Read Heart Murmurs Online

Authors: Suleikha Snyder

Tags: #General Fiction

Heart Murmurs

BOOK: Heart Murmurs
13.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Table of Contents

Heart Murmurs

Copyright

Praise for Suleikha Snyder…

Dedicated…

Heart Murmurs

A word about the author...

Thank you for purchasing this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Heart Murmurs

by

Suleikha Snyder

Copyright

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Heart Murmurs

COPYRIGHT © 2012 by Suleikha Snyder

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Arial Burnz

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First Champagne Rose Edition, 2012

Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-383-2

Published in the United States of America

Praise for Suleikha Snyder…

“A smart & seductive, feel-good short story!”

~Carly Phillips, New York Times bestseller

~*~

“Finally a contemporary medical romance with a smart, no-holds-barred heroine.... HEART MURMURS is a decadent delight, and Suleikha Snyder is a fresh new voice in romantic fiction.”

~Hope Tarr, award-winning author

~*~

“Infused with heat and spice, Snyder’s writing lingers long after the last sentence is read. A great new voice in romance!”

~Kate Davies, award-winning author

Dedicated…

To P, who inspired Anushka,

and to D, the McSteamy who inspired me!

“You. What are you doing just standing there?” The low, authoritative voice froze everyone in their tracks. Orderlies, nurses, and interns alike wondered who was about to be flayed alive. Anu didn’t have to wonder. She knew. She was the one in the doorway of room 206, looking like a deer in headlights and holding a chart in suddenly sweaty hands, trapped between “Please don’t yell at me in front of everybody” and “Say my name just once.”

If you looked up “god complex” in the dictionary, ahead of any other brilliant medical mind in the country would be a picture of Dr. Vince McHenry. Anu was sure of it. The man was a nurse whisperer, a magician in the OR, and a neuroscience pioneer. He acted like he walked on water and raised the dead. Considering he’d saved countless lives, both with his hands and his research, he’d probably earned the
right to have such a complex. It was just everything
else
he did that reeked of insufferable arrogance and privilege.

He was notorious. He magnanimously didn’t
seduce the impressionable female staff at his own hospital, but the interns and residents at Mercy were fair game (they’d even made a Facebook group: The Vincibles). Then, there was all the talk of how he’d stolen the Chief of Surgery position right out from under Dr. Parker, who’d been working toward it for years. He drove a Jag, lived in a penthouse suite at the Grand, and voted Republican just to defend his tax bracket—while speaking at hearings for increased stem-cell research funding, which surely made his fellow party members stroke out. The man was a prick of the highest order.

He was a prick, and Anu wanted him so bad she could taste it: sharp and hot, like his smile. It was sheer insanity. Having a crush on an attending—on a department chief, at that—was right up there with hallucinating leprechauns. A product of a sleep-deprived resident’s fevered imagination. But she couldn’t help herself…slipping into the observation room to watch his surgeries, sitting in on all his lectures, offering to shuttle his films back and forth to Radiology so the nurses wouldn’t have to leave the hub. It was like she wanted to get as close to him as she could without being burned.

She could fool herself into thinking it was his surgical skill she admired, but it wasn’t his precision with a scalpel that she fantasized about. No, she thought about his hands. She was preoccupied with his lean, I-play-squash-on-the-weekends body, and his entirely too handsome face. Vince—she only ever called him Vince in her head—was dark haired and dark eyed and just shy of swarthy. If they were to compare, she knew he’d barely be lighter than her North Indian tan. He looked like he belonged on a romance novel cover; he’d been blessed with too many gifts. And she…was cursed. Cursed, crazy, completely obsessed. She’d been tempted to go in for a battery of neurological tests more than once, except that it would entail willingly walking into his domain.

Now, he was walking toward her. White lab coat hanging open, long legs encased in tailored pants that had probably cost more than her monthly rent. “Dr. Gupta. Charts don’t walk themselves to their destination. I asked for an update on Mrs. Stevens ten minutes ago.”

Anu was suddenly struck totally stupid.
He knows who I am
.
Oh my God, he knows my name
. She wasn’t naïve enough to think he went around assigning numbers to people, like
House
(a terribly inaccurate show and a total guilty pleasure), but it was still a shock to her system. “I…I’m sorry,” she stammered, knowing it was futile to explain that she’d only been pulled in for the consult because the patient was presenting with symptoms of arrhythmia and her cardio attending, Dr. Lincoln, was in surgery. Vince McHenry didn’t suffer fools or excuses…and Vince McHenry was looking at her like he was faced with both.

Marshaling her self-control, willing her knees not to knock together, she rattled off her findings.
Don’t screw up
, she told herself.
Don’t let him know this isn’t fear.
Because if there was one thing he’d respect less than terror, it was lust.

****

Gupta, Anushka. She’d graduated top of her class from Penn State’s six-year program and finished an internship in New York. She was young, driven, smart, but not here for the actual medicine…just the M.D. He knew the type. He didn’t have time for the type. Especially when the type was quaking in her shoes and staring up at him with big, dark doe eyes. Good God, he wanted to tell her, I’m not the Big Bad Wolf. I’m not going to eat you.

Only that wasn’t precisely true. Gupta, comma, Anushka—Anu, he’d heard the other cardio residents call her—was very, very edible. Her flawless skin was scrubbed clean of makeup and her coal-black hair pulled back in a practical ponytail, but there was no denying she was gorgeous. Petite, slim, but not skinny, she made a pair of utilitarian green scrubs look as appealing as a cocktail dress. He was almost disgusted with himself for noticing. Hot female residents, especially Indian ones, were a dime a dozen. Ninety percent of them were riding on
Grey’s Anatomy
-style delusions of landing their own Dr. McDreamy. He’d learned, years ago, to keep his McDreaminess out of the workplace. Unfortunately, he hadn’t thought to change his last name too.

Vince stifled a grimace, forcing his attention back to Dr. Gupta…which, as he’d realized, wasn’t that difficult a task.

“…so, the patient’s pulse was erratic, but there were no signs of arrhythmia. We’re going to monitor her for the next few hours.” She finished up her summary, and he was mildly impressed that she did so on a strong, confident note. The quaver in her voice was gone, and the color had returned to her cheeks.
Patient is not going to die of fright
.

“Does that meet with your approval, Dr. McHenry?” she asked, lifting her chin and actually glaring a little.

“That’ll be fine, Dr. Gupta,” he responded, with equal bite. “See that you stay on top of things. We don’t have time to dick around.”

“No. You save that for the girls at Mercy.”

All the color she’d gotten back suddenly leached from her face.

“Did I say that out loud?”

“Yes. Yes, you did.” Vince knew he was supposed to look thunderous, forbidding, like the wrathful god that everyone thought he was, but he was too busy trying not to laugh.
Bravo
,
Dr. Gupta
. Only the nurses, who ruled each floor with iron fists, ever talked to him this way. No one else dared question his authority, his extracurricular activities, or even whether his socks matched. But Little Red Riding Hood, for whatever reason, had let her real opinion of him slip. Would wonders never cease?

“Aren’t you going to apologize?” he wondered, injecting his voice with a modicum of warning…more for show than because he was truly offended.

“I’m so—” she began, only to stop and shake her head. Her fingers were tight around the chart, knuckles pale, but she wasn’t afraid of him. That wasn’t what was driving her. “You know what? No, I’m not sorry. It’s the truth, Dr. McHenry. You
do
dick around, and I
did
my job and don’t deserve to be spoken to that way.”

Vince’s estimation of her went up another notch. Along with it came an unfortunate side effect. It was sudden, striking fast—a jarring rush of heat and need and wondering if her frowning mouth would taste as spicy as her words. He wanted her. She was all of twenty-six years old, nearly twenty years younger than he, and he had no business feeling like a horny kid just because she’d talked back to him. But there it was. Plain as day. He swallowed hard, fisting his hands in the pockets of his lab coat and narrowing his gaze. “If you’re so adept at doing your job,
doctor
, I suggest you get back to it. Unless you have more insights about my activities with the women at Mercy H that you’d like to share?”

“No, Dr. McHenry.” Her golden skin didn’t register a blush, but the shift of her body told him she was embarrassed. She broke the tie of their gazes, staring into the room where Mrs. Stevens was fast asleep.

When it became clear that she wasn’t going to say anything else, Vince knew he had to let her go. “Carry on, Dr. Gupta.” He nodded stiffly and stepped back into the hall. As he walked back toward the nurses’ station, he couldn’t shake the sense that
he
was the one who’d been hooked.

****

His hands were on her hips, fingers digging into her flesh hard enough to leave bruises…bruises that she would trace later, as she got herself off on the memory of this. “You can’t stop thinking about Mercy, huh, Dr. Gupta? Then beg me for it,” he rasped against her ear. “Beg me for mercy.”

But she couldn’t beg. She could barely speak. Even his name was too much. She surged upward, clinging to him and meeting his arrogant mouth. He locked her legs around his hips…

Something was buzzing. Vibrating, even. They both instinctively tensed, and she pulled away, still breathless from his kisses. “Is that your pager? You’d better—”

Anu jerked awake with a groan, blindly reaching out for her cell phone. She fumbled to turn off the alarm before it went off again, nearly dropping it over the side of the narrow bunk bed in the process. She’d set it for two hours, but she felt like she’d gotten only five minutes. Five minutes she’d spent totally consumed by Vince…which wasn’t restful at all. Her body was a mass of sensation and unfulfilled desire. It was her fifth fantasy since their hallway run-in some seventy-two hours before, and she was beginning to feel like a documented case of female hysteria, curable only with genuine orgasms. As administered by Dr. Vince McHenry. God, she was no better than the Mercy Vincibles.

Anu climbed down from the top bunk, careful not to accidentally kick the intern sacked out beneath. The residents had a thing tonight, a mixer, and while attendance wasn’t mandatory, it was generally assumed that anyone who didn’t show would be written off as a total douche canoe. Anu had no desire to invest in a paddle.

She hurriedly splashed water on her face and gargled some mouthwash before getting her civvies out of her locker. Jeans, a red tank top, the Om necklace and astrological garnet ring she didn’t dare wear on rounds in case she lost them. She still remembered horror stories from medical school about people losing wedding rings in cadavers. Once dressed, she spared all of five minutes on makeup. A swipe of mascara and lip gloss, and she was out the door of the on-call room and headed toward the exit. Any intern or resident knew to hustle, just in case they got stopped by an attending along the way.

Like any good hospital hangout, the Subtle Knife was in walking distance. Med students who never cracked more than their textbooks had started gravitating toward the place years ago because of the name, thinking it was a reference to scalpels. On one of her first visits, Anu had won points with Ciaran, the owner, when she asked if he had a sister bar called the Amber Spyglass.

She’d made the effort, as a kid, to be more than the sum of her academic parts. Sure, she’d gotten the straight As, learned to play the piano, and declared her intent for medical school before high school, but she’d also read everything she could get her hands on, watched way too much TV, and gone to Penn State because she
wanted
to. No one had pressured her into it. It wasn’t for the money or the prestige. She knew the stereotype, knew girls who embodied the stereotype, but she loved Philip Pullman and
Gossip Girl
and cell biology got her hot. Specializing in CT was like a dream come true. Medicine was the only thing that had ever really mattered to her. Until Vince.

BOOK: Heart Murmurs
13.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Selfless Act by Wanda E. Brunstetter
The Teflon Queen by White, Silk
The Making of a Princess by Teresa Carpenter
The Reluctant Cinderella by Christine Rimmer