A hilarious and sexy standalone about fate, chance, and one heck of an epically awkward meet-cute—the fourth book in Max Monroe’s Mavericks Tackle Love series is coming tomorrow, and I have a sneak peek for you.
“How long have you been a medical assistant?” Lisa asked, and I swallowed against the nerves doing a gyrating dance on their way up from my belly.
Technically, I wasn’t supposed to be doing this temp job. But, Mable, the old lady who ran Star Temps, was short on medical assistants and figured what the Mavericks didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.
Completely illegal, I was sure, but I wasn’t exactly in the financial position to be declining a paycheck. And, if I was being honest, the Mavericks compensated greatly for being in charge of their football players’ piss.
My coworker for the day glanced at me over her shoulder, and I cleared my throat.
“Um…not long,” I finally answered, strategically sugarcoating the fact that I had zero medical background. Hell, the only time I’d ever stepped foot inside a hospital was back in high school when I’d thought being a candy striper would look good on my college resume.
It’d only taken two hours into my shift to realize medical shit was not for me.
Watching an old guy puke up green Jell-O I had to clean up, and then promptly ask for another serving, hadn’t been my idea of a fun extracurricular activity.
Not that I didn’t like helping people, I just preferred to do it with a little less bodily fluid involved.
Funny, given today’s activities, how that’d worked out for me.
“Do you have a full-time job somewhere?” she questioned as she continued to stack the specimen cups. One cup, two cups, she paid careful attention to detail, going so far as to make sure all of the seams lined up perfectly. My messy personality nearly had a seizure watching it.
Playing Twenty Questions when you almost positively didn’t know any of the answers was a little like high-stakes gambling with no experience, but not answering wasn’t a normal human behavior and pretty much went against all social skills. My only option was to play nice with my coworker and hope to Jesus it didn’t end up getting me fired.
“No, not really,” I answered semi-honestly. “I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal.”
“Oh,” she said and glanced at me over her shoulder again. “What doctor’s office did you do your medical assisting clinicals at?”
Medical assisting clinicals? Were those a thing? Was this a test? There should have been some sort of warning if there were going to be trick questions! Fucking hell, Detective Lisa was hot on my heels. I could only assume she wasn’t making up crap like I was.
I didn’t personally know a Dr. Shepherd, but I knew Derek Shepherd from Grey’s Anatomy real flipping well. I mean, eleven years’ worth of Thursdays pretty much made me a Derek Shepherd expert, if you asked me.
May he rest in peace.
“Dr. Shepherd?” she asked. “I don’t know a Dr. Shepherd. What kind of practice does he run?”
The key to a lie was to stick as close to the truth as possible. Or so I’d been told. So, that’s what I did. I stuck to the truth. Or, in this case, the plot of a TV show.
“He’s a neurosurgeon.”
“A neurosurgeon?” Lisa’s eyes perked up like a stoner who’d just been told weed was legal. “Wow. That’s so interesting.”
Not that I know anything about being a stoner or smoking weed.
Well, besides that one year in college, but doesn’t everyone experiment their freshman year?
Just me? Okay, yeah, forget I said anything…
“Yep,” I agreed. And seriously, it was interesting. Who hadn’t loved watching Dr. Shepherd perform brain surgery? Before his shocking death—which I’m still pissed about—he’d been the best damn neurosurgeon Seattle Grace, hell, even the country, had ever seen.
“Wow,” she said again. “Did you get to see any surgeries?”
“Oh yeah.” I waved a nonchalant hand in the air. “All the time.”
If her eyes had gotten any brighter, I could’ve turned the lights out and saved the Mavericks on electricity.
In my humble and maybe a tad bit judgmental opinion, this chick needed to get out a little more. I mean, dollar beer nights at Frankie’s in Brooklyn would’ve really given her medical-assistant-focused-mind a run for its money.
You didn’t even need to drink the cheap beer to have a good time.
The last time I was there, I watched two guys fistfight over which Jersey Shore character was hotter—I’m a JWoww fan myself—and a girl who could’ve been Courtney Love’s doppelgänger flashed her boobs so some guy with a goatee would play Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA on the jukebox.
“Did you get to do a lot of blood draws?” Lisa asked, and I silently wondered if this was what the next two weeks of working with her would be like. Of course, her eyes did that thing again where they lit up like someone just handed her a winning lotto ticket.
I started to fear if I gave her any more excitement, she’d channel Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally—only this time, it wouldn’t be fake.
I’ll have what she’s having? No thank you, Lisa.
But to deny her more medical pleasure felt like a sin, so I just rolled with it.
“Oh yeah,” I answered. “Blood, brains, you name it, and I collected it.”
Her eyes popped big and wide. “You collected brains?”
Whoops.In the name of Lisa’s medical O, I’d officially taken it too far.
“I’m kidding,” I backpedaled, and the look of relief in her eyes was evident. “Just a little neuro humor.”
“You scared me for a minute there,” she said with a hand to her chest. “I thought maybe this Dr. Shepherd was running an unethical practice.”
Derek Shepherd unethical? That’s blasphemy! The man had lived his life for his career!
I felt outraged for all of Seattle Grace and Shonda Rhimes.
“Dr. Shepherd was the very best man I’ve ever known,” I said, and my voice turned soft. “Well, until he died, that is. May he rest in peace.”
Lisa’s eyes turned gentle. “He died?”
“Yeah,” I said, and I swear to God, the trauma of Season 11, Episode 21 hit me straight in all the feels. “Terrible accident,” I whispered and had to blink back the tears. “No one, and I mean, no one, saw it coming.”
Damn you, Shonda Rhimes!
“That’s horrible,” Lisa said, and I nodded, just solemn little tilt forward of my head.
“Tell me about it. Thursday nights haven’t been the same since.”
“Thursday nights?” Lisa, the goddamn supersleuth, asked, and I kind of felt like smacking her.
But I didn’t.
Instead, I backpedaled…again.
“Uh…we used to, uh…fish on his land every Thursday.”
“Wow. Sounds like you two were close.”
I nodded again. “You have no idea, Lisa. No idea.”
Obviously, I really needed to derail this crazy-train conversation before Ms. Medical Assistant caught onto my lying game.
“So, uh, Lisa,” I redirected. “Mind giving me the rundown on how you usually handle these drug tests?”
Quick as a flash, there were her happy, I-love-my-job eyes again, and it didn’t take long for my medicine-loving coworker to dive headfirst into a conversation that revolved around her favorite things—medical assisting, urine collection, and the potential for blood draws.
By the end of her instructional ramble, I knew two things.
Lisa was one hundred percent type A.
And two, she loved the prospect of medically allowed violence.
Her enthusiasm terrified me a little, and that was why it didn’t take long for me to make the executive decision to be the girl who told the players what to do and to collect their urine, and to leave the rest of the technical stuff to Lisa. She could test, she could log, she could do all the shit I wasn’t qualified to do anyway. I’d stick to handing out and collecting cups.
The hallway noise got noticeably louder as I crammed information from the instruction manual on how to collect a proper piss sample as quickly as I could, and my nerves kicked into overdrive.
Sure, Lisa had just instructed me on all this shit, but hells bells, that didn’t mean I retained it. If anything, I was more focused on the way her tight bun didn’t budge an inch whenever her head moved.
“Looks like we have our first customer of the day,” Lisa said less than a minute later, and I looked up to find the most gorgeous set of baby-blue eyes I’d ever seen in my life. With the rest of the team yucking it up and making more noise than I knew was humanly possible in the hallway, the first player had apparently found his way inside.
And I thought I had nice blue eyes? Sweet baby Jesus in a manger, this guy’s eyes were locked and loaded and prepared to take down any female in their vicinity.
No shit, I had to blink three times just to make sure they were real.
Once I realized what I was seeing was, in fact, reality and not some fantasy born out of medical assisting boredom, I couldn’t stop myself from taking further inventory of the very fine specimen of a football player standing in the doorway of the lab.
Thick, dark hair.
A faint little scar resting just below his right eye.
Strong, chiseled jaw.
And what I could only assume was the kind of tight ass that would’ve had Grandma Louise doing a double take. She might’ve died ten years ago, but I felt like this guy’s heady gaze held the power to summon her from the dead.
Which, yes, I can see where that last bit of commentary may have been a bit disconcerting. But if you knew Grandma Louise, you’d understand. The woman’s bucket list included Thunder from Down Underand meeting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
May she rest in peace.
“Hi, I’m Leo,” the guy introduced, and holy hell, even his voice was stupid sexy. “Leo Landry.”