Thursday, June 26, 2008
EXCERPT #2 FROM THE DOCTOR'S DECEPTION
Anyone who can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me when Stone and Faith share their first kiss, will get a bag of Hershey's kisses! Be sure to include your home address so that I can mail them to you. I will run this contest until the Fourth of July!
Faith moved her stethoscope over Mrs. Humphrey's heart, listening to her the steady beat. She prayed the tone wouldn't be muffled, an indication of fluid build-up around the heart. She heard a "squeaky" sound with every beat and released a sigh of relief. Mrs. Humphrey had the same "rub" she'd had an hour ago when she'd returned from her open heart surgery. A clue that the extra blood around Mrs. Humphrey's heart was still minor. Faith would have to make sure the rub didn't worsen.
Faith assessed the blood draining from the tubes placed in her patient's chest during surgery. Everything appeared to be in order. Mrs. Humphrey aroused to her name and followed commands when questioned, but drifted back off to sleep from the anesthesia still in her system. When she woke up a little more and stayed awake, Faith would work with the respiratory therapist to pull her breathing tube and withdraw the respirator.
Charting her findings on the bedside clipboard, Faith's mind drifted back to Dr. Lassiter. She wished she'd had a camera to capture the look on his face when she'd pulled the short straw out of her pocket. Talk about priceless! A chuckle escaped and turned into an all-out belly laugh.
"What's so funny?" Dr. Lassiter asked.
Faith stiffened and her amusement died. Damn. She'd hoped to be at lunch when he arrived to check on Mrs. Humphrey. Fate was definitely against her today.
Turning, she came face to face with him. She stepped back and bumped the rail of the bed. "Nothing. Just thinking about something that happened earlier. It kind of tickled my funny bone, that's all."
"Why don't you tell me what's so amusing?"
"I'm not in a particularly sharing kind of mood." His scent crossed the inches of space he'd left between them, teasing her senses. He smelled of lemons and spice.
Hmmmm. His own brand of lemonade.
What was she thinking? Holy cow! Stay away from those thoughts in connection with Robo Doc.
Sidestepping, she moved around him and her arm brushed his, tingling from the brief contact. The urge to rub the spot was strong, and feeling his gaze on her, Faith fought the tug-of-war roiling inside her.
Her brain told her he was off limits. But her body's reaction to him said something altogether different. Disturbed, she placed the bedside clipboard on the counter by the sink and started to wash her hands.
"Why not? I like a good joke now and again."
Drying her hands with the paper towels from the dispenser, Faith turned and rested a hip against the sink. "Are you serious? You haven't cracked a smile in the year I've known you—not even to your patients." She pinned him with a suspicious stare. "What's this all about?"
He shrugged his broad shoulders and the material of his green surgical scrub top tightened against his chest, leaving little to her imagination. Dr. Lassiter certainly seemed to have muscles in all the right places. The sight of golden chest hair teased her from the vee in his top.
Her throat went dry. What was wrong with her? Her admiration of his particular brand of eye candy had died after his first day on the unit. Why was she reacting to him now?
"What do you mean? I smile." Dr. Lassiter said with an almost cheery quality to his voice.
His lighthearted tone surprised her. Her gaze flew to his face, and she realized by the smug look in his deep brown eyes that he'd caught her staring at his chest. Faith frowned. What was with him anyway? He definitely wasn't acting his usual sour self.
"You. Are you trying to be nice or are you coming down with a terminal disease and feel the need to earn your way into heaven?"
He rubbed his jaw and stared at her like she was a jigsaw puzzle he couldn't put together. "No. I'm not sick." Dropping his hand, he turned toward Mrs. Humphrey. "How's she doing?"
Faith grabbed the clipboard and handed it to him, glad for the change in subject. It was none of her business what was wrong with him. "She's doing great. She's waking up nicely, and I think we'll be able to extubate her soon."
"You know I don't like my patients on the vent too long after surgery," he said, studying the patient's bedside nursing chart.
"Yes, Dr. Lassiter, I know," she said with exaggerated sweetness. Jekyll and Hyde apparently showed up to the hospital today. Not that Faith cared about Dr. Lassiter's dual personality. She preferred his surly attitude—easier for her to keep her distance.
He gave her an odd glance and the silence stretched between them. Only the sound of Mrs. Humphrey's mechanical respirations filled the room with the occasional beep of the heart monitor from the wall above the bed.
"Well, if you don't need anything else, I'm going to have Jolene cover for me so I can grab a quick bite to eat," Faith said, turning to leave.
"Wait." Dr. Lassiter placed a halting hand on her arm, preventing her from leaving.
Faith arched her brow and tugged her arm from his loose grip. Her skin quivered where he'd touched her. "You had another question about Mrs. Humphrey?"
"Ah, yes—I mean no." He shook his head. "No," he said firmly. "I wanted to talk to you about something. I'll tag along for lunch."
The nice quiet study time Faith had envisioned dissolved like quicksand. How could she study for the MCAT with Dr. Lassiter along?
"Well, actually, I do mind. So whatever you have to talk to me about, you can spill here."
Dr. Lassiter gazed at her hesitantly. Faith decided he wasn't going to yell at her after all because he stared, saying nothing. Just as she was about to give up waiting for him to speak, he nodded his head.
"Okay. Have it your way." He shut the door to Mrs. Humphrey's room, effectively closing out the rest of the staff.
He leaned against the door and casually crossed his arms. Faith tried not to notice how sexy he looked. His honey-blonde hair was slightly tousled from the removal of his surgical cap. He could've jumped from the pages of the current medical pin-up calendar that graced the bathroom in the nurses' lounge.
She wished she hadn't been aware of him at all. "Well? What have I done now? Or, is it one of the other nurses? You should know, I'm not the one to complain to today. Cheryl is the charge nurse."
"This isn't about work." He ran his hand through his hair, messing it further. "Come with me to the charity dinner on Saturday."
Whatever she'd been expecting, that hadn't been it. Her mouth dropped open before she could recover herself.
"What?" she said a little too loudly. She glanced over her shoulder at Mrs. Humphrey in the bed to be sure she hadn't disturbed her.
He pushed away from the door and drew closer. "I'd like you to go with me to Deerborne's—"
She held up her hand to maintain the space between them. "I heard you the first time." Faith lowered her voice. "Frankly, I'm surprised by your invitation. I can't go this year. I've already turned down one invite. I've put myself in a self-imposed dating exile, even though it killed me to do it."
He scowled and straightened. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Oh, yeah. Definitely Jekyll/Hyde.
"It means," she said patiently. "That I'm not available. Sorry."
She grabbed the handle and opened the door, leaving him behind. Walking past the nurses' station, she spied Jolene. "I'm going to grab lunch. I'll be in the lounge if you need me. Respiratory is supposed to come and put Mrs. Humphrey on CPAP mode on the ventilator. If you hear the alarm, have them change her back. She's probably ready for the spontaneous breathing trial, but just keep an ear out for me."
"Sure thing, Faith."
Heart pounding, she fled to the lounge. Dr. Lassiter had asked her out. If she were dating, would she have said yes?
Nah. Doctor Uptight wouldn't know how to have a good time. But wouldn't it be fun to loosen him up?
AUTHOR OF FUN AND SEXY MEDICAL ROMANCES!
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