Doctor's Orders - Carolyn Faulkner

Chapter 1

Darcy knew she should have said something—told someone—about what was really going on behind closed doors at Dr. Jared Brackett's office, but she knew a lot of people flat out wouldn't believe her. He had one of the most successful practices in the state, did a lot of pro bono work and had won more than his share of awards, none of which appeared anywhere where a patient could see them, quite deliberately.

He was nothing if not humble, it appeared—which was another one of the things everyone always raved about when they were talking about him—and his high-profile cases ensured that the folks in this tiny burg rarely talked about anything else.

If they only knew…

Besides the fact that she knew she was going to be called a liar behind her back—and probably in front of her—if she exposed him—she also felt pressured to keep her mouth shut for a much less altruistic reason—the doctor paid amazingly well. It was an open secret within the medical community that doctors paid their staffs a pittance, and normally, the better the doctor, the worse the pay scale in the office—as if his or her employees should consider it a privilege to work there and practically donate their time.

But not Dr. Brackett.

Besides having huge bills from her education that she was still paying off by dribs and drabs, she had lost an argument with the I.R.S. to the tune of several tens of thousands of dollars that they seemed to have less than no sense of humor about her repaying. She was making rather large regular payments on that debt but desperately wanted to get them off her back for good, so she did her best to live frugally and send everything she could to them to get the debt paid down as quickly as possible. That was the number one reason why she had taken this job in the first place. She was making easily more than three times what she'd made at the last place she'd worked, and that was a much bigger practice. Dr. Brackett preferred to keep his patient roster quite small—even intimate, some might say.

And some knew better than others just how intimate.

"Nurse Hanson!"

Darcy bit her lip, knowing she'd just gotten herself into deep trouble by daydreaming during an "office visit"—and that was using the term very loosely—at which she was supposed to be assisting. Of course, the terms of her assistance had very little to do with the practice of medicine and much more to do with her willingness to participate in the doctor's various sexual adventures, but then she'd already chosen that road and could hardly complain now.

Now, all she could do was worry, frankly. She didn't know how many times the doctor had tried to get her attention before she finally heard him, but she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it was any more than one time, her ass was his—literally and figuratively.

Because above almost everything else, Dr. Brackett expected to be obeyed.

One look across their patient's obscenely spread legs at Angine, the other nurse in attendance who had been with the doctor for much longer than Darcy had—for his "special" patients, the doctor always had at least two nurses in the room with him at all times—told her that she had been well and truly caught, and she knew that she would be summoned to his office at an ungodly early hour, tomorrow morning, where she would be made to pay—quite painfully and humiliatingly—for her inattention, and she knew it would be that much worse because of this patient's unusual status.

Although he maintained enough regular patients—not to mention the occasional highly publicized ones—to pay the bills, Dr. Brackett's real bread was buttered by women who didn't just come to him for their annual exams. When she'd first arrived at the office, Darcy had been surprised—and perhaps a bit alarmed—to realize that there were some patients who were coming in for some sort of treatment on a nearly daily basis. She couldn't imagine what kind of condition would warrant such close attention by the doctor. If there were serious problems, the patients were usually handed off to other specialties—obstetrics or fertility or, unfortunately, oncology, in some cases.

But for what looked like otherwise normal, healthy, happy patients to see their gynecologist three plus times a week—for years on end, it seemed, when she looked back in their records—she knew that something about what was going on wasn't right. And, surprisingly, it hadn't taken