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One Perfect Night

Written by Teresa Southwick

Chapter Two

"If you asked for a second chance, I'd have to say no."

Ben Carson wasn't used to hearing no from anyone. He was the regional vice president of Mercy Medical Center and his word on most things was final. Personally, though…not so much. Otherwise he wouldn't have found his ex-girlfriend, Penny, in bed with another guy. He'd sworn off women after that. Until he met Julie. When he was with her, he felt like he was basking in the light of a summer day.

But the timing of their first date couldn't have been worse. He'd had to break things off the next day to protect her from a bad situation. Julie was sunshine and happiness—he couldn't let her be hurt or upset by anything. Not because of him.

Now that situation had been resolved and he had a green light to move forward with her. He was a man of action. This limbo with Julie had driven him nuts because he'd never stopped wanting to be with this woman.

But by trying to protect her he might just have blown his one shot. He looked down at the petite, blue-eyed blonde with the husky, contagious laugh. She wasn't laughing now. "Why would you have to tell me no?"

"There's no reason for you and I to go down that road again. We tried… Things didn't work out."

They hadn't tried, not really. When he'd first started working at the hospital, he'd fought his attraction to her. But they kept running into each other and talking after meetings longer than necessary. Then he'd found excuses to go to the ICU just to see her. Conversations turned from flirty to intimate. He'd weighed the personal risks, and they were heavy, but finally he couldn't fight the attraction anymore.

He'd asked her out and it was the best night of his life—one perfect night. Just dinner. They'd talked for hours and he'd left a generous tip for tying up the table so long. Then he took her home. He hadn't planned to sleep with her, but when he kissed her good-night he'd gone up in flames, in the best possible way. He was sure she'd felt the same. He just had to get her to remember….

"I think things worked out pretty well that night."

Her cheeks flushed a charming pink, telling him he'd been right, she'd gone up in flames, too.

One of the things he liked best about her was the way she didn't hide her feelings or play games. Completely different from the last woman he'd been involved with, the one who might have cost him Julie.

"You're right. That night was…memorable. But then the next day you said we couldn't see each other for a while." There was hurt in her eyes when she looked up at him now. "You fed me some line about your ex-girlfriend being pregnant. Wouldn't it have been simpler to say there was no chemistry between us?"

"That would have been a lie."

There was chemistry all right. A wanting that had only grown more intense after their night together. But the worst part was missing her so much it hurt.

"Oh, please," she scoffed. "It was easy for you to walk away."

"You're wrong. Waiting to find out if I was that baby's father, being apart from you, was one of the hardest things I've ever done."

"That's not how it felt. You simply didn't trust me to deal with the hard stuff. Without trust, there's not much to go on." She took a step back. "I have to go, my ICU nurses need to take their lunch break."

"Wait—" He dragged his hand through his hair because of how badly he wanted to pull her into his arms and kiss her until she believed him. "Give me a minute. Let me explain why—"

"No. I really have to get back to the unit."

"I'm going to call you later."

She shrugged and turned to leave. "That doesn't mean I'll pick up."

Before he could stop her again, she was gone.

She was right about a phone call, she could ignore it. The only way to make her hear him out was to show up in person.

And that was exactly what he'd do.

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About the author

I discovered my love for books through being lazy. In a high-school hi...

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Teresa Southwick

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