Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Fiction

Announcing my upcoming release, Hope Springs Eternal. It will be available on April 7th, and I'll be at The Launch Party all that day, celebrating. Hope you'll join me.

The release of this novel completes my Stages of Love series, and all will eventually be available in both download and PRINT. Ally Robertson, the CEO of Eternal Press made an astonishing decision to put even the novellas in print format. What a wonderful concept, because it allows us to maintain a 'bragging' copy of our work, as well as purchasing them for gifts, prizes, and more. Amazing Grace, just got posted on Amazon.com today, joining my other full-length EP releases, Sparta Rose, Sarah's Journey, and Prairie Peace. Chastity's Charms, Forever Faith, and Hope Springs Eternal will soon join the list, as will Paging Dr. Jones. How cool is that?

Hope this teaser will entice you to want to read more...you know, that's why we post them. *smile*

EXCERPT
Hope stopped in the doorway of Dr. Carlson’s office and eyed the framed diplomas hanging behind his mahogany desk. His background appeared quite impressive. She scanned the other three walls for pictures of a wife and children but saw none.

She took a seat in one of two leather armchairs and tried to look at ease. Still fighting nerves, she crossed and uncrossed her ankles, straightened her blouse and tucked her shoulder-length hair behind her ears. Reaching into her purse, she opened her compact, and applied fresh lipstick. Even at home, it was a ritual.

As she grinned into the mirror, checking her teeth for stains, she caught his reflection. She snapped the oval mirror shut and jammed it back into her pocketbook, but not before seeing the redness in her cheeks.

“Sorry about the wait.” He walked behind his desk, sat and began flipping through a chart.

She felt certain a hint of a smile crossed his face before he sobered. He glanced up at her. “I don’t see any current medications in your records. Dr. Smith prescribed Valium for you some time ago, but that’s all I’m seeing in his notes.”

“I’m not taking anything at the present time. That prescription was to help me deal with the death of my husband.” Her shoulders tensed at the memory.

Dr. Carlson’s brow creased. “Oh, I’m… I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, but I’m doing fine. It’s been three years already.” She started to add that time heals all wounds, but it was a lie. She still missed Alan so much she often cried herself to sleep at night. At the thought of him, she blinked back tears.

“So, you aren’t taking any prescribed meds at this time?”

“No.” She uncrossed her ankles.

“Anything over the counter?”

“No.” She crossed her knees.

“Do you have any medical issues you’d like to discuss with me?”

She shook her head. “Other than being tired on occasion, I feel pretty good most of the time.”

“No hot flashes or night sweats?”

What was he insinuating? She planted her feet firmly on the floor.

“None to speak of.” She made sure her tone held a hint of ice.

“Mood swings?”

Hope leaned toward the desk. “Dr. Carlson, why don’t you just ask me if I’m experiencing menopause? I was a nurse so I know all the symptoms.”

“I didn’t mean to insult you. I’m concerned with your blood pressure. It’s higher than normal, and sometimes…”

She took a deep breath and leaned back in her chair. “I had my last period a year ago. I lied about the flashes and sweating. I sometimes have both, but I refuse to take hormone replacement therapy because of the cancer risks. I’m sure my blood pressure is high because of stress. I’ve been trying to establish a home business, and….”

“I guess I should have read you chart more closely. I hadn’t noticed you’re a nurse.”

“Was…I’m not anymore.” She stared into her lap, uncomfortable with her confession.

“Sad. We’ve such a shortage of qualified people in the field. Do you mind if I ask why you left nursing?”

She looked up and shrugged. “My husband died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. He lingered for three weeks, while I sat by, helpless, unable to do anything for him. I realize people die every day, but watching him deteriorate went against the oath I took when I became a nurse. After that, I decided I didn’t have it in me to continue.”

Dr. Carlson swallowed. “I’m sorry to bring up such a painful topic for you.” He pulled a prescription pad from his desk drawer and began writing. When finished, he tore off the paper square and handed it across the desk. “This medication has nothing to do with menopause and carries no cancer risks we know of.”

Hope hesitated to take it and leaned further back in her chair.

He waggled the prescription at her. “As someone schooled in medicine, you must realize ignoring issues that can affect your heart health is foolhardy. This is purely to regulate your blood pressure. I want you to take the pills as directed, and I’d like to see you again in one month. By that time I’ll have the results of your tests and also a good idea if this medicine works for you. Do you have any questions?”

With a sigh, she reached out and took the paper. “None that come to mind.” She gazed past him and out the window. She had a million questions but none he could answer.

He stood and drew her attention back to him. “If you think of anything, feel free to call the office.” He extended his hand. “It was very nice to meet you.”

She rose and shook hands with him. Warmth spread up her arm and radiated into her chest. His eyes bored into her very soul, although she felt certain she’d imagined it. While holding his right hand, she made a cursory inspection of his left. He wore no wedding ring, but then lots of married men didn’t. She flashed a smile and released her grip. “Thank you. I’ll see you next month.”

After leaving his office, she stopped at the reception desk and made a return appointment. All of a sudden, having a mammogram didn’t seem like such a bad thing. It provided a reason for her to come back to see Dr. Carlson. She couldn’t get his sexy image out of her mind.

How old was he? Age was such a hard thing to judge on a man. Itwas hardly fair for him to know about her night sweats and hot flashes, and she only knew his name, what colleges he attended and that he didn’t wear a ring. But did it matter? He’d shown no interest in her other than as a patient, so why act like a teenager hoping for a date to the prom? There had to be some conflict of interest between patient and
doctor socializing. Unfortunately nothing conflicted with her interest in
him.

The waiting room was almost empty when she passed through it. Two pregnant women remained, chatting, laughing and comparing bellies. If only Alan had left her with a child, she wouldn’t be alone. The phrase, “no use crying over spilled milk” ran through her mind as she closed the door behind her and maneuvered back down the long
corridor. She stopped at the door marked, “Radiology.” It might as well have said “gallows” because an invisible noose already drained the moisture from her mouth.

She covered her left breast. “I’m sorry for what I’m about to put you
through, but I have no choice. Doctor’s orders.”

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