His Broken Heart Antidote - Anne-Marie Meyer
There was nothing more satisfying than knowing that I’d helped someone. While taking off my mask and gloves, I could hear the nurses and anesthesiologist murmur to one another as the sliding door shut behind me. Surgery had gone well—exceptionally well.
I let out a breath and tossed my scrub covers, along with my mask and gloves, into the nearby garbage. Being exceptional might be difficult for others, but I was a McKnight, so it came with the slightly wavy hair and blue eyes. I’d felt the weight of my parents’—and the town of Evergreen Hollow’s—expectations for most of my life. Compared to that, surgery was cake.
“Three points,” I mumbled under my breath as I wandered to the sink and pressed my foot down on the bar. Water shot from the nozzles, and I dipped my hands in. After I scrubbed, I shook off the excess water and turned to grab some paper towels.
Grant’s grinning face popped up in the window on the door. I smiled and shook my head. I knew the look in his eye. He had a plan for my Friday night that included him working the doctor angle for a few ladies and blowing off the stress. From my previous experiences with Grant and his plans, I knew I wasn’t going to like it. Thrumming bass and strobing lights weren’t my idea of a relaxing evening. I’d much rather kick back at my parents’ cabin and drop a fishing line in the lake. That was where the real stress relief came from. No beeping monitors. No reputation to uphold. Just the bobber on the water and the sound of the birds in the trees.
Grant didn’t move away from the door. I sighed and prepared myself for the long conversation ahead. He was my buddy, and I was his official wingman.
“Hey, man,” I said as I headed into the hallway, walking fast like I had somewhere to go.
Grant was hot on my heels. “Appendectomy go well?” he asked, shoving his hands in the pockets of his scrubs.
I nodded. “Did you think otherwise?”
He chuckled. “You were named surgeon of the year.”
My face heated from that reminder. I liked being the best at things, but I didn’t need to be known as the best. Walking around with the last name McKnight already got me primo reservations and invitations to parties the mayor would love to get into; I didn’t need another reason for my mom to draw attention to her doctor son. Being written up in Doctors Today! was more publicity than I liked.
My brother, Liam, on the other hand … Bring out a camera, and he was all poses and flexing muscles. I supposed it came with the territory of being an NFL player, though I suspected that most of his antics were just him. He was always more carefree than I was—something I used to envy.
“I think your dad might have rigged the award,” Grant said as he playfully punched me in the arm.
I winced, not from the blow to my arm, but the blow to my ego. Grant didn’t know he poured salt into the paper wound of my deepest fear. Living in a small town was great, but sometimes I wondered what it would be like to work in a hospital my dad hadn’t built—literally. His commercial construction company took on big projects, and he’d given the hospital a great deal on their last expansion, because he liked to give back to his community and the tax write-off was insane.
I kept quiet as we walked to the cafeteria. Grant moved quickly to lay out his plans for the night, acting as if I’d already agreed. Dressing up. Time at the club. Drive separately in case we met someone we wanted to spend more time with. Not that I was ever the one to take a woman home. I was a confirmed workaholic who put my career first. It came with the territory. I didn’t have the luxury of dealing with dating drama. Grant handled it just fine by being emotionally unavailable to women. I couldn’t do that, though. When I fell in love, it was going to be the build-a-life-together kind.
I thought about bowing out for the night, but I knew that it wouldn’t make a difference what excuse I came up with; Grant wasn’t going to allow me to say no, no matter how much I wanted to.
“I’m talking about babes upon babes.” He grabbed one of the small, overly bleached trays and slipped