Grace and Dylan are doctors working at the same hospital and they're best friends—until he kisses her.
Dr. Dylan Gray hopes to move his relationship with Grace from friends to lovers, but after one kiss, she pushes him firmly back into the friend zone and follows an American soldier overseas.
It took Dr. Grace Phillips only a few months to realize that turning Dylan down was the biggest mistake of her life. Now she’s back, single, and hoping he’ll give her a second chance.
After a passionate night, their relationship finally seems to have a future … and then Grace makes a Christmas Eve discovery that will change everything.
Is their romance over before it’s begun, or can they find a way to move forward together?
“Did you hear? Grace is back.”
Sitting at his desk within the cramped ground floor office that doubled as his examination room, Dylan kept his gaze carefully upon his patient’s notes and fought to keep his tone casual as he asked, “Grace?”
“Come on, Dylan. Grace. Your Grace.”
Only when he felt confident he’d arranged his features into his professional impassive mask did he finally look up at his friend.
Lounging in the doorway, John held the ends of the stethoscope looped around his neck in each hand, looking every inch the cocky orthopedic specialist he was. It was a running joke in the hospital that orthopedic surgeons were the rugby players of the medical world. Eye surgeons like him, on the other hand, had a reputation for having a more delicate touch.
Dylan lifted what he hoped was an indolent brow. “Grace was never mine, John.”
“No, but you spent the best part of two years lusting after her before she left.”
Dylan bristled. “I did not.” It had been eighteen months, not two years.
“Fine, but you did spend the last several months missing her.”
He couldn’t deny that. The six months since Grace had bowed out of his life had felt empty.
“Grace was a good friend, a valued colleague,” he said, straightening the already straight pages within their manila file.
“Friend? Colleague?” John snorted. “We both know you were in love with her when she swanned off across the Atlantic with Captain America.”
“Second Lieutenant America,” he corrected. Her American soldier had been a Second Lieutenant, not a captain. Suddenly, he had indigestion. “You say she’s back in the UK?”
John moved into the office and propped himself on the edge of the desk, his expression smug.
“Yep. Just saw her buying herself a cup of the gut rot they call coffee in the cafeteria.”
Dylan froze. “Wait. You mean she’s literally here?” His gaze shot to the tinsel-framed doorway. “She’s working in the hospital?” Alarmed, he eyed his friend accusingly. “I thought you meant she’d returned to the UK for Christmas. What’s she doing back?”
John grinned. If he were perturbed by the glare Dylan was giving him, he gave no sign.
“Well, given the white coat and the soft toys poking out of her pocket, I’d say it’s a safe bet she’s working on Shooting Star.”
Dylan inwardly groaned. Pediatrics. The children’s ward was across the hall from ophthalmology—and his office. Said cafeteria was a five-minute walk away.
Dylan’s stomach burned. Yanking open a drawer, he retrieved antacids and shook two out.
“How did she look?” The question was out of his mouth before he could plug it with indigestion relief.
“Honestly?” John seemed to think over his question. “A little tired. But, heck, given our job, that’s not surprising.” John waggled his black brows at him. “Otherwise, she looks the same.”
Dylan could have groaned. The same meant beautiful, tall, dark-haired, and athletic. It meant hazel eyes that warmed to honey with kindness and good humor. In short, Grace was still the same woman he’d fallen in love with … a woman who’d pushed him firmly back into the friend zone after they’d shared one amazing kiss.
And now she worked across the hall?
He was doomed.
Dylan sank back into his chair, his pretense at cool indifference forgotten.
“What am I going to do?”
“Get over her,” John said, obviously assuming the question was for him, rather than a request for divine intervention.
At Dylan’s sharp look, John shrugged. “I know you don’t want to hear it, but you’ve got to move on. It’s been years. You’re a good-looking guy, a doctor. You earn good money and have your own flat. If you’d just dive into the dating pool, you’d be fighting women—good-looking, intelligent women—off with a stick. Grace has only ever thought of you as a friend, a friend she hasn’t contacted once while she’s been away and, well…” John grimaced. “She’s with Captain America. I hate to point it out, but you’re no Steve Rogers.”
Dylan swiped a hand over his chin. “Tough love, huh?”
“Yep, you’re in serious need of an intervention.” The beeper attached to John’s belt went off, and he silenced it with a move that spoke of long practice. Pushing off the desk, he moved to the door but then stopped. “I’m your friend, Dylan, and I call a spade a spade. You’re a great guy, but she made her choice. It’s Christmas. Take advantage of all the mistletoe and find yourself someone else.”
Dylan lifted his hand in absent farewell as John headed off to answer his page.
Yes, Grace had made her choice. She’d left her job, she’d left the UK, and she’d gone to America with her soldier, but how was he supposed to find someone else when Grace had taken his heart with her?