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Stuck With You

Stuck With You, January 2012
by Trish Jensen

Bell Bridge Books
Featuring: Ross Bennett; Paige Hart
230 pages
ISBN: 1611940869
EAN: 9781611940862
Kindle: B006TI7RYY
Trade Size / e-Book (reprint)
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"A wonderfully engaging romance."

Fresh Fiction Review

Stuck With You
Trish Jensen

Reviewed by Maria Munoz
Posted January 16, 2012


Paige Hart and Ross Bennett are adversaries in the courtroom. He's a snake (aka divorce attorney) and she's a tax attorney moonlighting as any type of attorney need by her large extended family. Paige, representing her cousin, and Ross, representing the soon to be ex-cousin-in-law, are arguing about the Doodle the dog's custody when they are knocked out by an explosion. They wake up to find themselves under quarantine. They were inadvertently exposed to the highly contagious Tibetan Concupiscence Virus, the symptoms of which include increased sexual desire. Now Paige finds herself trapped for two weeks with a man she loathes knowing that her desires may become uncontrollable. Ross is happy to admire her legs and sharp mind. As the two get to know each other, can they trust what they are feeling or is their desire under the control of the virus?

STUCK WITH YOU is a wonderfully engaging romance about letting go of assumptions and trusting your heart. Given the premise (e.g. what amounts to a sex virus), I was expecting a quirky and funny romantic comedy. However, the story is a fairly straightforward romance that involves two people (well, four actually, as there is a lovely sub-plot involving Paige's brother and a doctor) working through their personal issues to find happy-ever-after. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters. I look forward to reading more books by Trish Jensen.

Learn more about Stuck With You


As lawyers on opposing sides of a messy divorce case, Paige Hart and Ross Bennett ought to have kept matters purely professional, yet Paige and Ross came to loathe each other with an intensity that was strictly personal. The bad blood between them takes on an unexpected new dimension when the infuriated pair is forced to share a hospital room, when they’re quarantined after being exposed to the rare and highly contagious Tibetan Concupiscence Virus that’s reputed to shift sensual desire into high gear.

When symptoms (which a nonmedical person might mistake for pure and simple lust) start showing up way ahead of schedule, the lawyers’ objections to each other are overruled — and they enjoy every minute of it. But, after the doctors declare that the disease has run its course, Paige and Ross are still feverish with a longing for one another that they hope will never be cured. When the verdict comes in, will they be sentenced to life — in love?


TIBETAN n: a native or inhabitant of Tibet

CONCUPISCENCE n: strong desire, esp: sexual desire

VIRUS n: the causative agent of an infectious disease


"You are a snake."

"And you are a shrew."

She'd take great offense at that if it weren't so damnably true. "Your client is not getting Doo¬dle."

"He bought and paid for Doodle."

"As a gift for Jasmine, and her name is all over the ownership papers."

"Jasmine stated unequivocally that she'd have preferred jewelry."

They separated long enough to sidestep the sea of reporters camping out at the courthouse to cover the sensational trial of mob boss Carmine "Boom Boom" Carbone—so nicknamed because of his penchant for blowing up his enemies with homemade bombs.

Once past the chaos outside the doors to Court¬room One, they resumed. "Jasmine changed her mind," she said. "She now loves Doodle and she's not giving him up."

"For crying out loud, he's already agreed to give her the house in Palm Beach and the cabin in Maine."

"She deserves those and more. Your client wouldn't have two nickels to rub together if it weren't for her father's investment in his stupid widget company."

"That stupid widget company is now a multi¬billion dollar venture because of my client's busi¬ness savvy."

"Because of my client's father's influence."

"Good Lord," he muttered, rubbing the back of his neck. "Of all the courthouses in all the towns in all the world, you had to walk into mine. Why can't you stick to tax law?" He snorted. "Oh, right, your client is also your cousin."

"Second cousin; which is completely irrelevant."

"True. What's relevant is that your relative is be¬ing completely unreasonable."

She faced the snake and opened her mouth to retort when an explosion erupted behind her. Something struck the side of her head and flung her into him. Her last conscious thought was that the universe was playing some sick joke on her if it had in mind for her to die in this snake's arms.

Chapter One

Paige Hart awoke to discover her brain was ex¬ploding.

Or imploding.

Or something else scientific that accounted for the persistent hammer blows behind her eyelids, at her temples, and at the base of her skull.

She knew right away that visual stimulation would be too much to bear at the moment, so she kept her eyes squeezed shut. But slowly she al¬lowed other details to seep in.

She was in a bed. That was good. Better than a coffin, for sure. Well, maybe not, considering there was major drilling going on in her gray mat¬ter.

Paige let her hand slide beneath the body warmed cotton sheet. She encountered more cot¬ton covering her torso, which told her that she wasn't home waking up from a horrible night-mare that had pounded through her head like a wrecking ball. At home she always slept in the nude.

So someone had dressed her in a cotton night¬gown and placed her in a foreign bed. Yes, this certainly wasn't her own bed. It was too hard and the pillow too flat and she never used cotton sheets anyway. Flannel in winter, satin in summer.

"Okay, woman," she murmured, "get a grip. Who are you, where are you, and why are you wherever you are?"

Her olfactory senses kicked in. Disinfectant and something else—a sickly sweet scent. "Okay, the where is obvious. You're in a hospital."

That thought alarmed her enough to send her fingers groping over her body, taking inventory. At the same time she wiggled her toes and lifted her legs. The actions managed to make her head pound all the harder, but at least she was assured that all her limbs seemed to be intact.

She wasn't hooked to any life-sustaining equip¬ment that she could hear or feel. No beeping, no sense of anything poked under her derma.

She took a deep breath, her eyes still shut against what she knew would be agonizing light. "Your name is Paige Hart. You're thirty-two years old. Single, thank God. Your parents are William and Lila Hart, currently of Macon. You have six brothers, two sisters, and way too many aunts, un¬cles and cousins."

At the thought of her huge extended family, she groaned. Because that reminded her of more things about herself. Like the fact that she was an attorney, and from the moment she'd passed the Georgia Bar Exam eight years ago, one after an¬other of those relatives had paraded through her office with a variety of legal problems they wanted Paige to handle.

It didn't matter that she was a tax attorney. That didn't prevent Aunt Lulu from marching Paige's cousin Duane into her office after he was picked up for vandalizing a bridge by spray paint¬ing "Jump here" on the side of it. Nor did it mat¬ter to her second cousin Bonnie that Paige wasn't trained to handle sexual harassment suits. And it didn't stop the majority of her next-of— and not¬-so- next-of—kin from naming her the executor of their various wills.

The most bizarre case had been when Jerry, her first cousin once removed, wanted to hire Paige to help him contest the will of his mother, her great aunt Twila. Luckily, Paige had had to de¬cline, as she'd been named executor of Aunt Twila's will, and was able to claim a conflict of interest. So Aunt Twila's estate—all of it—ended up in the hands of an organization called People for a Snake-Free America. Aunt Twila had pos¬sessed a real aversion to snakes.

Speaking of snakes, the name Ross Bennett popped into her throbbing head. Why, she didn't have a clue. She was fairly certain she didn't have a relative by that name, but with her family she couldn't rule it out. No doubt, though, the name certainly left a bad taste in her mouth.

"Think, Paige," she murmured. "What was the last thing you remember doing?"

She gasped as memory tumbled back into her head like an avalanche of bowling balls. Of course! She'd been walking down the hallway of the Fulton County Courthouse, arguing the de-tails of her cousin Jasmine's divorce from Jas¬mine's husband, Carl Peyton. Arguing those details with Carl Peyton's attorney—the snake, Ross Bennett.

She vaguely remembered being thrown against Ross, something exploding at the side of her head, and brilliant stars bursting behind her eyes before the world went black.

Okay, so that's why she was here. She'd gotten knocked for a loop. But other than a certain ten¬derness on her right thigh—probably a bruise—she didn't think she'd suffered more than a slight blow to the head.

Well, maybe not all that slight.

Dizzily she wondered what had happened to Ross. The man was a snake, to be sure, but that didn't mean she wished him harm. Maybe she wouldn't mind him having his jaw broken and wired shut, but nothing more serious than that.

And she wouldn't want his wired jaw disfigured permanently. Because it sure was a nice jaw. It sat squarely below some very sexy lips, a great nose, and a pair of hazel eyes that could probably melt glaciers. Yes indeed, Ross Bennett was one ex¬tremely handsome snake.

Of course, good looks couldn't make up for the fact that he made his living from the deaths of marriages. Divorce attorneys were only one very tiny step above ambulance chasers in Paige's es¬timation. Especially divorce attorneys who were hell-bent on not giving Paige's relative even a fraction of what she deserved. And most especially divorce attorneys like the one she'd had to deal with in college, who'd done everything in her power to ruin Paige's life.

Divorce attorneys sucked. Ross Bennett was a divorce attorney. Ergo, he was a snake, albeit a handsome one. And, unfortunately, a smart one.

Paige prided herself on her zippy retorts, her ability to cut any opponent to the quick. The truly irritating thing about Bennett was his equal ability to snap right back.

He'd caught her off guard that first meeting by matching her cutting remark for cutting remark. And instead of withering before her eyes, like nor¬mal people did, he'd seemed to get more and more amused as the slashing continued. Although she'd held her own, by the time she'd left his of¬fice, she'd felt a strange concoction of emotions: anger, grudging admiration, and something that felt oddly like a tingling exhilaration, but which she'd decided to interpret as an allergic reaction.

Paige shook off thoughts of Ross Bennett, and turned her attention to opening her eyes, survey¬ing her surroundings, and getting released from this place as soon as humanly possible. She was not a great lover of hospitals.

She cracked one eye open. Just enough to see that there were no visitors in her room, nor any hospital personnel. That was odd. When any member of the extended Hart clan was admitted to a hospital for whatever reason, the rest rushed to their sides and smothered them until the pa¬tient had to either recover or croak.

Maybe they hadn't been notified of the explo¬sion yet.

A loud groan to her left had her swinging her head, which she immediately regretted. Pain lanced through her temples and for a moment the room wobbled drunkenly.

She pressed fingers to her temples, trying to keep her brains from spilling out. When the room stopped swimming, she noticed a beige curtain bisecting one side of the room and, obviously, hiding a second occupant.

Another moan came from behind the curtain. Paige wasn't quite sure, but she thought the hos¬pital personnel ought to have been a little more watchful of the two of them. Then again, maybe it was a good sign they didn't need constant mon¬itoring. But she could certainly use some aspirin.

Turning her head gingerly, she surveyed the room. It looked large enough to hold four beds, but the other side of the room was devoid of any¬thing save two bedside tables. There was a door on the far left and two armoires on the right. The door to the hallway was centered to her left, on the other occupant's side of the room.

Beside it was a large window with its sickly yel¬low blinds raised. Oddly enough, the hallway on the other side of the glass was so dimly lit she couldn't really make out anything beyond. It gave her a funny feeling of total isolation, but the sound of rustling sheets from the other occupant guaranteed she wasn't totally alone.

Then her eyes lit on a large trash type bin di¬rectly to the left of the door to the dark hallway, and the words on it gave her pause: BIOHAZARD. And right below that, Medical Waste with that strange tarantula-like symbol. Other than the oc¬casional visit to sick relatives, she didn't have much experience with hospitals. But she never re¬membered a hazmat bin the size of a small truck in any hospital room she'd ever been in.

Directly above it was a steel box anchored to the wall. What its purpose was, she didn't have a clue.

Glancing to her right, she noticed two more windows, affording her a view of the outdoors. Not much to see from this vantage point though. Just a view of the Atlanta skyline, the Nations Bank building towering like a beacon.

She checked her bedside table, and found a pitcher of water and a plastic cup beside a tele¬phone. Water sounded wonderful; her throat was scratchy and dry. She sat up slowly and swung her legs over the side of the bed. She was barefoot, she realized, and that reminded her she had to have clothes around here somewhere.

Her hand trembled as she reached for the pitcher and for the first time she realized there was a bandage on it. At some point someone must have stuck a needle of sorts into her. As she went to pick up the pitcher she realized just how weak she was from the blast. She needed both hands to pour.

As she sipped, she thought about calling her brother Nick, the only sibling she had in Atlanta, but decided she ought to hear from a medical professional first so she could reassure him she'd be out of here within an hour.

Of course, the place conspicuously lacked med¬ical professionals at the moment. She glanced at the head of her bed. Sure enough there was a call button there. She jabbed it twice for good mea¬sure and was grateful it didn't ring in the room.

The other patient had gone quiet, so she re¬sisted the urge to call, "Yoo hoo!"

Testing her legs, she slid from the bed and got to her feet. A bit of vertigo overtook her and she grasped the bedside table to steady herself. Nau¬sea roiled in her tummy, so she took deep breaths and prayed she wouldn't toss her cookies right there.

Her legs felt as rubbery as banquet chicken, so she just stood for a while before attempting to move. Man, she needed aspirin! Where was a nurse? For that matter where was her purse, her briefcase—her clothes for crying out loud?

Considering the cool rush of air on her tush, she didn't have to reach around to know that this was one of those hospital gowns that left little to the imagination. Which meant she wasn't about to march down that spooky, dark hallway and de¬mand attention.

She turned back toward the door and armoires on the other side of the room. Maybe one con¬tained her clothes, purse and briefcase. With luck, the door led to a bathroom and she could relieve another pressing problem.

Right now that side of the room looked to be miles away and she wasn't certain whether her shaky legs would carry her the entire way. But what the heck. Her bladder was insisting that if she couldn't walk, she should crawl.

Paige took a few shaky steps, relying on the bed for some support. Actually, with each passing sec¬ond, she felt strength returning, although her headache wasn't receding in the slightest. Okay. Bathroom, clothes-change, medical personnel . . .

Medical personnel. She'd buzzed twice and still no one had arrived. What kind of health-care fa¬cility was this? Now that she thought about it, which health-care facility was this? The closest one to the courthouse was Saint Catherine's, so most likely that's where she was. Either that, or the one just on the other side of the Twilight Zone, she thought, glancing at the almost black void beyond the window to the hallway.

Desperation to relieve her bladder drove her forward. She was shuffling more than striding, but she was making progress. Mentally patting herself on the back while simultaneously berating the hospital staff, she was halfway to the door on the right when a horrible, awful, despicably familiar snake voice stopped her in her tracks.

"Nice ass, Hart."

Talk about waking up from your average night¬mare to a better-than-average fantasy.

Ross hadn't been exaggerating. Paige Hart had one terrific ass. It wasn't a real surprise consid¬ering she filled out a business suit better than any lawyer he knew. The first time he'd set eyes on her—the day she'd marched into his office like an angry, avenging angel—his jaw had nearly dropped to his desk. He'd had to consciously stop himself from whistling appreciatively.

Her honey-blond hair had been pulled back in a tight bun and her green cat eyes had been nar¬rowed and shooting flames his way. But even with the evidence of her determined stride and angry countenance, he'd taken a moment to appreciate her female curves, her female chest.

But the moment she'd opened her mouth he'd temporarily forgotten about her pretty face and killer body. "Mr. Bennett, prepare to be taken to the cleaners."

And he'd had to try to ignore that face and body ever since, because within ten minutes of meeting with her—if you could call that sparring session a meeting—he'd learned another impor¬tant thing about her: She had one of the sharpest legal minds he'd ever encountered. Besides his own, of course.

Which made her dangerous.

Ross didn't like losing. But obviously neither did Paige Hart. And she'd been haggling his cli¬ent out of more and more assets with each sub¬sequent meeting. If Ross didn't watch it, Carl Peyton would find himself merely a multimillion¬aire by the time the divorce was settled.

"You!" Paige breathed, and her tone and hor¬rified expression told him right off that she wasn't real happy to see him.

Well, he wasn't exactly thrilled to see her ei¬ther. If he understood this situation correctly, they were hospital roommates. How that was pos¬sible he didn't have a clue. He remembered a blast—apparently Boom Boom Carbone had been at it again—being forced into an ambulance, and then being conked on the head after a deafening crash of sorts. But nothing else until waking and getting a real good look at Paige Hart's fine bot¬tom.

His forehead hurt. He lifted a hand to it, to find gauze taped over his left eyebrow. Apparently that conk on the head had drawn blood.

"Fancy meeting you here," he said with a grin he didn't mean. The thought of being forced to stay in a room with this fast-talking, faster-thinking shrew gave him a headache of mammoth propor¬tions.

Paige was clutching the back of her hospital gown, even though she was facing him. He wasn't about to complain. The action tightened the fab¬ric across her slender waist and hips, giving him an eyeful. A very pleasant eyeful.

Man, she had great breasts. Nice legs, too. Too bad she had the ferocity of a shark.

Not that he didn't appreciate shark tendencies. After all, he was a lawyer, too.

"Looks like we're roomies," he said, his mouth suddenly dry as sawdust.

"This must be a mistake. How did we get here?"

"I couldn't begin to tell you, darlin'. I don't even know where here is."

She eyed him balefully, but as her gaze wan¬dered up to the top of his head, her expression slid from contemptuous to somewhat concerned. Nodding at it she said, "I hope I didn't cause that."

Ross shrugged noncommittally. He knew she wasn't responsible for the blow to his head. That had happened in the crash. How ironic. If not for the zealousness of the EMT, he wouldn't be in¬jured at all. If he were the contentious sort, he'd be writing up a lawsuit the moment he was re¬leased from the hospital.

Still, he was nothing if not an opportunist. He could milk this. "Last I remember, you were throwing yourself at me. Really, Paige, all you had to do was ask."

She scowled. "Do you know what happened?"

"No, but somehow I have the feeling Boom Boom or one of his goons had something to do with it."

She rubbed her temple with one hand while clutching at the back of her gown with the other. She glanced over her shoulder while shuffling backwards toward a door at the other side of the room.

"Have any nurses or doctors been in here?" she asked, reaching for the knob.

"Your guess is as good as mine, darlin'. I woke up two minutes ago."

She glared. "I am not your darlin', Bennett."

An idiotic desire to ask her if she was anyone's darlin' had his mouth forming the question, but he squelched it. That was none of his business and besides he didn't like the sour feeling he got at the thought of a positive response.

He'd checked on her enough to know she wasn't married. Routine investigation, naturally. He always learned as much as he could about the adversarial attorneys with which he dealt. That was just common sense.

So he also knew Paige Hart was not a divorce attorney. When he'd learned that he'd practically rubbed his hands together. Piece of cake—or so he'd thought.

And then he'd met her. He practically shud¬dered as he recalled that first encounter. He'd vowed there and then never to underestimate an¬other attorney again as long as he practiced law.

Realization suddenly struck him. He was hos¬pitalized. For a blow to the head? That seemed a little extreme. Taking stock, he felt battered and bruised all over, but not severely enough to war¬rant admission to a hospital. He had a slight ring¬ing in his ears, which was annoying, but not painful. He hoped it was from the noise of the blast, and that it was temporary.

"Dammit, what are we doing here?" Paige com¬plained.

Ross raised a brow. If he wasn't mistaken, that was the first swear word he'd ever heard out of her mouth. Her luscious, pink mouth.

"And why aren't they answering?" she contin¬ued, pointing at her bed. "I rang for a nurse."


"Try yours," she demanded in an annoying, im¬perious tone he'd begun to associate with her. She was one pushy broad. Just on principle—and to annoy her in return—he didn't comply.

"Has it occurred to you," he asked, "that the hospital might be overrun with casualties? My guess is you and I weren't the only ones hurt in the blast. In fact, we might be a couple of the lucky ones."

She shot him a withering look. "Lucky? To be holed up with you? Somehow it doesn't feel quite the same as winning the lottery."

Good thing Ross didn't wither easily. In fact, now that he thought about it, the woman was kind of cute when she bristled. Not all that interested in dying anytime soon, he decided not to voice that observation.

Her eyes lost a bit of their fire. "You might be right," she said grudgingly. "About the number of injured, that is."

Two seconds earlier he'd have bet a million bucks that those words wouldn't pass her lips in this lifetime. At least not directed at him.

She ruined his small flame of triumph by add¬ing, "Going to take up personal injury now, too? Maybe walk down the hall and pass out business cards?"

Her sexy pink mouth suddenly lost a whole lot of appeal. He hid a growl behind a feral grin. "I couldn't possibly compete with you in getting people more compensation than they deserve."

The fire came back to life in her sparkling green eyes, which for some unknown reason made him want to smile. She bared her teeth. "I can't help it if you're a hack."

Before he could retort, she broke eye contact, then continued blindly to grope for the door¬knob. She kept her front to him, denying him another view of her very sexy rump. Too bad. His favorite view of her had always been from the rear. Because that meant she was leaving. But he didn't think he'd ever again watch her back end walking away from him without remembering ex¬actly how it appeared in all its naked glory.

He bit back another smile at her fruitless at¬tempts to get the door open. She was way off, and, considering he needed to use the facility as well, he decided to help her out. "A little higher and about six inches that way," he said, hiking his thumb to the right.

She followed through and connected, twisting the knob and shoving the door open. Then she reached in, flipped the switch, and glanced over her shoulder. With a sigh of relief that carried to his ears, she shuffled backward into the bath¬room, then slammed the door shut.

As soon as she disappeared Ross lifted his bed-sheet and saw he was wearing a gown similar to Paige's. Tossing back the sheets, he gingerly swung his legs over the side of the bed, wincing a bit when the movement managed to make him a little dizzy. Okay, maybe the hospital was just being cautious.

Paige, on the other hand, didn't outwardly ap¬pear injured at all, except the way she squinted occasionally and massaged her temple. But if she'd suffered a head injury, shouldn't she re¬main in bed? She spoke lucidly enough—snappily enough—that he supposed it could simply be a concussion. But even if all she had was a concus¬sion, he didn't think she should be up and about. If she suddenly fainted or something, he wouldn't be much good at carrying her to bed, considering he felt somewhat weak right now.

Curiously, the mental image of hauling her into bed affected him. Sexually. Good God, he knew it had been awhile since he'd had a girlfriend, but he wasn't that hard up, was he? Getting turned on by a shark lawyer who was trying to bleed his client dry? Impossible. Except the tightness in his groin was calling him a liar.

Ignoring that particular part of his anatomy, Ross pushed to his feet, automatically checking his left wrist for the time. But it seemed their clothing wasn't all that the staff had confiscated. He glanced around, but there was no clock in the room. He was due back in court at three o'clock—if there was any courthouse left.

He estimated that the blast happened between twelve and twelve-fifteen, since Paige had waylaid him the moment he'd emerged from the court¬room at the lunch recess. Of course, that didn't mean anything because he didn't have any idea how long he'd been out of it.

If he couldn't make his court date, he'd better get his assistant to request a continuance. Then again, he supposed that if he didn't appear they could easily presume he'd been hurt in the bomb¬ing.

Still, he wanted to be certain. With that in mind, he rang the call button. He needed to blow this pop stand fast if for no other reason than to get away from a half-naked Paige Hart and the strange feelings she caused in his lower belly.

She emerged from the bathroom looking slightly less pucker-faced, but still her green eyes held a wealth of disdain. Ross was about to make another butt remark. But then lights outside their room blazed to life.

By the sound of Paige's squealed gasp, he knew she saw the same huge, stenciled word as he did. It was emblazoned on the window separating their room from the one outside their door.

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