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Tempted by a heartbreaker?
Cate knows that sexy-as-sin Dr. Juan Morales has most of the other nurses eating out of his hand! This Argentinian consultant works hard and plays hard, and that's just not sensible Cate's way. But there is a secret in the depths behind that seductive face . There's also something about his live-life-to-the-fullest attitude that seems to be contagious! The more Juan flirts with her, the more Cate is tempted . Dare she...
Tempted by a heartbreaker?
Cate knows that sexy-as-sin Dr. Juan Morales has most of the other nurses eating out of his hand! This Argentinian consultant works hard and plays hard, and that's just not sensible Cate's way. But there is a secret in the depths behind that seductive face . There's also something about his live-life-to-the-fullest attitude that seems to be contagious! The more Juan flirts with her, the more Cate is tempted . Dare she risk it all for just one night?
'Sorry, Juan, I didn't mean to wake you.' Cate Nicholls stopped twisting a long brown curl around her finger and cringed at the sound of Juan's deep, heavily accented-but clearly sleepy-voice when he answered the phone.
'It is no problem. Is that you, Cate?'
'Yes.' She blushed a little that Juan had recognised her voice. He had only done a few locum shifts at the Melbourne Bayside Hospital emergency department, but the tension between them sizzled. Cate had tried everyone she could think of before finally accepting Harry's suggestion and phoning Juan to see if he could come in. A fully qualified anaesthetist from Argentina, he was travelling around the world for a year or two and was as sexy-as-sin as a man could possibly be and still remain popular. 'I'm really sorry to have disturbed you. Were you working last night?'
'Oh!' Cate glanced up at the clock-it was two p.m., why on earth would he still be in bed? Then Cate heard the sound of a female voice and cringed again as Juan told whoever the woman was that he took three sugars in his coffee. Then his silken voice returned to Cate.
'So, what can I do for you?'
'Sheldon called in sick and we haven't been able to get anyone else in to cover him.'
'Does Harry know that you're calling me?'
Cate laughed-Harry, one of the senior emergency department consultants, went into sulking mode whenever Juan was around; he was still annoyed that Juan had knocked back his offer of a three-month contract to work in the department. 'It was Harry who suggested that I call you.'
'So, what time do you want me to come in?'
'As soon as you can get here.' Cate looked out at the busy emergency department. 'It's really starting to fill up ' She paused for a moment as Harry said something. 'Could you hold on, please, Juan?' Cate called out to Harry, 'What did you say?'
'Tell Juan that even though we really need him to get here as soon as possible, he can stop for a haircut on the way if he feels so inclined!'
Juan's shaggy long black hair, unshaven appearance and relaxed dress sense drove Harry crazy and Cate was smiling as she got back to her conversation with Juan. 'I assume that you heard that?'
'I did,' Juan answered. 'Tell Harry that he loves me really.' Cate listened as Juan yawned and stretched and she tried not to think about him in bed, naked, at two in the afternoon. 'Okay,' he said. 'I'll just have a quick shower and I'll be there as soon as I can.'
'Thanks, Juan.' Cate hung up the phone and wrote his name on the board. Harry glanced over and gave a quick shake of his head.
'If ever there was a man inappropriately named, it's Dr Morales,' Harry said, and Cate had to laugh. Juan had quite a reputation, and even just writing his name down would have a few staff scurrying off to check their make-up and hair.
Cate refused to.
Washing her hands before heading back out to the patients, she saw her reflection in the mirror. Yes, her shoulder-length hair could do with being re-tied and her serious hazel eyes might look better with a slick of mascara, but she simply refused to make that effort for Juan.
She wasn't about to play with fire.
With three older brothers who had all been wild, to say the least, not a lot shocked the rather sensible Cate, but Juan managed to at times-either with his daredevil sports or with the endless women he briefly bedded. He raised more than a few eyebrows when he happily regaled his colleagues with tales of his trip around Australia, but what shocked Cate most was the internal fight she was having to put up to not simply give in to that sensual smile and dive headfirst into his bed.
They had hit the ground flirting but then Cate had backed off-soon realising that Juan and his rather reprobate ways were far more than she could handle.
Cate had returned from two weeks' annual leave, newly single after breaking up with her boyfriend of more than two years, and her stomach had turned over at the very sight of Juan. She'd never had such a violent reaction to anyone and, foolishly, she had told herself she was just testing out her flirting wings on the sexy locum, just indulging in a little play flirt the first time they had met.
Cate had never really thought he'd ask her to join him for a drink that night, though his eyes had said bed.
She still burnt at the memory of their first meeting-the rush that had come as she'd met his grey eyes, the desire to say yes, to hell with it all, for once to give in and choose to be reckless. Instead, she had refused his offer politely and, in the few times she'd seen him since then, Cate had played things down-denied the attraction that sizzled between them and tried her best to keep things strictly about work.
'Juan is a very good doctor, though,' Cate reminded Harry, because even if Juan was a bit of a rake, there was no disputing that fact.
'Yes, but his talent's wasted,' Harry said, but then sighed. 'Maybe I'm just envious.'
'I've never met a more talented emergency doctor than you,' Cate said, and she meant it. Harry was a fantastic emergency doctor as well as a highly renowned hand surgeon, only it wasn't Juan's medical talent that Harry was referring to.
'I meant maybe I'm envious of Juan's freedom, his take-itor-leave-it attitude. He actually doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks. It would be lovely just to work one or two shifts a week and spend the rest of the time kicking back!' Harry gave a wry smile. 'But, then, Juan doesn't have four-year-old twins to worry about. Make that, Juan doesn't have anything to worry about.'
'Are things not getting any better?' Cate asked. She liked Harry a lot and had been devastated for him when his wife had been brought in last year after a car crash. Jill had died two weeks later in ICU, leaving Harry a single father to his young twins, Charlotte and Adam.
'The nanny just handed in her notice,' Harry said. 'Another one!'
Cate gave a sympathetic groan but Harry just rolled his eyes and headed back out to deal with the patients. 'It will sort itself out,' Harry said.
'Ooh!' Kelly smiled when she saw Juan's name up on the board. 'That just brightened up my afternoon! With a bit of luck Juan will come out for drinks with us tonight after work.' Kelly winked.
'I'm sure that he will,' Cate said. 'I can't make it, though.'
'Come on, Cate,' Kelly pushed. 'You said that you would. It's Friday night, you can't sit around moping about Paul '
'I'm not moping about Paul. When I said that I'd come out, I didn't realise that I was working in the morning,' Cate lied.
'But you said that you'd drive,' Kelly reminded her. 'It's still a week till payday.'
Yes, Cate thought, she had said she'd drive but that had been before she had known Juan would be working into the evening- he wasn't exactly known for turning down a night out.
Juan worked to live rather than lived to work-that had been his explanation when he had irked Harry by turning down his job offer. Juan had told Harry that he would prefer to work casual shifts at various Melbourne hospitals rather than be tied to one place. And, given he only worked one or two shifts a week, it had been thanks but, no, thanks from Juan. Cate had been surprised that Harry had even offered him the role.
He was, though, an amazing doctor.
He was amazing, Cate conceded to herself as she went to help Kelly make up some fresh gurneys and do a quick tidy of the cubicles.
Juan was also the last complication she needed.
Still, she put his impending arrival out of her mind, just glad to have the doctor shortage under control for now.
'Where's Christine?' Cate asked as she stripped a gurney and gave it a wipe down before making it up with fresh linen.
'Guess,' Kelly answered. 'She's hiding in her office. If you do get the job, please don't let that ever be you!'
Cate was soon to be interviewed for the role of nurse unit manager and it was fairly certain that the position would be hers. Lillian, the director of acute nursing, had practically told her so. Cate was already more hands on with the patients than most of the associate nurse unit managers, and if she did get the role she had no intention of hiding herself away in the office or going over the stock orders to try and save a bean. It had also been heavily hinted that, after Christine's haphazard brand of leadership, the powers that be wanted a lot more order in Emergency-and it had been none-toosubtly pointed out that the nurses were not there to babysit Harry's twins.
If she did get the job, Cate knew there was going to be a lot to deal with.
'Is this cubicle ready?' Abby, who was doing triage, popped her head in. 'I've got a gentleman that needs to be seen.'
'Bring him in,' Cate said. 'Kelly, if you could carry on sorting out any empty cubicles, that would be great.'
Kelly nodded and headed off and Cate took the handover as they helped the painfully thin gentleman move from the wheelchair to the gurney. His wife watched anxiously.
'This is Reece Anderson,' Abby introduced. 'He's thirty-four years old and has recently completed a course of chemotherapy for a melanoma on his left thigh. Reece has had increasing nausea since this morning as well as abdominal pain.'
'He didn't tell me he was in pain till lunch-time.' There was an edge to his wife's voice. 'I thought the vomiting was the after effects of the chemo.'
'Okay, Reece.' Cate introduced herself. 'I'm going to help you to get into a gown and take some observations and then we shall get you seen just as soon as we can.' Reece was clearly very uncomfortable as well as dehydrated, and there was also considerable tension between him and his wife.
'The heat has made this last round of treatment unbearable,' his wife said. 'We don't have air-conditioning.' She looked more tense than the patient. 'I'm Amanda, by the way.'
'Hi, Amanda. Yes, I'm sure the heat isn't helping,' Cate said as she looked at Reece's dry lips and felt his skin turgor. 'We'll get a drip started soon.'
Melbourne was in the grip of a prolonged heat wave and more patients than usual were presenting as dehydrated. Cate had been moaning about the heat and lack of sleep herself, but to imagine being unwell and going through chemotherapy made her rethink her grumbles.
'Why don't you go home?' Reece suggested to his wife as, between retches, Cate helped him undress. 'I could be here for ages.'
'I've told you, I'm not going home. I don't want to leave you till I know what's happening.' Amanda's response was terse.
'You have to pick up the kids from school.'
'I'm going to ring Stella and let her know what's going on. She can get them '
'Just go home, will you?' Reece snapped.
Cate looked over at Amanda and saw that she was close to tears.
'Just leave,' Reece said.
'Oh, I might just do that!' Amanda's voice held a challenge and Cate guessed this wasn't the first time they'd had this row. 'I'm going to ring Stella and ask her to pick them up.'
Amanda walked out of the cubicle and Reece rested back on the pillows as Cate took his baseline observations. 'I can't believe I'm back in hospital. Amanda should be sorting out the children, not me.'
Cate didn't comment; instead, she headed out and had a brief word with Harry, who was working with Kelly on a critical patient who had just arrived. He said he would get there just as soon as he could but, given how long the wait might be, Harry asked if Cate could take some bloods and start an IV.
Reece was pretty uncommunicative throughout but, as she went to leave, finally he asked a question. 'Do you think it's the cancer spreading?'
'I think it's far too early to be speculating about anything,' Cate said. 'We'll get these bloods off and a doctor will be in just as soon as possible.'
While she had sympathy for Reece and could guess how scared he must be, Cate's heart went out to Amanda when she found her crying by the vending machine.
'Come in here,' Cate offered, opening up an interview room to give Amanda some privacy. The interview rooms were beyond dreary, painted brown and with hard seats and a plastic table, but at least they were private. 'I know you must be very worried but it's far too early to know what's going on.'
'I can deal with whatever's going on health-wise,' Amanda said. 'We've been dealing with it for months now. It's Reece that I can't handle-his moods and constantly telling me to leave him alone.'
'It must be terribly hard,' Cate offered, wishing she could say more.
'It's nearly impossible.' Amanda shook her head with hopelessness. 'I'm starting to think that maybe he really doesn't want me around.'
'I doubt that,' Cate replied.
'So do I.' Amanda took a drink of coffee and slowly started to calm down-all she had needed was a short reprieve. 'You know, if that really is what he wants, then tough! I'm not going to walk away,' Amanda said, draining her drink and screwing up the cup as she threw it into the bin. 'Like it or not, I'm not going anywhere.' Amanda wiped her eyes and blew her nose then walked back to be with her husband.
Cate was wondering if she should try and find the intern to see Reece, though she did want someone more senior; then she considered calling in a favour from one of the surgical team and asking them to come down without an emergency doctor's referral, but then she saw Juan walk in.
He really was the most striking man Cate had ever seen. His tall, muscular frame was enhanced by the black Cuban-heeled boots that he wore. Today he was wearing black jeans with a heavily buckled belt and a grey and black shirt that was crumpled. His black hair was long enough that it could easily be tied back, but instead it fell onto his broad shoulders and, fresh from the shower, his hair left a slight damp patch on his shirt.
Cate's first thought on seeing him wasn't relief that finally there was an extra pair of hands and she could get Reece seen quickly.
Instead, as always, he begged the question-how on earth did she manage to say no to that? He was sex on long legs certainly, but more than that he made her smile, made her laugh. Juan just changed the whole dynamics of the place.
'You made good time!' Cate said, as he came over and she caught the heady whiff of Juan fresh from the shower.
'I got a lift.'
Ah, yes, Cate reminded herself, he'd had company when she'd called. Juan didn't have a car, he wasn't in any one place long enough for that, so instead he used public transport or, more often than not, he ran to work and treated everyone to the delicious sight of him breathless and sweaty before he headed for the staff shower.
'Where would you like me to start?' he asked. Juan was always ready to jump straight into work.
'Cubicle four,' Cate said, giving him a brief background on the way. She saw Reece's and Amanda's eyes widen just a fraction as a very foreign, rather unconventional-looking doctor entered the cubicle, yet Juan was so good with patients that within a moment he had Reece at ease.