Authors: Paige Notaro
Tags: #new adult romance
Little Dark Secret
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or copied without the express written consent of the author. This book is licensed for personal use only.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Also by Paige Notaro
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Big White Lie
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For the tenth time in an hour, I checked the clock to see if my shift was over. Lilly spotted me this time.
“Come on,” she said. She sieved a hand through her blond hair and went back to her workstation screen. “It’s not that bad today.”
“That’s the problem.” I sighed out at the waiting area. “There’s nothing to pass the time.”
We were momentarily both occupying the emergency room nurse’s station. Technically, we were supposed to equally split our time in front of the desk and out examining the patients, but Lilly and I worked better as a team. She blazed through the tech stuff, and I got to be touchy feely.
But the angels must be singing, cause the ER was basically a ghost town at the moment. A reedy addict fluttered through the pages of a Highlights magazine. A teenage couple fought as they filled out the intake form - I heard the girl hiss something about ‘shouldn’t have put it up there to begin with.’
That was it. I considered talking to the addict, but he looked ready to fly. You couldn’t reach people lost that deep unless they were ready.
I hated the still, though. It meant there was nothing to keep me from thinking about the fact that my job here hung on a shoestring.
Or how it was kind of messed up that the best thing to calm me was thinking about the man who had put me in this mess. Just the idea of his hard, magnificent face had me drifting off into fantasy.
“Got a hot date?” Lilly asked, spotting my spaced out look.
“It’s not really dating anymore,” I said. “We’ve been going out for weeks. But yes, it’s gonna be hot.”
“So you guys had the boyfriend-girlfriend talk?”
I snorted. “Lilly, you know me better than that.”
“I do. You guys are still dating.”
“Well, I’ll take dating over mating.”
I regretted the words almost immediately. She and her guy had been trying to have a baby for almost a month.
But Lilly just shot me a clinical look. “I know you want a family someday. Don’t tell me you don’t have that aching to create something real.”
“I’ve got enough family already.”
But she wasn’t so far off. Half the reason I fell so hard fo Calix was because he cared so deep about family. He understood when I talked about being a good model for my sister. He got why I lived at home to help out Mamá. None of the guys I’d ever dated were anywhere near that thoughtful.
As for making our own family someday - just the thought had me shivering. I remembered the soft, searing climax from my last date. Whoever said missionary was boring had never experienced it coiled in between two hundred and fifty pounds of solid muscle, thrusting you hard against the bedpost even as he came in you.
His voice had been like a storm cloud rumbling warm and far above.
Spread those legs wide, baby. I want to fill you up.
Oh, god, I can feel you. I can feel you come.
My voice had fractured as a clap of pleasure broke me in half.
Say it again.
Come in me, Calix.
It had been an accident that time. But the idea of doing it on purpose, of doing it
I flushed just thinking about it. No, there was nothing more than sex coming anytime soon, but something about me couldn’t set the idea aside. Everything about this guy was unique. Right from how we had met - here in this very Emergency Room.
Yeah, he was one hell of a distraction from my troubles here, alright. I could barely wait to see him again tonight.
The hospital door whirred open far down the hallway. I squinted out, but the evening sun was still too bright to see more than a silhouette.
It was a pretty big silhouette though.
My heart started pounding. What was he doing here?
He came down the hall steady and his face lightened out of the shadows. His cliff walls of cheeks. The wide heft of his jaw. The sparse smile on his face, and those achingly blue eyes - fixed firmly on me.
He entered the waiting area, tipped his head at me, then sat down in an empty aisle.
“What are you doing, Calix?” I said, leaning over the sill of the nurse’s station. Even under the tan army shirt and desert camo pants he had on, his rippling body was still a thing of wonder.
“I came to pick you up.” He grabbed a hunting magazine from the table. “I didn’t mean to disturb you. Finish your shift.”
Lily sprung up to take a look. “So that’s who’s been taking care of my friend.”
Calix gave her a curt nod. It was enough to make her cheeks go red.
“Simmer down,” I said. “You’re acting like it’s the first time you’ve seen him.”
“It is, practically. I wasn’t ever his attending nurse. You made pretty sure to keep everyone else away.”
“Still, you saw him come in.”
“I don’t spend my time drooling over every gunshot victim. I’ve got an intact guy waiting for me at home.”
“Tell that to the dopey grin on your face.”
“That’s just…reflex.” She buried herself intently under whatever was on-screen.
I had almost nothing to do though, and I couldn’t help but keep chancing looks at Calix over the counter. Sometimes, I caught him looking back and our matching gazes sparked heat deep within me. Maybe he felt it, too, but didn’t give me more than a twitch of the lips.
I guess he knew how little it would take to have me throwing myself at him. But I knew how nuts that would look here.
Then, I remembered that having him around at all was far more nuts. The hospital was basically his crime scene. The case against me wasn’t dead. Other people here might notice him.
I checked the time. Fifteen minutes. I thought about asking him to wait outside, but when I looked over, he was hunched in conversation with the wispy addict. His voice was too deep to hear, but the addict nodded nearly nonstop at what he was saying.
They talked for five minutes like this. I couldn’t watch the whole thing, but I sure noticed when the guy clattered out of his chair. He shot Calix a flimsy salute and left the room.
I went out, watching him disappear into the sunlight.
“What the heck did you say?” I asked Calix.
He shrugged his massive frame. “I asked him about his injury. When it became clear he had none, I shared stories about other soldiers I knew with addiction to pills.”
“That was enough?” I perched on his chair’s armrest.
“No. I told him about myself.”
“Yourself?” I looked over his huge unemaciated body. “You’re no addict. You wouldn’t even take the pain meds we gave you.”
“I took a couple.”
“Literally a couple.” I nudged his shoulder. “Did you lie to that man?”
He gave me a soft smile, but his eyes sparkled. “Just a little white lie,” he said quietly. “I’m learning slowly. I imagine we both are.”
“Hopefully not too well,” I said. “I don’t want us hiding things from each other.”
If I hadn’t been so intent on his body, I would have missed it, but his smile tripped, just for an instant. My own mood threatened to disappear under the clouds.
No, I could trust him. I wasn’t going to worry. His family were criminals. Of course, he had secrets. I knew he took care of his father at times. As long as he stayed out of their business, it was ok with me. It wasn’t like I needed him to know everything about my past.
Secrets couldn’t become lies if no one went looking for them.
“Whatever you said worked, at least,” I said. “He seemed pretty serious when he left.”
“It’s likely you’ll see him again. But perhaps this is the last push he needed. Some change must accumulate before it has effect.”
“Well, if the lie keeps him from getting hurt even for a day, it’s worth it,” I said.
Calix nodded. “I agree completely.”
He yanked me onto his lap, and I yelped. His earth and pine aroma clouded me.
“Now,” he said, his lips brushing my ear. “I’m tired of lying apart from you. When can you leave?”
“Calix,” I sighed at first, just lavishing in his touch on my arms. Then, I remembered where we were and how dangerous this was. “Calix!” I yanked to my feet.
Lilly was snickering. Even the teen couple was huddled and laughing behind their intake form. It took everything not to go over there and tell them to shove it up whoever’s butt wasn’t presently occupied. The last thing I wanted was to make this more memorable.
Instead, I patted myself down and said firmly to Calix, “You can’t do that. I’ll be off in a minute.”
He laced his arms around my legs. “Then stay with me through it.”
His grip was like a vise, a promise that I couldn’t get too far away and a promise that he didn’t want to let go.
The elevator doors chimed behind me. I sighed in relief. My replacement was here. A moment later and Calix might have had me straddling him.
But I turned around and saw the person behind me was not a tiny woman in scrubs at all. No, it was a tall man wearing a doctor’s coat and eyes as wide as if he had caught me being mounted.
No, no, no.
Lem was the last person who needed to see us together.
I tried to break out of Calix’s grip, but the guy would not let go of me. I glared down at him, and stepped over his arms like they were a fence.
“Hey Dr. Sygard,” I said. “What are you doing here?”
“I was coming to ask how things were going.” His eyes moved past me to Calix. “But I see that you are occupied.”
“Doctor,” Calix muttered.
“Mr. Black.” Lem came up, stopping so close to us that I could smell the cinnamon and orange tea off his breath.
“How are you doing?” Lem asked Calix. “Not here to remove another bullet, I hope.”
“I’m fine, doctor. How’s your wrist? I trust it recovered intact.”
I backed away towards Lilly. Getting in the middle of this didn’t seem like it would help anyone. But Lem’s face relaxed and he simply smiled.
“No worries, Mr. Black. I’m just glad to see you back to your old self.”