Usually cautious Dr. Ali Lockhart is starting afresh and leaving the ghosts of her life-changing accident behind. A Valentine's fling is just what she needs before starting her new career as a sports physician but then her handsome stranger turns out to be her new boss!
Dr. Aidan Tate's steely exterior hides a devastating heartbreak, but keeping things strictly professional with the tantalizing Ali is increasingly difficult. Especially as after that steamy night, what is forbidden promises to taste all the sweeter
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Ali scrunched her eyes as tightly as she could manage, then popped them open. Nope. No good. Even the snow-capped stadium filled to the brim with cheering rugby fans couldn't help her push That Night back to the inaccessible recesses of her memory. Who would've thought a liaison two weeks ago at an airport hotel would still be sending heated shivers of response careering round her body?
Fourteen days on and the sensations were just as potent. She'd wanted changeand now she was virtually swimming in it. Ali rubbed at her arms as if that would help scrub the heated thoughts away. Pah!
"Doc!" One of the players started doing star jumps on the sidelines. "You cold? Just do some of thesethey'll warm you up sharpish."
Ali tossed a smile at the player and made a little jog-in-place movement to show willing. She was "only" a locum up here, but the lads had already made her feel a welcome part of the beast that was the North Stars rugby team. She wondered what it would be like when the Chief Medical Officer got back from his holiday. She was used to running her own clinic, so being someone's subordinate would take a bit of a mental shift. But learning from a master of sports medicine? That would be worth it. Definitely.
After that who knew what lay ahead? Going back to En Pointe Physio didn't appeal. She wasn't sure if it ever would. The day she'd walked into her favorite coffee shop back in London and hadn't even needed to open her mouth to order her specialty mocha was the day she'd started hunting for a locum position. She didn't do predictable. She didn't do steady. The longer you stuck around somewhere, the more likely you were to get hurt. When you tried new thingslike an unexpected one-night stand on the eve of your new jobsuffice it to say, it shook things up a bit.
A shiver rippled up her spine, and even though it was pretty obvious the snowy weather had sent the chill she couldn't resist closing her eyes again. Letting go of that night was near impossible. Especially when her body was still responding to the memory of his caresses, smoothing and shifting along her bare skin.
His name ? A mysteryand it would stay that way.
Whatever had possessed them to head up to her hotel room that nightboth of them with their flights grounded for a measly three inches of snowhad been well worth it. Who was she kidding? She knew exactly what had possessed them. Pure as the driven snow, hot as molten lava: desire. Her first ever one-night stand and it had been about as smokin' hot as they got.
The roars and songs of the crowd blurred into white noise as she dipped and dived into the ten hours and forty-seven minutes they had spent together. And on Valentine's Day, to boot! She was normally a cynic when it came to twittering birds and love hearts. Life had shown her there was no such thing as "The One." Even so, the universe must've had other ideasat least for that one night.
"Cupid shot your plane down?" He had placed his drink on the bar next to her empty glass. Cheesy linebut from the quirk in his lips he'd known it.
Her attraction to him had been immediate.
"That obvious?" she'd shot back with a laugh and a smile.
The bartender had placed a fresh cocktail in front of her. One she hadn't ordered. A Cosmopolitan, complete with a twist of orange peel. Her favorite.
She wasn't normally a sucker for a well-dressed manbut this one ? No matter what had been about to play out there, she'd already known she would remember him as "The Suit."
He'd worn his as if he had been sewn into it. And she hadn't doubted for a second how delicious he would look out of it.
"Been here long?"
She'd felt him make the visual journey up from her biker-style boots, crossed at the ankle, to the bit of leg on show below the swing of fabric that had made up her wraparound dress.
Already, she'd only had eyes for him, and the buzz of magnetic energy had tugged them into a cocoon of "Me and You." Another sip of Cosmo, remarkably little chit-chat, a slight lift of his eyebrowshall we?and they had headed off to the elevators.
It had been raw animal attraction. They hadn't needed to discuss it. They'd just known. No names. No deep and meaningful forays into the other's psyche. Just unreserved, unadulterated, lust. She'd never felt anything consume her so completely before.
The doors of the elevator had barely shut before his hands had begun exploring her, heated kisses had drawn them closer together. She'd felt reckless, wanton, and exactly where she should have been. She'd been completely under his spell, and this total stranger had made himself at home with the dips and curves of her body. Fingers had slipped along waistlines, hands had been drawn possessively along hips, lips had tasted and teased and all she'd been able to do was respond.
She didn't even remember how they'd got to her room. But Ali could distinctly recall the moment her dress had slipped to the floor, her skin shuddering with desire as she'd pressed against him, still wearing every bit of that three-piece suit. She should have felt vulnerable, exposed. But she hadn't. Far from it. She'd felt feminine, sexy, and for the very first time she'd understood the power of desire.
The need to feel him inside her had grown as his hands had begun to explore her more intimately. Her breasts, then her nipples had grown taut as she'd pressed against the wool of his suit jacket. He'd slid a hand between her legs, his fingers slipping slowly back and forth, back and forth. Her breath had caught in her throat and he'd tipped his head down to lazily tease his tongue round first one nipple, then the other.
She'd rolled her feet up onto tiptoe. Fluidly, as if she were still dancing and the accident had never happened, she'd tucked first one leg and then, with a small hop, the other around his hips. He had easily carried her across the room to the high bed. As he'd begun to lower her swiftly, almost brusquely, he had turned her around, his hands moving along the sides of her breasts. Then one hand had traced along her front and the other down her back, until he'd cupped her between her legs. Her skin had felt as though it were on fire. She had never wanted anyone more than she'd wanted The Suit.
She'd felt his thick five o'clock shadow along her cheek and, as if he reading her mind, he'd whispered into her ear, "I only have twoso you're going to have to be patient."
Two condoms. One night with a man she'd never see again.
These walls better have soundproofing, she remembered thinking. She'd met her match, and from the way his hands had taken such pleasure in exploring her body he'd felt it, too.
"Woooo-hoooo! Did you see that, Doc?"
Ali snapped out of her sexy dreamscape, eyes scanning the field to quickly connect the dots. Must pay more attention!
The clutch of assistant coaches she'd stationed herself next to were whooping it up as the scoreboard flickered to life with a new set of numbers. The North Stars were surging ahead of their opponents.
She grinned and pulled her knitted team skullcap down over her ears. Man, it was cold out here! A far cry from her swish and well-heated therapy center in the heart of London.
The thought pleased and stung at the same time.
The Chief Medical Officer was due back sometime todaypossibly even mid-matchand it would hardly do for her to be caught daydreaming. Especially dreams of the super-naughty kind.
She forced herself to be alert to the players on the pitch. They were, after all, her responsibility.
As play recommenced, then abruptly stopped, Ali's senses sharpened. The crunch of shoulder on shoulder, skull on skull was never a nice sound, but these rugby boys didn't do things by halves.
The howls of pain coming from the field set her into motion. Drama queens, maybebut these men were not babies. A player was hurting.
Oblivious to the roar of the thousands of fans watching the heated North versus South trial match, Ali picked up her pace as the stretcherbearers joined her on the snow-spackled field. A scrum combined with a slippery playing surface could easily lead to a spinal injury. She hoped for the player's sake it wasn't the case.
The huddle of sweaty, mud-covered men split open as she arrived.
"Hope you've got a strong stomach, Harty," One of the players mumbled as she made it to the center of the group.
There, lying on the ground, staring straight ahead as he fought to control his breathing, was Chris Tracethe team's hooker. To say he was a sight to behold was putting it mildly. She almost had to laugh. She'd wanted a change and this was most definitely not the sort of injury you saw in the Royal Ballet.
Their player had taken the full brunt of a Southern Cross player's might. Blood was pouring from a gash in his forehead, and as he swept a hand across his face to clear it from his eyes it looked as though he was going to have one heck of a shiner by the end of play.
The stadium fell into a hush as both teams stood at attentionwaiting for the verdict.
"All right, Chris." Ali grabbed her run bag and pulled out some wipes. "Let's see what price you've paid for victory."
Spitting out his mouth guard, the athlete tried to grin up at her. A good sign.
"I'll be back on the field in no time, Doc. Just put a plaster or something on me and I'll be good to go." Chris couldn't stop the flinch crossing his broad face as he tried to lift his head.
"No, you don't!" Ali pressed him back down to the ground. "You're not going anywhere until I check you out. What happened to your goggles?"
She smiled down at him, admiring his determination to finish the game. The North Stars were grittily committed to being at the fore of the infamous North against South showdown in just over three months' time. The last day of her contract. Losing a player to an injury was the last thing they needed.
She began sponging the blood off his forehead to see how big a gash they were dealing with. Head injuries were big bleeders, and with all the sprawling around in the muck these guys did infection was easy to come by.
"Goggles popped off when I landed on my faceor someone's foot knocked them. Can't remember."
"Can't remember or can't think straight?" a male voice asked from behind her.
Ali froze. She knew that voice. It had whispered deliciously naughty intentions into her ear not so very long ago.
Her eyes moved along the ground from where she knelt with Chris, her breath caught tight in her chest. Blood began to thunder between her ears as a pair of leather shoes came into view and walked to the opposite side of Chris. It was all she could do not to cry out as the owner of the shoes came into view as he kneeled across from her. Oh, she knew him, all right. She knew him intimately. And she didn't know him at all.
As their eyes met Ali physically felt the breath being sucked out of her body.
Images flickered past her mind's eye, of their bodies tangled together in a series of sexual acrobatics she'd never believed possible. A wash of pleasure rippled through her and it was all she could do to keep her jaw clamped firmly shut.
She'd never asked him his real name. Nor had he of her. That had been their deal. One night only.
Someone needed to pinch her. And fast. "Take me through it."
He was speaking to her, but looking at Chris. What was he doing here?
"I want to find my goggles." Chris tried to push up from the ground again.
"No, you don't!"
"No, you don't!"
Ali could barely suppress a surprised smile as she and The Suit each pressed on a shoulder, keeping Chris on the ground.
"Not until we know what else you've done to yourself. How does the socket around your eye feel?" Ali pressed him down again, this time with her hands covered in purple nitrile gloves, before she gently palpated the area.
"Fineit's just the cut, Doc. Honestly. Dr.
For a second time Ali felt her chest constrict. "You're Aidan Tate?"
Dr. Aidan Tate? The award-winning sports medicine expert whose articles on non-surgical sports injuries she'd devoured like chocolate? The North Stars' Chief Medical Officer? And wait for it her new boss?
Well. This was a bit of a pickle.
The biggest freaking pickle in the whole entire universe!
Her tummy pirouetted and heated as she stared at himonly just managing to suppress a smile. A short, sharp shake shifted the X-rated images from her mind and she rapidly went back to swabbing away the blood from Chris's forehead.
"Earth to Lockhart! Harty? What gives? Am I getting back into play or what? Where are my goggles?" he shouted to the other players, who leapt into action.
Ali looked up and caught the eyes of her new boss. His face was unreadable. Hmm This was nothing short of awkward.
"Got 'em!" One of the Southern Cross players jogged over and handed the protective eye-wear to Chris, complete with blood and a tuft of muddy grass. He plopped them on the front of his blood-smeared face and gave Ali a See? I'm Fine grin.
"Nice look, Chris." Ali guffawed at the gruesomely comic sight, then looked across at Aidan Tate with a mortified expression. He was her new boss. Never mind that she'd seen him naked. He'd hired her to be a doctor, not to snicker at the players' made-for-Halloween gruesome faces.
Way to make an impression, Lockhart.
She was surprised to see Aidan smirk his approval at her reaction to Chris. She guessed he wanted to make sure the new girly doc could play gross with the rest of the boys.
She glanced at Aidan again, and he nodded for her to proceed. She couldn't help but feel whatever she said was going to be under microscopic examination. Which was fair enough. If she'd found out the man she'd had a sizzling one-night stand with was her shiny new employee she would probably have held him to a higher standard.
"The cut doesn't look too deep. Let's do the spine and concussion drills and then get you to the sidelines for a couple of stitches." Then for good measure she added, "And maybe give your specs a bit of a bath."
Ali trained her eyes on Chris and deftly carried out a thorough inspection of his neck and upper spine to make sure it was safe to move him.
"Any tingling sensations in your arms? Burning? Stinging?" She rattled through the checklist, all too aware of Aidan's eyes on her.
"Nah," Chris answered.
"Shortness of breath?" She tapped along his lungs. A pneumothorax would be an unwelcome complication.
Chris heaved in a deep breath of air and exhaled with a lion noise. His lungs were fine.
"Guess you've kept everything intact except your brainboxlucky boy. Wiggle your toes."
"I'mfine, Harty! We're a breed apart from all your fluffy ballerinas. Made of tougher stuff, we are."
"Oh, really? And here was me thinking you were only human." She signaled to the stretcher lads. He was safe to move off the field for a more thorough consultation.
"No way!" Chris pushed himself up. "I'm walking off on my own two feet, thank you very much."
He stood up between themweaving ever so slightlythen raised his arms in a victory move and swaggered off the field to the roar of the crowd.
Which left her face-to-face with Dr. Aidan Tate.
Her stomach gave a life-affirming heave and she almost lost her balance, whichconsidering she was still kneelingwas quite a feat. The man took her breath away. There was no getting away from that. Salt and pepper hair she'd run her fingers through on their way to naughtier climes, coffee-black eyes and a perfect set of cheekbones. Ohand had she mentioned his lips? They were very, very nice lips.
"Go on." He pointed toward the sidelines, pushing up to a standing position. "You've got work to do."
She rose and looked into his eyeshoping for some answers to the thousands of questions whirling round her head, well aware that every part of her body was responding to seeing him again. Hearing him. Being close enough to touch him.
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One Night…with Her Boss by Annie O’Neil Dr. Ali Lockhart is starting fresh. She is leaving behind the memories of the accident that changed her life and her dreams forever. Her mother always wanted Ali to be a ballerina. But that was not to be any longer. She changed careers and became a physician for dancers and then she got the challenge to fill in for Dr. Aidan Tate as a sports physician. Ali and Aidan who did not know each other prior to this were both stuck at an airport with bad weather. One thing led to another and they found themselves in a very steamy night, something neither of them had ever done. No names were even exchanged and they just wanted to remain strangers. It was Valentine’s Day and cupid was plotting something special. It was powerful attraction between the two and could they really go on to forget that night happened? Well nothing works out that way. Ali was watching the North Stars Rugby team and she knew that the Chief Medical Officer was due back that day. Maybe even during the game. As Ali watched she heard these horrible sounds of pain come from the field. There lay Chris Trace the team’s best player. She was warned that they hope she had a good stomach and Chris was a mess. His goggles were somewhere, and he had caught the full blow of the Southern Cross player. As she is asking about the goggles a male voice asked Chris if he can’t remember or can’t think straight. Ali does not even have to turn around to KNOW that voice. He is THE SUIT as she called him. Hearing his voice, being close enough to touch him. Now what between the two? Enjoy!