Tattoos don’t define a person’s character, or make him sexy. But, if you ask Sam Madison, they sure don’t hurt.
Dr. Travis Nelson has a passion for ink but keeps his many tattoos covered by long sleeves and trousers. He’s aware that as a pediatrician he’ll be judged not only by the other physicians in his practice, but also by the parents of his young patients.
When Sam Madison takes his young nephew, Levi, to be seen for an ear infection, he’s immediately attracted to Travis and the feeling is mutual. But Sam’s sister Melanie is going through a rough time and caring for Levi, and covering her obligations, keeps Sam occupied. He feels like he’s in no position to start a relationship.
Travis sees things differently, though he’s unable to truly understand the deep bond and connection Sam shares with his twin. As Melanie’s life goes from bad to worse, Sam is forced to make difficult decisions. Is protecting Levi enough of a reason for the two men to stay together, or will fighting for the child ultimately tear them apart?
About the Author
Jenna Byrnes could use more cabinet space and more hours in a day. She'd fill the kitchen with gadgets her husband purchases off TV and let him cook for her to his heart's content. She'd breeze through the days adding hours of sleep, and more time for writing the hot, erotic romance she loves to read.
Jenna thinks everyone deserves a happy ending, and loves to provide as many of those as possible to her gay, lesbian and hetero characters. Her favourite quote, from a pro-gay billboard, is "Be careful who you hate. It may be someone you love."
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Jenna Byrnes 2016. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.“Ouch, that hurts!” The child jerked his arm away and looked up with an irritated expression on his face.
Dr. Travis Nelson released his grip on the boy and ruffled the youngster’s hair. “Sorry, champ. Looks like you have a broken arm.” He turned to the child’s mother. “The X-ray shows it’s a slight fracture, but it’ll heal better in a cast. I’m going to have the nurse call over to the orthopedics office and see when they can work you in. We’ll give you the films to hand carry. Hang tight here for a few minutes.”
“Thank you.” The relieved woman smiled at him gratefully, then batted her eyelashes. “I really appreciate it. The other moms on the playground were right. You’re the best.” She crinkled her nose.
“Don’t mention it.” He opened the door and motioned for his nurse to follow him out. Travis looked at the boy one more time. “Sit tight here for a bit, Jason. Nurse Izzie will be back with some instructions for your mom, and we’ll see if she can’t find a toy for you.”
“Thank you.” The child offered a small smile in return.
Travis pulled the door closed behind his nurse, Isabelle.
Izzie made a note on the paper chart then grinned up at him. “Four out of five moms on the playground recommend Dr. Travis to heal their child’s boo-boos.”
He blinked at her, a serious expression on his face. “Only four out of five? What happened to the fifth one?”
“She’s gay.” Izzie shrugged. “Can’t win ’em all.”
He laughed. “Yeah, well, maybe if we put the word out that I am, too, I wouldn’t feel like I had to take you along for protection every room I went into.”
“Nah.” She shook her head. “We might lose too much business. Let the moms keep their fantasies. It’s our job security.”
“Whatever. Get Jason an appointment with the ortho guys, will you, please? Copies of the X-rays for his mom to take along. And a toy.”
Izzie scanned her notes. “Ortho, X-rays, toy. Check. Janel’s in room two with your next patient.”
“Check.” He smiled at her then went to the next exam room, pausing to wash his hands just before he entered. He grabbed the chart and examined it quickly. Levi Madison was a six-year-old male with fever, ear drainage and loss of appetite. Ear infection. The nurse had pegged it. He just needed to confirm the diagnosis.
He opened the door and went in. A thin boy with curly blond hair sat on the exam table. “Hi, Levi. I’m Dr. Travis. I hear you’re not feeling well today.”
The boy shook his head.
“Well, we’re going to have a look and see if we can’t get you fixed right up.” He turned to the chairs next to the table and was surprised to see a man rather than a woman accompanying the child.
And what a man! He sported the same curly blond hair as the child, just long enough to cover his ears and collar. His eyes were clear blue, and there was a small tuft of hair below his bottom lip. A soul patch. Travis tried not to focus on the lips, but they were as pink and perfect as any he’d ever seen.
When he rose, Travis could see that the guy was an incredible specimen. About the same height as Travis, this guy’s physique displayed firm muscles in his arms and flat abs covered by a thin T-shirt. He wore tight, faded jeans that were ripped in several places. Travis thought—he thought—that he could see the outline of a large cock running down the inside of one thigh through denims. He could have drooled, but he had enough professionalism to control himself. “Mr. Madison? I’m Dr. Travis Nelson.”
“Sam Madison,” he confirmed and extended his hand.
Travis grasped it and shook. The hunk’s grip was warm and strong, not clammy or weak. Of course it is. What else would he have expected from a man that fine? Focus, Doc. He cleared his throat. “So, how long has Levi been running a fever?”
“A couple of days, I guess. His mom didn’t say for sure. But it’s not getting any better, and now he doesn’t have an appetite. He says his throat isn’t sore.”
Travis nodded. His mom didn’t say for sure. Does that mean Dad doesn’t live with Mom? His mind wandered, conjuring up scenarios. They all led to the same conclusion. If Sam had a child and the mom was still in the picture, he was more than likely not gay. Too bad.
He sighed. Ah, well. Doctors need fantasies, too. He pulled an otoscope from his pocket and turned to Levi. “Let’s have a look in those ears.” He inspected both ears and found them inflamed with drainage. Travis listened to the boy’s breathing, checked his mouth and assessed the vital signs on the chart. “Well, this doesn’t look too bad.” He glanced in the ears one last time and spoke to the nurse. “Otitis media.”
“Yes, Doctor.” Janel made her notes in the chart. “You want amoxicillin?”
He turned back to the father. “Any antibiotic allergies?”
The handsome man looked confused for a moment. He looked at Levi. “You’re not allergic to any medicines, are you?”
Levi shook his head.
Sam glanced at Travis and shrugged. “I guess not.”
Travis hesitated, uncertain about taking the word of the child. If I had a kid, I sure as hell would know if he had a drug allergy. “You’re not sure? Has he had many ear infections?”
“I don’t think so.” Sam looked at Levi again. “Do you get sick like this often?”
“No,” Levi answered.
Hmm. Travis wondered if Sam was a ‘weekend dad’. They saw that pretty often on Fridays. He turned to the boy. “Have you taken antibiotics before? The kind I’m considering is pink, and you take it by mouth three times a day.”
“The pink stuff.” Levi nodded. “Tastes like bubblegum.”
“That’s right, the pink stuff.” Travis gazed back at Sam. “If you don’t know his history, I’d feel better if we had access to records from his last pediatrician.”
Sam appeared uncomfortable. “Honestly, Doc, I don’t think he’s ever had one before. His mom’s always just taken him to the free clinic or the County Health Department for shots. I know he’s had those—he had to be up to date when he started school.”
“True.” Travis felt a little better knowing at least that much. He couldn’t help but ask, “Does he have insurance?”
The father shook his head.
“Okay, well, listen. I’m going to write you a prescription for amoxicillin. Take it to any pharmacy. This stuff is cheap, like, four bucks. It has to be refrigerated, and he has to have it three times a day. If you can get it filled this afternoon, give him two doses today, and start again in the morning, three times a day. Continue until it’s gone. Don’t stop once he’s feeling better. Can you do that?”
Sam set his jaw. “I’m pretty sure I can master the concept of three times a day, yeah.”
The jab hit Travis where it was intended, and he smiled. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend. Some parents—most, in fact—don’t get how important this is. They never get around to finishing all the medicine once the child is up and running around again.” He scribbled instructions onto his prescription pad, tore the top sheet off, and handed it to Sam.
Accepting the paper, Sam smiled back. “No offense taken. I’m definitely not like most parents. But this little guy means the world to me, so I’ll make sure he gets the pink stuff three times a day until it’s gone. I promise you that.”
Travis nodded. “Good enough. Nurse Janel, here, is going to give you some information on treating the symptoms of otitis media. Some tips and tricks to making the patient feel better. And then she’s going to find a toy for Levi.” He leaned down to the boy. “You’ve got to promise to take your medicine like a trooper and do what your parents ask you to do, so you can get all better. Can you do that?”
“Good man.” Travis rose and faced Sam. “He should feel better in a day or two. If he’s not himself in a week, call the office and we’ll see him again.”
“Thank you, Dr. Travis.” Sam’s voice had an amused tone.
He grinned and, with a slight nod, walked out. Sam seemed to be mocking him just a bit, but he didn’t care. It wasn’t his idea for the doctors in their practice to be called by their first names—‘Dr. Travis’ versus ‘Dr. Nelson’, as most physicians who saw adults were called. The men who’d started the pediatric practice had wanted it that way. He was merely the newest partner hired on as the others aged toward retirement. And he didn’t mind good-natured teasing. It did sound strange to call himself Dr. Travis, but whatever. He’d graduated medical school with honors and had chosen pediatrics as his specialty. People could say what they wanted, or think what they wanted. I’m a good doctor who cares about children. That was what kept him going during the day.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
'Acceptable Behavior' is the first full-length novel I have read by Jenna Byrnes. My only other experience with this author was a short story in an anthology and I really enjoyed her writing. I'm woman enough to admit that tattoos are a huge turn-on even if they're hidden under clothing.... especially if they're hidden. *grins* The blurb for this book caught me because I'm a sucker for a tattooed guy and a kid who needs some help from his uncle. Yeah, the description pretty much had me right from the gate. I liked and admired Sam straight from the beginning. Having siblings myself, I know it's a whole lot easier to say "I'm done, deal with your mess yourself" and walk away, than it is to try to help, particularly when there's a child involved. Levi is six and has had a pretty tough life with a dad who is in prison and a mom who still runs with the same crowd, getting high before her job as a waitress in a bar at night. Sam moved into their run-down apartment to try to help Melanie get her life back together and to help care for Levi. He didn't expect Travis and he certainly doesn't have time for a relationship. Travis is an only child so even though he understands, in his mind, the difficulties Sam is facing with Melanie, he has no frame of reference to understand emotionally. He's an excellent pediatrician, loves his job, and falls fairly quickly for Sam. In fact, that was one of the things that didn't sit right with me was how quickly Sam and Travis advanced in their relationship. You know, the one Sam said he didn't want and didn't have time for? Overall this was a good, sexy, sweet story about two men beating the odds and doing what was right. However, there were more than a few things that niggled at me and wouldn't let me be. First was how quickly Sam and Travis's relationship moved forward when they didn't really know each other very well and, in fact, I never got a good feel for either character which could totally be my fault. The second was how predictable the storyline became in terms of Sam, Melanie, and Levi. And how quickly Travis jumped on that bandwagon. The whole scenario didn't work well for me but, again, this is only my opinion and someone else will probably view it differently. If you enjoy a story about two men making it work under seemingly tough odds then this might just work for you. I definitely loved the relationship between Travis, Sam, and Levi. I think every child should have that kind of love. All in all this is a sweet romance with some drama and a happy ever after. NOTE: This book was provided by Pride Publishing for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews
This book caught me off guard with how much I enjoyed it, even though it was so short. The attraction between Sam and Travis was just amazing and off the charts. I loved watching as they tried to figure out their relationship, and how it would work out between the two of them. The only thing that I did have an issue with was how controlling Travis was. It was quite a bit uncomfortable at times because he would completely take over everything about Sam and Levi’s lives. But, even taking that into consideration, I still enjoyed the story line and everything that was going on in the story. Travis’s character was very touch and go for me personally. I liked him, but didn’t love him. However Sam’s character was one that I was able to connect with completely. I do want to give the author complete props for the way they portrayed the drug issues with Melanie and how it affected everyone around her. Overall, I did enjoy this book and I will be sure to look for more from this author in the future. Reviewed by Crystal Marie for Crystal’s Many Reviewers *Copy provided for review*
Both Sam and Travis are such a wonderful. Reading about them struggle with age difference, family obligation and your own happiness was so enlightening. I just fall in love with all the characters. I want to put it down. Can't wait to look into other books of hers. May have found a new favorite author.