Authors: Marie Higgins
Copyright © 2013 by Marie Higgins
Cover Design by Sheri McGathy
The characters and events portrayed in these books are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Edition License Notes
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I want to dedicate this story to my husband, Scott, because for some strange reason, he calls me his
and I think it’s very romantic! Gotta love it, right?
I want to acknowledge my good friend, Veronica Mesia, for her wonderful talent of finding the errors in my stories. You are awesome, woman.
Unwilling to let another man control her life, Dr. Jordan Reed hires Brock Hamill to portray her new love interest to satisfy her nagging stepmother. Part of the bargain is that the new man convinces her ex-boyfriend that Jordan has happily moved on. Unfortunately, it’s hard to prove when Brock blames Jordan for his sister’s suicide and embarks on a mission to destroy her psychiatric credibility. Acting the part of a patient, his mission is deterred by the doctor’s sweetness and giving heart, and when he discovers her life is in jeopardy, he’s willing to reveal his true identity to save her.
Will Jordan forgive his deceit when she learns the truth?
Doctor Jordan Reed squinted, adjusting her eyes to the dimly lit bar. The Standard Examiner lay opened in front of her as she scanned the advertisement.
Woman seeking man for business partner. Must be charming and witty. Must be between thirty and forty-five and have acting ability. Call 1-303-777-0001 to arrange interview.
Jordan’s heart sank and her stomach twisted in knots. “No!
Erica, what have you done?” With a groan she slumped forward, banged her forehead on the table and let it rest on the opened newspaper. “Why? Why? Why?” she muttered.
Sitting across the table, Erica patted Jordan’s hand. “Don’t be mad at me. It’ll work out. I promise.”
“This ad makes me look desperate.” Jordan shook her head. Her forehead crinkled against the paper. “Then again, maybe I am. I should be the patient instead of the psychiatrist.”
Erica laughed. “Will you stop worrying? I told you, everything will be just fine.”
Jordan raised her head just enough to look at her friend. Yeah right. “How many people do you think are going to read this ad? How many people will actually take it seriously? I mean, what kind of woman seeks a man’s help by taking out an ad in the newspaper, especially in my profession? That’s what people are going to think...and don’t say they won’t.”
Erica shrugged her thin shoulders. “You’ve been hurt. People will understand…at least the
right people will. And I don’t think you need help. All you need is—” She bit her bottom lip and drew her brows together.
Jordan straightened and looked at her friend. “What do I need?”
The corner of Erica’s mouth lifted into a smirk. “It’s like I told you before, all you need is a social life. You need to start meeting men. That will cure all your problems.”
“Good grief.” Jordan rolled her eyes and thumped her head back on the table. Pain exploded like a cannon in her skull. She yelped and grabbed her head.
Erica touched Jordan’s hand. “Are you all right?”
“I will be after my head stops pounding.”
Erica chuckled and scooted across her seat. “I’m going to get our drinks. What do you want?”
“Nothing. I need a clear head to finish the work day, especially now that I’ve seen the havoc you’ve caused.”
“Okay, no alcohol. How about soda and water?”
Jordan worked her hands between her head and the newspaper and massaged her aching skull. How could it have come to this? Sure, Erica was only thinking about Jordan, but to actually put an ad in the newspaper? Still, desperate times called for desperate measures. Didn’t they? She’d been without a man since Kenneth left. Kenneth, the man she thought she’d spend the rest of her life with. The man who shattered her heart and left it in crumbled pieces around her feet when he married her wealthy stepmother. They were coming for Christmas, and Jordan didn’t know how to tell her stepmother to leave her dopey husband at home. Jordan didn’t want to see Kenneth at all, and worse than that, she definitely didn’t want him to see her without a man.
As much as she wanted to yell and cuss at her secretary for placing the ad, Jordan had to admit hiring someone to portray her boyfriend wasn’t such a bad idea. Especially since she was running out of time—and options.
Erica was correct in thinking Jordan needed a social life. She did. Unfortunately, she didn’t have time. Or to be more precise, she didn’t
Humiliation spread through her at the thought of Kenneth discovering how much he’d hurt her two years ago. Especially after he laughed in her face and told her she’d never have another relationship. Then again, he always thought he was God’s gift to women. Oh how she wished her stepmother hadn’t gone against Jordan’s advice and married the jerk anyway. Not that she blamed her stepmother. Kenneth had been so conniving and convincing. It made Jordan ill just to think of it.
A warm hand touched her shoulder, before the intoxicating scent of male spice lured her from her thoughts. “Excuse me, Miss. Are you all right?”
Why did everyone ask her that? Did she look and act like she had something wrong with her?
She huffed, ready to get rid of the stranger any way she could, and raised her head. She sat up, turned toward the intruder, and opened her mouth to speak. The words faded…like her brain. It even took a minute to remember to breathe.
He was absolutely gorgeous!
His freshly-shaven, square jaw emphasized his slightly pointed nose and highlighted a beautiful smile. So dreamy! Even in the smoke-filled shadows of the bar, Charlie’s Passion, his dark hair grabbed her attention—cut short and slicked back, just the way she liked.
His eyes hypnotized her. Because of the shadows, she couldn’t detect a color, but it was as if his wide, radiant eyes saw right through her. For a moment, she caught a glimpse of a wild wolf lurking in their depths.
She shivered and blinked a few times to see if the image disappeared. Was she dreaming, or was there really a man so incredibly good-looking in this bar?
“Miss? You all right?” he spoke again.
His voice mentally shook her from her stupor. She nodded. “I was just...hmm, well...” She glanced down at the wrinkled paper. “I was reading the paper.”
His smile widened, and he slid into the seat beside her. His eyes drifted to her head. “You were reading with your forehead?”
She chuckled and rubbed the still smarting tender spot. He brushed her fingers away. Heat from his skin pierced through her like a lightning bolt.
“There’s something on your forehead.” When he leaned closer, his rock-hard chest bumped her shoulder. Warmth spread through every limb right down to her toes. His raspberry colored tongue peeked over his lip, just as he slid his thumb across it. When he lifted his hand to rub off the mark, she couldn't take her eyes off his face. The liquid heat on his thumb burned her skin like molten lava, making her insides tremble.
“The paper left its mark on you.”
She swallowed hard. Not just the paper left its mark,
so had he.
He brought his hand down, brushed it against her cheek, and rested his elbow on the table. His upper body blocked her from any exit she might have planned. Although what woman in their right mind would want to leave with a hunk sitting so close? As strange as it seemed, this man roused something deep inside her, something she didn’t know existed.
Something was definitely wrong with her.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
Her mind went blank. What was her name? “Uh…Jordan.” She cleared her throat. “Doctor Jordan Reed.”
His dark brows lifted. “A doctor, eh? Well, it’s nice to meet you, Doc. I’m Rocky.”
Oh baby…yes you are!
She almost moaned aloud. He looked like a Rock, definitely built like a mountain. “Nice to meet you.”
“Are you here alone?”
“No, my friend went to get us some drinks.” She motioned her head in the other direction, but heaven help her, she couldn’t move her gaze. Focusing on anything but his eyes was not an option. He was just too good looking.
“Do you come here often?”
“No. I don’t usually come to these establishments, but my friend dragged me here during our lunch.”
“That’s too bad. I was hoping to see you again.”
As much as she wanted to see him again, she knew it just couldn’t happen. Gorgeous men like him trampled women’s hearts. No way did she want to be the next woman he broke.
He shrugged and moved out of the booth. “Hopefully, we’ll run into each other another time, then.”
“You’ll never know.” She hoped to let him down as easy as possible. Then why did her heart sink? So he licked the ink off her forehead. Big deal. That didn’t mean they had a relationship.
Taking a deep breath, she sat back in the seat. Erica was indeed correct to think Jordan needed a social life. Good grief, she couldn’t even carry on a conversation with a hunky man without getting tongue-tied.
How pathetic did that make her—and at her age?
* * * *
Brock Hamill walked toward the bar. He balled his hands into fists at his side. That was her! He’d actually met the woman who killed his sister.
Through the heavy scent of smoke mixed with alcohol, he still detected the intoxicating aroma of roses that seemed to hover around her. Was he crazy? Why did he have the urge to bury his face in her neck and breathe in her sweet fragrance?
He stopped at the bar and leaned against it. Glancing at Todd, he nodded, silently expressing his normal order.
“Hey, Rocky. You on the clock, man?”
“No. You have the floor now,” he grumbled.
Within minutes, a chilled bottle of water bumped against his hand. For two years now, he’d vowed not to drink alcohol. That crap made him say—and do things—that were not right. He needed a level head in his kind of business, anyway.
He unscrewed the top and took a long swallow. Closing his eyes, he tilted his head back, trying not to think of his sister.
Eighteen months ago, Emily had started seeing Doctor Jordan Reed. Four months later, she overdosed. Nineteen was such a young age to die.
He looked back toward the booth he’d just left. The attractive doctor laughed at something her friend said. Didn’t that woman feel an ounce of remorse? His sister could have lived a happy life, too, but it had been taken from her.
It wasn’t fair the psychiatrist continued practicing, luring other clients, only to give them false hopes. Dr. Reed didn’t care about them. She didn’t care about anything but the money she charged her patients.
He gulped down another long swallow. There had to be some way to get her license revoked. There had to be some way he could ensure other clients, like Emily, didn’t end up with the same fate.
Dr. Reed and her friend moved out of the booth and stood. The doctor glanced his way, before walking out the door. It surprised him how pretty she was, even though she’d pulled her hair back into a tight knot. But appearances didn’t matter...
He snapped his shoulders back and straightened as an idea rooted itself in his mind. On second thought, appearances just might be the key to helping him obtain his goal, and with time, he’d have the
good doctor’s license.