His Temptation, Her Secret(6)

By: Barbara Dunlop

“We can fill in the rest,” Caleb said.

“I tracked her down the next day to apologize. But she’d already heard about the prank. She was enraged, punched me square in the chest.” TJ’s hand went reflexively to the spot where her small fist had connected. “She told me she never wanted to speak to me again.”

“You can’t blame her,” Matt said.

“It was stupid and cruel, I know. But I only planned to kiss her. The rest of it was on both of us. It was more than just consensual. And she’s kept my son from me for nine years. The two things don’t even compare.”


A week later, mere hours after the transplant procedure, Sage expected to find TJ lounging in his hospital bed. But he was up and halfway dressed, reaching his arms into a crisp white dress shirt.

“Should you be out of bed?” she asked, stepping past the curtain.

“The nurse took the IV out a few minutes ago.”

“But you just had surgery.”

“I’m aware of that.” He adjusted his collar and shifted the lapels across what she’d noted was a magnificently muscular chest.

“You must be sore.” She couldn’t believe he’d bounce back this fast.

“Only my hip. Dr. Stannis says it’ll disappear in a few days. Hanging around here isn’t going to help any.”

“Can you drive?” Sage asked.

She didn’t know where he was staying, but she wanted to be sure he got safely back to his hotel. It was the least she could do—the very least she could do for the man who may have saved her son’s life.

“They didn’t serve liquor in the operating room.”

“You know what I mean. You must be woozy.”

“It’s not too bad.” He finished doing up his buttons. “I’m not crazy about anesthetic. I like my brain cells too much.”

“I’m sorry you had to go through that.” She struggled to keep her emotions at bay. “Thank you, TJ.”

He sent her a sharp gaze, trapping hers for a long second. “You don’t have to thank me. He’s my son. You don’t ever have to thank me for helping my son.”

It would be a struggle for her to get used to that. She’d had Eli to herself for such a long time, she couldn’t imagine letting anyone else into their circle.

“I need you to understand that, Sage.”

“You’re going to have to give me some time.”

“I’ve already wasted nine years.” TJ took a pewter-gray blazer from a hanger on the wall and put it on over his designer outfit.

She was terrified to ask him what he had in mind. She didn’t want to have that conversation. “They’re watching Eli for signs of rejection,” she said instead.

“Anything yet?” TJ asked.

“It’s too soon to tell. Are you staying in Seattle overnight?”

Again, he pasted her with the sharp look. “I’m staying here as long as it takes.”

“Takes to what?”

He turned his back to her, punching a code into a small safe on the wall and retrieving his wallet and keys. Then he faced her and deposited the wallet into his inside jacket pocket. He kept the keys in his hand.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said.

She worriedly searched his expression for a clue. “About…”

“I’d like to move Eli to Highside Hospital.”

The words blindsided her. “What? Where?”

“It’s near Whiskey Bay. It’s state-of-the-art—”


“Hear me out.”

Protective instincts rose inside her, along with a healthy dose of fear. “You’re not taking Eli out of Seattle.”

“It’s the best place for him. I’ve donated to Highside for years, and they have the best doctors, the best technology, he’d be—”

“St. Bea’s is a fantastic hospital.”

“It’s a public hospital.”

Her tone went up in defense. “So what?”

“So, they’re busy, overworked, stretched for resources.”

“They’ve given Eli everything he needs. They diagnosed him. They found you.” She stopped, realizing TJ’s unique role in Eli’s recovery might not be her strongest argument.

“I was in the registry. Any hospital would have found me.”

“I don’t want him moved.” She needed to be close to her son while he recovered.

Whiskey Bay was three hours away. She’d missed so much time at work these past weeks, she couldn’t take much more off. She’d planned to work as many hours as she could while Eli was recovering.

“It’ll free up a bed for someone who desperately needs it,” TJ said.

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