by RJ Layer
Abby Collins is convinced that Selena Estevez is the woman she’s meant to spend the rest of her life with. But sometimes the road to happily ever after is filled with twists and turns.
When Abby starts volunteering at the Trinity Memorial Hospital and meets Pediatric Resident Dr. Samantha Christiano, she begins to wonder if the growing friendship developing between them is more than she has bargained for.
Confused and uncertain, Abby may very well have to confront what her happily-ever-after really means. Is Selena truly the love of her life or is Samantha the woman who will make all of her dreams come true?
|Publication Date||July 19, 2018|
|Cover Designer||Judith Fellows|
Abby cracked open an eyelid. The bedside alarm clock read one fifty-two a.m. There wasn’t any doubt about Selena’s nakedness when her hardened nipples pressed into Abby’s back. Abby groaned when Selena’s hand slipped under the satin of her nightshirt and she kissed the side of her face.
A sweet citrus scent mixed with alcohol immediately assaulted Abby’s senses as Selena breathed, “Hey doll.” Her hand moved slowly up Abby’s hip.
“It’s almost two and you’ve been drinking.”
She kissed Abby’s neck. “I had a beer on the way home.” Her hand traveled with purpose to Abby’s breast and caressed the nipple to erectness between her fingers.
Abby grabbed her wrist and pulled her hand away. “Don’t think for a minute if you get picked up for DUI, I’ll be able to get you out of it.”
She kissed Abby’s neck again. “You worry too much. It was only one beer.”
“It took you two hours to drink a beer on your way home.” It was simply an observation, not a question.
“They asked me to stay over for an hour.” She took Abby’s earlobe lightly between her teeth.
“What is that ungodly smell?”
Selena stiffened momentarily, and then moved her hand over Abby’s hip. “I stopped by the mall before work. Tried a new perfume. You don’t like it?”
“You smell like a sixteen-year-old. No, I don’t like it.”
Selena always smelled sexy and exotic, but this smelled like a teenager’s fragrance. Her hand moved once again over Abby’s hip and when Selena tried to wiggle her fingers between her legs, Abby caught it.
“Selena, not tonight.” Selena resisted her grasp. “I should say this morning.”
She ran her tongue up Abby’s neck and stopped at her ear. “Come on, baby. I’ll melt you in my mouth like a sweet piece of chocolate.” She wrenched her hand from Abby’s grasp and reached for Abby’s breast again as she pressed herself firmly against Abby’s back.
Abby wasn’t the least bit aroused and felt bound by Selena’s hold. “Please stop! I didn’t get home from work until almost nine. I had your laundry to do, and I had to pick up the mess you left in the living room. I didn’t get to bed until eleven and was awake until midnight wondering where you were. You could have called.”
Selena kissed her ear. “I’m sorry, baby. Let me make it up to you.”
She tried to slip her hand between Abby’s legs from behind so Abby rolled away. “I told you no. I have to get up in less than four hours and be in the office early at seven to assist the wicked bitch on some big court case. Please just let me get some sleep.” Abby dropped her head onto the pillow. She had no problem getting along with every other prosecuting attorney she’d worked with. But she worried how things would go with Blair Stanton given the gossip in the assistants’ pool and the nickname “Wicked Bitch.”
Selena moved closer. “I’m sorry. I just get this craving for you sometimes and I can’t help myself.” She raised Abby’s chin and pressed her lips to hers. When she tried to snake her tongue into Abby’s mouth, Abby pushed her away.
“Since the hotel decided it was time to screw around with all of the assistant managers’ schedules, I’m off tomorrow night. I’ll fix us a romantic dinner and then I’ll pamper your panty hose off you,” Selena promised. She currently worked at one of the national hotel chains out in the suburbs, which is how they met.
Although Abby’s brain was mush, she remembered her other commitment for tomorrow. “I’m doing my volunteer time at the hospital after work so I won’t be home until probably seven.” And also recalling the last time, she warned, “No cooking for you. We’ll go out somewhere. Okay?” The last time Selena cooked it had taken Abby hours to clean up the mess after Selena had already worn her out in the bedroom.
“Okay.” She flopped over on her back. “Night, Abs.”
Exhausted when the alarm went off, Abby hit the snooze button and nine minutes later dragged herself, bleary-eyed, from the bed. Selena was standing in front of the coffeemaker waiting on her. She placed a mug in Abby’s hand when she stepped beside her.
“What are you doing up this early?”
Selena’s arm snaked around her waist as she filled Abby’s cup. “I feel bad that I kept you awake last night.”
She didn’t pour any coffee for herself, letting Abby know she’d be returning to bed the second Abby left.
“We’re still on for tonight, right?”
“Dinner tonight, you and me. Remember? Followed by pampering.” Selena turned toward Abby and winked.
“I have to—”
“Volunteer at the hospital, I know. How about I make a reservation at Fernando’s for seven?”
“That’s fine.” Selena started to pull her in, but Abby backed away. “I’ve got to get in the shower or I’ll be late.”
Selena raised her hands in surrender.
Standing under the hot spray, the fog in her head slowly began to lift. She recalled Selena coming home late last night, smelling of booze and some ungodly perfume. Her persistent attempts to engage Abby in sex and a side trip to the mall equaled Selena wanting something. There was every likelihood she would be finding out tonight what that something was. She rushed to get out the door on time, leaving Selena sitting at the counter. As Abby pulled onto the street, she saw the lights go out upstairs, which confirmed Selena was indeed headed back to bed. After four years together, Abby could read her like one of her favorite books.
Rushing through the early morning traffic, Abby walked briskly from the parking garage to the courts building. She hurriedly shrugged out of her coat and dropped it on her chair. In her peripheral she caught movement in the doorway between the offices.
“I was going to give you five more minutes, and then send out the hounds.” Blair’s voice sounded harsh.
Abby glanced at the clock on her desk as she gathered files and a notepad. She was only late by two minutes. I should have guessed she’d know if I was late by twenty seconds. She feigned a smile and apologized. “Sorry.” She sensed she was in for a grueling day and felt an awful lot like something the cat dragged in.
Blair waved Abby past her into the lion’s den. “Let’s get busy. We have a lot to go over today and the trial starts Thursday.”
The “lion” was Abby’s new boss since her most recent assistant quit without notice. The lion was taking a toll on the pool of assistants in the prosecutor’s offices, of which Abby was one. Apparently Abby was the big lottery loser this time around and now assigned to Blair Stanton, a.k.a. “The Pit Bull,” as she was so fondly referred to by any defense attorney that had faced her in court. The assistants in the pool had another name for her. “The Wicked Bitch of the Midwest.” At five-foot-six in her three-inch stilettos and perfectly highlighted blond hair, Blair Stanton didn’t appear as terrifying as all the assistants had made her out to be.
Blair pulled out a chair at the table that fronted the window. “Would you like coffee?”
“Yes, please.” And while you’re at it maybe you can inject it straight into my veins.
At the opposite end of her massive office Blair poured coffee. Abby tried to psych herself up for the day by thinking about her stress-relieving trip to the hospital after work to read to the sick kids on the pediatric floor. And of course there was also dinner and pampering by Selena to look forward to after that. If that couldn’t relieve Abby’s stress, she was in big trouble.
Blair handed Abby the coffee and pulled a chair around to sit beside her. Midmorning arrived quickly, the coffee was gone and so Blair graciously allowed Abby a break. When she returned from the ladies’ room, Blair was making more coffee. Abby took her seat and closed her eyes, taking deep breaths. It turned out to be the most relaxing thing she could do during stressful workdays. She allowed her mind’s eye to see Selena naked in bed.
Certain she had only just closed her eyes, Blair’s voice startled her. Blair stood across the table looking at her inquisitively.
“I’m sorry. I was trying this relaxation technique.”
She slid the mug toward Abby. “It must be some technique to make you smile like that.” Blair’s gaze lingered as she raised her cup and took a drink. “Are you ready to get back to it?” Blair offered a smile that Abby had never seen before. It looked, well…It looked human.
At one o’clock Blair tried to get her to join her for lunch at the restaurant downstairs, but Abby declined in lieu of taking care of a few personal matters during the break. She actually ended up taking advantage of the couch in Blair’s office. Abby was certain her eyes had only been closed mere minutes when she opened them to see Blair watching her from her desk. When Abby checked her watch, it was clear her eyes had been closed much longer. It was nearing two thirty, and she knew without asking that Blair had been back half an hour because the other assistants that had worked for her said she never exceeded an hour for her lunch. She jumped to her feet, spilling a file full of pages on the floor.
“Oh God, Blair, I’m sorry.” She stooped to gather the mess as Blair walked over to help.
“Why didn’t you wake me up when you came back?”
Meeting Abby’s gaze, Blair handed her a stack of pages. “You looked so peaceful. I didn’t have the heart.”
Abby knew there wasn’t a single assistant who would dispute Blair’s statement about lacking a heart, but she caught a glimpse of something warm in her eyes when Blair smiled at her. Maybe she wasn’t as bad as Abby’s coworkers claimed.
“Is everything okay, Abby?”
She stood with pages poking raggedly from the file and moved over to the table. “Oh sure. It’s just family stuff, you know.”
“If you ever need to talk, I’m a pretty good listener. Contrary to what most people in these offices might tell you, I happen to know a thing or two about family,” Blair said, taking her seat.
Abby experienced the strangest feeling. She didn’t doubt Blair’s sincerity. It was quite clear in her eyes and the tone of her voice.
“That’s dirty laundry I’d rather keep home in the hamper, but thank you.” She began to organize the file she’d destroyed.
At five thirty she stood and stretched. “Blair, I have to leave. Tonight’s my night to volunteer at the hospital.”
“Oh yes, I’d forgotten.”
If she left that minute she’d only be five minutes late, barring any major traffic problems.
“Just ten or fifteen more minutes, Abigail, and we can put this to bed.”
Now that was the wicked woman with the reputation everyone knew and detested. She worked quickly, and ten minutes later she was running out the door pulling on her coat. While racing across the parking garage, she called the nurses station on the children’s floor to offer her apology for being late. She assured the bubbly Nurse Tiffany that she would be there and not disappoint the kids. She cursed Blair when she got stuck in a traffic snarl and left Selena a message that she would meet her at Fernando’s. She couldn’t possibly pick Selena up and make the reservation in time.
She didn’t arrive at the hospital until twenty after six and was informed by Tiffany as she rushed past, “They’re waiting impatiently for you.”
Abby entered the activity room to frazzled looks from nurses and aides, but applause from the kids. Joy filled her heart and made the entire day worthwhile.
Tossing her coat aside and taking her designated seat, she said, “Why thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever received such a warm welcome.”
The kids chattered on as the adults were trying to shush them.
“Okay,” she began, “for those of you new to our special group, my name is Abby and I’m here to have some fun reading stories. For those of you that have been here before, well, I’m sure you’ll be getting to go home soon.”
She settled her eyes on little redheaded Jenny in the wheelchair, front and center, and gave her a wink. Seven-year-old Jenny had been in a car accident that shattered bones in her right leg from her hip to her ankle. Even more unfortunate was that her twelve-year-old brother had died in the accident. Abby had been informed by a couple of nurses that little Jenny had more surgeries and rehab. She’d become Abby’s special friend.
“So now that everyone knows my name, how about if our new visitors tell us old-timers your names?”
Most of the kids proudly boasted their names, and only a few timid ones needed a little encouragement. She began reading from the book the kids picked out last week, but within a few minutes was distracted by whispered voices in the back of the room. When Abby glanced up, a woman with dark hair and bright eyes wearing the standard doctor’s white coat, stood looking intently back at her while listening to one of the nurses. She offered an apologetic smile and Abby continued to read. When she looked toward the door moments later, the doctor was gone.
Dr. Samantha Christiano had heard a number of people raving about the children’s storyteller, Ms. Collins, and thought it might be beneficial to check this woman out. She slipped into the back of the activity room to witness a bunch of silent children, their attention riveted on the woman up front. Nurse Erika Walker stepped over beside Sam and began whispering, but she wasn’t listening. Sam’s attention was on the woman at the front of the room. Ms. Collins glanced up from her book looking toward their whispering voices. Sam gave what she hoped to be a smile of apology and then ducked out of the room feeling like a child who’d been scolded for talking in class. Out in the hall she sucked in a deep breath. The scolder was one beautiful woman. Her gaze alone had taken Sam’s breath away. She couldn’t remember a time that she’d been so…so…well, so captivated by a woman, or even if she’d ever been. Ms. Collins had auburn hair tied back at her neck and light-colored eyes, maybe hazel. She looked to be a few years older than Sam and quite stylish in a silky blouse and business skirt. Sam guessed that she probably ran one of the city’s banks or brokerage firms.
Sam had never denied her attraction to women. She’d known for sure at the young age of ten, when asked by one of her older sisters what boy in her class she would most like to kiss. Sam couldn’t come up with a single boy’s name, but she had quickly thought of a half dozen girls she’d like to kiss. She kept it under wraps, though, trying to fit the norm. She didn’t want to be defined by her sexuality. She didn’t want to be part of a “special group” and she didn’t want to disappoint Momma. She dated a few boys in high school and attended the usual dances and prom, but she didn’t develop interest in any serious relationships, instead concentrating on her schoolwork. Once she went off to college, she was of course free to pursue relationships of her choosing, and in fact had a girlfriend during her first year. Brittany Greer was a beautiful and charming woman. Sam had fallen head over heels in love after going to bed with her the first time. But, the longer she and Sam were together, the more controlling Brittany became. Her first relationship with a woman had ended worse than any nightmare Sam could have imagined.
Because medicine was an exhausting and demanding field, she shifted her time and effort toward her future and hadn’t been interested in anyone since. Sam closed her eyes and saw in her mind those intense eyes that had gazed at her moments earlier. She smiled. She’d see those eyes in her sleep…if her shift ever ended.
Concluding the night’s reading thirty minutes after beginning, Abby called Selena’s cell as she rushed to her car. She had to leave a voice mail and said she’d be at the restaurant as quickly as she could get there, but she knew she was going to be at least fifteen minutes late.
She found Selena seated with a near empty drink glass. Her expression belied her mood. She was upset, and knowing that Selena would require several drinks to lighten up, Abby asked the maitre d’ to locate their server on her way to the table.
When the waiter left, Selena gulped the last of her martini. “So glad you found time to join me.”
Abby leaned close. “I’m so sorry to keep you waiting. I’m here now. Can’t we make the best of our time together?”
Sitting back Selena crossed her arms. Apparently not. She was going to be a tough nut about this, but Abby had plenty of experience with her moods and fully intended to crack her before the night was over. Selena sulked throughout dinner and despite having three drinks, Abby still couldn’t get her to smile. While Selena polished off her drink and they waited for the waiter to return with Abby’s credit card, Abby slipped off one of her heels and slowly worked her bare foot up Selena’s calf. She focused on Selena, which only yielded her a glare. Working her foot between Selena’s knees and then her thighs, Abby finally touched her toes to Selena’s center. Selena’s thigh muscles tightened on Abby’s foot and she slid down in her chair pushing herself against it. Abby gave a tiny smile as she worked her toes against Selena’s heat. Selena’s eyes drifted closed for a moment and when she opened them, Abby saw only lust. Selena slid her hand under the tablecloth and onto Abby’s foot, her lips curling in a wolfish smile.
Abby had her. “Are you ready?” she asked.
“Oh yeah.” Selena squeezed her foot.
Abby slipped her foot back into her shoe and leaned close again. “I don’t want you to drive.”
Selena’s lips curled again. “I can’t now.”
In the car, Selena took Abby’s hand and pressed it to her lips. “Your hand is cold. Let me warm it.”
Selena’s hot breath on her skin made other parts heat up. She held Abby’s hand for another moment, and then placed it between her legs. Images of her hand in Selena’s pants played through her mind the entire drive home. On the elevator ride from the parking lot, Selena pinned her in the corner with a long passionate kiss. And the second they stepped into the loft and closed the door, Selena kissed her again all the while tugging at her coat until it lay in a heap at their feet. She pulled Abby’s blouse loose and moved one hand up to her breast while the other one slid inside her panties before Abby could stop her.
Selena’s lips traveled across her cheek to her ear. “I see you’re ready for me. Do you want me to take you to bed?” Selena asked, her voice low and raspy.
Abby pushed Selena’s fingers deeper into her wetness.
Selena jerked her hand out. “No doll, you have to tell me what you want.”
Abby couldn’t get enough air to breathe, let alone talk, but she managed to say between gasps, “Please take me to bed.”
“And do what?” she asked with half-lidded eyes.
Abby pulled her within an inch of her lips and put her other hand between Selena’s legs. “Make love to me like there’s not going to be another tomorrow.”
Selena kissed her briefly and then tugged her toward the bedroom, garments strewn along the way.