He reached out and shut the medical file in front of him and leaned back in his chair. His eyebrows arched up, and he laced his fingers together and put his index fingers under his chin.
“What exactly are you after, Mr. Voss?” His voice was smooth and modulated. I was a disaster, a bundle of nerves and anxiety, and this dude was acting like we were talking about the weather, not my entire life and everything I had ever worked my ass off for.
Defiantly I spread my legs apart and slumped back in the chair across from him, making it a point to affect a posture that was as casual as his was professional. I had on a faded DPD T-shirt and a pair of jeans with a hole in the knee, and both were a little baggy since I’d lost some of my bulk being laid up in the hospital after the accident. If the guy across from me was a cherry-red Ferrari, then I was a rusted-out and battered John Deere tractor in comparison.
“I want my life back, Mr. Frederick. I want to be able to move the way I used to. I want to pass the department physical so I can go back on patrol. I want to be able to walk without needing a crutch or a cane. I want to be the way I was before I got hurt.” I was asking for the impossible and I knew it. “And please call me Dom.”
He dipped his chin down a little, and the edge of his mouth tilted up in a slight grin. Damn the man was good-looking. I blew out a breath and lifted up my hands to run them over the top of my shorn hair. I was hanging on to my sanity by a thread and my unexpected reaction to the guy that I was hanging every hope I had left on wasn’t helping matters.
“All right, Dom. You can call me Lando. That’s what my friends call me.”
I felt one of my eyebrows shoot up. “Are we going to be friends?” I didn’t mean for it to come out sounding as suggestive as it did, but there was no taking it back once the words breached my lips.
His rust-colored eyebrows dipped down over his nose, and the grin on his mouth pulled downwards in a grimace that I couldn’t miss. I had a moment of panic that I might have blown any shot at securing his help by shooting off my big mouth. Nothing like making the guy uncomfortable especially since he gave zero indication that he liked boys the same way I did. As a man that rarely discussed or broadcasted his sexual orientation, I found that it made it slightly harder for me to be able to instantly gauge whether another man was interested in me the way I was in them. I always played my cards close to my chest. Being a cop was already a hard job. Being a gay cop made the job that much more challenging, so I learned early on that my personal life wasn’t a topic of conversation I wanted open for discussion. Like I said, a nonissue.
“No, Dominic, we aren’t going to be friends. In fact, you’re more than likely going to hate me. You’re going to regret walking in this office, and you’re going to think I’m the worst person in the world. But I will do my best to get you the results you are after. I’m going to work you hard and in the end you’re going to thank me for it.”
I opened my mouth to throw out another inappropriate response about him working me any way he wanted to, but I stopped myself just in time. I bit down on the tip of my tongue and nodded my head slowly.
“You think you can fix me?”
He shook his head slightly, and a hank of reddish hair flopped forward and hung in his face. I wanted to reach across the desk and move it out of those cool blue eyes.
Shit. That wasn’t good. Mr. Fancy-Pants didn’t need me lusting after him, and I didn’t need the complication of a hard-on while I worked my way back to 100 percent.
“I think you can fix you. The leg doesn’t concern me as much as the shoulder, I mean it’s still pretty bad, and when you dislocated the shoulder, you ripped all those tendons and muscles.” He shook his head in sympathy. It had hurt worse than anything I’d ever experienced, and it was refreshing that he wasn’t just writing me off as a lost cause. “I know you had reconstructive surgery and that always affects mobility and flexibility. I’m wondering if we can work to make your left hand dominant, so that you don’t have to worry about limited movement on the right side.”
I blinked at him stupidly and let out the breath I was holding. Why hadn’t that ever occurred to me? I was at the gun range two to three times a week trying to get my arm back in shape and frustrated that it was still lagging. Why hadn’t I thought to try out my left side?
I cleared my throat. “Uh, okay?” I leaned forward a little and put my hands on my knees. “Does this mean you’re going to take me on as a client?”
As I said the words, I couldn’t keep the relief and hope I was feeling from flavoring them. I wanted to jump up and grab him in a rib-crushing hug. The only thing stopping me from doing it was the fact that I wasn’t exactly in jumping-up condition yet, and I wasn’t entirely sure that if I wrapped him up in my arms I would stop at hugging. I hadn’t ever had such an overwhelming response to anyone in my life, and it was making me feel unpredictable and off-kilter. I needed to keep myself in check so he could help me, and I could get back on the job.
That was all that mattered. I needed him to save my future, not make out with me.
Something sharp glinted in his crystalline gaze as he stared at me and suddenly the vibe he was giving off went from detached and clinical to something else, something much more like the distinctly interested vibe I was pretty sure I was giving off.
A half grin pulled at his mouth again, and he moved his hand to push his hair out of his face.
“Yeah, Dominic, I’m going to take you on.”
I blinked again and felt my nostrils flare a little bit at the subtle innuendo.