"A wonderfully engaging romance."
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.
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
"Jasmine stated unequivocally that she'd have preferred
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
"Second cousin; which is completely irrelevant."
"True. What's relevant is that your relative is be¬ing
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.
Paige Hart awoke to discover her brain was ex¬ploding.
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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