“Man, where are you?”
“I’m on my way.” Tyler Hollister pinned his cell phone between his shoulder and his ear as he fumbled for his keys on his way out of the dentist office.
“You were supposed to be here a half-an-hour ago.”
“Q, I’m sorry. Is the meeting over?”
“Nah, but I don’t know how much longer I can stall for you.”
Tyler glanced at his Breguet watch and hurried to his truck. He knew how much Quinn, his best friend and business partner hated meetings. “Okay, give me ten minutes. My appointment took longer than I thought, but I’m ... damn, I’d know that sexy walk anywhere.” He stopped in his tracks when his eyes zoned in on the beautiful woman on the other side of the street.
“What? Ty, dude what’s up?”
He continued to observe as she made her way to the middle of the semi-crowded block in downtown Milwaukee weaving around people along the way. True to form, she caught the eye of a few guys passing. Tyler chuckled when they turned and enjoyed one more view once she’d passed. She always did have that effect on men. It wasn’t until she stopped to throw something in the trash, that he knew for sure it was her. Dallas Marcel, his ex-girlfriend.
“Q, I’ll call you back.” He disconnected not giving Quinn a chance to respond, and shoved the phone into his pocket. Tyler moved in her direction, stepping around a broken orange and white road barrier sign that was lying in the center of the sidewalk.
He stole a quick glance at Dallas as she came to a stop at the corner to wait for the light to change. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to say hello, he leaned against the brick building to his right, ensuring that she would have to walk past him once the light turned green.
Still gorgeous. Tall, fierce, and dressed to the nines. He loved it when she wore her long, thick hair piled high on top of her head, the way she had it now, with a few curly tendrils hanging down. The look complimented her perfectly sculpted face and revealed her long, sexy neck.
He cursed under his breath and looked away. He didn’t want to still be attracted to the most bullheaded woman he’d ever met. Too independent for her own good, but one of the best investment managers in Chicago, she was a woman on a mission. Her goal in life, or as he saw it, obsession, was to make partner at her firm – which was why she turned down his marriage proposal. According to her, she didn’t have room in her life for a serious relationship, despite the fact that they were perfect together, in every way.
“She threw what we had away, so why am I standing here just to say hello?” He mumbled and slipped a piece of gum into his mouth, not understanding his need to see her again.
His cell phone chirped twice signaling a text message, and he pulled it out of his pocket, and scanned the screen. No need to come - postponed the rest of the meeting until next week. Headed to Bradley Rd. to check on the guys.
Good. One less meeting. Tyler deposited his cell into the inside pocket of his suit jacket and adjusted his tie. As a real estate developer, it seemed most of his days were spent in meetings, reading over contracts, or dealing with building inspectors.
He pushed away from the building and rolled his shoulders just as the light turned green, and Dallas stepped off the curb. Finally, he’d be face-to-face with the woman he’d tried hard to forget, but couldn’t stop thinking about. He took a few steps when suddenly their eyes met, and a sensuous light passed between them. All of the sexual energy, passion and love he once felt for her came rushing back to the surface, and his heart hammered double-time in response. Damn.
Dallas’s pace slowed, but she continued across the street, her magnetic brown eyes held his attention, immobilizing him. Less than twenty feet from him and it was as if he were seeing her for the first time. A raging fire grew in the pit of his stomach, his hands ached to touch her, and all it had taken was that one look. This is not cool. He quickly pulled his eyes away and looked everywhere but at her, feeling the need to regroup. I’m supposed to be over her.
After a long cleansing breath, he looked up again just in time to see a car barreling toward her.
“Oh shit. Watch out!” he shouted, and then sprinted in her direction.
“Nooo!” He yelled as her body bounced off the hood of the car. He slid to a stop before he reached the corner, shock kept him from moving forward. It wasn’t until the four-door dark sedan sped away in the opposite direction that he moved into action.
“Excuse me, excuse me.” He pushed his way through the swarm of people. An icy fear crawled up his spine when he saw her lifeless body on the hard pavement, a puddle of blood painted the ground near her head.
“Oh my God,” he whispered and fell to his knees. “Dallas. Baby…” He caressed her cheek, afraid to move her. His heart pounded against his chest, and beads of sweat surfaced on his forehead as panic rioted within him. “Get some help over here!”
Time ceased as a haunting sense of foreboding wrapped around him when he checked and found her pulse was weak. He needed to do something, but thankfully, in the far distance he could hear the sirens. “Hold on, baby, hold on.”
Tyler paced the length of the waiting room battling the emotions wreaking havoc throughout his body. It all seemed so unreal - seeing Dallas in Milwaukee for the first time in six months, and then having to lie about being her husband in order to ride in the ambulance with her. And if that weren’t enough, he had to relive it all just moments ago when he was questioned by the police. God, I can’t believe this happened. He ran a nervous hand down his face, and then jammed it into his front pants pocket. One minute he was admiring Dallas from a distance and in the next moment he witnessed her being run down by an idiot driver.
He dropped down hard onto a nearby paisley printed chair and rested his head against the cold, dingy wall. Through half-opened lids, he glanced around the sparsely furnished room. With small groups of people scattered about, he sat trying to tune out the chatter going on around him.
Mixed feelings rattled in his chest knowing he’d have to face Dallas soon. Sure he was glad to have spotted her hours ago, but when their eyes connected, and all of the old feelings returned, he knew he wasn’t over her. Despite that fact, he couldn’t go back. She’d been the only woman to reject him, and the night she walked out of his life, a part of him left with her. Now here he was, pretending to be her husband in order to get word on her condition. He grunted at the irony of it all.
“Mr. Marcel?” A doctor called out several times before it dawned on Tyler that it was he the doctor was calling. Tyler jumped up from his seat.
“It’s Hollister. Tyler Hollister. My wife uses her maiden name.”
“Oh, okay. Well, I’m Doctor Malone,” he said as they shook hands.
“How is she?”
“She’s a very lucky lady.” The doctor, short enough for Tyler to see the bald spot on top of his head, glanced at the chart in his hand. He pushed up the glasses that were perched on the end of his nose. “Your wife has a mild concussion and a broken leg. She had a collapsed lung which we were able to repair. And though her left shoulder and ribs are seriously bruised, there’s no permanent damage. You’re going to notice a few cuts on her face and neck, but they should heal without much scarring. It’ll take a few weeks, but I have no reason to doubt that she’ll make a full recovery.”
Tyler blew out a shaky breath and wiped his forehead with his shirt sleeve. Part of him wanted to turn and leave the building now that he knew Dallas would be okay, but the other part of him wouldn’t let him move.
“Mr. Hollister,” the doctor continued, “your wife is very dehydrated and her blood pressure is dangerously low. Has she ever had a problem with her blood pressure?” He removed his glasses and stuck them into his jacket pocket.
“Not as far as I know.”
“Well, we’re going to continue to monitor her over the next couple of days, get some fluids into her, and see how it goes.”
“So what would cause those things?”
“Exhaustion and malnutrition would be my first guess.”
Her workaholic lifestyle must have caught up with her. “Uh, can I see her?”
“Well, she’s still—”
“Please. I need to see her.”