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At First Sight (Pink Bean Series - Book 10) (PAPERBACK)

At First Sight (Pink Bean Series - Book 10) (PAPERBACK)

Jill knows she’s in trouble the minute a brand new, gorgeous client walks into her practice.

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Book specifications

Pages : 256
ISBN : 9789887441618
Weight : 8.7 ounces (247g)
Dimensions : 5 x 0.55 x 8 inches (127 x 14 x 203mm)

Full description

When love finds you, resistance is futile

Jill Becket knows she’s in trouble the minute a brand new, gorgeous client walks into her practice.

Amelia Shaw is suffering from a massive burnout, and has no clue of the calamitous effect she’s having on her new therapist.

Jill’s ethical code prevents her from acting on her feelings.

Falling in love is so low on Amelia’s priority list, she doesn’t even consider it. Her only current life goal is to feel better.

Can these two women find each other despite the professional and personal obstacles they face?

Best-selling lesbian romance author Harper Bliss brings you this joyful and lighthearted 10th book in the much-loved Pink Bean series.

Every book in the Pink Bean series can be read as a standalone without having read the others.

Themes and tropes

  • Forbidden love
  • The Pink Bean series

Chapter One Look Inside

Chapter 1

Jill took a deep breath and opened the door. It had been a while since she’d welcomed a new client. Despite decades of experience, a ripple of nerves coursed through her.

There were two women in the waiting area, but she recognized the blonde as one of Patrick’s clients. The one with the long dark hair would be for her then. Both women glanced at her. 

“Amelia?” Jill said.

The dark-haired woman drew her lips into a smile and rose. Without saying anything, she followed Jill into the office.

“Please, sit down,” Jill said. “Make yourself comfortable.” She pointed at the chair opposite her own.

While Amelia settled in, Jill grabbed a notepad and pen from her desk, giving her new client some time to acclimate to her new surroundings.

A reassuring smile on her lips, Jill turned and sat. “Because this is your first session, I’ll be making more notes than I usually would. Please don’t be put off by that, it’s mostly for admin reasons. Or if you’d rather I didn’t, I’ll try to exercise my memory and make the notes after you leave.” She broadened her smile and took the opportunity to let her gaze linger on her new client’s eyes. Deep-brown and rather captivating. Jill found it hard to look away from them. 

“That’s fine,” Amelia said. These were the first words she’d spoken and if her eyes were arresting, her voice was even more so. Husky and low, like a soft and soothing bass note. 

A tingle of heat crept up Jill’s neck. This was not a normal reaction to a first session with a new client. Jill forced herself to look down at her notepad. 

“Do you want to tell me a little about yourself or would you like me to go first?” she asked. “Either is fine.” She looked back up at Amelia.

“You go first.” Amelia’s face was all tightness. She was probably nervous. In all her years as a psychiatrist, Jill had never encountered a new client who wasn’t a bundle of nerves during their first session. Seeking therapy was a big step for most people. One they’d often already put off for a long time.

“Sure.” Jill rested the pen and the notepad on her knees. “I’m Jill.” Way to state the obvious. “I’m here to help you with whatever it is you want or need to discuss. Absolutely nothing is taboo in this office. This is your safe space. Nothing you say will shock me. I’ve been doing this for a very long time and helping people through a difficult time in their life is my passion. It’s what I do. Apart from a couple of obvious exceptions, there is complete confidentiality between us. I can tell you about those exceptions if you wish.”

Amelia shook her head.

“But otherwise, nothing you say will ever leave this room.” Jill followed up with another smile. This was the moment to make the client feel a touch more comfortable. She discreetly glanced over Amelia’s body to see if any tension was leaving her muscles. Apparently not just yet. Some clients needed to unload before they could relax. “I’m here for you, Amelia. I have your GP’s referral, but I’d like to hear your reasons for coming to see me in your own words.” Jill caught herself being a bit too eager to hear Amelia’s voice again. She waited with increased anticipation.

“I—uh,” Amelia started. “I had a burnout.” She swallowed. “Very ‘of the times’, I know. I’m usually never up with the latest trends, yet here I am.”

A rather dark and self-deprecating sense of humor, Jill thought, but didn’t write down. She wanted Amelia to talk freely before she took any formal notes. Jill sent her another encouraging smile.

“About a month ago, I had a massive panic attack at work. I thought it would pass after some rest. I took a few days off. But as soon as I got stuck in again, the panic returned.” Amelia put a hand over her sternum. “Since then, I’ve had this continuous agitated sensation right here. I just… I can’t shake it. I can’t relax any longer. I have no energy. I had to drag myself over here. It’s been… utterly grueling because I hardly recognize myself.”

“What do you do for work?”

“I’m a biochemical researcher for a pharmaceutical company. My team and I develop new drugs.” She scoffed. “But as far as I know, no drug has been invented to change the way I feel.”

“Is it a very high-pressure environment?” Jill asked.

“You could say that.” Amelia sighed. “I know I need to talk about my work but even thinking about it makes me feel exhausted.”

“It’s all right. We don’t have to talk about your work right now.” Jill positioned the notepad in front of her. “Is it okay if I take a few notes now?” She waited for Amelia’s nod. “What else do you do beside work? Do you have a partner? A family?”

“I’m single.” It seemed Amelia’s voice had dropped into an even lower register.

Jill hoped to figure out later if that meant anything. For now, she just listened and jotted down some short sentences. 

“I was a cliché: the employee who turns the lights on in the morning and switches them off in the evening. I used to be utterly obsessed with my job. I actually loved it because I felt as though what I did mattered, but, along the way, I seem to have lost that conviction and now I feel like just another cog in the wheel of Big Pharma.”

“What changed?” Jill asked.

For the first time, a small smile played on Amelia’s lips. However tiny it was, Jill still thought it a beautiful sight to behold. She shoved that unprofessional thought away. She had just promised Amelia that she would be there for her and that she would help her. Being entranced by a hint of a smile was not going to further that goal. She’d need to give herself a stern talking-to later.

“Here I am, talking about work regardless,” Amelia said.

“Considering you suffered a burnout, I’d say that’s why you’re here.” 

The side of Amelia’s lips tilted into a crooked grin, the sight of which sparked a new tingle of heat to ignite in Jill’s chest.

Oh, good gracious god.  Jill wondered if she should ask for a moment to gather herself. What was happening? Who was this woman? She was a new client with a burnout. She was someone who needed Jill’s help, for crying out loud. So why was Jill getting so worked up about the degree at which her lips slanted when she half-smiled? She should make a note to discuss this with her own therapist tomorrow. Vic would surely give her an earful.

“To answer your earlier question.” Amelia’s low voice pulled Jill back to earth. “I don’t have a family. I don’t have the best relationship track record. It’s just not something I’ve ever been overly interested in.” She just shrugged as though her relationship status was the least of her worries. It probably was. “Meanwhile, I think my biological clock has ticked past my eggs’ use-by date.”

Jill uttered the tiniest of chuckles while she looked at her notepad. She’d copied the information she’d gotten in the GP’s referral. Amelia Shaw was forty-five. She was one of those women who looked neither young nor old. Maybe she just looked her age. Either way, there was something about her that had Jill much more intrigued than she’d been with any of her clients in a long time. She didn’t consider this a good thing at all.

“No wish for a child?” Jill inquired.

Amelia just shrugged again. 

Jill looked forward to finding out if this was her genuine attitude toward relationships and children, two of the key factors in most people’s lives. Amelia was either very good at pretending, or had adopted this apathetic stance subconsciously over time for another reason. That was also the thing with a new client: there was still so much to discover. Jill’s interest was piqued. Professional curiosity. The challenge of figuring out a brand-new-to-her person. The intricate puzzle of their personality and how it first presented itself. A woman like Amelia was one of the reasons Jill loved her job so much. Although in Amelia’s case, it seemed it wasn’t just Jill’s professional interest that was piqued.

“I don’t have any children,” Jill said, which was true, although it didn’t mean she had never tried to have them.

Amelia simply nodded. She didn’t appear to be one of those clients who liked asking questions. She was here for herself. She hadn’t come to deflect the attention away from her which was a technique many a new client tried. Jill was very skilled at gently diverting personal questions right back at reluctant clients.

“Do you have any hobbies?” Jill asked. “Something that takes your mind off work?”

“I’m the goalkeeper for the Darlinghurst Darlings.” It was the first time Jill detected some genuine animation in Amelia’s voice.

“Soccer?” Although Jill had lived in Sydney for more than ten years, most of them in Darlinghurst, she had never heard of the Darlinghurst Darlings.

“Yep. I take immense pride in keeping a clean sheet.”

Jill arched up an eyebrow.

“Not letting the other team score,” Amelia clarified. “Although my spot on the team is in danger, now that I’m in my forties. I’m the oldest player on the team—even, I think, in the league. You could say I’m holding on to something that I should let go of. You know, give someone younger a chance, but it’s hard for me… That team is like my family, even though most of the women I started out playing with have long stopped. And I will admit it’s not always easy keeping up with the younger ones.” She puffed up her cheeks and blew out some air. “Then again, as the goalkeeper, I don’t have to run that much during a game.”

Amelia’s precarious spot on the team might have contributed to her work burnout. Jill jotted another note.

“Sounds like a fun hobby.”

“I love it… I’ve been thinking about starting a league for 40+ women, but the pickings are slim. Turns out women in their forties have other things to do in their spare time than play soccer.” She narrowed her eyes. “How old are you, if I may ask?”

Jill burst out into a chuckle, although, these days, she didn’t particularly enjoy being asked about her age. “Forty-nine.”

“Do you play any sport?” Amelia sure was passionate about this topic.

“I’m, um, more of an art aficionado,” Jill heard herself say. Could she sound any more pretentious?

“Oh, well, I guess I shouldn’t consider you for my mature players’ league then.” Amelia’s lips stretched into the most glorious smile Jill had witnessed for as long as she could remember. The thought that she’d be willing to try soccer for Amelia flashed through her mind but she managed to extinguish it as soon as she identified it as utterly foolish.

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