We are exited to announce that we have finished Tanner and Nora’s Story!!!
Below is chapter one so you can see how the story starts and the rest will be done with the editing process by the end of the month.
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Most days as a small-town doctor are slow paced but for some reason the gods weren’t smiling on me the day Tanner Daniels came in with a head wound. I had already seen three others in need of stitches, four cases of the flu, ten others with whatever mutant crud was going around the school system, on top of the regular patients with checkups. The place was a mad house and there were more arriving by the minute.
“We’re running out of rooms again,” warned Amy, from the front desk. She and Lucinda had been running the front end while Beth and I tended to the patients as fast as we could.
I walked out from seeing another kid with a case of the flu and while I made my stop by the supply closet to grab more gloves, because everyone else was too busy dealing with the madhouse, I heard his grating voice above the others.
“I’m bleeding. Are any of these other people bleeding?”
“Please, Mr. Daniels. Have a seat in the lobby and we’ll be with you as soon as we have a place to put you.”
“A place to put me? How about this, sweet cheeks.” I watched through a crack in the door that lined up with a window as he took the sign in log and held it up. “I’ll pay for all of these people’s visits if you let me cut in line.”
The crowd behind him seemed to like the sound of that, but I couldn’t let that happen. It wasn’t right. I walked out front and stood behind the counter with my hands in my pocket. “What seems to be the problem?” Tanner held a bloody rag to his head.
He went wide-eyed as if my question were the most ridiculous one he’d ever heard. “Isn’t it painfully obvious? I mean, it’s painful for me. Do you not see the bloody rag to my head?”
“I see the rag and a man so full of energy that he drove all this way and has managed to stay on his feet.”
“That’s because I had a nice long nap when I fell and busted my head open.” He pulled the rag away and there was a dark patch of hair and a nice inch long gash in his pretty hairline.
“You lost consciousness?” Paying a bit more attention to the drama queen, I noticed the droop in his eyes and the drag in his speech. I turned to Lucinda. “Send him into the infant room and bring a blood pressure cuff.” I had a special room set up that reserved for newborns. It was a smaller area with a chair for mothers, a baby scale, and a much smaller railed bed where I could perform exams. There was also a tiny vanity and sink in the corner with basic supplies. It would have to do.
I hurried to release the next patient to keep things moving while Lucinda showed him back. Then once I assured Beth could handle the others I joined him in the tiny space.
His head was back and he was staring at the bunnies on the ceiling. “You put me in the baby room?”
“You are acting like a big baby, so it’s fitting.” I walked over, taking his head into my hands and turning it a little to the side to examine the cut. “You had a hard fall, what did you do, fall off a stripper?”
“Nice bedside manner, Nora. If you treat all your patients this way I feel sorry for the kid in the next room.” He winced as I cleaned his cut.
“It’s water. I’m trying to see what you’ve got going on here.”
“It still hurts.” He closed his eyes and held still.
“What were you doing?”
“Oh so now you care? I was on a ladder in my kitchen trying to change a bulb above the sink. It seems all the lightbulbs have decided to go out at once. I thought I’d make myself useful before I was left in the dark. And since my brother was gone, I figured it could be a while.”
“Any word from him? Has he made it to my sister’s yet?” His brother Luke was on his way to sweep my sister, Harper off her feet. The two of them would probably get married and live happily ever after, and I’d be stuck with Tanner as a relative.
The two of us had our ups and down, but mostly downs. He’d been flirting with me ever since I built my house next door to his and even though I’d let him know time and time again that his being a billionaire playboy didn’t impress me, he continued to try.
The thing was, it would take more than his gorgeous brown eyes to woo me, considering that no man had in all my twenty-six years. Being a virgin doctor dedicated to my work, it would take more than his sexy smile or the devil may care smirk he usually wore, except for today. Today he was too out of it.
“Well, it’s a bad thing your brother is out of town, because I think you have a concussion.” I took my penlight and shined it into his eyes. “Yeah, I believe it’s slight, but you really shouldn’t be alone. You took a long, hard fall.”
His leg moved and suddenly his foot ran up the back of my calf. “You could come take care of me. We are neighbors and besides, we’re going to end up family if my brother has anything to do with it.”
I stepped back. “Whatever love story those two have is not going to involve us.”
“Why do you hate me?”
“I don’t hate you. I have a strong distaste for you.” The door opened behind me as Lucinda brought in the small cart with my supplies.
Tanner watched her as she quietly slipped out and then when I went to stand in front of him, tearing open an antiseptic wipe, he leaned closer. “How can you have a distaste when you have never tasted me?”
My face warmed with blush and I looked him right in those big brown eyes. “This might sting a little.” I touched the swab to his forehead, but he didn’t flinch, nor did he take his eyes away from me. Not even to blink.
“Maybe you should blow it,” he said with a seductive tone. Again another hint of blush hit my cheeks but I ignored him.
I turned and got the needle to deaden it and his eyes got bigger. “Just a little prick.” He didn’t have anything to say that time. Not now that I had a needle in my hand. “I’m going to stitch you up so you can get out of here.”
“Always so eager for me to leave.” He lifted his eyes up as if he could see what I was doing.
“Don’t wrinkle your forehead. Look down.” I took my suture and needle and went to work assuring I used the best size that wouldn’t leave a nasty scar. As much as he irritated me, I did appreciate his handsome face. “I wouldn’t be so eager for you to leave if you weren’t such an ass.”
“You don’t even know me.” His shoulders lifted and I was very away of the slight movement.
“I don’t want to. Besides, I know enough about you.” He’d dated a patient of mine, Meagan, who he had left pregnant.
“I wouldn’t be so quick to listen to rumor, besides, isn’t it better to get to know me for yourself?” I put the last stitch in and tied it off. Then I slapped a bandage in place using my brightest pink tape.
“All done. I’m going to get you something for pain. Are you allergic to anything, any reactions I should know about?” I wasn’t deliberately ignoring him, but I needed to get him patched up so we could both be on our way. I had patients in every room.
“Not that I know of.” He didn’t seem impressed, but closed his eyes and waited as I told him I’d be right back.
I ran out of the room and hurried to see Lucinda waiting for me outside a patient’s room. “Doctor, the two in these rooms are only waiting for you to get their meds. They have the same bug as the others, strep tests are coming back all clear, as well as the flu. The other is most likely allergies because she can’t stop sneezing and her eyes are all watery.” She took off to the front when I handed her the paper with my script request.
“I’m on it. Thanks so much.” I hurried into each room, giving the patients a bit more information on what to expect from their virus and then I got the woman lined out on her sneezing which, like Lucinda thought, was due to allergies. As I passed my office door, my cell phone vibrated in my pocket. I glanced down and it was my sister, Harper, so I slipped inside and took the call hoping to hear a bit of good news and because I thought I should pass along the news of Tanner’s misfortune, but then it wasn’t good news at all.
She didn’t know what was going on with Luke because he hadn’t showed up. I hurried off the phone as to not spoil the surprise, and because I needed to get back to work. I headed back to the infant room to get Tanner out of there.
When I walked in he was staring at his bandage in the small mirror over the sink.
“Here’s your prescription. You’ll have to come back in a week to get those stitches removed, so Lucinda is putting that in the system. You’re all set to go. Promise me you’ll go to the pharmacy and then straight home, too. You really shouldn’t be driving for the next few days. And find someone to stay with you. Someone should check on you through the night.”
He held his hand to his head and I could see the furrow in his brow. “Like who?”
I realized that while the whole town loved his brother, not many held the same feelings for Tanner Daniels. He wasn’t the hero type or a Good Samaritan. But surely he had someone, a friend, girlfriend, or distant relative who could look in on him? That’s what happens when you’re an asshole. No one cares. “You’re a billionaire, right? Maybe you can buy a friend.” What was meant as a joke fell flat.
The expression faded on his face as a muscle feathered in his jaw. “You know, that’s totally possible, too bad you can’t buy a personality.” With that he snatched his paperwork from my hands and headed out to the front. I stood there in the doorway feeling about two inches tall. I’d taken our teasing a bit too far. Shit.
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