"Ms. Barr, Blake Marshall. My father speaks highly of you." He rested the hand she had refused to touch on the counter that separated the nurses' station from the hall.
"Then I must thank him. He has been eagerly awaiting your arrival."
She held back a groan. Stilted conversation had never been her forte, but this morning and with this man, she'd become an expert. The knot edged into her throat. She gulped a breath. Why did the air between them smell of ozone as though a bolt of lightning had struck nearby?
She saw a question in his eyes and wondered if he remembered the night they'd met. She had called him twice and the third time had demanded he come to assess a patient. She would never forget because that had been the night Joey had left Manda. Angry thoughts swept her into the past.
"I insist you come immediately." She gripped the phone and listened to the sleep-fogged voice question her about the patient. "I won't hesitate to go over your head. It's been a half hour since my last call and an hour since the first. The patient's pain is constant and excruciating. I've elevated his leg and applied ice. A possible compartment syndrome is no joke."
Five minutes later, he strode into the patient's room. His rumpled, green scrubs didn't disguise his muscular physique. His dark eyes had flashed with anger. He eyed her nametag. "An agency nurse. What do you know about orthopedics?"
She bit back an angry response. She could have told him she had worked in orthopedics for five years and that in three semesters, she would have a Masters as a nurse practitioner with a focus on orthopedics. But she wouldn't. His question didn't deserve an answer."
"Just check the patient," she said.
Once he examined the young man's leg and discovered she'd been right, she had expected an apology. He'd given none, just split the cast, made a note on the chart and strode away.
Her memory of the past faded. She couldn't allow that incident to influence her. "Would you like a tour of the unit? The renovations were completed in May just before I took over."