Olivia is a psychiatrist and professor at Cincinnati University Hospital. Luc is the French psychiatrist she loved ten years ago.
His job is to ferret out secrets. She has secrets by the bucket-load.
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“Olivia, why didn’t you tell me you knew Dr. Vicour-Michelet?” Bypassing morning greetings, the Chairman of Psychiatry, Dr. Herb McMillan, never wasted precious minutes on the phone.
“I don’t.” Tapping the faded, old desk in her windowless office, Dr. Olivia Crane scoured her mind to put a face to the name. “Never met him. But I read his articles, the ones you passed on to me. He seems like a brilliant psychiatrist. I’m sure he’ll be an excellent addition to our department.” Maybe she’d be able to sleep a little more than four hours with the French doctor on board for six months.
Doc cleared his throat then paused as if to choose his words. “When I sent him your enthusiastic report last Thursday, he e-mailed back on Friday that he’ll be here on Sunday. Et voilà, as he said.”
“He arrived last night.”
“Already? He wasn’t supposed to be here for two more weeks.” With her busy schedule, Olivia hadn’t had time to check the visiting physician’s website yet.
A soft chuckle sounded on the other line. “Hmm. The first thing he told me was he couldn’t wait to see you.”
To see...me? Why? Olivia blinked. Doc kept mumbling in her ear as she quickly pulled one of their visitor’s articles from the pile on her desk and punched his website into her computer.
The name Vicour-Michelet flashed on the screen, along with a photo that stopped her heart. A perfect, amazing picture of Luc.
Oh Lord, the picture didn’t make sense. How had Luc ended up with such an incredibly long and aristocratic name?
Olivia zoomed in on the photo by two hundred percent. With the cursor, she traced blue eyes framed by dark lashes, chiseled nose and smiling lips.
“Dr...Lucien...de...Vicour-Michelet,” she stuttered as she studied Luc’s handsome features. And he was here? In Cincinnati? “Oh no.”
“Yes,” Doc replied, his voice excited. She heard a faint, “I’ll bring him over.”
The phone slipped from her sweaty palm and banged on the desk.
Olivia had welcomed the opportunity to co-author an article with a brilliant psychiatrist to further her career. But she was expecting an older, distinguished physician, Dr. L. de Vicour-Michelet, probably graying or bald. Not drop-dead gorgeous Luc whose image was woven intimately into her most sensual dreams.
Darn. Luc might imagine she was behind the decision to invite him back to the Cincinnati University Hospital. Too late now for the chairman to politely withdraw the invitation.
An insistent beeping caught her attention. She blindly reached for the receiver and put it back in its cradle.
Ten years was a long time. Maybe he was married. Her throat constricted. God, I hope he doesn’t come here with a wife and family.
Her gaze frozen on the screen, Olivia couldn’t tell how long she remained at her desk, staring at the monitor where Luc’s picture smiled at her.
Someone knocked. Her office door opened. She bolted out of her chair, took a step, and stopped in her tracks. Doc came in, and towering behind him...Luc George.
Her pulse raced, her knees wobbled, her head swam. She stared at him, hands clenched behind her back to conceal their trembling.
With confident strides, Luc passed Dr. McMillan and circled her desk. Suddenly he was in front of her, a wide grin on his face, his hair mussed with a strand crossing his forehead, his eyes as bright as a cloudless sky. She recognized the amber and spice scents of his favorite cologne. The evocative fragrance transported her back to a time when she still believed love could work miracles.
“Olivia.” His voice was hoarse. Different.
Awareness clicked in her foggy mind. She had to welcome him, a physician greeting a visiting colleague. She stiffened and extended her arm for a handshake.
Ignoring her hand, Luc cradled her shoulders. In a swift motion, he brought her against him and kissed her three times on the cheeks—right, left and right again—in a very French way. His lips left fiery spots where they touched her face, and her heart skipped a beat. She stepped back.
“Olivia,” Luc repeated with a devastating smile.
“Luc?” Heat radiated to her throat, her chest, her belly.
Beyond the desk, Doc cleared his throat a couple of times.
Good grief, what was happening to her? Ten years of perfect control threatened to crumble in a few minutes. What a mess. Lord, what a gigantic mess.
Luc’s sparkling smile faded as he released her.
“Welcome to Cincinnati,” Olivia said for the sake of saying something until she could recover her mental faculties.
“It is such a pleasure to be here again. I appreciate the invitation.” Luc’s baritone voice sounded natural now, tinged with eagerness, in spite of his formal stilted English. She’d forgotten how he pronounced the R from deep in the throat and avoided contractions. “Merci.” He inched closer.
“You’re welcome. Our department needs your expertise.” She retreated a few more steps and flattened against the wall, unable to move or breathe. Luc held her gaze as if he’d come all the way from Paris to indulge in this agreeable pastime. Would he stop invading her space? “Excuse me.”
Luc backed up and turned. He paused as his eyes fell on his enlarged picture on her computer screen. His lips curled into a satisfied smile. “Oh chérie.”
Oh cripes. Her gaze flicked to the monitor screen and then settled back on Luc, a warm blush invading her cheeks. A knowing grin spread across his face and he squeezed her hand. “You don’t have to be embarrassed,” he whispered. “I missed you too.”
No, please. The words lodged in her throat as she st
Posted by Mona Risk | 8:05 PM | Cincinnati, French, psychiatrist, university | 2 comments »