Authors: Janice Lynn
A date with her past!
When nurse Emily Stewart puts herself up for a hospital charity auction, she never expects the winning bidder to be Lucas Cainâher new boss...and ex-husband!
Since their marriage crumbled, Emily hasn't wanted to experience such tempestuous passion again. And she's still hiding a heartbreaking secret from Lucas... Yet he's changed during their years apart, and soon a red-hot fling is impossible to resist! Dare she finally open up to Lucas and give their love a second chance?
“I don't want to go, Emily, but if that's what you want, I will.”
She looked up, met his cloudy gaze and opened her mouth to answer himâto tell him that, yes, she wanted him to go away, never to bother her again, to leave Children's Hospital and never to purposely cross her path again. She
want all those things.
But none of that came out, and whatever she'd been going to say was lost to the pressure of Lucas's mouth covering hers in a kiss.
Sometimes a story idea hits and just takes off. Emily and Lucas's story was that way. Occasionally couples who are meant to be together let life pull them apart and blind them to their true feelings. That's what has happened with Emily and Lucas.
Lucas is hesitant to take his dream job because his ex-wife works at the hospitalâbut how can he turn down an offer to make real advances in brain-injury research when that's his life's passion? Emily was his best friend once upon a time. Surely they can make peace and have an amicable work relationship? Only, once he spends time with Emily, he wants much more than just a work relationship with his ex. He wants
When her ex buys a date with her at a charity bachelorette auction, Emily is reminded of all the things that made her fall in love with Lucas to begin with. But this time around she isn't young, naive and blinded by visions of happily-ever-after. This time she won't let him anywhere near her heart. Only, what if he's had it all along...?
I had so much fun on Emily and Lucas's journey to healing and happy-ever-after. I hope you enjoy their story as much as I did. I'd love to hear what you thought of their romance at
SIZZLING NIGHTS WITH DR. OFF-LIMITS
Books by Janice Lynn
Harlequin Medical Romance
The Nurse Who Saved Christmas
The Doctor's Damsel in Distress
Flirting with the Society Doctor
Challenging the Nurse's Rules
NYC Angels: Heiress's Baby Scandal
The ER's Newest Dad
After the Christmas Party...
Flirting with the Doc of Her Dreams
New York Doc to Blushing Bride
Winter Wedding in Vegas
Visit the Author Profile page at
for more titles.
Janice won the National Readers' Choice Award for her first book,
The Doctor's Pregnancy Bombshell
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To Reesee. Love you to the moon and back!
Praise for Janice Lynn
“Fun, witty and sexy... A heartfelt, sensual and compelling read.”
NYC Angels: Heiress's Baby Scandal
“A sweet and beautiful romance that will steal your heart.”
NYC Angels: Heiress's Baby Scandal
just made an outlandish bid for Emily Stewart's Manhattan Memorial Children's Hospital Traumatic Brain Injury fund-raiser bachelorette date.
Lucas couldn't. Wouldn't.
Oohs and aahs were sounding around the hotel ballroom as the auctioneer expressed his excitement over the enormous leap in the bid. Emily just wanted to cry,
She'd never dreamed of putting in a clause that said if her ex-husband lost his mind, bid and probably just won, her donated “date” was null and void. Then again, when she'd first volunteered with the fund-raiser, she'd not seen Lucas in five years. She couldn't possibly have expected him to show up at the auction, much less bid outrageously for her bachelorette number.
What she'd expected was her boyfriend to buy the date.
The reality was she'd been worried Richard would be her only bidder.
If only he had.
Why had she let Meghan convince her to do the auction? Standing on a stage letting men bid on a date with her was not her thing. Still, it had been for a great cause she believed in and she hadn't had the heart to say no despite fear of humiliation and embarrassment.
But if she'd known Lucas would show up and bid on her, no way would she have agreed to participate.
If she had one of those auction number thingies, she'd bid on herself. Could a girl do that?
White-knuckled, she forced a smile to stay on her face, but her cheeks were starting to hurt. Then again, that could be from her gritted teeth rather than her fake smile.
She dug her fingers into her palms and pretended everything was just fine, as if the man who'd once ripped her heart to shreds hadn't just bid a ridiculous sum to go to dinner with her.
He hadn't eaten with her when it hadn't cost him a thing except his time. Why would he want to now? After all these years? For that matter, why had he even taken the job at Children's? Manhattan was big enough for the both of them. Barely. Their paths should never, or at least rarely, cross. They'd been apart five years and, although she occasionally heard his name or saw a photo of him come across one of their few mutual acquaintances' social media page, she'd not seen him in person since the day their divorce had been finalized.
Until this past month.
Now she saw him every time she worked.
The auctioneer resumed his rapid-fire words, calling for another bid. Emily's gaze went to Richard, silently pleading with him to outbid Lucas. He might not have Lucas's millions, but the bid was far from being outside his reach. Why wasn't he stepping up, letting Lucas know she was his?
One of the auction volunteers walked over to stand near Richard, encouraging him to up the ante. But rather than do so, he shrugged and said something she could only make out bits and pieces of from where she stood on stage. What she caught was that the auction was “all for fun” and “for a good cause.”
Cheeks on fire, forced smile glued in place, heart pounding out of her chest, Emily wanted to disappear. Richard made a good living. He could afford to bid higher. As her boyfriend, he should be bidding higher.
“Anyone else, folks? Come on, just look at her. Imagine a night out on the town with this gorgeous woman on your arm.” The auctioneer turned his attention back to the rest of the crowd, trying to entice a new bidder into the ring. As if anyone else was going to cough up that much money to oust Lucas's high bid when her own boyfriend wouldn't. Ugh. This was humiliating.
“Going once,” the auctioneer warned. “Going twice.”
Her cheeks were so hot maybe she'd just spontaneously combust. Then sharing a meal with Lucas wouldn't even be an issue.
“Sold to the lucky gentleman holding number 146,” the auctioneer crooned.
Great. Lucas had just won her date.
Emily walked across the stage to where the other auctioned-off women waited while the next bachelorette took center stage. In just a few minutes Emily would have to have a photo taken with her ex-husband. She'd have to stand next to him, smile at the camera and pretend she wasn't dying on the inside.
Thanks to his winning bid she had to sit through a meal with him across the table.
How dared he do this to her? Hadn't he caused enough havoc already to last a lifetime?
She was not having a meal with her ex-husband. Just the thought made her want to barf.
She'd play nice for the picture, but she would make a matching donation to the charity and wiggle out of the date. Although, Lucas had certainly been generous enough that doing so would make a painful dent in her savings. Still, the charity and avoiding time with her ex-husband were worthy causes.
she wanted to scream at him from across the crowded luxury hotel ballroom. The hundreds of attendees might as well have not existed. All she saw was Lucas, smiling so nonchalantly, as if he hadn't just done something so absolutely wrong. Dressed in his tux, he was so handsome she wanted to shake her fist and yell it wasn't fair that he looked even better than he had when he'd been hers.
Their divorce hadn't left him any worse for wear. She'd been the devastated one who'd had to pick up the shattered bits of her heart and pretend her whole world hadn't fallen apart.
Her whole world had fallen apart.
But she'd survived, was stronger for the life lessons learned from her marriage to Dr. Lucas Cain.
Why had he drawn attention to himself, to her, by bidding such an out-of-the-ballpark amount for her date?
Why, when she'd finally put the pieces of her life back together, did he show up to throw rocks at her glass house?
She had made a good life at Children's, was dating and liked said boyfriend who'd not won her bid. Richard Givens, a pharmacist who worked near the hospital, was everything Lucas hadn't been.
She glanced Richard's way, saw him laughing at something someone at their table had said. Exasperation filled her. He'd just lost a date with his girlfriend to another man and he was laughing? Ugh. He wasn't worried. Why should he be? He didn't know Lucas was her ex-husband.
No one at Children's did.
Not wanting any reminder, she'd changed back to her maiden name and they'd never heard Lucas's name on her lips. Not until three weeks ago when he'd started in a medical director position at Children's pediatric neurology department. The department she worked in and loved. Maybe she could ask for a transfer.
Not having to see him would be worth giving up her beloved nursing position at Children's. Almost.
How dared he show up where she worked and make her consider transferring positions when she'd already left one job to escape reminders of the biggest mistake she'd ever made? She'd left the hospital where they'd met during the end of his neurosurgery fellowship.
She should have known better than to marry Lucas.
She had known better.
Her parents had warned her. Her friends had warned her. His parents had warned her. His friends had warned her. No one had thought they should marry. She was too young, Lucas wasn't ready to settle down, they were too different and from too-different lifestyles. She'd been an ordinary middle-class girl from Brooklyn. Lucas had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had never had to stress over anything.
But she'd paid no heed. She'd been in love and thought she'd found her happily-ever-after at twenty-one.
She'd just graduated from her nursing program and had been at the hospital for only a few weeks when the most handsome man she'd ever seen had stolen her breath with his quick smile, mischievous eyes and quick wit. They'd had a whirlwind romance, then married and settled into her little apartment close to the hospital, because she'd refused to move into his parents' Park Avenue penthouse as he'd apparently thought they would. No, she had not wanted to start out her marriage living with her in-laws, whom she'd met only a couple of times. She'd planned to prove all the naysayers wrong over the next fifty-plus years.
She'd been the one proved wrong.
Wrong when Lucas had become less and less enamored with their marriage no matter what she'd done to try to keep things smooth. She'd not expected a lot of his attention. He'd been in the midst of his fellowship, after all. But she had expected him to occasionally make time for his young wife, who'd loved him so much. Near the end, she'd barely seen him, had wondered if he'd even noticed she'd moved out of the apartment as he'd asked her to.
He must have. He'd immediately filed for divorce. For irreconcilable differences and abandonment.
Who'd abandoned whom?
She'd given him her heart, had put all she'd had into making her marriage a success, and he'd discarded her like yesterday's trash.
She'd sunk into a deeper and deeper depression, but nothing had ever hurt the way the demise of her marriage had, the way he had pierced her heart and bled it dry. Now that she'd carefully nurtured herself back into some semblance of a living, breathing person, had he come back to take shots at her a second time?
She wouldn't let him.
Her insides seethed with bitterness.
He couldn't steal her happiness or her peace of mind.
Only, from the moment she'd found out who had accepted the department position, her peace of mind had become a war zone. But it was a battle she would fight and win. She wouldn't give him so much power over her. Not ever again.
She'd planned to avoid him, to not interact any more than absolutely necessary to effectively perform her job duties.
Apparently, Lucas had other ideas. Like a date he'd very publicly paid too much money to beat Richard to secure.
While the current bid came to a close, Emily glared at her ex-husband, wondering if you could hate someone you used to love more than life itself.
He was no doubt considered quite the catch. She knew better. She knew his flaws, knew that behind that handsome exterior beat the heart of a man incapable of loving another human being, of a man incapable of being there when his wife had needed him.
A man who hadn't been there on the worst night of her life.
Had he been at the hospital working, at his parents' or out partying with his buddies when her world had crumbled? Either way, he hadn't been at her side in that emergency room.
“Lucky you, girl!” Emily's best friend, Meghan, whispered. “I can't believe Dr. Cain just bought your basket. And for that price? You must be giving off some major pheromones or something because for a few minutes I thought he and Richard were going to come to blows.”
Emily had never thought that. Lucas had never fought for her. He'd never fought for anything in his whole life. He wanted something and it just fell perfectly into place in his perfect life. She was probably the only mar on his stellar record.
And Richard, well, he was a nonconfrontational beta kind of guy, so she hadn't been too surprised when he'd let Lucas win the bid. Disappointed, but not really shocked. He would find paying such an exorbitant amount for something he did several times a week for free as a total waste.
Emily would have been highly impressed had Richard stepped up and rescued her from Lucas's bidding clutches. A knight in shining armor to her damsel in distress. Too bad. She'd have enjoyed Richard putting Lucas in his place.
To be fair, Lucas had raised the bid a stupid amount and Richard didn't have a deep trust fund to line his pockets, but the bid hadn't been out of his financial reach. Not by a long shot. Still, he worked hard for his money, was someone whom Emily could relate to. Richard was the same as her, an ordinary person living an ordinary life. She liked it that way.
“You can have him,” she muttered under her breath to her fellow pediatric neuro nurse.
“Are you blind?” Meghan's expression was incredulous as they exited the stage to make room for the bachelors to be auctioned off. “He's the hottest thing to hit Manhattan since the term Big Apple was first coined.”
Stepping a few feet away from the stage, Emily wrinkled her nose. Looks could be so deceiving. “He's not my type.”
“Girl, he is every red-blooded female's type.” Meghan waggled her perfectly drawn brows. “Tall, dark and handsome.”
“To each her own, because he isn't mine. I prefer Richard.”
This time it was Meghan's nose that wrinkled. “Richard is boring.”
Emily frowned. “Richard is loyal, handsome, intelligent, kindâ”
“You deserve so much better than the likes of Richard,” her best friend assured her. Meghan had never understood her attraction to Richard, always claiming that she felt he stifled Emily.
“Not to me, he isn't.” She'd had excitement and the fast lane while married to Lucas. She didn't need parties and a revolving-door social life. She liked going home to her apartment after her shift ended, cooking a light dinner for two, discussing their day and occasionally going for a walk or perhaps to a show.
Richard was calm, predictable, stable. Totally to her taste in men.
Totally and completely the opposite of Lucas.
“You can't tell me Richard is even in the same league as Lucas Cain.”
“You're right, he's not. Richard is way above it.”
Meghan gave her an odd look. “You been drinking?”
Emily laughed. “Because I find the man I'm dating more attractive than some new doctor at the hospital, you think I'm inebriated? Richard is my boyfriend. Why wouldn't I find him more attractive than Dr. Cain?”
“Do you?” a familiar male voice asked from behind her.
Every cell in Emily's body did a nervous jump to attention, making her legs weak, making her hands tremble, making her heart race. Not wanting to look at him, not wanting to have a conversation with him, she turned to face her ex-husband.