Waves of Passion. Linda Hudson-Smith
order slip. “This is the cabin number on the order. Can I please come in and set down the tray?”
Shrugging her shoulders, Gabrielle moved aside. She knew this was a mistake, no matter what the delivery person said. He didn’t seem in the mood to argue the point and neither was she. The delicious aroma of hot coffee had already tempted her palate. Once he’d laid the food items out on the table, he nodded and left the suite.
Gabrielle walked over to the door and reengaged the safety locks. Eager for a sip of coffee, she made a quick jaunt to the table and fixed it to her liking. Savoring the hot brew, she closed her eyes. As she reopened them, she looked over the array of food.
It appeared somebody else liked many of the same things she did. An egg over medium was her favorite, and she loved hot oatmeal with milk and sugar. She could take or leave the sausage links, but she wouldn’t waste them. Toast with strawberry preserves was the breakfast she ate most mornings, but there wasn’t any in the order.
A slip of paper with handwriting on it suddenly caught her eye. She picked it up and read it. “Good morning, Gabrielle. I hope you enjoy your first breakfast aboard the Parisian Paradise. I hope I ordered some of your favorites. Since these happen to be a few of mine, I thought I’d order you the same. See you later on in the clinic. My very best, Cameron.”
A pleasantly surprised look glowed on her face. “Oh, my goodness, what made Cameron do this? How sweet.” They hadn’t discussed their food likes and dislikes, but he’d gotten so many of hers right. She racked her brain, wondering if any of the employment questionnaires she’d filled out had asked about her food choices.
It’s silly of me to keep questioning this. Cameron’s note spelled it all out.
Careful not to take his kind gesture out of context, Gabrielle decided to wait until she got to the clinic to thank him instead of calling him. She still didn’t know if that was his cabin he’d come out of last evening. She’d been self-conscious about what he’d think of the question, so she hadn’t brought it up.
A glance at the clock let Gabrielle know she still had a little over two hours before she had to report for duty. Picking up the fork, she took her first bite of egg, wishing she had toast to dip into the yolk. She was hungrier than she’d thought, and she polished off her meal in a matter of minutes.
Ready for a second cup of coffee, Gabrielle went over to the coffeemaker and brewed a single serving. While waiting for it, she walked over to the bookshelf and pulled down one of the numerous photo albums she’d brought from home. Missing her family had suddenly prompted the idea of looking at family photos.
The very first photo inside the album was of the entire family taken during the Christmas holidays. Her mother and father’s unconditional love for her seemed to leap from the pages and wrap around her like a warm blanket. She wouldn’t trade Emma and Ross Grinage for all the money in the world. They had never been too busy for their children. With her being the only girl, they’d made sure she had her fair share of special attention. She was the apple of her father’s eye and always doted on by her mother.
Looking at the picture of her handsome brothers made Gabrielle smile. These guys had taken care of her as though she was their very own child. She had wanted for nothing as she’d grown up. Her brothers had even taken turns combing and brushing her hair. When she’d begun dating, her boyfriends had gotten trouble from her brothers. She had always felt cherished and protected by them—and up to this day they still looked out for her.
The next few pages of photographs caused Gabrielle to scowl hard. Jordan Jacobs was the first man she’d ever taken seriously. They’d met during their residencies at M. D. Anderson Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. She’d been very leery of him in the beginning, but he’d worked on her until he’d finally convinced her to go out with him. He’d made it a point to tell her she could trust him. Their relationship was off and on for nearly a year. It had been as rocky as any rugged mountain terrain. Tristan trying to get Marjorie to trust him in the same way Jordan had gotten her to trust him had reminded her of the worst times of her life.
Tears rolled unchecked down Gabrielle’s cheeks. Jordan had hurt her deeply, nearly making her lose faith in herself and every other man she came into contact with. He’d gotten her to trust him, then he’d done everything possible to make her completely lose faith in him. There’d been a time when she had believed she’d never again trust her heart to a man.
As Gabrielle had matured, she’d claimed a good portion of the blame for what had happened. Her first mistake had been in not following her strong instincts about Jordan in the first place. Natural instincts were everything.
Gabrielle now always listened for that little voice whispering in her ear. It made her think clearly and also helped direct her toward the right path. Because of what had happened with her and Jordan she did her best to steer clear of all hazardous, baggage-ridden men. Love and labor never worked. It wasn’t a good match.
Perhaps I’ll feel differently someday. I’d certainly like to.
The coffeemaker had beeped several minutes ago, but lost in her once painful thoughts of the past, Gabrielle had ignored it. Another glance at the clock reminded her that she had to get a move on. She still had to put on her makeup, comb her hair and dress for her first day on the job.
* * *
Cameron looked up as Gabrielle skidded into the room and tripped on the mat in front of the door. Standing behind the clinic’s nursing station, located on zero level of the ship, he tried to assess what had caused her to nearly fall to the floor. Once he saw she’d kept her footing, he laughed. “Good morning, Dr. Grinage. What’s your rush? You’re hardly late.”
Gabrielle grinned. “I wanted to make it here early, but I got caught up in something. Thank you for breakfast. It was a really thoughtful gesture.”
Cameron breathed a sigh of relief, thrilled that she was okay with his surprise. “It was another way for me to welcome you. I promise not to make a habit of deciding what you eat. You’re all grown up. However, I took pleasure in ordering breakfast for you this morning.”
“It was a nice surprise, Dr. Cameron. I’m assuming official titles are used in the clinic.”
“Just around the patients. All staff members are on a first-name basis. Many of them refer to me as Dr. Q or plain old Q. I won’t be surprised if they start calling you Dr. G. Hmm, it even has a nice ring to it.”
Gabrielle chuckled then looked around. “Are we the only two here?”
“It’s just a matter of minutes before the others file in. There’s only one staffer who has a problem with punctuality.” He laughed. “I’ll let you pinpoint who it is on your own.”
Gabrielle smiled. “I’ll try.” She looked around. “I was given a brief tour of the clinic when I came aboard. I probably should walk around again and check out everything. Is that okay?”
“Fine by me,” he said. “I’ve got the coffeemaker going. If you want a cup, it’ll be ready in a couple of minutes or so.”
“I’ve already had my two-cup limit. The coffee that room service delivered was delicious. It prompted me to brew another cup. I may’ve gotten spoiled.”
“Room service coffee is excellent. Once you finish your tour, I’d like to go over the medical supplies we keep in stock. The nurses reorder all supplies, but there are occasions when doctors have to do it. We’ll also go over the proper handling of various controlled medications.”
“I don’t think it’ll take me long to get the hang of things.” She turned to walk away, only to turn around. Reaching into her purse, she pulled out the book she’d promised him. “Here’s the book. No hurry in returning it.”
“Thanks,” he said, watching after her retreating form.
Seemingly of their own volition, his smoky eyes widened, locking onto the swaying of her luscious hips. He could only define it as poetry in motion. The uniform pants were a perfect fit and beautifully