Read Doctor Knows Best Online

Authors: Ann Jennings

Tags: #nurse on neuro;county general;medical series;doctor nurse romance;younger woman;age difference;white coat romance

Doctor Knows Best

The course of love can be as bumpy as a ride in a careening ambulance.

Just Megan Jones's luck, the one time she enters the Casualty department as a patient and not a nurse, no one she knows is on duty to speed her through the examination and treatment of her sore wrist.

Worse, the only pair of eyes available to treat her belong to the arrogant, high-handed new physician consultant, Giles Elliott. It's bad enough his brusque manner rubs her the wrong way. Now he says he wants to reorganize her already efficient system in the department.

Just who does Giles think he is? Besides towering, dark and handsome, that is. Oh, and a man who one moment is vexing her to no end, the next making her shiver in her uniform with his devastating smile.

The more she learns about the reason he left his university position to return to patient care, the more she softens toward him. Now if only he'd stop treating her like a first-year long enough to notice she's a mature woman with a mind—and heart—of her own.

This Retro Romance reprint was originally published in 1985 by Mills & Boon.

Doctor Knows Best

Ann Jennings

Chapter One

Megan Jones wriggled uncomfortably on the stool in the cubicle of the casualty department. She had been waiting for simply ages, first to have her wrist X-rayed and now for someone to come and decide on the treatment. The delay was even more annoying as she knew perfectly well what to do herself because she was Sister of the very same casualty department during the day herself. Just my luck, she thought moodily. When I have an accident there is nobody I know on duty!

The SEN was someone she had never seen before and could only assume had been sent down from the “bank” reserve of nurses. The Senior House Officer for the night was a locum and her friend Sister Moore was off on a tea-break.

Restlessly she got up and, picking up her X-rays, clipped them on to the wall-mounted X-ray screen and switched on the light. She could see her wrist looked perfectly normal, so the pain must mean it was just a sprain. If someone doesn't come in a moment, she vowed, I'll put a support bandage on myself!

“There is no point in looking at something you don't understand, young woman. Sit down.” The words were uttered in a deep masculine voice tinged with more than a hint of annoyance. At the same time she was firmly and unceremoniously plonked back on the stool by a tall, dark-haired man.

“I…er,” began Megan, startled into breathlessness by the suddenness of his entry into the cubicle.

“Be quiet,” commanded the stranger. “I am a doctor. Just answer my questions. I want to find out whether or not you have done yourself any other damage.”

Another locum I suppose, thought Megan, beginning to feel angry at his high-handed treatment of her—and an arrogant one to boot!

“I am perfectly all right,” she said stiffly. “There is no need to concern yourself.”

“What are you wasting everyone's valuable time for then?” he demanded. “Presumably you thought there was something wrong, otherwise you wouldn't have come in!”

She glanced up at the man towering over her, not used to men so tall. She was small herself and found she had to look up to the doctors, but none of them was as tall as this man. He must be six foot two if he's an inch, she thought, and if he wasn't so angry and bad tempered he could be rather nice looking. At that particular moment, however, his strongly marked brows were drawn together in a frown and his piercing blue eyes looked at her severely. His firmly sculptured mouth was also set in a resolutely disapproving line as he surveyed her.

Megan tilted her head defiantly and pushed back her cloud of dark, unruly hair with her left hand. The movement caused her to wince with pain, a fact which he immediately noticed.

“Apart from your wrist,” he asked, “have you got pain anywhere else? I gather you sustained this injury while you were dancing.”

“Yes, I was in the…” she was going to tell him that she had been rehearsing for the Christmas revue and that she was a day sister in the casualty department, but she didn't get the opportunity.

He interrupted her brusquely. “I haven't got time for long explanations now, just answer my questions. Have you got pain anywhere else?”

Megan shook her head mutely. There was something completely overwhelming, about him, some force that demanded obedience, and Megan, much against her will, found herself responding to it. Wryly she reflected that he might have been the head of the department from the way he was behaving, and not just the locum which he must be.

“Hmmm,” he mused, looking at her carefully. “What about your arms and legs? Everything mobile?”

Silently Megan wiggled one foot after the other. “I think I just need my wrist supported,” she said eventually.

“I'm the best judge of that,” he replied, raising his eyebrows at her. For a brief moment something like a smile flickered in his eyes. “Doctor knows best, remember that!”

It was with difficulty that Megan contained herself. Pride forbade her to tell him she was a trained nurse, for it would look too much like boasting. So she remained silent but inwardly seething as she held out her left hand towards him for inspection. “Ouch!” The protest came out involuntarily, against her will, as he gently flexed her wrist.

“Humph,” he snorted, “Just as I thought. You can't go rolling about on the floor without doing some damage to yourself.”

“I was
not
rolling about on the floor,” interrupted Megan indignantly.

“What exactly would you call it then?” he enquired, his strong fingers gently examining her left wrist. “I thought the whole object of dancing was to stay on your feet!”

“I…well, I,” Megan hesitated, then laughed. “I suppose it is difficult to describe it any other way.” Then she glanced up at the X-ray. “I haven't broken anything, have I?” she asked.

“How do you know?” he countered.

“I can see from the X-ray,” said Megan, beginning to feel indignant again. “All I need is a support bandage.”

“I disagree—you need more than just a support bandage. You need a cold compress to check the effusion.”

Megan opened her mouth to protest, then closed it again. She might as well acquiesce, it was obviously going to be easier that way in the long run.

So she sat as patiently as possible while he went to organise the cold compress. The SEN could easily have put it on for her, but he had sent her away and obviously Sister Juliet Moore had not come back, or if she had, she was busy elsewhere. Megan thought of all her friends who by now would be tucking into a Chinese meal at the local restaurant. If it wasn't for this high-handed locum, she reflected, she would have been on the way there herself. The more she thought about it the hungrier she became!

He came back with a tray and an ice-cold compress. As he deftly bandaged her wrist Megan furtively studied him. She judged him to be about thirty-five or six and his crisp dark hair had just the faintest sprinkling of silver at the temples. His strong features were attractive in a dominant sort of way, and he wore his expensively tailored suit beneath his white coat with a casual self-confidence.

Yes, she thought, watching him carefully; quite an attractive man altogether. She gave a mental smile at the thought of his female patients. Most women tended to go weak at the knees over their doctors anyway, and she could just imagine the effect
he
would have on them. It was strange though, he didn't seem the type to be a locum—he looked more like a Harley Street consultant! Still, it just shows, she thought—appearances can be very deceptive.

When he had put on the compression bandage to his satisfaction he stood up. Megan stood up too and slipped her arms into the sleeves of her coat which he held out for her.

“Thank you,” she murmured, turning to face him, raising her eyes to his as she started to button her coat.

For a split second his hands lingered on her shoulders, then suddenly his piercing blue eyes sparkled with a thousand blue lights and a smile spread across his face, revealing attractive, even white teeth.

Unaccountably Megan's heart did a quick flip. The sudden magnetism of his smile unnerved her. Hey girl, she said to herself, don't be ridiculous. This man is only a locum, here today and gone tomorrow. Also he probably has an elegant wife to go with that elegant suit he's wearing, plus four or five children tucked away at some expensive boarding school. In spite of the fact that he was only a locum she instinctively felt that his background was expensive and elegant.

“Thank you for your attention,” she heard herself saying stiffly, feeling suddenly shy. At the same time she was telling herself not to be so stupid. It was ridiculous to feel suddenly so ill at ease when all the time he had been glowering at her and being rude she hadn't worried in the slightest. Now, after one brief smile, she felt flustered, like a jittery schoolgirl.

“Do you have far to go?” he asked, his deep voice echoing the smile in his eyes.

“No,” said Megan quickly, “I live very near. She didn't tell him how near. Just across the road in fact, in the nurses' block!

“Well, goodnight then,” he said, swishing back the curtains of the cubicle and ushering Megan out. “Next time you go dancing be more careful.”

Again she was tempted to tell him what she had really been doing, but he had turned away and walked across to the desk at the side of Casualty. He picked up some notes and Megan could see from his absorbed expression that he had already forgotten about her.

Slowly she turned and walked out of Casualty. It wasn't too late, so she would go and join the others and have something to eat. She knew her friend Susan North would be most upset if she didn't. As she walked down the road towards the restaurant she thought about the mysterious doctor in Casualty. A brief meeting and one flashing smile had left her with a strange, nagging ache. How can someone you've only met for half an hour have an effect on you? she thought crossly. Pull yourself together, you're behaving like a lovesick girl out of a romantic novel!

When she arrived at the restaurant Susan came bustling over and her chattering jerked Megan back to reality with a bump. Susan North had been Megan's friend since they had trained together and she worked with Megan at the County General on the orthopaedic ward. A lively girl, full of fun, it was always good to be with Susan because she enjoyed life to the full.

Susan and the other girls were half-way through their meal and, while she waited for her own to arrive, Megan related the events of the evening to them.

Susan's eyes were as round as saucers as Megan regaled them with the tale of the overbearing but attractive locum in Casualty.

“Do you mean to tell me you went through all that and never even told him that you were a Sister in Casualty?” she demanded. “Honestly, Megan, you are the absolute limit!”

Megan laughed. “He didn't give me the opportunity. He wasn't at all friendly—quite the reverse in fact, and I could hardly get a word in edgeways.”

“I should have made an opportunity,” retorted Susan, adroitly picking up bamboo shoots and eating them with her chopsticks.

“You weren't there, otherwise you would know what I mean,” said Megan. “Anyway, I'm not going to waste time talking about him because I can see my food arriving, and I'm starving!”

The rest of the evening was spent in catching up with all the hospital gossip and it was quite late before the party of girls walked back together to the nurses' block.

The next day the weather was awful and the morning cold and miserable. A penetrating drizzle poured from the skies, making even Megan's umbrella virtually useless. For some reason her spirits felt as low as the depression that was causing the melancholy weather as she made her way to the casualty department to begin the day's work.

Before she had even taken off her cloak Megan knew it was going to be one of those days. Every cubicle in Casualty was occupied and the waiting area was packed to overflowing with an assortment of people, none of whom looked seriously ill. They ought to be sitting in their GP's surgeries, not here in Casualty thought Megan irritably, as she heard the cardiac arrest team being summoned to meet an incoming ambulance.

The morning was chaotic and all the administrative things she had planned to do in the office had to go by the board. Her time was spent helping to get the many and varied patients sorted out, tactfully helping the two senior house officers, who were both new. So it was with some exasperation that she went in answer to a peremptory summons from the Nursing Officer in charge of the accident and emergency services. Tapping briefly on the door Megan entered briskly. “Mrs. Smithson, I hope this won't take long. Casualty is in absolute chaos this morning and I…”

“Why, have you been dancing again, Sister?” enquired a sarcastic sounding male voice. The voice had a distinctly familiar ring to it.

Megan spun round to face the tall stranger of her brief encounter the night before. Instinctively she touched her still-bandaged wrist.

“How is the wrist, Sister?” he enquired.

“Much better,” she faltered. “But who are…?”

“Sister, you surely haven't forgotten that our new Casualty Consultant, Mr. Giles Elliott, is starting today? I sent you a memorandum at least two weeks ago, and in it I asked you to be here at one o'clock today in order to meet him.” The Nursing Officer, Mrs. Smithson, sounded aggrieved.

“Oh,” Megan gasped, her hand flying guiltily to her mouth. “I had completely forgotten.”

Mrs. Smithson tutted with annoyance and out of the corner of her eye she saw Giles Elliott give an amused smile. Megan felt her cheeks flaming. He must think I'm an incompetent fool, she thought crossly. “Casualty has been extremely busy this morning,” she began.

“No need to apologise, Sister, I do understand,” cut in Giles Elliott smoothly. “Although I would appreciate it if you could spare me five minutes of your precious time to show me around.” His voice had a sarcastic ring to it which annoyed Megan intensely.

“I can spare you as long as you like, sir,” she replied icily.

“What about all those patients needing your tender loving care? Surely they will suffer if I take up too much of your time?”

Angrily Megan glowered at him. It seemed she could do nothing right as far as he was concerned. Although sorely tempted to snap back, she resisted the urge and maintained a discreet silence. The only outward sign of her seething emotion was her rigidly straight back as she walked quickly down the corridor, the tall figure of Giles Elliott beside her.

“I understand your name is Sister Jones,” he said as they walked down the long polished corridor.

“Yes,” replied Megan briefly. “Most people just call me Sister.”

“What is your first name?” he persisted.

Megan glanced at him uneasily. His face wore an enigmatic expression. Was it polite chit-chat, or was he really trying to be friendly, he wondered? There was no way of telling, either from his expressionless handsome face or the silky tone of his voice.

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