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The 2018 Metro Moncton Book Festival

Published May 8, 2018 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Hello, my friends. I’m back and have a special event for you to consider.

The 2018 Metro Moncton Book Festival is a one day event and is fast approaching. Please plan to drop in and meet your local authors and, hopefully, purchase a few books. This gives us a wonderful chance to chat with our readers. I know I’m very much looking forward to it. 🙂


Saturday June 9th 2018

10 AM – 3 PM

Moncton Lions Community Centre
473 St. George Street,
Moncton, NB

At present, I believe we have over 40 authors registered, and that means plenty of genres on hand. I can’t list all the bios here, but you’re welcome to check them out on our website:

Hope to see you there. LN



New Release by London Saint James!

Published August 20, 2017 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Today it is a great pleasure to welcome back my friend and fellow author, London Saint James, with a new release. Take it away, London…

Title: Forever & Always
Series: Two Hearts, One Soul Duet: Book TwoBk2.1 Forever & Always E-Book Cover - Copy
Genre(s): M/F Contemporary Romance
Heat Level: 4
Word Count: 119k
Author: London Saint James
Publisher: LSJ Romance
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Cover Art: Book Cover by Design
Editor: Red Penn Services

From international bestselling author London Saint James comes the final installment of Two Hearts, One Soul, a breathtaking story of two people who have always been connected, forever tied together by fate, by destiny, by unbreakable love.

With the media hell-bent on exposing Winter’s once private life, Cayden will do anything to protect her. But there’s more than just the voracious paparazzi conspiring against them.

Involved in an unprecedented web of strange events, and wound in a string of lies about to break with devastating consequences, Winter must battle ghosts from her past that threaten to harm the man she loves.

Faced with a choice she always knew would be inevitable, and a secret of her own, can the fairytale Winter’s been living with Cayden beat the odds of their reality and really come true?

Thirteen years ago, I died.
While my death hadn’t been physical, it became a never-ending death of the heart. A complete withering of the soul. You see, Austin Carlyle was my everything. My best friend. My lover. The very air I breathed. The sun in my world. My warmth. The beating of my heart. But the night before our wedding, my heart would be ripped from me when Austin’s life ended in a horrific car crash. A crash I ‘survived’ if that’s what you want to call it.
Unable to cope with Austin’s loss, I retreated deep within myself, eventually leaving New York and my broken past behind. I found some semblance of a new life in Colorado, living in the make-believe worlds of the novels I wrote.
Three weeks ago, I returned to the place I knew would hold all the ghosts of my past, though I came back to the Big Apple at the urging of an old acquaintance, Zander Harrison—Austin’s one-time agent and friend. He convinced me to help him with a script to a movie that had been put in a very expensive holding pattern. The leading man hadn’t been happy with the direction of the film and had requested Zander find me. I couldn’t imagine why. I wrote romance novels. I wasn’t a script writer. But something about my books captured Cayden—an A-list actor I’d never seen or heard of before. Of course, I’d soon find out not knowing who the actor was, was ridiculous. I might have been living in my own personal dark ages, but still. He was a megastar. However, the real shocker would be what I faced when memories from the past came back to haunt me.
Weak, bone-cold, sopping-wet, and on the verge of batshit crazy, I stumbled into someone on Valentine’s Day—of all days—who shook me to my very unsteady foundation. What I saw when I looked at him was the face of a destroying angel, because it was like looking back in time at Austin. Oh, there were a few things different, like the color of his hair being nowhere near the pitch black of Austin’s, but so much about the man was baffling. He was the same height—his build an exact match. His voice—eerily close in texture, tone, and inflection. But if that’s not strange enough, he spoke with the same cadence.
Who was he? The Hollywood heartthrob I’d never seen before—Cayden Cain.
After our bizarre ‘introduction’ the need to know more about him ate at me like the slow drip of acid. I had to find some answers, so I searched the internet. Surprised by the results of my search would be an understatement. It was all too much. Too unbelievable. Impossible. Cayden was twenty-three years old, the exact same age Austin was when he was killed, but even stranger, Cayden had been born in the same month, on the same day—May eighteenth—in the same city as Austin, only years later.
But that’s not all. There was a weird coincidence of Cayden being involved in a car accident. One which tragically took the lives of his parents and left him the sole survivor of that accident when he was ten, putting this terrible happening around the same timeframe as the wreck Austin and I were involved in. What was also baffling was the life path Cayden took—acting. It was very close to the path Austin had taken and would have continued to take if he’d been alive. By seventeen, Cayden had been the lead in a small foreign film and moved to Hollywood shortly after, gaining his groundbreaking role at the age of eighteen. The first movie Cayden obtained his superstar recognition for was Longing.
Before Austin’s death, he’d signed a movie deal with Paramount. What was the title of the movie he was to begin filming after our wedding? Longing.
When I first read that, I gaped—completely stunned. Then I read a synopsis of the movie, beyond shocked to see it wasn’t just a coincidence of the title; it was the exact same movie. I had no idea why Paramount shelved their project for so many years. But to find it had finally been completed with Cayden as the leading man, well, what were the odds of such a thing?
Even with all the uncanny coincidences and the almost carbon copy similarities in appearance, what was truly unbelievable? Cayden’s eyes—the same shades of blue from my past. They captured me, looking straight into my soul—the eyes of my love. My life.
Everything changed.
Trust me, I tried to fight against the truth—the pull I hadn’t felt in so very long—but it was no use. I’d come to believe, as crazy as it might seem, some way, somehow, Austin saved me through Cayden. It was as though they were two hearts, one soul. Cayden himself spoke as though he’d always known me. Missed me. Loved me even. I couldn’t explain how it was possible, but he, like Austin, was the missing piece of my heart.
With his touch, Cayden brought me back to life, reawakened dormant feelings, and gave me what had long been missing—Winter Perri. The only problem, I wasn’t sure I could live in Cayden’s superstar, paparazzi infested world.
“Will you stay with me?” he’d asked.
I gave the only answer that made any sense at all.

Buy Links:
Amazon UK:
Amazon CA:
*Read For Free with Kindle Unlimited

For a limited time only, Always (Two Hearts, One Soul Duet: Book One) is on sale!THOS Sale and Available Now
You Can Find Book One Here:
Amazon UK:
Amazon CA:
*Read For Free with Kindle Unlimited

About the Author:
London Saint James has lived in many places, but never felt “at home” until she met the real-life man of her dreams and settled down in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. London lives with her husband and their fat cat who thinks he owns them.

As an award-winning, international bestselling author, London is living her childhood dream. She knew all the scribbling she did, that big imagination of hers, and all those clamoring characters running around in her head would pay off someday.
Stalking Links:
Twitter: @LSJRomance

London will be giving away a signed paperback of Always (Two Hearts, One Soul Duet: Book One) as well as a handmade leather bound travel journal, and a pair of pink mirrored Sojo shades to one lucky winner. All you need to do to be eligible is fill out the Rafflecopter entry below.
The winner will be announced on September 15th
Rafflecopter HTML
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spotlight on Tamsin Baker

Published August 31, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Tamsin Baker is here today with a new release AND a sale. Check it out!

*New Release*

Shadowing the Teacher

Book 3 in the Perfect Pairs series

MFM paranormal- shifters



Two powerful lion shifters. One human female. Sparks are about to fly…

Kane and Reid thought they found their mate, their wife Amanda, but she died over a year ago. The legends foretold their subsequent demise, and the twins impatiently waited for death. They attend their cousin’s wedding as a final goodbye to family, only to meet a woman that alters fate. Samantha is all delicious curves, and she calls forth their lion shifters, forcing them to question if Amanda was indeed their real mate.

Will Samantha overcome all the obstacles in her way, including a boyfriend that’s determined to keep her? And will Kane and Reid give Sam the opportunity to be the one woman they need?

Buy Links:





On sale for 0.99cents

This week ONLY … the first in the Perfect Pairs series-

Prowling the Vet


Laura is a veterinarian in a country town near the spectacular Canadian Rocky Mountains. She’s intelligent, beautiful, over-sized, and not interested in a relationship with any man. When she literally gets knocked off her feet by a pair of twins, she’s horrified to find she can’t resist the attraction.

Brandon and Tyler have been waiting for their perfect mate since they were teenagers. Brandon’s buried himself in alcohol and women, but Tyler’s so lonely it hurts. When they meet the voluptuous Laura they must pull together to win the heart of their fated mate, and prove why a Perfect Pair of mountain lion shifters are exactly what she needs.

Buy Links:


99 Cent Sale!

Published August 1, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Today is a beautiful day here in New Brunswick and it’s a wonderful day for my readers.

Zakia and the Cowboy is on sale for 99 cents! This is the novel that launched my career and gave validity to my writing. It became a bestseller on Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Bookstrand. It was a top pick at Night Owl Reviews and Book of the month in 2011 at the To Be Read Pile reviews. It also launched the Thunder Creek Ranch series with Evernight Publishing, which now totals 8 books with 2 more planned.

Next up is Abby’s Intent followed by A Thunder Creek Christmas, which will complete this series.

I have truly enjoyed writing these novels of romantic suspense. The town, the ranches, and the people will live in my heart and in my books forever. If you haven’t yet read Zakia and the Cowboy, I urge you to grab a copy while it’s on sale.

Warning: Sexual Content


Now Available in Print!!!


With a stalker following her every move, Zakia has no choice but to flee the city. Her options limited, she runs to the only place she’s ever felt safe…the Thunder Creek Ranch and her ex-husband, Lucas.

Will he protect Zakia from the stalker? And if he does will either of them be able to ignore the feelings that have simmered for so long, ready to explode… before danger either draws them together or pulls them apart.


“Sorry, Darlin’. Always a cowboy,” he apologized.

Luke sat on the edge of the bed and struggled to remove his cowboy boots, then disposed of pants, briefs and socks. When he looked up and saw the still smooth, silky skin of her upper torso and full breasts partially covered by her beautiful, long, blonde hair, he had to ask himself how he got to be so lucky. Déjà vu was very much in existence as he admired the woman standing before him. Zakia was still every bit the exquisite, sexy woman she’d been on their wedding night, only now she was trying hard not to giggle.

“What’s so funny,” he asked with a grin as he reached for her.

“Just a little touch of déjà vu going on.”

“I was thinking the same thing. You’re just as beautiful now as you were on our wedding night,” he stated as he pulled her back into his arms.

“Well, I was thinking it funny that you said those exact same words on our wedding night.”

“What words?” he asked, curious and trying to think.

“Sorry, Darlin’. Always a cowboy.”

“Ooohh, those words. It’s true. A cowboy doesn’t go too far without his boots.”

“Did you mean it, Luke?”

“Mean what?”

“That you still think I’m beautiful.”

“Do I need to install mirrors on every wall in the house?” he teased. “Yes, you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, and sexily built. Now, shut up and kiss me.”

“Oh, I so like a man who knows what he wants,” she cooed.

When she reached for him, pulling him down for a kiss filled with all the passion he remembered, his heart soared. Gone was the polite restraint they’d held to since her arrival. He kissed her back, longing for more, aching for the promise her lips delivered.

His hands moved to her breasts, rubbing and tweaking the nipples to turgid peaks, then massaging the silken softness until she moaned against his mouth in pleasure. Breaking the kiss, he took one rosy nipple into his mouth, sucking and nipping lightly before transferring his attention to the other one.

He worked his way down her body, one kiss at a time, having to keep a tight rein on his control as she breathed his name over and over again. Her body writhed beneath him as he reached her sopping pussy, her unique scent driving him wild as always. He parted her lips and kissed her, rubbing tiny circles on her clit with his thumb. His other hand reached beneath her to fondle her ass as he began sucking her, his tongue laving and prodding her wetness until he could take no more. Rising up, he coaxed her legs apart with his knees and positioned himself. As he looked into her desire-glazed eyes, he moved, pushing into her with one hard thrust.

Then he stilled. It had been as tight as their first time. “Did I hurt you?”

“Uh, uh.” She shook her head as her body began to move, encouraging him to pull out and push into her warmth again.

She grabbed his hips, pulling him closer, deeper, and they fell into a rhythm that told of their familiarity with each other. It was as if he’d gone back in time, back to the days of love and laughter, caring and sharing their lives, completing each other. He thrust in and out, faster, harder, seeking the rapture he’d only found with the woman lying beneath him.

Thought took a long, slow ride after that as they concentrated on catching up on years of lost loving, and he was pleased to note, she still had that deep, husky, pleading note in her voice when she screamed his name.

I do love my cowboys. LOL

Now that I’ve whet your appetite, go ahead and download your copy.

Universal Amazon Link:

Amazon US:

Amazon Canada:

Amazon UK:

 All my books can be found on my Author Page, several of which are permanently priced at 99 cents. Check it out at:

Happy reading! 🙂

#Free ebook: Suited to be a Cowboy

Published July 10, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Free July 10th-14th. It’s with great pleasure that, due to fan requests, I announce my impending move to offer my books at outlets besides Amazon. Suited to be a Cowboy will most likely be the last book I offer free as I’m branching out my distribution to include all ereaders at several outlets. Stay tuned. I’ll post updates as soon as the books are available elsewhere. 🙂

Contemporary Western Romantic Suspense

Warning: Sexual content


The horse riding area with three horses on the background on a bright sunny day

Inheriting a ranch on the heels of her husband walking out has Melissa Dehavilland struggling to learn the ropes. James McGovern, raised in foster care, has saved all his life toward a dream…that of owning a ranch. Such diverse backgrounds don’t always converge in harmony, especially when their first meeting turned sour, but working together means saving her ranch and restoring his dream. Respect is hard-earned and trust non-existent as they fight their attraction to each other. Melissa’s ex shows up, wanting a cut and causing trouble. The difficulties bind them closer together as they strive to guarantee a future…together.

Ready for a teaser excerpt? Here goes…

Jimmy was pumped. Adrenaline poured through his veins as wild as the Mustangs while he’d chased after the horses. Now the rush had left, he was dog-tired and looking forward to sharing his news with his boss. But not smelling as he did coming off the range.

“Sherry, you are one beautiful horse. You knew what to do better than I did. Or was it that handsome stallion that had you moving so fast?” He frowned as he gave his horse a good rubdown, remembering the incident with Midnight Rain. How could he and Melissa get back to a normal working relationship? Would she even care about his success tonight? Animosity rent the air whenever they were near each other.

He’d bite the bullet and take the first step by sharing his news. After all, he hadn’t asked to bring Sherry with him and it had been rude to assume it would be all right.

After returning to his room, he headed straight for the shower. He’d clean up and change clothes before going to find Melissa. He and Tippy had corralled eighteen Mustangs tonight. He’d hoped for one or two, as on previous occasions, but they’d been lucky.

He showered in record time and went into the bedroom to find clean clothes, a towel wrapped around his waist. That’s when he noticed the lights on in Melissa’s room. She’d gone to bed. Maybe she just wasn’t interested.

Would she mind if I cross the courtyard and knock on her door? He stood close to the glass pane, trying to catch a glimpse of movement that would indicate she was still up. Nothing moved. The lights blinked off as he stood there, undecided. Well, that settles that. Letting the towel drop, he turned toward the bed. He’d tell her tomorrow, if she asked.

Exhausted beyond belief, he fell asleep almost instantly.

 * * * *

 Oh, wow! Melissa felt like a voyeur. A wanton and extremely needy voyeur.

When he came out of the bathroom wearing only a towel, she should’ve turned away, but she couldn’t. Her feet seemed glued to the floor.

From the way he filled out his clothes, she’d known he had a great physique. What she hadn’t known, and couldn’t possibly guess, was how splendid a body he did have.

His broad shoulders tapered to a narrow waist, not a spare ounce of flesh on him to be seen. Perfect abs, muscled biceps, and those legs, long and lean. Her legs shook in reaction, threatening to give way. She was about to start drooling. Never had she seen such a perfect body.

Certainly not Marcus’s. She giggled, remembering his paunch. Too much wining and dining did that to a person. Served him right, the adulterous jerk.

She watched as Jimmy crossed his room, walking up close to the patio doors. Was he coming to see her? Dressed like that? Had she given him reason to think he could? Melissa’s insides tightened in response as she turned off the lamp. She almost parted the blinds and waved when he looked her way…until he dropped the towel.

She’d moved then, peeking through the blinds to try and determine if Jimmy was retiring for the night, or just winding down.

Her eyes threatened to pop out of her head and she knew her mouth was hanging open, but she couldn’t look away. She took one step backward, then another, never taking her eyes off his muscular physique. When he turned and headed for bed, she almost cried out for him, such was her need. Instead, she stood there and admired his fine tush until he covered it with the blankets and turned out the lamp.

“Good night, Jimmy,” she whispered into the darkness. “Sweet dreams.” She undressed and crawled in between the sheets, punched her pillow into submission and settled in to get some shut-eye. Sleep did come, eventually, and with it exquisite dreams of the man across the way.

Download your copy here and enjoy:

#99cent Sale!!!

Published June 2, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Yes! I’m happy to do this for you, my loyal fans. 🙂 Over 200 pages of reading for only 99 cents. Sale runs from June 2nd to 9th. I urge you to grab it while you can.

Love on the Rocks_hires

Love on the Rocks is set near my hometown in New Brunswick, Eastern Canada. Love on the Rocks came to life after a medical emergency required therapy. n an effort to regain the flexibility in my left hand, I began typing. I practiced with typing tests and such but soon got bored. The inkling of an idea began running through my mind, and I went with it. Seven weeks later, Love on the Rocks was edited and ready to go. This romantic suspense has been a favorite for many readers. It begs the question…What would you do to protect your child and keep him or her safe.

On the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend, Sara has exhausted all avenues of hope. Although her landlady has been great, she’d received an eviction notice and had to relocate in two days. Knowing she’d have to live out of her car and with winter fast approaching, it was no life for an infant. She wanted more for her child. In desperation, she comes up with a plan.

And so begins this story full of drama, heartbreak, renewed hope, and love. A good, clean read for your enjoyment. 🙂

Here is what readers are saying:

“Ms. Nelson, with her trademark skill in creating romantic suspense filled with unforgettable characters and smooth-flowing dialogue, beautifully builds bonds of love between Sara and the book’s hero. The plot will instantly hook you and keep the pages turning. And the book contains a surprising twist I totally didn’t anticipate. An excellent read all around.” M. Fayard

“There was a lot of suspense in this book. It seemed wherever Sara went suspense followed. This was a well written book and I enjoy reading books by this author!” Angie

For more reviews, as well as the official blurb and excerpt, please visit my website at:

To receive your copy, follow this link:

***Please Note:  As this is a Kindle Countdown deal, I’m not sure of its availability at the sale price everywhere. If it’s not on sale in your area, I do apologize, and remember, if you’re an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you get to read it for free.

I hope you enjoy Love on the Rocks. Happy reading.

#99cent #sale

Published April 12, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Hi! Just wanted to let you know that Finding Baby J, a contemporary romance, is on a 99 cent sale today. LN_finding baby J_200x300


One lonely woman, a doctor afraid of commitment… Will finding Baby J help them find each other?

Shana Davis knows what it’s like to be unloved and unwanted. Her childhood involved being shuffled from one foster home to the next. One night, as her shift at Mercy Hospital comes to an end, she hears a forlorn, mewling sound and finds a newborn baby boy left in a dumpster. The abandoned baby appeals to her soft heart and her immediate attachment to the child—dubbed Baby J—leads to her spending a lot of time in the Maternity Ward in the company of the handsome Dr. Daniels.

Dr. Kagan Daniels is heart-sore and commitment-shy due to his failed marriage and past experiences with selfish, cold-hearted women. But he sees a gentle, caring soul in Shana and is drawn to her. Despite his reservations, he realizes he wants to get to know her better and finds excuses to spend time in her company.

Having always wanted to be a daddy, Kagan adopts Baby J. As he and Shana grow closer, Shana feels she’s found her own private heaven. She has Baby J and the man of her dreams. What more could a woman want?

But a conniving woman, a manipulative mother, and a man from Shana’s past threaten to come between them. Will the lies spewed by others separate them forever? Or can their love win out over all?

Warning: Sexual content

I hope you grab yourself a copy while it’s at the reduced price. Enjoy!

Please Note: Finding Baby J is also available in print. 🙂




#FREE children’s book on Amazon!

Published April 7, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

That’s right, folks. Time to cater to the kiddies in your life. Hoppy Froggy is a colorful and fun book. It even has activity pages at the back. Download your Free copy now.  Free until Sunday, April 10th. Hoppy Froggy

Praise for Hoppy Froggy:

 5 stars  A book that will hop into your heart Dec 12 2015
By Michelle Fayard Published on
Youngsters will laugh out loud at Froggy’s funny, clever and resourceful solution to his problem, while readers of all ages will love the way the personality of this adorable amphibian shines in HOPPY FROGGY, the debut children’s book by author Lorraine Nelson and illustrator Sharon Wilson-Dupuis.

A unique feature about the book, and one that children are sure to love, is the activity pages at the back of the book.

Lorraine and Sharon, sisters from New Brunswick, Canada, always said that one day they’d produce books together. Fans of Ms. Nelson’s romantic suspense novels might recall that Ms. Wilson-Dupuis also was the illustrator for the covers in the Hudson Ranch series.

Ms. Nelson came up with the concept for this book when her first-born grandson, Samuel, was 3 years old. The sisters teamed up to create HOPPY FROGGY for their now, combined, seven grandchildren, and they dedicate this book to grandchildren everywhere. Lorraine’s clever text brought to life through Sharon’s skillful illustrations combine for a book that is sure to be a story-time hit.

5 stars  Fantastic Frog book for children Sept. 3 2015
By Rhonda Patton Published on
This was given to me for an honest review. First of all I have to say I love frogs. The illustration throughout the book will give kids a laugh. The illustrations were honestly great, fun for kids. Mrs. Nelson also represented the book very well. This is for the young reader ages 3 – 7. I recommend this book to your children, it is fun and enjoyable. I think the whole family will love to read over and over.
Please note: Hoppy Froggy is also available in print.

Free Book from Nese Ellyson!!!

Published February 27, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Nese and I met online years ago when we’d both entered a Harlequin contest. Neither of us won, but we’ve kept in touch and have become good friends.Escape by Vic

Today and tomorrow, her inspirational romantic suspense, Escape to Sanctuary, is Free. This is an exceptional story of love and bravery in the midst of being hunted by a serial killer. It’s a page turner you won’t want to miss. An excellent time to grab your copy.


When Dr. Evangeline Tourmaine’s step-mother turns up dead, she comes back to the states and unwittingly becomes the target of a killer. FBI Agent Colton Segar swears he will protect Evie, if it’s the last thing he does. Not easy to do when she keeps saving people in need of medical help. She’s drawing a lot of attention. As Colton tries to keep her under the radar, he finds himself drawn to her, and soon protecting her is more than just his job. It becomes a matter of heart.



“Doctor, come quick!”
Doctor Evie didn’t hesitate, but practically ran to the young woman who had summoned her. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“My husband, Rafael, he has the fever for three days. He is sick with the vomit like color of leaves, and has plenty of pain. I am afraid for him,” said the woman Evie knew as Aaliyah.
“Take me to him.” Evangeline Tourmaine, Evie to her friends, grabbed her satchel and followed the woman as she rushed through the village. They entered a hut at the edge of town, one in much better shape than most others around it, and the interior was clean, almost as clean as the clinic’s hut she worked out of in the center of the village.
The man lay on a cot in the far corner of the room. Evie slowed her steps as she approached. “Hello, Rafael. I’m Doctor Evie. I’m going to find out what is causing your pain. All right?”
“Yes,” said the man between harsh, labored breaths.
“Where does it hurt?” she asked as she pulled on a pair of disposable latex gloves.
He put his hand over his right side above his hip.
She gently pressed around the area. Rafael screamed in pain. Not good.
“I’m sorry. I know it hurts. I’ll be as gentle as I can.”
Rafael nodded.
She checked his vitals. Temperature 103; Blood Pressure 135/90. Evie had expected the elevated BP because of the pain the man was in. She suspected his appendix was about to rupture and if it did, the poison would go all through him and that would mean certain death in these primitive conditions. Which meant immediate surgery, but there was no way to get him to the clinic, even if there was time.
“Rafael, I need to do another exam to confirm my suspicions. Is that all right with you?”
For an answer, he nodded, still gasping for breath due to the pain.
“Rafael, it’s your appendix,” she informed him a few minutes later. “It has to come out before it bursts,” she said as she removed the soiled gloves and put on a fresh pair.
“Okay, Doctor. Just please, stop the pain,” he pleaded.
“Can you sit up?”
“I think so.” Aaliyah helped her husband to a sitting position.
“Rafael, I’m going to give you an epidural, a needle which I will inject near the spinal cord and nerve roots. It has both anesthetic and pain reliever, so it will relieve the pain and freeze that part of your body so I can perform the operation.”
“All right.”
She prepared the needle and swiped his skin with an alcohol swab. “This may be uncomfortable, but try not to move.” She injected the medication. “You can lie down again now,” she said as she prepared her instruments for the operation. Thankfully, they were already sterilized and wrapped.
“Aaliyah, I will need some hot water and a few wash cloths and towels to clean up with.”
“Right away, Doctor.”
She had a thermal blanket in her bag. It was waterproof and she took it out to slide it under Rafael to protect the bed. Not an easy task, but with Aaliyah’s help, they got it in place.
“I can’t feel my legs,” Rafael complained.
“No worries. That means the anesthesia is working. You will sleep soon.”
He nodded off almost immediately and Evie began the task of removing the appendix without it rupturing. In this heat and in less than sterile conditions, Evie prayed for guidance and a successful operation.
Three and a half hours later, the operation a success and the patient bandaged, Evie was finished except for the clean up. She’d had to stop once to tie a bandanna around her forehead as the heat of midday intruded. She removed it now. It was soaked, but it had served its purpose.
“You go home, Doctor Evie. I clean up,” said Aaliyah.
“Are you sure?” Aaliyah sometimes volunteered at the clinic, so she knew to keep her home as sterile as it could be, given a dirt floor.
“Yes, you saved my Rafael. You go home now. Rest.”
“All right, but keep a close watch for signs of infection. His dressing needs to remain dry. Here are a couple of extras, but don’t change it unless you feel there’s a need.” Evie then counted out enough pain medication to do Rafael for a few days. “These are for the pain. One every four hours as needed. If you need me, holler or go fetch someone from the clinic.”
“I will.”
“Thank you, Aaliyah. I am tired.” Tired? She was exhausted. Evie wiped off her instruments and put them back in her bag ready to sterilize them when she got back to the clinic.
She hugged the other woman and left, walking back through the village a lot slower than when she’d gone with Aaliyah. She heard an infant crying and headed in that direction to find the child quieted now that she was feeding. Evie nodded and smiled at the mother, then resumed her trek to the clinic. She smiled as she came across some children playing tag. If only she had their energy.
She pushed back the curtain and entered the clinic, proud of what she’d accomplished here in this village. It was nothing more than a straw and clay hut like the natives lived in, only bigger, with white curtains dividing the inside area into cubicles of a sort. People came from miles around to see the lady doctor.
“Doctor Evie, you need to call home right away,” said her nurse assistant for the day. “The message is on your desk.”
Home…thousands of miles away…just what she didn’t need at the end of a long, stress-filled day. What did her stepmother want now? Ever since her father died, the woman seemed to think Evie had to cater to her. It wasn’t enough that she’d arranged a quarterly income from the estate for the woman, she constantly had her hand out for extras. And the pleading had gotten worse since she’d remarried. Apparently, her new husband couldn’t afford to keep her in style.
In no particular hurry to talk to the woman, Evie checked on a couple of her patients and grabbed a coffee and a snack from the kitchen area before going to the office. She sat behind the desk and heaved a tired sigh as she picked up the message slip.
It wasn’t from her stepmother.
A lawyer’s office she’d never heard of had called to say there’d been a death in the family. She was to call for details.
The news took her by surprise. They had to be referring to her stepmother. She was the only ‘family’ Evie had left. Evie felt a brief pang of guilt for her less than complimentary thoughts about her stepmother, but there was no love lost between them. They’d barely tolerated each other.
Might as well get it over with. She picked up the phone and dialed the number written on the paper. She’d have to go home for the funeral and settle the estate.
What on earth could she do with the Fairlawn Estate? Yes, she’d lived there growing up, but it was an historic mansion full of antiquities and never had felt like home, not that she’d had anything to compare it to at the time.
She was put through to an answering machine. It let her know that no one was in the office and to leave a number.
“This is Dr. Evangeline Tourmaine. Your office called to inform me of a death in the family. I will be enroute to America as soon as I can arrange a replacement and should be in Ohio by weeks end. I’ll be in touch when I arrive as I will not be available for you to contact me.” She hung up not really knowing if she should have given them any more information.
Due to the circumstances, she was able to find a replacement fairly quickly, but still, it was almost three days later when she’d boarded the plane. Eighteen hours in the air and two plane changes later, she was home. Or close to it. She hadn’t slept a wink on the plane due to an elderly gentleman snoring beside her, so her first stop was the airport hotel. She’d get a good night’s sleep and rent a vehicle in the morning to drive the rest of the way.
It didn’t happen as planned. Evie woke through the night, soaked with sweat from a raging fever. When she got up to get her thermometer and a couple of pain meds for the headache forming, she ended up running to the bathroom and hugging the toilet bowl for the next half hour. When she was able, she grabbed a cold washcloth and the small garbage can and went back to bed.
Morning didn’t bring with it any miracles. She was back to hugging the bowl again. As a doctor, she realized that she’d been hit with a flu virus. She knew she had to replace the fluids she’d upchucked, but the room had nothing except water, which had promptly set off the retching again.
The front desk called at one point to remind her of check out time. Evie took the opportunity to inform them she was sick and had to stay a few more days and requested juice, tea, and toast be sent up. Although she loved her coffee in the morning, just the thought of it made her stomach churn.
Three days later, her fever broke and the retching stopped. On the fourth morning, she was able to stand without the room spinning. She ordered a light breakfast and grabbed a much-needed shower.
Her stepmother had been buried by then and, as there was now no rush to get home, she allowed herself two more days of rest. By then, she felt recovered enough to continue her journey, so she rented a car, checked out of the hotel, and headed out. She’d only gotten about thirty miles down the highway when her weakened condition had her seeing double and she checked into the next motel she saw.
The next few days were spent alternately resting and building up her stamina. Full meals helped. It was a country motel and the meals were hearty and nourishing. Still weak from the ordeal and resigned to the task ahead of her, she drove home.
The Fairlawn Estate was just as she’d left it years ago. The grounds were professionally groomed and the stone façade gleamed from a recent storm, or at least, that was her guess. She sat in the car taking in her surroundings and knew she wouldn’t be staying in that big, empty mausoleum of a house, so she turned around and headed back to town. She’d drop in on the lawyer and then decide where to go and what to do.
An hour later, dazed and confused, Evie returned to Fairlawn. The lawyer was wrong. She didn’t know where he’d gotten the phony will, but Sheriff Caine was not the new owner of Fairlawn. The estate was hers and had been for years. Her grandfather had entrusted the estate to her on his death and no conman sheriff or his thieving lawyer was going to yank it out from under her. Even if she didn’t want to live in it, it was still her family’s property and she was the only one left. It was up to her to decide what to do with the estate.
She walked around the grounds, through the formal gardens, bypassed the gazebo, and ended up at the boathouse. It had always been a special spot for her and she’d spent a lot of time there as a child. If she wasn’t reading or writing a story, she was swimming in the lake.
Evie went inside and opened the big door to the bright, sunshiny day, a distinct contrast to her current mood, and sat on the sill looking out over the water. The gentle ebb and flow of the lake in front of her calmed her enough to realize that she needed to call her lawyer.
She dug out the prepaid disposable she’d purchased at the airport and dialed the number from memory. “Jacob Prescott, please. Evangeline Tourmaine calling.”
“One moment, please.”
Soft hold music sounded in her ear and she became conscious of footsteps behind her. Someone had entered the boathouse.
Evie turned toward the sound and a man in police uniform stood beside a giant of a man who had a gun pointed at her.
“Well, now, who have we here? Looks like a trespasser to me. Wouldn’t you say so, Miguel?” said the officer.
“Sure does, Sheriff. Maybe I should do something about her.”
“Yes, I think you should.”
Evie didn’t wait to hear any more. Fear shot her adrenalin sky high and she quickly ducked behind the skiff, pulled down the wench, sent the gear falling from the rafters, and took off running along the lake.
The gunman got off a wild shot while everything was falling on him. She felt the burn as the bullet entered her shoulder, but there was no time to waste.
What the heck was going on?
Evie made it back to her rental car and took off, spinning a volley of gravel stones at the two men now running behind her. She knew they could easily track the car, so she pulled into a seldom-used side road at the edge of town and parked. She walked back through the woods, leaving the car abandoned at the side of the road. All she carried was her backpack, which held her doctor’s bag, toiletries, wallet, and a change of clothes. She’d have to get to a phone and call her lawyer as she’d lost her disposable cell when she ran. She also had to call the rental company and tell them where to pick up their car.
But right now, she needed to stay alive and figure things out.
The walk through the woods was peaceful and quiet but it was getting darker by the minute. Once she’d gone about as far as her tired body would allow, she happened upon a shed in a clearing. She wondered who had built it and why it was there in the middle of nowhere. Then she spotted the charred remains of someone’s house long since abandoned.
She turned toward the shed and slowly pulled the door open, hoping nothing hid inside waiting to attack. Nothing scurried or slithered about, so she batted a few cobwebs away and looked inside the darkened interior. She could barely see an old car seat, which sat along the opposite wall. It would have to do. She closed the door and fumbled her way to the bench seat in the dark. She needed to rest for a moment. If she could just catch her breath.
Who was after her? Her mind raced at all the possibilities. This wasn’t how her return stateside was supposed to happen. She was so exhausted. She needed to find some place safe, but where? An officer had been with the man shooting at her. An officer the man referred to as sheriff. The same one trying to cheat her out of her home? How many other men were on his payroll? Darn it all! If she couldn’t trust the police, then who?
Evangeline slumped to a prone position. She was so tired and confused…and angry that someone would try to kill her. That had to be Sheriff Caine with that man at the boathouse. He’d acted as if he owned the place.
The shock started to wear off and the searing pain from the gunshot wound throbbed. She couldn’t stop herself from sobbing due to the fear and pain. She must have slept. When next she awoke, it was morning. The dull gray of a rainy dawn filtered through the one grimy window. Rain thundered on the tin roof, but the shed had kept her dry.
She stood, her body stiff and sore from sleeping in such a cramped space, but she had to keep moving. She’d soon have to tend to the gunshot wound before it got infected. She had already lost a lot of blood and was fast losing what little strength she’d regained since her bout with the flu. And she was hungry. She’d had nothing to eat since breakfast at the motel the day before.
Plodding along on tired feet in wet shoes was not her idea of a good time. Her hood was up but rivulets of water ran down inside the front. She could barely see two feet in front of her – it rained that hard at times. She had to find a place, a washroom or something, where she could remove the bullet and bandage the wound. Tap water had to be better than lake water for cleansing the injury.
She’d made it to town but didn’t dare walk down the street or stop at a restaurant. Evangeline stayed in the shadows as much as possible. With the heavy rain, not too many people were out and about, but she doubted that her attackers had quit looking for her. They were out there waiting to pounce. Of that, she was certain.
She had to find somewhere safe to stay…to hide out…to rest, until she could figure out what the sheriff and his lawyers were up to.
Please, God, help me.
When she glanced up to get her bearings, the word Sanctuary stood out, loud and clear, the lighted sign beckoning from the side of a building just ahead.
Thank you, Lord.

End of teaser excerpt. Ready for more?

Available at the Amazon nearest you. Just click the link below. Happy reading!


Denise Ellyson, aka Nese, lives in a small town in rural Ohio with her own Prince Charming, two boys, and a cat they rescued. She’s an avid fan of romance, particularly when it has a suspense element. She’s always brimming with ideas and loves getting her thoughts down on paper. The day Denise released her first novel, Escape to Sanctuary, an inspirational romantic suspense, was one of the most exciting days of her life.

Denise is a bit of a Mrs. Fix It and enjoys doing repairs and renovations on her family home. She enjoys art and her paintings have been in several art shows. She feels she has the greatest job of all, working for her Christian ministry as an artist and designer.

To connect with Denise, check out her website:

You can also find her in the following places:

Twitter – @NeseDenise

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99 Cent Sale!

Published February 26, 2016 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Hi! I can’t believe February is almost gone. I’ve been hoping for any early spring. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get one. 🙂 (Shhh, don’t tell anybody, but we don’t have any snow.) Of course, that could change overnight, and often does, but January and February are usually our worst months of winter. We’ve only had four storms bad enough to need the driveway plowed, so that’s good.

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Starting today thru Sunday one of my favorite stories, Finding Baby J, goes on sale for only 99 cents. Why? Because I can.  And if the weather is cold where you are, this story is guaranteed to warm your hearts. It does mine every time I read it.


One lonely woman, a doctor afraid of commitment… Will finding Baby J help them find each other?

Shana Davis knows what it’s like to be unloved and unwanted. Her childhood involved being shuffled from one foster home to the next. One night, as her shift at Mercy hospital comes to an end, she hears a forlorn, mewling sound and finds a newborn baby boy left in a dumpster. The abandoned baby appeals to her soft heart and her immediate attachment to the child—dubbed Baby J—leads to her spending a lot of time in the Maternity Ward in the company of the handsome Dr. Daniels.
Dr. Kagan Daniels is heart-sore and commitment-shy due to his failed marriage and past experiences with selfish, cold-hearted women. But he sees a gentle, caring soul in Shana and is drawn to her. Despite his reservations, he realizes he wants to get to know her better and finds excuses to spend time in her company.
Having always wanted to be a daddy, Kagan adopts Baby J. As he and Shana grow closer, Shana feels she’s found her own private heaven. She has Baby J and the man of her dreams. What more could a woman want?
But a conniving woman, a manipulative mother, and a man from Shana’s past threaten to come between them. Will the lies spewed by others separate them forever? Or can their love win out over all?


      Chapter One
Shana pushed the trash cart through the back door of the cafeteria kitchen, her final chore as she finished her shift. In the normally quiet alley behind the hospital, she heard a pathetic mewling. The sound seemed to be coming from somewhere near the Dumpster. “Here, kitty, kitty!” she called softly in response, continuing to slowly push the cart closer so as not to scare the stray.
Okay, how do I stretch my budget to include adding another feline to my menagerie of injured and abandoned animals? But Shana knew she couldn’t pass up any opportunity to help the less fortunate. And since she herself was at the bottom of the economic food chain, animals were the chosen beneficiaries.
Why do I want to be a physical therapist? I might as well be a vet. She smiled at the humorous thought. As she came to a stop beside the Dumpster, the mewling continued.
“Poor baby, got yourself stuck in the Dumpster and can’t get out, can you?” Shana stood on tiptoes to peer over the lip of the huge can, and in the fading light of early evening, what she found rendered her motionless. She clutched her chest with a shock so deep it took her breath away. There, lying in the filth, was a precious baby boy.
“Dear God! Who would do such a thing?”
She hurriedly scaled the side of the Dumpster and reached in to lift the naked infant into her arms. The night wasn’t overly cold, but he needed to get warm fast. There was no telling how long the baby had been lying there. She cuddled him close to share her body heat and climbed back down to the ground, scanning the surrounding area to see if the mother was skulking nearby. Not wanting to waste any more time, she turned to go back inside, needing to get him fed and checked out. He was rooting around her breast, instinctively seeking nourishment.
“I’ve got nothing but love for you, sweetheart, but I bet one of the nurses in maternity will have just what you need.” She left the trash cart where it was—no one in their right mind would steal it—and rushed in through the kitchen door, straight to the towel cupboard.
“Shana! Is that one of your strays?” The cook waved a large, wooden spoon at her as Shana raced across the kitchen. She didn’t pause in her headlong dash to answer, “Yes, but—”
“Well, get it out of my kitchen!”
Shana swiped a large towel from the shelf and said, “Yes, ma’am.”
Wrapping her bundle as best she could on the move, she ran across the lobby and up the stairs to the second floor where she’d seen Dr. Kagan Daniels only moments before. The baby’s body was icy cold and the little mite seemed to be having trouble breathing, not making any sound at all. Dr. Daniels would know what to do.
She’d gathered quite an entourage by the time she reached labor and delivery, where the neonatal unit was located. Cook, as she found out later, had notified security of Shana’s “germ-infested stray,” and they were waiting for her at the top of the staircase.
“Miss Davis, pass over your stray. You know we don’t allow animals in the hospital,” said a big, burly guard as he reached for the baby.
“Dr. Daniels! I need Dr. Daniels,” she hollered, clutching the infant to her chest, panicked at being surrounded by so many people.
Dr. Daniels broke through the crowd. “What’s going on here?”
Shana spoke fast and loud to be heard above the din. “I found a baby crying in the Dumpster outside the kitchen. He’s cold and barely breathing.”
“Bring him in here.” He motioned toward the nearest delivery room. Shana wasn’t going to let the infant out of her sight until she was sure he was all right. She already felt attached to the little guy somehow.
“It’s a boy,” she said as she laid her precious bundle down in a bassinet. The doctor checked vitals and grabbed a newborn bulbous syringe to suction the mouth and nose. The baby cried out, and his color started to return to normal.
“Nurse, grab a bottle of formula and fit it with a newborn-sized nipple. We have to get some nourishment into this child.”
“Is he going to be okay?” Shana asked as the minutes ticked by and no one spoke to her.
“Yes, I’d say he’s only an hour or two old at most. He’ll be fine once he’s fed.” Dr. Daniels fitted a diaper over the littlest bum she’d ever seen and swaddled him in a blanket.
The nurse arrived with the bottle of formula, started to hand it to the doctor, then looked questioningly toward Shana’s outstretched hand.
“May I feed him?” Shana asked.
The nurse and Kagan exchanged a glance and nodded in agreement. Shana gently lifted the baby and held him close while she placed the nipple in his mouth. He latched on greedily and began sucking right away. Shana smiled down into his beautiful face as she gravitated toward a rocking chair, her heart overwhelmed by the emotions this tiny human being brought out in her.
Kagan ordered blood work and routine tests for the baby. Once the nurse had gone, he stood and silently observed the girl as she fed him. A biological mother wouldn’t be any more attentive or careful than this girl was. Certainly not his own mother, who’d promptly handed him off to a nanny right after his birth, then traveled to Paris to recover…where she’d stayed for three years.
The woman, dressed in a drab cafeteria uniform, her hair tucked under an ugly blue food-services cap, concentrated on the infant to the exclusion of all else. Kagan found he didn’t much like her ignoring him for the child. There was something unique and appealing about her. At first he’d felt suspicion toward the lovely woman. Was she the child’s mother? But no, the child’s olive skin tone and black hair put that theory to rest.
She was quite pretty in a simple way, slim and blonde. Her eyebrows and lashes were a pale blond, highlighting the flashing violet eyes he’d caught a glimpse of earlier. She filled out the uniform in all the right places, and her face, while serenely focused on the child, reminded him of a painting of the Madonna and child done by Raphael. Still, she looked vaguely familiar, and not because he bought his morning coffee from her.
“Where do I know you from?” he asked.
“Well, it could be the cafeteria, but more likely the baby-massage classes I started after taking my Physio courses last semester. I helped out the nurse who normally runs them as part of my internship.”
“Yes, I remember now. Miss Davis, right?”
“Yes, but I prefer Shana.”
“You demonstrated how to use the massage for babies with intestinal issues. It was very informative. We used the technique on a preemie that had undergone stomach surgery. It helped relieve gas without damaging the work the doctors had done.” Admiration for this girl with the miracle hands filled him.
She nodded. “You had a patient whose mom was learning how to do the infant massage to relieve gas. You’d performed a tummy operation on her little girl, so we showed her other places on the child’s body she could massage to help with gas relief.”
“Mrs. Hodges and little Tina. The therapy was great. It did wonders for the baby and the mother,” he added with a smile that made his eyes twinkle.
“Thanks.” Shana could feel herself blush. Compliments were such a foreign occurrence in her life, she stored each and every one so she could treasure it later. To make matters worse, he was unbelievably handsome, one of the sexiest-looking men she’d ever come across in her life and a nice guy to boot. When does that ever happen? She knew he was only talking to her to kill time until he could examine the baby more thoroughly, but to have his full attention felt exciting, making her insides warm in reaction to his soft-voiced comments.
Of course, she’d heard the talk going around the hospital. Several of the female staff would love to attract his attention, but he was always professional—to the eternal frustration of the ladies.
“Detectives Grayson and Farrier. We understand a girl brought an abandoned baby to this department. We need to talk to the attending physician and the girl who found the child,” announced a gruff voice from out in the hall.
“Of course. Right this way,” said a female voice followed by hasty footsteps in the corridor.
Shana swiveled the rocking chair on its base to face the door as the head nurse escorted two police officers into the room.
“Dr. Daniels, these officers are here to speak to you about the baby Miss Davis found.”
“Thank you, nurse,” Dr. Daniels said, excusing her from the exam room with a nod.   “I’m Dr. Kagan Daniels. How can I help you?”
“I’m Detective Grayson, and this is Detective Farrier. We’ll be investigating the abandoned baby case. Can you fill us in on the child and its condition?”
“The baby is a full-term, male infant of uncertain descent, born approximately two hours ago. I detected a slight heart arrhythmia, so I’ll need to keep him under observation. He is slightly underweight, dehydrated, and malnourished. Miss Davis is feeding him a bottle of formula as we speak. He seems content and otherwise healthy, but I’ll know more after we run a few tests.”
The detective, busy writing in a notebook, paused to ask another question. “Do you think the child’s medical condition is severe enough to cause a parent to abandon the child?”
“The parent would have no way of knowing the health of the baby at birth. And he wasn’t born here, that I can assure you.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Our last birth was just after midnight last night, a girl. This child was still sporting evidence of recent delivery and naked when Miss Davis found him.”
“Thank you, doctor. If we have any further questions, we’ll be in touch.”
“I’m here most days and staff has my number if it’s after hours.”
“Thank you.” Turning away from the doctor, Detective Grayson asked, “Are you Shana Davis?”
“Can you tell us what happened?”
“Sure,” Shana said. “I went outside after my shift to take out the cafeteria trash for Jacob, who’s not feeling well, and I heard a mewling sound. I followed the sound to the Dumpster outside the kitchen, thinking it was a kitten stuck somewhere and couldn’t get free. Instead, I found this precious baby boy lying there, stark naked and whining pitifully. I gathered him up and held him close, rubbing his arms and legs and trying to get him warmed up some, but he’d stopped making any noise at all and seemed to be barely breathing. So I ran back inside for help.”
“What time did you find him?”
“Six fifteen.” She held the baby up to her shoulder, rubbing circles on his little back to help bring up any gas. Once he burped, she resumed feeding him.
“Why did you come all the way up here when the emergency unit is fully equipped to deal with this kind of thing?”
Shana felt her face warm and avoided looking at the doctor as she answered. “I’d just been up here to pick up dinner trays, and I’d seen Dr. Daniels. He’s the head of neonatal, you know?”
“No, I didn’t know. Thank you for that information.” He jotted the information in his notebook. “Continue.”
“Well, who better to check the baby? I never even thought of going to emerg, just stopped in the kitchen long enough to grab a towel to cover the babe and rushed straight here.” She held the baby up to her shoulder again. He’d finished his bottle, and she needed to get another burp out of him before settling him in the bassinet the nurse had ready.
“Would you show us where you found the baby?”
A loud burp had everyone smiling pleasantly at the little guy.
“Sure.” She rose with the baby in her arms and walked over to the bassinet in the corner. Ever so gently, like a piece of fine china, she laid him down to sleep. “Sleep well, precious baby. You’re in good hands now.”
Shana straightened and realized the doctor had silently moved behind her. He’d heard her whispered words. Embarrassed, she strode to the door and said, “Good-bye, Dr. Daniels.” To the officers, she said, “Follow me.”
But before she could make her escape, the doctor called her name. “Miss Davis.”
She spun around, her heart hammering. Had she done something wrong? “Yes, Doctor?”
“You have my permission to visit the baby whenever you can.”
She could’ve hugged him she felt so happy. “Thank you, Doctor. I’ll do that.”
“Miss Davis, would you mind going with Detective Farrier and showing him where you found the child? I’ll join you downstairs shortly. I just have a couple more questions for the doctor.”
“Sure, but I have to leave for home soon or I’ll miss my bus.”
“Then let’s get going, Miss Davis. This won’t take long,” said Detective Farrier as he ushered her from the room.
Detective Grayson closed the door and turned toward him.
“No,” said Kagan.
“I don’t believe I’ve asked the question yet. What, exactly are you saying no to?”
“At first, I wondered if the child was hers, but a quick check while she was feeding the baby confirmed that her shift started at eight o’clock this morning. There’s no way.”
“Could she be helping a friend?”
“Maybe, but I doubt it. Apparently she’s known for finding strays.”
“Well, I’d say this time she found more than she bargained for.”
“So it would seem. Lucky for the little guy that she cared enough to search.”
“Very lucky. Thank you, Doctor. I’ll be in touch.”
Kagan watched the detective leave, then crossed to the bassinet. “You are one very lucky boy. Who tossed you away? And why? If it’s a medical condition they thought you inherited, I’ll find out. Rest assured, little one. As Shana said, you are in good hands.”
He stood there a few minutes longer, watching the baby sleep. His breathing seemed fine, but he’d have the staff keep a close eye on him, just in case. Kagan thought of the pretty cafeteria worker who’d found him. Was she really as honest and caring as she seemed? Time would tell.
The police had finished with her for the moment, so Shana ventured back to the maternity ward. Dr. Daniels sat at the nurses’ station, filling out a chart, but she interrupted to ask the one question that had been worrying her.
“Dr. Daniels, what you said to the police about the baby’s heart, is he going to be okay?”
He looked up from his notes to where she stood, wringing her hands nervously. He smiled. “The child is fine, and we’ll keep a close watch on him.”
“I need to catch my bus, but if it’s okay, I’d like to see Baby J one more time.”
“Baby J? Why do you think he’s a J?” Kagan asked.
“I figured they’d tag him with John Doe, but it seems too grown up for an infant, so I shortened it to J.”
“You’re taking this a little personally, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, well, it’s one of my bad habits. I can’t let anything or anyone defenseless go unprotected.” She smiled in embarrassment, feeling overexposed. She’d shared a weakness with someone who wouldn’t know how much she hated showing weakness to anyone.
Shuffled as she was between different foster homes during her childhood made her guard every part of herself, except with her adoptive, animal family. Baby J, however, made her feel courageous, ready to do battle on his behalf. The tiny child had no one to protect him or fight for him, and she felt the desire to do both welling up inside her.
Dr. Daniels nodded his assent and went back to his chart. Shana let herself into the nursery, smiled at the nurse on duty, and found the bassinet where Baby J was sleeping. She felt her heart lodge in her throat as she watched over the little bundle wrapped snug in a blanket sleeping peacefully. She leaned over and touched her fingers to her lips with a kiss, then placed it on the baby’s soft cheek. “I’ll be back to see you tomorrow, Baby J. Sleep, precious boy.”
He’d been right; she was quite beautiful in an earthy kind of way. Her blonde hair glimmered with golden streaks under the glare of the fluorescent lighting. Kagan watched from the doorway as the woman treated the baby in such a loving manner. He felt his chest tighten in response. She was one of those rare people who were real nurturers, unlike his own mother or even his ex-wife.
Shana left the nursery, and he went back to his desk. Never again would he be the victim of some selfish woman’s plotting for a wealthy husband or his mother’s evil matchmaking. He’d be better off staying single forever than to experience the pain of knowing his wife aborted his child to get even for not giving her something she wanted.
He shook his head in disgust. Enough self-pity. Time to get back to work. He had a cesarean section scheduled later in the evening and needed to stop mooning over the kind of woman he thought he should have had in his life. The face of the little cafeteria worker popped into his head and he admitted not all woman were manipulative.
The elevator door swooshed open, and a new arrival caused his thoughts to focus on the medical needs of the maternity ward during a full moon.
She was late getting back to her apartment because she’d missed her usual bus, and Shana’s hungry pets greeted her when she opened the door.
“Okay, guys. I’m on it. Dinner will be ready in a minute.” Both cats wrapped themselves around her legs, making it difficult to walk. As she dropped her purse and book bag on the couch on her way to the kitchen, she saw her cats had started shredding the side of the sofa again.
“You guys need to act like you’re house-trained.” The scolding fell on deaf ears as the cats continued to trail her all the way to the kitchen. They promptly jumped up on the counter as if to rush her in serving their food. She had to hide the bag of cat food in the cupboard above the sink to keep them out of it after having come home to a mess all over her kitchen floor one day. They’d been used to rummaging for food before she took them in.
She’d found Shalimar, an overweight tabby, in the alley behind the bus stop. She’d gotten her paw caught in a mousetrap while foraging for food. Once she freed the cat’s paw, Shay had followed her home. A car had hit Rex, a large orange tom. She’d taken him to the vet, brought him home to nurse him back to health, and he’d never left.
After feeding the cats and making a sandwich for herself, Shana went into the living room to grab her books. Tomorrow she had a test to take at school, followed by a double shift at the cafeteria doing patient-tray delivery and running the cash register. She hoped to have a chance to visit Baby J and maybe see Dr. Daniels again.
Even though he was way out of her league, she still couldn’t seem to get thoughts of him out of her head, especially the gentle way he handled Baby J. Shana’s greatest wish was to be a wife and mother, to have her own family, to be loved. That she would never have those things was also her greatest fear.
After she finished studying, she got ready for bed and crawled between the sheets, sleep claiming her almost immediately.
She dreamed of Dr. Daniels. Could clearly see his handsome, tanned features, serious amber eyes and wavy brown hair with its blond highlights. His shoulders were broad, and his hands so gentle.
They were beautiful hands, resembling those of a concert pianist. They slowly undressed her, and she felt herself blush, her inexperience showing even in a dream. After waking several times during the night, embarrassed by her vivid imaginings, she almost hoped she didn’t run into the alluring doctor at the hospital later that day.
Kagan finished the paperwork on the C-section and went to look in on Baby J. After hearing Shana give him a name, it was hard to go back to just calling him the baby. What kind of world was it where a mother would do such a thing? She’d left a tiny human being defenseless and alone. He wanted to believe her intention was to leave the baby on hospital property to take advantage of the new law. It stated parents of any baby less than a month old left on hospital property would be free from prosecution for endangerment or abandonment. He shook his head, wondering what that said about humanity when they needed a law that helped parents to not abuse, neglect, or kill their young?
When he entered the nursery, he saw five bassinets with their bundles all swaddled in hospital receiving blankets. The third one over was Baby J, and he looked about ready to wake for another feeding. He stared at the tiny bow mouth as it yawned and trembled in the beginnings of a cry for food. He’s so sweet and innocent. Kagan felt a strong pull toward the child. This precious little boy will need a parent. Just maybe…?
No, what was he thinking? As a doctor, he worked all hours of the day and night. He couldn’t take care of an infant. He needed to shake off his dreams of becoming a father…part of a loving family. Still, he looked again at the tiny baby now cradled in a nurse’s arms taking his bottle, and he felt the old longing.
With regret, he turned his back on the child and headed for the elevator to the parking garage. Tomorrow he’d take a closer look at J and order an MRI and chest X-rays. His blood work should be back by then as well.
Once home, Kagan heated a frozen pizza and placed a mixed country CD on the stereo, turning the music down low. He poured a glass of Chardonnay, its amber color reminding him of Shana’s glorious mane of hair, and realized how much he wanted to see her again. He thought of how helpful she’d been at the baby massage seminar and reflected on her appearance in that awful uniform tonight. He would never have recognized her, except for the hair, yet he’d always been attracted to blondes.
He’d stop by the cafeteria tomorrow and give her an update on Baby J. He smiled, thinking about the pleasure he felt when talking with her, and realized he wanted to know more about her. Why did she work in the cafeteria while taking classes in physical therapy plus doing her internship? Where did she find the time?
She must not be in a serious relationship. She wouldn’t have time for it. And the thought pleased him way too much. There could be a live-in boyfriend, but that thought didn’t please him at all. He’d have to see her, talk to her, and find out. It had been a long time since a female had captured his interest. Shana seemed so different from the women he knew. He looked forward to seeing her again.
A loud banging on her apartment door woke Shana faster than an alarm going off. She shot out of bed with her pulse racing. She’d learned early on to pay attention to sounds and be ready for anything. It was a survival mechanism from being in the system. She stumbled to the door, picking up her Louieville Slugger from the umbrella stand on her way. Looking through the peephole, she couldn’t see anything.
“Who’s there?” Shana heard a faint whisper that sounded like Maria down the hall. She opened the door as far as the safety chain would allow, and there was Maria with baby Louie beside her on the floor. She looked a mess! Her face was battered and bleeding, a sharp contrast to the beautiful baby sleeping peacefully next to her in his car seat. Shana closed the door to remove the chain, and quickly opened it again to kneel beside her friend.
“Maria, what happened?”
“Joe came home drunk, and the baby was crying,” the woman whispered in explanation, her voice quivering. “When he passed out, I got out of there.”
“Don’t talk, just come in and let me take a look. Okay?” Shana gently helped Maria to her feet, slung the diaper bag over her arm, grabbed the infant carrier, and supported her friend as they walked the short distance to her beat-up but sturdy secondhand sofa.
“Here, I’ll put Louie on the couch so I can take a look at you.” Shana placed the baby next to Maria and put some pillows on either side of the car seat so it wouldn’t roll. Satisfied Louie was safe, she turned to look closely at her neighbor.
“I’ve got a first-aid kit in the bathroom. I’ll get it and be right back.” She pulled the kit out of the bathroom cupboard and gripped the sink, taking a deep breath. Once she’d obtained a measure of calm, she walked back to her tiny living room and started cleaning the woman’s small cuts. She activated the chemical ice pack, and Shalimar chose that moment to explore the intruders. Hopping onto the back of the couch, the cat stared in haughty disdain at the new occupants.
“Ignore Shay. She’s a little uppity,” Shana said as a way to break the tension. She didn’t want to ask any questions her friend wasn’t ready to answer.
“I’m leaving him this time, Shana. He was ready to harm my baby, and I won’t allow that. I knew in that moment it was too late to salvage our relationship.” With those words, Maria silently allowed the tears to roll down her face.
“Look, I’ll make up a bed on the couch for you and one on the chair for Louie. You can stay here until you figure out what you’re going to do, but I think you need to be checked by a doctor.”
“I don’t want a doctor. I’m always fine after a good night’s sleep. Thanks for letting us stay. I appreciate it.”
“What are friends for? Do you want anything for the pain?”
“No, thank you.”
Shana knew Maria’s pride was asserting itself, making her try to act strong, but inside she must be suffering. Joe had promised to stop drinking, but obviously, that hadn’t happened. Shana felt bad for the couple. She’d had a foster family like them. When Joe was sober, he was a great guy, but when he drank, he was as different as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. “You can stay here for as long as you need to. We’ll work something out.”
“Thank you, my friend.”
Shana noticed a large lump near Maria’s left temple. It wasn’t as noticeable as the other injuries, but she knew it could prove to be the most dangerous. “Maria, this bump on your head has me concerned.”
“That’s the only bump not inflicted by Joe. I got it while trying to get out of the apartment. In my haste, I tripped on the baby’s rug and fell onto a corner of the crib.”
“You may have a concussion. I’m not a medical professional, but it should be checked.”
“I can’t go to a doctor now.”
“Why not?” Shana asked, wondering how she could convince her.
“Look at me! I’m a mess! And who would watch Louie?”
“You’re a woman who’s been battered. They don’t expect you to look pretty after an episode like that. I can watch Louie while you’re being examined.”
Maria opened her mouth to say something when she started to gag.
Shana ran to her tiny kitchen and fetched the trash can.
“Maria, you have to go to the hospital!” Shana called a cab and checked Maria again, then put an ice pack on her swollen eye and lip. She grabbed the diaper bag and said, “Keep talking to me so I know you haven’t fallen asleep. I’ve heard it’s not good to go to sleep with a concussion.”
The taxi buzzed her apartment when it was waiting downstairs, and Shana picked up Louie. Bless his little soul; the baby was still sleeping soundly in his car seat. She carried him with one hand, the diaper bag slung over her shoulder so she could help Maria to the elevator and down to the waiting taxi. Maria wasn’t arguing anymore, which showed just how bad off she really was. Normally, Maria was too proud to let anyone see she needed help.
It was almost 6:00 a.m. when the taxi pulled up to the emergency entrance. The nurse on duty handed them several forms to fill out and showed them to an examination room. The doctor talked soothingly to Maria as he checked her cuts and bruises, after which an orderly collected her for X-rays and an MRI. Louie was waking up, so Shana took him into the bathroom, changed him, and warmed his bottle. As she walked back to the waiting room, she bumped into none other than Dr. Daniels.
“Excuse me.”
“Pardon me,” he said, grasping her arms to steady her and the car seat. She’d already been a little off balance carrying both the seat and the diaper bag. She saw Kagan look down at the baby with a perplexed look on his face.
“Have you started moonlighting as a stork? Don’t tell me you found this one in the hospital garage, because it’s been less than twenty-four hours since I saw you bring in Baby J.”
His teasing was the exact balm needed to calm her worried soul. As she looked into his concerned eyes, she couldn’t help wishing he could provide a steadying hand forever.

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