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The Paramedic (The Working Men #9)
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My love life is… well, it’s non-existent. When you’re a single mom and barely making ends meet, you don’t have a lot of time to date.
Which is why local playboy and paramedic, Matt Andrews, daily visit to the diner where I waitress is a distraction. He’s well known for his wicked ways, but a brief, lust-filled fling is the last thing I need.
It sure would be nice if my girlie bits had gotten the memo.
His flirting is supposed to annoy me, and it does, but staring at his tall, lean body and those dark brown eyes makes me weirdly short of breath. It wouldn’t be totally inappropriate to ask him for mouth to mouth, would it?
What can I say? I love the ladies, and the ladies love me. They want a fun, sex-filled, no commitment required weekend? I’m their guy. I know all the right things to say and do to make their blood pressure rise, but I’ve never been interested in a relationship that meant something.
Until I met her.
I’ve fallen hard for waitress and single mom, Natalia Dixon. Me, the guy who has never committed more than a couple of weeks to a woman, is suddenly fantasizing about setting up house with Natalia and her daughter and being the perfect husband and father.
I save people’s lives for a living, but I have a suspicion that Natalia is the only one who can save me.
Author’s Note: This is the ninth in a series of stand-alone short and dirty (So.Very.Dirty.) novellas. You do not need to read the first eight stories to enjoy this one. If you’re looking for quick, one-handed (ahem) reads with insta-love, over-the-top alpha, blue-collar men then the trope-alicious Working Men series is for you!
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“I know why you always pick this booth, Matt.”
I ignored my best friend, Jonah, and scanned the diner. I didn’t see her, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t working today. She could be in the back.
I cracked my knuckles and tapped my foot impatiently against the worn linoleum floor. The Farmhouse Diner had been around for as long as I could remember. I’d sat at the long, curved counter with my feet dangling, and my seven-year-old self slurping up milkshakes while my dad flirted with the waitresses.
Back then, the walls were more of a cream colour instead of their current spoiled milk colour, the counter was spotless and chip free, and the booths hadn’t yet shown the wear and tear they did now.
The food was good, but was it good enough to come back here every damn day for lunch? Hell, no. I’d had to increase my gym time by nearly half an hour just to mitigate the damage that eating the greasy food was doing to me. I wasn’t a total gym rat like my friend Elijah, but I liked to keep the six-pack firm for the ladies.
Ladies? What ladies? You haven’t been laid in over six months.
I turned to Jonah. “What?”
“I said, if you’re going to force me to meet you here every damn time we have lunch together, then you’re gonna have to start paying me gas money. The diner isn’t exactly close to my office, ya douche.”
“Oh please,” I snorted. “It takes ten minutes to get everywhere in this place. It’s one of the benefits of living in a small town.”
I scanned the diner again. Shit, was she not here? She always worked Tuesday during the day.
“Maybe she isn’t working today.” Jonah echoed my thoughts.
“She always works Tuesday,” I said. “Monday to Wednesday, she works the day shift, she’s off Thursday, then Friday and Saturday she works evening shifts and off again on Sunday.”
There was silence and I stopped scanning the diner long enough to glance at Jonah. The look on his face made dull heat burn in my cheeks. “What?”
“You’re sounding a little stalkerish, dude,” Jonah said.
“No, I’m not.” My voice was defensive. “If I was a stalker, I’d know where she lived, how old she was, what her middle name was… shit like that.”
“Whatever helps you sleep at night.” Jonah studied the menu. “Hmm…do I want the greasy burger or the weirdly greasy chicken sandwich. So many decisions.”
“The food is good here,” I said. “Don’t be a dick.”
Jonah grinned at me. “Don’t forget about Claire’s birthday thing on Friday.”
“Shit,” I replied.
“Sorry, man. I told Mia and Elijah I’d hang out with them, but I’ll let them know I forgot about Claire’s birthday and do something with them another night.”
Jonah leaned forward. “Is it seriously not awkward between the three of you?”
“I told you it wasn’t,” I said. “We’re friends.”
“Okay, sure. But, let’s not forget that Mia showed up to your place a few months ago wearing very little clothing in an attempt to seduce you. Then, when you turned her down, she started dating your good friend Elijah. And you’re telling me that the three of you hang out like you’re one big happy family without any weirdness at all.”
I shrugged. “Maybe there was a little at the beginning, but not now. I’m honestly happy for Mia, you know? After you, she’s my best friend. Elijah is a great guy and it’s obvious that they love each other.”
“You don’t think that Elijah was a rebound for her after you told her you would only ever be friends?”
“No,” I said. “I don’t. I’ve worked with Mia for over three years and she might come across as quiet and a little on the shy side, but she knows what she wants. Maybe she thought she was in love with me, but the way she looks at Elijah? Man, she’s never once looked at me like that.”
“All right.” Jonah closed the menu. “So, are you ever gonna ask Natalia out or what?”
“I did,” I reminded him. “She turned me down flat.”
“Yet,” Jonah looked around the diner, “here we are.”
I ignored him, my heart tripling in beat when the door leading into the kitchen swung open and Natalia walked out. Her blonde hair was in a ponytail, she wasn’t wearing make-up, and that salmon-coloured uniform washed out her pale skin to the point that if I were on duty, I’d ask to check her vitals just to make sure she wasn’t gonna pass out on me.
She looked a little tired and out of sorts and despite the sturdy, practical, and not at all sexy running shoes she wore, she limped the slightest bit.
“She looks tired today,” Jonah said.
I glared at him. “Knock it off. She works a lot. It’s hard being a single mother.”
Jonah gave me a thoughtful look. “Jesus, you really do have it bad for her.”