"Amy Andrews second foray into the world of the Medical romance is an unqualified success. I enjoyed this read and spilt a few tears over the characters. Time had obviously been spent on background and characters and the author has produced a tear jerker that grabs at the heart. I loved Laura and Jack, the hero and heroine, typical people that we can all relate to. The storyline was believable and I felt the author took the time to let her story unwind instead of rushing to its conclusion."
Trapped under a collapsed building, Laura Scott thought she would never survive. As the choking dust enveloped her, one man kept her alive and lifted her to safety – Dr Jack Riley.
That life-saving moment led to a night of unforgettable intimacy. It was as if they’d been together for ever. Yet in the morning Laura left without a trace.
It’s ten years before they meet again, and Jack discovers not only how real their connection was, but also that Laura is the mother of a ten-year-old child…
Mr Gordon had been in full cardiac arrest for forty minutes when the futility of the situation called for a reluctant end to the proceedings. The atmosphere, which had been charged with pure adrenaline only moments before, was suddenly hollow and heavy. Solemn introspection replaced frenetic activity.
Laura, who had taken over the cardiac massage, stilled. Her shoulders ached from the effort of compressing such a big man’s sternum. And her heart ached for another life they couldn’t save. She stared down at the gloved hands that formed a barrier between her and the bright purple rash covering the patient’s body – the hallmark of meningococcus.
“Laura? You’ve been dealing with the family?” asked Jenny.
“Yes,” said Laura.
They de-gloved solemnly and washed their hands at the sink. Jack approached as they were drying their hands.
"What are you doing here?" asked Laura, not even her surprise at seeing him managing to shake the gloom from her voice.
"I was paged. The social worker is dealing with a crisis on another ward and it was felt that Mr Gordon's family would need some grief counseling. Has he passed away?"
"Yes," said Laura
"Oh, dear. How awful." Jack voice was quiet as he watched Laura intently. He saw the sadness and disbelief etched on her face and had an inkling of how she was feeling.
He had felt similar emotions at Newvalley. The suddenness of such an incident was hard to get your head around. How quickly someone could die was always startling. And it didn't matter how many times you'd seen it before it was always shocking.
The fact that Mr Gordon was a complete stranger to Laura would only make it harder. It just wasn't right that people died amongst strangers. Surely, in the most desperately dire time of his life, Mr Gordon should have been surrounded by people who knew and loved him?
Such was the nature of the work on an Intensive Care Unit. But Jack knew it didn't make it any easier and as he continued to watch Laura he could see she was having trouble reigning in her emotions. Perhaps she wasn't the best candidate to be present when the dreadful news was given to the family. Maybe she'd had enough emotion for one day?
Jenny excused herself to answer a page and Laura found herself waiting for Jenny's return with Jack beside her.
"Do you think it's a good idea that you be the one to break the news to Mrs Gordon?"
"Jenny will do that," she said, staring straight ahead.
"Yes, but do you really need to be there too?"
"I'm the only one here who the family vaguely know. Her husband is dead. I think the she deserves to have at least one familiar face around when she's told. Don't you?" Laura's voice was terse. Her body tense.
"You're looking a little shaky at the moment. You're going to need to be a lot more detached than this," Jack pushed.
"Don't tell me how to do my job," she hissed turning to look at him. "I am a professional. I've been sitting in on awful conversations for years. I haven't broken down in front of a client ever. Ever! And I'm not about to start. When I go in that room I will be perfectly in control."
"Okay, okay. Calm down. I didn't mean to upset you."
"When you question my professionalism it upsets me!" she said in an angry whisper. "You think I want to be part of what's going to be said in that room? Because I don't. Every part of me rebels against the idea."
Laura took a breath and tried to calm her racing pulse and seesawing emotions. Yes, the swiftness of Mr Gordon's deterioration was having an effect on her but she had to make Jack understand why he was wrong.
She softened her voice. "But I am a nurse, I don't have a choice here. I am compelled to be there because it's the right thing to do. The only thing to do. I've made a connection with them. I can't just break that connection in their neediest hour because it's emotionally challenging."
Jack nodded. He understood what she was telling him but was worried about her nonetheless. At least he would be present during the talk. He had been paged for Mrs Gordon's emotional journey but as Jenny rejoined them he knew that Laura's needs took first place.
“Mrs Gordon.” Jenny addressed the woman, face grim, introducing herself and Laura and Jack.
“No,” Mrs Gordon shook her head wildly, looking from one to the other, knowing from their faces what they were about to say.
“I’m sorry Mrs Gordon. We did all we could but...your husband died a few minutes ago.”
“No,” she whispered fiercely. “He can’t be dead. He was fine four hours ago.”
Jenny nodded solemnly. “Mrs Gordon, what we think your husband had, Meningococcal septicaemia , it probably got into his blood stream. Its onset is very quick...”
The woman wasn't listening. She came closer to Laura and grabbed her by the forearms, her eyes accusing. “You said they were the best. You said they’d do everything they could.” Her voice rose hysterically and she began to shake Laura.
Laura looked into the woman’s eyes wild with grief and was paralysed by the her disbelief and anger. Even the bite of the woman’s fingers as they dug into her skin, didn’t register. She opened her mouth to say something but the words just didn't come.