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First Meeting from Gravity ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestDade Morgan is a skilled carpenter, who takes old pieces of furniture, and other items, refurbishing, or upcycling them. He has the need of a blacksmith, and is a little surprised with what he finds when he arrives at the forge.

Sparks flew. The ring of hammer on anvil landed to the beat of the music blaring from the speakers. The musical choice wasn’t exactly what he was expecting, though he couldn’t have said what he thought a blacksmith would listen to. However, he found John Mayer’s Gravity surprising—made more so, because the smith was singing to it. Near the big finish, voice soaring to the high note, the hammer became the microphone. The song came to an end, and the hammer was silent long enough for him to speak.

Excuse me?”

With a screech of alarm, the smith jumped around, hammer lifted to strike him. With a gasp, the tool-cum-weapon lowered and the laughter began.

You startled me. I thought I was having my musical moment alone. Can I help you?”

Yes. Dade Morgan,” he said, holding out his hand. He gazed into the darkest brown eyes he’d ever seen.

The young woman smiled, white teeth flashing in the soot covered face. “Lumina Hudson, though I expect you know that, since you’re here.” Wiping her hand on the seat of her jeans, she took his in a firm, calloused grip.

Lovely to meet you, Miss Hudson.”

You called about a table?”

Yes. I find objects and rejuvenate, repair and up-cycle them.”

Oh, I’ve seen people like you on TV. I love those shows.”

I do that, on a much smaller scale. I have a fairly healthy You Tube presence. Small but steady audience, so far. I hope to change that, soon. For now, it’s me and my imagination.”

She flashed another grin, her dark eyes sparkling. “Imagination is largely underappreciated.” She gestured around her, showing off items in her fenced yard. “All fruits of my imagination. Some were commissioned, others done on spec.”

He looked more carefully at the sculptures, photos and wall hangings. “Beautiful. Who knew that metal could be shaped so delicately. May I?” He gestured to a sculpture on a nearby table. It looked like a tiny bonsai tree, but it was made out of some sort of metal.

Sure. You can’t break it.”

He snatched his hand back. “Oh, don’t tell me that! I’ve been known to break the unbreakable.”

Perhaps just look, then,” she teased. “I made that out of old flatware. Forks, mostly. The trunk is made from knives.”

It’s beautiful. Forks? Really?” He squatted to better view the delicate leaves. “Ficus?” he tilted his chin, raising a questioning eyebrow.

Good eye. Bodhi tree or Ficus Religiosa, to be precise. You do bonsai?”

I failed at it. One of the unbreakable objects? Yeah….. My first bonsai. And the dish. And the table it sat on.”

Oh, you’re good. Most people aren’t that thorough.”

In my defense….” He paused, dropping his head.

You were drunk?”

Yeah….” Clearing his throat, he stood abruptly. “Might have had a little—help—on the table.”

Female help?” She tilted her head, trying to catch his eye.

Yeah. Never mind.” He rubbed his nose. “For this table, I wanted wrought iron legs.”

Giggling, Lumina covered her mouth. “Back to business then, Mr. Morgan. Harder to break wrought iron.”

Exactly. Also, I found the most amazing piece of oak. It’s from the old Merriweather Hotel downtown.”

Wasn’t that a saloon, or something?”

Saloon, brothel, hotel. During Prohibition, it was a speakeasy. Upstairs, respectable hotel. In the basement, a somewhat disreputable blind pig. I got the bar.”

No kidding! Aren’t they tearing it down?”

Sadly, yes. It’s been empty for decades, but was slated to be refurbished by Yarrow Enterprises. Unfortunately, the inspection discovered that the foundation is too damaged to handle an upgraded structure. In fact, it’s too expensive, even to try.”

You’d think that Yarrow would have enough money to throw at the project,” she scoffed.

If he’s willing to abandon it, it must be bad. However, they are doing a salvage and haul sale. You can pay a couple hundred dollars for the day, and haul away whatever you can carry. I’ve done it all week, and have some amazing pieces.”

Are you done?”

For today. It will still be going on for a few more weeks. I’m running out of space. I had to hire a POD to store things. The stuff I take, it’s unlikely anyone else wants. Most folks are going for the copper pipe and wire. I’m taking the bar and old toilets.”

She burst out laughing. “You’re kidding!”

He put his hand on his chest. “Hand to God, I’m telling the truth. Decorators love them. It doesn’t take much to get them refitted with the proper plumbing, and they sell for a bunch. If the tank or bowl is damaged, I can make them into fancy planters. Look.” He held up his phone and accessed the gallery. The image he showed her was of an elevated tank toilet in a sunny yard. The top was full of ferns, the bowl was full of a plant she didn’t recognize right away.

Oh, my god, is that—pot?”

His laugh was loud and carefree. “Pot in the pot. The male variety. It was a commission piece.”

I love this! Show me the oak?”

He led her to his pickup truck, parked in the lot outside her fence. Excitedly, he lowered the tailgate. Reaching in, he carefully pulled out a canvas wrapped bundle. Tossing the flaps back, he revealed a golden brown piece of wood. Nearly three inches thick, it curved in a graceful arc. Rounded lips ran down each side. Asking permission with a glance, she caressed the old, smooth surface.

This is magnificent!” she sighed. “Did you get more?”

Yes. I got the entire thing. But I thought this would make the most interesting table. I’m going to copy the lip, putting it around the ends. I got more of the same wood, but the sections were too damaged to use as they are. I can salvage what I need.”

And keep it all period! That’s so cool!” She smoothed the surface again. “Are you thinking traditional legs?”

Yes. I don’t want to take away from the beauty of the wood. I thought either the typical curls, or maybe spiral?” He shrugged, deferring to her.

Spirals, I think. Curve at the bottom, or straight?”

Which do you think?”

Lumina leaned over, looking at the bottom and sides. “Straight. No. A slight curl at the end, just enough for the leg to rest on.” Nodding, she straightened. “Let’s make a template….”

I’m way ahead of you. I made one before I came over.”

That’s so thoughtful!”

He grinned. “Anything to make your job easier. Also, I can use it for something else later, so it’s not wasted.

Thank you. When I have the legs crafted, do you want me to drill the holes, so you can use it for this piece? You don’t want to mess it up.”

Excellent idea. Thanks. Got an idea on budget?”

Let’s have a look, and I’ll draw up an estimate. Probably going to be about two hundred.”

I can live with that. I set a budget of three.”

It will be under three, might be slightly over two.”

I should be able to sell it for at least three fifty, maybe four.”

No kidding! Where?”

I’ve got a guy,” he chuckled.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Full Measure ~ A Love in the City Romantic Suspense by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestDaphne Winstead is new to the city. She’s hired by a psychiatrist’s office to do a full audit of the books, because someone is stealing from them. While there, she’s befriended by Karen, who invites her to join her and her friends for Thanksgiving dinner. She’s been trying to set Daphne up with her older brother, Ralan Hendrix, but he’s been reluctant. However, he’s promised to come to dinner. When he arrives, Daphne can’t believe her eyes.

A tall, broad shouldered, dark haired man stood there with a large, cloth covered basket on one arm. He grinned as Ian ushered him in.

“Ralan, nice you could make it. What did you bring?” He tried to peep under the cloth.

Ralan smacked his hand. “Mom’s meat pies as requested. She won’t give out the recipe to a soul. I’ve got her down to the spices and she won’t divulge them. I put it to Fritz’ expert palette to figure it out. Now, where’s my goddaughter? I’ve got something for her.”

Fanny squealed from her mother’s arms, lunging at her uncle. He set the basket down and caught her, laughing and making funny faces. He pulled a toy out of the pocket of his long leather coat and gave it to her. Baby in one arm, he wandered into the kitchen to greet the others and present Fritz with the basket of four meat pies, still hot from the oven.

He accepted all the hugs and kisses stoically until at last he reached Daphne. He held out his hand. “How do you do. Ralan Hendrix.”

“Hello, Daphne Winstead.” She was a bit formal, stiff.

Ralan wasn’t sure how to approach her. He could hardly kiss her and shaking her hand was too impersonal. Instead, he kissed her hand, dark eyes meeting hers over the top of her bent wrist. His warm lips lingered almost hungrily on her skin. Daphne’s heart fluttered. The picture hadn’t done him justice. He was twice as handsome as his photograph and had a seductive charm that was absolutely deadly. Swallowing hard, she smiled.

“Pleased to finally meet you.”

“You as well. Sis, you didn’t tell me she was devastating.”

“Would it have mattered?” Karen asked archly.

“Not really, but it would have improved the fantasies. I’m a sucker for dark brown eyes.”

Daphne had to admit that she was, too. His held a hunger she’d never seen before and it made her nervous. He was still holding her hand. She withdrew it slowly but decisively. Ralan’s fingers lingered a moment longer as his eyes devoured her. Feeling as if he undressed her with his gaze, Daphne turned away from him so those penetrating dark brown orbs wouldn’t peel away the layers of her soul. She couldn’t conceal a tiny shiver, or was it more of a thrill?

A warm hand caressed her shoulder. “You cold?” his deep, husky voice asked.

Daphne turned, nearly colliding with Ralan. He looked as if he wanted to kiss her. He leaned toward her, mouth mere inches from her neck. And what a mouth! Full lips curved in an almost perfect bow. A dusting of black hair was scattered across his cheeks and upper lip. His scent was a mixture of minty fresh and a dusky cologne that made her nostrils tickle delightedly. Pursing her lips, she kept from attacking him by sheer force of will.

She realized she hadn’t answered his question. “Uh, no. I’m fine. I think I’m a little hung over.”

“Celebrating early?”

“Mourning a missed opportunity.”

“That’s a pity. A pretty girl like you shouldn’t have anything to mourn.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Free Zone ~ A Love Under the Sun Romantic Suspense by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestThough she doesn’t ultimately end up with him, I think this meeting between Dr. Lorelei Ward and her patient, Manu Astor, is a fun one. He’s decidedly interested, but there are all kinds of rules for not getting personally involved with a patient. If there weren’t, I’m pretty sure Lorelei would have given in to her attraction. I include it, because it’s a first meeting to a romance that wasn’t meant to be.

I brought my students back into the room, and we talked about Mr. Astor’s surgery. They had seen pictures of the carbuncle, since it was quite a thing to behold.

“How did you let it get that bad?” one of my students asked. “I mean, dude! It was huge!”

Manu Astor looked embarrassed. I glared at my student. He was the hot one, of the new batch, not the ones already terrified of me.

“Is that any way to talk to our patient, Hughes?” Priya said.

“No, ma’am. I apologize, Mr. Astor.”

“Despite how it was stated, it was a valid question.” I directed it at Manu.

“I travel a lot, all around the world. I got injured while I was in—Africa. It was tended to, and I thought it was fine. Then, I got home, after a long flight, and it was uncomfortable. But on your ass….” He shrugged, holding his hands wide, helplessly. “Didn’t bother me when I was standing up.”

“But absolute murder when you sat,” I commented.

“Yes, ma’am. Or when I got thrown on the mat during training. Thought I was gonna die. Still….”

“You’re a man, and didn’t want to admit how bad it hurt,” I finished.

Blushing, he ducked his head. “Yeah. But when it hurt like hell in the shower, I knew I had to do something.”

“Well, the good news is, you had the best surgeon in the state,” Priya said.

“Thanks,” I said.

“I meant me,” she winked, grinning at me.

“I’ll get you for that, Dr. Ahuja. You want scut for a week?”

She just laughed at me. “Seriously, Dr. Ward is the best. How is your pain level?” she asked, suddenly all business.

Manu inhaled sharply, puffing an exhale. “Five?”

“Really? Want to try that again? I can see you purse your lips and wince, if you shift your hip. Given where that is, Mr. Astor, I imagine you’re sitting on an eight.”

I snorted. I didn’t think she meant that like it sounded, but sometimes my sense of humor is that of a twelve year old boy’s.

“What?” Priya glared at me.

Manu Astor was chuckling. “Yes, I’d say I was sitting on an eight.”

“You’re as bad as she is. Are you sure you’re not related?”

“Hope to hell not,” he said honestly. “Cause I’m not the kind of guy to think my sister is hot.” He and Hughes exchanged a knuckle bump.

© 2020 Dellani Oakes

First Meeting from Fragrance Lingers by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestI am a big fan of first meetings. They are fun and set the tone for the relationship—sometimes. Fortunately, for Mara Cross and Cole Bayard, their first meeting is a positive one. Mara hadn’t counted on having a vacation fling with a man she hardly knows, but there’s something special about Cole that she can’t quite put her finger on.

At the beach, Mara is doing her best to lose her mid-winter pallor. She’s got her fruity umbrella drink, her sunscreen and a few days worth of time to kill.

Mara tipped the chair up slightly and took out her book. It was a science fiction novel she’d been hoping to read for some time, but hadn’t gotten past the first few pages. She flipped back to the beginning and started reading. She was just getting into the story when a volleyball landed heavily in her lap, dropped to the ground beside her and knocked over her drink.

Mara looked up angrily and saw a man waving to her apologetically. He was medium height and build, with medium length, medium brown hair. He trotted up the beach, hand extended.

“I’m so sorry,” his tone was sincere with a hint of a Southern accent. “I guess my friend hit it harder than he needed to. We haven’t played in years, but he still thinks that he’s the king of the spike.”

He pointed down the beach to a short, squat, freckled, redheaded man in orange swim trunks. He looked embarrassed and his face was so red, it rivaled his hair.

“Sorry about that!” He called. He had a distinctive East Texas twang.

The man next to her picked up the volleyball in one hand. “Cole Bayard,” he extend the hand not holding the ball.

“Mara Cross. Who’s your pal?”

“He goes by Red Gilroy. Bet you can’t guess why.”

Mara chuckled, glancing at the man standing over her. He was better looking up close and had a firm chin and well toned physique. His navy blue swim trunks had big, white tropical flowers on them and rode low on his hips. What really caught her attention was the tattoo on his abdomen just below his navel.

All she could see were two brightly colored serpent’s heads intertwined, facing one another. She wondered how low the tattoo went below the level of his shorts. Shaking her head slightly, she realized he was speaking to her again. Blinking, she looked up at him, trying hard to focus.

“I’m sorry. I guess I’ve got a little jet lag.”

Cole grinned flashing even white teeth in his tanned face. “No problem, Miss Cross. I was just apologizing again for the volleyball. We didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“Not a problem. Call me Mara. Miss Cross sounds too much like work. I’m here to forget the office, not burrow deeper into it.”

Cole bounced the ball back and forth absently as if he were trying to make up his mind about something. “Mara, would you like to join Red and me for dinner?”

“Oh, well… I don’t know… It’s just….”

“I know, it’s abrupt, but we know some of the less traveled night spots. I’m here about six months out of the year and Red comes down fairly often. I sideline as a tour guide. It gives me something to do to take my mind off the office.” He said with a completely straight face.

“I’d like that, actually,” Mara decided. She was determined to enjoy herself. Dinner in a public place sounded harmless enough.

“Super! We’ll pick you up at six o’clock. Dress casually, the fancy spots are for tourists.” Grinning, he saluted her and ran back down to where Red was standing.

Cole moved with easy, unaffected grace, running effortlessly through the sand. When he got back to Red, he popped the ball hard over the net. It landed in his friend’s outstretched hands. Mara watched them play until they went back into the hotel together.

It was nearly one when Mara finally left the beach and went back to her room. A note had been slipped under her door. She opened it and grinned. It was covered in a sloppy scrawl.

“I continue to be sorry about the volleyball, but I’m very glad I met you. I look forward to dinner. Cole.”

© 2020 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting from Fragrance Lingers ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestI am a big fan of first meetings they set the tone for the relationship—sometimes. Fortunately, for Mara Cross and Cole Bayard, their first meeting is a positive one. Mara hadn’t counted on having a vacation fling with a man she hardly knows, but there’s something special about Cole that she can’t quite put her finger on.

At the beach, Mara is doing her best to lose her mid-winter pallor. She’s got her fruity umbrella drink, her sunscreen and a few days worth of time to kill.

Mara tipped the chair up slightly and took out her book. It was a science fiction novel she’d been hoping to read for some time, but hadn’t gotten past the first few pages. She flipped back to the beginning and started reading. She was just getting into the story when a volleyball landed heavily in her lap, dropped to the ground beside her and knocked over her drink.

Mara looked up angrily and saw a man waving to her apologetically. He was medium height and build, with medium length, medium brown hair. He trotted up the beach, hand extended.

“I’m so sorry,” his tone was sincere with a hint of a Southern accent. “I guess my friend hit it harder than he needed to. We haven’t played in years, but he still thinks that he’s the king of the spike.”

He pointed down the beach to a short, squat, freckled, redheaded man in orange swim trunks. He looked embarrassed and his face was so red, it rivaled his hair.

“Sorry about that!” He called. He had a distinctive East Texas twang.

The man next to her picked up the volleyball in one hand. “Cole Bayard,” he extend the hand not holding the ball.

“Mara Cross. Who’s your pal?”

“He goes by Red Gilroy. Bet you can’t guess why.”

Mara chuckled, glancing at the man standing over her. He was better looking up close and had a firm chin and well toned physique. His navy blue swim trunks had big, white tropical flowers on them and rode low on his hips. What really caught her attention was the tattoo on his abdomen just below his navel.

All she could see were two brightly colored serpent’s heads intertwined, facing one another. She wondered how low the tattoo went below the level of his shorts. Shaking her head slightly, she realized he was speaking to her again. Blinking, she looked up at him, trying hard to focus.

“I’m sorry. I guess I’ve got a little jet lag.”

Cole grinned flashing even white teeth in his tanned face. “No problem, Miss Cross. I was just apologizing again for the volleyball. We didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“Not a problem. Call me Mara. Miss Cross sounds too much like work. I’m here to forget the office, not burrow deeper into it.”

Cole bounced the ball back and forth absently as if he were trying to make up his mind about something. “Mara, would you like to join Red and me for dinner?”

“Oh, well… I don’t know… It’s just….”

“I know, it’s abrupt, but we know some of the less traveled night spots. I’m here about six months out of the year and Red comes down fairly often. I sideline as a tour guide. It gives me something to do to take my mind off the office.” He said with a completely straight face.

“I’d like that, actually,” Mara decided. She was determined to enjoy herself. Dinner in a public place sounded harmless enough.

“Super! We’ll pick you up at six o’clock. Dress casually, the fancy spots are for tourists.” Grinning, he saluted her and ran back down to where Red was standing.

Cole moved with easy, unaffected grace, running effortlessly through the sand. When he got back to Red, he popped the ball hard over the net. It landed in his friend’s outstretched hands. Mara watched them play until they went back into the hotel together.

It was nearly one when Mara finally left the beach and went back to her room. A note had been slipped under her door. She opened it and grinned. It was covered in a sloppy scrawl.

“I continue to be sorry about the volleyball, but I’m very glad I met you. I look forward to dinner. Cole.”

© 2020 Dellani Oakes

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First Meeting The Ninja Tattoo ~ A Florida Families Romantic Suspense by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestNot every First Meeting is very long. Sometimes, the two people don’t even learn one another’s names. In this particular case, Teague and Vivica meet under less than stellar circumstances, but they don’t let that stop them.

Early morning sun set the sky on fire, glistening off the water, momentarily blinding him. He flipped down the visor then dug his sunglasses out of the glove compartment, sliding them up his nose with one hand. He’d chosen the scenic route to work just so he could enjoy the sunrise. The river looked like molten silver shot with gold strands. The sky was a cheerful blend of rose, lavender, azure, peach and plum. The sun peeping over the horizon was tinged with red, indicating the start of another scorcher. Hot weather was not unusual in Florida, but wasn’t the norm for early October.

Teague McMurtry waved to the few pedestrians out at this hour. He knew some of them slightly, since many of them were his neighbors. Working the odd hours he did, he rarely saw anyone. After moving a month ago to his small house on Riverside Drive, his neighbors had made a point of coming over to introduce themselves. It was by far the friendliest neighborhood he had ever lived in.

Needing his caffeine fix, Teague drove to the Dunkin’ Donuts before heading to his appointment. He flirted unashamedly with the older women there, teased the younger ones and got a handful of donut holes tossed in the bag when he wasn’t looking. It helped that he was six feet tall, jacked, broad shouldered, sun bleached blonde and tan. The married women drooled, the single ones propositioned him. He dropped a couple bucks change in the tip cup, blowing kisses to them he backed out the door.

“Ow!” A surprised female voice sounded behind him as the door met slight resistance.

“Oh, shit! I’m sorry!” Flustered, he turned around.

In her heels, she was nearly as tall as he was, dark haired, willowy, full busted. Her long, chestnut colored hair was loose around her shoulders, full and curly and damp. When she pushed up her sunglasses, dark green eyes smoldered.

“You always back out the door?”

“Just when I’m working the room,” he said. “I’m so sorry. You’re not hurt, are you? Can I buy you a coffee to apologize?”

She smirked, giving him the once over with her eyes. “I’ll have a caramel latte.”

He nodded toward the counter, holding the door with his hip as she walked past. Several other people frowned at him as they walked through. One old woman purposely stepped on his foot, glowering. She mumbled something, but Teague ignored her. He caught up with the young woman as she placed her order. Setting his coffee down, he dug in his pocket.

“My treat, Jenny,” he said to the woman at the register. “I nearly killed her with the door. Least I can do.”

“You’re getting dangerous, Teague. I keep telling you that,” Jenny said with a giggle. She was in her thirties, married and solidly built.

“Yeah…. Shit happens, right? Take good care of her. I gotta dash. Keep the change, Jenny. Nice running into you,” he said to the woman as he headed toward the door.

He could see her talking animatedly to Jenny as he headed toward his truck. He got his coffee and muffin secured, and pulled away slowly. If the woman had a notion to get his number, it was clearly emblazoned on the doors of his pickup.

© 2012 Dellani Oakes

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The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani Oakes - 200

First Meeting from Fly by Night ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes

First Meeting image smallestI am a big fan of first meetings. These often set the tone for the relationship, and tell us a lot about how the couple will interact with one another later in the story.

In Fly by Night, I honestly hadn’t intended Elam to take the male lead. I had intended the ghostly apparition of Malachi to be the one who swept her off her feet, but it simply didn’t happen that way. Blythe met Elam and that was that, she was hooked and so was he. The two of them meet at the hospital after Blythe has a car accident. Fortunately, she isn’t badly hurt, but decided it was prudent to be checked by a doctor before going home.

“Blythe Donovan?” An orderly stood next to her with a wheelchair. He was blond, blue eyed and had lovely dimples in both cheeks. “Hello. I’m Elam, your ride to radiology,” he said with a smile. “Have a seat and we’ll head out in style.” He winked at her, his mouth twitching as he tried to suppress a grin.

“We’ll be here when you get back,” her mother said, sobbing.

Blythe said nothing until the doors closed behind her. “You’d think I’d been half killed,” she muttered. “Which is why I didn’t want Jason to call them.”

“Is Jason your boyfriend? Fiancé?”

Blythe glanced at him over her shoulder. He was tall, broad shouldered and handsome. His short, blond hair was wavy and his eyes were a mysterious shade.

“My brother. Why?”

He chuckled. “Cause you’re very pretty and I’d hate to think you’re taken.”

“The engagement ring isn’t a give away?” She wiggled her finger at him.

“Which is why I asked. So, where is the guy who goes with the ring?”

“Arlington National Cemetery.”

“Wow, walked hard into that wall. I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you.” She looked at the ring. “I suppose I should take the ring off. It’s been a year.”

“You take it off when you’re ready,” he said softly. “And I am sorry. Just, you’re the prettiest woman to roll into my ER.”

“Are you trying to ask me out?”

He chuckled, nodding. “Yeah, well—I’m a guy. Sue me.”

He swung the chair around a corner, slithered past an old man with a janitor’s cart, and guided the chair into the radiology department.

“I’ll be waiting when you’re done,” he said.

“I’d give you a tip, but I left my purse with my mother.”

He chuckled, touching his forehead as he gave a deferential bow. “I live but to serve, miss.”

“Elam, are you flirting with a patient?” the technician teased.

“You caught me. Take good care of this one,” he said with a grin.

“I’ll do my best. Scoot.”

He went into the hall, closing the door behind him.

The technician took a series of films for the doctor to examine. When she was done, she opened the door. True to his word, Elam was waiting for them. He helped Blythe settle in the wheelchair and took off at a brisk pace.

“I’d give you a tour, but I think you’re presence is required elsewhere.”

“Thank you. I’ve seen more of the hospital today than I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s like a rabbit warren. I know all the best places to hide from the nurses and catch a nap—”

“Or hook up with a hot nurse?”

“Don’t let Grey’s Anatomy fool you. Most of our doctors and nurses are too busy looking after the patients to hump in the on-call rooms. Believe it or not, people actually sleep there.” He gasped a little for effect, taking the last turn so quickly, the chair tipped. He never lost control, righting it safely.

Blythe gave out a little Eep of surprise. Giggling, she thanked him for the ride. He bowed again, handing her a piece of paper with his name and number neatly printed on it.

“For when you decide to take off the ring,” he murmured. “Take your time.” He kissed her hand once more, before going back through the double doors separating them from the rest of the hospital.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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