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New Adult Contemporary Romance
BY SARAH FINE
Bestselling author Sarah Fine presents an intense standalone novel sure to thrill new adult romance readers everywhere.
When passion takes on a dangerous edge…
Nessa Cavanaugh, psychology student, knows how to stay on an even keel. Despite the urging of her mother and her academic advisor to get a life and have some fun, “all work and no play” sums up her plan to survive her grueling internship year at a children’s hospital. She doesn’t want to end up like her father, whose constant ups and downs broke her family, and avoiding unnecessary emotional entanglements is a must.
Then she (literally) runs into Dr. Aron Lindstrom in the middle of her disastrous first day on the job. The attraction is instant—and terrifying. Nessa knows she should stay away—especially when she finds out he has a reputation for being a player—but Aron is brilliant, intense, and as sexy as they come. When he challenges her to take a chance on him, her plans to stay focused on work start to crumble.
But what begins as passion takes on a dangerous edge, becoming an emotional roller coaster that’s frighteningly familiar. As things spiral out of control, Nessa must decide whether she should hold on for the ride or run … even if it means leaving her heart behind.
**WARNING: This is a new adult novel and contains material which is sexual in nature. Content may not be suitable for readers under the age of 18.**
About the Book
by Sarah Fine
Always do the thing that scares you. That’s the way to break out of a cage of your own making. My father used to say that all the time. He died back when I was fifteen and left me with a lot of bad memories and a genetic dark cloud hanging over my head, but his mantra’s what I’ve chosen to keep for myself. It gives me a bit of courage when I need it most.
Like right now.
The automatic doors to the Pediatric Oncology unit swing wide, and I force myself not to hesitate on the threshold. I push back a stray tendril of hair that falls across my cheek again a second later. I wobble a bit on the heels I bought over the weekend in the hopes of looking professional … and just a bit taller. I smooth my skirt and make sure the nametag that hangs from the lanyard around my neck is facing outward. It’s my first week of internship—the final year of training I need to get my PhD in clinical psychology—and my first day on this rotation. My nametag is the only way I can prove I’m actually supposed to be here.
Not that Psychology Intern is all that reassuring or impressive to anyone. But when the patients’ parents get too upset to reason with, the nurses call Psychology, and it’s Friday at 5:26pm, so I’m it.
I can hear the disgruntled father snarling from here. His voice is hoarse, like he’s been at it for a while. And as I walk into the atrium, where colorful fish swim lazily around the circular aquarium at its center, I see him through the undulating plastic seaweed. He’s a big guy in a stained t-shirt, sporting a serious case of hat-hair. His face is flushed and his eyes are red.
At the main desk, a plump, middle-aged nurse in lavender scrubs looks at me and raises her eyebrows. I walk over to her. “I’m Nessa Cavenaugh,” I say. “You called for a psychology consult?”
She folds her arms across her ample chest. “And like I told you on the phone, we’ve got a parent and kid who need some help.” She nods at the dad and gives me a get a move on kind of gesture.
My cheeks grow warm as I head for the big, angry guy. I round the end of the huge aquarium as he grabs for the kid at his feet, a boy of about four or five. “You will apologize to your brother, Shawn!” he barks at the kid.
“No!” Shawn shrieks. His face is pink like his dad’s. “Won’t!”
“He’s sick, and you have to be nice!”
“I don’t care!”
The dad opens his mouth to reply, but then he sees me standing there. “What?” It comes out rough, a challenge. He looks like a bull ready to charge.
“My name’s Nessa. Can I be helpful to you guys?” I wish my voice wasn’t shaking.
The dad looks me over, and his eyes narrow as he reads my ID badge. “Psychology? They called the shrink? And not even a real one. Some high school kid!” He rolls his eyes. “Thanks a lot, Lynette!” he calls over to the nurse.
My cheeks have gone from warm to freaking five-alarm blaze. I know I look young, but I’m not that young. I stand up a little straighter, not that it helps much, seeing as I’m five-five in my shiny two-inch heels. “Maybe she thought you might want to talk? She knew you were having a hard time.”
He rocks back. “A hard time?” he whispers, his face twisting. “That’s what you call it? One kid’s got cancer, the other one’s completely outta control, and their mother is—” He clenches his teeth.
“No, I’m sorry—I was only—” Making things worse.
He waves his arm, shooing me away. “Leave me alone. If you think this is just a hard time …” He’s shaking his head as he grabs the little boy by the arm and drags him, kicking, into Room 411. The tag next to the door says “FINN BEEMAN.” It’s printed in block letters with a blue marker, like maybe the kid wrote it himself.
I look over my shoulder, and the nurse points toward the doorway, her mouth tight as Shawn’s sobs echo down the hall. I draw in a long breath, dread curling in my stomach. I’m stuck—I already messed up with this dad, and trying to talk to him again so soon is risky at best. But the nurse is going to tell my supervisor—and worse, all the other nurses and docs on this unit—if I don’t at least attempt to fix this.
So I do the thing that scares me most and head for Finn’s room.
Lying in the bed is a little guy who doesn’t look much older than Shawn. Finn’s got a red bandana tied over his bald head, and his sallow skin is lit up by the screen he’s holding a few inches from his face. His brother is huddled in the corner, wailing, and his dad is on the plastic recliner chair, his head in his hands. And I think I get it: Shawn wanted a turn, Finn didn’t want to give up the Gameboy, and Dad feels too guilty to say ‘no’ to his sick child. As I open my mouth to speak, Mr. Beeman’s head jerks up. “I told you I didn’t want to talk to you.”
“I understand, but I hoped we could—”
“Get out!” he booms, standing up suddenly.
I take a stumbling step back, and the heel of my pump lands squarely on … someone’s toe. “Ow,” says a deep male voice.
I spin around. Lab coat over a striped button-down. Splattered with coffee. “Omigod,” I mumble, reaching out like an idiot to wipe brown droplets from the center of my victim’s chest, vaguely registering firm muscles beneath the fabric … and the fact that I am smearing hot coffee over them and (once again!) making things worse. “So sorry.” I lift my gaze to his face.
I’ve stomped on the most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen up close. And made him spill his coffee. And wiped it on his neatly pressed shirt. He’s a few inches north of six feet tall, lean and broad-shouldered, with dark blond hair and seriously green eyes. A small, crescent shaped scar just above his angular jawline somehow only makes him hotter.
He’s gazing down at me like he’s expecting an explanation.
“Uh,” I say, grasping frantically for words and coming up empty. Because: his mouth. I can’t stop staring at it. “Sorry. You’re very stealthy.”
His eyebrow arches, then he looks over the top of my head at Mr. Beeman, giving me the chance to read the nametag on his lapel: Aron Lindstrom, M.D.
“Hey, Greg,” Dr. Lindstrom says. “Got you a coffee when I was in the cafeteria. Thought you could use it.” He holds out the cup, now only three-quarters full thanks to my clumsiness, and Mr. Beeman’s footsteps clonk as he comes to retrieve it.
“I got something for Shawn, too,” Dr. Lindstrom says more quietly. “If you want to give it to him.” He holds up a small Dunkin Donuts bag. From inside the room, Shawn’s sobs fall silent.
I step to the side while Greg Beeman accepts the Munchkins from Dr. Gorgeous.
“Thanks, Doc,” Mr. Beeman says. “Tell your nurse to call off the shrinks, ‘kay?” He jerks his thumb at me. “I’m not crazy.”
The doctor doesn’t bother to look in my direction as he claps Mr. Beeman on the shoulder. “Of course not. Everything all right now?” Shawn approaches his father cautiously, a fragile, hopeful smile on his face, and Mr. Beeman chuckles and hands him the bag, like he’s relieved that he can offer this kid something—and that Shawn is no longer screaming. Dr. Lindstrom smiles at him. “Looks like it.”
They start to talk about Finn and his IV nutrition, and I back away slowly. The nurse who called for the consult is riveted to her computer screen, and all I want to do is shout, “Why did you call me down here if all it took was coffee and some Munchkins?”
I clamp my mouth shut and walk quickly to the back hallway, toward the booth where I’m supposed to enter stuff into the electronic medical record. I have to document that I was here even though I did nothing but demonstrate my incompetence to one and all. Wishing to God that I’d chosen different shoes this morning, I climb awkwardly onto the high stool in front of the computer on the counter. My feet dangle several inches from the floor, and I swing my legs as I type the password and find Finn’s chart. I click the tab labeled Psychology/Psychiatry. And then I stare at the screen for who-knows-how-long, my eyes stinging. What am I supposed to write?
Intern accidentally enraged parent during emotional situation that was resolved by hot doctor with donuts.
“Can I get on when you’re done?”
I almost fall off the stool. Dr. Lindstrom is leaning against the wall of the booth with a lazy sort of grace. “Sure,” I say, then clear my throat.
“You’re new,” he comments, reading my nametag. “Ah. One of the interns. I knew there was another rotation starting.”
“Yeah.” I’m staring at his coffee-stained chest, which is making my insides feel fluttery. So I meet his gaze, which scrambles my thoughts—right when I need every IQ point I possess. “The nurse called me down. She thought Mr. Beeman needed some help. But I … then he …”
I look over at the blank screen. Intern inadvertently trivialized Mr. Beeman’s suffering, then stomped on Dr. Lindstrom’s toes and ruined his shirt. I rub my hands over my skirt and wish I was invisible.
“You’re upset because he yelled at you,” Dr. Lindstrom says coolly. “You need to get over that. These people are going through a lot. Sometimes it’s too much. You can’t take it personally, especially—”
“That’s not it at all.” Frustration burns through me as I raise my head. “I’m upset because I couldn’t help him. Or that little boy. And that’s what I was supposed to do.” But all I did was make things harder for them.
All my doubts hit me at once: I don’t belong here. This is one of the most prestigious internships in the country, and one of the hardest rotations on said internship, full of docs known for being total hard asses, and I’m already screwing it up because I can’t think on my feet. Needing to escape, I hop off the chair—and it turns out thinking on my feet is the least of my problems. My heel gets stuck in a rung of the stool and I topple over with a yelp.
My face crashes into Aron’s coffee-scented chest, and his steely arms wrap around me, keeping me from sliding to the floor.
“Now I’ve got coffee and lipstick on my shirt. What did I do to deserve this kind of treatment?” he says, but he’s obviously working hard to keep from laughing. He holds me slightly away from him and looks down at his chest. Then at my mouth.
And his gaze stays. Right. There.
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Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the blog tour for SPIRAL by Sarah Fine, we’re giving away four paperback copies of the book!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS | Open to internationally. Four winners will each receive a paperback copy of Spiral by Sarah Fine. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Sarah Fine. Giveaway ends 8/10/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Sarah Fine…
SARAH FINE is the author of several books for teens, including Of Metal and Wishes (McElderry/Simon & Schuster) and its sequel, Of Dreams and Rust, the bestselling Guards of the Shadowlands YA urban fantasy series (Skyscape/Amazon Children’s Publishing), and The Impostor Queen (McElderry, January 2016).
She is also the co-author (with Walter Jury) of two YA sci-fi thrillers published by Putnam/Penguin: Scan and its sequel Burn. Her bestselling adult urban fantasy romance series, Servants of Fate, includes Marked, Claimed, and Fated, and was published by 47North in 2015, and her second adult UF series —Reliquary (and its sequels Splinter and Mosaic) was published 2016. When she’s not writing, she’s psychologizing. Sometimes she does both at the same time. The results are unpredictable.