Beat of the Heart


Page 7






"Once again, not a crime considering our profession is to help people."

I rolled my eyes. "Would you let me finish?"

"Fine, fine."

"Anyway, of all places, the drink fell in the guy's lap and-"

Dee gave me a contemptuous snort. "Mia Martinelli, how many times have I told you not to molest the guests of hospital patients?"

"Wait, what?" I questioned, trying to process his response.

"You know your little drink spill routine is just a ploy to get to rub up on some hot dude."

My eyes widened. "Dee, what the hell is wrong with you? I just told you I was mortified, and now you're acting like I'm some crotch grabbing pervert?"

A throat cleared behind me, and I whirled around. "Oh shit," I muttered, before I could stop myself. With an 'I can melt your panties at twenty paces' smirk, AJ stood at the door with his hands shoved in the pockets of his holey jeans. While the front was still damp, they were no longer tented like when I left him. From his expression, I could tell my little tirade hadn't had a lasting effect on him at all.

Pointing at Dee, I said, "Just for the record, he is being a total ass right now."

AJ chuckled. "Yeah, I know." He took a tentative step forward. "I wondered if I could talk to you for a minute?"

Grabbing a chart, Dee batted his eyelashes at AJ. "I'll just duck in the medicine room real quick, Mimi, and let you and sweet cheeks have some privacy."

As he sashayed away from us, AJ's brows furrowed, and he blinked a few times in disbelief. "Is it just me or does he remind you of-"

"Lafayette on True Blood?"

AJ's dark eyes widened. "Holy shit, yes!"

"Yeah, he gets it all the time." With a laugh, I added, "Most of the time, he uses it to scam free drinks or get closer to a guy he's scoping out. People never seem to be disappointed that it's not really the actor-I mean, that guy doesn't act like LaFayette in real life anyway." When I realized I was rambling, I pinched my lips shut. It had been a long time since any guy had gotten me rattled enough to run my mouth like an idiot.

"You a fan of the show?" AJ asked.

"Oh, yeah, I adored it-well, until the whole sixth season and Billith."

AJ snickered. "I couldn't agree more. I used to be pretty much obsessed with it, but yeah, I couldn't get it up for the last two seasons. Now I'm more a Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy fan myself."

"Oh my God, those are awesome shows, too." I stared at AJ in disbelief for a moment. Was I actually making small talk with the guy I'd just accidentally molested? I hadn't talked to any guy-or I guess I should say straight guy-since Dev had left me shattered. Shaking my head, I snapped out of my daze. "So what is it exactly that you wanted to talk to me about?"

"Oh yeah, that. I wanted to see if you'd like to have dinner with me sometime?"

My brows shot into my hairline. "After I just verbally berated you like that? Not to mention the physical thing." When AJ nodded, I snorted. "I must've made one hell of an impression cleaning you up."

He grinned. "Your talents are quite impressive, but I'd like to experience the full range of your…napkin abilities ."

"I think you're getting a little presumptuous, don't you think? You only asked me to dinner."

"That's true." AJ scratched the stubble on his chin. "But to prove my intentions are honorable, I'm still offering dinner-just dinner." With a pointed look, he added, "And maybe some third base action if the mood strikes us."

I laughed in spite of myself. "Tempting, very tempting. But, no thanks."

"You drive a hard bargain, Ms. Martinelli, but I'm willing to take the third base action off the table for dinner and maybe a good night kiss-with or without tongue."

"No."

Crossing his arms over his broad chest, he tilted his head to one side, surmising me quizzically. "Fine then. No dinner with its somewhat provocative undertones. How about just a drink after you get off?"

"Sorry, but I'm not interested in dating at the moment."

AJ's dark brows furrowed in confusion, and I could tell he wasn't used to getting rejection from a female. Undaunted, he pursed his lips in a smirk. "I get it. You're a little gun-shy about dating a musician, or you're career minded, or some other shit is telling you to say no. But I can work with that." He snapped his fingers. "Coffee it is!"

"AJ, really-"

He held up a hand. "Yeah, I get it. I now can see where coffee might be a little loaded for an outing. You know, with caffeine being an illicit, addictive substance, so maybe I should switch gears. Ice cream's pretty innocent. How about that?" His gaze honed in on my mouth as he closed the distance between us. "After all, who can say no to some sugary sweetness? Maybe add some smooth whipped cream topped off with a ripe cherry?"

His voice had taken on a deeper edge, a more seductive tone, which caused my resolve to momentarily fade. Instead of being focused on giving him the brush-off, I suddenly envisioned him lying buck naked on a bed while I licked ice cream off what I imagined were his perfect abs. Beads of sweat broke out along the base of my neck. I fought the urge to fan myself. Get a grip, Mia. "Um, no."

"How about I take you to the party in my pants?"

"Look, I…wait, did you seriously just use a line from Anchorman on me?"

AJ gave me a teasing wink. "I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention."

I huffed out a frustrated breath, blowing away a few errant strands of hair from my face. At his earnest expression, I held up my hands. "Listen, I'm really flattered by all your offers, but I'm just not ready to date again."

"Again?" AJ questioned.

Dammit. How could I have let that slip? Glancing away from him, I stared over at the desk. "It's just this year hasn't been the best for me in a lot of ways."

"So, let me make it better by taking you out and showing you a really good time."

Dee sidestepped us on his way out of the medicine closet. "Trust me, sweet cheeks, baby girl needs a good time in the worst way possible." He paused to run his gaze from AJ's head down to his feet. "And you look like just the hot ticket she needs to clear away the vajayjay cobwebs."







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