The Cure: Exercept

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by Parker J. Cole

Enjoy this excerpt from my newest book, a sweet romance entitled The Cure!

The Cure

“Ms. Woods?”

The professional, neutral tone of the doctor caught her attention. She stood and raced over to the woman, Tisha and Connie trailing behind her.

“Yes, Dr. Yamaguchi? How is she? Is she going to be all right?”

The doctor’s kind brown eyes landed on her. “So far, her condition is stable.  She’s still sleeping right now.  But we’re not out of the woods yet.”  She extended a hand to a nearby waiting room seat. “I don’t want to unnecessarily upset you but you need to know exactly what we’re dealing with. Do you want to sit down?”

“No, please just tell me what’s going on. Can I see her?”

Dr. Yamaguchi nodded. “You can see her, but only for a few minutes. We’ll be observing her for the next thirty-six hours.”

Savannah’s legs threatened to buckle. “What do you mean?”

As the doctor detailed the extent of the damage done to Liliana’s body from the fire, she thought she might collapse.  It was almost too much to bear.

God, give me strength.

When the doctor finished, Savannah asked quietly, “Can I see her now?”

“Of course.” The doctor grabbed her limp hand. “Don’t let what you see in there discourage you. Liliana’s a fighter. And you need to fight with her, too.” The woman squeezed her hand as if trying to infuse her with strength.

Leaving her friends behind, Savannah walked the path alone to Liliana’s room, trepidation tap dancing along her spine. The pristine white floors and colorful walls made the journey there seem like a psychedelic trip.  Uniformed hospital staff passed her by, the figures fuzzy and nondescript to her unseeing eyes.

When she arrived at the room, the sight of her niece made Savannah almost fall to her knees. This couldn’t be her beautiful, fun-loving Snuffy. It couldn’t be.

Machines hummed next to the tiny frail body lying in the hospital bed. Snake-like plastic tubes were taped to her nose and mouth. Bandages covered a good portion of her body from her shoulder to legs.  The little girl’s chest moved shallowly.

“Snuffy,” Savannah moaned, her legs so weak she barely made it to the side of the bed before crumpling in the chair the nearby nurse had pushed toward her.  She wanted to reach out and touch the girl, but the doctor had warned against any contact for the next few days.  She could only stare.

“Oh, dear God,” she cried out. This time, nothing held back her tears. A dam had cracked inside of her and she submitted to its torrential power.  The nurse thrust a box of tissues into her hand. She spent the next while crying and sniffling, wishing this was all a dream she could wake up from.

When the outburst had run itself dry, Savannah wiped her eyes and nose for the last time and stuffed the used tissues in the garbage can by the bed.

At least she wasn’t alone. Everyone who loved Liliana would work together to help her niece get through this.

Except for one person.

Savannah jolted. Why now? Why would she suddenly start thinking about him?

Fiona and Bart would want him to know. 

A strange calm came over her. Savannah couldn’t deny the truth of those words. She’d avoided a name she hadn’t uttered in voice or thought for three years. If she could have, she would have gone for the rest of her life without having to speak his name ever again.

But circumstances had gone beyond her pride. It had come to this. Just as he had predicted.

Micah Reddington.

A bevy of memories tried to break through the mental brick wall she had placed around them.  She closed her eyes to suppress those tattered recollections of days gone by. Yet, snatches of them still made their way through, glowing like spots of light through the cracks. His long blonde hair often turned to gold when the sunlight cascaded over it.  She recalled the flash of his smile, his teeth white and even above the cleft in his chin.  Those freckles splattered across the bridge of his nose gave him a boyish look that always disarmed her in the past.

No, she didn’t want to go there. Yet, she had no choice.

Savannah pulled her phone from her pocket. She’d erased his name from her contact list but his number was embedded in her head right next to the alphabet.  She typed it in, added her message, and sent it. A life-altering event, and it took less than ten seconds to execute.

She leaned her head back along the rim of the chair and accepted the inevitable. She needed the man who hated her most in the world.

***

I need you.

Micah’s chest swelled in unholy but righteous satisfaction. The latest superhero movie receded into the background. His whole world centered on his phone.

It didn’t matter there wasn’t a name associated with the number the message had come from.  Those three words were distinctive as a superhero’s calling card blazoned across the sky. He knew the identity of the sender just as she’d known he would.

I need you.

He mouthed the words unnecessarily in the darkness of the theater.  The taste of them reminded him of cotton candy. The moment he took a bite of the sugary sweet, it seemingly disappeared…until the granules hardened on his tongue, enriching the experience.

The screen blacked out and he hurriedly tapped the surface of it so he could feast his eyes on the message.  He’d always known it would come to this – where she’d be the one crawling back to him. How he wanted that – wanted her begging and pleading for his help.  Hadn’t he told her that when they parted three years ago?  Micah was rarely wrong – not when it came to Savannah. He knew her so well.

On the tail end of that thought came another, and he grimaced at the irony.  She knew him, too.  She knew he’d come to her. In the past, all  she had to do  was crook her finger and he’d be there, no questions asked.  He’d been a slave to her every desire. His lip curled in disgust at his overblown infatuation. What a sorry sap he’d been then.

Micah toyed with the idea of delaying a response to her but decided against it. After all, she must be desperate in order to reach out to him like this.

He pressed the reply button and texted back. Where are you?

Did she still strut down the runway in the season’s latest trends? He’d avoided perusing any of the fashion magazines or TV shows for the past three years. He didn’t need to see her going on with her life.

Saginaw.

The word stopped him. What was she doing back in Michigan? He sifted through the reasons, trying to figure it out, but no plausible scenarios came to mind. Thoroughly mystified, he nonetheless replied back.

Address?

A split second later, an address came over from her. He punched in the search for the map and saw that it was a hospital. Micah’s eyebrow arched. What was she doing in a hospital? Had she been injured? Sick?

Fledgling concern wiggled its way through the resentment and antagonism choking his thoughts. He fought to keep it tampered down, but he knew once it reared its head, there was no going back.

No matter how much he hated her, he sincerely wouldn’t wish anything awful to happen to her. He wanted her alive and well…if only to gloat over the fact that she was coming to him for his help.

I’ll be there

About the Author:

Parker J. ColeParker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and beloved dog Sarah.

Visit her site at http://www.ParkerJCole.com

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