“This is weird,” I said out loud as I looked around the room.

The clock on the wall caught my attention. It read 11:10. I was ten minutes late. Oops. I flipped the switch up and turned to sit down on the couch. My ass hadn’t even hit the seat when the door sprang open.

“Lawrence?” A short, smoking hot woman with slick, shoulder-length black hair was standing in the doorway.

The receptionist is in there? Weird.

“Yeah, that’s me.” I held my hand out. “I’m here to see Dr. Roberts.”

“I know.” She laughed as she shook my hand. “I am Dr. Roberts. Come on in.”

Reeling from the shock, I followed her into her office. “Wait. You’re Dr. Roberts?” I asked incredulously.

“Yep.” She nodded as she reached behind me and shut the door.

“You’re Dr. Shawn Roberts?”

“Yes.” She laughed again.

“But Shawn is a man’s name.”

She raised her eyebrows and shrugged. “My mother didn’t think so. Please, have a seat.” Motioning toward the couch, she sat in the chair across from me and smiled.

Are you fucking kidding me?

The Gods must have been smiling down on me after all. She was my therapist? How fucking lucky could a guy get? This was going to be a breeze. I’d turn on the old Viper charm and be in and out of here in one session, tops. And if I was really lucky, I’d escape with a blow job and a new phone number to add to my drawer.

“So.” Still smiling, she tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and crossed her legs. “Your appointment was a last-minute addition to my schedule, so I know almost nothing about you, other than your name and that you play for the Wild. Why don’t you tell me why you’re here?”

To fuck you senseless.

“Honestly? I’m here because my coach made me come.”

“Ah…” She nodded. “So this wasn’t your idea?”

“Not even fucking close.”

“I see.” She stood and walked behind her desk, which was off to the side of the room. “Do you want anything to drink? Water? Coke? Orange Juice?”

“Nope.”

“Suit yourself.” She shrugged. The leather in the couch crackled as I leaned over and craned my neck, trying to get a better look at her ass as she bent over to grab a bottle of water out of the fridge tucked in the corner. She stood up quickly and caught me staring. A shy smile crept across her face and I knew it wouldn’t be long. Thank God I had a condom in these jeans from last week. Doctor or not, rule number one still applied.

“I know what you’re thinking.” Sitting back down across from me, she cracked the top off her water bottle and lifted it to her lips, not taking her eyes off of me for a second.

I leaned back against the couch and stretched my arms across the top of it, smiling at her. “You do, huh?”

“Yep.” She set her water bottle down on the coffee table and leaned in close. “And you can stop thinking it right now.”

“Huh?”

“You’re not the first male athlete who’s sat on that couch, you know? Most of them come in here expecting to find a man, and then they see me and think I’m gonna be some easy conquest for them.”

Holy shit.

“If I were a bettin’ gal, I would say that’s exactly what you were thinking too. Am I right?” She sat back and crossed her arms, silently challenging me with the lift of one eyebrow.

“No,” I denied sternly.

“Okay, Pinocchio.” Her condescending laugh filled the room. “Why don’t we talk about why you’re here now?”

I stared straight at her without saying a fucking word.

“Okay, why don’t you tell me a little about yourself instead?”

Nothing. I wasn’t about to give that arrogant bitch any information. She wanted it? She’d have to work for it.

“Alrighty then.” She sighed, obviously frustrated at my stubbornness. “Let’s do this. I’ll tell you a little about myself and if you want to jump in and contribute, you can.”

She paused for me to respond; instead, I yawned.

“As you already know, my name is Shawn Roberts. I grew up on the north side of Chicago and lived there until I was ten, when we moved to Texas so I could train for the Olympics full-time. In 2000, I went to Sydney with the women’s gymnastics team and was the favorite to win gold on the balance beam, but in a horrific practice the day after we got there, I fell off the beam and landed wrong. I shattered my ankle, and that was the end of my career. So I came home, regrouped, went to college, and here I am.” She held her hands up as she smiled proudly at me. “Your turn.”

“My name is Viper, and I don’t talk about my personal life with strangers,” I said dryly.

She nodded and flicked her tongue in between her teeth and top lip as she looked around the room. “Okay. Well, this is definitely going to be an interesting ride, isn’t it?”

I was annoyed, pissed the fuck off. I didn’t want to be there in the first place, and the last thing I needed was this little tart giving me a hard time and riding my ass. She was fine as hell but a total bitch.

“You’re a condescending pain in the ass, you know that?” I growled. “And what the fuck do you mean ‘interesting ride’? I came to this appointment because I was forced to. Now I’m leaving.” I stood up, grabbed my keys off the coffee table, and headed toward the door.

“That’s fine. You can go,”—she stood up and walked over to her desk nonchalantly—“but that’s the wrong door.”

My hand was inches from the doorknob when I froze.

What?

Spinning around, I took two steps toward her desk. “What?”

“See that door?” She smugly pointed to another door on the other side of her office. “That’s the one you leave through.”

I sighed in frustration and marched to the other side of the room.

“When do you want to come back?” she asked just as I got to the door.

At that point, all I could do was laugh. “You’ve got to be shitting me.” I rolled my eyes as I turned back to her one more time.

Her eyes lifted to mine just a little and she shrugged. “No, I’m not shitting you. I have the power to decide when it is you’re ready to be done with treatment, and seeing as how I don’t even know why you’re here in the first place… nope, not ready.” She picked a pen up off her desk and chewed on the end as she flipped the pages of a calendar in front of her. “Soooo… you wanna come back or no?”

Unfuckingbelievable.

In that moment, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stab her in the eye with that pen or throw everything off her desk and fuck her on it. “Fine,” I agreed stubbornly as I walked over and sat back down on the couch. “Can we just get this over with right now, then?”

She looked down at the chunky white watch that sat on her tiny, tan wrist and then back up at me, smiling. “Nope. I have another client coming in fifteen minutes and I’m definitely gonna need longer than that with you.”

“Fine!” I yelled, jumping to my feet. “Then when?”

“I have an opening tomorrow…” —she tapped the pen against her desk as she studied her calendar again— “at seven o’clock. Want it?”

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