When "living a little"
While celebrating her promotion, the last thing strait-laced orthopedic surgeon Ingrid Walton expects is to be seduced by mysterious dashing soldier and army medic Clint Allen. Especially when there are consequences to their passionate night!
becomes "living for two"!
Seven months later Ingrid comes face-to-face with the father of her unborn baby now the new trauma surgeon! But Clint has changedhis last tour of duty has left emotional scars. Can sharing their baby, their work and an undeniable chemistry give them a chance to heal their pasts and enjoy the future together?
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About the Author
Born and raised just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Amy fled the big city to settle down with the country boy of her dreams. After the birth of her second child, Amy was lucky enough to realize her life long dream of becoming a romance author. When she's not furiously typing away at her computer, she's a mom to three wonderful children who use her as a personal taxi and chef.
Read an Excerpt
"Paging Dr. Walton. Dr. Walton, please head to the emergency room, stat."
Ingrid let out a sigh, not because she'd been paged but because she was hungry. The baby was kicking furiously, and there was a great chicken-salad sandwich with a big old dill pickle just two inches away from her mouth.
She was also dead tired, but that was to be expected. She was turning into a house apparently. A giant mountain of a woman who was forced to perform surgeries like a puppet on a stringdance, puppet, dance.
She glanced over at Dr. Maureen Hotchkiss, who'd just wandered into the ortho lounge and who sat down like she had no bones left in her body.
"Hey, Maureen, fancy going to the E.R. for a big, fat old pregnant lady?" She tried batting her eyelashes, but that never really got her anywhere.
"Sorry," Maureen said. "I have to go check on my cast for a kid with a greenstick fracture of the upper ulna in a moment, and there's no way in heck you're big. Neither are you fat. It makes me sick."
Maureen snorted. "No way. You're hormonal and delusional. Go on, I'm sure it won't be that bad. I'll watch your sandwich."
"Don't touch my sandwich or you're dead meat."
Maureen winked. "No promises."
Ingrid chuckled and with a sigh of regret set her sandwich down. She stood up with relative ease. Her pregnant belly wasn't a big issue now, but she imagined in a couple more months she wouldn't be moving through the hospital's hallways very fast.
Though she'd try her damnedest to keep up with the best of them. Right now she had control, but in a couple of months, well, she didn't like to think about it.
She stretched and then headed toward the E.R., which thankfully wasn't a long walk. When she got there, there wasn't too much activity and no one in the nearby beds looked like they needed an ortho consult.
"Who paged me?" Ingrid asked the charge nurse, Linda.
"Oh, Dr. Allen paged you. He's in room 26B."
"And it had to be me?" Ingrid gave her best pouty face. "What about Phil?"
Linda's glasses slid to the end of her nose as she looked at her. "Dr. Reminsky is on vacation and she's not an ortho attending."
Right. Oncologist and the all-inclusive Caribbean vacation that she and Philomena had been talking about taking when Ingrid was promoted. The one she had had to cancel because of her new circumstances. Don't live a little was In-grid's new philosophy. She swore she'd never be so reckless again in her life.
She sighed. "Right. I'd forgotten she left this afternoon for that. Thanks, Linda."
Linda gave her a sympathetic smile and turned back to her paperwork.
She'd never met Dr. Allen before. He was new, and she hoped that he was a decent guy to work with, since she seemed to get all the trauma pages. Ingrid shuffled down the hall and knocked on the room 26B's door before opening it. "Hi, there, did someone page ortho?"
Dr. Allen had his back to her, but there was something about his stance that tugged at the corner of her mind.
It was when he turned around. "Hi, Dr. Walton " The words died in his throat, whereas Ingrid felt like the world had dropped out from beneath her feet. She stood there stunned, like a deer trapped in a set of headlights, as she stared into those light cerulean eyes that had the darkest rims around them so they seemed to make the blue of his irises pop.
It was his eyes that had attracted her to him in the first place. The only difference now was that his dark hair had grown out from the buzz cut of all those months ago.
He'd also aged a bit, but then again war could do that to a person. Still, it was him. Clint. The soldier who had taken her virginity, the man she'd lived a little with.
The man who still haunted her dreams.
And for one brief flicker she could still recall the feel of his hands on her body, his lips on her skin. Those strong, large hands on her throat and in her hair as she moved on top of him, his deep voice in her ear, telling her what to do, encouraging her.
Suddenly it became very hot in the exam room and she knew her cheeks were flushing. She pulled at her collar and tried to dispel from her mind the memories of his naked body tangled with hers.
Though it was hard to do. So hard.
Dr. Allen cleared his throat. "Dr. Walton?" he finally managed to ask.
She couldn't blame him for being shocked. She'd used a fake name the first and last time they'd met.
"Yes, sorry." She dragged her gaze away from him and focused on the patient. Her cheeks were heating with a rush of blood and she knew he was still staring at her. "What seems to be the problem?" she asked, finally finding her voice.
"Dislocated shoulder. The patient, Mr. Mc-Gowan, is a bit of a golf fanatic and he insisted on having an ortho specialist reset his shoulder. I didn't know " He trailed off and coughed. "We can get another ortho attending down here if reduction"
"I can reset the shoulder," she snapped. It was her pregnancy messing with her job again. Once her belly had started to show, other surgeons didn't think she had it in her to reset bones and dislocated joints. Well, she could still do all of that. She'd show them. In all the hot mess her life had become, one thing she could control was her knowledge, her job. She could manipulate a joint with the best of them.
She moved toward the patient, who was on very strong analgesics and was barely looking at her. She examined the arm. "It doesn't look too bad. I think a simple reduction will be all it takes. Will you stand on the other side of him, Dr. Allen, and make sure he doesn't fidget."
"Of course, Dr. Walton."
Carefully manipulating the man's arm, she bent it, flexing it, and with the ease of having done this particular procedure many times popped the joint back into place. Even though the patient was on painkillers, he still cried out.
Ingrid grabbed a sling and secured Mr. McGowan's arm in it. "He'll need an X-ray of the arm and chest, just to make sure nothing has broken or punctured from popping it back into place." Their gazes locked again for one tense moment before she turned her back to him and started writing a script for the patient. "Have the X-rays sent up to ortho for my attention."
She glanced at him and smiled, but just briefly. It was very awkward to see him and not talk about the elephant in the room. "I'll write up my discharge instructions when I have the X-rays."
Ingrid opened the door to the trauma room and got out of there as fast as she was humanly able to move.
Run. Just run.
Only she wasn't much of a runner anymore. She needed to get away. She didn't want there to be a scene in the hallway of the E.R.
Hadn't she dealt with enough humiliation?
The questions, the looks as her belly grew?
Everyone knew she was pregnant thanks to a one-night stand. She'd just never thought that the one-night stand would show up as the new trauma attending.
The hair on the back of her neck stood on end when she heard the door she'd just shut open quickly and the heavy footsteps of a male gait close in behind her. His hand gripped her elbow and he began to steer her toward a consult room.
"We need to talk," he whispered in her ear. The mere act of his hot breath fanning against her neck made her shiver with anticipation.
"I'm actually quite busy at the moment, Dr.
"I think you can make some time for me." He escorted her into the consult room, rooms that were used to deliver bad or serious news, and shut the door, pulling the blind down.
Ingrid stood her ground. She wanted to cross her arms, but her belly was in the way. One of the downsides to being only five feet five and having a short torso, the belly took up a lot of room.
Dr. Allen blocked the doorway, and his face was just blank as he stared at her. Ingrid felt like she was in the middle of some Western movie and this was some kind of high noon showdown.
She was tempted to shout out "Draw," but resisted her silliness.
"You've let your hair grow," she said, breaking the unbearable tension that had descended between them.
He cocked his head to one side. "You've changed a lot too "
They'd used protection, but the condom, on her first time ever with a man, had broken.
Stupid Murphy and his freaking laws had been out to get her that night.
Now she was pregnant, alone and scared. Scared she couldn't give this baby all he or she needed. Terrified of not knowing what the future held.
"I thought it was Philomena?" There was a sarcastic edge to his voice.
"So I gathered," he said. Clint's gaze raked her body from head to toe, finally resting on her rounded belly.
Ingrid fought the urge to cover her belly but instead held her ground.
She was tired of being ashamed of her glaring mistake. She braced herself for a slew of questions.
"I'm not used to people lying to me."
Ingrid was stunned. That's what he was ticked about?
"I didn't know people are always compelled to tell you the truth. Are you telling me all your trauma patients are totally up front with you?"
"What do my patients have to do with anything?"
"I don't know, Dr. Allen. You brought it up."
"I was talking about the name, Ingrid. Why did you lie to me about your name?"
"It was a one-night stand. What does it matter?"
"It matters to me," Clint snapped.
"I wasn't looking for a relationship that night. It didn't matter what I called myself. Now, if my misnomer is all you want to discuss, I'll be on my way. I have X-rays to examine." She turned to leave, but he grabbed her arm.
"Will you kindly let go of me?"
"We're not done here." His eyes were dark, his lips pressed together in a thin line.
Ingrid shrugged out of his grasp. "Oh, I think we are. Unless you have something else to ask me?" She waited, but he didn't say anything. "I thought not."
When she turned to leave again, he didn't grab her but stepped in front of the door.
"Is it mine?"
She wanted to slap him, but reined in her irrational hormonal-induced anger.
"What a foolish question," she said in a deadpan voice.
Clint crossed his arms. "I don't think so since you lied about your name."
"Since I lost my virginity to you that night, yes. It's yours. I can't lie or fake that."
Clint cursed under his breath and scrubbed a hand over his face. "How far along are you?"
"I thought you were on birth control?"
"No, but don't you recall that night at all? I think you forget the condom you used was a bit 'faulty.'" She made quote signs with her fingers, trying to ram it in how she felt about the whole debacle. "Don't you remember what happened when you discovered that?"
Clint let out a string of curses under his breath. "Yeah, I think I mentally blocked that part out."
"I tried to as well, until the stick turned blue."
Clint dragged his hand through his hair, making it stand on end. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Tell you what?" she asked, her frustration rising. "Oh, no, I think I might get pregnant in a month."
"About the pregnancy. You could've told me when you found out." Clint began to pace. "I had the right to know."
"Right, and how was I supposed to do that when I didn't even know your last name or what base you were stationed at? Was I supposed to contact the nearest army base and say, 'Yeah, I'd like to talk to the hot guy named Clint with the blue, blue eyes who had sex about a month ago with a short blonde woman and who is shipping out for an extensive tour of duty somewhere overseas.' I bet there's only one of you who fits that description. If I'd had a way to contact you, I would've."
Clint obviously didn't have much of a sense of humor, because he still looked a bit dazed.
She'd been the same when that pregnancy test had come up positive. Kids had never been part of the plan, but she couldn't get rid of the child. That would have been taking the easy way out. Besides, like her father had taught her, she didn't run away from her mistakes.
Of course, now she wanted her baby more than anything, but her life, which had been so organized and efficient before, had been turned topsy-turvy. When she was home alone in her cluttered room, staring at the piles of baby stuff overtaking her clean, orderly existence, she was terrified. Motherhood was an unknown and beyond her control.
Ingrid sighed. "Look, I could've gotten rid of the baby, but I wanted it. I still want it and I plan to raise the baby on my own. I don't expect anything from you."
"Like hell." Clint's stance relaxed and his expression softened, the prominent frown lines disappearing. "I'll help the best I can. I owe you that much."
"Well, thank you, Dr. Allen."
She sighed. "Clint, but you really don't have to."
"I have to," he said earnestly. "It's the right thing to do."
"You're under no obligation. I'm giving you an out."
Though he was an unnecessary complication in her already chaotic life, she was secretly relieved and a little deep-down voice said that maybe she wouldn't have to do this alone.
It's the hormones. I don't need him. I don't need anyone.
She wanted to push him away, it would be easier, but Ingrid knew he had every legal right to his child. There was no way she'd be able to deny him access and, honestly, she didn't want that. She'd grown up in a broken home, her father refusing to answer any questions about her mother or even telling Ingrid how to find her.
"She left us for another man, Ingrid. She doesn't deserve you."
The tone, the hate in her father's voice still sent shivers down her spine. She had grown up without a maternal figure in her life, but since her mother had never come back or tried to make contact, Ingrid was inclined to believe her father that she had been unwanted. Denying or not telling her baby who or where their father was wasn't an option for Ingrid. This was not how she wanted to raise a family, ever.
Of course she'd never wanted a family. There was no way she'd risk her heart, only to be abandoned later on.
For most of her life, Ingrid had learned that life never ran smoothly and you had to swim to keep up.
Fate had decided to throw her a curveball in the form of defective birth-control and a hot one-night stand, and she would accept the consequences and do the best she could by her child. If the child's father wanted to be involved in the child's life, she wasn't going to deny him.
"Thank you. I appreciate that. Most men wouldn't."
Clint nodded. "I know they wouldn't, but that's not me."
"Well, I wouldn't know that. We barely know each other."
He grinned, finally relaxing. "I know, but I thought about you often when I was overseas."
"I don't know if that should flatter me or kind of freak me out."
Clint laughed. "Be flattered. You made an impression on me. I wanted to get to know you a bit better, but you left before I woke up."