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Book Eight in The Bodyguards of LA County Series
BY CATE BEAUMAN
Doctor Reagan Rosner loves her fast-paced life of practicing medicine in New York City’s busiest trauma center. Kind and confident, she’s taking her profession by storm—until a young girl’s accidental death leaves her shaken to her core. With her life a mess and her future uncertain, Reagan accepts a position as Head Physician for The Appalachia Project, an outreach program working with some of America’s poorest citizens.
Shane Harper, Ethan Cooke Security’s newest team member, has been assigned a three-month stint deep in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, and he’s not too happy about it. Guarding a pill safe in the middle of nowhere is boring as hell, but when he gets a look at his new roommate, the gorgeous Doctor Rosner, things start looking up.
Shane and Reagan encounter more than a few mishaps as they struggle to gain the trust of a reluctant community. They’re just starting to make headway when a man’s routine checkup exposes troubling secrets the town will do anything to keep hidden—even if that means murder.
Book Eight in The Bodyguards of LA County Series
BY CATE BEAUMAN
Bronx, New York
It looks like a bad case of strep and a little dehydration, but Jarrin seems to be doing better already.” Reagan winked, smiling at the five-year-old lying in the big bed helping himself to the applesauce the nurse brought in.
“But he’s so swollen, doctor.” The worried mother brushed her fingers through her son’s wavy brown hair, sitting close at his side.
“The swelling and fever are part of the body’s response to the infection.” Reagan rested her hand on Jarrin’s mother’s shoulder, giving a gentle squeeze of reassurance. “You should see the inflammation start to subside as the Amoxicillin does its job. Jarrin responded well to the IV and his first dose of antibiotics. He’s eating and drinking on his own. I want you to follow up with his pediatrician tomorrow, but I feel confident he’s ready to go home when he’s finished snacking.”
“Can I have some more?” the sweet-eyed boy asked as he set down the empty plastic cup.
“Good stuff, huh?”
Grinning, Reagan grabbed hold of little toes beneath the blanket, giving them a wiggle, thrilled to see the lethargic kiddo who’d cried in his mother’s arms only a couple hours ago looking better. “You bet, buddy.” She returned her attention to Mrs. Weaver. “We’ll get him some more applesauce, and I’ll have Kim, your nurse, take care of his discharge.”
“Thank you, doctor. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done.”
“You’re welcome. Go home and get some sleep, push the fluids and next dose of medicine when Jarrin wakes up, and follow up with his pediatrician first thing tomorrow.” She wiggled his toes again. “Make sure you drink lots of water and rest so you can get back to the swimming pool.”
“Okay.” He nodded as much as his swollen neck would allow.
“Bye.” She stood up from her seat at the edge of the mattress and stepped out from behind the curtain, making her way to the nurse’s station on achy feet.
Kim glanced up from the computer, her fingers pausing on the keyboard. “Well if it isn’t the energizer bunny. What is this, hour fifteen?” The pretty redhead took a pen from the desk and brought it up to her mouth like an imaginary microphone. “Doctor Rosner, how does it feel to know you’re mere moments away from ending yet another endless shift?”
Reagan grinned as her friend extended the pretend microphone to her. “I’m too tired to come up with something witty.” She chuckled as Kim did. “Was there a full moon or something? I can’t remember the last time this place was so insane.” She walked around to one of the unoccupied computers, yawning as she logged on, clicking boxes with instructions that would help Jarrin’s mother get him through the next few hours. “The little guy behind curtain four is requesting another applesauce. He’s all set for discharge.” She signed off on her last patient, handing over the sheets the printer spit out. “Here you go. Tell Jarrin’s mother she can call me at home with any questions or concerns if she has trouble getting ahold of the pediatrician.”
“Reagan,” Kim said in her warning tone shaking her head, “You’re never going to get any sleep if you keep giving every worried parent your private number.”
“I don’t give it to everyone.”
She shrugged. “Mrs. Weaver will rest better knowing I’m just a phone call away. She probably won’t even use it.”
“Kind of like that creep father who didn’t call you non-stop for two weeks?” Kim sent her one of her know-it-all smirks.
She winced, remembering the man who’d been more concerned with scoring a date than remedying his son’s flu virus. “That’s only happened once. I can’t let one moron ruin a good thing for everyone else. Besides, I like following up with our pediatric strep throats and stomach bugs.” Too often they dealt with massive traumas that had far less favorable outcomes. Illnesses easily cured by antibiotics, rest, and plenty of fluids were a welcome change. It was satisfying to watch the not-so-sick walk away. “I don’t mind easing worried parents’ minds. I like knowing Jarrin will be swimming and playing with his friends again by mid-week. Most of our patients aren’t so lucky.”
“I’m fairly certain you’re in the running for sainthood.”
Reagan laughed. “I don’t think so.”
“Get out of here, Mother Teresa, and call me when you get back from the woods.”
“Mmm.” Her lips curved, and she closed her eyes. “I can already smell the pine.”
“A week off and you head for the middle of nowhere. What about the Bahamas or Cancun?”
Reagan shook her head. She didn’t want white sand and crystal clear water. She craved to recharge in the shaded quiet of the mountains. “That’s what Derek wanted, but my power of persuasion is top notch.” She smiled.
“I’ve never met people more opposite than the two of you, but somehow you make your relationship work.”
They used to make their relationship work, but the last six months had been rough. She gave Kim a small smile, looking down. “You know what they say about opposites.”
“I’ll see you when you get back. Don’t forget the calamine lotion and bug spray.”
She snorted out a laugh. “They’re already packed.” She turned, making her way to the on-call room, and scrubbed her hands before bee-lining it to the fridge and the sandwich she’d been forced to abandon at three a.m. when the paramedics rang down with four gunshot wounds and two stabbings.
She took a ravenous bite on her way to the table, moaning, rolling her eyes in ecstasy, craving her next sample of cafeteria tuna on wheat. Sitting, she pulled her aching feet from her Danskos and flexed her toes as she slid the elastic from her long brown hair.
Sighing, she absorbed the moment of peace and quiet, perusing yesterday’s paper as she struggled to unwind after the grueling, endless night. She flipped pages, pausing when the article on the Appalachia Project caught her attention. The government-run program was struggling to maintain personnel. The organization desperately needed a full-time physician and nurse as the pilot program, which aimed to bring infrastructure to rural areas in the region, limped into its last year.
She glanced at the gorgeous pictures of trees in bloom and pretty waterfalls among the mighty Appalachians. Serenity. “Perfection,” she murmured, considering the idea of applying for mere seconds. Then she chuckled—she was a city girl through and through. Seven days in the middle of nowhere was one thing, but an entire year? She yearned for a break from gunshot wounds and stabbings, car accidents and endless traumas of the ER, but a week was plenty to recharge. Perhaps a slower pace was appealing, especially after the night she’d just had, but among the triumphs and tragedies of practicing medicine in an inner city emergency room, she hadn’t yet met a situation that had broken her.
She pushed the paper away and took another bite of her sandwich as the beeper on her hip alerted her to an impending patient arrival. She dismissed the familiar tone, shoving a chip in her mouth, reveling in the fact that she didn’t have to run down the hall. For the next little while medicine was on the back burner.
She popped a green grape between her lips and took her phone from her bag, noting the new text she’d received moments after she made her mad dash to meet the incoming ambulances. She smiled, realizing the message was from Derek, opened it as the pager still hooked to her scrubs sounded for the second time, and stared at her screen. We can’t see each other anymore. It’s over.
She read the words again in disbelief, pressing her fingers to her lips with the punch of pain. It was over? After a year he was simply finished? Brush off the hands, a two-sentence text, and they were through? A small, incredulous laugh escaped her as she looked at her phone once more.
They’d grown apart since he switched hospitals several weeks ago, making do with quick phone calls before one of them fell asleep, exhausted after a shift. Then she’d gotten the news from the specialist, and he’d distanced himself further.
“You ass,” she mumbled, blinking back tears, shoving her phone away. “You’re an ass,” she said again, frowning when her beeper went off for the third time. “What the crap?” She yanked the piece of plastic from the hem of her pants, scanning through the three calls the staff had received in less than five minutes. The ER was getting slammed. She pulled her white coat from the back of her chair and rushed down the long corridor.
Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernard’s, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.
“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, five years later, I’m working on my ninth novel, Answers For Julie, which I plan to release during the summer of 2015. I’m remain so very grateful for the support and success that I have had. Thank you!” – Cate
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