It's here! Not only is Stray Lovers my first title on my own, it was written for a very special cause.
When I heard what happened to Lara Punches, I was in tears. I never had the opportunity to meet this special young lady, but that didn't matter. Any parent, heck, anyone with human emotions would be touched by her story and honored to help in any way possible.
See for yourself: http://sextalkforwickedwomen.blogspot.com/2009/06/honoring-lara.html
See what I mean? So grab a tissue, dry those tears, and come meet the characters of Stray Lovers.
Lovestruck veterinarian Marcus Hill thought he could wait for a relationship with Jane, but he’s offered his dream job in another state. It’s time to go.
Headstrong Jane Tipper is going to miss her best friend, but she understands why he’s leaving. She, too, has a career agenda she won’t alter for anything or anyone. Never again.
As their last week together approaches, their desire for each other hits high gear. Ending as friends with benefits sounds good in theory and feels even better. What could be better than a week of incredibly hot sex with your best friend? Neither one regrets it. Until it’s time for Marcus to go.
The stray cat hissed, ears back and Jane Tipper quickly threw a towel over him before he could attack Marcus. She and Dr. Marcus Hill had developed a smooth dance between animal control officer and veterinarian, as well as a strong friendship over the last two years.
Now Marcus was leaving their small New England town. Jane was seriously going to miss him but she, more than anyone, understood his need to fulfill his dream of being a large animal vet.
“I can’t believe you’re willing to leave all this to stick your hand up cows and horses.”
Marcus grinned as he deftly maneuvered the towel-covered tom to begin the exam. “That’s a unique way of looking at it. What about the year-round warm weather in Florida?”
“Heat will make the smell overwhelming. Ever fry a cow patty?”
“Me either but I’ll bet it stinks. Plus, there are no alligators in the Charles River,” she pointed out.
“That’s because they’re smart enough to live in warmer waters.”
They were both quiet as he did his best to listen to the cat’s heart with his stethoscope. Jane studied Marcus even as she kept a firm hold on the patient. Thick lashes shielded dark brown eyes that were nearly as black as his thick hair, which he wisely kept short. His was not a profession that allowed for loose long hair and he wasn’t the ponytail type.
It was the end of the day, which meant he needed a shave. Teasing him about that wouldn’t be the same over the phone. Last Christmas, she had given him a shaving and manicure set that included an electric nose trimmer. She’d given it to him at the vet clinic’s holiday party and he’d thrown back his head and laughed before chasing her with it.
After that he was always clean shaven when she saw him outside of work, starting the very next night when they’d caught a movie together. Jane would have felt bad if he hadn’t used the opportunity to leave a little package behind at her place. Inside was an extremely brief pair of red panties with bite me scrolled across the front.
She almost burst out laughing again just thinking about it. Was it inappropriate? Yeah but so was her gift to him. Besides, she loved that she could be that free with him. He not only understood her sense of humor, he shared it.
She suddenly had to swallow a huge lump in her throat. “I’m going to miss you, Marcus.”
He didn’t look up at her. “I’ll miss you too, Janie. You know it’s not just about the weather. Not having to slog my way through snow is a major bonus but I would stay if there were enough working farms in the immediate area. You know that, don’t you?”
Jane nodded because he was looking at her now, letting her see that he hurt too. She’d even miss the way he called her “Janie” every once in awhile.
They finished up with the cat in silence and finally put the poor guy back in the carrier. The tom was yowling mad at all the poking and prodding and his mood wasn’t going to get any better with the required quarantine time. Or the neuter.
Marcus peeled off his gloves and made some notations in the chart. “He’s cleared for neuter. Do you have a place for him at the shelter?”
“He’s being fostered. I’ll drop him at his temporary home when we’re done here.”
“I should have his FIV status in a minute.” He cleared his throat and with that seemed to clear the melancholy air that had sprung up between them. “I’ll meet you at your place at seven. My turn to bring dinner. Chinese?”
“Sounds great. Don’t forget the chopsticks this time.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said over his shoulder as he left the exam room.
Jane scooped up the carrier and headed out the door. By the time she had the cat loaded in the back of the animal control truck, Marcus had opened the clinic door to give her a thumbs-up. The cat was FIV negative. She called the tom’s foster mom and got on her way.
She couldn’t wipe the look on Marcus’ face off her mind. Though they’d shared many close moments over the time they’d known each other, some of them pretty darn awkward, she couldn’t let it drop as easily this time. It didn’t take a genius to figure out it was because he was leaving next week.
For the thousandth time she wondered if they could make a go of it as a couple. For the thousand and first time she willfully discarded the notion. Anything beyond friendship was not on her agenda and that wasn’t going to change until she was done with chiropractic school. She’d veered from that course once for a man and it was never going to happen again.
It didn’t take her long to drop off the cat and some supplies and head home to shower. Even with the diversion her mind went right back to Marcus.
She’d met him three years ago, though they didn’t become friends until the following year. She had just taken the job as town animal control officer and Marcus was working at the clinic for a week as part of his requirement from Tufts University. She thought he was cute and a nice guy but she’d politely declined when he asked her out. She was six months out of a bad relationship that had started in high school and she wasn’t ready for anything. Even dating. That still held true today.
To the clinic’s delight, Marcus had accepted their offer to work for them after his graduation a year later. That had been two years ago and he’d once again asked Jane out. He’d also again accepted her polite refusal and with it her offer to just be friends.
If she were going to date anyone, it would be Marcus Hill. He was a great guy. But a wonderful thing had happened to her when she’d broken it off with her controlling jerk of a boyfriend. She’d grown up, figured out what she wanted to do with her life, and nothing was going to deter her. Besides, until she achieved her goals, how could she expect to know what she’d want out of a relationship? She definitely knew what she didn’t want but that wasn’t good enough.
No relationship potential, no need to date. Well, she did miss sex but that’s why toys were invented.
She sighed as she pulled into her parking spot and killed the motor. No doubt her vibrating friend would get a good workout later tonight.