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Authors: Alexandra O'Hurley

Tags: #Romance, #Healing Hearts 1

Falling for Him (16 page)

BOOK: Falling for Him
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“I’m ready for battle, Captain.”

He smiled. No, this Olivia Owens was a very different woman than the lonely girl he remembered. “It won’t be easy. I’m more of a drill sergeant than captain.”

She saluted him, a sparkle in her eye. “Yes, sir!”

“Good attitude.” Bastian stepped closer to the bed as he laughed. Olivia was going to keep him on his toes; he was sure of it. “I’ve got two quick strength-building exercises I want to show you that you can start immediately.” Bastian moved to sit on the edge of her bed and lifted the sheets out of the way. Olivia jumped as his fingers grazed her skin, her demeanor becoming more cautious. Bastian watched her closely as he lowered her head to lie flat. He made her nervous, and he wasn’t sure why.

He helped move her knee to her abdomen, one hand on the back of her thigh, the other circling her calf. “How’s that feel?”


“No pain?”

“Pressure, but no pain.”

“Good.” Bastian lifted her other knee after replacing the first, repeating the act. “Still okay?”

Olivia let out a shaky breath. “That one hurt a little.”

“A little pain is fine. A lot isn’t. I want you to spend thirty minutes each day doing this exercise until we meet again.” He pulled the sheets back over her and rose from the bed.

“Oh, I tell you I have pain and you push me to do more. I see you
a drill sergeant.” Her humor was back as he moved away from her. She was definitely nervous at his closeness. She was in for a shock once she saw just how close they would work in PT.

Bastian laughed at her comment; her smile was effervescent, making him want to smile along with her. He held his hand out to her again, engulfing her petite palm in his. “It’s been a pleasure meeting you. A nurse will call you this week with an appointment time.”

“Thank you, Dr. York. See you soon.”

* * * *

“Honey, Liam’s at the door.” Maria came to Olivia’s makeshift room on the first floor.

“I don’t want to see him. It’s too late for visitors.”

Luckily, Olivia had avoided Liam for the next two days before she’d been released. The first time he’d entered the room, Dr. Peterson had been visiting her. The second time, her parents had been there and he’d been unable to press his conversation. On his final visit, she’d feigned sleep, which had been incredibly difficult when he’d caressed her cheek and murmured his affection for her under his breath.

The phone calls had started in the car on the way home. A bouquet of roses had shown up the day after and quickly ended up in the trash. Her mother was quiet for a change, which was a small miracle in itself, not asking anything after witnessing her discard the flowers.

Thanksgiving dinner had been an unobtrusive affair, her siblings and nieces and nephews coming by to see her parents and to check in on her after her surgery. She was still wheelchair-bound for the most part, the pain she had when walking enough to keep her down. Dr. Peterson had wanted her to rest for most of the first few days. When her PT started, she’d be in for it. Hopefully the pain would subside or the pain pills they’d given her would start working a bit better.

A slow, steady rain had been falling on and off for days since she’d gotten out of the hospital and she was ready to see the sun again. It would make her feel better once the weather improved. It had to. The dull ache in her chest was only getting worse as the days passed.

She missed Liam.

Yet she also knew the only way for her to get over him was to cut him out of her life and allow them both to move on. Her head knew what she said was right, but her heart was a completely different matter. And him being there, wanting to see her, wasn’t making it any easier.

“You need to face whatever this is between the two of you instead of shrinking away from it. I thought you were turning over a new leaf, standing up for yourself,” her mother said softly.

“I am, which is why I can’t see him. He needs to move on. I need to move on. This stage of my life is over and he’s free now. I’ve been fixed. He doesn’t need to feel guilty any longer.”

Her mother shook her head and looked at Olivia, sadness filling her gaze. “I don’t know what it is he did, but I’m sure he would like the opportunity to discuss it.”

“No.” Olivia needed a clean break. Seeing him would be too difficult and it would only make it harder for her to walk away.

“Fine. I’ll tell him. I’m not sure he’ll leave, though.” Her mother exited the room and she nearly followed her out. She moved her fingers to the top of the wheels on her chair and was moments away from pushing herself into the hall when she heard Liam bellow through the house.

“Olivia! You can’t avoid me! Come out here and talk!”

She pushed herself to the door and paused there, conflicted.


She closed the door, rolling away. She couldn’t face him. Not yet.

Not when she still loved him this much.

Chapter 15

“Good morning, Sergeant. I’m ready for some pain.”

Olivia sat on the physical-therapy table in a room that looked more like a gym than a doctor’s office and smiled up at Dr. York. Handsome Dr. York. Of course, he wasn’t as handsome as Liam, but he was a distraction, and after the past two weeks, any diversion available was a bonus. The physical therapy wing was beside the surgical practice and she was waiting for Liam to pop his head in at any moment. Fortunately, Dr. York got there first, giving her a buffer if Liam did show.

“How’re you feeling?”

“I’m still sore, but I’ve walked a little more each day.”

“The exercises?”

“I completed them every day. Yesterday, I even did two sets for thirty minutes each.”

“Ahh, trying to suck up to the drill sergeant, are we?” His smile was bright, his eyes shining with mirth.

She had immediately liked Dr. York from the moment he’d walked into her hospital room; there was something about him that made her feel instantly comfortable and that rarely happened to her. “I get the feeling I really want to be on your good side.”

“You’ve got that right, or I’ll make you work even harder. We’re going to do start out today with some assisted stretches to limber you up. Do you know what an assisted stretch is?”


“I’ll be stretching your muscles for you. I’ll use my body to help yours stretch. We’ll be in very close contact, which can be a little uncomfortable, but I need you to loosen up and breathe into each stretch. You were a little jumpy with me in your hospital room, so I really need you to relax. Let me know if there’s any pain. Jump down off the table and lie on the blue mats.”

Olivia followed his instruction, immediately feeling less comfortable. From three feet away, he was adorable. Once he was on his knees hovering over her prone body, she felt like she was doing something she shouldn’t, no matter how adorable he was. “This shouldn’t hurt, but we may encounter a few tense areas, especially the first time. Once you’re stretched, we’ll do a few back-strengthening exercises today. I don’t want to go overboard on your first day, so we’ll gradually build up as the weeks progress.”

Olivia flinched when he grasped her ankle.

“I told you to relax. Don’t worry, if anything hurts, we’ll stop and move on to another muscle group.”

She nodded, slightly uneasy with his hands on her, which struck her as odd. She’d been so at ease with him when they were talking, but the thought of his hands on her made her nervous. Her mind immediately went to Liam, and she inwardly scolded herself for being so stupid.

Dr. York lifted her leg into the air, pulling it at the same time. “Breathe, Olivia.”

As she released the air from her lungs, Dr. York pushed into her thigh, putting it on his shoulder as he used his upper body to stretch the muscle. Her eyes widened as she watched him hover over her in a very inappropriate position that if they’d been naked would have clearly been sexual. His gaze met hers and he smiled. “This is partner assisted stretching, Olivia. Up close and personal.”

“Very personal.”

Dr. York moved to the other leg and began to do the same movement, pressing his upper body against her. “Does being this close bother you? If it’s uncomfortable, I’ll stop. But with your muscle degeneration, this is the best way to loosen you up and prevent any damage.”

“No, if this is the best way, I’m sure I’ll get used to it.”

Olivia heard someone enter the space and stop. She looked up to see Liam, his eyes widening for a second as he took in the scene before him. “Bastian, when I told you to take a personal interest in this case, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.”

“Assisted stretches, Liam. It’ll make her limber quicker than doing them on her own.”

“Ahh.” Liam’s gaze went to Olivia’s as Dr. York continued working over her. “How have you been feeling?”

“Fine.” She hoped Liam would leave and soon. She wasn’t ready to deal with him now. She needed to be stronger.

“I’d like to talk to you once your session is over.”

“I have an appointment I can’t miss after this.”

Olivia watched as Liam’s jaw tightened and his eyes narrowed. She wasn’t sure if he was going to explode right there on the spot or not, but she sure hoped he kept it together and left.

“You’re not going to continue to avoid me, Olivia. We will have this out.”

“There’s nothing to
have out
. The surgery is over and was successful. You’re free to walk away.”

Dr. York looked at her and then back at Liam, but continued stretching her, a surprised look on his face.

“Come find me after your appointment. You can give me five minutes, can’t you?”

“There’s no reason.”

Olivia watched Liam’s fists ball as his eyes roamed over Dr. York before moving back to her. “This isn’t over.”

Liam trudged out, her chest aching as he left.

“He didn’t tell me you and he were an item when he asked me to help you,” Dr. York said from above her, one eyebrow raised.

“We weren’t an item. He’s just an old family friend who blamed himself for my injury. The surgery is over, so he’s now absolved. There’s no reason to keep rehashing it over and over.”

“It seems as though there was more to it than that.”

“One dinner. That was all.” She wasn’t sure why she told him that, but he just seemed easy to talk to.

“Oh, so there’s hope for me, then?”

“Hope for you?”

“That you’ll say yes when
ask you to dinner.”

“And when do you plan on doing that?”

“I was going to wait until your PT was over, but I think now is as good as a time as any.”

“Isn’t there some rule about dating your doctor?” It’s not like she considered that before agreeing to go out with Liam, but that was different. Wasn’t it? She’d known Liam forever.

“I’m helping you rebuild muscle. I’m not your psychiatrist or your surgeon.”

“So that makes it better?” She wasn’t ready to go out with anyone else. Yet, he’d made her feel so comfortable and at ease. Would it really be so bad? All they were doing was exercises, not open-heart surgery.

“It’s dinner, Olivia. A friendly dinner. I won’t push you for more … yet.”


“You’re a beautiful woman who makes me laugh. Why wouldn’t I be interested?”

Olivia was floored by the male attention she’d had in the past few weeks, first Liam and now Dr. York. She was dazed. Olivia was being forced out of her comfort zone and for once she rather liked it. She’d been asked out by two handsome men.

She had also gotten the editing job Jess had told her about, so moving out into her own place was starting to look like a definite scenario. A real life was calling out to her and she was running toward it with open arms. She was starting to see being in the midst of things wasn’t as difficult as it had seemed.

Dr. York was a smart, attractive man. He made her feel quite relaxed to be around, when he wasn’t lying on top of her to stretch her, of course. That comfort level was nice, so why shouldn’t she go out to dinner with him? She was looking for distractions, anything that would make her forget Liam.

“I’m not in a spot in my life where I want anything more than friendship.”

“It’s a start.”

“It’s all it would be.”

“Yep.” His devilish smile was too much.

A smile stretched across her face. “Dinner, as friends, sounds wonderful.”

Chapter 16

Olivia’s body was incredibly sore as she hobbled across the parking lot with only a cane for support. She’d been overly confident on her trip to PT and hadn’t allowed her mother to drive or force her to bring the wheelchair that had been well used the past week. Yet it wasn’t just her body which was sore. She was exhausted both mentally and physically after the excruciating therapy session topped off with the visit from Liam.

Fortunately for the upcoming week, she only had one more physical therapy session scheduled and she wouldn’t be seeing Dr. York for it, but one of his techs. The next time she saw Dr. Sebastian York—or Bastian as he’d asked her to call him—would be the following night.

On their date. But it really wasn’t that, they were having dinner as friends, not potential lovers, no matter what Bastian said. It was just two friends eating, nothing more.

She shook her head, still reeling. A voice whispered inside her that she was stupid for accepting a dinner invite when she was nowhere near over her feelings for Liam. It was the same voice that had been chiding her for a week, telling her the reasons she was pushing Liam away were ridiculous. Part of her knew she was blowing the surgical switcheroo way out of proportion, but at the same time, she hadn’t expected forever with Liam.

It was better to end it now before she got too involved. Bastian was a nice guy. His family knew hers. He made her comfortable, not like she was about to crawl out of her own skin when she was around Liam. He was a safer choice. If things went south with Bastian, she would survive the fallout.

Snow began to fall ever so slightly and she stopped to look at the gray sky overhead, fear suddenly paralyzing her as she realized she could fall and really hurt herself. She had to get to her car and get home. She pushed herself, trying to walk faster. As she continued to limp, she saw someone standing beside her car. Liam. He watched her hobble for a moment, his breath a white mist in the cold November air, before walking her way.

BOOK: Falling for Him
9.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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