Nicole Milbourne is committed to a cause—eradicating the deadly disease that stole her mother’s life. She’s only a three year medical residency away from her dream job in cancer research. If only she could skip the whole patient care thing. Her diagnostic skills are top notch, but textbooks are easier to read than patients.
One man is determined to show her a world larger than her single-minded focus. Charismatic Dr. Damien Reed, head of Nicole’s residency program, is everywhere she turns, sometimes gentle, sometimes pushy, always nudging her in directions she doesn’t want to go. When she realizes the truth in what he says, she opens her heart to her patients, and to him, in ways she never imagined. The wall she built up around her heart begins to crumble.
Adrift for Christmas, her favorite holiday, Nicole accepts the life-line Damien tosses her: Christmas with his family. Will an unexpected Christmas fill Nicole’s lonely heart and show her the healing power of love?
The quiet whoosh of the hospital room door startled Nicole and the swab in her hand went spiraling to the floor. With a sigh, she reached for a third kit, quite certain it was going to be a very long three years.
Glancing up, her heart skipped about ten beats when her worst fears came true and the head resident walked in to the room.
Dr. Damien Reed was a legend in the halls of Rochester Regional. With an impressive scholastic resume’, Kennedy looks, and a smile that could disarm the Middle East, the man was both respected by his peers and ogled by just about every woman in the place.
From a resident’s perspective, that smile meant a thorough textbook grilling generally followed, which explained the pounding heart syndrome she got when she spotted him in the hallways.
Nicole had managed to escape his notice for her entire first week…almost. She clutched the swab kit. Today was day six of her residency.
She offered him a quick, professional nod and prayed he wouldn’t ask her any questions. After taking a long moment scrutinizing her, he turned his charms on his patient. Nicole exhaled relief as she watched him interact with the woman.
“Mrs. O’Malley,” he said with a wide grin as he held her hand between his and dug up some bad Irish charm. “And how are we doing this fine morning?”
As usual, Dr. Reed’s dark hair was unkempt and shaggy. Nicole reached up to touch her own auburn hair, neatly captured in a bun at the nape of her neck, then remembered her gloved hands and dropped them to her side. The man’s hair was reminiscent of a college student, not someone who’d risen to the position that put him in charge of newly indoctrinated medical residents. She tried to ignore jeans that fit too well, yet seemed completely inappropriate for someone with his status. This was Rochester Regional Medical Center, after all. There were protocols to be observed.
She studied him as he spoke with the patient and the conversation faded to gray. Even inappropriate, the hairstyle worked for him, framing a strong face, green eyes, and an effortless smile. No one appeared immune to his easy charm, least of all Mrs. O’Malley.
With the personality of a politician, everything seemed easy for Dr. Damien Reed. Not so for herself. A part of her envied him those skills.
Nicole yanked open another swab kit, surprised when it came apart in one pull and almost went flying again. When Dr. Reed’s steady hands grasped hers as well as the kit, she chalked the slight quake in her arms up to first week nerves. If he held on longer than necessary, Nicole decided it had been to keep the swab from falling to the floor.
Nicole mumbled a thank you as Dr. Reed held out the swab for her to take.
“Anytime.” Even the man’s voice was designed for effect. The single word rolled off his tongue like warm honey. She could understand why patients sought him out. He made everything seem better with a simple word.
To check out Nicole’s mother’s story (Show Me), click here.