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Mr. Medic (Small Town Protectors #2)
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12 Heroes, one small town, and a charity calendar that will give them each a chance at love. This is just the beginning…
When I fled to this town with my son, romance was the last thing on my mind.
I’ve been there. Done that. Still got the scars to prove it.
But a hot paramedic with boy next door charm ruined all my best laid plans.
I tried to resist him, but he refused to let me push him away.
He worked his way under my defenses.
Made me want him.
Made me like him.
Made me fall for him.
Now I’ve got a small town hero in my bed, and I’m scared.
From the moment I first saw her, I knew she was meant to be mine.
The gorgeous single mom with piercing green eyes behind sexy librarian glasses.
But she thinks I’m a player.
Says she wants nothing to do with me.
But I’ve seen the desire in her eyes when she looks at me.
I know she wants me too.
And the Hometown Heroes charity calendar puts her right in my path.
Add in a meddling mother and a matchmaking little boy, and she was as good as mine.
Until a stupid mistake messed everything up.
Now I have to prove to her that I’m the only man for her
The one she needs.
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“How long does it take to make a baby, Mama?”
My son’s question was asked innocently, without a clue that such a question could stop my heart cold. Still, I froze. “It takes a baby about forty weeks before he or she is ready to pop out of mama’s belly. Why?”
I hoped, more than anything, that Mikey wasn’t angling for a brother or sister. That door was well and truly shut. Not that I didn’t love my son; I loved him more than anything else in my life, and he was the only decent thing to come out of a marriage that never should have been. But marriage wasn’t in my future, which meant Mikey was destined to be an only child.
“How long did it take me to walk?” he asked without missing a beat, staring up at me with a wide smile that showed off the dimple at the top of his right cheek. So much like his father.
“You started walking when you were nine months old,” I told him as I herded him back into his bedroom to change into school clothes, which I allowed him to choose for himself. “Just before your first birthday, I had to put a bell on you to keep track of you.”
Mikey had been born precocious, and it hadn’t let up in the five years since. Bright and inquisitive, he was smart as hell. A fact I would appreciate more when it earned him a college scholarship, I reminded myself, but it made getting ready for kindergarten a hassle.
“Really?” Mikey kicked off his dinosaur-covered pajama pants and left them where they fell before he began tackling his long-sleeved pajama shirt. “Can I wear a bell now?”
This was one of those parenting lessons that had to be learned the hard way. “No, Mikey, you can’t. It’s distracting, and we only do that to animals.”
“But, why? Animals are people, too, Mama.”
My sigh was one all parents of intelligent children know well, equal parts awe and frustration. “Animals are animals, Mikey, not people.”
He mimicked my long-suffering sigh — one I didn’t think I’d see until at least the teenage years — proving me deficient as a parent once again. “Okay, they’re not people, but they are animals. Why do they get a bell if I don’t?”
No one ever tells you how hard it is to win an argument with a child who’s smarter than you. “I have no idea, Mikey. I just know that if I put a bell around your neck, I might be having a meeting with the principal about it.”
Moving to a small town like Tulip had been a big change from the sprawling New Jersey suburb we’d left behind, but no matter where we lived, I was pretty sure putting a bell around my kid’s neck would set tongues wagging. That was the last thing I wanted or needed. So far, I’d been able to keep a low profile, and if I didn’t have the friendliest little boy in the country, I suspected it would be lower still.
He giggled as he shimmied into an adorable pair of jeans, complete with their own miniature cowboy buckle. “Grownups can get in trouble with the principal?”
The awe in his voice brought a smile to my lips.
“Maybe not trouble, but I’d be in for a pretty big lecture, and Mama doesn’t have time for a lecture,” I informed him, and handed him his favorite T-Rex T-shirt. he was obsessed with animals in general, but dinosaurs, specifically.
“So, no bell today?”
“Sorry, kid.” The two words I hated saying most to Mikey. Sorry kid, but we don’t have the money. Sorry kid, but Mama has to work. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I despised those two words.
“It’s okay, Mama,” he replied cheerfully. “I don’t need a bell.”
And for that reason alone, I’d find a way to get it for him. “No one needs a bell, but sometimes you just want one.”
Mikey nodded absently as he focused on pulling on his socks, a task that always required complete focus. “Whoa!” he said, listing sideways.
“This is why we sit down when we put on our socks.” His little-boy giggle wrapped itself around my heart.
“Okay,” he agreed. “Hey, Mama, did you know that kittens take two weeks to open their eyes?”
“I didn’t know that.” Most of his random animal facts were new to me. If I ever found myself on a trivia show, I’d have my son to thank for winning it.
“Yep. How do they see until they open their eyes?” The wonder in his voice was the only thing that made his endless questions bearable, so I let out a long breath while I gathered my thoughts and tried to explain.
“That’s what the mama cat is for: to help the babies learn how to be cats. They use their other senses until then. Shoes and then backpack,” I said firmly before leaving his room to make his lunch. While it was easy to forgive a busy working mom for forgetting some of the small details, I tried my hardest not to.