And then a woman stepped out in front of him. She was clearly a doctor, because she was wearing an open white coat and there was a hospital identity badge round her neck on a lanyard. Though she was the most gorgeous woman he'd ever set eyes on. Tall—nearly five feet ten, he'd guess, because in heels she could look him in the eye. Long, long legs, and her dark suit didn't hide the fact that she was all curves. Dark wavy hair, caught back at the nape of her neck. Slate-blue eyes. And the most kissable mouth he'd ever seen.
Every nerve in his body hummed. For a moment, he forgot where he was. Who he was. He just wanted to take that one step forward, pull her into his arms, loosen her hair, bend her back over his arm and kiss her. Just like in the movies.
'Can I help you? Are you looking for someone?'
The plummy accent shattered the dream and brought him back to reality. Sex goddesses didn't have silver spoons in their mouths, and this one was definitely posh— and rich, because on closer inspection that suit looked as if it was a designer cut. Plus, in his experience, doctors of that class who weren't working in private practice were usually just waiting in a cushy niche until something better came along.
Add the fact that she was just about to become his colleague, and that put her way off limits. On the rare times he did date, it was never another member of staff in his department. He'd seen first-hand what a mess it made at work when the relationship ended. Awkwardness at work, the headache of working out new rotas so the once-close couple were on opposite shift patterns... It just wasn't worth it.
Even if she was the first woman in a long time to make his skin tingle like that.
'Thank you, but I'm fine,' he said coolly.
Though he couldn't just pretend he'd wandered in off the street. He'd have to work with her—Dr Victoria Radley, according to her ID card—tomorrow, and playing games now would just make things awkward later on. Better tell the truth. 'I'm Jake Lewis.' He held out his hand.
'You're a day early.'
He felt the flush steal over his cheekbones, and was cross with himself for it. He was her senior, for goodness' sake. Why was he acting as if he were the naughty schoolboy and she was the headmistress? 'I was passing, so I thought I'd drop in.'
Drop in? More like he was giving them the once-over before he started, Vicky thought.
Which was just what she would have done, in his shoes.
She took his hand and shook it briefly. Firm grip, dry palm—good. But there was something else. Something odd. Even though he wasn't touching her any more, she could still feel his skin against hers. And although it had been a businesslike handshake, it had felt somehow intimate. Almost caressing.
She shook herself. How ridiculous. She never, ever had fantasies like this. Particularly about co-workers.
As consultants went, Jake Lewis was a little...different. Cheap suit, cheap shoes. Most of the ones she'd met were keen to show off their tailor-made clothing and hand-made Italian shoes. Maybe Jake Lewis wasn't interested in fashion; maybe, refreshingly, he was more interested in medicine.
Not that it should bother her either way. She'd already placed him neatly in his pigeonhole. The one marked 'C for colleague. Not 'L'. That pigeonhole was nailed up, and she intended it to stay that way. No distractions.
She summoned up her professionalism. 'You've just missed a ward round. But I can round up the staff who are in if you'd like to meet them.'
'No, I'll leave it until tomorrow.'
Abrupt. Hmm. She just hoped his people skills were a bit better when it came to patients. Shame. If he smiled, he'd be very nice-looking. Tall enough to look her in the eye. Dark, soulful eyes. Dark hair that flopped over his forehead and was just a little too long at the back. And a mouth that made her want to reach out and touch...
Um, no. Apart from the fact that he was going to be her colleague in less than twenty-four hours' time—a senior colleague, at that—she didn't do this sort of thing. Work 1, Relationships 0. That was the score: the way it had always been and always would be, at least until she became a professor of neurology. Then she might reassess the situation. But absolutely not until then.
'Is there anything else you'd like to see?' Ugh. That sounded as if she was flirting with him. Which she wasn't. Gritting her teeth, she added, 'What I mean is, it might save time tomorrow if I show you where the staffroom is, the lockers and the kitchen.'
Anything else you'd like to see? Jake really was going to have to drag his mind out of the gutter. He just hoped he didn't have a dopey look on his face. Mind you, Victoria Radley was probably used to men falling at her feet. Any man with red blood in his veins would have a bad case of lust within seconds of meeting her. 'No, I'll leave it.' Basically because he couldn't trust himself. If he followed her, he'd be assessing the way she walked. Watching the curve of her bottom. Wanting to touch. Wanting to spin her round and kiss her. 'I just dropped by on impulse.'