Authors: Lola James
Bound to Remember, Book One of the Spellbound Series
BOUND TO REMEMBER
Bound to Remember, Book One of the Spellbound Series
Copyright © 2011 by Lola James
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
Copyright: Lola James
Published: 28th October 2011
Publisher: Lola James
Copyright © 2011 by Lola James. All Rights Reserved.
I dedicate this book, my first, to my Grandfather.
I wish you were here to see me fulfill my dream!
I love and miss you!
I thought as I sat down in the conference room of the ER. I stared into my Starbucks cup with my hour-old coffee in it and frowned at the idea of drinking it cold. I missed the good ol' days before medical school, when on Friday nights like this; I would pop some popcorn and watch romantic comedies until I fell asleep. I was a social pariah, because of my pre-med major. Now all I did was work! I looked around at the room crowded with interns, residents, and nurses, and I sensed something was about to happen; I just didn’t know what. I searched for a friendly face.
Instead, my eyes fell on the last person I wanted to see: Kevin. Kevin and I had gone to college then medical school together. I was always in the top three of the class, and Kevin was always fourth. We were friends in college, then rivals in medical school until our second year when we started dating. I imagined a storybook ending: two medical students fall in love and live happily ever after. The problem was, only one of us fell in love. Me. The idiot.
Of course, Kevin looked up as I stared at him. The smug smile on his face brought back all those memories from all those years ago. I ducked my head and abandoned my search for familiar faces, opting instead to check my ginger-colored hair for split ends. Since I didn’t regularly check for them, I noticed hundreds, more than enough to keep me busy until the end of the meeting. Focused on pulling them apart
I barely noticed when my new best friend, Dawn, sat down next to me. Dawn, was three years my senior and already an attendant in the Emergency Department. She took in what I was doing with a bewildered look on her face. I guess when you have perfect blond hair, you don’t get split ends.
Toni, what are you—? You know what, never mind.” Dawn shook her head. If it’s true that opposites attract, it would explain our friendship. Dawn, unlike me, had been a social butterfly in college. I think it had something to do with her being from the South, but I wouldn’t dare say that to her; it always annoyed her.
I looked over at her disapproving
expression and asked, "Any idea what this is all about?"
Dawn shrugged. “The last time we had a meeting like this, the chief was introducing you and Kevin to the Emergency Department. So maybe we’re getting another newbie." She smiled. Dawn had the kind of smile that made you feel warm and relaxed.
"Maybe," I grumbled as my thoughts drifted back to Kevin. I pushed the hair out of my face with a sigh and I absentmindedly took a sip of my cold coffee. It was not only cold, but also now disgustingly old. The hum of voices lowered, and I looked up to see Dr. Stevens walk to the front of the conference room.
"Hello, Emergency Night Team. I know that Fridays are the busiest, but I wanted to introduce our newest member of our team," Dr. Stevens said, smiling at the group crammed inside the conference room. I couldn’t help but smile back. He was the ideal man: smart, cute, and with the dreamiest smile, I’d ever seen.
Too bad Dawn had dibs on Dr. Stevens or as she liked to call him, her future husband Brent. It was all really a fantasy, Dawn had not yet proposed marriage to him, or even dated him, but she talked about it as if it were real. "He should be ashamed of himself with his flirtatious smile," she whispered as she leaned close to me.
"I know," I replied, not taking my eyes off Dr. Stevens.
"Please give a warm welcome to the new head night surgical nurse, Benjamin Slaton." The chief placed his hand on the new nurse’s shoulder as he stood up. I reconsidered my last thought about Dr. Stevens; Benjamin had an even dreamier smile, combined with intoxicating eyes, perfect hair, and smooth pale skin.
"Close your mouth, you’re drooling," Dawn whispered with a giggle.
I shushed Dawn not taking my eyes off Benjamin, who similarly seemed to have his eyes riveted on me. He stared through the crowd of people and directly at me. I felt breathless as Dr. [what’s-his-name—how could I have thought he was perfect?] —continued to talk.
"Dr. Toni Hollander," Dr. Stevens said. I didn’t move, still mesmerized by the sexy man standing next to him. Dawn jabbed me with her elbow as Dr. Stevens said my name again. That broke the spell, and I snapped out of the delicious daydream I was having about Benjamin.
"Ye-yes," I stammered, pushing my seat back and standing up. My cheeks flushed as beads of sweat formed on my forehead at the thought of everyone that just witnessed my intense staring contest with Benjamin.
Dr. Hollander, I would like you to show Nurse Slaton around the hospital," he said with a smile. I wanted to jump up and down, but I didn’t
I smiled back and nodded before quickly sitting back down.
"Lucky girl," Dawn’s grin was from ear to ear. I tried keeping my calm face but I was smiling as big if not bigger than Dawn on the inside.
"That's it everyone. Have a great night," Dr. Stevens said. Everyone began filtering out of the conference room. Dawn and I stood up together. She brushed my hair out of my face. I figured it was all over the place since I had been fussing with it. I finger-combed it, hoping I didn’t look like a complete idiot, which is what I felt like.
"So what do you think?" I asked with my arms flared out like ta-da.
Dawn’s bright blue eyes shone like diamonds. "You look great! And I hope he’s single for your sake, T. Here he comes," she said as she walked away, still grinning. Benjamin was about five feet away, but smiled as if he had heard her comment. I pretended not to notice as he came to a stop a foot away from me.
"Hello,” I held out my hand; “I'm Dr. Toni Hollander, but you can call me Toni.” He stared at me as if he were looking right though me and ignored my extended hand. A wave of embarrassment washed over me and I pulled my hand back. Maybe I imagined that staring thing with him a minute ago. My thoughts retreated to Kevin. He had only been the last in a long line of failed relationships, and I was starting to wonder if my terrible taste in men had struck again.
"Where are my manners? I am Benjamin, but you may call me Ben," he said with a toothy grin, as he pulled my hand into his. His hand was a degree colder than normal even in a hospital with the air conditioning set at the same temperature as the North Pole. I looked at his hand then wondered if his hot and cold behavior was from his own embarrassment. He was a bit clammy. I relaxed with that thought and smiled.
"Ben, tomorrow you should consider wearing some thermals to keep yourself warm," I suggested as he pulled his hand away from mine. He said nothing but smiled at me again.
"Let me show you to our locker room where you can put your bag," I moved towards the door. The conference room was empty except for Ben and me.
"Sorry, Toni, but what is your last name again?" he asked as he touched my shoulder. His touch was soft and it gave me the chills -- in a good way. The possibility that my reaction was a result of not having been touched by a man in a long time — since Kevin — made me cringe. Ugh! Just the thought of him made me sick.
"Hollander," I turned swiftly to look him in the eye as his caught mine. My body relaxed as my mind went blank; I smiled as I was hypnotized by just looking into his beautiful jet-black eyes. I felt frozen in place, like time stood still and my head began to swim. A part of me felt like I had just woken up. Images of my father dressed in a Roman navy blue gown floated by, was that a costume? I heard a muffled name of "Joanna Hollander" that sounded like a question but my hearing was warped. I was in bliss the longer I looked at Ben.
Seconds later I shook my head as dizziness hit me and the next thing I knew I was rushing to the floor. Ben’s cool arms caught me before my legs gave out.
I could not remember the last few moments and I felt disoriented. Something happened before my descent towards the ground but I couldn't put my finger on it. I’d have to figure it out later as I’d already fallen in Ben’s arms and I wished that I could forget that.
Did I fall?” I asked as he stood me up on my feet. I was beyond embarrassed. I hoped he didn’t think that was some sort of damsel in distress act. Because it wasn’t.
Almost but I caught you, you may have turned around too quickly.” He offered with a coy smile. I tried to recall my last thought and it hit me, locker room. I shook off the woozy feeling as I wiped the imaginary dust of me before I started towards the door again.
"It’s this way to the locker room,” I announced. I was frustrated with myself.
As we entered the main ER area, all eyes turned to us. I knew then that they had seen it, that moment in the conference room, when Dr. Stevens introduced Ben; and now, as we walked into the locker room, all of their stares were inescapable and unwanted.
I looked back at Ben and he appeared equally uncomfortable. I was happy to be in the locker room, finally evading the eyes that followed us wherever we walked. Of course, Kevin would be there.
Hey Toni, how about we meet up later?” Kevin said with his usual devilish smile that made him look even more handsome than he was. Oddly, his comment made me smile too, because I knew he was only asking out of jealousy. Kevin may not have wanted that happily ever after with me but he didn’t want me to want anyone but him. I laughed and rubbed my hand on Ben’s forearm to ignite the flame of jealousy in Kevin even more as I shook my head no. Crimson replaced the tan color that Kevin wore so well, he stormed out of the locker room, leaving a now tense Ben and me alone. I walked over to the lockers, running my fingers across them.