Cheater's Regret (Curious Liaisons 2) - Page 3

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“Important stuff.” He winced. “Shit, I’m just going to come out and say it.”

“Thank God.”

“I told Avery about you.”

I froze, opened my mouth, then froze again. “And when you say you told her about me, I’m assuming you don’t mean you told her that I used to have a pet pony and a fish named Spike?”

“I thought your dog was Spike?”

“Spike died. You mean Muggles.”

“Ah!” Lucas snapped his fingers. “And yup, that’s it, that’s the confession, she knows things.” His nervous expression said a hell of a lot more, but I didn’t have time to question him about whatever the hell type of drug he was taking to force him to admit he told Avery I had pets when I was young.

If anything, all my past revealed to anyone was that I wasn’t a complete jackass, since I actually knew how to take care of animals when I was a small child; ergo, I was capable of taking care of actual human beings.

Not that I wanted to.

“I’m not completely comfortable with the way you just lowered your voice and then pointed at me like you were Harry Potter casting an unforgivable curse,” I mumbled to my shifty friend.

“I would never Harry Potter you,” he said in a calm voice. We both took Harry Potter very seriously.

“Thanks, man. Good talk.” I stood and yawned. I would do anything—illegal even—for more sleep, but lately, a certain woman haunted my dreams, and business had been good, not that I was complaining, but it was causing me to burn the candle at both ends. “God, why does every woman want implants that can cause severe back issues?”

“Are you seriously complaining about touching breasts all day?” Lucas gave me a completely shocked look, one that made me doubt my own sanity.

“Yeah.” I slapped my face with my free hand in order to wake myself up. “It’s boring as hell, I’d rather do a rhinoplasty.”

“A nose.” Lucas rolled his eyes. “You’d rather do a nose than breasts. Are you feeling okay?”

“Fine,” I snapped at him. I rarely snapped. “Was that it? You just felt bad for telling Avery stuff about me?”

“Yeah. That was it.” He rocked back on his heels. His shifty eyes did not make me feel good about our conversation, yet I had no choice but to ignore the tingling feeling in my gut that warned me, somehow, the universe had shifted.

The tingling continued all the way to my office.

And started again when I punched the button for the third floor and waited for the elevator to ascend.

When the lights flickered above me as the elevator came to a jarring halt, I muttered out, “This is bullshit.”

I refused to be superstitious because my best friend was having an off day and decided to include me in it. I stepped over the cracks in the slate floor as I made my way past my office and into the OR. Before I washed my hands, I kissed the hammer necklace on my neck and tucked it into my scrubs.

Everything was fine.

It was going to be completely and totally fine.

Holy shit.

It wasn’t fine.

It was far from fine.

The patient didn’t die—thank God. But the procedure that should have taken ninety minutes took three hours. It would have been helpful if she had let me know she was on blood thinners.

She could have bled out.

For breasts.

We typically never risked surgery if the patient had a history of blood clots and was on a blood thinner—but apparently, she wanted to risk her life just so she could look better in a swimsuit. I was being harsh. But by not telling me about her medical history, the patient had put her life in jeopardy.

I pulled off my scrubs, opened the door, tossed them into the laundry bin outside of my office, and shut the door again.

Something felt wrong, weird. I was still on edge after talking with Lucas and I had no idea why, though I had a suspicion of what the cause probably was.

Miserable. I was miserable. And I knew the misery was of my own making, but it didn’t make it hurt any less.

I swore and blindly reached into my office closet for my clothes.

And reached again.

And one more time, because in the last two years since leaving residency, my clothes were always in the same spot.

Always.

I turned around to actually face the closet. The wooden hanger was empty.

Completely empty.

“Son of a bitch!” I yelled. Where were my clothes? I’d changed in my office like I always did before surgery and had hung them up. I glanced around the room for something to cover up with.

And came up empty.

Whatever. I’d just put my scrubs back on.

But when I opened the office door and poked my head out, the bin was gone.

They never took the bin until the end of the day.

Shit, I was losing my mind.

Okay, Thatch, think.

Exhausted, I rubbed my face with my hands and tried to come up with an option where I didn’t have to walk down the hall completely naked.

Because I was.

Naked.

I refused to wear underwear during surgery.

It was one of my rituals.

I liked to be as comfortable as possible. I listened to rap music while I gave people nose jobs and breasts, and I free-balled.

“Shit.”

I called the receptionist. At least someone could bring me a new set of scrubs.

It went to voice mail.

When I looked down the hall again, it was empty. Like my entire office was in a cult and had been suddenly taken to the mother ship.

I quietly closed the door and prayed that I’d left my gym bag in the closet. I pulled open the door to find no gym bag. But folded neatly on the ground were a pair of spandex bicycle shorts and a yellow biking competition jersey.

They sure as hell weren’t mine, but what choice did I have?

Biting back a curse, I pulled the shorts up to my knees and winced—they were so tight around my thighs, I wouldn’t have been surprised if my dick suffered severe blood loss. Hah, wouldn’t Austin just love that! The cheater, her words not mine, could no longer get it up because he put on bicycle shorts that didn’t fit because someone stole his damn clothes!

Maybe my clothes disappeared because I was new around the office; so far, unlike the other new surgeon who joined the practice at the same time, I hadn’t undergone a hazing ritual. My reputation for doing the best breast augmentations in the city made me highly sought after, and I fielded a lot of offers before picking this practice, which promised to fast-track my partnership. It helped that I was young and, according to the other partners, “easy to market”—thus our clinic’s ad campaign featuring my face splashed all over park benches and buses in the Greater Seattle area.

“Damn it!” I shimmied into the shorts with a snap, the spandex molded against my dick like a second skin—it wasn’t a good look.

Next, I pulled the jersey over my head and grimaced at myself in the mirror. Well, at least I wasn’t naked anymore! Though on second thought, naked would probably have been better than the skintight competition gear. I was going to have a hell of a time taking this shit off.

I tugged at my long blond hair in irritation. I really needed to cut it, especially now that Austin was out of the picture. She’d been obsessed with my hair. Just another reminder of what I lost. Though can you really say you lost something when you’re the one who refused to find it? I smoothed down my hair one last time, then opened the door and poked my head out to confirm that no one was around to witness my walk of shame.

I quickly left my office and prayed that the storage closet where we kept extra scrubs would be open.

Locked.

The one across from it was locked too.

Ten minutes later.

And I’d tried every damn closet in the place.

And I was still dressed like fucking Lance Armstrong.

Parts of me were clear

ly trying to break free.

As if on cue, my dick twitched painfully.

People wore this shit? For real? And sired children?

I slammed my fist against the wall in anger. I was exhausted from surgery, still panicked that it had almost gone so wrong, and all I wanted was to finish out my day and go. I quickly snatched a nearby clipboard to cover my crotch and continued trying doors down the hall. Where the hell was everyone?

Finally the conference room door opened—I knew there would at least be someone in there who could hint at where one of the partners must have hidden my clothes—jackasses.

“SURPRISE!” The room erupted into laughter and cheers, scaring the shit out of me and forcing me to walk into the room—in my Lance Armstrong drag. Only I was twice the guy’s size, so it was like stuffing a sausage into a miniature hot dog bun.

I had to grit my teeth to keep from swearing. Making matters worse were the crotch stares I was getting from two of the nurses—both of whom had made it painfully clear on more than one occasion that they wanted a quick screw.


Tags: Rachel Van Dyken Curious Liaisons Romance
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