The Doctor's Former Fiancee

By: Caro Carson

Lana had made the right choice by breaking their engagement.

He looked like an urbane city man now, a business tycoon in a Savile Row suit, but that scar on his chin revealed the man he'd been. Lana knew him, under that suit.

Under that suit, he was …

Warm skin and hard muscle. Every inch of him.

For God's sake, Lana. You're the department chair. Pay attention.

More than a million dollars were at stake. West Central was counting on her to achieve one simple goal: renew PLI's contract.

Perhaps she ought to set a second goal. She was going to keep her heart well guarded from the dreamy Dr MacDowell.

* * *

The Brothers MacDowell:

Doctors who have never taken time for love —until now!

Chapter One

It was the part of his job Braden MacDowell hated most. Turning down requests. Telling someone their work was not going to pay off.

Killing dreams.

Braden pushed through the hospital’s double doors with more force than was necessary. Nurses stared. Perhaps no one expected a stranger wearing a business suit rather than doctor’s scrubs to be walking purposefully through a treatment area, but Braden knew this was a shortcut to the conference room.

Perhaps they thought he looked familiar. Braden knew he shared his brothers’ physical features. Dr. Quinn MacDowell was the medical director here. Dr. Jamie MacDowell had left the battlefields of the Middle East to serve the city of Austin in this hospital’s emergency department.

Braden nodded curtly at the staff as he kept walking down the corridors, the endless hospital corridors.

Perhaps they stared because the man he resembled the most strongly was his father, whose life-sized portrait hung in the lobby. He’d founded the hospital. Two of his sons healed the sick here. But Braden, the eldest, had traded in scrubs and cowboy boots for a suit and Testoni shoes. He’d taken his medical degree and left Austin for the high-stakes world of corporate America.

The staff might be wondering which MacDowell he was, but they’d know soon enough. He was the MacDowell returning home to kill someone’s dream.

Braden took two flights of stairs rather than wait for the elevator. This hospital was still as familiar to him as the back of his hand. He’d practically lived here during his residency, which was how he knew this shortcut would let him avoid the hospital’s chapel.

He’d face that memory later.

Not before this meeting. His emotions didn’t need to be churned up before he wreaked havoc with someone else’s. Braden had killed dreams before, and he’d do it again for as long as he was in the biotech industry. Eliminating this program would free up millions of dollars for more promising research. For his own sanity, he kept the end goal clearly in mind: better health for all patients, everywhere.

Scientists of all disciplines patented new theories, new molecules, new devices. However, the kind of mind that came up with potential medical solutions rarely had the business acumen to turn those ideas into reality. Millions of dollars were required to fund the years of studies that were needed to prove that an idea would actually help the average patient.

The overwhelming majority of the time, it didn’t. Then the hopeful inventor—and Braden’s company—were out millions of dollars and years of effort, and had nothing, not one thing, to show for it.

At what point was it nearly certain that the gamble was not going to pay off? Plaine Laboratories International relied on Braden to make that call. He was the man expected to know when to cut PLI’s losses, when to halt the studies under way, when to give up looking for a cure down that particular alley.

And then, on days like today, Braden got to inform everyone involved that he’d decided their dream was over.

Renovations and new wings had been added to the hospital during his six-year absence, so at the conclusion of his shortcut, Braden had to rely on a sign to point him down a new corridor. The old conference room had apparently made way for an entire conference center.

Maybe the hospital chapel had been renovated or relocated. A pang of regret hit him. Maybe he wouldn’t get the chance to say goodbye.

Impatient with himself for wasting his energy on nostalgia, Braden followed the signs through the new wing. A visit to the chapel would have been only a symbolic goodbye today. His first engagement was long over, and Braden was ready to move on. Ready to propose to his current girlfriend. Saying goodbye to the memory of his former fiancée wasn’t strictly necessary.

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