Dutiful daughter, my brother’s keeper, civil servant, and protector of my city—that’s me, Officer Dahlia Wicker. I’m a master at switching hats, until an ambush in the line of duty forces a new title on me—gunshot victim. I wake up in the emergency room, scared to death, and staring into the face of an angel with soft-yet-firm hands and a smile that makes my heart tremble.
Dr. Weston Ellison’s promise to look after my little brother eases my anxiety. His hands on my skin remind me I haven’t been touched by a man in a long time. After my recovery, I can’t stop running into him and I’m forced to admit how often I think about his lips and how badly I want them on me.
We are way too different.
Weston comes from generational wealth, and I’m Baltimore humble. Desire opens the door to our relationship, but feelings break in and take us hostage.
When my brother is unjustly arrested, a spotlight blares on our differences. Our bond falls victim to prejudice, privilege, and racism. Are we strong enough to withstand these age-old threats, or will they destroy us for good?
I’m still chuckling as I walk through the door of the 24-hour coffee bar.
That is until my gaze collides with the tall man with the broad shoulders and a smile so beautiful and perfect it should be on Colgate Optimum White ads. It takes away my breath and my good mood.
Doctor Hottie from the ER.
Ugh. “Stop calling me that,” I practically growl at him.
“But it’s your name.”
I sigh. “Call me Officer Wicker, Dr. Ellison.”
He nods, but his eyes still hold that teasing sparkle. “Dr. Ellis. I shortened it so it doesn’t sound so… pretentious. I hope you like that better.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.”
“Not when I file papers in court.”
“Why would you do that?” Nothing about this guy makes sense to me. “Never mind, I don’t care. Why are you here? Didn’t you hear this place got robbed around this time a couple of nights ago?”
He nods, toying with the apple in his hand. “I did hear that. But with you here, I know we are all safe.”
Jesus. I can only shake my head. Why does he insist on flirting with me?
The better question is how do you resist? That mouth…those lips are nothing if not crafted by God’s own hands.
“How’s your shoulder?” he asks.
It flexes like it’s responding to his voice.
“Fine,” I say.
“Have you done a follow-up?” He takes a step closer, and I take one back.
I do a full round flex for him. “It’s all healed and better than ever. I finished my physical therapy, and they declared it’s perfect.”
So, get off my damned back.
But his eyes are all over my body. All over the uniform that’s supposed to make me look like the epitome of authority, but under his gaze feels like a Cat Woman costume. But he doesn’t linger like the pervs do. No, this fucking weirdo stares back into my eyes and smiles, exposing those perfect TV doctor pearly whites. They’re probably veneers.
That’s why he smiles so much. He’s getting his money’s worth. And why is my body tingling like someone jabbed me with live wire.
“I have to go. I have the four a.m. shift,” he says, turning around and putting a twenty on the counter.
Thank God, he’s leaving. He’s nice and he saved my life, but I don’t want any more reminders of that night. It’s enough that it’s stayed with me, always popping up at the oddest moments in the day and making me wake up in cold sweats sometimes. I need to forget that night and this damned doctor. Even if he has those nice arms and that narrow waist and nice ass that doesn’t belong on a man with that face. Or a doctor.
He grabs his coffee and turns around again, his gaze pinning me on the spot. “It was great to see you again, Dahlia.”
I’m frozen for a second, not knowing what to say, fighting the warm wave settling in my belly.
“You too, doc,” I blurt out.
I don’t know why I say it and hate myself because his smile shines brighter and deeper. And I get warmer lower in my body.
“You look really beautiful, as always.” He walks away, leaving me to stare after him with my insides roiling in a way I really don’t like.
Maybe he triggers memories of the night I got shot. It’s probably a panic attack manifesting.
© Some Days by J.L. Lora, Larimar Press 2022