Take Me #2 - Love Me - Bella Andre Page 0,1

room at San Francisco General Hospital. No surprise, the bundle of blood-laced green fabric missed the basket. By a mile.

He should have gone home twelve hours ago. But he hadn’t. Because he had nothing—no one—to go home to.

He dragged his hands over his face, through too-long dark hair that was just beginning to curl at the base of his neck. Standing in front of the scratched and dirty mirror in the corner of the locker room, his bloodshot eyes stared back at him accusingly.

He'd been on the verge of overstepping his bounds as a doctor.

Because he'd thought he could play God instead.

Luke wanted to tell himself that what had happened tonight was a fluke, a one-time deal. That he was in control of his life.

In the past few years he’d pushed himself harder. Worked longer hours. Saved more lives. Sewed up more chests. Pulled out more bullets.

But for some reason, they were empty victories. And, lately, he'd been thinking more and more about why that was, if it had something to do with coming home to an empty house. No wife. No kids.

So far, however, he hadn't met anyone he could imagine wanting around forever.

His last girlfriend was a business analyst who worked nearly as many hours as he did. She'd been attractive, but cold, and even though she'd always warmed up in bed, he hadn't been able to shake the feeling that they just weren't a good fit. Even though she should have been perfect for him. Before Laura, there'd been Christine. Another bright, attractive, mature woman. A prominent economist, she also wrote regularly for the Chronicle. But she hadn't cared for his hours and when she'd given him an ultimatum - her or his job - the choice had been easy. Goodbye Christine.

The truth was, when he looked back, all of his ex-girlfriends blurred together. Attractive. Driven. Mature. Sensible.


He stripped off his boxers and white T-shirt and stepped beneath the hot spray in the shower stall, barely feeling the water pelt him across the chest as he quickly shampooed and soaped up. He felt broken, used up. Miles beyond exhausted.

He shut the water off and shook like a dog in the small laminate cubicle. He wrapped a towel around his waist and stepped out of the shower.

Elizabeth, a new resident, said, “Hello, Luke,” to let him know he was no longer alone in the room. She was exactly the kind of woman he'd usually ask out. A cool, reserved blonde, she turned away quickly so that he could have his privacy getting dressed.

For a moment, Luke thought about it. He wasn't seeing anyone right now, and it had been too long since he'd gotten release outside of his hand in the shower.

But he discarded the idea as quickly as it came. Judging by the way his cock was just laying there utterly limp beneath the towel, trying to act like he was into her would be a hell of a lot more work than it was worth.

Not to mention the fact that he didn’t do one-night stands. Never had. He’d left that territory to Travis, who’d settled down with Luke’s best friend, Lily, five years ago. They’d married in a surprise ceremony in Tuscany and had two great kids.

Luke was happy for them—of course he was—and yet, their perfect relationship only seemed to highlight everything he was missing. Thinking of his brother and sister-in-law and their happiness only made the thought of going home with a virtual stranger more distasteful.

“Elizabeth,” he said with a curt nod, reaching for the clean jeans and shirt in his locker and quickly dressing. Taking the stairs down to the underground parking garage, he got in behind the wheel of his Porsche and turned the key in the ignition. Pulling out onto the empty, dark street he was about to turn right, up the hill to his house in Pacific Heights. But he couldn't face his big empty house tonight. And he couldn't barge in on Lily and Travis. Not at 1:30 a.m. when the whole family was already asleep.

On a night like this, where everything he thought to be true, to be real, had spiraled out of control, there was only one thing left that might help him hold on to the remains of his sanity: the one woman he couldn't have.

And the only one he'd ever wanted.

Instead of going right, he turned left, heading for South of Market.

Heading straight to Janica.

Chapter Two

“Hey baby, Nick and I are seriously into this.”

Janica Ellis