Welcome back to Through Stephanie’s Eyes! After just a little delay, I have the sixth chapter of the free read from my debut romantic suspense novel Dangerous Medicine. I’m to the point in my rewrites where I have to decide how many more chapters I’ll offer as a free read. The response so far has been amazing! If you’d like to see the story continue on here, let me know. I still have plans to release the entire novel by the end of the summer/fall but my question is whether or not to offer the entire story here one chapter at a time or leave something as a surprise?
Let me know your vote in the comments below. For now, here are the links to the previous chapters so you can catch up if you’ve missed any.
Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5
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 took a deep breath and let it out as she entered Matthew’s room. She pulled on of the chairs closer to the bed, careful not to disrupt any of the monitors. The machines cast an eerie glow over the room and enabled her to see her brother clearly even though the overhead lights had been turned off.
She reached for his right hand and entwined her fingers with his. Her heart wrenched but her eyes remained dry, spent of every tear her body could spare, He appeared so small in the bed with all the tubes and wires tangled around his well-muscled body. She ignored the noises of the machines that tracked his vital signs, and concentrated on his face. “What the hell have you gotten yourself into now, little brother? If you wanted to get me home for a visit, you could’ve called.” She imagined his voice in her mind chastising her for not picking up the phone herself.
A sudden burst of anger flooded through her body. “Damn it, Matt! You can’t leave me now. There’s so much I have to talk to you about.” Miranda swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat and tried another tactic. “I sit for my board exams soon and MVS wants to bring me on as the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Pretty go, huh? And you! Ma told me you want to be a cop. When on earth did you decide that? Thanks for leaving me out of the loop on that one.”
Miranda squeezed his hand tighter. “Matty, please wake up. There’s so much going on that you need to be a part of around here. Melody is going to give you another niece any day now. You can’t miss that. And little Billy—he’s just lost without you. I’m lost without you. Please, please heal fast and come back to us.”
Madeline entered the room with the night nurse. “Darlin’, vising hours are over. The staff has been kind enough to allow me to camp out with Matt for tonight, only on the condition that the rest of you go home and give them some peace and quiet.” Madeline’s eyes glistened with tears.
Miranda let go of her brother’s hand and vacated her seat. “I’ll be back first thing in the morning. Is there anything else you want from the house?”
“No, I think you brought all I’ll need for tonight and the next few days. You go and get some sleep, and make sure Jake goes home too.”
“The Detective is still here?” Miranda had forgotten all about asking him to stay with Billy. Her stomach fluttered and she felt her cheeks start to burn.
Her mother didn’t miss it either. “He’s a handsome man, that Jake. Besides, the way he explained everything to Billy was amazing. He found the words to help the boy understand. Billy even pulled him into a prayer circle with the rest of the family.”
She’s really smitten with him that’s for sure. “Ma, I know what you’re doing. Don’t start.”
Madeline chuckled. “I’m not starting anything. Looks to me like the two of you have something brewing all on your own. Now don’t give me that shocked look, Randi. I’m a mother and I miss nothing.”
Miranda smiled and waved as she backed out of the room to avoid any further conversation about Jake. She made her way to the ladies room across the hall. She locked the door, thankful for a few moments alone to gather up her nerve to face the rest of her family. She kept her eyes closed, and took in several deep, cleansing breaths. Once her heart rate returned to normal, she opened her eyes and gazed at her reflection in the mirror. “Whoa, you could scare the hell out of Freddie Krueger.”
She stuck her tongue out at the mirror image then ran the cool water to wash her face. Her eyes were puffy from crying, and what little mascara she wore, now pooled under her lower lashes. Her hair refused to be tamed by the clip. She finally gave up on it and let it fall free around her face and down her back. “I guess that will have to do for now.”
As she approached the waiting room, she heard her father’s voice as he corralled the family up to leave the hospital for the night. She squared her shoulders and strode into the room, ready to help round up the children. She froze in her tracks. In the far corner, near the television, she found Jake and Billy curled up together fast asleep.
Marah approached her with Billy’s coat draped over her arm. “They’ve been that way for almost a half hour now. I’ve been afraid to bother them. They look so peaceful. God knows Billy could use the rest, and from the looks of it so could the Detective.”
“I’ll get Billy ready. You go ahead with the others.”
Marah’s eyes twinkled. “I bet you’ll get Billy ready.”
“Don’t you start on me too.”
“Hmm. So Ma is trying to fix the two of you up now? Not a bad idea.” Marah barely stifled a giggle. “He is one fine looking specimen of a man.”
Miranda’s eyes flew open and her jaw dropped to her chest. “You and Ma are hopeless. Quit trying to set me up and get the gang ready to hit the road.” She didn’t wait to hear anymore of her sister’s teasing remarks and made her way toward the sleeping duo.
Jake’s eyes snapped open as she came within a foot of the couch. “What time is it?”
Her knees weakened at the sound of his voice, deep and husky from sleep. “It’s time to go home. They’re kicking up out for the night.” Miranda combed through Billy’s hair with her fingers. He barely stirred. “Time to get this cowboy back to his own bunkhouse for the night. He’s got school tomorrow.”
Jake took Billy’s coat from her hands and wrapped it around him. He stood up and kept the boy in his arms.
Billy snuggled closer to him, mumbled incoherently and appeared to drift back into a deep slumber.
“If you’ll show me the way, I’ll get him to your sister’s car. We shouldn’t jostle him around unnecessarily. He needs his sleep. He’s pretty much exhausted from worrying about Matt.”
“You look like you could use a date with the pillow as well, Detective.” Miranda stood up on tiptoes and kissed Jake’s cheek. “Thanks for staying with Billy and for explaining everything to him. Ma told me you went above and beyond. For that I’ll be forever in your debt.”
Jake flashed the crooked smile that took her breath away when they first met. He bent over and softly kissed her on the lips. “Any time, Doc. Any time.”
Miranda flushed from head to toe and her head spun. Never before had a kiss sent her mind reeling and her body aching for more—not like this. “We…we should get him to the car before he wakes up.”
“What?” She peered down at her very awake, smiling nephew.
“How long have you been awake?”
Billy’s grin spread from ear to ear. “Aunt Randi and Jake. Sitting in a tree. K—I—S—S—I—N—G.”
“Oh you!” Miranda tickled him. “That will be enough of that nonsense.”
“I kind of like that tune. Now how does it go? K—I—S— Jake dodged Miranda’s right hand, and flung Billy over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “What do you say we make a run for it, Billy?”
Miranda rolled her eyes up to the ceiling and followed them to the elevator. “Heaven help me, I think I’m falling for this man.”
Jake spun around and smiled. “Did you say something, Doc?”
Miranda startled. God, did I say that out loud?“Um…it was nothing. Let’s get downstairs before the nurses call security to escort us out of here. And quit calling me Doc.”
“Only if you stop calling me Detective.”
Billy giggled and continued to hum the kissing song.
Miranda pulled her lips between her teeth to prevent herself from smiling. Yeah, I could use a little more of the kissing part and less of the singing. I wonder what his lips would feel like all over my body…
Christ, I can’t believe I kissed her. She must think I’m some nut job hitting on her in the hospital. To be fair, she kissed me first, but I couldn’t resist. With her hair down like that, and her cheeks all rosy pink she looked like a Celtic goddess. That’s it. She put a spell over me. I’m not responsible for my own actions. He sat in his jeep and watched the Jacobs family caravan pull out of the hospital parking lot. He smiled and waved as Billy passed by his window making smooching motions.
Then there was Miranda staring back at him from the front seat of her father’s car. She brushed her hair back from her face and waved goodbye with just her fingertips.
His heart raced and his palms sweat. He wiped his hands on his jeans and then started up the jeep’s engine. This was an entirely new experience for him. Even his ex-wife never brought out this kind of reaction. Something about the red haired veterinarian turned his insides to mush. When around her, his mind kept wandering to fantasizing about her, holding her in his arms and comforting her through this ordeal with her brother. Her subtle perfume only added to his attraction. To him she smelled like fresh baked cookies—of home.
This is the one he’d been searching for his whole life and now he may lose her before ever having a chance to see where their attraction might lead. He wasn’t one to believe in love at first sight, but what coursed through his body now had to be more than simple lust.
Lust he could handle. The feelings Miranda stirred up in him tonight threatened to overwhelm him and make him forget the job he had to do. If only Matthew hadn’t taken matters into his own hands with the investigation of the attack on his friend. He wouldn’t be fighting for is life now and Jake wouldn’t be distracted from taking down the man responsible for the Ketamine on the street.
He cranked up the radio as he pulled into traffic and headed for his empty apartment. With everything going on that evening, he’d forgotten the Lieutenant ordered him to take some leave. For the next few weeks he had to relax and let the rest of his team continue the investigations. He owed it to Matthew to rest up and be at his best in order to bring those who did this to him and attacked his friend are all brought to justice.
He smiled and touched his lips. If I didn’t have that boy in my arms when I kissed her, I don’t think I would have been able to keep my hands off her when those elevator doors closed. She can deny it all she wants but I know I heard her say she was falling for me. Maybe she was only joking, but I’d love to put it to the test.
Matthew had told him about her on many occasions and he’d seen pictures of her, but he had to admit he wasn’t prepared for their first face to face meeting. Now that he had the pleasure, he wanted more, even if it meant butting heads all the time. Jake recognized a kindred spirit when he saw one. Career driven and bullheaded appeared to be traits they had in common based on Matthew’s initial descriptions of her but Jake had been completely surprised by her soft side around her family. He’d admired how she held herself together to be strong for them when he could tell all she wanted to do was collapse in a heap. To him, that vulnerability combined with her strength made her so much more desirable.
Of course she had many other traits that appealed to him as well. Her porcelain skin with a hint of freckles over her nose and cheeks, her emerald eyes with flecks of gold, her soft ruby lips made for kissing, and those curves she tried to hide under a football jersey all came together to make one irresistible package crowned with a thick mane of auburn curls. The self-proclaimed loner and bachelor had to admit he never stood a chance.
He resigned himself to spending another sleepless night alone in his king sized bed. It wasn’t the stress of his job that would keep him up tonight, but visions of the firecracker veterinarian asleep in his arms.
All Rights Reserved ©Stephanie Ryan 2014
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