The Doctor's Former Fiancee(3)

By: Caro Carson

For the next year, just a glance at the ring had made her feel good, even when she was on the eighteenth hour of her day, walking down these same corridors to yet another patient.

With an impatient smack of her file against her thigh, Lana stopped her memories. She’d known coming back here would trigger them, not that they’d ever completely stopped. But she’d long ago acknowledged that the past was the past, and it shouldn’t prevent her from taking advantage of this new position. The desire to avoid memories of her former fiancé wouldn’t prevent her from grabbing the best opportunity she—or anyone in her field—could hope for. It was a great step toward her future, as the single but successful Dr. Lana Donnoli, a woman on the cutting edge of research, bringing new cures and new hope to patients across the country.

There was nothing wrong with being single. There was nothing wrong with being successful.

Wasn’t that what you told Braden when you broke your engagement, that you understood his dedication to his career?

She was using this corridor only as a shortcut to the conference room, not to circumvent the hospital chapel.

The conference room was dead ahead. Money for the hospital—for her hospital—was at stake, but she knew very little about this research project. If the study was failing to show results, it could be canceled. They’d lose over a million in funding. That much, she’d been able to learn in the hour since her administrative assistant had told her this meeting was on her morning’s schedule.

She was going to have to think fast to keep up with the representative from Plaine Labs International who’d come to hear the status of the study being conducted at West Central.

Is it west or is it central? You can’t be both.

She wouldn’t have time for memories.

Thank God.

Chapter Two

Braden tapped his fingers impatiently on the conference room’s table while a senior resident fumbled with the projector for her laptop. She’d told him three times that Dr. Montgomery, Braden’s former faculty adviser, had asked her to present the study’s midpoint data.

When the laptop’s screen was finally, successfully projected on the wall, Braden took advantage of that awkward moment before the young doctor clicked on the icon that would start the slide show. He’d become an expert at gathering all kinds of intelligence in those seconds. File names that looked personal indicated that any PLI-provided laptops were not being used strictly for research. The name of any file often indicated how many versions existed. Always, Braden would note the amount of total slides before the first one ballooned up to fill the full screen—in this case, slide one of forty-three.


Death by PowerPoint. It looked as though this resident planned to make it a slow, painful death.

Braden would cut it short after a polite amount of slides had passed. He’d already received the raw data from the midpoint of this study. He’d done the statistical analysis himself. While there was some trend toward the treatment group having a better outcome than the placebo group, there was no statistical difference. Plaine Labs International was not going to sink another 1.2 million dollars and another eighteen months of time into this study, not with such weak results at the midpoint.

It was a shame, because Braden had a soft spot in his heart for the subject: a new medicine for migraines, something his father had suffered from. The man had been a force to be reckoned with, but Braden had been awed as a child at seeing his indefatigable father laid low within moments of a migraine’s onset. This particular molecule wasn’t going to work, though. It was time for PLI to cut its losses and move on.

Time to kill someone’s dream.

The door behind him opened with a hard push, and the PowerPoint physician looked up from her laptop and exhaled in relief. “Ah, Dr. Donnoli is here—our new department chair. She’ll be able to field any questions after the presentation, I’m sure.”

Dr. Donnoli? Dr. Donnoli was in West Central Texas Hospital? It couldn’t be. She was in Washington, D.C., adding more impressive credentials to her curriculum vitae. He knew, because he knew where all the key research physicians in America were. But he swiveled his chair to look, and it was her.

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