Title: Rescue My Heart
Author: Jean C. Joachim
Genre: Contemporary Romance
One smug veterinarian on a bike runs into one sharp-tongued dog walker, literally. Injury leads to insult. Aversion leads to attraction. Dog rescue brings them together. A funny, sarcastic, heart-warming ride. An enemies-to-lovers story.
A squirrel darted across the street. Baxter bolted, ripping the leash out of Rory’s trembling hand, and sped toward the road.
“Baxter! Stop!” Rory screamed. Shoving Bruce aside, she raced full speed after the pug. In her mad dash, she didn’t see the bicycle traffic whipping around a curve and speeding down the hill. She pounced on the dog right before a bike crashed into her, sending her and Baxter flying.
Rory landed hard on her arm. Pain shot through her body, freezing her. A loud yelp told her Baxter was injured. She tried to catch her breath, her gaze searching for her pet. She spied him nearby, spread out flat on the pavement. He was still breathing. “Baxter,” she called.
A crowd gathered. A pair of concerned, dark brown, male eyes stared into hers. “Are you hurt?” he asked.
“No, idiot brain. I’m fine. Does it look like I’m fine?” Attempting to push to her knees from the pavement, she grimaced and let out a moan. A long scrape on her leg was bleeding, her shoulder ached, and gravel was embedded in her thigh. Tears clouded her eyes.
Bruce raced over. “Rory, you okay?”
“Baxter looks like he’s hurt worse than I am.”
A patrolman appeared and asked Rory if she needed an ambulance.
“I already called,” Bruce piped up. The wail of a siren in the distance drew closer.
“This numbskull was doing sixty, I swear,” she said, pointing to the tall, brown-eyed man.
“That’s ridiculous. I wasn’t doing sixty.”
The policeman turned to him. “Sir, can you confirm your speed?”
“There’s no posted speed limit for bikes. I did kind of lose control around that curve.”
“Kinda?” Rory muttered. She lay back down on the ground.
“I.D., please.” The officer put out his hand. The man handed over his driver’s license.
“Dr. Hanson Roberts,” the cop said, writing in his pad. “A member of the real estate Roberts family?” He looked up at the doctor.
“Yeah. A ticket? What for?” Dr. Roberts shifted his weight.
“Reckless biking, speeding, causing bodily injury to this young woman.”
Rory gave a half-smile. “Serves you right. What about my dog?” She turned worried eyes to Baxter, who lay still, whimpering.
“I’ll take him,” the doctor said.
“Over my dead body…which you almost have…”
“I’m a vet…”
“I don’t care if you were in Afghanistan…”
“A veterinarian. Hack Roberts,” he said, extending his hand.
“A vet? Save him.” She ignored his offer to shake.
“Without x-rays, I can’t tell the extent of his injuries, but he’s awake and alert.”
“Dr. Roberts, you’ll have to take some responsibility for this young lady…what’s your name, miss?”
“Aurora? What an odd name,” muttered Hack.
“Oh? Like Hack is normal?” she replied, hostility oozing from every pore. Bruce tried to help her up, but she crumbled under the pain.
“Miss Sampson, I’m giving you his contact information. He’d better make good on these injuries. My card, in case he doesn’t. I’m considering criminal charges, Doc. You can’t speed like that in Central Park. You messed her up.” The patrolman gave Hack a dirty look.
“Officer, would you mind helping with the dog?” Hack asked, looking away.
“Where are you taking him?” Rory asked. When the ambulance drew near, the siren drowned out his words.
He whipped out a business card and handed it to her. “Here’s the address. Call later to find out how he’s doing.”
“She’s going to be in the hospital, you jerk,” Bruce said.
“We’ll keep him until you can get him. Hey, I’m sorry about this.”
“Yeah? Sorry and a Metrocard’ll get me on the subway.” She turned an angry stare toward him. Before she could continue her diatribe, the EMTs approached. She answered their questions, craning her neck around them to watch Hack and the policeman as they picked Baxter up carefully and put him on the patrol car’s backseat. Her eyes, blinking back tears, connected with Hack’s as the car drove away.
“Want me to go with you?” Bruce asked. He combed her hair back from her forehead.
Rory shook her head. I wanted you to love me. But you don’t. Don’t drag this out. One sharp pain, and it’s over.
“You want your freedom. Might as well start now. I don’t want to depend on someone who doesn’t want to be with me.”
Bruce blushed and gazed at the ground. “It’s not like that. I wouldn’t mind…”
“That’s the point. You wouldn’t mind. That’s not good enough for me.” Do I need him now? Can’t bear to look at him, knowing he’s dating someone else.
The EMT attendant pushed the stretcher all the way into the ambulance and closed the door. The pain and worry about her dog overwhelmed her. Rory let tears fall as they drove away.
The vehicle zoomed through the streets, zigging and zagging around traffic, whisking Rory to the hospital. One glance at the emergency room crammed to standing room only with people waiting to see doctors and the irony of speeding there, only to be kept waiting for hours, wasn’t lost on her. Rory was transferred to a bed and waited her turn in the hall.
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Jean Joachim is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling romance author whose books have hit the Amazon Top 100 list in the U.S. and abroad since 2012. She writes sports romance, small town romance, big city romance, and romantic suspense.
Jean has over 60 books in ebook, print and audio. She writes fulltime, never far from her secret stash of black licorice. An avid bird and dog fan, she has a fondness for chickadees and pugs. A music lover, especially classical, she’s married, has two grown sons and lives in New York City. She’d love to hear from you, email her at: email@example.com
Find her books on her website: http://www.jeanjoachimbooks.com
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