This week got away from me and before I knew it was Saturday night and I’d forgotten to arrange a Sunday Snippet. So today’s snippet comes from my alter ego and Second Chance at Happiness.
Colin walked into Brynn’s room in the ICU the next afternoon, surprised to find her awake. Sitting in the chair by her bed, he noted all the wires attached to her, to monitor her heart and oxygen levels, the IV in her hand, the blood pressure cuff on her arm and the nasal cannula in her nose to help with her breathing. Her face was still pale and had a slight sheen to it.
Seeing her awake, Colin felt the muscles in his shoulders relax the tension they had held for the last twenty-four hours. He had forced himself to stay away from the hospital that morning, telling himself she was still out of it from her surgery the night before.
He settled instead for a phone call to the hospital, grateful they lived in a small-enough community the hospital staff knew he was the acting police chief while Ryan was gone, and Brynn was the police chief’s sister-in-law. The nurses had kept him appraised throughout the day on how she was doing.
“How are you feeling?” he asked.
“Like crap. How do you expect me to feel after emergency surgery and then to find out there were complications. Only old people and babies are supposed to get peritonitis. Not healthy women in their twenties. Add in the blood pressure so low my heart is barely pumping, and I’m as fine as Georgia peach.”
Her fake southern twang, as she said “Georgia peach,” made him smile for the first time since he’d found her the night before.
“And because of these flippin’ complications I can’t stay by myself.” Her displeasure was evident in her voice.
Colin attempted to stifle his chuckle at her grumbling. If there was one thing he knew about Brynn, and he knew more than he should, she hated being down.
“Well I’m sure you’ll find a way to keep yourself busy. You won’t have the energy to get into as much trouble as you think for a while.”
When he’d returned from his run that morning he’d checked his voicemail to see if anyone in her family had called him back.
Not one single member of Brynn’s family had returned his call.
He had assumed they had called the hospital instead, not thinking about any of it until he had gotten to work and found a note taped to his computer, a message one of the other officers had written from Ryan asking him to take care of Brynn, as Morgan wasn’t going home to take care of her.
“Have you heard from your family? I called your parents, Morgan, and Case last night to let them know what happened.”
“Did you tell them how sick I am?”
“No, I told them you had to have an appendectomy but that’s all Why?”
From the “I’m talking to an idiot look” she was giving he assumed he was supposed to know something he clearly didn’t.
“Unless you told them how sick I really am, no one in my family is going to call me or visit me. So I’m not surprised no one returned your call.”
Colin sat there in stunned disbelief. He knew how close her family was, so to discover they had not and would not call was a shock.
“Why doesn’t it surprise you?”
She crossed her arms and harrumphed. He wasn’t sure if it was at him or her family.
“When I was seventeen I had to have my tonsils out. I hated every minute of it. I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia, and it made me sicker. I vomited for days. I was so miserable I made everyone around me miserable. My dad hid at the office. Morgan suddenly had to go to some basketball camp, and Case had to spend the summer working for my grandpa as his assistant. My mom, out of desperation, asked the housekeeper to take care of me so she didn’t kill me. So if you called my family and told them I’m sick, they will ignore you, and hope you take care of me. They usually only last about two days with me when I’m sick.”
By the time Brynn was done with her explanation Colin was laughing so hard he had tears running down his face. The image of her driving away her family was too much for him.
Brynn looked at Colin.
This was the first time she had seen him since the wedding. When Morgan had asked her to housesit while they were gone, she had taken it as a sign she needed to start returning to life.
That meant facing everything Colin made her feel.
Of all the scenarios she had played in her mind when saw him again, being at Colin’s mercy wasn’t one of them.
She wanted to be in control of the situation.
Not be stuck in a hospital bed and certainly not feeling like she’d been on the losing end of a battle with a real, full-sized, yellow Tonka truck. She was hot, and sweaty, her body ached from the roots of her hair to the skin on the soles of her feet, and she was moments away from crying all the time. It wasn’t those pretty tears either, but instead the giant crocodile tears that made your face swell, your eyes turn all red and blotchy, and your nose run. Finally, to make matters worse she couldn’t brush her teeth, and she really wanted to brush her teeth.
“So why are you here? Don’t you need to make sure the criminals stay away?” She cringed inwardly at the bitchiness in her voice. She hated acting that way. It was the complete opposite of who she really was.
Colin leaned back in the chair he had commandeered and stretched out in, wiping the moisture from his face. It wasn’t funny how her family acted when she was sick, but she was the only one who thought that.
“I’m here because not one single member of your family answered his or her phone last night. Nor have they called to check up on you and, according to your doctor, you need someone to stay with you to make sure you take it easy and don’t overexert your heart. It took quite a beating. Not to mention your ruptured appendix. Ryan, the chicken shit, left a message for me at work asking me to take care of you. So what do you need?”
Brynn couldn’t tell whether Colin was happy or angry about having to take care of her. She had mixed emotions about it. It had been a long time since someone other than her family had taken care of her, and it hurt too much to think about the last person who’d taken care of her. Over the years she’d erected a wall as sturdy as the Great Wall of China around the part of her that craved having someone to lean on, to take care of her when she needed it.
She had a feeling, however, that if anyone could breach that wall it was Colin. Whether she wanted him to or not was the question.
When Colin MacCaffe’s personal life comes crashing down around him, he leaves the big city behind for a fresh start in the small town of Holiday Vermont. As the Deputy Chief of Police he spends his time making sure the town he’s come to call his own is safe. The only problem in his peaceful life is the arrival of his next door neighbor’s sister. A woman who threatens to destroy the peace of his new life.
After years of putting one foot in front of the other, acting like she was fine for her family Brynn Sanderson – Jackson is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. All she wants is a couple of weeks of rest and relaxation while she house sits for her sister. What she gets instead is a trip to the hospital, emergency surgery, and the neighbor next door. A man who makes her feel more than she wants to.
Can these two put their past heartaches behind them, and go after the happiness they’ve always wanted and thought was forever lost to them?