Waves of Passion. Linda Hudson-Smith
to Dr. Quinn—and she really liked what she saw.
Marjorie laughed. “You’re taking a real good look at the single and available Dr. Quinn. The man is so down-to-earth. I don’t know a single soul who doesn’t like working with him.”
Gabrielle turned her attention back to Marjorie. “That’s good to know. Arrogant pretty boys don’t interest me, but I’d love to have a great working relationship with Dr. Quinn. Maybe you can stop by his table with me once we finish eating.”
Marjorie smiled. “I’d be happy to introduce you two.”
A good-looking male suddenly called out to Marjorie from a short distance away.
A huge smile brightened Marjorie’s mocha complexion. “That’s Tristan Meadows heading this way. He’s also a nurse…and he has a crush on me,” Marjorie whispered lowly, looking around for her napkin.
Watching the rapidly approaching Tristan, Gabrielle lifted an eyebrow. He was nearly as handsome as the commander. His body wasn’t as chiseled as Cameron’s, yet he had a solid physique. His broad smile revealed shining white teeth.
“Hey, ladies,” Tristan said cheerfully. He extended his tawny-brown hand to Gabrielle and added, “Welcome aboard the Parisian Paradise. I’m Tristan Meadows. It’s a pleasure meeting you.”
Gabrielle shook his hand. “Nice to meet you, too, Tristan. I’m Gabrielle Grinage.”
Tristan sat down next to Marjorie. “So you’re the new doctor? I look forward to working with you, Dr. Grinage,” he said with sincerity.
Gabrielle smiled. “I’d be happy if you both called me by my first name. No titles are necessary.” Hoping to put him at ease, Gabrielle gave him a warm smile.
Tristan smiled back at Gabrielle. “You can count on it.” His dark brown eyes softened as he gazed into
Marjorie’s ebony eyes. “Perhaps you can put in a good word for me with Marjorie. She’s not taking me seriously.”
“Tristan, stop it,” Marjorie weakly demanded, her mocha cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “Gabrielle is not interested in our personal lives. Put a lid on it.”
Gabrielle’s laughter trilled. “I’m interested in the lives of anyone I’m privileged to work with. But, Tristan, I can’t possibly put in a good word for you. That is, not until I get to know if you’d be good for Marjorie.”
Gabrielle looked across the room and saw that the lines leading to Dr. Quinn had thinned considerably. Feeling courageous, she stood. “I’ll be back. It’s time to meet my boss.”
“Decided to go it alone, huh? Good for you,” Marjorie said.
After telling the couple to save her seat, Gabrielle excused herself.
The butterflies suddenly occupying her stomach had Gabrielle’s insides quivering again. With only a few people ahead of her, she felt sweat forming on her palms. She had no clue why she was so nervous, but she couldn’t rule out the fabulous looks and the suave demeanor of the commander, the man she would soon work closely with.
Cameron got to his feet just as Gabrielle reached him. He instantly extended his hand to her. “Hello, Dr. Grinage. I’m glad we’re finally meeting. Please allow me to personally welcome you aboard your new home.”
“Thank you, Dr. Quinn.” Overwhelmed by his warm attention, Gabrielle had a hard time finding her voice. “It’s nice to meet the commander I’ve heard so much about.”
“Please sit down,” Cameron offered. “I’d like to hear what you’ve heard.”
Before taking a seat, she looked behind her, surprised to see she was last in line. She took in a few calming breaths as she sat. “What I’ve heard has been good. I also read your medical bio inside the orientation packet. It was amazing.” The absence of a picture had made her wonder what he might look like.
Cameron grinned. “I’ve also read your bio. I was impressed. You come from quite a medical family. My parents own and manage a couple of apartment buildings in Houston. They’re very happy with their lives, but they wanted their only son to be a doctor.”
Gabrielle frowned. “You became a doctor for your family?”
Cameron laughed. “If it hadn’t also been my own dream, I couldn’t have accomplished it. My mom always talks about how I loved to play doctor when I was little. I love being a physician. More than that, I love helping those in need.”
“I know what you mean. Helping others is one of the main reasons I wanted to be a physician. I also played doctor. My little male chauvinist friends thought I should be the nurse, but I had bigger and brighter ideas.”
Cameron laughed. “Sounds like you took charge. What made you want to try practicing medicine on the high seas?”
Gabrielle looked thoughtful. “I’m adventurous by nature. I like to try new things. I heard most of the pros and cons from friends who work on cruise ships. I took everything I learned into consideration, then I decided to just try it.”
Cameron smiled. “I think you’ll find the job rewarding and enjoyable, just as I do. Working on a cruise ship is altogether different from the world of medicine we started out in. We’re more limited here, and if it comes to drastic measures, we often have to make arrangements for emergency transportation to take patients to a hospital on land.”
Gabrielle nodded. “I researched it a lot before I actually signed on. I’m eager to learn the ways of practicing medicine at sea.”
Cameron smiled. “I bet you’re a fast learner.” He looked up and saw that other greeters had arrived. He instantly got to his feet. “Excuse me for a few minutes. A line has formed again.”
Gabrielle stood, her heart beating faster than normal. “You go right ahead. I’ll see you again.” For sure, she’d see him in the infirmary tomorrow morning.
Before Cameron could protest her departure, Gabrielle had already stepped away.
* * *
The line had dissipated after twenty minutes or so, and Cameron reclaimed his seat at the table. As his eyes searched the room for Gabrielle, he couldn’t help thinking of how enjoyable her company had been. Working with her would be a great experience, as long as he was careful not to compromise his heart. She was alluring, a natural beauty, but he knew she had a lot more going for her than that. The excellent academic and work ethics written up in her bio had revealed that.
His mind turned to thoughts of the scores of single women who came aboard the ship and sailed away into the sunset. Once the cruise was over, they left the ship without looking back. He knew that getting involved with female passengers wasn’t an ideal situation for him.
Gabrielle was the first female doctor he’d worked with aboard a ship, but he still had to remain in tight control of himself. Mixing business with pleasure could be a devastating combination. Cameron also had firsthand knowledge of that.
Finding true love was hard to do, especially on a cruise.
* * *
Gabrielle noticed that her heart was still beating fast even after a quick break in the ladies’ room. She made her way back to the table, where Marjorie and Tristan didn’t look as if they’d missed her presence. She stood quietly and watched the hot chemistry at work. They made a great couple.
As Gabrielle sat down, she cleared her throat. “I’m back.”
Marjorie appeared slightly embarrassed. “What did you think of Dr. Quinn?”
Gabrielle smiled. “I can’t tell you that until after I spend more time in his company. But he seems kind and smart. I’m willing to bet he’s also sweet. But since we’ll be working together, there is no chance for a shipboard romance. Love and labor don’t mix.”