I pour myself a tall glass of wine and draw a bath, turning it to the hottest setting I can stand, hoping it will help me expel some of the tension coiling in my body. The cupcake bath bomb works wonders too as I ease down into the water, muscles soaking up the heat as the sweet aroma engulfs me. I close my eyes in an effort to clear my mind and take a long sip of wine, not at all looking forward to another weekend alone. But then my thoughts drift to the man who has dominated all of my secret thoughts. This is the only time I allow myself to think of him, when I’m all alone.

Placing my wine glass on the edge of the tub, I rub my hands up and down my body, allowing myself to chase the fantasy once more. I tell myself it’s the last time. The last time I’ll bring myself to orgasm thinking of his tattooed hands roaming my body, but I know that’s a lie.

My phone vibrates from the counter, tearing me from my dark journey.

“Shit.”

Lifting up from the tub, I quickly wrap a towel around my body and dry my hands before grabbing my phone and swiping to answer the unfamiliar number.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Doc.”

The husky voice cools my warmed blood and the muscles I just loosened go tense.

The sound of his voice clearing echoes down the line, his voice growing gruffer. “You said I could call.”

“Lieutenant Cunningham?”

His deep chuckle has warmth settling deep in my belly. “I was afraid you’d forgotten about me.”

Not hardly. Asher Cunningham is not a man I can easily forget.

“I’m surprised to hear from you. I left messages but you never returned my calls.”

“Sorry about that. I had to take care of some things with my family out of town.”

“Is everything okay?”

“For the most part.” There’s some hesitation in his reply. “I was hoping I could see you next week. Monday preferably. The sooner the better.”

His voice sounds different. Lighter but still with an edge that has a shiver shooting down my spine, but I ignore the feeling and say, “I’ll have to look at my schedule but I’m sure I can squeeze you in. I’ll give you a call on Monday morning and we can go from there. Will that be okay?”

Silence.

I look at my phone and see the call is still connected and then put it to my ear once more. “Asher, are you still there?”

“I’m curious,” he says, his voice warm and husky, “do you give all your patients your personal number?”

My mouth goes completely dry as I shift on my feet. “Well, um, no. Not usually.”

“Then why me?”

That is a damn good question. Over the last two weeks I’ve asked myself the same thing but I haven’t been able to come up with a rational answer. I acted on impulse, which is not like me at all. But I could tell Asher wasn’t the kind of man who would easily confess his sins to just anyone, and for whatever reason, I needed to be that someone.

“Because I want to help you.”

“I would think that’s a standard reply, Doc. Now the truth.”

From the moment he walked into my office, my body seemed to take on a life of its own. I’ve never had that kind of reaction to a patient before. There’s something about him that pulls at a dark place deep inside of me. I can’t explain it. Giving him my personal number was completely irresponsible and reckless but I couldn’t stop myself.

Maybe it’s because, hidden behind all of those tattoos and cocky arrogance, I can see the pain he hides. And I’m desperate to find out what it is that caused that pain and what caused him to become so emotionally detached. I want to peel the layers and find out who this man really is.

When he confessed his urge to bend me over my desk, I thought I would incinerate right there on the spot. I did everything I could not to let him know the effect he had on me but those perceptive eyes seemed to pierce my sturdy armor.

What is it about him that has me so worked up?

Is it his dark navy blue eyes?

Sharp.

Intense.

Stripping me bare with his gaze alone. Is it his commanding presence? Or perhaps it’s the colorful tattoos covering each of his arms and the one peeking out from the collar of his uniform that make him look so dangerous.

“Have you been thinking about me?” he asks, breaking the silence.

“You’re my patient, Asher. Of course I’ve been concerned about you.”

He grunts at my reply. “I haven’t stopped thinking about you.”

“Lieutenant,” I warn.

I’m way out of my element here. In my office I can control the conversation but here it feels too intimate. Too much.

Too forbidden.

Giving him my personal number was a huge mistake.

“I’ve been able to resist the urge to fuck every warm body I’ve been tempted by since the day I left your office.”

“And why do you think that is?”

“Because I’ve been fucking my hand nonstop thinking about you. Every goddamn second of the day, all I can think about is you tap, tap, tapping that notepad with your pencil. How your small fingers clenched the fragile wood when I told you I wanted to bend you over that desk. The shift of your legs up and down and up and down. The way your teeth scraped along your bottom lip. The slender curve of your neck and how badly I want to taste it.”

I remain silent because every ounce of blood pumping through my veins is on fire. My clit throbs between my legs, reminding me how long it’s been since I’ve had a man there. I’m afraid to speak for fear he’ll hear the desire in my voice.

“I can hear you breathing, Doc. The staccato has me hard as iron.”

“Where are you right now?” I ask, needing to steer this conversation in another direction.

“In my office at work. Why?”

“Are you alone?”

I can practically hear the grin in his voice. “Yes.”

“Do you have a pen and paper nearby?”

“Ready when you are, Doc.”

“I want you to write down three things you like to do besides having sex.”

“So I can’t write how badly I want to shove my cock inside of you? Because I think it’s something I would really like to do.”

Sweet Lord.

This man’s mouth should be labeled a weapon of mass destruction.

Instead of acknowledging his advances, I redirect. “The point of this exercise is to get to know and understand who you are without sex.”

He exhales a defeated breath. “That sounds scary as fuck.”

I laugh, my shoulders relaxing that he’s allowing me to steer us in a more positive direction. “It can be. Rediscovering who you are won’t be easy, Asher, but it’s possible, if this is what you really want. I can help you do that. You want to get better, right?”

“More than anything.”

I can tell by the way he says it that he means it. He wants to get better, but something is still holding him back.

“Then I will help you but I need you to try, too. I know you can do it.”

He chuckles. “You sure do have a lot of faith in me, Doc.”

“It will be a challenge for you, I’m sure. Old habits are hard to break.”

“And they don’t die easy.”

“I’ll call you first thing Monday morning to let you know a time, okay?”

“Sounds good.”

“Goodnight, Lieutenant Cunningham.”

“Night, Doc.”

I slide my phone back on the counter with a trembling hand then glance up at my reflection in the mirror, noting my flushed cheeks and racing heart. I’ve never had a patient affect me this way, and the scary part is, I can’t decide if that is a good or bad thing.

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