It’s that time again! Welcome to Through Stephanie’s Eyes and week four in the free read of my debut romantic suspense novel Dangerous Medicine. I’m winding down to the last two chapters I’ll have up for free. The rest of the story will be included in the full novel released in a few months.
This week we’re up to chapter four. If you missed the previous installments, here are the links:
To bring you up to speed here’s a bit of a summary of the story so far.
In Dangerous Medicine, you meet Dr. Miranda Jacobs, a veterinary cardiothoracic surgeon in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Thefts of one of the most common veterinary anesthetics are on the rise resulting in the sale of it on the street as “Special K.” Miranda comes face to face with the devastating effects of ketamine when her brother is slipped some at a fraternity party. He has a severe allergic reaction that ultimately puts him into a coma.
Miranda puts her fast-paced career on hold in order to be with her family at her brother’s bedside. It’s on the way to the hospital that she literally collides with Detective Jake Martinelli. Sparks fly between them, and Miranda finds herself fiercely attracted to Jake even though she knows very little about him.
Jake Martinelli is nearly knocked off his feet when he meets Miranda for the first time. Normally he’d avoid headstrong, career oriented women like her, but something drew him in like a moth to a flame. She awakened feelings he thought dead a long time ago. He tried to ignore his growing attraction for her while he concentrated on finding the person responsible for putting her brother in the coma, but his mind continued to wonder what it would be like to have her in his bed.
And now this week’s free chapter…
Miranda grabbed her keys and raced out the front door with her mother’s travel bag over her shoulder. As soon as she turned toward her car, she slammed into a six foot wall of solid muscle. She’d stumbled backward and an angry retort died on her lips. In front of her stood the one of the hottest men she’d ever seen. He simply oozed raw sexuality. “Oh, excuse me,” she stammered. “I’m sorry. I’m just on my way out. Is there something I can do for you?”
Jake flashed a crooked grim. “You must be Matt’s sister Miranda, the veterinary surgeon. I’ve heard a lot about you. Now it’s my turn to apologize.” He extended his hand and gripped hers firmly. “Detective Jake Martinelli. I’m one of the officers investigating what happened to your brother.”
Her cheeks burned. I must look like a complete idiot right now, practically drooling over a stranger. She wondered if this was the same Jake Matt had mentioned on the tape. She hoped so. It had been a long time since a man smiling at her could make her hands sweat and her mouth go dry. She liked the felling—a lot. “I…I was just on my way to join my family at the hospital. Thanks for your concern, but—”
“Shouldn’t you get that?”
“Your purse is ringing.”
She laughed at herself for being so flustered over a man. “Excuse me a minute. Hello? Pop is that you?” She walked a few paces away from Jake to talk to her father privately.
“Of course it’s me. Didn’t my smiling face come up on that fancy smart phone of yours? What’s keeping you, girl? Matt’s tests are done and the doctor’s going to give us the results any time now.”
“I was on my way out the door and practically ran over a Detective Martinelli. He stopped by to see about Matt. How come I’ve never heard of him before today?”
Mr. Jacobs chuckled softly. “You’re very hard to get in touch of you know. Always at work, no time for your family. How are we supposed to tell you what’s going on if we never see you?”
“Pop…”She sighed and rolled her eyes. Not this again.
“Never mind that now, just bring Jake along. He’s your brother’s friend and should be here when the doctors give us the news. Besides, I think I can trust him with my baby girl.”
“Will you please stop being so overprotective? I’m a grown woman. I can take care of myself.”
“I’m just looking out for you, like any father would. Now hurry up and get here as soon as you can—but don’t go driving recklessly!”
“Goodbye, Pop.” She disconnected the call with one tap to the screen and then dropped it back into her purse. She sighed and then smiled when she turned to find Jake leaning against his Jeep watching her. “Well, my father vouches for you. I guess that means I can trust you.”
His deep laughter caused her stomach to flutter. “Glad to hear it. How about I give you a lift to St. Mary’s? You’ve driven quite a ways and you must be tired. It would give me a chance to help out.
She hesitated. “That’s very generous of you, but…”
“Come on. I’ll even turn on the siren and flashing lights. We’d be there in no time.”
She noted the mischievous sparkle in his eyes and realized he wasn’t kidding about the sirens. “Okay, I’ll ride with you as long as we do it without all the bells and whistles.”
“Party pooper.” He took the duffel bag from her and placed it in the back seat of the vehicle. He whistled. “What have you got in there? Rocks?”
She rolled her eyes and watched his thigh muscles bulge against his tight jeans as he climbed into the driver’s seat. “Everyone criticizes my packing.”
“I wasn’t criticizing, just making a comment.”
“How about you concentrate on getting us to the hospital before my father goes out of his mind worrying about what’s taking us so long?”
“As you wish.” He slid his sunglasses on, threw the Jeep in reverse, and backed out of the driveway.
She caught him sneaking side glances at her. He appeared to be as nervous as she was next to him. He fumbled with the radio and grimaced as a myriad of sappy love songs popped up on every channel.
“Hey, turn it back. I like that song.”
He motioned to her that the radio was all hers. “Go for it.”
She found the station he’d passed by. She sat back in the soft leather seat and closed her eyes. She conjured up a romantic setting in front of a fireplace somewhere and let the deep melodic voice of Toni Braxton fill her mind. She looked up into the face of the man in her daydream. It was Jake. She snapped her eyes open only to find him concentrating on the road ahead.
She longed for him to look at her and flash his crooked smile that took her breath away less than a half hour before. She wanted to get closer to him so she could take in more of his cologne. She recognized the scent, but couldn’t remember what it was called. The more she tried to picture the label on the bottle, the more it drove her crazy.
She started and found herself lost in his eyes. He’d removed his sunglasses now that the sun had set completely. She tore her eyes away from his long enough to note they’d stopped at a red light about three miles from the hospital. Her cheeks burned again. Damn it to hell! “N…nothing’s wrong. Why do you ask?”
“You had a strange look on your face, like you were anywhere but here with me. Thinking about your brother?”
She shifted uncomfortably and hoped he hadn’t noticed the flush blazing across her face, neck and now her chest. She fought for control and willed the tears to stay away. She lowered her voice, afraid if the world heard her fear it would make it come true. “I don’t know what I’ll do if he doesn’t come out of this. I’m absolutely terrified I’m never going to be able to hear his voice again.”
He didn’t say a word. Instead he covered her shaking hands with his large callused one. With that simple gesture, she knew he understood.
* * * *
He admired her strength. Anyone else would have completely crumbled when hit with the news she’d received that afternoon. Michael had hinted she would be this way and keep everything inside in order to protect the rest of her family. Outward strength or not, he longed to be the one to take away all of her pain and see her smile light up her emerald green eyes again.
The short toots of a car horn brought him out of his day dreaming with a start.
She smiled. “Now who’s a million miles away, Detective?”
As he put the Jeep into gear, he glanced toward her again. “I’m glad I brought a little amusement to your day, but from now on why don’t we both stick closer to home. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed your company but it’s much too distracting. You have the uncanny ability to make my mind turn to mush. That’s not good when I’m driving.”
She appeared to struggle with suppressing her laughter. It began as a small giggle, progressed into an all-out fit complete with tears, and then finished with hiccups. “I’ve never had that effect on any one. Is that good or bad?”
He pulled into the visitor’s parking lot and turned off the engine. “You continue to surprise me. I thought I had you all figured out when we collided in your parents’ driveway. Just who areyou, Dr. Jacobs?”
She wiped the tears from her eyes and stifled a few more giggles and hiccups. “I wish I knew. I’ve been working on the answer to that question for several years now. I thought I had the answer once, but I’d been proven wrong in the worst sort of way.”
He nodded. “I have a pretty good idea what you mean. Why don’t we leave it at that for now, and promise to continue this conversation later?” He got out of the Jeep and walked over to the passenger side and helped her out of her seat. He didn’t want to push the conversation any further—at least not now.
She appeared simultaneously relieved and disappointed that he didn’t pursue their talk. She paused and held his gaze for a moment. “Detective?”
“Jake, thank you for driving. You helped keep my mind occupied on things other than my brother.”
He shifted from foot to foot, momentarily uncomfortable.
She grinned and seemed to take great pleasure in his squirming. “Any way, thanks for your company.”
“It was my pleasure, Doc.” He retrieved the duffel and carried it as they walked toward the hospital entrance. He sensed it wasn’t easy for her to thank him, or to allow him to carry the bag for her. In his mind he pictured her at war with herself, fighting the impulse to snatch it from him and rush into the building on her own. He wondered what kind of fool had let this woman slip through his fingers. Who hurt her so badly that she pulled away from life and refused to rely on anyone but herself?
Normally he shied away from headstrong, career oriented women like Miranda Jacobs. They were too much like him in that regard with no room for a private life outside of the job. However with her, he recognized something there between them—some sort of pull on his heart that drew him toward her. She stirred feelings in him he thought were dead a long time ago. She frightened and fascinated him all at the same time. He decided there and then, as he watched her walk through the hospital doors, he would have her in his life. He simply had to.
* * * *
All Rights Reserved ©Stephanie Ryan 2014
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