New single doctor in town, Keith Hoyer, gets plenty of interest, but is it for himself, the M.D.after his name, or what they think is in his wallet? The patients, of course, are strictly off limits. Each night he goes home to his big, gray tabby cat, Harpo, and unfulfilled dreams.
Then he opens the door to his exam room to find hunky veterinarian Dante James, with whom he’d rather play doctor than treat professionally. Too shy to approach the man, Keith needs Harpo to play matchmaker.
Bonus Story On Call: Cat Clinic
Keith would rather accompany his veterinarian lover Dante on a pro bono day at an animal shelter than spend his Sunday alone. Amid the cages of kitties, Keith discovers how many ways a man can lose his heart.
Excerpt: On Call: Afternoon
“Exam Room Three, Dr. Hoyer,” Michelle told me as she handed the chart over. “He hasn’t been in before, and he’s kind of jumpy. He seems to know enough to be dangerous, too—he’s got the medical terminology down pat.”
Patients with knowledge could be a blessing or a curse. I looked through the chart quickly, wanting to be prepared before walking into my first appointment of what would be a busy day. “He’s had a lot of the same training I’ve had, no wonder he slings the lingo. He’s a veterinarian and he has to know a dozen species’ worth. I only have to know humans.”
Michelle blushed, caught out in not reading thoroughly, something she wouldn’t do again—she was too good a nurse for that. We’d been sizing each other up in the weeks since I’d joined the practice and mutual respect was growing.
It was still mixed in with a bit of romantic speculation: would the new (young, single) doctor want to date any of the staff? Well, no, not even if I was new in town and didn’t know anyone else, but certainly I didn’t want to mess with a functioning office. There had been a few offers to set me up with girlfriends, which I’d turned down as well. No one had offered to introduce me to possible boyfriends. A pity. I had few illusions about my own attractiveness: medium height, medium build, medium light brown hair, medium handsome all paled before the MD after my name for most people. I could probably be Dr. Toad and still get dates with some of them. I worked out a lot of my frustrations on that score at the gym.
I took another quick look through the history before stepping through the door: single black male, thirty-four, intermittent fever, malaise, a swollen lymph node (patient’s description). Could be a lot of things.
“Hello, I’m Dr. Keith Hoyer.” Putting a hand out to a patient dressed in a backless gown without a twitch was one of those skills you gain early in a medical career. Good thing, too, because patients can provoke a reaction for a lot of different reasons—usually not because they are drop-dead gorgeous. Like this guy. My mouth went dry as he shook my hand and introduced himself.
“Dante James.” The name hung well on the handsome man, who sat straight backed on the end of the examining table, his espresso legs showing bare from the hem of the gown.
“Shouldn’t that be Dr. James?” I found my voice again.
“If I’m the one in a backless gown, I don’t think I’ll be insisting on the ‘Doctor’ part. I have a small animal practice here in town.” His hand had been warm in mine; now it lay in his lap again. “But Dr. James or Dante will do.”
“So you have to work without your patients telling you directly what’s the matter.” We exchanged a grin of understanding; pediatric patients had some of the same challenges. I liked adults. “Why don’t you tell me what brings you in?”
“I’ve been having a mild fever off and on, generally not feeling well, but I figured that was probably self limiting, until this lymph node blew up. It hurts.” He met my eyes calmly, which I did my best to match. I made a note in the chart.
“Where is the lymph node?” Please let it be somewhere neutral.