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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Moment of Truth by Lina Gardiner

It was impossible. At her feet sat the ugliest thing she had ever seen.

Covered in mud and muck, it was hard to tell which end was up. Selena Vanceborough’s shoulders sagged as she looked down at him. For the first time since getting her medical degree, she regretted offering first aid at rugby games.

After the downpour last night, she couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to play in that sodden field anyway. The filthy rugby player sitting on the ground looked up at her with eye’s that illuminated his embarrassment.

“I believe there’s a hose over there,” she said, picking up her medical bag and following him toward the high school. “I can’t treat you covered in mud. You’ll have to hose yourself off first.”

Her reason for being here was stupid. What did she hope to gain by coming to rugby games where her ex-boyfriend played? She should have quit when they broke up four months ago.

If she admitted the truth, she’d been having totally distracting thoughts about Jeffrey Moore, the dark haired pediatrician who’d been hired at the hospital a month ago, with his tall, lanky body, broad shoulders, and eyes that could light her on fire with the merest look. Problem was, he barely even noticed her.

Heaving a sigh she tried to concentrate on her patient, though as far as she could tell, he didn’t seem to be badly hurt.

He remained silent as he pulled off his shirt and began to spray water over himself. As the icy cold water rinsed the clumps of dirt off of the hard lines and planes of his exquisite frame, Selena’s gaze instantly fixed on him. But, not in the care-giver sense - more in the womanly sense.

When her heart began palpating double-time in her chest she swallowed hard and looked away, but only for a second, because she was mesmerized by the rivulets of water exposing his flesh as it slowly rinsed the mud off him. Bit by bit, revealing his taut body.

“Where are you hurt?” she said finally, clearing her throat and trying to regain composure. It would help if she stopped watching him do what suddenly seemed to be a very personal act of rinsing himself off.

Thoughts that were best ignored kept surfacing, images of him in the shower covered with soapsuds instead of mud should never have entered her head. As hard as she tried to distance herself, somehow her gaze kept returning and ogling him unashamedly.

“Here.” He pointed at his chest where his heart was.

“Are you having chest pain?” Instantly alert and feeling terrible for being so unprofessional, she took his wrist and felt for his pulse. Without a doubt, his pulse rate was faster than normal, but that could be attributed to his activity on the rugby field. Given his fine physique, she doubted he would be at risk for a coronary.

Although, she had felt like she might have the coronary just watching him rinse off. If she’d had a twenty dollar bill, she could have easily tucked it into his waist band. No! Stop thinking like that.

“Hold on. I’m fine. I’m not having cardiac arrest or anything remotely like that. My problem is I’m feeling rather stupid at the moment.”

She frowned and tipped her head. There was something familiar about his muddy features, but she couldn’t quite figure out who he was. “Why are you feeling stupid?”

“Let me just get this done first,” he said, spraying the water over his head, giving her a chance to see who he was.

A slow, gorgeous smile spread across his sheepish expression.

“Jeffrey? Jeffrey Moore? I didn’t know you played rugby.” No wonder she’d been ogling him. She’d been doing that for weeks, even when he was fully clothed.

“Obviously I don’t play very well.” He looked down at himself and shook his head. “Don’t laugh, but I came here to try to make you notice me. I didn’t expect it to be this humiliating.”

He wanted her to notice him. She couldn’t believe it. He’d risked life and limb because he thought she preferred jocks! “I’ve been trying to make you notice me too,” she admitted slowly. “You’re not hurt then?”

“Yes, I hurt all over. That’s the craziest game I’ve ever seen. A man could get killed out there.”

“I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do?”

“Would it help if you kiss it better?” Her heart went out of control again. His gaze burned into her and he stepped closer to her. “It would make everything much better.”

When his lips met hers, a dizzying sensation warped through her. His kiss was everything she’d imagined it would be - and more!

When the kiss ended, he picked her up in his arms and pressed her against the hardness of his chest. “I was afraid this day would never come.” He began walking toward his vehicle.

“Where are we going?” she asked faintly.

“To get to know each other much better.” He stopped and pulled her even tighter against him and kissed her again.

She let her hand trail across his amazing bare flesh, unmindful of his wet clothing, her body responded with the hot thrum of extreme desire. “But the game?”

“It’s been over for ten minutes.”

She looked back toward the field. The rugby players from both teams lined the edge of the field watching them with stupid grins spread across their dirty faces.

They cheered in traditional rugby manner when Jeffrey set her gently inside his car. Selena’s heart quickened.

Soon they would be completely alone.

Lina writes paranormal romance for Imajinn books and The Wild Rose Press. She is currently working on a new Trilogy for Imajinn and usually has a submission at Harlequin in one genre or another. Website: www.LinaGardiner.com

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