Wife by Design(8)

By: Tara Taylor Quinn


“Darin was memorable.”

She didn’t say why. He could guess. Darin’s brain was damaged, his body wasn’t. Grant’s older brother had had girls goo-goo eyed over him for as long as Grant could remember. Even after so many years since his accident, Darin’s facial expression didn’t show his lack of mental coherence. You didn’t get that until you’d talked to him for a few minutes and experienced some of his childlike thought processes. Which were interspersed with moments of complete lucidity.

“So what can I do for you?” Lynn asked, that not-quite smile he remembered curving her lips and hitting him where a guy only liked to be hit when he could do something about it. “You said you needed to speak with me in person.”

He’d thought maybe they’d be sitting in her office, not standing out in the hall.

He’d thought she’d remember him, too, and she had. But more important, she’d remembered his brother.

With enough affection to pull strings?

The Lemonade Stand was the only option he had. This had to work.





CHAPTER THREE

HE HAD TO GO.

Facing Grant Bishop in the only section of The Lemonade Stand that was accessible to anyone walking in off the street, she couldn’t believe it was him. The one man who, in all the years she’d been married, had ever tempted her to think about being unfaithful to Brandon.

Not that either man knew. Or would ever know.

But four years ago, just before she’d become pregnant with Kara, there’d been a bit of an attraction between them. At least, she’d been attracted. And she’d been as certain as she could be without verbal confirmation that he was aware of her, as well. There’d been a moment or two of recognition, of something that could’ve been interesting if she hadn’t been married. And if she hadn’t been his brother’s nurse.

The sexual feelings he’d aroused within her had scared her so badly she’d gone home and made love to her husband like she’d never made love before. Over and over again. For more than a month. Long after Darin Bishop had been discharged and the brothers had left her life forever.

Kara had been the result.

“My brother developed an infection around the portion of stingray barb still lodged in his brain,” Grant Bishop was saying.

He wasn’t there to see her personally.

Of course not.

“I’m no longer working at the hospital, Mr. Bishop.” She could have invited him back to her office. The anonymity of the front hall felt better.

“I know.”

He smiled. At her?

Or just to be polite?

“Dr. Zimmer told me this morning that you’ve been here full-time for the past couple of years. He said there’s a physical therapy program here that sometimes accepts nonresident patients. He also said The Lemonade Stand welcomes men into these programs whenever possible—after extensive background checks, of course. That it’s part of the overall therapy program for your residents. Something about women needing positive male influences in their environment because it helps build trust, and they’ll have to deal with men when they’re back in the outside world. Makes sense. I understand you’re the chief medical person in charge and thought that maybe, since Darin was once your patient, you might be able to help pave the way for us here. If there is a way.”

He wasn’t there because he’d remembered her.

Feeling like a bit of a fool, but a relieved one, Lynn kept her face schooled to polite calmness—a talent that she’d developed early on in her nursing career—and said, “Dr. Zimmer sent you?”

The surgeon had been one of her favorites. As busy as he’d been, he’d spent as much time with his patients as they’d needed—emotionally, not just physically. The bodies he worked on weren’t just the job. They were attached to people he’d seemed to genuinely care about.

“Darin had surgery yesterday morning to drain the infection. As a result he’s displaying partial paralysis on his left side.” The look in those brown eyes, a combination of strength and little-boy-lost, tugged at her in a way that was reminiscent of four years before.

No man was ever going to have power over her emotions again.

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