Enrique Reyes and his grandfather, after whom he was named, visited his hometown in Mexico, where Enrique is now happy being the local doctor. The only thing he is missing in his life is a good wife. When bi-racial research biologist, Tanora Doyle, arrives in town, he is attracted and intrigued. But will the baggage she carries from her past keep them apart? Or can Enrique cure whatever ails her and solve his problem into the bargain?
Tanora had been sitting with the others waiting to see the doctor as patiently as she was capable of being...which was not very. She was trying to ignore the rapid conversations in Spanish involving speculations about who she was, and what an obviously young, attractive woman of color was doing here in their small village in an obscure corner of Mexico, not much frequented by tourists. She was tempted to yell out at them that she could understand every word, and that they should stop talking about her, when the stern nurse once again walked through the door leading to the inner offices, and smiled at her.
"Senorita Doyle? The doctor will see you now."
Tanora jumped up and strode through the open door without a backwards glance.
Once again, the nurse showed her into one of the small examining rooms. Tanora got up onto the examining table to sit, and the nurse did a cursory check of the cast. She wrote some notes on the clipboard, then walked towards the door, saying, "He will be right with you." She walked back out and closed the door behind her.
"Yeah, right," Tanora snorted, "Like I can expect him anytime in the near future! He'll probably keep me waiting in here so long my bones will be all knitted by the time he gets here!"
"Don't you wish that was true?"
She looked up in surprise as Dr. Reyes strode briskly into the room. He stopped at the sink and assiduously washed his hands.
"Uh...I'm surprised to see you so quickly, that's all," she stammered in her embarrassment. "I was out in the waiting room so long, I figured I'd have to be waiting in here just as long."
He turned to her and smiled, and for an instant, she forgot why she was even here, as she basked in the admiration that he radiated at her.
He really is a good-looking man, she thought to herself. Surprised at her own reaction, she shook herself, returning to reality.
Enrique, meanwhile, had moved closer to her, and his physical proximity made her hyper-aware of how thin the fabric of her blouse was, and how tight her shorts were.
Since she felt so flustered, which was an unusual feeling for her, she fought her own instincts with her usual abrasiveness, which had managed to turn off many an interested man in the past.
"You know, I'm really pissed off about having to spend so damn much time sitting around picking my ass, waiting for you to approve my going off into the country."
He gently held her arm in his warm hands, and turned it this way and that, examining the cast.
"You kiss your mother with those lips?" He asked, a small sly smile playing around his lips.
Tanora was momentarily taken aback, both by his teasing tone, and by the sensuous curve of his lips, which she hadn't noticed before.
"Of course...I mean, what do you mean? Are you making some kind of insinuation, Dr. Reyes?" She glared at him defiantly.
He shook his head, still smiling.
"No, I was just wondering why such coarse words were emanating from such beautiful lips, that's all."
Tanora's stare wasn't as much defiant this time, as surprised. "What are you talking about?"
Not sure she wanted to hear the answer, she abruptly changed the subject. "So, is it healed enough for me to be able to head out on my expedition yet?" He shook his head, not smiling this time.
"No, young lady. You are most definitely not able yet to withstand all of the rigors of backwoods camping. The cast is holding up well, but I expected that. Your bone, on the other hand, will take some time to heal completely. The last thing that you want to do is push your luck. That will risk a re-injury that might mean either it won't heal right, and would have to be re-broken and reset...or it will heal more slowly than it should.
He smiled at the dismayed look on her face, and held a finger up to her lips as she opened her mouth to complain.
"No. You are a professional woman, Miss Doyle. You need to respect me as a fellow professional. Listen to what your doctor tells you. You need to stay in town for at least another few days. That will give your bone time to proceed with healing... enough for you to be able to have limited use of it."
He smiled slyly at her.
"And it will give me time to work up the nerve to ask you to have dinner with me. She almost bit his finger off, as she exploded.
"What?" What are you talking about?"
He continued smiling at her.
"You know, dinner...en espa?ol, cena...a late evening meal, best consumed with company so you have someone to talk to. I'm sure a sophisticated woman like you is familiar with the concept."
She sputtered, "Of course I know what it is...but why the hell do you think I am interested in eating with you?"
He shook his head, gently admonishing her.
"You really need to get a handle on your language. You may be used to working with men, and swearing like a marine, like they do. But you are in a town now, and will find that most people will recoil when they hear words like that coming out of the mouth of such a lovely young woman. And someday, when you have children, you will have to watch what you say, or your kids will pick up your bad habits. Time and place, woman. Time and place."
Tanora jumped down off of the examining table, ignoring how the jarring hurt her wrist. She walked quickly over to the door, and her uninjured hand was on the doorknob, when he spoke again.
"Fine, go ahead and leave. But you won't be able to go anywhere until I sign off on your official paperwork that your injury is sufficiently healed for you to be able to return to work."
She froze at the door, and slowly turned to glare at him. "What did you say?"
He smiled innocently, turning to wash his hands again, taking his time drying them, and answering her only when he was done.
"Well, the paperwork that you need to have signed by a local town official will have a space on it for any reasons for your not being able to leave at the expected time. You had said you were leaving in two days, which I presume means you want to leave tomorrow. I'm afraid that I won't be able to sign off on your going, so the mayor, whose very pregnant wife is out there in my waiting room as we speak, won't sign off on your going. That means that the locals you hired to go with you won't be prepared to disobey his orders, so you won't be going...unless you and Raul can carry everything yourself?"
In the stunned silence, he winked at her.
"Oh, wait...you can't carry much with a broken wrist, can you?" She exploded.
"You asshole! You are enjoying this, aren't you?" "Tsk, tsk. What did I tell you about your language? "
"But I have to leave! You have no idea how long I've been planning this trip! Or how long I had to wait for the funding! Or how many asses I needed to kiss, in order to get permission from my bosses at the university! Or just how much is riding on my finding what I told them I thought I could find out there! You have to let me go!"
He shook his head at her, "You know, not once did I hear a please in any of that." She glared at him again.
"Is that all you want? Then please may I have your permission to go?" He shook his head again.
"No, your wrist isn't healed enough yet." She gave him a suspicious look.
"When will it be healed enough?"