by: Dana Volney
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Release Date: November 21, 2016
Publisher: Crimson Romance
From the author of The December Deal comes another charming holiday story of finding love in the least likely places.
Silver Morgenstern had a thriving, meaningful career as a surgeon working for charity organizations in war-torn countries. Then her life changed with one flick of the wrist. Now she’s back in Wyoming, serving as an administrator at the local hospital. But shuffling paperwork is nothing compared to saving lives.
Five years ago, Fisher Tibbs founded the successful social program Combat Children’s Hunger. Giving back to kids brings a sparkle to his eye, especially after the loss of his own young daughter, but it can’t mend the very real fissure in his heart. Ready to see his child again, he’s preparing and planning a future for CCH that he won’t get to witness.
But when Fisher’s application to be removed from the heart transplant list comes across Silver’s desk, her next mission is clear: convince him life is worth the fight. But she never expects that the struggle to rescue his heart might just save her own.
“He doesn’t want a new heart?” Silver Morgenstern snapped her head up from her emails, which were piling up by the second.
No one on the National Organ Transplant List ever turned down an organ. Or purposefully removed themselves from the list.
Janae’s eyes behind thick, red-rimmed glasses darted to the note on top of a manila file cradled in her arm. “He stopped in, but you were busy.”
“Give me the file. What’s this guy’s name?”
“Fisher.” A small smile streaked across her assistant’s face.
“Did he say why?”
“He’s, ah, one of a kind. I never actually thought he’d go so far as to take his name off the list, though.” She pushed her glasses up and refocused her attention on Silver. “No, he didn’t give a specific reason.”
“We’ll see about that.” If this guy, a Mr. Fisher Tibbs, really wanted off the list, he could pull his name. But he’d already been on it for … Silver skimmed down … four years. That was a long time to give up on—and right when he was next in line for a viable match in the region.
“Thank you, Janae.”
Silver leaned back in her oversized cognac-colored office chair and crossed one knee over the other. Prairie Wind Medical Center in her hometown of Casper, Wyoming, was a far cry from the third-world countries where she’d practiced for years.
She’d had aspirations once. Born of her own childhood, when her grandpa needed a liver transplant. Even at the age of ten, she knew she wanted to bring hope back into people’s lives.
That had been dashed with one flick of a wrist and lots of blood.
So now she held the medical director’s job rather than a surgeon’s position. Her ambition to help had been relegated to a polite, rote greeting every time the phone rang in this new life, the life that was slowly draining her soul.
She rubbed her left thumb and index finger together in a circular motion as she read through Tibbs’s chart. Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. Huh. A rare diagnosis causing the arteries flowing from the heart to the lungs to narrow. Usually people just had PAH. The idiopathic part basically meant there was no known cause for it, hereditary or otherwise. That was a bum hand to be dealt.
Still, what an odd time to call it quits on the list—he definitely needed a heart to live to old age. There wasn’t anything in his chart about depression or a reason why he’d be forcibly taken off the list.
She grabbed for the black, fine-tipped pen on her desk to write down the address he’d given for his employer and winced as she gripped the barrel.
It’s going to get better. It’s not permanent. Your body is healing. She automatically recited the words in her mind with each sting in her right thumb and index finger, and the subsequent burning in her wrist. Stupid, stupid words from a woman who knew better.
As a surgeon, she knew her hope of regaining the full use of her right hand had vanished twelve months ago. But her mind refused to give up on her dream, her accomplishments, and the future she’d laid out for herself more than two decades ago.
She couldn’t get a hand replacement to make everything in her life great again, but
this guy might have an opportunity to receive an organ that could save his.
There had to be more to Mr. Tibbs’s story.
She couldn’t sit in her office one moment longer or look at another email. Mr. Tibbs needed some sense talked into him. She might not be able to do anything for him in the operating room, but she sure as hell could offer a well-informed conversation.
The medical director position at PWMC came with the distinct pleasure of managing the National Organ Transplant List regionally. It was the only part of her job she actually enjoyed. And today she was going to oversee the hell out of it.
Silver stood, adjusted the hem on her sensible eggplant-colored dress that tickled her knees when she walked, and grabbed the forms Mr. Tibbs was going to need to sign if he really wanted to remove his name. Although she intended to talk him out of that particular choice.
Soft holiday music streamed in the newly expanded main lobby as she pulled out her keys, tightened the belt on her black trench coat, and headed into the parking garage.
The office he’d listed on his contact form wasn’t far. He’d be frail, probably pale, and wouldn’t be able to walk far without losing his breath. The heart affected every part of the body, and this guy had been having problems for a while now.
She found the white building with a colorful sign that clearly stated she’d reached the
Combat Children’s Hunger office and parked her Jeep Renegade.
A rush of heat blew her scarf into her face when she opened the glass front door.
She’d expected to see a warehouse full of food being packed and sent out for delivery or a bunch of offices where people were scurrying to drum up donations. There was none of that. The room before her was basically a large lunchroom like what would be found in an elementary school. It reminded her of some of the smaller, underprivileged towns in
Tanzania with one-room schools where the kids did everything, including eating.
Brightly colored artwork hung on the walls—palm prints in paint on construction paper, drawings with colored pencils, and pictures of smiling faces, some young, some not.
Combat Children’s Hunger was stenciled onto the wall in black lettering beside a picture of a handsome man in a baby-blue button-up, smiling but showing no teeth. She stepped closer to read the tiny gold nameplate affixed to the wooden frame.
Her gaze bounced back to the cheerful, golden-brown eyes forever memorialized in the photo. This was the guy who didn’t want to live beyond the next couple of years? The picture had to be recent, because the file said he was thirty.
“Can I help you?” A head popped out of the meager office to her right. The same face, right down to the five-o’clock shadow, greeted her.
“Yes, hello. I wanted to—”
“Volunteer? Great.” He stepped completely out of his office, filling the door frame with his tall build—he had to be at least six-foot-four. “We can use all the help we can get this time of year. Lots of food going out to make sure kids are fed for the holidays.”
She swallowed and nodded, the French twist she’d wrangled her long, blond hair into that
morning staying perfectly in place. She basically funded Paul Mitchell’s hair thickening and taming product lines.
A slow smile flourished on his strong jawline, adding wrinkles on both sides of his mouth that were nearly invisible through his thick, brown five-o’clock shadow that was probably knocking on the door to a thirteen-hour stubble.
“Fisher Tibbs.” He stuck out his palm, and she let her hand slip right in and be consumed by the hard flesh, only pulling back when he did.
“Silver. Rae.” And now she wasn’t giving him her full name. Because he’ll know who I am.
What was she doing? She wasn’t here to volunteer. She barely had enough time in her day to do the work that was her day job. Volunteering and do-goodery was a thing of her past, as of twelve months ago. Another lifetime.
She was here to talk the man out of a death sentence.
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The December Deal ~ Review
Dana Volney lets her imagination roam free in Wyoming, where she writes romances and helps local businesses succeed with her marketing consulting company. Splitting her time between telling sexy, fast-paced suspense stories and sweet holiday romances, she likes to try new adventures in real life whenever she can (which, let’s face it, means tasting all sorts of delicious cuisines). Dana is bold, adventurous, and—by her own admission—good with plants, having kept a dwarf lemon tree alive for six months.
Dana is the published contemporary romance author, through Crimson Romance, of Holiday Hoopla, Paradise Point, Christmas Clash, Candlelight Conspiracy, Protecting the Prince, Protecting His Heart, The December Deal, Protecting Her Secrets, and A Heart for the Holidays. Her co-authored romance, Edible Espionage, released through The Wild Rose Press.
Places to find Dana Volney: