He had come to South America to find her, to learn from the legendary healer what it was to mend lives. But Sergeant Burke Gifford hadn't expected the surge of powerful feeling Angel Paredes would stir in his heart. After all, he was a rough-and-tumble Special Forces man on a mission, not a man come to fall in love.
She had healed many, but her own heart remained wounded. Yet from the moment Angel looked into Burke's eyes, she knew this strong, silent sergeant had a power far greater than hers. The power to love her...and to make her whole again.
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June 12, 2007
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Excerpt from Her Healing Touch by Lindsay McKenna
"Dude, this sucks," Sergeant Angel Paredes muttered as she sat sulking on the gurney in the Black Jaguar Squadron dispensary.
Dr. Elizabeth Cornell studied the X rays she had put up on the light box. "Hmm. Well,Angel, you did it up right this time." Tracing the X ray of Angel's left shoulder with an index finger, Elizabeth turned to look at her assistant. "Your biceps tendon is inflamed. You have tendonitis. Congratulations."
"Yeah, no kidding," Elizabeth said, quirking her lips. "You know what that means?" "That you're gonna give me an anti-inflammatory shot to ease my considerable pain, so I stop acting like an irritable pit bull. Right?"
Grinning, Elizabeth turned off the light box and put the two X rays into a large folder that had Angel's name at the top. The dispensary shook and trembled as two Apache helicopter gunships began powering up for takeoff. The whole Black Jaguar operation was hidden in a cave complex within a mountain fifty miles from the archeological wonder Machu Picchu, and the picturesque tourist town of Agua Caliente. The alarm had rung earlier, which meant the two pilot crews on duty would be intercepting a drug shipment flight somewhere near Peru's border with Bolivia.
"I'm going to save the squadron from my bad mood," Angel said once the trembling had subsided. "I'll bet I get written up for a commendation on it."
"Very funny,Angel," Elizabeth said, rummaging in another cabinet. "Even the Angel of Death looks like death warmed over," she continued, casting a grin at her faithful assistant, a paramedic with the Peruvian army. Angel held her left arm guardedly against her body, her right hand cradling it. "Sorry, bad pun. I couldn't help myself," Elizabeth murmured sympathetically as she filled a syringe with the pain-relieving drug she knew Angel needed.
"I'm no crybaby, Doc, not even at a time like this. I'm one hundred percent Incan Indian," she muttered defiantly. Her ancestors were known for their ability to handle pain.
Though she tried to rise to the occasion, Angel didn't have her usual spunk and feistiness, Elizabeth realized as she flicked her finger against the syringe and approached her colleague. "Hey, you're in a lotta pain. It shows."
Angel eyed Elizabeth, the only physician on staff at BJS. They'd been teamed up together nearly three and a half years and worked like a well-oiled machine. "Dude, I never knew an inflamed tendon could make me throw up and then pass out."
"Hmm, well, pain can do those things to you. You just lifted one heavy box of supplies too many from that Blackhawk helicopter, and did your tendon in." She moved to Angel's bared left shoulder. Elizabeth had had to cut away the patient's T-shirt to examine her injury earlier, when one of the crew had brought Angel in on a gurney, passed out.
"This is so humiliating...." Angel watched as Elizabeth lifted the needle in her direction. "What are you gonna do? Put the needle right into that inflamed tendon? Am I gonna pass out from pain again?"
Cupping her shoulder gently, Elizabeth murmured, "Relax. I'm the best shot-giver on the face of the earth. This won't hurt, I promise...."
Angel sucked in a breath and shut her eyes tightly. She barely felt the prick of the needle. And just as Elizabeth had promised, there was no pain.
"There," her friend murmured, pleased with her efforts as she gently swabbed the area with a cotton ball drenched in alcohol. "All over."
"And relief from this gutting pain is right around the corner, right, Doc?" Angel asked weakly.