USA Today Bestselling Author
Welcome to Hathaway House.
Rehab Center. Safe Haven.
Second chance at life and love
Navy SEAL Finn MacGregor arrives at Hathaway House not only with half of one leg but with a stoma, one that necessitates the use of a colostomy bag. While it’s nice to once again see his old friend Dani Hathaway and her father, the Major, it’s tough to feel like the least sexy man on the face of the earth. Especially after he meets the pretty nurse in charge of his care …
Fiona Smithers has seen practically everything when it comes to the human body, and Finn’s physical problems don’t faze her. Emotionally she’s wary though. Once before, one of her patients had confused the gratitude he felt for her as love. … That scenario left Fiona devastated to know her friendliness had been misunderstood. Whether deemed love or friendliness, those emotions directly effected that patient’s initial healing and then his setbacks of body as well as of heart and of mind, making her more determined not to run the same risks again. Yet, this time, she may not be able to help herself. She wants Finn in her life on a permanent basis, but, after seeing his obsession with her in his artwork, is that even possible?
We met Finn briefly when he urged Elliot to go to Hathaway House, at the time he was recovering from his latest and last surgery. He really wanted to see how Elliot did before he committed to going.
One thing we didn’t know then is that he is friends with Dani and when he makes he makes the call, he’s in. As is always true, Finn’s injuries and the approach to therapy are different. Some of his issues stem from his having a colostomy bag, it was life saving, but the position of it and the function it serves is an embarrassment to him.
When Fiona meets Finn, she is a delight. Open and honest she doesn’t pull any punches. She’s not only part of his team, she also frequently helps out with the animals in the Vet Clinic. Her initial interactions with Finn are both fun and informative.
This is a favorite scene
She smiled. “Appearances matter to you, don’t they? You have this view of who you are and what you should be, and, anything different than that, you’re not willing to accept.”
“Is anybody?” he asked, wanting to challenge her on that. He shifted uncomfortably. “Besides, you’re my nurse, not my shrink.”
She settled back and looked around.
He wondered if he’d hurt her and immediately felt bad. “I’m sorry,” he muttered.
“No need to be.”
“Yes, there is,” he said. “I didn’t mean to come across as an arrogant asshole. Apparently, I’ve been doing a little bit too much of that lately.”
“Or, you are somebody desperate for the same chance that you see everybody else getting,” she murmured. “The thing is, when you’re desperate, it doesn’t happen.”
Her words were like a sock to his gut because so much truth was behind them, but how did she know? He stared down at his water bottle, wondering.
“Everybody comes here with that same look,” she explained, her voice once again cool but warm. “And you have every right to it. This is your life. This is your physical body. This is your future. You have to want this change, to be the best you can be. You have to be hungry for it,” she said. “But you have to be willing to do the work to get there. And the work is not always the work that you think it’ll be.”
He stared back at her. He didn’t even necessarily want to go down that train of thought. But what she was offering him was tantalizing. “Is that part of your shrink duties?” he asked, but he tried to keep the sarcasm out of it.
“We’re all shrinks here,” she said, “because we’re all people who walk this world called life. None of us are any better than you. None of us are any worse. We’re all here on this journey. We’re all at different stages. Just because I’m healthy and seemingly whole and have a job where I get to help people become healthy and whole doesn’t mean I’m ahead of you. On the contrary,” she said, “I’ve learned so much on a day-to-day basis from each and every one of you that I know that I’m further behind.”
She almost took his breath away. He took a sip, trying to gather his thoughts as he considered her words. “I guess you’ve seen it all, haven’t you?”
“I keep thinking I have, and then I get a new patient with a new set of problems and a new set of beliefs and a new set of handicaps, and I realize that, yet again, somebody new with something different has presented which I haven’t seen before, and it’s another opportunity to learn.”
Her words were hard-hitting, and yet, so damn meaningful that it made him feel small. “It seems like, every time you open your mouth right now, you come out with something incredibly prophetic, and it makes me feel even smaller,” he admitted. “I had no idea my insecurity was such an issue.”
“What I’ve found,” she said in a conversational tone, leaning forward and linking her fingers loosely in front of her, “is that whenever we’re up against a new challenge— in your case, your physical disabilities— it makes us all feel very insecure because it’s different. We don’t experience a stable footing to stand on. We don’t know what we’re up against, so we don’t have the confidence to know if we can handle it. It’s as if the mountain seems to be so big that you just don’t have the coping skills, so everything falls apart. And the first thing to go is your sense of confidence, your sense of security, your ability to do versus maybe I can do.” She cut her roll in half and offered him half.
He stared at it and then nodded. He leaned forward, wincing only a little at his back as it twinged with the movement.
“Did you lose that kidney too?” she asked, her tone so normal and commonplace.
He laughed and said, “I did. That and a bunch of other stuff.” He picked up the half of her roll, took a bite and slowly savored it.
She nodded and said, “You haven’t allowed yourself much in the way of food, have you?”
Instinctively he gazed at his waist. She nodded, “Because whatever goes in has to come out, and you’ve been avoiding what comes out.”
He flushed, looking around, wishing she kept her voice low.
“If I were to stand on this tabletop and yell out to everybody that you have a colostomy bag,” she said comfortably, “not one person here would give a shit or be fazed by it.”
“How do you know?” he asked in horrified fascination. “Do you do that to all the newbies who come here?”
She stared at him in surprise for a moment and then went off in a peal of laughter. When she finally calmed down, she wiped the tears from her eyes, still chuckling, and said, “Oh, that was great,” she said. “No, I don’t. I should though, shouldn’t I?” Still chuckling, she checked her watch and said, “Not sure what time your next appointment is, but I have to get going.”
“What time is it?” he asked.
He nodded. “I should go too. I’m not exactly sure how anything works here, but it seems like it’s not really been set up yet.”
“That’s normal until everybody on the team gets up to speed,” she said, standing. “Do you want a hand back?”
“I think the answer that I’m supposed to give you,” he said, “is, No, I’ll do it myself. But the honest truth is, I would. I’m quite tired.” He lifted a hand to see it trembling.
She gave a decisive nod. “I’m taking my lunch back to my desk. Let’s get your drink and your lunch and bring it back with you.” She quickly packed up a tray, put it on his lap, walked behind him, pushing him toward his room.
“Are you supposed to see me this afternoon?”
“Yes, I am,” she said. “Will you be there, or will you run away?”
“I was thinking that I really wanted to see you,” he said. “You have a take on life that’s refreshing.”
“It’s because I like to take life by the hand and give it a good shake and see what falls out,” she said, still laughing.
“Like I said, refreshing.”
Dale Mayer. Finn (Kindle Locations 490-538). Valley Publishing Ltd..
As Fiona works with Finn she finds her attraction to him growing but because of things that happened previously she is very wary of her feelings. Something she find the animals help with.
Finn finds himself more than a little attracted to Fiona and he knows he needs to find a comfort zone with his own body.
It’s quite the interesting journey for Finn and Fiona, balancing the personal and professional. There’s also Finn’s friendship with Dani that puts and interesting twist on things even though Dani and Aaron are solid and engaged.
I loved seeing Stan the Vet, he does so much and with the new additions of an Appaloosa named Appie and his sidekick a llama named Lovely, plus some difficult cases we see a new side to him. I think he needs a book. Did I mention the puppies and the injured Mom?
Then there’s Danny from the kitchen, he seems to be everywhere and knows what everyone needs nutrition wise. I’d like to know more about him as well.
I truly love the entire process that we witness in these books, from the first day to almost the end of a stay.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.