The Ideal Man
A woman’s life and love are compromised in this pulse-pounding new thriller by #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood...
Dr. Ellie Sullivan has witnessed the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of a ruthless modern-day Bonnie and Clyde known as the Landrys. The only person to see the shooter’s face, Ellie is suddenly thrust into the center of a criminal investigation spearheaded by the no-nonsense, by-the-book, and tantalizingly handsome agent Max Daniels.
With the Landrys captured, she’ll be called to testify. But the Landrys have been caught before, and each time the witnesses are scared into silence—or disappear. Now Max vows to be Ellie’s shadow, promising never to leave her side until the trial. But that could be dangerous for both of them, and it isn’t long before the sparks—and the bullets—fly.
The first time she slit a man’s throat she felt sick to her stomach. The second time? Not so much.
After cutting five or six more, the blade in her left hand began to feel like an extension of her body, and she started to take it all in stride. The exhilaration subsided, and so did the nausea. There was no longer a rush of anxiety, no longer a racing heartbeat. Blood didn’t faze her. The thrill was gone, and that, in her line of work, was a very good thing.
Dr. Eleanor Kathleen Sullivan, or Ellie as she was called by her family and friends, was just two days shy of completing a grueling surgical fellowship in one of the busiest trauma centers in the Midwest. Since trauma was her specialty, she had certainly seen her share of mangled and brutalized bodies. It was her responsibility to put them back together, and as a senior fellow, she had the added duty of training the first and second year residents.
St. Vincent’s emergency room had been full since 4:00 am that morning, and Ellie was completing what she hoped was her last surgery of the day, a repair of a splenic rupture. A teenager, barely old enough to have a driver’s license, had decided to test the limits of the speedometer in his parents’ Camry and had lost control, rolling the car over an embankment and landing upside down in an open field. Lucky for him, he had been wearing a seatbelt, and luckier still, a man following some distance behind him had seen the whole thing and was able to call for an ambulance immediately. The boy made it to the emergency room just in time.
Ellie was observed by three second-year surgical residents who hung on her every word. She was a natural teacher and, unlike ninety percent of the surgeons on staff at St. Vincent’s Hospital, didn’t have much of an ego. She was amazingly patient with the medical students and residents. While she worked, she explained—and explained again—until they finally understood what she was doing and why. No question was deemed too insignificant or foolish, which was one of the many reasons they idolized her, and, for the male residents, the fact that she was drop dead gorgeous didn’t hurt. Because she was such a talented surgeon and supportive teacher, all these fledgling doctors fought to sign up for her rotation. Ironically, what most of them didn’t know was that she was younger than most of them.
“You’re off-duty this weekend, aren’t you, Ellie?”
Ellie glanced over at Dr. Kevin Andrews, the anesthesiologist, who had asked the question. He had joined the staff six months before and, since the day he’d met Ellie, had been hounding her to go out with him. He was an outrageous flirt and yet very sweet. Blond hair, blue eyes, tall, and well-built with an adorable smile, he could turn the head of almost every woman in the hospital, but for Ellie there just wasn’t any spark.
“Yes, I am,” she answered. “Charlie, would you like to close up for me?” she asked one of the hovering residents.
“Absolutely, Dr. Sullivan.”
“You better hurry,” Andrews said. “I’m waking him up.”
The resident looked panic-stricken.
“Take your time, Charlie. He’s just messing with you,” she said, a smile in her voice.
“Tuesday’s your last day at St. Vincent’s, isn’t it?” Andrews asked.
“That’s right. Tuesday’s my last official day. I might help out on a temporary basis later on, but I’m not promising anything yet.”
“Then you could decide to come back permanently.”
She didn’t reply.
He persisted. “They’ll give you anything you want. You could name your price, your hours . . . you should stay here, Ellie. You belong here.”
She didn’t agree or disagree. In truth, she didn’t know where she belonged. It had been such a hard road to get this far, she hadn’t had time to think about the future. At least that was the excuse she used for her indecision.
“Maybe,” she finally conceded. “I just don’t know yet.”
She stood over Charlie, watching like a mother hen. “I want those stitches tight.”
“Yes, Dr. Sullivan.”
“So Monday night is my last chance to take you to heaven?” Andrews asked in a teasing drawl.
She laughed. “Heaven? Last week you were going to rock my world. Now you’re going to take me to heaven?”
“I guarantee it. I’ve got testimonials if you want to see them.”
“It’s not going to happen, Kevin.”
“I’m not giving up.”
She sighed. “I know.”
As she checked the last suture, she rolled her shoulders and stretched her neck to one side then the other to get the kinks out. She’d been in the OR since 5:00 am, which meant she had been bent over patients for eleven hours. Sad to say, that wasn’t a record for her.
She felt wrung out and stiff and sore. A good run around the park would get those muscles moving, she decided, maybe even rev up her energy.
“You know what would help you get rid of a stiff neck?” Andrews said.
“Let me guess. A trip to heaven?”
One of the nurses snorted with laughter. “He’s awfully persistent, Dr. Sullivan. Maybe you should give in.”
Ellie removed her gloves and dropped them in the trash bag by the OR doors. “Thanks, Megan, but I think I’ll just go for a run instead.” As she pushed the doors wide, she untied her surgical mask and pulled off her cap, shaking her blond hair loose to fall to her shoulders."If a book has Julie Garwood's name on it, it's guaranteed to be a meticulously written, well-thought-out, and thoroughly engaging story."
-Sun Journal (Maine)
"Romance writer Julie Garwood attracts readers like beautiful heroines attract dashing heroes."
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