I am off of my health related hiatus, back on my bullshit and feeling so much better! As evidence of that …
I am so excited to finally be sharing a Sample Sunday from The Guy Next Door after… counts… a LOT of months away from the Pen. Or the keyboard. Whatever.
* Subject to change * I do not have a release date for this book, but look for it to hit your Kindles by October 1.
The Guy Next Door
The magic of small town Potter Lake strikes again when Evonne Girard— cosmetologist, podcast fan meets Taj Wright— Registered Nurse, musician following a nasty fall in the parking lot at the Curl & Dye. There are jokes, there is flirting, lingering stares abound… but neither thinks they’ll see the other again any time soon.
When Evonne takes a step toward adulting and moves out of her parent’s home, she discovers that the cute house she’s renting belongs to the handsome, sexy male nurse with the eyes she can’t forget. But she’s not in Potter Lake to meet a man. She’s on a mission to prove to her parents that she isn’t the failure that showed up on their doorstep ten years ago.
Taj is delighted to rent his guest house to the snappy, funny former patient he can’t stop thinking about. Potter Lake was a place to run when his dream died, a haven to start over and give back what was given to him. When an opportunity rolls around to live that dream again, Taj isn’t sure that he wants it to come true.
Evonne and Taj are forced to live in close quarters during a severe storm and quickly become more than landlord and tenant. When the same storm drives them from Potter Lake to a beachside retreat, worlds collide. One shared secret could change the trajectory of something beautiful.
On a rainy night in Georgia, two hearts meet. They’re never the same again.
My patient flinched, howling in my ear. I’d been pulling bits of gravel and dirt from the open wound down the side of her palm with a pair of surgical tweezers. It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be, but she had picked up some debris and I needed to clean the wound so I could close it.
“Miss Girard,” I said calmly, tightening my grip on her hand. “I need you to hold still.”
“Okay, Nurse Dude…” She snatched her hand back, cradling it in the other. Her eyes were full of fire as she fumed. “That shit hurts!”
“There’s no way to do this that doesn’t hurt. If you want it to be clean, so it’s not infected and correctly sutured, this is the way it’s done.”
“Can’t you put me under, like at the dentist? Do you have any morphine? Or some Oxy…whatever?”
I masked my laughter with a cough. “We don’t administer opiates or narcotics for this, Miss Girard.”
“Stop calling me Miss Girard like you’re trying not to say bitch. My name is Evonne.”
“Okay, Evonne. My name is Taj, not Nurse Dude.”
When she didn’t respond, I hiked an eyebrow and held out my hand. She laid hers in my palm. Her leg began to twitch and her eyes focused on everything but my careful cleaning of her wound.
“I need to swab with an antiseptic and that’s going to sting.”
“Okay,” she muttered. After a moment she added, “Thanks for the warning.”
I moved quickly, minimizing the pain by not drawing it out. When the wound was clean, I gave two quick pumps of an antibacterial spray and opened a package of butterfly sutures.
“I’m going to pull the wound closed and apply a few of these to hold it, then bandage it up. It should start to heal pretty quickly.”
“Wait, you don’t have to sew it up? That’s what I was bracing for.”
“Nope.” I talked while I worked, gently applying the sutures. “It’s not deep enough for that. I’ll cover it with gauze and give you a few extra pads. Change it daily or as needed. Give it some air in a couple of days, that’ll encourage healing. You should be back in business in no time. How did you do this, again?”
“I work over at the Curl & Dye, on the other side of the lake.” She paused, lifting her gaze to mine, looking for an indication that I’d heard of the place. I hadn’t lived in Potter Lake long, but I had heard the story of the dueling salons. And how the owners were married now. “Anyway, I was trying to get to my car and I tripped.”
She paused to inspect the bandage I had applied and taped into place. “Should I be able to work with this on? Considering I use my hands.”
I shrugged, swiveling my stool away from her. “Sure. No tendons were cut, there was no muscle damage.You should regain mobility with some physical therapy—”
“Really, Nurse Dude?” Her very pretty, thick lips pursed.“You’re giving me shit? I could have bled to death.”
I laughed openly this time, beginning to clean up the tray I had been using. I rolled my stool back and laughed again. “You could not have bled to death from that superficial wound. So yes, I very much am giving you shit.”
“I could get an infection and develop Gangrene and then my hand could fall off. I heard on this Doctor Danger podcast—”
“Your limbs will not fall off, Miss Girard. I promise.”
Her eyes narrowed. She was irritated, but this was the most fun I’d had all night. “Do you treat all your patients like this?”
“Just the overdramatic ones.”I picked up the tray with discarded wrappers and unused sutures. “Obviously, don’t get your bandage wet, but you should heal right up in a couple of days, a week tops, Miss Girard. I mean Evonne.”
“Thank you, Nurse Dude. I mean Taj.”
I led her back to the front desk and slid the visit paperwork across the counter. She signed the forms where initialed and I handed her the carbon copy. I noticed her address said Healy, Georgia.
“You’re driving into town tonight? In that weather?” She nodded, pressing her lips together. Suddenly, she seemed exhausted. “Be careful out there. Do you want a cup of coffee before you leave?”
She stuffed the papers into her bag and slipped it over her shoulder. “I want to be tired enough to fall right into bed when I get home. Thanks, Nurse Taj.”
I waved as she walked out and the doors slid closed behind her.
“Might wanna pick your tongue up off the floor.”
Jaslene. I’d forgotten she was even in the room. “You’re driving to town? Ooh, be careful! Want some coffee?”She mocked me with a hand on one hip, repeating my words back to me. “Why didn’t you just fuck her in the exam room?”
I rolled my head toward her, glared and rolled it back to the computer screen. “Because I’m a professional. Jealousy is ugly on you, Jaslene. Did Mrs. Vaughn go home?”
“Yeah.” She sat in her chair and scooted to the other end of the desk. “Her nephew finally showed up to take that crazy old lady home. And ain’t nobody jealous. Been there, ran through that,” she reminded me, directing her eyes from my head to my feet and back up.
“Mmmmm. That’s why you have an attitude right now.”
She swung her hair behind a shoulder and got up again, marching to the back room. I picked up my abandoned notebook, my eyes falling on lyrics that I’d been working on for most of the week. The theme was elusive; I needed to do more than croon about a woman’s curves.
The mood that I’d been trying to tap into before I was interrupted rolled back in. Cold, dark, somber vibes brought tones of a slow, sensual melody. I scratched a few words across the page, humming lightly, newly inspired by visions of my latest patient lurking in the back of my mind.