The Soul Mate Page 8

Bren’s wide eyes conveyed her surprise. Maybe she thought we’d get right down to business. Surprise. Bet you didn’t consider that I wouldn’t allow you to build another wall between us.

“We didn’t do much talking that night once we left the bar,” Bren murmured, though her shoulders seemed to relax a bit as she settled more deeply into her chair. “But sounds like a good plan anyway.”

A waitress came by and took our drink orders, and as Bren perused the menu, I grabbed a roll from the basket between us and began to apply a liberal amount of butter. “So, you know I’m a doctor.”

She let out a little yelp of laughter. “That became pretty obvious when you walked into the exam room when I had my legs in the air.”

I grinned, stunned at how warm that little laugh made me feel inside. “Yeah…that was regrettable.” She’d discovered I was a doctor when I had my fingers inside her. “But anyway, what do you do for work?”

She glanced at me over the menu. “You don’t want to get me started on it.”

“Why? Are you a secret agent? If you tell me, you’ll have to kill me and all that.”

She chuckled, and I caught a flash of her pretty white teeth. That smile. Dammit, it might be the death of me because I felt heat tingle from my scalp to my toes as I stared at her mouth. “No, my friends just always regret asking me about my job because I never shut up about it, so I’m warning you now. Back away while you still can.”

“I’ll consider myself warned. Now, what do you do?” I asked again, even more interested now that I knew how passionate she was about her work.

“I’m a conservationist at the zoo here in the city.” She beamed, finally loosening up and giving me a glimpse of the real Bren. The one I wanted to get to know better. “It’s the best job in the entire world.”

Her enthusiasm was infectious, and I found myself grinning back at her again like a fool. Jesus, this woman did something crazy to my insides, and I sure as fuck didn’t hate it.

“That’s sounds like a really awesome job. Tell me more.”

 She nodded, her hair falling over her face as she popped a chunk of bread in her mouth and chewed before continuing. “Mostly I work in the cheetah enclosure. They’re fascinating animals. You know, we pair them with dogs because on their own they actually get really lonely, so it’s this precious thing where the dog thinks he’s the alpha and he eats before the cheetah and almost leads his buddy, and the cheetah and the dog become like besties. It’s amazing.”

“Are you serious?”

She nodded again, her eyes bright. I swallowed as I imagined her naked beneath me, looking up at me with that same hypnotic gaze. “Each pair sort of has their own personality.”

“So, which is your favorite?”

“Cocoa and Nibs. Nibs is a chocolate Lab and Cocoa is his cheetah best friend. They were born on the same day and they do everything together. You’ve never seen anything more adorable in your life.” She pulled her phone from her purse and slid it closer to me before pressing the central control and showing me a picture of two animals spooning while they slept—a chocolate Lab the big spoon and a cheetah the little spoon.

“That would break the Internet if you posted it. And blow people’s minds. Cats and dogs are not supposed to act like that,” I said, genuinely impressed. “That’s amazing. How did you not tell me all this before?”

“Like I said, I get a little caught up and I don’t want to monopolize every conversation, so I have to watch myself. But I’m done now, really. Tell me more about you.”

The waitress reappeared with our drinks and I took a sip while considering her. I wanted to know more about her days—how she spent them, which of the animals she liked the most, but I also didn’t want to pressure her.

“Um, let’s see. There’s not a whole lot to know. I’m a doctor. I’ve lived in the city my whole life. My parents live here too.”

“Yeah?” She tilted her head to the side. “That must be different, never having moved away from your parents. I wonder sometimes if that’s the way to do it. My mother is always saying how much she misses me.”

“Well, honestly, I didn’t have much of a choice. I was going to go to Johns Hopkins when I graduated from high school, but my mom actually got really sick, and I felt like I needed to stick around for her through that.”

Her full lips folded into a frown. “I’m so sorry. That’s awful. Do you mind me asking what happened?”

I nodded. “Ovarian cancer. They were sure she would…well, you know.” I knocked on the wooden table, a rush of emotion making my gut clench in a vice-grip like it always did when I thought of how close we came to losing her. “She’s fine now, though. My father nursed her through and made sure she went to all the best doctors and received top-notch care. You’ve never seen a doctor work so hard for someone who wasn’t his actual patient.”

“Your father is a doctor, too?”

“Yeah,” I took a sip of my drink, worried that I sounded like the kind of dipshit that couldn’t think for himself. I’d always just knew I’d follow in my dad’s footsteps. But work like Bren’s? That was pure passion which echoed through her every word and gesture. “It was a family practice, actually. I did my internship at the office, and residency in the local hospital and then, when my dad was ready to retire, I took it over, just like he did with his dad.”

“Wow. That’s an incredible legacy.” She smiled, but suddenly a note of tension re-entered the space between us. Like she knew.

I cleared my throat. “That was more happenstance than anything. We all just happened to find fulfillment in treating patients.”

“I can understand that,” she said, nodding. “I see the vets come in and care for the babies or the sick animals and it feels very” —she paused for a moment before adding—“noble.”

“Thank you.” A little rush of heat surged through me at the smile that lit her face, and I glanced away, trying to shove the memory of her writhing beneath me from my mind.

This wasn’t about that. This was about getting to know each other the way we should have that first night.

I couldn’t seem to knock the devil off my shoulder who insisted that just because we started the night differently tonight didn’t mean it couldn’t end the same way. Me between those silky thighs, that tight pussy clenching over me as she called out my name.

I coughed and shifted in my chair to ease the sudden pressure behind my zipper and shot her a smile.

“We’d better figure out what to order.”

Before I shit-canned this whole dinner idea and ordered another helping of Bren Matthews.

Chapter Eight


I’d never wanted a glass of wine so badly in my entire life.

Though, of course, I would have taken a shot, too. Or maybe a hole in the head. Anything to get me off this constant roller coaster or to make me less likely to hide under the table until he finally gave up and left.

Swallowing hard, I forced myself to remember what he’d just asked me but was saved when the waitress stopped by our table to take our order. “Uh, the apple, bacon, and gorgonzola salad, I think. Sounds good. Not that I’m like craving apples or anything.”

He nodded. “It does sound good. Steak for me, please.”

He ignored my complete spazziness just like he had earlier. Which, of course, made perfect sense.

Because that’s exactly what he was—perfect.

Seriously, not only had this guy completely rocked my world in bed, but now he was telling me about his close family ties and how he stayed in the city to take care of his ailing mother? What was he going to say next, that he was up for sainthood after performing his next miracle?

“What’s on your mind?” His deep, rumbling voice broke through my thoughts and I looked up at him, feeling weirdly like those clear blue eyes of his could see through me and into my mind.


“You have a weird expression on your face. I was just wondering why. What’s going on in your head?”

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