Dr. Oswald Culpepper is an island unto himself. A respected infectious disease researcher, he is used to doing things his way and everyone else going along with it. When the new dean demands Oswald take on an apprentice like all the other researchers, Oswald is forced to agree. And when he sees Aiden Pearse walk into his lab, Oswald knows he’s in trouble. Aiden is everything Oswald isn’t. Entertaining, gregarious, tall, dark, and gorgeous. Oswald should hate him on general principle. So why does he watch his new assistant when he thinks the young man isn’t looking? And how is he going to make it to the end of Aiden’s apprenticeship with his dignity intact?
"I warned you, Culpepper. If you didn't pick an apprentice, I'd pick one for you."
Phone in hand, Oswald paced the short length of his pristine kitchen and worried his bottom lip with his teeth. "I've never had to have one before."
The dean wasn't giving an inch. "That's because my predecessor babied you.I'm not going to do that. We are a teaching hospital, in case you'd forgotten."
Not for the first time, Oswald wanted to strangle his old friend, the former dean, for doing something stupid like retiring to spend time with his wife. "Fine, but I don't want him to live with me."
Oswald scanned his small apartment. It was sterile, white, and precisely arranged, just the way he liked it. No one could effectively maintain the space except him, which was probably why he'd been alone for so long. He shook his head and reminded himself that it didn't matter. He was better on his own.READ MORE
"Too bad." The dean's words were becoming more clipped, his New Jersey accent more pronounced, a sure sign he was tiring of the conversation. "We pay for your condo, and you will house the young man until he finds his own apartment.Unless you'd like to start paying your rent yourself."
No, Oswald didn't think he'd like that at all. "It appears I don't have a choice."
"When will he be at the lab?"
Papers shuffled in the background. "Noon."
"That's not good for me. I've—"
"Noon, Culpepper," the dean growled. "Be there."
When the line went dead, Oswald growled and threw his iPhone against the far wall. It exploded on impact. He immediately grabbed a dustpan and broom,swept up the remains, and threw it all into the garbage can. He was sure another new phone would be the least of his worries today.
The black granite countertops were shiny and spotless. Petri dishes, test tubes, and beakers were perfectly arranged everywhere. Oswald, wearing his pressed white lab coat, sat on his stool and wrote experiment notes in tiny, all-cap print. He didn't look up when the door opened.
"Excuse me, Dr. Culpepper?"
Oswald continued to write. He adjusted his round glasses and failed to raise his head or reply.
Oswald sneered. "I heard you the first time. Can you not see I'm busy?"
A large hand with thick, long fingers plopped down on Oswald's notebook and blocked out almost the entire page. "I can certainly see that you're rude."
Oswald finally looked up, directly into dark chocolate eyes set into a face framed by shaggy black hair and a hood. Mesmerized, he watched as the frown on the man's rosy full lips deepened. He wanted to lick those lips, maybe even see them wrapped around his cock, which began to harden at the thought. "Who are you?"
The man's gorgeous eyes rolled, and he shook his head. "Well, if you're Dr.Culpepper, I'm your new apprentice, Aiden Pearse."
Oswald instantly knew he was fucked.COLLAPSE