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Perfectly Toxic (The Sterling Shore Series Book 9)

By:C.M. Owens

Perfectly Toxic (The Sterling Shore Series Book 9)
C.M. Owens

Chapter 1

ETHAN

You can say what you want about Corbin and Maverick Sterling, but one thing is for sure … They almost know how to throw a welcome home party. Hot women, top-of-the-line booze, and damn good music.

They left once I got more bodies out here to enjoy the fun. Apparently they've gotten old or some shit and now they can't handle an actual party. Me? I've spent too much time being Mr. Responsible, and I'm ready to finally live a little.

The pretty blonde on my arm smiles up at me as we head to my room, ready to end the night with a little more fun. Well, I guess four in the morning isn't exactly considered "night" anymore.

I'm surprised so many of my friends have settled down. Leave it to me to show up just as everyone gets whipped and domesticated.

"What was your name?" I ask as the door to my room shuts and she starts pulling her shirt over her head.

"Lynn," she answers quickly, pulling me down to meet her cherry-red lips.

I decide talk is overrated when her tongue slips in, and I pull her to me, ignoring the fact she smells like mothballs. I can overlook that.

She pushes my shirt over my head, practically ripping it off my body, and I laugh lightly. So fucking eager.

It's good to be back.

When I'm down to nothing, and all she has on is her sexy bra and panties, I push her to the bed and jerk the covers over us. She's going to have to do a little more work if she wants me hard enough to put on a condom.

Just as I'm about to point that out to the girl who is just lying there and waiting on me to take control of the show, the door to my room swings open.

Should have locked it.

Rookie mistake.

I groan as I turn to see who it is, ready to throw something at the asshole, but my eyes grow wide when I see the golden blonde hair, familiar face, and scorned glare. Fucking Melissa.

"Who the hell are you?" Lynn spews while staying under me, tugging the sheet closer.

Melissa doesn't answer, and I grab my boxers from beside the bed as I stand up.

"You don't knock?" I growl as I start toward her, holding my boxers over my semi-hard cock.

She glances down and then back up to my eyes.

"You stay gone for months and don't bother to call when you come back?"

Her tone is even, but this girl is straight-up crazy. I'm talking boil-your-fucking-rabbit, plant-a-hidden-camera, hack-your-social-media kind of crazy. I also don't let her know I've been back several times, because … Did I mention she's crazy?

"Don't make me take out that restraining order," I grind out.

I turn around, hoping that's enough to send her away, but I really should know better. I blame the alcohol for my dumbass hopes.

The sound of something breaking draws my attention back.

"Fuck," I hiss just before the lunatic lunges.

Chapter 2

BELLA

I should have stayed fired instead of letting Corbin Sterling save my job.

I've been on my feet for fourteen hours in this godforsaken, understaffed hospital that is overflowing with too many patients.

"Bella, exam four. He has his scripts, just needs to be cleaned up and bandaged before being released. You good with that?" Dr. Lewis says as he walks by, not really giving me the option to say no. It's never really a question; just a nice command.

"Sure," I mumble to no one on my way to grab the shit. I was supposed to be out of here three hours ago, but thanks to a freaking stomach virus, half of the staff is out sick.

I grab all I need, silently cursing the lazy doctors here. They spend two seconds with a patient after making them wait hours to be seen. Then they send us in with minimal knowledge of what's going on. It's counterproductive. Now I have to go read the chart that he has already read. He could have just briefed me.

I should have just stayed a RN instead of working longer to become NP-C. And this place tends to get more unorganized by the second with the constant moving us around to deal with the shortage of healthy employees right now.

After grabbing all I need, I head to the exam room, but stumble over my own two feet when my eyes land on what's waiting for me. Please don't let me be drooling.

Hospital gowns are not sexy. So explain how that pale gown with tiny dots on it makes the bastard on the exam bed seem like a freaking piece of tattooed art. My eyes run down his arms, taking in all the ink that sleeves them both. His tan skin separates the numerous pieces that seem to be bound together by thorny vine designs.

His legs have some ink toward the thighs, which I can see since he has the gown just barely covering his-

"Enjoying the view?" The gruff, sexy, incredibly confident voice has my eyes jerking back up.

His inky black hair is tousled on his head. I'm not sure what color his eyes are, but they look dark. And tempting. And … taunting. A cocky smirk is fixed on his very sexy lips, which pisses me off.

Just my luck. He's exactly the kind of guy I've sworn off, and I'm squirming in my panties. Clearing my throat, I put down my supplies, and pick up the chart, but I can't focus enough to read it.

Really hate myself right now.

"That weirdo doctor said I didn't need stitches."

"If that's what he said, then he's right," I say under my breath, really trying to read.

Apparently I can't focus when the scent of him is all around me. I can't describe it, really; it's almost a masculine fragrance, but a hint spicy as well.

Clearing my throat again, I put the chart down and go to inspect the wound while picking my sterile bandaging kit back up. I place it all on the rolling cart's tray on top, then slide it closer to him, doing damn good not to look at him.

"Where is your-"

The words die on my tongue when he spreads his legs, almost letting that gown rise too high, and I see the shallow, yet jagged looking cut. It's long but not deep. It's also not bleeding too much, fortunately.

With a cut like that, it'd look like I was bleeding to death. Then again, I'm a free-bleeder.

"Waited three hours just to see a doc, then realize I could have just used a bandage from the store down the street. Gotta love the ER."

"Considering that is a jagged cut, I'm assuming you weren't cut by something sterile. Antibiotics are a good idea, considering its location."

I sound professional and not at all like a breathy drone. Yay me.

The rolling stool is already positioned right between his legs, but I hesitate, clutching the edge of the cart that holds my supplies.

"How did this happen?" I ask, trying to sound as calm and monotone as possible.

My eyes move up again just as a slow smile spreads across his face. His eyebrows bounce as he tilts his head to the right.

"See? There were these two girls in my room, and-"

"On second thought," I interrupt, "let me rephrase the question. What did this?"

I wish I could just read the damn chart.

"A crazy bitch with a broken beer bottle," he answers with a careless shrug.

Yep. He's the example of the bad boy all misguided girls think is sexy. Bad boys look sexy. Bad boys seem sexy. We all want a bad boy … Until they live up to their name and cheat, lie, or steal.

So I have no pity for him or the girl whose heart he broke. She had to have seen it coming. You can't buy a snake and be surprised when it bites.

I used to be that girl. Not anymore. At least I'm trying hard not to be that girl anymore, I should say. Doesn't make me immune.

Stupid body.

Shaking off the thoughts, I pull on my gloves, happy for the latex layer between us. "I assume you're not allergic to latex," I say sweetly, even smiling as I lay out the double entendre, while also asking the question required by law.

"No glove, no love, baby," he says, winking at me.

"My name is Bella. No

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