“I’m impressed.” My professor actually said those words. They came out of his mouth, and I could have sworn he was smiling; I mean, his teeth were clenched, but the point? He said the word “impressed.”
“Thank you.” I grinned, feeling lighter than I had in weeks. “It’s been really interesting.” Images of Thatch on his knees in front of me, his hands clasped around my hips as he pressed hot kiss after hot kiss against my skin, flooded my head until a burning heat erupted like goose bumps all over my body.
“Has it, now?” He eyed me up and down. Yeah, I didn’t like that look. I quickly put all images of Thatch on lockdown. The last thing I needed was for my professor to think I was hitting on him. “I have an idea of what you could do to make it better.”
My eyes narrowed. If he said sleep with him, I would take an F and then punch him in the face.
Hands shaking with nerves, I put them behind my back and took a deep breath. “Okay, what’s your suggestion?”
“I’m sorry?” A roaring sound exploded in my ears. “Get one, what?”
“A breast augmentation.” He shrugged. “Imagine how many followers you would get if you blogged about it. Besides . . .” He stared at my chest longer than necessary before looking back at me. “It couldn’t hurt.”
It. Couldn’t. Hurt.
I waited for him to say something more, rather than start organizing his papers on his desk as if expecting me to say, Awesome, I’ll get right on that.
It couldn’t hurt.
Well, something was going to hurt.
The feel of my sharp heel in his ass!
“Great suggestion.” I tried to keep the venom out of my voice. “Although extremely sexual in nature, to the point where I’m pretty sure I could file a lawsuit against you and win—I’m going to have to reject that solid idea on the basis that I’m not a fan of going under the knife, and I’m happy the way I am.”
The minute the words came out of my mouth.
I realized how true they were.
I was happy.
Actually happy with my body.
I smiled brightly.
My boyfriend was a plastic surgeon, he worshipped my body, he didn’t tell me I had gained weight, and he encouraged me to have dessert.
He was perfect.
I’d dated guys like my professor all my life.
He and Braden would be great friends, wouldn’t they?
“It was just a suggestion,” he said in a clipped voice before meeting my eyes again. “You can go now.”
I bet if I had sex with him, I’d get an A.
I nodded my head and made my way out the door just in time to see Satan in all his glory waiting by my car.
“Why am I not surprised to see you?” I was ten seconds away from slamming my books against Braden’s face. “You’re like a really, really, really, really—”
“Really,” I added for effect. “Bad cold. Like the ones that kill a person dead.”
“You done yet?”
“Whatever.” Braden shrugged. “Your dad told me where I could find you, and we still haven’t talked about the fund-raiser.”
“It will look good for your father to have my family on his side. We have money, and money talks. All I’m saying is if you care about your father, you’ll do it.”
“Are you threatening me?” Who was this guy?
“No.” He shrugged. “I just think that with everything going on, it would probably be best to show a united front.”
“‘Everything going on,’ meaning the fund-raiser?”
He smirked; it was a cold look, one that chilled me to the bone. “Funny, and I thought you knew.”
“Ask your boyfriend.”
“How did you know I had a boyfriend?”
“Your father, how else?”
“You’re not really making sense.”
“I wasn’t really trying to. We’re going together, and that’s final.”
“Hmm, let me see. When hell freezes over, and even then, I think I’d rather freeze right along with it.”
Braden towered over me. “You always were difficult.”
“And you always were threatening.”
“You’d think if you had a plastic surgeon as a boyfriend, he’d at least do you for free.”
Okay, that was too many insults in one day.
I swung my arm back and punched him in the nose so hard I heard a crack.
Only it wasn’t his nose.
It was my hand.
“Austin!” Thatch ran into the ER, pulling back the curtain with one giant swoop. He kissed me on the mouth before I could get a word out, then lightly held my hand. “There’s a lot of swelling, I can’t tell if it’s broken.”
“You should see the other guy,” I joked.
He swore as the ER doc walked in and shook his hand. “You must be Dr. Holloway, heard a lot about you.” He grinned widely. “Looks like it’s just a bad sprain with a pretty nasty-looking cut.”
“Cut?” Thatch looked back at me. “How did you get cut?”
“I think the force behind the hit sent me to the ground, my other hand landed on a sharp rock, and it lodged itself in my skin.” My lips trembled. All in all it had been a pretty traumatizing day.
Both hands hurt like the fires of hell; the knuckles on my right were all bloody and turning blue. And my left palm felt like I’d grabbed a sharp rock and had been forced to squeeze.
“Poor baby,” Thatch said gently. “You’re the only person I know who would actually punch someone in the face and walk away with more injuries.”
“I’ll treat her,” Thatch said without looking away from me. His eyes laced with concern. “Can you release her?”
“Already done.” The doc handed Thatch my papers. “I figured you’d want to do the sutures anyways, no scarring.”
Thatch thanked him and then shook his head at me. “You ready for me to sew you up?”
“It sounds sexier on Grey’s Anatomy.”
He barked out a laugh. “Just call me Dr. McSteamy.”
I shivered. He was way better looking, if that was even possible.
I was just finishing up with my last patient when I got the call from Austin. I started running the minute she said “hospital.” My heart had nearly stopped.
The fact that she was actually conscious and talking to me told me that she was alive, but that fear, that sinking feeling of loss, still clung to me with every step into the ER.
I felt sick to my stomach.
I couldn’t lose her.
Just the thought of not having her—of her even being injured—hell, it was a glorified paper cut, and I was ready to scrub in and save her life.
“Sit still,” I scolded. “Or you’re going to have zigzags on the side of your hand.”
“Sorry,” Austin hissed as I tugged the needle a bit harder, threading the sutures together. “It just feels funny.”
“Don’t puke,” I said without looking up at her. “It’s never the pain that gets people, it’s the tug they feel when their skin’s getting pulled and pinched together.”
Austin sucked in a breath and whispered, “Yeah, I’m going to need you to stop talking.”
I smirked down at my work as I made a final knot and cut the rest of the suture material. “Sorry.” Not too bad, she only needed six stitches around the base of her thumb. The cut had been deep, probably from the force of her entire body landing on the sharp rock. “Well, I think you’ll make a full recovery.”
“As long as you don’t get the hand wet,” I said in a serious-as-hell voice. “So no showering, washing your hands,
“Austin, we can’t have you getting Mountain Dew in your cut, do you know anything? You could die!”
Eyes wide, she went completely pale. “But, but, that’s how I deal with stress and—”
I burst out laughing.
She went from panicked to pissed. “You big jerk!”
“Whoa, careful there with that language.” I winked.
She smacked me with her other hand, then winced and started shaking it, then blowing on it, like that was going to help.
I grinned and examined the other hand. There would be bruising, but she’d be fine. “Remember what happened last time you picked a fight.”
“And I can have Mountain Dew? And take showers?”
I licked my lips and leaned in. “Sponge baths . . . but don’t worry, I’ll be very thorough.”
“I think . . .” She met me halfway. “That you’re full of shit.
“That’s the drugs talking. Believe me, it’s way easier if you just camp out at my place and let me take care of your . . . every . . .” I kissed her hard on the mouth. “Single . . .” Another kiss. “Need.”