Bestselling author Devon Hartford brings you another scorching hot and scandalous standalone romance.
Although he was bloody and battered from defending his title as the WMAA’s reigning cruiserweight champion, his cocky grin lit up the room.
And every cell in my body.
Our fiery chemistry was off the charts.
The ER staff sensed it.
Lion’s entourage and his drooling groupies sensed it too.
If the two of us had been alone, I might have done something entirely unprofessional and completely unethical right there in the exam room. But I was his attending physician. A sexual or romantic relationship with him was grounds for my termination or worse, revoking my medical license. I wouldn’t risk my career on a moment of passion. It didn’t stop that arrogant caveman from doing everything he could to get me into his hospital bed.
After denying his advances for weeks, the last thing I expected were the wild nights he would be spending in my bed.
It was supposed to be nothing more than a secret fling.
I knew it couldn’t last.
He was still my patient.
What we were doing was wrong.
If anyone found out, it could ruin my life.
But we couldn’t let go.
We were bound to each other on some primal level that consumed us.
Sometimes love is tragic.
Sometimes two people aren’t meant to be together.
But sometimes, two people overcome all adversity and build a love that lasts forever.
I knew deep in my heart that Lion Maxwell could be my happily ever after.
As long as we kept our love a secret.
I didn’t have time for men.
As an attending physician at the busy Los Angeles Central Hospital, I had too many responsibilities. Caring for my patients was always my top priority. For me, dating was an afterthought.
But I wasn’t a robot.
I noticed men all the time.
For example, several of the EMTs who wheeled patients into the Emergency Care Unit every night were to die for. The boys in blue were just as yummy, ember-eyed Officer Noah Murdock being the yummiest.
The firemen from the LAFD were even more gorgeous. My favorites were Troy and Rick from Station 10. Both were regulars here in the ECU. Both were also smoking hot and known not only for saving lives and putting out fires, but for starting fires—in women’s panties, and not just mine. Ask any of the women on the ECU team (and some of the men). Troy and Rick were also known for appearing topless in the LAFD Firefighter’s calendar hanging in our team break room. In it, both men sported oiled-up abs and bulging shoulders while looking rugged and sweaty and deadly sexy in their suspiciously low hanging firemen’s pants. Troy was Mother’s Day May and Rick was I wish me a Merry Christmas December. Yes, I skipped ahead to check. Several times a week.
Like I said, I noticed men all the time.
But I was too busy doing my job to date any.
When I wasn’t here at the hospital, I was the on call physician and had to come in at the most unexpected times. Not ideal for dating. Most weeks it seemed like I lived here.
After setting a broken arm in exam room 102, I walked out to fill out the relevant paperwork before taking my next patient.
Latisha Brown, the charge nurse, fell into step beside me and said, “Girl, you gonna wet yourself when you get a look at the fine man in 109. Mmm, mmm, mmm.” She muttered it in a low voice as we walked toward the nurses station. Latisha and I gossiped about hot men all the time. It helped keep things light when they got too serious. “Man brought a whole entourage with him.”
I glanced over at the door to 109. A dozen people crowded the entrance. More were packed inside the room. “Is he somebody famous?”
“Not that I know. But he oughta be a model, the way he looks. Or an actor. Or my next hookup. Mmm, mmm, I’m telling you, girl.” Her eyes glimmered with desire. “I had to change my drawers after helping Allison check his vitals.”
“Why?” I snickered.
“On account of my lady parts was perspiring.” She winked.
“He can’t be that hot.”
“You ain’t seen him yet. The way he looks, that boy must live in a gym. Allison’s hands were shaking so bad when she tried to slide the blood pressure cuff up his arm, I had to do it for her.”
“I’m sure you hated every second of it.”
“Every last one.” She chuckled.
“Do you have his medical record?” Now I was curious.
She reached over the counter of the nurses station and grabbed a chart off the rack. “Here you go. Before you go in, I should warn you about the python in his pants.”
“Python? An actual python?” From time to time, patients came into the ECU with the strangest things attached to or inserted inside themselves. The obvious: nipple clamps, cock rings, dildos, vibrators, anal beads, condoms, tampons. The not so obvious: fruits, vegetables, latex gloves, flashlights, a toy car, a glass light bulb. Yes, an actual light bulb. When I extracted it, Latisha was on hand. I held it up and said, “This gives me an idea.” Latisha struggled not to laugh. The patient was half passed out on muscle relaxants (we were worried about shattering the lightbulb) and he lay face down on the bed. The light bulb was a first for everyone on staff that night. But top of the list for Latisha and me went a step weirder.
Two summers ago, we performed a Rectal Foreign Body Removal of a smallish garden gnome, complete with red pointy hat, from a male patient. The man had said he “fell on it” while gardening. By “fell” he meant “sat down.” On purpose. Multiple times. After discharging him and sending the man home with his gnome, I warned him to be more careful while “gardening” in the future. In private, I’d asked Latisha if she thought the man did his “gardening” in the nude. She said no, he probably wore assless chaps at the very least, so as to protect him from thorns and thistles. I had said, but not from gnomes? We had both broken into laughter at that point.
“You remembering that nasty ass gnome, ain’t you?”
“Sadly.” I chuckled.
“Don’t worry, the python in 109 is warm blooded. But I’ll get you the anti-venom kit, just in case.”
“Tisha, pythons aren’t warm blooded and they don’t have venom.”
“This one does.” Her eyes flared for a moment before she swallowed a ticking snicker, doing her best to maintain a professional demeanor. It wasn’t working. “And it spits like a cobra if you get it all riled up.” We both giggled naughtily.
“When was the last time you got any? You sound completely desperate.”
“More recently than you. And that ain’t saying much.”
“Don’t remind me.” I groaned while flipping through the man’s chart. I read his name out loud. “Lion Maxwell? That can’t be his real name.”
“I think it is.”
“Who names their child Lion?”
“Shoulda named him Snake,” she said seriously.
I glared at her and struggled not to laugh as I walked toward the crowd outside 109. It consisted of several men wearing matching gold on black T-shirts emblazoned with a roaring lion and the slogan #TeamLion – FEEL THE BEAST.
Why did that sound vaguely sexual?
The other men standing outside wore suits or blazers and slacks. There were also a few women best described as trashy strippers: tight micro skirts, flashy bedazzled tops with too much cleavage, fake boobs, spray tans, garish makeup, etc. I’m sure a significant portion of the male population found women like these highly desirable, but to me they looked like sparkly clowns.
One of the strippers had a strategically messy pile of dark hair on her head that was the largest I’d seen since the late 1980s. On her, somehow it worked. Her eyes raked over me with obvious judgement and a hint of a challenge, like she saw me as competition. Competition for what, I wasn’t sure. She sneered, “Who are you?”
I wanted to say, Was the stethoscope and white lab coat not enough of a giveaway? But I was a professional and kept it to myself. “I’m the doctor.”
“Mind if I see my patient?”
“Whatever,” she huffed and turned her back to me.
I squeezed past her into the exam room. More burly men in #TeamLion T-shirts filled the room.
Latisha was right.
One look at the nearly naked man reclining on the hospital bed said it all. He made my favorite firefighters Troy and Rick look like regular Joes. Lion Maxwell was in another league. He was dangerously gorgeous. Emphasis on danger. Thick dark hair and equally dark eyes added a brooding quality. A number of contusions and cuts were scattered over his face and torso, but on him it looked good, like they belonged there. This man was a warrior and he’d obviously been in a fight. Even lying down, he exuded a masculine energy that said Do not mess with me or I will destroy you. Add to that his perfect body that was hard and scarred and chiseled in the extreme. Exactly what you would expect from the king of the beasts.
Devon Hartford is a dude who writes romantic comedies because he likes to laugh as much as he likes to love.
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