Sure, he might be good looking and, yes, he smelled wonderful and had gorgeous eyes…and was tall enough to help her out when she needed it, but he was just a locum…just a man who would be out of her life in six months’ time. She shouldn’t get attached.
When Jed came into her consulting room, CJ smiled brightly and introduced Ethan. The two men shook hands and when Ethan closed the door behind Jed, CJ smiled her thanks then focused on her patient.
After the consult, she quickly typed up her notes about Jed’s treatment on the computer.
‘Do you usually go out to the waiting room and call the patients through?’ Ethan asked.
‘Usually, but at the moment, getting up and down is difficult so Tania rings through when the patients have arrived and I tell her when to send them in.’ The phone on the desk rang, the light for an internal call blinking.
‘I’ll go,’ he stated. ‘What’s the patient’s name?’
‘Chandra.’ And before she could say another word, Ethan had disappeared to the waiting room, returning a moment later with four-year-old Chandra and her mother. His actions, although well meant, only made CJ feel like an expectant whale once more. She knew it wasn’t for ever and she knew that part of the way she was feeling was due to her overactive hormones but…she still didn’t like it.
Once Chandra and her mother had left, Ethan watched as CJ quickly typed the notes into the computer. Before she could finish, though, a sharp pain gripped her abdomen and she moaned, feeling very uncomfortable.
‘What is it?’ Ethan was instantly by her side, his gaze roving over her, visually checking for signs of labour.
CJ shoved away from the desk and stood up, walking back and forth as she rubbed the side of her belly. ‘It’s nothing. Just a swift kick from junior to mother. Ugh. I swear this kid is going to be a footballer.’ She rubbed her stomach again and when the baby responded, without thinking she reached for Ethan’s hand and pressed it to her stomach. ‘See? Feel that? As a fellow doctor, you have to agree that that’s one strong kick!’
When he didn’t answer, she looked up. Their gazes locked and the atmosphere around them seemed to zing with newly charged electrons. Even deep inside her she felt them explode and she sucked in a ragged breath. It was unusual, it was unexpected and it was most certainly unwanted.
Ethan was stunned by the sensation. Not only was he alarmed by feeling her baby kick, a sensation he hadn’t felt for quite a number of years, but also he hadn’t expected the jolt that had travelled up his arm and ripped through his body. He was attracted to this woman! How was that possible? There was no way an attraction to anyone was paramount at the present time.
It took a few moments for him to realise she’d released her hold on his wrist. Still, he left his hand on her stomach for a fraction longer before jerking away and walking briskly from the room.
ETHAN OPENED HIS eyes and stared at the ceiling, furious with himself for not being able to sleep. Why had she put his hand on her belly? Feeling an in utero baby kick had been the last thing he’d wanted to do. It was also the last thing he wanted to think about right now.
He sat up, swinging his legs to the floor, then slowly looked around the room, lit by veiled moonlight. The wardrobe had sufficient coat hangers at one end and ample drawer and shelf space at the other. There were also several fluffy bath towels on one of the shelves.
In the corner of the room was an Australian jarrah desk, with a comfortable chair pushed beneath. The desk was functional but also kept with the decorated theme of the room, which, he had to admit, was very masculine. Well, CJ had mentioned that this part of the house had originally been her father’s. Ethan looked more closely at the three framed pictures on the wall, which were all of vintage cars. Nice cars, too. Were they her father’s pictures? Was that her father’s old desk? If so, it leant a more personal touch to the room and he felt privileged she had chosen to have her memories on display for others to share. Perhaps seeing her father’s things around also helped her to cope with the loss.
He hadn’t done that. When he’d suffered great loss, he’d arranged for movers to come to his house and pack everything into boxes before delivering it to a storage locker…a storage locker he still paid for six years later. Then he’d sold the house and bought a sterile apartment near St. Aloysius Hospital. If he hadn’t been forced to take time off, he’d be there right now, working and forgetting his past.
Sighing, Ethan raked both hands through his hair, keeping his thoughts on a tight leash. He was here, which was far better than lying on some beach, being bored for six months. As he took another look at the pictures, peering closely at the detail of the cars, he had to admit that CJ had gone to a great effort to make him comfortable, but what type of woman liked vintage cars?