Genevieve MacKenzie has her life completely under control. About to wed the charming Chief doctor at the local hospital, she’s an up-and-coming surgeon with everything she could ever want. Until an escape through the church window on the day of her wedding sends her life into a tailspin...and flings her right into her best friend’s arms.
When Wolfe catches his best friend falling out a window on her wedding day, he doesn’t ask questions. He whisks her away, determined to watch over her and discover the truth behind her desperate escape. But when his feelings turn more than platonic, he realizes he may risk his most important relationship in order to protect his damaged heart, and the woman he loves.
Can Genevieve and Wolfe’s friendship turn into something deeper—or is it already too late for true love?
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He strode over to the receptionist desk, where those wide navy blue eyes looked seemingly innocent. He was used to seeing her in scrubs or jeans, so the sexy, black lace top and flash of bare leg from her skirt threw him off for a moment. Her usual ponytail had been replaced by curls flying free over her shoulders. Chestnut waves flopped over one eye, which looked annoying but damn seductive. Flirty.
Definitely not like the Gen he knew.
He laid both palms flat on the desk and leaned over. “I think the better question is, what are you doing here?”
She gave a pout. Was she wearing lipstick? He wouldn’t have pegged her to wear a bold color, but the rich, coffee-colored lipstick clung to her mouth and tempted a man to try a sip. What the hell was he thinking?
“You’re in a mood. I work here now.”
His temper rose another notch. “You’re a doctor. Why aren’t you at the hospital?”
She shifted in the chair. “I quit.”
He turned. “I’m going to kill the son of a bitch. Wait here.”
Wolfe earned a few steps before she scrambled and skid ahead of him, blocking his exit. “Kate already tried twice. Listen, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but it’s for the best.
There was an incident and I realized I won’t be able to work there.”
“Why didn’t you tell me? I get a text saying you’re working late, then staying at Kate’s. You refuse to answer my calls, and when I finally get in touch with Kate, she says you’re not with her. Crap, Gen, you gave me a heart attack!
I’m stuck at the convention with a bunch of suits and couldn’t get to you. What incident?”
“A patient thing. I needed some time alone and didn’t want to bother anyone.”
Wolfe gritted his teeth and prayed for calm. “You’re not a bother. You’re my friend.”
Her face softened and she grabbed his arms. Her fingers lay directly over the thin leather that covered his wrists, but the heat from her touch still burned. “I know.
You have to understand how I’ve been feeling lately. Like a whiny, pitying, weak female. Suddenly I’m doing all these crazy things and I broke. I’m better now, but thank you.”
Her patronizing words made him more enraged. He still wasn’t sure why. Her self-imposed isolation drove him nuts, but the thought of her turning to someone else was much worse. He wanted to shake her until she understood how important she was. “You’re not better. I refuse to let that asshole push you out when you were born to be a surgeon.
You can’t work at a matchmaking agency. It’s totally beneath you.”
The softness disappeared and turned to fire. She practically growled like a she-cat.
“Who the heck are you to judge me or Kinnections! Did you suddenly turn into a snob, O playboy-turned-millionaire hotel magnate?”
Wolfe fought the instinctual urge to flush. “Don’t be ridiculous.
I’m just saying you were meant to save lives, not make matches!”
She sniffed like it was a reasonable argument. “I disagree.
This may be my true calling after all. I’m tired of stress and medicine and decisions that are life-and-death.
I’m going to have fun. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even find real love.”
Irritation scraped him like a Brillo pad. “You’ll get bored of this place in a week.”
She stuck out her tongue. Was she serious? “No, I won’t. And I’m not quitting till I help make a great match for someone. I need to be around magic and hope. Hey, want to sign up? Kate says if I get clients on my own I get a recruitment bonus.”
He stared at her. “Are you kidding me? No, I’m not signing up for Kinnections. Listen, I’ll help you get transferred to another hospital. I can make some calls—I know some guy in Albany who’s high up the ladder. You can’t leave your residency when you worked so hard. We’ll fix this.”
“There’s nothing to fix. This is my job now and you’ll have to get used to it.” The phone rang and she brightened.
“Gotta get that.”
Wolfe watched her run to the phone and lean over the desk. The skirt stretched over her full rear, rode up her thighs, and left her indecent. She wobbled a bit on three inch stilettos till she found her balance. For God’s sake, she never wore heels.
Had Kennedy gotten ahold of her? Why was it so hot in here?
He dragged his fingers through his hair and listened to her chirp about some upcoming mixer at the Purple Haze.
She gave a low little laugh that sounded suspiciously like a giggle. Oh yeah. Kennedy had definitely done something horrible to her. She hung up, wiggled back around, and tugged down the indecent minuscule fabric that constituted office wear. Even her perfume was different. The lingering sweet scent of peach mixed with a sharp citrus and musk that tantalized. Was she working here to find dates for herself? No, that wouldn’t be like her at all. She used to say she needed months to get over a relationship. A broken engagement would take at least a year.
“Sure you don’t want to help me earn some more money?” She gave him a wink.
“You’d be a hot commodity with the women.”
Ugh, he refused to be embarrassed. “No. I can get my own dates.”
“Fine. At least I’ll get something for signing myself up.”
He opened his mouth, then shut it. Opened it again.
“What are you talking about?”
Gen grinned. “I’m going to be a new client of Kinnections!”
“You just broke up with David. You’re always bitching about people needing months in between serious relationships in order to heal. Remember that time I broke up with
Allie, and you made me cancel my date the next weekend?
You forced me to be celibate for two whole weeks!”
She rolled her eyes and cocked a hip out. The black top shifted and he caught a fragment of lace peeking from her shoulder. Huh? He had it on authority she only wore cotton underwear. “You needed to suffer. You broke her heart.”
“I did not. She knew up front what the deal was.”
“It’s still wrong. Claiming there’s no strings doesn’t mean things can’t change. She fell for you, and you walked away without trying.”
This time he did flush. “I explain to every woman I’m not interested in long-term—you know that. You always praised me for being honest and up front.”
“Well, I’m changing my mind. I think it’s crappy. You need to begin looking at the future. Why don’t we be clients together? We can double date!”
Wolfe wondered if he had had something bad for breakfast or if he really wanted to vomit. The image of them at a dinner table with two strangers was painful. She was giving him a headache.
“I’m happy the way things are. And I think the last thing you need is another emotional upheaval with some guy. Take a break from dating. Maybe you can learn a hobby. Knitting?”
She glared. “Am I eighty years old? No, I need to get my feet wet again. David almost broke something in me, and I want it back.”
Crap. When she put it like that, he’d do anything to help her. “Sweetheart, don’t you want to find healing within yourself rather than from outside sources?”
Her eyes widened. “Wow. You’re getting really deep.
Usually, I’d agree with you, but I’m tired of feeling afraid and unsure. I want to be brave and take a leap into the unknown.
Does that make sense?”
Yeah, it did. He didn’t understand why the thought of her diving back into dating bothered him so much. Usually they’d trade war stories and he’d help her get fixed up.
What suddenly changed? Crankiness stirred so he changed the subject. “Why are you wearing that?”
“Huh? A skirt?”
“You hate fancy clothes. Did Kennedy try to do something to you?”
She stared at him like he’d sprouted horns. “You’re acting really weird, dude. Did you work too hard at the seminar?
How was it?”
“Fine.” He didn’t want to talk about work, or endless meetings, or sales figures. “I think we should talk more about this. How about we go to dinner tonight? I’ll pick you up at seven.”
She crossed her arms in front of her chest. “As long as you promise not to try and change my mind.”
“I can’t promise you that. But I’ll buy you a burger.”
Gen shook her head. “Fine. I’m easy. See you tonight.”
He watched her walk back to the desk and slide into the chair, crossing her legs. The smooth expanse of white skin blinded him for a moment. She always joked about not having a drop of her Italian blood heritage since she burned so easily and never tanned. But there was something about all that gorgeous naked flesh, soft and pure, that made his fingers curl to touch her.
Wolfe turned his back on her and his startling thoughts.
He needed a cold shower and a nap. Lately he was beginning to wonder if the past three months of celibacy had been such a smart move. The break seemed like a good idea. He’d been tired of the delicate game of seduction lately, and how fast his partners seemed to get attached. Almost like they looked at him as a challenge to break down.
If only they’d realize there was nothing inside that hadn’t already been broken.
Still, sex might take the edge off. The last thing he needed was lustful thoughts over his best friend. She was the only healthy relationship with a female he’d ever been able to maintain. He refused to screw up the best thing that ever happened to him due to a surge of testosterone.
Wolfe made the drive back to his place in Manhattan.
His penthouse apartment had tons of security, luxury, and every amenity he could think of. The parquet floors and high ceilings were elegant, but his furnishings were Spartan and masculine. Dark wood, glass, extensive computers and media, and bare walls. He barely slept here, finding it more convenient to stay at Purity, where he kept a tight rein on things.
Wolfe took a quick shower, changed, and put on a pot of coffee. Maybe he’d relax, watch a baseball game on television, then get some more work done. All in all, it had been a tough couple of days and he needed a break. Dinner with Gen would put him in a better mood. They’d get back to their usual buddy routine, and he’d begin working on finding a new sex companion who had nothing to do with Kinnections.
When the doorman buzzed and said a uniformed officer needed to see him, Wolfe got a bad feeling.
He was handed the temporary restraining order on behalf of a Dr. David Riscetti, who accused him of harassment and a host of other sins.
His bad feeling was right on. As usual.
He glanced through the papers. Wolfe had to give the son of a bitch credit. He was playing a chess game, and he was a great player. Wolfe cared less about himself, as long as David stayed away from Gen. Unfortunately, his spidey senses were tingling again, as if he was missing a piece in an elaborate puzzle being put together.
Yeah. All in all, it was a shitty day.
Jennifer Probst - Bio: Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean. She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon's Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.