By: Allie Juliette Mousseau

I get it. Christ! Enough already.

Just as they’re walking out, Silva comes walking in.

“How did the meeting go?” I ask too eagerly. In the past week I’ve been trying to analyze my affections toward Sophie. I won’t deny that part of (okay, a lot of) the energy is carnal. I want to be inside her in a very, very bad way. Caruso’s absolutely correct in his assessment; Sophie’s hands have been over every inch of me—except for the screaming, growling, growing inches between my legs. Not to mention the fact that I haven’t even been able to relieve myself at all! Talk about agony.

“Are you listening to me, North?” Silva’s gruff, impatient voice breaks through my thoughts.


“Brilliant,” he chides. “Try again. Focus this time. Sophie won’t accept the position.”

Disappointment floods my veins. Shit. “Why not?”

“She doesn’t want to lose her new position at the hospital.”

“Why would she have to choose between the two?” I try.

“She’d be able to stay on here when you’re training here in Williston, but when we’re out of town she’d be required to come with us and she doesn’t want to get replaced,” Silva explains.

“She’s probably read up on you,” McGee jokes, but it rubs me the wrong way.

“Did she talk about her husband?” I growl more than I mean to.

“No. She didn’t even mention being married.” My statement appears to make Silva think. “You know, we can easily find another massage therapist who’d take the ridiculous salary I offered.”

As if on cue, Sophie comes striding in. I can’t stop the smile that spreads wide over my face. I’ve only ever seen her in a 5x5 inch mirror, upside down. She’s more than beautiful, she’s gorgeous. Her dark brown hair is pulled back into a long ponytail that bounces as she walks. Her soft curves are masked by the light pink hospital scrubs she’s wearing, and I wonder what she’d look like naked. She has a look of steel in her eyes, but her face softens when she sees me sitting up in the bed. I can’t help but smile more at the idea that maybe I’ve got some pull on her too.

“I’m glad to see you sitting up.” Her hand gestures toward me.

“What do you think of that?” I say. “Doc says I’ll be walking and fighting in no time.” I jab soft fists into the air.

“I’m sure you’re aware of the offer Mr. Silva presented me with.” It’s not a question, as she moves right to business.

“We have discussed it,” I concede. “Didn’t you approve of the salary that was offered?”

“I can’t jeopardize my position here at the hospital. I have school loans to pay off and a family to support,” she says, looking resolved.

“I can understand that,” I say before hitting the subject head-on. “I’m sure your husband doesn’t want you to travel around with The Jackhammer either.”

“What?” Her eyes are instantly on alert.

“Husband?” I reiterate.

“Who mentioned a husband?” Her back straightens as she bristles.

“I just figured …” Her stance is throwing me off. “You said you take care of Charlie.”

“Charlie?” At this, she throws her head back and lets out a long laugh.

She’s so damn cute, I don’t care that she’s laughing at me. In fact, I’m thinking of how I can make her laugh again—husband or not.

“Charlie is my daughter,” she says. “I’m not married. I don’t even have a boyfriend.”

Sophie’s cheeks are a pretty shade of red from laughing, and she seems to blush even further after offering me that extra information about not having a boyfriend. And now I have my answer—she’s fair game.

“Listen, a woman who’s part of your entourage would certainly gain a reputation …” She hesitates. “A reputation just like yours.” She lets each word hang in the air before saying the next.

Interesting how I’ve always worn that reputation like a badge of honor—except, maybe in front of my mother—and now this woman I hardly know has me wanting to erase it and render my slate clean.

“Whatever Silva offered you, I’ll double it.”

Silva’s mouth hits the floor and Sophie’s eyes widen.

“I would have strict conditions,” Sophie says slowly, and I think the hope must be visible in my eyes.

“What are your conditions?” I wager cockily, knowing I’ll meet them, whatever they are.

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