Here’s the excerpt:
Dr. Barlow?” someone inquired in a deep, masculine voice.
For an instant, she swayed. That voice. So much for being on the show circuit. Anna stepped around the back of the pickup into the view of the man who had emerged from the lighted doorway of the barn. Even as one part of her brain told her it was him, she shook her head in denial. Not with his reputation, and not on a Saturday night. There must be some horse show groupie somewhere who was willing to jump his bones, and that would take precedence over actual work.
“You’re not Dr. Barlow? Where is he?” the silhouetted figure asked. Anna could not see his face, or much else, since the light behind him cast his front in shadow. As much as she might have tried, she would never forget his voice. She didn’t need to see his face to know the speaker was Chris Stevenson.
Now, though, irritation kicked in. Where was he? She sighed. In this day and age, women veterinarians were more the norm than the exception. Of course, her height, or lack thereof, also played a role. She had encountered similar questions before, so she shouldn’t have been surprised when it came from a man like Stevenson.
“May I take a look at the injury, or would you like me to call the answering service to see if someone else is available to take the call?” At the moment, she couldn’t care less that Fincastle was one of the clinic’s biggest clients. She was tired and wanted to go home, so if he wanted a different vet, that was fine with her.
She braced herself as they walked into the light of the barn. As the fluorescent lights illuminated his lean features and fair hair, she realized he looked different. He was harder, but also healthier. The dissoluteness that had begun to leave its mark last summer was gone.
“You’ll do,” he grunted in response. “Follow me.”
Anna cocked one eyebrow at Stevenson’s retreating back. At least he was polite enough not to sigh as he said it. Still, what an arrogant jerk! Thank God she need have nothing to do with him outside of professional calls, and thank God he appeared to draw a total blank when he looked at her.
She supposed she should be used to people questioning her abilities because of her petite size. She had received odd looks through veterinary school, and even had to answer some pretty pointed questions when she talked to people about joining their large animal practices. Just over five feet tall, she was slender to boot, and at the time, she had been very pregnant. At least the vets at Redfield were able to overlook her appearance in favor of the credentials she’d set in front of them.
Her biggest relief was Chris seemed not to recognize her. She shouldn’t be surprised. She knew she looked a lot different than when he’d seen her, but part of her hardened with hurt and anger. What was she hoping, that he would remember the night they met? He would fall at her feet like the prince with Cinderella? There was no reason for it to stand out in his memory, not like it forever would in hers. He spent plenty of nights bedding besotted bimbos. She’d been another in a long line.
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