The Doctor's Latin Lover

By: Olivia Gates

PROLOGUE


THEY were gaining on her.

They were chasing her for more than her purse and jewelry. For more than her body and all the sick, violent freedoms they wanted with it.

She’d seen their faces. Rabid, high on cruelty and chemical stimulation. If they caught her, it would be the end.

She ran, her feet long frozen, her heart long burst, shrieked for help with a voice long gone.

No help came. Or would come. They were herding her, forcing her off the road and into the dark, dead wood.

“You’re dead, rich bitch.” A pubescent voice shrilled after her, hitting her square between her shoulder blades. Revulsion made her stumble. “You just don’t know it yet.”

Barely human, hyena-like panting hoots followed, scraping along her nerve endings. Loathing lurched inside her. It wasn’t enough to clear the fog of fear. And even the adrenaline was draining out of her. Resignation was already descending on her, would soon paralyze her.

If only she hadn’t always avoided ER and emergency surgeries. Perhaps she could have learned to keep part of herself in reserve, cool under fire. This was hopeless, but she didn’t have to make it easy for them!

Perhaps if she made it too much trouble to reach her, if she climbed a tree, maybe they’d just go away…?

A lifetime ago she’d been a tree-climber. Another forbidden activity she’d done behind her father’s back before every impulse and initiative had been trained out of her. Richardson princesses didn’t scrape knees and velvet cheeks. Didn’t fall out of trees and sprain precious hands groomed for Prince Charming’s five-carat diamond rings and ten-thousand-dollar scalpels.

Richardson princesses also didn’t attend the kind of party two of them had gone to tonight. The one she’d just escaped, only to discover she’d run from the fire into an inferno.

One of her stiletto-heeled evening shoes was long lost and her foot was raw. She had to kick off the second to climb.

She didn’t even remember how to do it. Her hands and legs trembled so hard she lost her grip and footing. She staggered down the few feet she’d climbed, her backless designer dress catching on the thorny branches, ripping. Her skin was already a red-hot map of lacerations.

Her pursuers were below her now. She hadn’t gotten far enough up. Two of them climbed after her, one snatching at her legs, the other at her long dress.

She plummeted to the ground and was only sorry the vicious impact didn’t knock her out. She lay at their feet, crumpled, cowering. Then she felt the clawing hands, saw the faces filling her dimming vision. Let them finish me quickly.

But instead of falling on her, one of her attackers flew into the air and hit a tree with a sickening crunch. A second assailant turned, only to convulse once and collapse on her in an unmoving heap.

She struggled under his dead weight, her mind frozen with all sorts of impossible fears. What force had come to her rescue? Would it now turn on her?

The body was heaved off her. Suddenly she was free from her burden and saw—him.

Huge, menacing, and emitting power. A man?

“I wouldn’t advise you to do that.” His voice was like the night, still, deep—heart-stopping.

Not heeding his advice, her regrouping attackers charged him, slashing the air with switchblades. He moved, maneuvered, his arcing legs and arms a dance of precise power. The thugs thudded to the ground one after another.

Then he turned to her. Dear God.

“Are you hurt?”

What did that matter as long as he was here?

Her headshake earned her a satisfied nod. Then he took care of business. He called the police and an ambulance for her, and knocked out those thugs who tried to stir, securing them for easy pick-up by the police. Then he stood by her as she gave her statement, supporting her in every way, and tried to get her to have her cuts treated, to call someone.

She just needed to be away from here. With him.

“I have a first-aid kit at home. Will you take me there?”

Everything went still as he stared down at her. If he said no…

He didn’t. He held her in the curve of his body all the way to his car, warding off the cold, absorbing the ordeal.

All the way to her apartment she luxuriated in studying him.

She’d never seen anything so beautiful. So perfect.

He carried her to the elevator and into her apartment, stood outside her bathroom as she showered. She’d just slipped into her bathrobe when she saw him there, looming behind her as she stood facing the drug-cabinet mirror, a frown marring his hard, noble features. Her helpless gaze clung to his rich chocolate eyes, his wide, sculpted mouth, saw her feverish awareness reflected there.

Then he pushed her bathrobe down.

Oh, God. Had she just jumped from one inferno into another? If she had, she was fully to blame for this one…

Her fears came to a shamed halt as he reached for the first-aid materials. Then those beautiful hands that had been damaged in her defense were everywhere she hurt, healing, cherishing, until she felt his gentleness sealing her wounds, seeping through to her soul.

How could she have feared him? He had to be an angel. Her own angel.

Now she knew what it meant to want. It was this, wanting him.

He draped her again, slipped an analgesic tablet between her lips, held the glass of water to her mouth then stepped away. “Now you need to rest.” She closed her eyes and let his magnificent voice permeate her with peace, protection—passion. “Are you sure you won’t call someone? A friend? A relative?”

For answer, she just surged into him, burrowed all she could into his chest.

Shock, resistance then control chased through him. His battered hand below her chin raised her eyes to his smile. Oh, my! “All right. I’ll stay. Let’s put you to bed—you need to sleep this off.”

“I need to sleep with you.” There was no question in her mind. None.

He moved away. But not before she felt his powerful, instant response. “Querida, you’ve had the scare of your life. You’re shaken, still unable to believe you’re safe, that it’s over.” Those healing hands went to the back of his neck, dug into his silken, raven mane. “You just need a haven, comfort…”

“I need you!”

“No…”

“Yes.” Her mind had never been this clear, her focus never this unwavering. She could have died tonight with just stunted, barren relationships to her record, without knowing someone existed who could spread life into her every fiber. But she knew now. This man would be her lover. Why wait for later when sooner—now—was here? “You don’t need to protect me now. You just need to make love to me.”

She dropped her bathrobe to the floor, reached for his proud head, brought it down, pressed her lips to his forehead then pressed his mouth to her breast.

His shaken breath scorched her with a blast of desire, with his helpless confession of equal craving. “Savannah…” She took her name out of his mouth, tasted his power and his submission, and knew everything she’d done in life had been just another step leading her here.





CHAPTER ONE


“WHAT the hell are you doing here?”

Savannah’s hand jerked. The Thermos missed her mouth and cold water splashed down her neck, between suddenly prickling breasts.

Not exactly the welcome she’d hoped for.

Not that she’d expected a welcome. Or had even had expectations in the first place. She’d had…projections, possible scenarios. Indifference and maybe some unease played major roles in each. But Javier sounded neither indifferent nor uneasy now. He sounded livid, big time.

A tremulous breath escaped. You’ve had three years to prepare for this moment. You should be as ready as can be.

She should be. But she wasn’t.

Turn to him. And stop trembling, for God’s sake.

She turned. It was a good thing she had the Jeep to sag back on. Javier was less than a foot away, glowering down at her from his intimidating height, the tropical sun at its zenith throwing stark shadows over his face. Had he always been that hard-hitting?

Yes, he had.

But that…hard?

Yeah again, once, that last night together, right before he’d walked out on her.

Oh, she’d missed him!

But that wasn’t news. She’d known that, and how much. What she hadn’t factored in had been what seeing him again would do to her or how she’d handle it, outwardly at least. A thirty-year-old who hadn’t yet mastered basic logic. Result: another miscalculation.

So what was one more in a life made of a string of those? Onwards, then. But since throwing herself into the arms that were pointedly folded across his vast chest was out, she had to try something else. A smile, maybe? Nah. He was liable to answer it with a snarl. And it would just wobble and shatter anyway.

OK, one thing left. Talk. Something light. “Nice to see you, too, Javier.”

His legs didn’t move but his body leaned closer. The balmy Bogotá day suddenly sizzled. “I don’t remember saying it was nice to see you, Savannah.” His voice lowered, softened, becoming the voice that had rocked her with passion and shattered her with pleasure during long-gone months of abandon. “Since it’s definitely not.”

She pressed back against the Jeep, itching inside and out with the effort not to press into him, come what may. “Not very polite of you, with me a first-time guest in your country.”

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