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Authors: Willa Okati

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And Call Me in the Morning

BOOK: And Call Me in the Morning
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Table of Contents

 

 

And Call Me in the Morning

 

 

Willa Okati

 

 

 

And Call Me in the Morning

Copyright © January 2010 by Willa Okati

All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

 

eISBN 978-1-60737-509-8

Editor: Georgia A. Woods

Cover Artist: Croco Designs

Printed in the United States of America

 

Published by

Loose Id LLC

PO Box 425960

San Francisco CA 94142-5960

www.loose-id.com

 

This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the 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.

 

Warning

 

This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id LLC’s e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

 

* * * * *

 
 

DISCLAIMER: Please do not try any new sexual practice, especially those that might be found in our BDSM/fetish titles without the guidance of an experienced practitioner. Neither Loose Id LLC nor its authors will be responsible for any loss, harm, injury or death resulting from use of the information contained in any of its titles.

Chapter One

 

 

Falling in love with his closest friend had never been something Eli planned to do with his life. Wasn't as if he could have stopped it, though.

 

Sometimes love just happened.

 

Even if it took him a while to figure that out.

 

* * * * *

 
 

“There you are.” Zane laid down the heavy, ivory-colored menu he'd been idly flipping through as Eli approached, making his way through the maze of tables at their regular bistro. “I almost thought you weren't going to make it.”

 

Eli sat with a
thump
, running his hand through his dark brown hair, cut short but still quite capable of standing on end. He grimaced when he discovered he'd forgotten his stethoscope, still wound around his neck.

 

“Long night?” Zane asked, already waving their server over with the universal “coffee here” gesture.

 

Eli relaxed and let Zane take care of him. Some days, a man truly appreciated a friend who'd have his back when he needed a rock to shore up against. “Long, long night. Three-car pileup at an intersection. I didn't want to leave before everyone was stable.”

 

“That's my boy.” Zane shifted out of the way to let their server pour Eli's cup. She was a pretty thing, well packed into her curves—curves that she offered not so subtly for display.

 

Zane ignored them. He'd taken Eli's face in his hands and begun to assess him for signs of exhaustion. The guy had good hands, firm and dry and dexterous. They felt nice and cool against Eli's skin. He let Eli go with a light slap to the cheek. “Your eyes look like burned holes in a blanket. You should go home and get some rest.”

 

“Like I'd miss a chance at a fine, elegant brunch?” Eli rolled his eyes.

 

“Heaven forbid.” Zane gave good deadpan. “Jeez. This is the kind of place I fear running into my family.” How moneyed Zane's family was, Eli didn't know. Coming from an ivory tower was a sore spot for Zane, who much preferred the life he'd chosen in a grittier world.

 

Eli segued to spare Zane any discomfort. What were friends for, right? “You were on last night too. How'd you manage to get away in time for a shower and a sharp morning suit?”

 

“Questions, questions.” The corners of Zane's eyes crinkled when he smiled. “Unlike some of us, I leave when my shift's done.”

 

“Since when? You're as much of a workaholic as I am, if not more. A hospitalist's work is never done, especially at Immaculate Grace. What was I thinking when I chose that as a career, anyway?”

 

“That you're a glutton for punishment?”

 

“True enough.” Eli drank deeply of his coffee, almost moaning in appreciation. The influx of better-than-decent caffeine stimulated his brain. “Before I forget, I got those concert tickets you begged me for. Two, even.” He patted his dark brown shirt pocket. Plain clothes for a plain man, built tough to last, Chicago born and bred for forty-three years.

 

Unlike Zane, who looked as fresh as a daisy in a casual white linen jacket, pale violet button-down, and pressed slacks. Pretty as a picture, coming across as maybe five years younger than his forty-one. Zane brightened and made a grab. “Good seats?”

 

“I'm told they're the best. Ah-ah-ah.” Eli tapped his pocket again. “I also got advance tickets for a Cubs game when the season starts. Fair is fair. I try not to fall asleep during the chorale or chamber music or whatever you want to call it, and you endure beer, umpire heckling, and giant foam fingers.”

 

“Done and done. You drive a hard bargain.” Zane clinked coffee cups with Eli. He hadn't looked away once, but Eli liked that about Zane. When he gave you his full attention, nothing else seemed to matter to him. All part of the Zane package, and it made him the best doctor Eli had known. “I—” He stopped, interrupted by the chiming of his pager. When he checked the number, he grimaced. “Damn. Sorry, I've got to take this. Keep that warm for me.”

 

“What did I tell you? Workaholic. Hey! Do not let them talk you into coming back to the hospital today.”

 

Zane waved backward at Eli as he walked off. Eli watched him go, amused.

 

A different server, young and male, approached with the coffeepot. Eli suspected the waitress had gotten fed up with flirting and traded off. Fine by him. This kid had a good eye for refills. He held his cup up. “Keep it coming, but we're not ordering yet. Still waiting for two.”

 

And they'd better hurry, if they know what's good for them.

 

Eli wasn't a huge fan of this bistro. Without Zane there to provide a buffer, the place was too rich for his blood. Made him feel like any second someone with a pedigree was going to jump out from behind a column and ask him what a working-class stiff like him thought he was doing here.

 

“Of course, sir. I'm sorry if I'm being rude,” the waiter said, deftly pouring. “If I could ask—you two make such a handsome couple. How long have you been together?”

 

Not this again
. Eli didn't even have to ask what the kid meant. Wasn't the first time he and Zane had been mistaken for a couple, and he'd bet his hard-earned MD it wouldn't be the last. “Sorry to burst your bubble, but we're not.”

 

The waiter's coffeepot slipped. “You're not—oh. Oh my God, I'm so sorry.”

 

“No problem.” Eli waved him off before the kid could apologize again. He'd almost gotten used to the assumption. Whatever people saw in Zane and him, he had no idea. Felt like being on the shooting range sometimes, as many assumptions made about them as they had to dodge. Once corrected, strangers were mostly good about apologizing and moving on.

 

Friends of theirs, on the other hand, were not so accommodating.

 

“We made it!” Diana and Holly—also doctors, both familiar faces at Immaculate Heart—swarmed the table in a cloud of perfume and joie de vivre. With them, more hesitantly, came a fresh-faced kid Eli vaguely recognized as an intern. The ladies dove into the fresh baguettes and cherry jam their new waiter discreetly slid onto the table before exiting at speed, stage left.

 

Eli stayed well back from the carnage. Friends they might be, but Holly and Diana—well, it was best to stay on your toes around them. “Who's the boy toy?”

 

Holly, a pale, Nordic-type blonde, swatted Eli's arm. “Be nice. Taye's been at work for almost twenty-four hours. He deserved a break, so we brought him along to give him a treat.”

 

Eli didn't doubt she spoke the truth. The intern was gray with exhaustion and had bags under his eyes big enough to carry the US mail. For all that, he wasn't bad-looking. If you noticed male attributes, that was. A well-shaped face and a kind mouth, reddish gold hair cut short and sleek. Eli could tell he was probably handsome given the way Diana eyed him with impressively dirty intent.

 

“Really?” Eli nudged Diana under the table.

 

Diana, forty-two and unashamed, attractive in a gamine sort of way, wrinkled her nose at Eli. A damned fine cardiologist and an innovator in her field, she had the sense of humor of a collegiate and saw no point in growing old gracefully. She nudged back, and
ouch
, she was wearing pointy-toed shoes. “Bah humbug.”

 

Taye watched them with big eyes. “Is there something going on here that I should know about?”

 

“Not a thing,” Diana said. Butter wouldn't have melted between her cherry red lips. She stole Eli's coffee and sipped demurely.

 

Holly petted Taye's hair. “It's all right, Taye. No one here's going to bite.”

 

Taye cracked a grin. “Right. It's just—three doctors and me. All of you have been in medicine since I was in grade school. I'm a little nervous.”

 

“Shows what you know,” Eli said, jumping back into the conversation. “I just finished my residency last year.” He shrugged. “My midlife crisis came early. What can I say?”

 

“Seriously? But you seem so… I mean, you're… The way you take charge, I'd thought you were an old pro.”

 

“Thank you. It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. And before you ask, I'm forty-three.” Eli took his cup back from Diana, only to find it empty. “Wench.”

 

She smirked at Eli. “And don't you forget it. So where's your wife?”

 

“Right now, specifically?” Eli checked his watch, a gift from Zane when he'd been hired on as an attending. “Hell if I know. Either in Nepal with Paolo or in Paris with Neo. I lost track.” Either way, she was doing adventurous things with a man who isn't married to his job. He couldn't blame Marybeth. Cops made terrible husbands. When he'd decided to switch to medicine, that'd been the last straw, and he wished her well with…whoever was on the menu this week. “Enough about me.” They knew damn well he didn't like to talk about personal business in public.

 

Holly and Diana exchanged glances, the secretly amused and utterly female method of communication Eli had never learned to interpret, God help him.

 

“Good for her. I was talking about your other wife,” Diana said around a bite of ruby jam and baguette.

 

“Beg pardon?”

 

“She means Zane,” Holly said.

 

That, in Eli's opinion, was taking it too far, especially in front of a colleague Eli didn't know. “Enough, the both of you.”

 

Holly ignored him serenely and put her chin in her hands. “Come to think of it, this might be the first time I've seen you without him in weeks.”

 

Eli could feel Taye watching them, fascinated. “My private life is not up for scrutiny, but for the last time, Zane and I are not together. How many times do I have to say this, and to how many people?”

 

“Wait, what?” Looked like Taye had forgotten his nerves. He turned to Diana instead of Eli. “Zane is Dr. Novia, right? They're not…?”

 


No
,” Eli said, annoyed. A flicker of motion in his peripheral vision filled him with relief. “Zane, for the love of God, would you get behind me on this?”

 

Diana and Holly dissolved into giggles. Zane shrugged, untroubled as ever, and took his seat. He tucked his pager away. “What are we being ridiculed for today?”

 

“Same old, same old,” Eli said. He passed Zane the bread and jam. “Apparently we want to jump each other's bones.”

 

“An oldie, but a goodie.” Zane lifted his chin at Taye. “What are you looking at, junior?”

 

Taye coughed. “Nothing. Sorry.” He retreated behind a mouthful of fresh-from-the-oven baguette.

BOOK: And Call Me in the Morning
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