Cupid Cures

Read the Excerpt

Dr. Tempest Tangier sat in the darkened parking lot, waiting for the sun to rise. Driving through Cupid, she noticed the only hotel in town the marquee sign said was closed for repairs. So instead of coming in tomorrow morning, she drove to the veterinary clinic and rang the bell. No answer.

Now here she sat hanging around for daylight to come with news that no veterinarian enjoyed hearing. Brucellosis. Or at least a suspected case of the venereal disease for cattle. An entire herd could be wiped out because some randy bull got the clap.

"Surely, there's another hotel in town," she said out loud searching on her phone, finding no results.

Sighing, she gazed out at the darkness. Someday she would own her own veterinarian hospital and could quit traipsing across the country telling ranchers, their cows had an illness that warranted the death of an animal or a rancher's herd quarantined. It was not a pleasant job, but a necessary one that paid the bills and kept a roof over her head.

A truck pulled into the lot where she waited. Lights flashed across her car and she slumped down further in the seat. With fascination she watched as a naked man, hopped out of the vehicle. A worn cowboy hat covered his loins. But the rest of him bare assed as the day he came from his mother's womb.

A giggle escaped her lips as he strode towards the front door. And he wasn't bad looking. Tall, muscular with curly short hair that most women envied. Glasses that gave him the appearance of a professor. Shame that symbol of western men hid his manhood.

Reaching under the mat, he pulled out a key and the idea struck her. Why would the good doctor be picking a lock on the door? What if he was a homeless man or a robber breaking in to steal the clinics drugs or harm the animals. A shiver of fear spiraled through her. It was her duty to call the cops. Even though she hated dealing with officers.

Yanking her phone up from the console, she punched in 911.

"What's your emergency?"

"I'm calling to report a break-in."

"Location."

"The Lawrence Veterinary clinic and a naked man just went into the building?"

The man on the other end started laughing, startling Tempe. "Excuse me."

"Sorry, ma'am. The sheriff is on his way."

"Thank you," she said.

Less than five minutes later, a patrol car pulled into the parking lot. A man in a uniform with a gun hanging from his waist glanced over at her in the car. Strolling over to her, she rolled down the window.

"Did you call about a naked man breaking and entering?"

"Yes, sir."

"May I ask what you're doing sitting here?"

A lump filled her throat and she swallowed, her chest tightening. There was no reason to feel nervous, but every time she dealt with the law, she feared they would recognize her. "Doctor Tempest Tangier from the USDA here to see doctor Jim Lawrence. Driving into town, the only hotel was closed."

"Yes, ma'am, a tornado took off the roof."

"Oh," she said. "Sorry to hear that. What about the naked man? When I rang the emergency bell no one answered."

"What did he look like?"

A blush flamed her face in the darkness. What should she say. All bronze muscles with a cowboy hat covering his privates?

"Curly sandy brown hair with glasses on."

The sheriff chuckled. "I'd lay odds, he did the Cupid dance."

"What?" She had no clue what he was saying. A dance? Naked? What kind of party required you attend not wearing clothes. The swingers club? Oh boy, this little town was rapidly becoming not her sort of place.

"Come with me," he said, opening her door. "My hunch is you witnessed Doctor Lawrence going in the building. Let's go check him out."

Crawling out of the car, grabbing her phone, in case she needed it. Her nerves jingled on high alert as she walked alongside the man, he chuckled to himself.

"I almost caught them."

What? What did he think he caught them doing. Maybe it was better that she stayed silent and let the law take the lead. No matter that she was innocent, she didn't need anyone scrutinizing her past.

The lawman pounded on the door and soon the same man, only this time wearing scrubs answered.

"Sheriff, what brings you here this time of night."

"Report of a burglary by a naked man. Is this the man you witnessed breaking in," he asked her.

"Yes," she said, thinking he looked even better fully clothed.

The man's brows raised and he glared at her. "Sorry, I work and live here."

"What was I supposed to think? You had no clothes on."

No one could reproach her for making the call. Any law abiding citizen would have done the same.

The sheriff started to laugh again. "Did you do the stupid Cupid dance?"

The man sighed. "Blame Cody. He tricked us. We lost a bet and had to dance around the Cupid fountain. No you won't find me dancing a second time."

Dancing? Naked around a fountain? Is that what people did for fun?

Shaking his head, the sheriff glanced at him. "You're just lucky I didn't catch you or you would have been looking out between metal bars."

Unable to keep silent any longer, she had to ask. "What kind of town is this? Dancing naked around a fountain?"

"We're a great little city, but we have some traditions that can get you arrested."

"Why were you waiting on me?" Kyle asked, gazing at her.

Tempe pulled her shoulders back and assumed her professional role. All this talk of being naked had gotten her off track. She was here to do her job.

"Dr. Tempest Tangier from the USDA. Are you Dr. Kyle Lawrence?"

"Yes." A frown crossed his face and he ran his hand through his hair. "Why are you here?"

"It's in regard to the test you sent us. I'm here to do my own investigation."

At this moment she refused to tell him anything more. All she needed was for him to decide not to help her get the samples she required for her job. In the year spent working for the government, she quickly learned not every rancher was elated when she arrived.

"Oh crap," he said shaking his head. "I don't think I'm happy to see you."

"Most people aren't."