Therapist to the old gods, Dr. Paige Barlow’s business is busy, lucrative and never dull. Her new assistant, Lara, will fit in just fine as long as she keeps an open mind.
Raised by her polytheistic Icelandic grandmother and great-grandmother, Lara is ready to believe anything—so long as there’s a steady paycheck in it. Staying focused on the job becomes problematic when Odin and Loki come in for their session. The adoration in the doctor’s eyes for Odin can only be matched by the fire in Loki’s, for Lara, who finds herself drawn into Flame Hair’s passions.
God-touched, god-bothered and blissed out, how can a girl get her job done when facing a flame-thrower of attention from the Trickster himself? Beat him at his own game, perhaps.
Warning: Anal sex, M/M.
A boisterous laugh caught her attention. Clients, probably. She hurried back to the reception area with her coffee and stack of invoices. She took a moment to gain her composure. Smooth the skirt. Hair off shoulders. She didn’t want to look rushed or frazzled when greeting patients. Especially not the ones indirectly providing her with insurance.
Two minutes to eleven they burst into the office in a fit of laughter. The younger of the two, a tall, muscular red-haired man with a short-trimmed red beard and sunglasses spoke first.
“Well, hello. When did the good doctor hire you?”
Lara wasn’t sure if she could speak. Words formed in her brain but failed to issue forth from her mouth. Tongue-tied had never been an issue for her. That guy left her speechless. Black leather motorcycle chaps and jacket, red hair and sunglasses, oozing sensuality with a come-hither voice. This was the perfect male. Must not stare. A perfect man’s cell chirped and he stepped aside to answer it. He turned his back. Yeah, the reverse was as shiny as the front. She strained to hear his whispered conversation to no avail. She stood to introduce herself.
“Hi, I’m Lara, the doctor’s assistant. You are her eleven o’clock? Or did I need to schedule an appointment for you?” Her voice cracked embarrassingly. And astonishingly, she had verbalized the non-Anglicized version of her name. Lou-rah, where the first “a” sounded like the “ow” in the word “plow.” Old school.
The older man held out his hand. “You pronounce your name using the Icelandic vowel sounds. Þú ert íslensk, já? Are you Icelandic, dear?”
Lara nodded. “Third generation. Yes.”
She shook the large hand offered to her. His grip was warm, and firm. She always tried to make eye contact when shaking hands. This man had only one. The whole pirate eye-patch thing looked good on him, however. He wore a very nice suit and his white hair and well-trimmed beard gave the overall appearance of refined wealth. Saying he was older wasn’t exactly true. His entire countenance was more mature than his companion’s, but he couldn’t have been more than a few years older than the redhead.
“Mr. Borsson,” Lara said. “Nice to meet you.”
The elder Borsson chuckled. “Ah, I feel a fight or flee moment emanating from you. Don’t let my brother disarm you, dear Lara. We are here to see the good doctor. We are, indeed, the Borssons.”
The redhead ended his call and turned. He winked and cleared his throat.
She shook Red’s hand next. He was far from refined. Anything but. Any word in any language to describe the exact opposite fit. Barbaric. Savage. He too had a strong handshake, but his touch left her feeling edgy. Red held her hand for a moment longer than was socially acceptable. It unnerved her. She thought for a moment he might kiss it.
He placed his left atop hers, sandwiching her hand. “So very nice to meet you, Lara.” He said her name in English. Lara, like in “car-a.” Softly. The word rolled off his lips as if he recited poetry.
She pulled away. “I’ll let the doctor know you’re here.”
“No need, Lara. I heard them come in. Thank you. Were you able to introduce yourself to the Borsson brothers?”
“Yes, doctor,” she replied, noting the look on Paige’s face as she and the elder Borsson caught sight of each other. For a split second it reminded her of adoration. Of devotion. Of a pilgrim’s face at a shrine. Then the look turned as sultry as the younger Borsson’s handshake felt. Fire. Want. Need. Now.
Lara flexed the fingers of her right hand. Residual heat inflamed them. “I’ll get going now, doctor,” Lara said. She opened her desk drawer and removed her purse. She slung her bag over her shoulder.
Red lifted his shades. “Leaving so soon?”
He had chocolate-brown eyes with flecks of green. The fluorescent lights played off their twinkle. Lara felt at a loss for words. “I…have errands.”
“Pity,” he replied.
“Lock the door on your way out. See you soon.” Dr. Paige’s summary dismissal couldn’t have been more transparent.
Paige nodded her gentleman clients into her office. Lara turned her head to see something very odd as she departed. Paige literally leaped into the older brother’s arms.
Then the door slammed shut. But not before Lara saw the sly smile of the younger, cast directly at her. She felt herself flush crimson from toes to ears as she left the office.