Home > Hot Stuff(2)

Hot Stuff(2)
Author: Max Monroe

“Well, let’s get on with the exam, then,” I say quickly. “Then you can get back to your day.” And I can go back to being a normal human person.

“What if I told you I’m going to go have six pounds of artery-clogging bacon when you’re done?” A little smirk forms at the corners of his mouth. “Would you still want to let me get back to my day?”

“Bacon is delicious,” I counter, even though I desperately want to tell him that no human should ever consume six pounds of any food in one sitting. I feel like he’s trying to peg me as the health-toting, rule-following doctor, and I don’t want to be peggable. I am a mystery, dammit.

“I think your eye is twitching,” he remarks, still needling me.

“No, it’s not.”

“Sure, it is. It makes the blue seem kind of like it’s flickering.”

“Stop,” I say with a laugh. “Have the bacon. See if I care.”

“Now you’re just going against your oath as a doctor.”

“Because I told you you can have bacon?” I toss back. He chuckles.

“Okay, okay.” He raises two hands in the air. “I’ll stick to one piece of bacon. Just a little taste.”

“If your numbers are good, what you do in your personal life is your choice.”

“And if my numbers are bad?”

I don’t want to smile, but I do. Dammit, I do. “Well, then I guess I’ll have to call you and tell you to lay off the bacon.”

“Why am I suddenly hoping my numbers are bad?” he questions, and a weird, fluttering sensation takes hold of my belly.

Holy hell, is he flirting with me?

If he is, you probably shouldn’t be enjoying it this much.

I shake my head and try to divert whatever is happening right now. “Don’t be silly. You and I both know a career in firefighting is kind of dependent on your health. Unless you’re hoping for a career change, I’m guessing you don’t really want bad numbers.”

“I guess you’re right. Maybe I’m just hoping you’ll call me.”

“Mr. Alexander.” Instantly, my eyes go wide. But also, that fluttering sensation moves up my belly and into my chest.

“Shit. I’m sorry. You’re right. I…” He shakes his head, almost as if he doesn’t even know what’s come over him. Almost as though this is the first time he’s met this raucous side of his personality. “I’m sorry. That was over the line. I swear, I’m not usually like this.”

Truthfully, it’s hard to believe that he’s not always like this—given the fact that he’s so good at it—but the self-deprecating shock on his face seems entirely genuine.

“It’s fine,” I assure him. “Now, let’s get the exam over with so you can get on your way.”

He nods, his face suddenly serious in a way I should appreciate.

I mean, I don’t want to be hit on in the middle of a medical exam, even if it’s flirtatious and innocent and coming from a total babe of a man. I’m a professional lady with a serious job that I spent 7,000 years of school preparing for. I am more than my looks. I am woman; hear me roar.

So why do I feel kind of disappointed?

It doesn’t make any sense, but I have a schedule backed all the way up to closing time. I don’t have time to have an existential crisis about the merits of my loneliness in the middle of my workday.

Save it for home, Lauren. At least at home there’s wine to pair with it. In fact, years of experience have turned me into a well-oiled self-service sommelier.

Seasonal depression? White wine spritzer.

Hard day at work? Cabernet.

Heartache? A full bottle of anything with a full body.

This—twisted-awkward-flirty-discomfort-uncertainty? Pink champagne with a curly straw.

It’s a weird take on science, but it’s science, nonetheless.

“All right, Mr. Alexander,” I say after clearing my throat, a marked move we both recognize as a last-ditch attempt to create some distance. Frankly, it’s more for me than him at this point. “I’m going to step out for a second so you can put on this gown, and then I’ll be back in to do your exam.” Normally, the nurses in the practice would have already done this, but today’s staff proved short for demand. I’m basically the lone ranger of vitals, assessment, charting, and ball checks of patient care today.

I turn for the door and twist the lever handle halfway toward the floor. A crack of slightly different light peeks in from the hallway when Garrett calls my name.

“Dr. Lauren.”

I stop and glance over my shoulder, and the apology in his eyes—well, it’s way too much. He looks hideously contrite. Chastised. Upset. It makes it look like he thinks he’s scandalized me. And frankly, the real scariness is that I don’t feel scandalized at all.

I can’t even let him say whatever it is he’s going to. Way to single-handedly sink this fun-loving appointment into the shitter, Lauren.

“It’s okay,” I emphasize instead. “It’s all innocent. I can tell. You have nothing to feel badly about, honestly. Just take off your clothes, and we’ll get this show on the road.” The corner of his mouth hitches up, and I close my eyes with a laugh. “You know what I mean.”

His good-natured, sexy laughter vibrates in my chest as I step outside the room, shut the door, and lean up against the wall beside it. I sure wish humans had a reset button. They’re tiny and annoyingly inconvenient most of the time since I always have to riffle through my junk drawer to procure an item small enough to get it in the stupid little reset-button-hole, but in this case, I’d welcome the frustration.

Just a ten- or fifteen-second reboot that takes me back to factory settings—to the woman who doesn’t pop herself in the forehead with gloves and daydream about patient penises and make things way more awkward than they need to be.

Man, I’ve been out of the adult-patient-care game too long.

Girl, same goes for the sex game. That dry spell of yours is going three years strong with no end in sight…

I ignore my snarky subconscious and glance down at my watch. A full two minutes have passed, and he is almost definitely undressed by now.

The only thing stopping me from going in there is how uncharacteristically excited I am at the prospect.

Okay, okay. Be cool. Be. Cool. It’s just another day at the office, and Garrett is just another set of anatomy.

Yeah, that’s it.

It’s testes time, and I’m about to tell my mental DJ to pick up the beat.

Boom, ba-dum, boom, chh-chh. Boom, ba-dum, boom, chh-chh. Back in the hood, way out east, I did rotations with a sick urology beast. Penises, testes, urethras, and bladders, I took them to church like a medical baddy—

Suddenly, the door to Garrett’s room cracks open, and he peeks his head out, damn near startling me into another dimension.

Noticing my hysterical jump and defensive pose, he quiets his voice to a whisper. “Sorry to, um, startle you. I just… I’m ready.”

“Of course. Yeah.” I nod feverishly, follow him into the room, and take a few discreet, calming breaths to slow down the rate at which my heart is sprinting inside my chest. Honestly, for a woman who did gymnastics in her childhood, you’d think my cardiovascular system would be able to tolerate adrenaline a little better than this. A minor startle from a hot fireman and I’m panting like a dog in heat.

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