House Calls

The Callaghan Brothers, Book 3​


“You should eat.” He pushed the plate a little closer.

Eat? As if she could. Her stomach had so many butterflies in it at that moment she wouldn’t be able to swallow a single bite. She did manage to take a sip of coffee, though. And damn if it wasn’t the best she’d ever had. Her eyes closed momentarily as she savored the rich, full flavor. He’d already added sugar and cream, exactly the way she liked it.

“This came out of my coffee pot?” she asked incredulously. He nodded, a heart-stopping grin curving those sensual male lips yet again.

“It’s wonderful,” she said truthfully, but even that made her stomach clench in warning. She put the mug back onto the table. He glanced expectantly at her plate. She looked at it uncertainly. She didn’t want to offend him, but she didn’t want to embarrass herself, either.

“Are you feeling nauseous?” he asked.

Maggie bit her lip. Was she? No, she thought, this was different. She was fairly certain her stomach was doing that funny flipping thing because of him, not because of her unfortunate tumble.

“No, I don’t think so.”

Michael raised an eyebrow. He pulled a small light out of his pocket and leaned over her in what was becoming a familiar move. Part of her was annoyed, but another part longed for the closeness it brought with it. At this range she could clearly see the dark shadow along his jaw and feel the heat radiating from his body. Also rather disorienting was the familiar peppermint scent of his breath, now infused with coffee, and, if she wasn’t mistaken, a few of her cookies as well.

She shuddered. As gorgeous and intense as he was, it just wasn’t fair that he smelled like cookies now, too. How could she even hope to resist him for any length of time?

Her hopes that he hadn’t noticed were quickly dashed. “Are you cold? Do you have chills?” he asked, stepping back again. That move put her at eye-level with his hips. Her eyes widened as she caught a completely accidental glimpse of what his jeans held within. And that was unaroused. Oh my.

“No.” She shivered again, her face pinkening even more as she averted her eyes.

“Maybe we should get you back to bed.” Was it her imagination, or was his voice a bit lower than before? He moved in close again, his hand touched lightly upon her brow as if to check for a fever.

“Um, no, not a good idea.”

The words “we” and “bed” should not be coming out of his mouth as part of the same sentence, she decided. It made the butterflies in her stomach flutter even faster, not to mention send yet another rush of heat toward the center of her body. She squirmed uncomfortably.

Michael raised an eyebrow, folding his arms in front of his chest. Odd how such a small gesture commanded such authority. Even odder was the fact that she felt the need to explain herself. As a general rule, she didn’t.

“I mean, there’s no reason I should lay around in bed all day.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said slowly. “I could think of a few.” One side of his mouth lifted, and she felt her face burn. Damn.

“A concussion, for one,” he finished slyly.

She finally saw the glint of amusement in his eyes. The sexy bastard was having a little fun with her! Maggie probably should have felt irritated, but she realized she had brought it all upon herself with her wicked imagination. She’d left the door wide open in blatant invitation; it was no wonder he had stepped right in.

“I don’t have a concussion,” she said firmly.

“Is that your professional opinion, doctor?” He made no effort to hide his amusement any longer.

“As a matter of fact, it is,” she said, but even she was having trouble containing the grin that threatened to show itself. “Besides, I have George to think of.”

They both looked over at the beefy hound, now dozing on a big doggie bed pillow in the far corner by the old-fashioned radiator. He could at least have the decency to back her up, Maggie thought, by looking pathetically hungry, or at the very least dancing at the back door to go out.

As if reading her mind, Michael said, “I fed him this morning, gave him some fresh water, had him out. We played a little ball.”

She blinked at him in disbelief. “He brought you his favorite ball? The green squeaky one with the yellow star?” She couldn’t remember when the last time was George had wanted to play with anyone besides her. Painfully shy, the dog usually made himself scarce when anyone else was around. But he seemed to have taken an instant like to Michael.

“Yes.” George opened his eyes for a few moments and yawned, then laid his head back down. “He’s a great dog.”

Well, well, well. The fact that Michael had cared for George spoke volumes about the type of man he was in her eyes. As a doctor he might have felt compelled to take care of her after her injury, but there was no reason he would have felt the need to care for her dog. And the most amazing thing? George actually liked him. Twelve years of Catholic school nagged at the back of her head, peskily insisting that it had to be a sign.

“Thank you.”

“My pleasure.” He looked pointedly back at the plate again. “Now eat, please. I’m starting to doubt my culinary skills.”

“Well, we certainly can’t have you doubting yourself.” Maggie picked up a piece of toast and took a small bite. Thankfully, her stomach didn’t revolt and she took another. With each one, she began to feel a bit better. The toast was followed closely by the scrambled eggs – done perfectly, fluffy but not in the least bit runny, and the bacon. It took a while, but she managed to eat nearly everything in between sips of that liquid nectar he modestly referred to as coffee.

“This is incredible,” she said around her last bite of toast. “Geez, you’re a doctor, a bartender, and a great cook. Is there anything you can’t do?”

“I’ll let you in on a little secret,” he said, winking. “This is the only meal I can make. If you are craving anything else, you’re totally on your own.”

“Good thing I like bacon and eggs, then,” she said, then caught herself. She had no business suggesting this would ever happen again. Michael, thankfully, didn’t give any indication that he had noticed.


Copyright © 2015 – 2018 Abbie Zanders.

Written by Abbie Zanders.

All rights reserved.