ЛитМир - Электронная Библиотека

‘You can take your feet off the desk for a start.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘I take it you work here?’

Abby gestured to the white board on the wall with her name on it. ‘I take it I do,’ she answered calmly, refusing to let him rile her.

‘What facilities do you have for premies?’

That got her attention. ‘What?’ She pulled her feet off the desk and stood up. ‘What on earth are you talking about?’

‘I don’t have time for a debate, Abby. I need to know if you can deal with a premature delivery or not. And I need to know now.’

Abby watched in disbelief as her calm emergency unit was instantly transformed into a scene of chaos. Half a dozen dark-suited men, some with obvious bulges in their jackets, swarmed through the doors and immediately started covering exits whilst muttering into small silver dots on their lapels and holding their earpieces. ‘What on earth…?’

Luke grabbed hold of her arm. ‘What facilities do you have, Abby?’

Abby shrugged her arm from his firm grasp. Her brain shifting sharply into focus. ‘This is a small 25-bed acute-care hospital, Luke. It’s mainly used for routine surgeries and outpatient consultations. We have this emergency department and we have equipment for emergency deliveries but we only have one neonate cot. Once stabilised we tend to transfer to San Francisco Children’s Hospital.’

‘Do you have a paed?’

It was obvious Luke wasn’t thinking straight. What on earth had rattled him so much? Abby tilted her head, a smile dancing across her lips. His words were rapid and harsh and she could see from the deep frown lines in his forehead that a million different things were spinning around in his head. An expression she’d seen more than once.

Her pale-skinned hand reached across the desk and squeezed his golden tanned one. Like chalk and cheese. The way they’d always been with each other. ‘I’m the paed, Luke.’

His head turned abruptly towards her. ‘You’re the paed?’ She could almost see the pieces falling into place in his head as the moment of realisation struck him. ‘Of course you are. Then it’s you that I need.’ His hand closed around hers, pulling her towards the door. Just for a second she saw the characteristic gleam in his eyes that she remembered so well. ‘Don’t suppose you’ve got an obstetrician handy?’

‘Actually, I do.’ She ground to a halt, stopping him in his tracks. ‘But I’ve no intention of phoning him until you tell me exactly what’s going on. I take it you’ve got a patient for me?’

‘Actually, I’ve got two—but the second one I can take care of myself.’

‘What do you mean?’ This was getting more bizarre by the minute.

‘He’s a cardiac patient. Where do you transfer your MIs to?’

She tugged on his hand. ‘Stop, Luke,’ she said in a low voice, and pulled him closer to her. Her senses were bombarded by the smell of him, bringing back fragments of past memories. But something was different. A new scent. A new cologne. Something fresh and sharp, reminding her of the crashing waves in the sea. She inched even closer. She could see the deep-etched frown lines on his brow, the tiny beads of perspiration glistening under the hospital lights. ‘Slow down and take a deep breath and tell me what’s going on.’

She heard him let out a deep sigh before he glanced over at one of the dark-suited men, who gave him a tiny nod of approval. He ran his fingers through his short white-blond hair, his eyes glancing at the ceiling, with one corner of his lip curling upwards. ‘You’re about to deliver the First Lady’s baby.’

‘What?’

Luke watched the colour rise in the unflappable Abby Tyler’s cheeks. Her head flicked from side to side. ‘I’m being had, right? This is one of those daft game shows, isn’t it? You’ve got a hidden camera somewhere, haven’t you?’

Luke stood stock still. He still quite couldn’t believe that fate had brought him to an emergency unit that was staffed by Abby Tyler. Of all the places in all the world…

Abby put her hands on her hips. ‘Luke, what on earth would the First Lady be doing in Mendocino Valley? Isn’t she supposed to be on bed rest in the White House?’

Luke nodded and smiled wryly. ‘That’s what the world is supposed to think. The truth is Jennifer Taylor would never have stayed on bed rest in the White House, which is why she’s here.’

Abby shook her head. She couldn’t believe this was happening. And she hadn’t worked out what was more incredible to her—the fact the First Lady was in Mendocino Valley and nobody knew, or the fact that Luke Storm had just catapulted his way back into her life. She pulled her professional head back on. ‘How far along is she? Thirty? Thirty-two weeks?’ Abby’s mind whirred, trying to remember what she’d seen in the press.

‘She’s just under thirty-two weeks.’

‘Where on earth has she been staying and how come no one knows about it?’

Luke smiled. ‘She’s been staying in one of the mansions in the hills around here—I think you call it “Millionaires’ Row”?’ He named a hugely popular rock star who owned one of the nearby houses. ‘Apparently he’s good friends with the President and offered his house to them. His staff are very loyal and word just hasn’t gotten out.’

‘But how did she get here?’ He could see her mentally calculating the distance in her head between Mendocino Valley and Washington before coming to the obvious conclusion. ‘Who on earth let a woman in her condition fly?’

Luke gave a snort. ‘You haven’t met Jennifer Taylor yet, have you? Prepare yourself. And remember, she didn’t exactly fly commercial. And she had her own obstetrician with her.’

Abby’s face clouded in puzzlement. ‘Well, where the hell is he?’

‘He’s the MI I’m about to treat.’ Abby shook her head at the unfolding scene around her.

And he watched her. Drinking up her appearance, just for a second. The long sheen of blonde hair that he remembered had been cut into a sharp bob, short at the back with tapering longer layers at the front. It suited her, highlighting her high cheekbones and clear skin. He caught a waft of something. Strawberries. His eyes fell to her glistening pink lips. She was still using the same strawberry lip gloss that she’d used all those years ago. It gave him an instant reminder of kissing her and tasting that sweet, juicy gel, sending waves of nostalgia down his spine. His eyes swept over her body. Even hidden in shapeless green scrubs he could see the outline of her small breasts and neat hips. Perfection couldn’t be hidden. And in amongst all his panic and confusion a wave swept over him—something that only Abby had ever done to him. He felt as if he had just come home.

His eyes fell to their hands, still tightly clasped. When was the last time he had held Abby’s hand? Had it been the night she’d broken up with him? When she’d said she wouldn’t give up on her dream of a family? Had that really been five years ago?

‘Luke?’

Her voice pulled him back from memory lane. His head flicked around and he pulled her towards the doors and grabbed a nearby gurney. ‘Come with me, Abby.’

She stopped, just for a second, and glanced towards the open-mouthed staff. ‘Nancy, set up for an early delivery, please.’

She grabbed hold of the rail on the gurney and followed as he pulled it outside towards a sleek black car. The fresh sea winds immediately caught her hair, tossing and turning it before landing it back on top of her head like freshly whipped meringue. She tried to push the tangled mess from her eyes as she took in the scene in front of her.

Six black-suited men were strategically positioned around the car, their eyes scanning in every possible direction. The faint whoop-whoop of helicopter blades could be heard in the distance. A craggy-faced man put his hand on Luke’s arm as his eyes ran up and down the full length of her body, ‘Who’s this?’ The voice was brusque and gruff.

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