remind this one to come bug me; she always paired me up with the lazy ones. This Megan girl had no desire to be in emergency medicine, letting it be known to all who would listen she’ll be happy once this rotation was over with. I sighed; after all, it was part of my job to mentor the new interns no matter how long we had them.

  “Okay,” I said, resigning to having no other choice but to turn my cop over to the new girl.

  My cop.

  Some sort of possessiveness was taking over. I really didn’t want anyone else touching him, especially this single, fresh-faced, barely-out-of-med-school twit. Part of me wanted to grab her lab coat and shove her out of the room, knowing that her lack of basic skills would end up leaving a scar on him, but I couldn’t. We were a teaching hospital. “Well, I was just going to irrigate the wound but I suppose you can do that.”

  Adam seemed to be irritated again.

  “Detective Trent, I need you to come over to the sink here. Can you… here, let me help.” I held his wounded hand steady while he easily folded his incredible body off the bed, getting to him before Megan did. “I… I mean we need to irrigate the wound, clean out any debris.”

  I tried to concentrate on his injury but his incredible eyes drew me in again, gazing down at me with some unspoken emotion that was so raw it took away my ability to breathe. Damn, he was built. Long legs, too. Had to be over six feet tall given that he passed my five-foot-six height by another head.

  “Sorry about all of that bullshit,” he said privately, glancing down at my lips for a second, or maybe it was ten. I’d lost count. “And the thing… earlier.”

  I was distracted by his tone, leading me to believe that he was being completely sincere and genuinely seeking my forgiveness. “It’s okay. But, thank you.ˮ

  He frowned, dipping his head even lower. “No, it’s not. It was uncalled for.”

  I shrugged. “My first priority is you. The rest I can deal with.”

  He seemed to be taken aback by that, but I didn’t care. It was the truth.

  I really wanted to ask him about the cameraman and the guy with the headphones, but not while someone else was in the room with us. Everything about it seemed to be a source of agitation for him though. The nurses would surely berate me later for not getting the dirty details, but they’d just have to get over it. He’d already been through enough shit for one night from what I could tell and I certainly wasn’t going to add to it.

  I decided to go a different route while cleaning his wound. Even his long fingers were deliciously seductive. “So, Detective, did you get him?”

  “Who?” he asked.

  I nodded my chin, feeling a bit braver. “The guy that did this to you. I presume he was a bad guy?”

  Adam laughed lightly. It was the sexiest sound I’d ever heard—deep and alluring. “He was just a kid
but yeah, I got him. Had to chase him a few blocks, too. Ran like hell. I hate the rabbits.”

  I blotted off his hand and wrapped him up in a towel. “Rabbits?”

  He chuckled again, taking a few steps backwards to the bed. “That’s what we call car thieves who ditch and run.” He sat back down, curling one knee up on the bed to sit sideways. “The car was still rolling when the kid jumped out of it. You know? Like a jack rabbit? It’s just a nickname.”

  “Interesting.” I scooted my little rolling stool closer to his bedside and gently poked at his gash to see if he was numb. “Do you feel that?”

  “Nope. Go for it.”

  “Would you like to lie down?”

  His eyes narrowed a bit. “You want me to?”

  His words rolled through me like an electric wave, causing me to stutter. “If you want to. I mean, I want you to be comfortable and relaxed. It would be best if you didn’t move so…”

  I saw the hint of a smirk curl his lip as he pulled his legs up on the bed and crossed his large black boots at the ankles.

  As soon as he was settled, I resumed my examination, bothered by more than the fact he’d been injured on the job. “Well, the good news is that it’s superficial enough that you won’t need to see an orthopedic surgeon.”

  Adam’s brow rose. “Is there bad news?”

  I smiled a bit. “Yeah. You’re going to have stitches in your hand.”

  Megan was standing there with a drape, waiting for me to move out of her way. I stood, allowing her to take my place.

  “Hold up,” Adam said, pulling his hand back. “I thought you were going to do this.”

  I felt bad. I hoped he could sense I didn’t have much of a choice here. “Megan is one of our interns. I’ll be supervising.”

  “Supervising? Yeah, no… not today.” He rolled his incensed gaze to Megan. “No offense, sweetheart, but the only person putting stitches in me tonight is her.” He nodded his head my way. “I’d appreciate it if you could go find something else to do. Erin, Doctor Novak is all I need.”

  Megan’s face fell. “But—”

  She didn’t get another word out. He unleashed his intimidating cop glare, silently daring her to question the authority wafting off him. He glanced at the doorway, indicating for her to get going. Like now.

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