Dating The Millionaire Doctor

By: Marion Lennox

She wasn’t a time waster, then, Dr. Nicholls. He didn’t waste time either-but he couldn’t help feeling piqued. Most women reacted to him differently to the way this woman had.

What was he thinking?

Nothing. There was nothing to think about. He gave himself a mental swipe to the side of the head and headed back to his rental car. He should get back to the States fast if he thought shabby little country vets were cute. If he thought shabby little country vets were fascinating.

He wasn’t to know that one shabby little country vet watched him until he was out of sight.

Boy, was she hopeless. She twitched the smoke-stained drapes back into place and glowered at nothing in particular. One gorgeous male, and here she was, feeling…weird. Which was dumb. The last thing she needed in her life was another man.

So why had she let Barb talk her into five-minute dating?

Because, with the leaving of the army of volunteers, she’d become so lonely she was starting to talk to walls.

Dad. Micki.

Don’t go there.

There weren’t even enough animals left to talk to. She returned to the makeshift surgery and stooped to check the little koala. She was barely conscious. So small. So battered.

Maybe it had been a mistake to keep on trying.

‘Live,’ she whispered, almost fiercely. ‘You must get better. You must start living again.’

She knew she must, too.

She glanced out the window to the west and flinched like she always did. She could just see the chimney stack which was all that was left of the house she’d lived in forever.

Her dad. Her sister.

‘Move on,’ she whispered. ‘Get yourself a nice little town house in the city. You can be a pet vet. Take care of allergies, dew claws, vaccinations.’

Maybe she would. It was just…she didn’t feel ready yet.

In a couple of weeks this little koala should be ready to move on to a wildlife refuge and this place would be sold to be a home again. But not her home. She’d sheltered here for long enough. It was time to face the world again.

She knew she could. She’d schooled herself to be independent.

So why was the thought of Jake Hunter walking away so disturbing?

‘So what’s the story with Tori?’ he asked Rob.

It was after dark. There were only two guests staying at Manwillinbah Lodge right now, and both had gone to bed early. Rob had organised a theatre night-an old showing of Casablanca. He’d set up a themed dinner, decorated the sitting room with black-and-white posters, even worn a hat-but both his guests were weary and just wanted their own beds.

They were fire victims, too, Jake had discovered. Both were elderly women, living in temporary accommodation, organising to rebuild. They’d come here for time out, because the process was leaving them exhausted, and all they wanted to do was sleep.

It left Rob dissatisfied, though. He loved being the entertainer, but by eight he was left to entertain himself and his boss. They sat on the back porch and watched the stars and drank beer-and Jake pushed.

‘Tori,’ he prodded again. ‘Tell me about her.’

‘I don’t even know her.’

‘But Barb’s told you.’

‘Nope. There’re tragedies everywhere and if you’re not told you don’t ask. Some people need to talk about it, some people can’t. All I know is that she was put in charge of the wildlife rescue effort and she was vet up on the ridge before the fires. I didn’t know she was staying on-site but I did say they could use it for whatever they wanted. I told you that when I phoned.’

He had. There’d been a couple of days when the news coming through from Australia was dreadful. He’d been ready to promise anything.

He still was.

‘I don’t want to kick Tori out,’ he said now, uneasily. ‘If she still wants to live there…’

‘She doesn’t. Barb says as soon as the last animal goes, so will she. It’s fine to put it on the market.’

‘Does she have somewhere to go?’

‘I have no idea,’ Rob said, giving him a curious glance. ‘I’ve never met the lady until last night, and five minutes with her didn’t give me much time for in-depth questions. Yours was worse-how many questions did you manage in your minute and a half?’

‘Don’t rub it in,’ Jake growled. ‘I don’t make a great speed dater.’

‘I don’t think you make an anything dater,’ Rob said, pouring another beer. ‘But you’ve met the lady properly today. What’s she like?’

‘Smart. Tired. Worried.’ And very cute, he thought, but he didn’t say it. Really sexy, despite those appalling clothes.

‘Tired and worried equals everyone up here in the hills,’ Rob said, not hearing his afterthoughts. ‘So we’re back to smart. How smart?’

‘She’s a vet.’


‘And she had the gumption to walk away from me when I was being an-’

‘I know exactly what you were being,’ Rob said, and had the temerity to grin. ‘Good for Tori.’

‘She practically told me to leave today, too.’

‘You’re kidding. It’s your property.’

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