Beth gazed out the window of the limousine at the rain-drenched streets of downtown Portland. There was something about Oregon's 'City of Roses' at night that appealed to her, especially around the holidays. It was two days after Thanksgiving, but Christmas had already made its appearance with the arrival of the seventy-foot Douglas fir at Pioneer Courthouse Square. She was looking forward to seeing the tree decked out in its hundreds of white lights. She could tolerate the man sitting next to her that much longer, she told herself, glancing at him from the corner of her vision.
Ian Heller, a plastic surgeon from Chicago, his eyes glassy and an unhealthy ruddiness to his plump cheeks from several gin and tonics, winked at her. "What do you say we skip the scenic tour and finish our business in my hotel room?"
Beth had to admit his offer didn't surprise her. Though he’d seemed genuinely interested in her work with burn victims at Derma Definitions, and had been cordial over dinner, a voice in the back of her head had told her Dr. Ian Heller was no more interested in seeing Christmas lights than she was in visiting his hotel room. But she’d wanted to give Dr. Rivers’s colleague the benefit of the doubt.
So much for professional courtesy.
She was about to tell the good doctor what he could do with his suggestion when his clammy fingers slid under the hem of her wool skirt and clamped onto her thigh. Drawing a startled gasp, Beth slapped his hand away and slid to the forward seat.
"Touch me again," she said coldly, "and I’ll break your hand."
"Is everything all right?" the chauffeur asked through the open partition directly behind her.
Beth’s heart thudded, once. The man who’d introduced himself moments earlier as Tyler Stone had a voice as deep and lush as the velvet interior of his fancy car. When he’d emerged from the sleek, white limousine, his garrison cap pulled low over his eyes, his black uniform emphasizing long legs and broad shoulders, Beth had stared. Now there’s trouble, she remembered thinking for no apparent reason.
She slanted Ian a frown. At the moment, Tyler Stone was the least of her worries. Swallowing against the tight anger lodged in her throat, she addressed the driver. "I’d like you to drop me off at the nearest light-rail station, please."
Tyler Stone brought the car to a stop at a red light. He turned and Beth got her first good look at his eyes, a flash of burnished steel in the bright lights of a shop on the corner. They were a sharp contrast to his short, coal black hair and slashed brows. Experienced. Shrewd. As if he can read my every thought. Beth felt a flush of heat that lingered, even as he looked away.
"Yes, ma’am," he said, and the car started moving again.
Beth breathed a sigh of relief and settled back in the seat. It was a beautiful car, plush burgundy upholstery, polished oak accents, a sunroof, cellular phone, television, DVD and God only knew what else. Too bad I’m not going to have time to enjoy it.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish