Home > Engaging the Bachelor (Pulse, #1)

Engaging the Bachelor (Pulse, #1)
Author: Cathryn Fox



Chapter One

No. Fucking. Way.

Emergency room doctor Carson Reynolds stepped into Score, the local sports bar where the staff from Hampton General went to unwind, and nearly bit off his tongue.

Holy. Shit.

With shaky hands, he gripped his suddenly too tight collar and tugged, unable to tear his gaze from the sexy vision before him. He sucked in air, but couldn’t seem to catch his breath. Am I having a fucking heart attack? At least the place was filled with doctors and nurses who could revive him if he fell face-first onto the scuffed and pitted floor.

His heart raced—okay, galloped—and roared in his ears like a runaway gurney. He briefly pinched his eyes shut, a desperate attempt to pull himself together. He opened them again, expecting her to be gone, a mere figment of his imagination, but when he found her standing there, her smile bright, a rush of excitement pulsed through him like a double shot of adrenaline.

His gaze skated over her, traveling a mile up those long slender legs that knew how to draw a man in tight and hold him down hard. Fuck me. The mid-thigh, low-cut, retro nurse uniform she wore showcased slim hips and perfect breasts that beckoned his hands, his mouth. Damn he wanted to taste her. Again.

Oh yeah, there was no mistake about it. It was her. The girl he’d spent the last ten years searching for—the same one who’d haunted his dreams so many nights. His mind rushed back to his nineteenth birthday, to the evening she and her friend had crashed the party he was throwing at his folk’s beachside cottage just a few blocks from where he currently stood.

That night she’d freely given him her virginity, but not her name, and then disappeared from his life forever. Now here she stood—across the street from Hampton Gen, where he’d just taken a temporary position—in an establishment he instantly decided to make his second home.

He still hovered at the door, feet firmly planted—more like immobilized—his gaze riveted on the woman who’d blown through his world like a hurricane and left him in shambles in the aftermath. They might have only been kids at the time—two strangers who’d fucked on the pool house floor—and he’d been with his fair share of women since, but he still couldn’t get the warmth of her touch, the honeyed taste of her kisses, out of his mind.

He brushed his tongue over his bottom lip, searching for remnants of her sweetness. Maybe if he had her again, just one more time, he might finally be able to get her out of his system and move on with his life.

Why did she give me her virginity, but not her name?

That question had plagued him for years. Sure he’d had a one-track mind back in the day, his cock like a heat-seeking missile with one mission. So when little Miss Sexy and Eighteen had come on to him, he reacted like any lust driven teenager would. It didn’t matter that she was an outsider, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who’d snuck into his party. She was beautiful, and warm, and she’d wanted him. Not because of who he was or what he could give her. No, all she’d asked was for him to hold her, to take her, and in turn she had given him something precious—something he had no right to claim.

Christ, he never would have taken her on the floor of the pool house like a goddamn hound had he known she was a virgin. Yeah, he was a typical nineteen-year-old at the time, but he wasn’t a complete asshole. Unfortunately, by the time his cock had met with resistance, and he realized it was her first time, she’d tightened her legs around his back, lifted her hips, and pulled him in deeper.

Afterward, he’d tried to wrap her in his arms until he knew she was okay. But she’d pushed away from him, insisting she was fine—her tough armor keeping him out. With only the moonlight shining in through the small pool house window, she’d scrambled back into her clothes, fled like a cat from water, never to be heard from again.

Cheers erupted in the room, and his thoughts came rocketing back to the present. He found her in the crowd again and watched her sashay around the tables in too-high heels he assumed very few women could master. With her arms in the air, and a pair of handcuffs glinting in the overhead light as they dangled from her fingertips, the bad-girl nurse gave an extra shake to her hips as she pulled Jake Banyan—a guy Carson had grown up with—now an ER colleague, from his chair and paraded him around the room before she marched him to the bar.

What the hell was going on? Carson’s mind raced to catch up. Oh, right. Tonight was the bar’s yearly charity auction—that had to be the reason she was dressed in a retro nurse uniform—and the funds the hospital staff helped raise would go toward feeding the homeless. He’d seen the flyers in the doctors’ lounge, but it had been a hell of a long day getting his administration work sorted out, and while he was all about donating, the event had slipped his mind.

Little Miss Sexy Nurse grabbed a microphone off the small podium. “Come on, ladies,” she said, waving her hand over Jake’s body like a game show host unveiling a prize, and wiggling against him suggestively. Jake, who Carson had long ago branded an arrogant asshole, went along with it, playing the women in the bidding pool like they were well-tuned instruments. Still dressed in his hospital scrubs, Jake turned toward the mahogany bar top. All in good fun, he aimed his ass at the crowd and pretended to pick something up. Thunderous claps roared in Carson’s ears, and Carson found himself grinning. Better Jake than him.

Carson’s sexy nurse ran her fingers over Jake’s stethoscope and pressed it to her heart. She fanned her other hand in front of her face and bent one knee, her back curving seductively. Jesus, she was sexy. His cock jumped.

Shit. Down boy.

“I don’t know about you ladies,” she said, her voice sexy, breathless. “But Jake sure has my heart pulsing.” As Jake eye-fucked her, she looked into the crowd and winked, her sassy attitude completing the bad girl package. “I think I might want to keep this naughty boy all to myself.”

Like hell she would.

A wave of possessiveness Carson had no right to feel prowled through him. Tension dug into his neck as he hiked his backpack up higher on his shoulder, letting go of the door he was still clutching. As it banged shut, heads turned his way, and he forced his legs to work. He sidestepped a few tables until he found one in the corner. He eased into the seat, losing himself in the shadows, wanting nothing more than to watch her. For now. Hell, he’d been looking ten long years for her. A few more minutes weren’t going to kill him. Or maybe they would, especially if she kept shaking her sweet ass like that. He shifted uncomfortably, admiring and appreciating. Lusting inappropriately.

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