A Cocky Hero Club Novel
Magnetic Medic is Book 1 in a series inspired by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward’s British Bedmate. It is published as part of the Cocky Hero Club world, a series of original works, written by various authors, and inspired by Keeland and Ward’s New York Times bestselling series.
To find out more about all the Cocky Hero Club World books and authors, visit: www.cockyheroclub.com.
A sexy, new brother’s best friend romance from USA Today bestselling author Alexa Padgett.
He’s my brother’s childhood friend. I’m pregnant with another man’s baby. What a time to fall in love…
Coming home seemed like a good idea at the time. My ex-fiancé split, I was almost done with my master’s degree, and I was already working at the family architecture firm. When I move in next door to pediatrician Ryder Mackay, I’m not expecting the connection—or the passion in his eyes that I feel deep in my soul. He’s the best doctor for my baby, but he’s not the guy I need.
Still, the way Ryder looks snuggling my puppy—and my infant daughter—to his rock-hard chest makes me wish this sexy, smart, compassionate man was mine.
Maybe, it’s pregnancy hormones. Or…maybe this magnetic pull is forever.
The next evening, I raised my hand and knocked, creating a satisfying sharp rap-rap-rap on Aidy Wright’s door. My hair was still damp from my shower at the gym, and I rotated my left shoulder, hoping the ache in my rotator cuff disappeared soon. The doctor’s hockey team was scheduled to play a game against the Boys and Girls Club teens that weekend, and I wanted to play goalie. This was my first season with the Providence crew, but I’d enjoyed working with the kids—and playing hockey—since I started medical school. The league kept me in shape and helped me foster relationships with at-risk youth.
I waited, possibly twice as long as I would have for most people to answer the door, because she was pregnant. Aidy Wright, pregnant. I’d spent hours last night trying to wrap my head around that reality.
Well, that and the fact that she glowed with an internal radiance that had drawn me to her even as a kid. Aidy still seemed honest to a fault and was easy to fluster. And beautiful.
Not that I had any right noticing her attractiveness.
“Aidy?” I called.
I leaned more shoulder against the door frame.
Even as I’d talked to Knox last night, I’d found myself searching her face for the girl I’d once known, the sheltered younger sister of my best friend. I could’ve sworn something should have changed during the ensuing twenty years. Something huge. Well, in addition to being pregnant and seemingly single.
I’d understand if it had. I’d changed profoundly in that time, too. There were parts of my life I wouldn’t admit to her, or her brothers…or even myself some days.
What surprised me was how familiar she appeared. The mischievous gleam in her bottle-green eyes and the strawberry blonde hair, the dusting of freckles over her nose—all those features reminded me of the young Aidy I remembered so fondly. Her chin was sharper, though, and her cheeks more defined. Her mouth seemed to have a stubbornness to it I didn’t recall.
She’d been sassy and funny last night, and I’d looked forward to chatting with her again.
She was easy to talk to, her eyes still gleaming with the mischief I remembered from all those years before.
I pushed off the door frame and ambled toward my apartment.
The elevator pinged. I turned to see her exiting the car, excitement pooling in my belly. She juggled a couple sacks of groceries and her purse and briefcase.
I strode forward and relieved her of one of the bags.
“Thanks. Those were getting heavy.”
I trailed a little behind her, enjoying the way her black skirt molded to her rounded ass. What was it my buddy and fellow physician Simon called this type of derriere? An apple bottom. I’d have to tell my work colleague and friend I’d found a lovely specimen.
He’d tell me none were as good as his fiancée’s.
I’d have to disagree with him.
Aidy stopped, and I nearly stumbled. Maybe I shouldn’t focus so hard on her ass.
“Your hair is the exact same color,” I said, trying to cover up my awkwardness.
She glanced back over her shoulder and smiled. “Crazy, huh? I wanted it to darken to auburn, but no such luck.”
“Why’s that?” I asked. Still trying to recover my equilibrium. I was thirty years old, not fifteen, but something about Aidy made me feel as awkward and tongue-tied as I’d been during high school.
She shrugged as she pushed open her door. “Why do we want anything? Probably because we don’t have it.”
She dropped her keys into a bowl set on a table right beside the door and lowered her purse and briefcase onto the bench next to the table. I would never have guessed she moved in yesterday.
The little girl I remembered had been brash and impulsive. Messes careened in her wake. This woman might have the same hair and same big green eyes, but she’d matured…my gaze trailed across her back in a leisurely swipe. Yep. She was definitely all woman now.
She continued across her living room to the kitchen and set the bag on the counter. She reached back and took the sack from my arms, settling it next to the first. I mulled over her statement as she pulled out items.
“Want a drink?” she asked.
I frowned. “You think it’s smart to invite a man you don’t know into your place?”
She quirked an eyebrow. “My brother says you’re a good guy.”
I quashed the flicker of joy in my chest at those words. “Your brother doesn’t know me anymore.”
She stopped unpacking and tilted her head, studying me. “You’re saying you’re not a good man?” Her eyes sparkled. “Are you going to hurt me in some way, Ryder?”
I shook my head. “I’d never hurt you.” The mere thought caused my stomach to curdle.
She smoothed back a stray tendril into her bun-thing on the back of her neck. “Then, I think it’s safe to invite you to have a drink.”
“Sure. Water would be great.”
“Bubbly or still?”
“What is this—a restaurant?” I teased.
“Sparkling water seems to settle my stomach better than ginger or lemons. But I know it’s not for everyone.”
“I like sparkling water.”
She turned around and grabbed a glass, then pulled a couple of cans from the fridge. I popped the top and let the water fizz into the glass while Aidy continued to unpack her groceries. She’d managed to cram a lot in those two sacks.
“You can tell Knox you did your check-in,” she said.
I spilled some water as I jerked the can. She grabbed a dishtowel and tossed it to me and I wiped up the mess. Nice, Ryder. Really smooth.
“Isn’t that why you’re here? To report back to Knox that I came straight home.”
“I…no…I’m not going to tattle to your brother about your life, Aidy.”
When she remained skeptical, I shoved my hands into my pockets and rocked back on my heels, unsure how to proceed. If I were being honest, I enjoyed Aidy’s company more than the idea of catching up on my patient notes or watching TV alone. I liked her soft push-back and her direct gaze. She reminded me some of Knox but nicer—and definitely better looking. She was…comforting. She reminded me of home. Of my mother. And I wanted more of Aidy, of that feeling.
“I’ll get out of your way.”
She sighed, her shoulders tugging forward. “That was rude of me—I’m still a bit upset with Nico for a comment he made yesterday. Stay, finish your drink. Tell me about Mondays at your clinic.”
“If you’re sure—”
“Right. Well, Mondays are busy. We get a rush of sick kids first thing—because parents worried over the weekend.”
“Makes sense. I hear you cuddle babies in your free time.” She winked.
I chuckled. “I like kids. Always have.” I shrugged. I’d liked playing with Aidy when she was little. I’d told my mom I considered it good practice for Molly.
My good mood dimmed as it always did when I thought of my baby sister.
“Hey, don’t look so glum. I won’t beg you to babysit. I just thought we could…hang out for a bit. I’m enjoying your company more than I expected, especially for Knox’s spy.”
I laughed. “Sorry. I was just thinking about something.”
She leaned in, her eyes wide. “A deep, dark secret?” she whispered.
I smiled. “You look just like you did when I taught you how to catch a crab.” I picked up my drink, took a big swallow.
She raised an eyebrow. “You’re ignoring my deep dark secret comment, so that means you must have one. Is it deep or is it dark?”
More than one, and I definitely didn’t want to share. “Don’t we all have secrets?”
I swallowed. I shouldn’t. I didn’t want her asking more about what happened after I moved—was forced from my home and everything I knew and cared about.
“Would you like to stay for dinner?” she asked, tying on an apron. It was blue with white pinstripes and had pockets.
“No, I don’t want to impose.”
She popped the top on her drink and took a long swig from the can. I liked how unpretentious she was. How comfortable she looked in her work clothes with her hair pinned up and an apron covering her front. That brought my gaze down to her midsection. Her brothers were quick to spill her secrets.
Men could be such assholes.
“So, you live here alone?” I asked.
She bent down and pulled out a large enameled skillet. I remembered the set from her parents’ kitchen.
“You can just ask me, you know,” she said. She turned on the gas burner and drizzled some oil in the pan. She turned away and brought out a large stainless-steel pot that she began to fill with water.
“Ask you what?” I hedged.
She rolled her eyes as she carried the pot to the stove, turning on that burner. “Why I’m single and pregnant.”
“Well, I wasn’t sure you were.”
“He left,” she said, her lips turning down and her eyes dimming. She coated her chicken breasts in some seasoning.
“What do you mean, left?”
“The day I told him about the baby. He left me.” She shrugged, but I saw her touch the ring finger on her left hand. I’d noted yesterday she wasn’t wearing a ring—right after I realized she was pregnant.
Sure, I was an asshole for looking. Her words led me to worry that the guy she’d been with hurt her more than she’d let on. I’d planned to report back to Knox—he’d asked me to check in on Aidy, and my loyalty was to him, no matter how attractive I found her—probably because I found her desirable. That was wrong on so many levels as was my desire to spend more time with her.
I didn’t push her to share more, though my curiosity ate at me. Her betrayal was more recent than mine, but those kinds of wounds could take decades to heal.
And with the single swipe of her thumb over her bare finger, protectiveness reared up. I wanted to hug her and make sure she knew she didn’t deserve that level of hurt.
“You know what? That smells great. I’d love to stay.”