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Doctor's Orders [Secure eReader]
eBook by Jessica Andersen

eBook Category: Romance/Romance
eBook Description: Dr. Parker Radcliffe thought his days of making love to Mandy Sparks had ended long ago ... until she walked into his Boston E.R. Keeping their past relationship--and old feelings--secret was a challenge, especially once the beautiful new doctor uncovered a medical conspiracy and became a hot target. Parker had a reputation as driven and unforgiving, but being Mandy's personal bodyguard became the primary focus of his days ... and led to long, passionate nights. Now pitting himself against a madman was dangerous but necessary if he was to achieve what he wanted: keeping Mandy safe. And Parker always got what he wanted--even against a killer.

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Intrigue
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2008

5 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter One

"I'm sorry, Doctor, but Ms. Dulbecco died early this morning." On the phone, the nurse's voice softened. "Did you know her personally?"

Mandy Sparks gripped the handset tightly and turned her back on the chaos of the Emergency Services Department, so her coworkers—or one coworker in particular—wouldn't see how badly the news had upset her. She looked down, and her long blond hair fell forward past her face, forming another barrier between her and the rest of Boston General. "I didn't know her well. She was a patient, that's all."

But to Mandy there was no "that's all" about it. As far as she was concerned, every case was special, every injury or illness a personal battle.

"She went peacefully," the nurse offered, as though that made a difference. And in a way, it did. Mandy hadn't been able to pinpoint the cause of Irene Dulbecco's pain, but she'd been able to make the forty-something mother of two more comfortable. She'd gotten Irene stabilized, and had sent her upstairs to the Urgent Care Department, where her husband and kids could visit more easily. Then, Mandy had gone home and crashed for six hours of badly needed sleep.

Logically she knew the staff members in Urgent Care were the best at what they did, but now she wondered if things would've gone differently if she'd stayed.

"If there's nothing else, Doctor…" the nurse said, drawing out the last word to indicate that it was time for her to move on to the next call.

It wasn't just her, either. The prevailing motto at BoGen these days seemed to be "move 'em in and push 'em out, and don't get emotionally attached," which Mandy found more than a little disturbing. Or maybe she was painting everyone else with a brush that belonged strictly to the department head, Parker Radcliff.

As far as she was concerned, Radcliff pretty much embodied the word disturbing.

"That's all," Mandy finally said into the phone. "Thanks for—" She broke off when the nurse disconnected before she'd finished, but kept the phone pressed to her ear for a moment longer, in order to buy herself some time to regroup.

I shouldn't have come back here, she thought, closing her eyes and pinching the bridge of her nose in an effort to delay the incipient headache. I should've taken the job in Michigan.

Unfortunately the smaller hospital in Ann Arbor had lacked the clout of Boston General, and Mandy needed at least another eighteen months of top-flight E.R. experience and a solid recommendation if she wanted a shot at winning next year's Meade Fellowship. With good E.R. openings in short supply, she'd been very lucky that her previous employment at BoGen had automatically moved her ahead of the other applicants.

Now, though, barely a month into her second stint at the hospital, she was starting to think she'd made a big mistake.

"Are you going to stand there listening to the dial tone all morning, Dr. Sparks?" Radcliff's voice said unexpectedly from directly behind her, interrupting her thoughts with the sarcasm he seemed to save just for her. "Or were you planning on seeing patients at some point today?"

Mandy stiffened, but forced herself not to stammer and retreat. Instead she took a deep breath, tossed her hair back from her face and turned toward the man she'd once—in a bout of youth and stupidity—thought she loved.

Radcliff's wavy, dark brown hair was tipped with silver at his temples, and faint creases fanned out from his dark blue eyes. Those small signs of mortality should've made him seem approachable, but the square set of his jaw and the coolness in his eyes formed an impenetrable barrier. He wore a crisp white lab coat, its breast pocket embroidered not with his name or title, but with two words: The Boss.

On any other man it might've been a joke.

On Radcliff, it was simple fact.

Four years ago, she'd been a lowly resident and he'd been the head attending, and ten years her senior. Now he ran the entire E.R., and spent more time on paperwork than medicine, which was lucky for her, because it had allowed her to avoid him since her return to BoGen. In turn, he'd limited their contact to snippy memos about increasing her patient turnover and keeping expensive tests to a minimum. On the few instances they'd been forced to interact face-to-face, they'd both made sure they were surrounded by a crowd of other staffers.

Until now.

Mandy's heart picked up a beat. "I was discussing a patient with Urgent Care. I saw her yesterday, and her symptoms didn't make sense to me. She passed away last night."

Radcliff glanced at his watch, sounding almost bored when he said, "She didn't die on your watch, which makes her Urgent Care's problem, not yours. And your shift started ten minutes ago."

Mandy couldn't believe he could be so callous about a patient's death. Sure, she'd heard the rumors that he'd only gotten colder over the past few years, but—

But nothing, her rational self interjected. Don't think you know him now because you had a fling.

Knowing that little voice inside her was right, darn it, she said, "Sorry. I'll skip one of my breaks or make up the time after my shift."

Whether she liked it or not, she needed Radcliff on her side when it came time for recommendation letters. Dr. Stewart Royal, chairman of the Meade Foundation, had warned her that the competition would be fierce. She was determined to win the all expenses paid year abroad, though. She'd dearly love to get her hands on the funding and support, which she'd use to travel to Shanghai and study traditional Chinese medicine—TCM—with the master of the art, Dr. Li Wong.

Copyright © 2008 by Dr. Jessica S. Andersen.

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