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Torn apart years ago by lies and threats, Rafe Marshall returns to town and confronts Manon Lockley. She has been told he died on the night he stood her up for their senior prom. When she faints, Rafe catches her and realizes he hasn’t stopped loving her. Manon carries anger and now grief that wasn’t real. Rafe wants her in his life, but she doesn’t want to talk about what happened in the past. She can’t be sure if her father or someone else told lies about Rafe and she doesn’t want to know. Can Rafe persuade her to listen? Not without a battle.
She dropped the charts in her office and walked to the reception area. “Has the last patient arrived?”
“He’s changing. I’ll do the prelim.” Emma grinned. “He’s hot. Big guy with well defined muscles. Blue eyes surrounded by dark lashes. Lord, I’d love to have them. The eyes and lashes though… Oh, a killer smile.”
Manon laughed. “Have plans for him?”
Emma turned away. “I can only look and dream. He says he’s taken.”
“Maybe the next one will be yours.”
Emma hurried down the hall. Manon studied the next day’s schedule and discovered she would be involved in a marathon of patient visits.
She rested her elbow on the desk. She had to do something about Tom. His weekly visits for vague complaints had to stop. Several times she’d referred him to specialists. The lack of calls from these doctors meant he hadn’t made any of the calls. Why didn’t he hear her message? She had no intention of dating him again. His awkward attempt at seduction when they’d been in high school had made her vow never again. She hadn’t changed her mind.
A painful memory surfaced. Her hands fisted.
Not going there either. Not today. Not ever.
Emma paused at the desk. “New patient is set.” She dropped a thick packet on the desk. “Copy of his medical record.”
Manon stared at the manila folder. With a health history with that many pages, she wondered why the hospital had hired him. She rose.
“Anything I should know?” Emma asked.
“There is. Once I document Mr. Sands’ last visit, make a copy of his records for him. If he calls for an appointment remind him he’s no longer my patient. I’m not willing to commit insurance fraud or have him continue to take time when I could see someone who needs me.”
“About time,” Emma said. “What if he persists?”
“Though I’ll probably be laughed out of town, I’ll ask for a restraining order and mention the office visits and my fears of being involved in fraud.”
Emma laughed. “Good for you. Bet that stops him.” She leaned against the wall. “Do you mind if I head out? If I rush, I can have dinner before class.”
“Go ahead. “Which class?”
“Statistics. Love that class.”
Emma slung her bag over her shoulder. “See you.”
Manon watched her friend hurry away. At the door, Emma waved and grinned.
Why the sly smile? Manon walked to the examining room and pulled a folder from the holder. She glanced inside. No name. Emma had been in a hurry.
As she opened the door, the scent of an aftershave sent her hurtling toward the past. For the second time that afternoon, memories of the boy she’d loved surfaced. She drew a deep breath.
Get a grip.
Without a glance at the waiting patient, she strode to the counter. The aroma strengthened. Hadn’t been her imagination. She turned her head and stared at the man wearing the green cotton examining gown. She gripped the edge of the counter. Blood rushed from her head.
“You’re dead.” The words slashed the silence. This couldn’t be happening.
The voice sounded like the one from her dreams. She opened her mouth to ask where he’d been and what he’d been doing for the past twelve years. She sucked in a shallow breath. Asking that question would only stir the emotions she had frozen.
“Don’t bail on me. Sit down.”
Her fingers had no feeling. Waves of darkness dimmed her vision. The edge of the counter disappeared. Her knees buckled. Blackness engulfed her.