If only he wasn't so good at being bad...
The Bradfords, Book 1
Dr. Ben Torres, better-than-a-Boy-Scout, surgeon extraordinaire, has been interested in ER nurse Jessica Bradford-and her bright red peek-a-boo thong-for a long time now. But punching a patient in the nose-and the subsequent suspension-is probably not the best way to get on her good side.
Or is it?
Jessica is one step away from the big promotion she's worked for all her professional life, and now everything rides on her ability to keep Dr. Perfect-aka handsome, heroic Ben-on a short leash until the potential lawsuit blows over. And to keep her raging crush on him under wraps.
First order of business is to pry her knight in shining scrubs' perfect ass off a bar stool. Except he refuses to move until she agrees to-and then loses-a bet for 48 hours of her undivided attention.
It's all downhill from there. And despite herself, Jessica can't help but give in to the temptation to go down with him.
Warning: Contains hot love in a store dressing room and in the front seat of a car-at the expense of a very nice strawberry patch, unfortunately-oh, and hooker boots. Can't forget the hooker boots.
© copyright Erin Nicholas, 2009
Ben turned to see Jessica standing next to Hank, shoes off, holding a pool cue.
"Do you know how?" Ben asked, smiling at the picture she presented. This wasn't the type of place he'd ever pictured her in, but she seemed to be adjusting...almost getting comfortable. Interesting. Very interesting.
"As bad as you suck, I'm not sure it matters if I know how," she said. "But yeah, I've played."
"By all means," Ben said, gesturing at the table. "Show me what you've got."
"I think we need to establish what the stakes are." Jessica rubbed the little blue square of chalk over the end of her stick as she watched him.
He shrugged. "I've only got about fifty bucks left."
Jessica moved into position to break. She leaned over the end of the table, her skirt riding up on the backs of her thighs, positioned the cue between her first two right-handed fingers and lined up her shot.
And he might let her win if it kept her standing like that.
"If I win, you let me take you home, finally." She looked at him over her shoulder and smiled knowingly when she caught him studying her posterior assets.
"Okay." This pool game suddenly seemed like the best idea he'd had in a long time.
Jessica looked smug as she turned back to line up her shot again.
"Don't you want to know what I want if I win?" Ben asked, blatantly taking in the view.
"Sure. What do you want?"
"The next forty-eight hours with you."
She stared at him over her shoulder, then straightened and faced him. "What?"
"If I win, you spend the next forty-eight hours with me."
"Just like that?"
He shrugged. "Yeah. You drive me home and then you stay."
"I've, um. I've got...stuff to do."
"Call in sick."
She didn't hesitate. "I'm not sick."
Ben shook his head. "And you won't lie about something like that, right? It would be irresponsible."
Jessica raised her eyebrows. "Of course it would be."
Ben sighed. It was typical that the first woman he wanted to sleep with in far too long to remember was a good girl.
Ben rested a hip against the pool table and regarded Jessica. "What happens when you want to spend the whole day in bed?"
That annoying little flippy-thing happened in Jessica's stomach again. It had been a long time since she'd wanted to stay in bed for the reasons Ben was implying. But, yeah, he had a point. If that happened, what would she do?
She cleared her throat. "I could put the stuff off until later, I guess."
"I want you to spend the whole day with me," Ben said seriously. "Two days, actually. Forty-eight hours." Then he shrugged. "I can probably find someone else that would be
interested though. Since you're too busy."
Jessica frowned. Come to think of it, she did feel ill when she thought of Ben with any other woman.
"Fine. My stuff can wait."
Ben straightened and looked at her for a moment before he asked, "But you won't lie about being sick, right?"
"I'm not sick," she repeated. "But I'll take care of it."
"I'm sure you will," he said, almost to himself. But before she could ask him what he meant he said, "So, it's an enthusiastic yes?"
"It's a reluctant fine."
He grinned. "Good enough."
Jessica broke the triangle of balls apart with a resounding clack…and went on to sink five of her seven balls before even pausing to survey the table.
Ben was staring at the pocket into which yet another striped ball had fallen when she turned to smile at him smugly. It was worth all the irritation to see that look on his face.
She walked around the edge of the table to position her next shot. As she pulled her cue back she was confident that she would only need one more shot after this. But as she started her forward motion, Ben leaned over.
"Look at this picture," he said softly. "A long stick, hard balls, you bent over the table…"
Jessica stared at the ball that had bounced off the edge of the table and rolled back toward her. Damn. That should have been an easy shot.
Ben laughed and came around the corner of the table. He nudged her aside with his hip against hers.
"Okay, big shot. Let's see if you can win without me letting you." She slid over only enough to let him line up his shot and crossed her arms.
Ben lined up the shot and Jessica watched and heard the balls smack together, then the dull thud of them falling into the pockets: two balls in the same shot, in the two corner pockets on the opposite end of the table. It was a brilliant shot. The shot of someone who had played a lot. Not the shot of someone who had been losing money at the game. Not the shot of someone who had been drinking heavily.
He continued shooting until no solid balls were left on the green surface.
"Game over," Ben announced as the eight ball was still rolling down the shoot. He tossed his pool cue onto the table and lifted the beer mug, finishing off the last half.
She was still staring at the table.
"Let's go." Ben took her hand and started toward the door without a word to any of the people he'd spent the better part of his night, and wallet, on.
"You could have done that all along, couldn't you?" she asked, grabbing her purse off the sticky tabletop as they passed and then tripping along behind him.
He glanced back at the table. "Yeah, probably."
"Why didn't you? With those guys? Why drop all that money?" she asked as he pulled her out the door and into the parking lot.
He shrugged. "No motivation to win."
Jessica suddenly realized that she might have her hands full with Ben. Still stunned over how he'd finished the pool game just as she'd been completely convinced he could barely walk a straight line, Jessica stopped at her car door and inserted the key to unlock it. She might have her hands too full with him she amended. And not in a good way.