I’d always wanted to be beautiful. Not just above-average pretty or I-want-in-your-pants sexy. No, more like Audrey Hepburn. Classic. Flawless. The kind of beautiful people can’t help but admire. I wanted to leave a boy in awe. In breathless wonder as I passed. And then I wanted that boy to chase me down, vie for my attention and battle his way into my heart because to know that kind of beauty and live without it would be tragedy.
But anyone who knew me, knew I wasn’t “that girl.” I was the girl guys took to bed, but never home. The one who made them feel good for a moment, but never a lifetime.
For college boys, I was basically the revolving door to sowing their oats. And I was okay with that…or, at least, I used to be. But the second I’d stepped through the doors of Memorial Hospital, I’d left it behind. This internship was my future, an opportunity to stay in Texas with a promise to never have to move back to Colorado.
Problem was…the hospital elevator had other plans.
Waiting at ground level, I pushed the up button and stared at the shiny metal doors waiting for them to glide open. Nothing. I glanced up at the glowing number four, begging for it to start its descent to one. But it didn’t budge. How long did it take for people to get on?
I checked my phone. My earliness could quickly creep to tardiness if the elevator didn’t hurry. Or made multiple stops. Or I got lost. Shit. The warmth of panic rose, creeping up my neck and singeing my ears. With a deep breath, I forced the anxiety back into submission and scanned the area for a stairwell.
I scurried toward the stairs, praying the three flights wouldn’t do me in. Exercise had slipped off the agenda freshman year, replaced by too much tequila and too little sleep. But really, it was only a few stairs. I could do this.
As I pounded up the second flight my breathing shallowed. And by the time I’d rounded the last landing, my calves burned and a fine coat of perspiration dotted my forehead. Were stairwells air-conditioned? Didn’t help it was summer. And I was wearing way too many clothes. Good God it was hot. The dress pants and button-down started to cling to my skin.
Forcing my legs to move, I sped up, ready to just be done.
A guy’s voice echoed around the corner.
I made the last turn and stepped right to avoid him. With his phone pressed to his ear, he didn’t seem to notice me. He spoke animatedly, either excited or mad, but as I slipped past he threw his arm out to the side. And I ran smack into it.
My body buckled as my gut took a direct blow into one solid freaking—and might I add, impressive—forearm.
“Shit,” he murmured, lowering his phone. “I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” His eyes were huge as they assessed me for damage. Nice eyes too. Dark blue. Like indigo, which contrasted nicely with his honey-blond hair.
Unfortunately, the wind had been knocked out of me, so all I managed was a nod and a super-attractive choking gasp.
He pressed his phone to his ear. “I’ll call you right back.” He slid it into his pocket and reached out to me. “I didn’t see you. God, I’m so sorry.”
I finally managed a response. “It’s fine. I was rushing and not paying attention.” Which was a lie, but I just wanted to run. This guy was hot and I was a sweating, heaving mess.
Once I was steady on my feet, he pulled his hand back and studied me, his gaze flicking from my mouth to my eyes to my hair, back to my mouth.
I suppressed an eye roll. It might seem like he was ensuring I was okay, but I’d had enough interest from guys to know when one was checking me out, evaluating his probability to score. They always seemed to like their odds. Rightfully so.
If I were on campus or at a club, I would have flirted back, seeing as he was an attractive guy, but I was here for work. So instead, my defenses sprang to life. I couldn’t let my reputation around campus make it into this hospital, not even for Mr. Sexy Arms.
His gaze lowered even further, fixating on my chest.
What little patience I had vanished. “Like what you see?”
His eyes popped up and he stared at me. His face reddened. “I, uh. God, no.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“I mean, not like that. I—”
“Whatever. I’m going to be late.” I spun away.
“It’s just your shirt…”
Yeah, yeah. My shirt. Even dressed professionally, it didn’t seem to hide the fact a body resided under it. Putting my hand on the heavy metal door, I shoved it open.
He murmured another quiet curse then called out, “You lost a button or something.”
Now that I hadn’t expected.
I glanced down. Sure enough, my shirt had split open, revealing my bra and a bit of stomach.