The Millionaire and the M.D.

By: Teresa Southwick

“Maybe we don’t, but I do.”

She was afraid to hear this. His message had come through loud and clear, and she’d gotten it. She hurt like hell but she understood. She’d also seen him since and managed to preserve her dignity. But if she had to see him tell her to her face that he couldn’t love her, she would start to cry. She was a doctor and she definitely cared more than enough to cry. She’d also never forgive him if he made her cry in front of him.

“I’m sorry, Gabe. I have to run—” Bad choice of words. She didn’t miss the irony and sighed in resignation. “Okay. What do you want to say?”

He met her gaze, and his own turned dark with intensity. “I’ll make this quick. It’s pretty simple really. I’ve loved two women in my life.”

Great. Because it didn’t hurt enough that he couldn’t love her, he had to tell her about the ones he’d never have. “Gabe, I’m really not sure—”

He touched a finger to her mouth. “I’ve loved two women.

I lost the first to fate. I probably lost the second by choosing not to participate.”

She’d accused him of not participating. Was he saying what she thought he was? Was he saying that he loved her? She opened her mouth, but words wouldn’t come out because her throat was too dry. She cleared it and said, “Thanks for the share.”

“I don’t blame you for being angry,” he said. “But if you’ll give me another chance, I promise I’ll be there for you. Always.”

Rebecca knew that declaration from anyone else would be subject to speculation. But not from Gabe. He had proven that he was capable of deep and abiding love for those he’d lost and the family he was committed to.

“I need you, Rebecca. I don’t want to lose you.” He closed his eyes for a moment, then looked at her. “You breathed life into my heart again.”

There it was. Right out in the open. And he was waiting for a response. And she was afraid. She had so many scars inside it was like a road map to disaster.

When she didn’t respond, he said, “I don’t blame you for being scared. But I’m not that creep who hurt you. He’s obviously a shallow, self-indulgent jerk who didn’t really love you. If you believe nothing else, believe this. I love you. I don’t deserve you, but I love you so much.”

“Gabe, you’re not—”

He put his hands on her arms. “You need to know that even though I don’t deserve you I’m selfish enough to overlook that and pursue you until you can’t resist me.”

“Okay. I give.”

He blinked. “What?”

“I give up. I can’t resist you.” She smiled as happiness filled her until it overflowed and tears of joy trickled down her cheeks. “Don’t let it go to your head. And it’s not a snap decision. I couldn’t resist you from the first moment I saw you.”

The grin was all gorgeous and macho. The look was all Gabe. “Really?”

“Really. And believe me I tried to outsmart my heart and use my superior IQ to reason my way out of being attracted to you.”

He hadn’t asked to fall in love any more than she had, but he was reaching out, taking a risk. How could she not do the same and meet him halfway?

“The problem is,” she continued, “I fell in love with you.”

“Then the smart thing to do would be to marry me.” He pulled her into his arms and released a shuddering breath, so full of emotion it took any swagger out of that statement.

“Brilliant suggestion,” she agreed. “Who’s the brainer geek now?”

“Are you flirting with me, Doctor?”

“Is it working?”

When he kissed her she knew it was working far better than she’d ever dared hope. And she didn’t feel the slightest guilt about having randy thoughts in the same room where she’d just advocated abstinence and responsibility. She and Gabe were finally taking responsibility for their feelings and had just promised to spend the rest of their lives together definitely not abstaining.

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