Newlywed Harper Houston believes nothing can penetrate the perfect marriage she has with her husband, Elijah. However, still fresh in the honeymoon stage of their elopement, hidden issues between Harper and Elijah rise to the surface, which slowly deteriorates their wedded bliss. This unresolved strain causes both Harper and Elijah to indulge in activities neither of them would ever consider.
Upon being introduced to her handsome new boss, Kian Ross, there’s an instant attraction between the two. Harper is surprised she feels the way she does towards Kian. Harper tries hard to downplay the lust she feels towards him since he is her boss. Also, at the end of the day, she is a married woman, which means she’s off-limits. However, Kian doesn’t care. What he wants, he gets, and what he wants is Harper.
Even though Harper is having issues within her marriage, she knows her loyalty lies with her husband. But Elijah’s constant screw-ups and disregard for her in general finds her resolve slowly weakening. Causing Harper to find herself fighting herself to choose between right and wrong regarding Kian.
Which path will Harper choose? And with her choice, is Harper prepared for all that comes with it?
Dammit! In my rush to be to work on time, I’d forgotten my wedding band…again. I shook my head as I realized my left hand was bare. I let out a sigh. Of course, I would notice my naked finger when I arrived at work and not on the damn drive over. I could’ve turned around and grabbed it. There’s nothing I can do about it now, I thought as I shook my head at my blunder. I pushed the door to Ross Dentistry open and entered into the dimly lit lobby. In my defense, I’ve only been married for a few weeks. I haven’t quite gotten used to wearing the gold band just yet. Usually, I wear it throughout the day, making sure to remove it when I go to sleep. I’d overslept this morning, and while in a rush to get my kids ready for school and out the door in a decent amount of time, I’d completely forgotten to slide the gold band on.
Hopefully, no one in the office would notice I wasn’t wearing my ring today. Whenever I forgot to wear it, my coworkers always gave me shit about it. I was not trying to hear their meddling asses today. Yawning, I followed the powerful aroma of coffee into the tiny breakroom. I wasn’t sure who was here yet, but I was thankful for the joe already being prepared. I locked my generic brown leather boho bag into a slot in the large wooden cabinet that served as our storage closet. I moved over to the coffee maker next. With my mug in my hand, I reached for the coffee pot, but was stopped by my coworker, Michelle,
“Slow your roll, Harper. The person that makes the coffee gets first pour. Don’t go acting brand new on a sista now. Cause if the shoe were on the other foot, you’d be up in here protesting,” she said.
Begrudgingly I did as I was told and returned the pot. Annoyed at the fact I’d been busted trying to get first pour on the sneak. Michelle was right, of course. The rule in the office for the three dental hygienists was that whichever one of us got to the office first and made coffee would automatically get the first pour. Her ass was dead wrong on the fact that I would protest if I didn’t get first pour, I was not at all that petty.
Stepping aside, I allowed Michelle to fix her cup,
“Are you ready to meet our new boss? I heard he’s quite the looker,” Michelle said, handing me the coffee pot.
I accepted the pot and poured the piping hot liquid into my white ceramic mug with a pink old English H occupying the front and back. I returned the half-empty pot back to its original resting place, slowly shaking my head. The man hadn’t even started yet, and here Michelle was starting gossip. Our previous boss Kelvin Ross, built this dentistry from the ground up back in the early 70’s. For 20 years, he’d been the only black dental office in the heart of downtown Tacoma. I’d gone to him when I was child, and my two kids were patients of Dr. Ross as well. He’d been in business for 20 years and decided enough was enough. It was time for him to hang up his dental tools once and for all and retire before he got too old to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
A couple of weeks ago, he called an emergency meeting in which he announced to the tiny staff of four that he was calling it quits. He assured us the dentistry wasn’t closing because he was leaving the practice to his one and only son. Today was his first official day at the clinic.
“Now, how do you know he’s quite the looker?” I asked curiously.
I heavily poured hazelnut creamer into my coffee, awaiting her answer.
“He stopped by Friday with the elder Mr. Ross to help him move some furniture out of the office. I mean, it’s not like his daddy wasn’t easy on the eyes, so I wasn’t at all surprised when I saw him looking good enough to eat, if you know what I mean. Let me tell you though. The apple did not fall too far from that tree!” Michelle said, chuckling.
Michelle was the resident flirt at the clinic. Anything that had a pulse and looked somewhat decent to her, Michelle would take a swing at him without hesitation. I wasn’t at work on Friday because Friday’s were my days off.
“I’ll have to take your word for it,” I said nonchalantly.
Since I’d married my husband Elijah, my radar for the opposite sex had shut completely down. I was satisfied and happy with my husband. I knew no other man could ever take his place. Any man could try to take it there with me, but he would just be wasting his time, my heart belonged to Elijah Houston. We’d been dating for five years and eloped almost two months ago.
“Oh, that’s right. Ever since you went and eloped under everyone’s nose, you’ve turned a blind eye to the opposite sex. I couldn’t do it. I guess that’s why my ass is divorced now,” Michelle said, attaching her badge to her pink scrubs.
Laughing, we walked down the carpeted hallway to the receptionist's desk. Olivia, the final dental hygienist, and Laila, the lone receptionist, were sitting at the glass desk talking amongst themselves.
I’d been working at Ross Dentistry for almost seven years. This was the first female staff I’d felt comfortable with since I’d first started working here. There was no cattiness or gossiping amongst one another because we had one common goal, making sure the patients enjoyed their visit to Ross Dentistry. I’d never hung out with coworkers outside of work until I started working with them. The three ladies were like the sisters I never had. We talked and laughed about everything, which made coming to work fun and enjoyable.
“Now, where is Dr. Ross? The first patient is due to arrive here at any minute. You would think he’d want to introduce himself to us before we got flooded with patients,” Laila said, glancing at her iWatch.
As if speaking him up, the front door swooshed open. All the ladies, including myself, jumped out our seats and got into position, expecting a patient to step inside. Instead, a very handsome man dressed in royal blue scrubs crossed the threshold. Michelle hadn’t been lying when she stated he resembled his father. Except he was much more youthful, taller, and muscular than the elder Dr. Ross.
I didn’t want to appear to be gawking at him, like my overly obvious coworkers were, but alas, I was just as guilty as the rest of these heifers staring at him like he was the first man to ever grace the planet. To say Michelle saw him Friday, here she was staring at him like this was her first time seeing him. Standing in the entryway, he slowly turned towards us. By doing so, he was on full display and allowed me to get a really good look at him. He had smooth mocha brown skin, deep-set almond brown eyes, full lips, housed by a black-trimmed mustache connecting to a nicely trimmed goatee. He stood 5’10”, was very muscular and filled his scrubs out nicely. The shirt was straining against his broad chest. As much as I didn’t want to I found myself agreeing with what Michelle stated earlier. He truly was easy on the eyes. Smiling, he walked over to the receptionist’s desk.
“Good morning, ladies. Sorry I’m late, I was having car issues. I had to borrow my dad’s car. Thankfully, my motorcycle only needs a new battery. I’ll take care of it on my lunch break. My name is Kian. I’ve already met Michelle and Laila. What are your names?” Kian asked.
It was weird Dr. Kian was talking to all of us, but his eyes were focused solely on me. It made me feel awkward as hell because it felt like he was staring straight through my Batman scrubs. I didn’t like that shit one bit.
“My name is Olivia,” Olivia said, extending her left hand.
“I’m Harper,” I said, extending my left hand.
Our hands connected briefly. Instantly, I pulled back as I felt an electric shock from our hands touching. I’d only felt that sensation one other time, and that was when I was first introduced to my husband, Elijah.
“The first appointment is going to arriving in the next few minutes, so I’m going to keep this brief. Just because I’m replacing my dad doesn’t mean there’s going to be drastic changes around here because there aren’t. The only thing I require is for none of you to ever call me Mr. or Doctor Ross. Kian is cool. I’m not old enough to be called Mr. yet. Also, I have an open-door policy for my office. If you want to chat or hang out, my door will always be open. I’ll leave Laila my cell phone number for all of you before the day is out. Make sure everyone saves it; the same policy goes for calling me too. My phone is on day and night text or call, and I will respond. I think this is the first time I’ve worked with an all-female staff that isn’t married,” Kian said, adjusting his leather messenger bag on his left shoulder.
“What are you talking about? Harper is married,” Michelle stated quickly.
Everyone looked at my hand as soon as Kian mentioned marriage. Which instantly caused my copper brown cheeks to grow warm as I was scrutinized by eight pairs of eyes simultaneously waiting for me to answer. Fuck! So much for no one noticing the fact that I hadn’t worn my wedding band. The whole damn office was fully aware of my missing piece of jewelry.
“I am married. I forgot my ring on my way to work today,” I said.
“You are always forgetting your ring,” Laila said from behind my back.
“Well, except for Harper, the rest of us are very, very single. What about you, Kian?” Michelle pried.
“I just got out of a three-year relationship recently. I’m single, but I’m not looking,” Kian said.
Although he was talking to all the ladies, I couldn’t help noticing he was staring exclusively at me. Which caused me to squirm uncomfortably in my chair.
“Do any of you have any questions for me?” Kian asked.
The front door banged open as a mother, and her school aged child walked into the clinic.
“We’re not late, are we?” The mother asked frantically.
“Nope. You’re right on time.” Kian winked, “I’m going to go and put my bag up. The ladies are going to get you situated. Welcome.”
Instantly the woman relaxed as she approached the receptionist's desk. Kian retreated down the hall while Laila figured out who was going to be seen by the doctor that day.
“So, I’m going to need two dental assistants. Mrs. Thomas and Lily are both going to be seen today. Is Lily comfortable being in a room separate to yours?” Laila asked, looking up for the computer monitor.
“Yes, ma’am. It’s ok if I’m by myself,” Lily said, meekly from the other side of the counter.
All of us ‘awed’ at the cuteness Lily displayed by answering the question so sweetly.
“You can come with me, Lily,” I said, walking from behind the counter.
She smiled up at me as I led her to the first dental station. Since I have two kids of my own, I’m usually tasked with the little ones and putting them at ease, which I don’t mind at all. That’s just the mama bear in me.
I clicked on the light and led Lily to the pink seat.
“Go ahead and sit down, Lily, I’m going to lower the seat down. It’s going to be a fun little ride,” I said, grabbing a pair of medium-sized surgical gloves.
Patients and co-workers wanted to know what my secret was to make a kid comfortable with me. At first, I wouldn’t reveal my ace in the hole. I enjoyed being the kid whisperer, and I thought once I revealed my secret, everyone was going to start using it. But to my surprise, no one on staff currently liked to deal with kids at all, so I went ahead and let the ladies know that talking the kids through the entire process puts their mind at ease. They tend to enjoy the experience a lot more than you just sitting there, telling them to open their mouth.
When I first started at the dental office, I was awkwardly shy. I didn’t speak unless spoken to, nor did I engage with any of the patients I’d been tasked with being responsible to care for. I was like that for every patient that stepped into the back room with me. It got so bad the original Dr. Ross called me to his office and told me if I didn’t change my technique sooner rather than later, I was going to be on the unemployment line. Not wanting to look for another job, because I really liked the one I was at, I went home that night, and much to his irritation, Elijah was forced to be my patient until I got the hang of interacting with others. It took me a good week to get the hang of it, but I accomplished that shit and retained my job.
I prepped Lily and the process went surprisingly smooth.
Kian entered with a big smile on his face and finished up with Lily. He was very attentive and kind with Lily. You could tell she was very comfortable with Kian. Watching him work, I could instantly tell he enjoyed his job.
“All set, Lily. Harper is going to take you to the treasure chest where you can pick out a prize for being such a brave girl today. Hey, Harper. When you’re done assisting Lily, you can bring her into the adjacent room so she can be with her mom. Good job,” Kian said, winking as he entered the next room.
Oh boy, I could tell already Kian was going to be quite the charmer.