A Very Special Favor

A Very Special Favor

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Summary

A single father who needs a wife to keep custody of his son and a woman he’s never thought of as anything but his best friend. Maybe she’s the solution he’s looking for. Or maybe that very special favor will change everything. Forever.

Summary

A single father who needs a wife to keep custody of his son and a woman he’s never thought of as anything but his best friend. Maybe she’s the solution he’s looking for. Or maybe that very special favor will change everything. Forever.

Chapter1 (v.1) - A Very Special Favor

Author Chapter Note

A single father who needs a wife to keep custody of his son and a woman he’s never thought of as anything but his best friend. Maybe she’s the solution he’s looking for. Or maybe that very special favor will change everything. Forever.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 28, 2015

Reads: 1052

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 28, 2015

A A A

A A A

Chapter One

 

Hearing from his lawyer about his ex-wife’s latest legal salvo topped off what had already been one hell of a day, between having one patient suffer an apparent heart attack while undergoing surgery and discovering that another required complicated reconstructive surgery when she’d been booked for a simple knee arthroscopy. 

Kurt Silverman went in his office and shed the lab coat he’d thrown on over wrinkled OR scrubs after his last case. This was the first time since six o’clock this morning that he’d had time to catch his breath. Closing his eyes, he laid his head against the back of his desk chair and tried to clear his mind.

“Hey, Silverman, I thought the office closed at five. Couldn’t you sleep better if you went on home?”

Kurt opened one eye at the familiar lilt of Shelly Ware’s voice. “Shel. You’re here awfully late yourself. What’s up?”

“Not much. I just finished Brad Gale’s therapy. He has trouble getting here during regular hours.”

Kurt recalled a fiftyish former NFL player, now financial analyst whose knee he’d repaired two months ago. “It’s nice of you to stay late so he doesn’t miss his rehab.”

“I try to accommodate him whenever I can. His boss isn’t very flexible about his working hours. I saw your light on and decided to come say hello on my way out.” She paused and gave him a thorough once-over. “What’s wrong with you? You look as though you just lost your best friend.”

“I’m okay. Long day, lots of problems.”

“Want to unload some of them?”

Kurt shrugged, then grimaced at the pain that followed that abrupt movement. “If you’ve got time, I think a rubdown would do me more good than dumping my troubles on my favorite physical therapist.”

“Swivel that chair around this way and I’ll see what I can do.”

When he did, she laid her hands on his shoulders and began to knead, softly at first, then harder. Kurt closed his eyes again and shut down his mind to everything except her touch, and the pungent but not unpleasant smell of deep-heating rub that he associated with his pal Shelly.

The furnace blower kicked in, its sound a throaty, relaxing purr. Shelly paused, as though the noise had distracted her. “Don’t stop. Did anybody ever tell you you’ve got a magic touch?”

She laughed. “Nobody but you. You’re the surgeon with the magic hands. I’m just an overworked, underpaid physical therapist. By the way, Mrs. Anderson was moving her leg better today.”

“Thanks. Any good news is welcome on a day like this. Adrianna’s pet shark has trumped up new excuses to drag me back into court. I swear the woman won’t quit punishing me until I’m dead and she’s picked my bones clean.”

“Is there anything I can do to make things better?”

Kurt shrugged. “Not unless you know a hit man who specializes in doing ex-wives.” He picked up the correspondence from his lawyer that he’d looked over before going to the OR, then slapped it back onto the desk. “She wants to restrict my visits with Jason.”

“Kurt, no. That wouldn’t help her and it would only hurt your son. She wouldn’t do that to Jason.” Shelly resumed massaging his shoulders, her touch fiercer than before. “I’m afraid she would.”

“What reason could she possibly have to keep him from seeing you?”

“I live in a pigsty, work all the time and ignore my son when he’s here. According to

Adrianna, that is.”

Just thinking about her lawyer’s assertions about his unfitness made Kurt’s muscles tighten again, but Shelly kept massaging him until she had the knots worked out. When she stepped away, her warmth stayed with him.

Unshed tears made her eyes sparkle in the fluorescent glow from the ceiling lights. “I’m so sorry.”

“Me, too. I’m damn sorry I ever married Adrianna. Hell, I wish I’d joined a monastery before I met her.”

A grin lurked at the corners of her mouth. “Kurt, you’re not even Catholic.”

“I should have converted.”

“And disappointed all the Jewish mothers who had their hearts set on marrying their daughters off to Dr. Silverman?” Now a smile lit up her whole face.

Kurt returned her grin. He couldn’t stay depressed too long around Shelly. Unlike most

women, she didn’t set his defenses on high alert. Besides, she had a way of making life’s problems seem less pressing. “Don’t mind me. I’ll survive somehow. Are we still on for Friday night to celebrate you growing another year older?”

“Just try to weasel out.” She shot a playful look his way. “I’m assuming you won’t get too decrepit by then to hoist your margarita.”

He chuckled. “I’ll manage. Hey, if you’re not doing anything tonight, why don’t we go over to your place? I’ll spring for pizza with the works if you’ve got a couple of cold beers.” “Sorry. I have plans.”

“Hot date?”

Kurt kept smiling, though the thought of his good pal Shelly getting tangled in the sheets with the sex-obsessed resident who kept hanging around the PT room made him want to find the guy and strangle him.

A voice inside his head reminded him Shelly’s sex life wasn’t his concern. That who and when she fucked was none of his damn business.

As if she thought his question was a joke, she laughed. “Hardly a hot date. I told my sister and brother-in-law I’d entertain their kids this evening so they can have a little time to themselves.” She glanced at her watch. “Oh, no. They’re going to drop Gretchen and Tommy at my apartment in half an hour. I’ve got to get a move on.”

“Go, then. Hey, thanks for stopping by. And thanks for the use of your magic hands. Did you realize you’re better at lifting my spirits than a fistful of psych meds.”

“Really? Pity I can’t bottle myself up and sell me. Hey, chin up. Everything will come out okay. No judge in his right mind will say that your visits with Jason aren’t good for him.”

With that, Shelly straightened and brushed her lips across Kurt’s cheek. Then, as suddenly as she’d appeared, she walked out.

A few minutes later he left the building. A gust of cold wind chafed his skin and tousled his hair as he crossed the courtyard in front of the hospital and continued the two blocks down the street to the place he called home.

When he opened the door to his apartment, silence greeted him. Silence and the tick-tock of the alarm clock on the floor beside his bed.

Kurt wished he weren’t alone. He’d really wanted Shelly’s company tonight. He told himself he needed her to keep his mind off Adrianna and the new custody war she’d just declared.

 

* * * * *

 

Shelly choked back tears as she tucked Tommy and Gretchen into bed. She was still reeling with shock from her sister’s news.

Damn it. Sometimes life wasn’t fair.

Donna was only a year older than she, with years of living to look forward to. She had a husband who loved her and these two precious kids.

She couldn’t have cancer.

But she did. In two days, Donna would check into the hospital for a hysterectomy.

They caught it early. I’ll be okay. Donna had sounded brave, but Shelly imagined she was scared to death. Shelly was terrified, not only for her sister but for herself.

The same thing might happen to her. Fate might shut off her biological clock before its time.

She’d recently begun to hear that clock’s gentle ticking in her head. Now it sounded like a metronome gone berserk.

Suddenly dizzy, Shelly bent and kissed the children. Then she stumbled out of the small guest room. Tears streamed from her eyes.

She wanted kids. At least one, maybe more. Suddenly she felt compelled to begin having them. Now.

She laughed through her tears. Getting pregnant was one thing she couldn’t do without a partner. Too bad she had no hot daddy prospect in mind.

Hot? Ha! She had no daddy prospects, hot or cold.

This was her own fault for being so particular. She shouldn’t have blown off perfectly acceptable marriage candidates who’d done nothing wrong except for failing to set off the bells she foolishly expected to hear when she found Mr. Right.

She’d heard those bells. Recognized the symptoms they set off inside her. Unfortunately those bells had been ringing for two years, for one man. As unlikely a lover as she could have found if she’d gone out looking.

She had lost her head and hormones to a man who was terminally over love. He put out warning signals as loud as fire alarms to any woman who tried to breach the walls around his heart. If he ever thought about her as a woman and not a pal, he’d run away from her as fast as he could.

Kurt Silverman was the epitome of Mr. Wrong.

Damn him anyway. Damn his silky dark hair and his brooding, slate-gray eyes. Curse the killer smile that drew women the way that honey drew flies.

To hell with the gorgeous doctor and the chip his ex-wife had left on his shoulder as a souvenir of their marriage.

Part of Shelly wished she’d never met him.

Why had Kurt come to San Antonio to lick his wounds following a bitter divorce? And why had he joined the trauma surgery group practice where she worked as a rehabilitative services specialist?

Worse, why had she not kept her distance? She’d known from the start that the man sported raw emotional scars.

Her getting the hots for Doctor Silverman had been a nasty twist of fate.

Not as nasty a twist as Donna getting cancer, of course. And she had no business mooning over Kurt or worrying about her own future when her thoughts should be on her sister.

As she sat on the couch and stared at the blank TV screen, though, Shelly couldn’t help trying to recall what kinds of cancer ran in families.

Cervical cancer? She didn’t think so but couldn’t recall for sure. But she figured that if she wanted to hold her own babies in her arms, it was past time for her to get busy having them.

An icy wave of fear washed over her.

That metronome inside her head ticked away, sending shards of pain to her temples.

She got up and took two ibuprofen tablets before stumbling off to bed. When the throbbing subsided, she scolded herself for worrying about her own trivial problems when it was Donna who deserved her concern.

 

* * * * *

 

“I hope she’s okay. If you want to stay with her we can postpone celebrating,” Kurt said on Friday when Shelly mentioned that her sister had come out of surgery an hour earlier.

Shelly shook her head. His concern warmed her but there was nothing she could do for

Donna now. She’d sleep away the day and night, mercifully sedated.

“Not on your life. I’m going to need that margarita.”

“Me, too.” When he grinned, fine lines accentuated his eyes. Instead of making him look older, they just made him look even more delectable. “Scrubs?”

It had become a habit for them to do their celebrating in OR garb. Shelly recalled the start of that tradition and their friendship almost two years ago, when they had literally run into each other outside surgery and decided to grab a bite together at a restaurant along the nearby Riverwalk.

“Scrubs it is. Seven o’clock?”

“Let’s make it six. I’m finished in surgery for the day, barring any major emergencies. Unless that’s too early.” “No. Six is fine.”

“Good. What sort of memento would you like to mark the passing of yet another year?”

Shelly didn’t know. She’d given Kurt a floppy-eared stuffed basset hound not long ago when he had turned thirty-six, because he’d made a passing comment that he’d like someday to have a pet. Last week he’d brought her a huge scarlet teddy bear toting a pound of Valentine candy. She’d had to keep reminding herself the card around Teddy’s neck read “To my good pal Shelly”…not “To My Valentine”.

“Surprise me with another pet for my menagerie.” Suddenly an idea surfaced. “On second thought, I’d like to ask you for a favor. A very special favor.”

“Name it. It’s yours.”

She smiled, but her stomach felt as if she’d tied it up in knots. “Don’t make promises unless you know what it is that you’re agreeing to. I’ll tell you what I want, tonight.” That is, she’d tell him if she didn’t come to her senses before then.

“Okay.” He glanced at the clock on the wall and shrugged. “I have to run. Patients will be stacked up in the waiting room three deep if I don’t get a move on. If you’re doing Mrs.

Anderson’s therapy, tell her I’ll come in and check her progress tomorrow.”

“Okay. ‘Bye.”

She shooed him down the hall, then watched until he grabbed a patient chart from its holder and disappeared into one of the examining rooms.

Later that day, between patients, Shelly leaned back in her desk chair, closed her eyes and

let her imagination transport her. What if Kurt said yes?

What if…What would his hands feel like on her naked skin? He’d be gentle, caring—of that much she was certain. His beard stubble would tickle her neck…her breasts.

He’d take his time, arouse her. Then they’d make love. With any kind of luck, she’d have a dark-haired, silvery-eyed miniature of him some nine months later.

“You’ve got it bad, don’t you?”

Oh, no. She’d been caught fantasizing again, by none other than Lynn Blackstone, one of the other physical therapists who worked for the group practice—and the wife of one the doctors, the other orthopedist in the group.

“Morning, Lynn,” she said when she turned and met the other woman’s knowing gaze.

“Good morning, yourself. How did your sister’s surgery go?”

“Smoothly. I thought I’d come on in to work. Sitting by Donna’s bed and watching her sleep wasn’t doing her much good.”

“I’m glad you’re here. Dale didn’t show up again this morning, so we’re shorthanded.” Lynn smiled. “When are you going to admit you’d like to check out what’s inside Kurt’s pants?”

“Never. Forget trying to make us into a couple. It won’t be all that long before you can practice matchmaking on little Beth.” Shelly didn’t envy the Blackstones’ toddler, though with luck her mother’s penchant for promoting romance would mellow over the next fifteen or twenty years.

“Kurt and I are just good friends,” she told Lynn for what must have been the hundredth time.

“Kurt Silverman has your insides tied up in knots. And he likes you, which is more than he’s let himself feel for any other woman since he’s been here. You ought to make a move on him.

Seduce him. It’s no fun living like a nun, and you’re not getting any younger.” “Gee, thanks. See you later,” Shelly said as she tried to make her escape.

Lynn placed a hand on Shelly’s shoulder. “You’re welcome any time. By the way, happy birthday.”

 

* * * * *

 

A few hours later Shelly was sitting across a table from Kurt at her favorite Mexican

restaurant adjacent to San Antonio’s historic marketplace, the Mercado.

Diners at nearby tables might have believed they were lovers if they’d been watching when Kurt lifted an errant curl off her forehead or stroked her hand as the waiter took their order.

The strolling guitarist had obviously assumed they were more than friends when he hit Kurt up for a tip to play a favorite song. He might easily have thought the cloisonne basset hound charm that Kurt fastened onto the gold bracelet on her wrist signified more than friendship.

People might even have assumed the breathtakingly handsome guy in green surgical scrubs planned to take her home after dinner and make love all night long.

But they’d be wrong. She and Kurt were good friends. Nothing more. He had no more sexual interest in her than he would in one of his patients. She had to remember that.

“Thanks for the ‘hush puppy,’” she said, holding the little charm closer to her face so she could look at it. “I love him.”

He poured the last of the frozen margaritas from a liter beaker. “I thought you’d like him.

Just how old are you now? Thirty-one or thirty-two?”

Mariachis tapped out a rhythmic cadence in the background. Shelly and Kurt sipped their drinks and chatted about hospital politics, mutual patients, shared acquaintances. “Thirty-two.

Gettin’ almost as old as you.”

The sounds of mournful Spanish melodies and mellow harmonies from acoustic guitars muted but couldn’t quite silence the ticking clock inside Shelly’s head.

The waiter brought quesadillas oozing cheese and peppers, garnished with mild, tonguesoothing guacamole. After they’d polished off the appetizers, he set gazpacho and sizzling steak fajitas before them. Tex-Mex favorites Kurt had developed a taste for since coming to San Antonio. Dishes Shelly had loved all her life.

“Hey, what can I say? We’re compatible,” Kurt commented after they agreed to share the restaurant’s dessert specialty, vanilla ice cream balls rolled in toasted coconut and drizzled with caramel sauce. They agreed that the icy confections beat plain old caramel flan any day.

“Sure we are.” Shelly only wished.

When Kurt squeezed her hand, shards of sexual awareness streaked up her arm. Apparently he felt nothing, or if he did, the heat didn’t affect him the way it did her.

After the waiter set down their dessert, Kurt took Shelly’s hand. “Come on. I’ve been waiting more than eight hours to find out. What is this favor you want?”

“A baby.”

Oh God. She’d done it now. When she tried to laugh as though her wish were a joke, she found she’d suddenly gone mute.

Someone should have caught Kurt’s look on film, because his expression was a perfect rendition of shocked disbelief.

“You want what?”

“A baby.” The words came out so softly she could barely hear herself.

Kurt heard her though. He looked as if she’d whacked him with a two-by-four. “Then by all means, have one. But why tell me?”

Shelly drew in a deep breath, then made herself look him in the eye. “Because I want you

…to…”

Get me pregnant? Knock me up? She couldn’t say that.

And she couldn’t meet his piercing gaze.

Her mouth felt dry. Her cheeks were on fire. She couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t swallow.

Finally she focused her gaze on the untouched ice cream that quivered on his plate.

“I want you to donate the sperm,” she blurted out before she could tear back the words.

 

Kurt couldn’t have been more shocked if Shelly had asked him to commit murder.

Had anyone else heard her? He shot a surreptitious glance around the immediate area but noticed no outraged stares directed their way.

His cheeks burned. “You’ve got to be kidding,” he whispered in the hope that they could keep this strictly between them.

“I wasn’t.” She sounded as though he’d just kicked her dog, which made him feel about six inches high.

It also made him want to strike out at her. “Then you must be crazy. Flat out insane.”

Unfortunately that comment came out of his mouth loud enough to draw some outside attention.

From the mortified look on her face, he guessed she noticed that folks had begun to stare.

“Kurt, forget it. Forget I said anything.” Tears glistened in her eyes, but she blinked them away.

Before he could say more, she pushed her dessert plate aside, got up and made a beeline for

the nearest exit.

“Damn it to hell.” Kurt tossed some money on the table, grabbed their coats and took off after her.


© Copyright 2019 Ann Jacobs. All rights reserved.

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