- Series: Stone River , Book 1
- Release Date: September 21, 2012
- ASIN: B009F2F2OI
- Genre: Contemporary
- Available Formats: eBook
Twelve years is a lifetime when it comes to age and love. And if the man is your father’s best friend… Well, let’s just say unrequited feelings tend to be awkward. But Laney knows what she wants. Who she wants., and she’s a firm believer that sometimes a woman just has to go for broke and take a chance….
Rand Mitchell has done everything he can to avoid Laney Wyatt due to his awareness of her and, in a small town, that’s not easy, especially when his 911 call results in Laney appearing as his EMT. But it’s then, with her blushes and smiles and follow-up visits, that he wonders if maybe he’s not the only one fighting his feelings?
When tragedy strikes Laney and her family, Rand steps up to help. But all too soon, help becomes more. With their age difference, her father, and small town gossip stacked against them—can what they feel really be love?
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Laney Wyatt glanced up from the landscaped, cobblestone path to see none other than Rand Mitchell watching her from within the shrubs decorating the side of his beautiful house.
His deep voice and bold gaze always unnerved her and today was no exception. Thankfully, the sight of the blood trickling onto his shirt from a cut on his forehead reminded her of why she was there and sent her into EMT mode.
His chin was scraped and raw, a white line of pain encircled his mouth, and there was no disguising the cuts and gashes on his arms, chest, and what she could see of his ribs. Still, he attempted to fix a smile on his insanely attractive lips, and her heart tripped when he aimed that shameless grin in her direction.
“I don’t suppose you won’t mention this to your father?”
“Patient confidentiality. My lips are sealed.” Dressed in shorts, steel-toed work boots, and a faded shirt open across his broad, finger-tempting if now damaged chest, Rand was a guy’s guy. He reminded her a bit of Tom Selleck, all muscled and firm and hairy but without the mustache. Because it would be sinful to cover such a face. “Don’t move, especially not your head. Just answer my questions verbally, okay? You fell off the roof?”
“Yeah. The ground really wanted to meet me. I would’ve driven myself to the hospital but…”
“But you fell off a roof,” she repeated, ignoring the bushes pulling at her clothes to kneel beside him on the mulch. Hopefully it had softened his fall. “Jim, we need a collar and the backboard!”
Her partner dropped the supply kits within arm’s reach and quickly retrieved the neck brace, swearing under his breath when a barberry bush took a hunk out of his inner forearm. Since Jim was now bleeding as well, she grabbed the collar and carefully placed it around Rand’s neck.
“That’s not necessary.”
“Let the doctors decide,” she ordered, unable to look at Rand directly because she’d always, always had a major, OMG crush on her father’s friend. Worse still was that over the years, the crush had turned into fantasies that weren’t sweet and innocent at all.
Laney forced herself to focus on getting Rand’s stats, glad she could count on her training even though he made her feel like a virginal schoolgirl talking to the football jock for the very first time.
Rand was speaking, so his airway was clear, and he was able to carry on a coherent conversation. She checked his pulse next. Strong and steady, if a little elevated, probably due to his pain.
“Do you always wear perfume when you’re on duty?”
His electric-blue eyes held a curious gleam, and the question brought a flush to her face. “No sign of concussion,” she said to Jim when he returned from the squad carting the backboard. “Any chest pain?”
“Are you asking because I’m old?”
If he was ‘old,’ she’d eat her shoe. Apparently owning a roofing business meant staying in shape and keeping a tan, at least when the owner worked as hands-on as Rand obviously did. She reevaluated her initial description. He was Tom Selleck, the Marlboro Man, and every old-school sex symbol combined. “I’m asking because I’m supposed to. Where do you hurt?”
She raised her eyebrows high. “You are, eh? Then why call us?”
He shrugged, grimaced at the move, and when his blue eyes locked on hers again she forgot to breathe. Pull it together, Laney. He’s just a man.
But he was the man. The one who made her heart go crazy every single time he came around. He’d teased her as an awkward teenager, flirted with her at her father’s bar as every guy had a tendency to do, but at some point in time, her feelings for Rand had changed in a major way.
“My right shoulder. I think it’s dislocated. Every time I move I… get a little dizzy.”
Which was obviously a big deal for him to admit. But easy enough to– Wow. Yeah, definitely dislocated.
Because he was propped awkwardly against the side of the house, she hadn’t yet noticed. Good news was that appeared to be his most serious injury. His circulation was good, stomach soft beneath hard, toned abs that flexed when she touched him. “You’re right about the shoulder. We’ll get a wrap on you for transport to help hold it steady, but the doc will have to reset it.”
It was a struggle to speak in a normal tone, especially when she had her hands all over him and his hot, hot body. That really ought to be part of the training. How to not get distracted when the patient was fiiiiiine.
“I’m never gonna live this down. I’ve never fallen off, not in all the years I’ve been roofing.”
She smiled at the depressed tone. “Just think of it as taking a mini vacation and getting a tour of the ambulance and hospital.”
“And getting to spend time with you?”
Air froze in her lungs, and before she could think of a witty reply, Jim and the other two EMTs on duty appeared.
“Good to go?” Jim asked.
“Yeah,” she said, more than a little breathless and kind of dizzy herself—all from Rand’s comment and nearness.
“You’re coming with me, right?” Rand asked. “To hold my hand?”
Her work buddies looked at her in amusement. It wasn’t the first time she’d gotten hit on by a patient, but typically the men were either elderly or drunk.
Laney ignored her squad partners, knowing she’d catch some ribbing later for Rand’s flirting, and huffed out a laugh. “They’re my ride. I have to go with you.”