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The Doctor Wore Boots
By Debra Webb
Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Copyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOnce upon a time there was a beautiful young girl and a handsome young boy who fell deeply in love. But, alas, their families were at odds. So, determined to keep the two apart, the young boy's family took him and moved far, far away.
Many years later, when they were all grown up, the young man and the young woman found each other once more. Unwilling to risk separation again, they married swiftly before either of their families could object. As expected, many hurtful words were spoken, much damage was done, but love prevailed. Nothing could tear the loving couple apart.
To add to their happiness, less than one year later they were blessed with a perfect set of twin boys. The lovely young couple was so very happy at last. But that happiness was short-lived. Fate intervened in the form of a fatal car crash.
Both families were devastated. All that remained of their only children were the twin grandsons. A fierce custody battle ensued, widening the rift. Finally, a judge made the only fair decision he felt was possible; he gave each set of grandparents one of the twins. Due to the extreme hostility between the families, he ordered that all future contact be limited until they learned to get along. Taking the judge's words too much to heart, the estranged families, with their respective namesakes in tow, went their separate ways and never looked back.
* * *
Dex Montgomery allowed his briefcase to collapse to the floor next to the only empty table in the crowded bar. He jerked at his tie and dropped into a chair, completely disgusted.
Two hours. His flight was delayed for two hours. What was he supposed to do for two hours?
"Are you ready to order, sir?" Dex heaved a sigh fraught with equal measures of impatience and frustration and looked up at the waitress watching him expectantly.
"Scotch," he told her. "No water. And make it a double."
She nodded and headed in the direction of the bar, weaving her way through the throngs of occupied tables and pausing occasionally to take another customer's order.
Glancing at his watch, Dex considered whether or not to call in and inform his grandfather of the delay. He definitely wouldn't make this afternoon's meeting of the board. Dex frowned. Montgomery men had no tolerance for delays. There was little he could do about it, however. The old man would simply have to fend for himself. His frown relaxed a bit with that thought. Charles Dexter Montgomery, Senior, was getting a little soft anyway. Sparring with the sharks who made up the board of M3I would be good for him.
Considering the boring financial conference Dex had just endured, it was only fair. This was the third conference he'd attended in the last two months. He was sick of hearing how M3I could improve its profit margin. Dex clenched his jaw. Modern Medical Maintenance, Inc., affectionately known as M3I, maintained a very healthy profit margin. Dex and his grandfather saw to that. They'd started with a single facility in Atlanta and had built a medical empire. M3I now consisted of a chain of cutting-edge facilities throughout the Southeast. The business was focused on providing quality medical care and making a profit.
Not necessarily in that order. "Anything else?" The waitress placed the drink in front of him and smiled. Not a thank-you-for-your-patronage kind of smile, but one that became a predatory gleam in her eyes. She was flirting.
"No, thank you." He paid the lady and turned his attention to his drink. He didn't need a flirtatious waitress and he damn sure didn't need two hours in a bar.
He needed work. Dex almost laughed out loud at that one. What he did wasn't work, it was choreography. He led a well-rehearsed dance to the sound of money changing hands. The medical degree and license he held were mere icing on the cake of the distinguished position as chairman of the board. Dr. Dexter Montgomery. It had the right ring to it even if it wasn't for practicing medicine. No doctor with the Montgomery name would dare sully his hands treating patients. Not when there was money to be made.
Dex stopped himself. He always got this way when he spent any length of time away from the office. That's why he all but lived at the office. Work was his life. He knew nothing else, didn't even have a hobby. And why should he? He had plans. Plans that didn't include silly, sentimental musings.
"To profit margins," he muttered and downed a hefty gulp of Scotch.
The hair on the back of his neck suddenly stood on end. Frowning again, he tilted his head left then right, stretching to relieve some of the tension. But that little niggling sensation of being watched just wouldn't go away. He glanced around the room, then did a double-take. A couple of tables away a man, his cowboy hat on the table before him, sat, seemingly paralyzed, the glass in his hand halfway to his mouth.
Dex registered surprise first ... then incredulity. The cowboy was dressed differently than he was, no Armani or Cardin, but he looked exactly the same. Same thick dark hair, cropped short. Maybe his was a fraction longer. Same dark eyes ... same square jaw ... same ... everything.
Excerpted from The Doctor Wore Boots by Debra Webb
Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.