at a truck stop…with nothing…. Aden, a handsome young nurse, is destitute after his new boyfriend rumbles away in his semi with everything Aden owns in the back. He has no money, no clothes, and no car. Nothing. Maybe his boyfriend really didn’t intend to take him to California to live happily ever after.
Dr. Dare O’Roarke has everything…. Dare has the perfect life—a lovely home, nice things, a fulfilling job as a surgeon in a New Mexico community where his services are desperately needed. He has it all…but someone to share it with. The young man huddled at the side of the road needs help. And Dare is happy to provide assistance in reclaiming his belongings and offers his guesthouse to rent…and a job recommendation.
But someone is after Aden…. Someone terrifyingly determined wants to take him away from his happy life and the growing attraction between Aden and Dare. Soon, the sheriff’s department, the FBI, Aden’s mother, and two new dogs and cats are trying to protect Aden. Will it be enough to protect Aden and Dare from a madman?
“How long have you been here?”
“Fifteen, twenty minutes….”
“I’ll call the police. He can’t have gone far. Did you leave your cell phone turned on? They can track him with the phone.” Dare stood, leaving his blanket on the ground for Aden, pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, and dialed 911.
He spoke to the police for five minutes then pressed End. “They put a BOLO out for the truck and are triangulating your cell. Gomez says it’s a slow night. They’ll find him.”
“All I have is my license to prove who I am.” Aden stood and threw up his hands in despair. “They’ll never believe me. Without my credentials, I won’t even be able to get work.”
Dare scrutinized him. Man, he’s short. He can’t be taller than five foot five to my six foot. “The sheriff is on his way over here, now. We’ll wait for him and see what he has to say. Then you can come home with me until the morning.”
“How do I know you’re not a serial killer, or, for that matter, how do you know I’m legitimate and not a con artist?” Aden asked.
“Sheriff Gomez will vouch for me. I did his oldest sister’s heart valve. As for you, Gomez can run your name and license from the squad car. He’ll find out if you’re a criminal. Answer a question for me.”
Aden rolled his eyes as if Dare had completely lost it.
“If I say a young patient broke his femur and had abrasions and severe contusions around his ribs, what do I mean?”
Aden’s face brightened. Aha, here he’s on familiar territory.
Aden answered right away. “He broke his thigh bone and had severe bruises, cuts, and scrapes around his torso. It takes considerable force to break a femur. Combined with severe bruising about the ribs, if the patient didn’t get his injuries in a car wreck or an industrial accident, I’d suspect abuse and call Social Services.”
“You’re a nurse,” Dare said with confidence, putting his arm around Aden’s shoulder and pulling him into his side.
Aden smiled up at him for the first time since they’d met. “Graduated at the top of my class.” He puffed up with pride.
“We have openings at the hospital where I work. New Mexico has a shortage of qualified medical personnel, if you don’t want to continue on to California. Living here is cheap, and the hospital pays well for the area. UNM offers a course to become a physician’s assistant, and the hospital will reimburse you for tuition if you continue your education, or you could go for a master’s degree in nursing.”
“I don’t even have an address or the money to get even a cheap motel room. How can I apply for a job?” Aden inspected the ground.
The platinum hair and the indigo eyes moved Dare. Maybe, maybe…this is the one. It feels right. I’ll never figure it out if I don’t find a way to keep him around.
“You can stay with me until you get back on your feet. I have a large house, although I have it only partially furnished. I bought it as an investment. It has five bedrooms and a two-bedroom guesthouse out back.”