When E.R. doctor Celia Cole-Thomas is wounded and her fianc� killed in a shootout at the hospital, the only way she can heal her body and her heart is to spend time at her mountain retreat. In her remote cabin on the Tennessee border, she isolates herself from the world--until Gavin Faulkner moves into a nearby lodge. And as hard as Celia tries to stay away, Gavin's friendship and sensuality are slowly bringing her back to life.An FBI special agent, Gavin has been ordered to apprehend a fugitive in the area. The moment he meets Celia, he knows he can't pass up the chance to show this vibrant woman all the passion she's been missing. But his dangerous assignment could shatter the fragile trust they've built, unless he can convince her that love's rewards are worth the risks....
Dr Celia Cole-Thomas pulled back the curtain in the cubicle where she''d dressed the sutured forefinger of an elderly man. She immediately heard screams for help in English and Spanish coming from the E.R. waiting room. Her heart rate quickened when she saw two young men in blood-soaked clothing struggling under the weight of a limp body."Bring him over here!" She shouted to be heard above the yelling and crying. She motioned to an empty cubicle. "Dr. Jones, help me out here," she said to the pediatrician who''d rushed over when he''d heard the commotion. Putting on a pair of latex gloves, she grabbed her stethoscope from the pocket of her lab coat, placing it against the chest of a boy whose breathing was becoming shallower with each passing second. "GSW to the chest, and he''s bleeding out fast. Call the O.R...."Whatever else she was going to say was drowned out by the sound of gunfire. There was one shot, then another-the rapid fire exploding like cannons shot through the emergency room of Miami''s busiest municipal hospital. At that moment Celia realized the E.R. was under siege. The curtain of the makeshift room was ripped open and she stared into the barrel of a large-caliber handgun. The young boy, gripping the semiautomatic with two hands to steady it, winked at her and her gaze went to the distinctive tattoo on the back of his left hand."Step off, doc," he ordered through the white bandanna covering the lower portion of his face.It was as if everything was happening in slow motion. The first bullet hit the chest of her patient, the impact causing his body to jerk several inches off the gurney. The second knocked Dr. Yale Trevor-Jones backward. He collapsed on the floor like a rag doll before Celia felt the impact of another bullet slamming into her midsection. The fire in her side spread throughout her body. She placed her right hand against her ribs as blood- warm and acrid-smelling-spilled through her splayed fingers. The shooting and screaming continued as she lay sprawled on the tiled floor, shutting out the sights and sounds of carnage tearing through the E.R. In less than a minute, four people had been injured and six lay mortally wounded.Celia sat up, her heart racing uncontrollably. Placing a hand over her mouth, she cut off the screams caught in the back of her throat. Rocking back and forth, she cried without making a sound. The nightmare had returned. It''d been almost a year and yet she could not stop reliving the horror of the night that so many innocent people had lost their lives.Physically she''d recovered from being shot at close range, the bullet having passed through her body and ending up in the wall behind her. But, Celia knew she would never forget the sound of her own voice, when hours later, she''d asked the recovery nurse what had happened and knew by the woman''s expression that many people had died. She didn''t learn the names of the victims until she''d been taken to a private room and her family members had begun arriving en masse. It was her brother Diego who''d finally told her that Dr. Yale Trevor-Jones and Dr. Colton Riley had died that night. Rival gangs had turned Miami Hospital''s E.R. into a killing field. Her patient and three other gang members had also died.Pulling her knees to her chest, Celia rested her forehead on her knees and waited for her heartbeat to return to normal. She''d taken a medical leave of absence in addition to grief counseling to cope with the death of the man she''d planned to marry-Yale Trevor-Jones- but she still was unable to exorcise the horror caused by Miami''s gang fighting over a very lucrative drug operation.Images of the days and nights she''d shared with Yale flooded her mind. When she''d met him for the first time she realized immediately that he was different from any of the men in her past. They''d shared the same passion for medicine, the same zeal for helping those without resources in underserved communities. Yale could have joined the family practice begun by h
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May 01, 2010
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