For #Sample Sunday, here’s an excerpt from Hardball, the sexy contemporary romance I wrote with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes. Nate, a superstar baseball player, and Holly, a serious and rather shy pediatric surgeon, meet for the first time. When making a visit to the local children’s hospital to visit with the kids, Nate runs into Holly.
Nate entered the room. Two steps inside, he stopped short, brushing up against a woman in a white lab coat. She must have been standing at the foot of the bed, fully hidden by the door.
The woman took a small step backward, clearly startled by the brief physical contact. As their eyes met, Nate felt all the air sucked from his lungs in one whoosh.
Sweet Mother of God.
He had to pull in a deep breath. What a babe.
The woman’s brow creased. “I’m Dr. Bell. Can I help you?”
He couldn’t stop his gaze from quickly traveling the full length of her body, from her face to her ankles and all the way back again. Though not nearly as tall as he was, this doctor was one seriously long drink of a woman. Close to six feet, he reckoned. Her unbuttoned lab coat revealed a lean but curvy figure, and long, elegant legs. She had a naturally beautiful face, too, with big, hazel eyes, a full, sexy mouth, and a peaches and cream complexion. Still, he suspected she tended to hide her light under a bushel. She wore no makeup that he could see, and her auburn hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Glasses were perched on the end of her nose, secured by a fine gold chain around her neck. They added to her unadorned, resolutely professional look.
The doctor extended a slender hand. Her fine eyebrows arched as she waited for him to find his voice.
Her outstretched hand finally registered in his brain and jolted him into action. “I’m sorry,” he apologized, “I was a little surprised for a moment. You were hidden by the door.”
He took her hand and held it a few seconds. It was long and fine-boned, but her firm grip told him it was strong, too. The kind of hand he’d like to have doing surgery on him. In fact, he mused, he wouldn’t mind that hand doing all sorts of things to his body.
He introduced himself. “I’m Nate Carter. I come around whenever I can to visit with the kids.”
She still looked puzzled. It dawned on him that she had absolutely no idea who he was. It didn’t bother him, though. Actually, it felt like a nice change of pace from the constant fan recognition.
“I’m a pitcher with the Patriots,” he said. “You know. Baseball.”
Her mouth relaxed into a half-smile. “Oh, I see,” she replied. “You’re one of our celebrity visitors.” Her crisp tone told him she was far from awed by his presence. Looking down at the little girl, she said, “Mr. Carter, this is Morgan McDaniel.”
Morgan shyly put her little hand in his big one.
“Dr. Holly, I know who Nate Carter is,” she said in a whispery voice. “He’s the Patriots’ best pitcher. Everybody knows that.”
Dr. Bell seemed to hold back a smile as Morgan skewered her. “I don’t think I’ve told you yet how new I am to the city, Morgan,” she said, her serious voice at odds with the amusement in her eyes. “If I’d been here for more than just a few weeks, I’m sure I would have recognized a man as famous as Mr. Carter.”
Nate smothered a chuckle. What a perfect response. She validated what the little girl had said, and made him feel good at the same time.
“That’s why I didn’t recognize you, either,” he said. “I’ve met most of the doctors here over the past few years, and I know I would have remembered if I’d ever seen you before.” He made no attempt to keep the appreciation out of his voice.
“Well, then, I suppose we might run into each other again.” Her smile was hesitant but intriguing. “Since you’re a regular visitor here.”
“You bet,” he said.
As if he didn’t already have enough motivation to keep doing this. “Doctor Bell,” he continued, wanting to keep the conversation going, “do you mind my asking where you’re from? I detect a bit of a southern accent.”
She sighed, her expression conveying rueful resignation. “You’re probably hearing the north Florida in my voice. I grew up in Jacksonville. But for the last nine years I’ve been studying and working at the University of Virginia.”
“You’re from Jacksonville? No kidding? I’ve got a condo in Ponte Vedra Beach, and I’m in Jax all the time when I’m down there.” He looked over at Morgan, staring at the adults with big, round eyes, and winked. The little girl giggled.
Nate glanced back at the doctor. “That’s got to be some kind of karma, right?”
Dr. Bell registered his flirtation, and her eyes widened in surprise. A slight blush colored her smooth cheeks. He could feel his smile broaden as she somewhat defiantly returned his look, and it occurred to him that perhaps the good doctor was issuing a challenge.
Well, he’d be more than happy to oblige her. He knew without a shadow of a doubt he was going to find out just what this lovely doctor was all about.
Have a great Sunday!