USA Today Bestselling Author
Welcome to Hathaway House.
Rehab Center. Safe Haven.
Second chance at life and love.
Getting accepted to Hathaway House is the new start Iain MacLeod has been waiting for. His old VA center has put him on the road to recovery, but he’s nowhere near where he wants to be. Much work remains to be done, and Iain is determined to do what’s necessary to get back to full power. But he has hit the limit of his current professionals’ abilities. He needs a new team. New eyes. New methods. He can only hope that Hathaway House has what he needs to keep moving forward.
Robin Carruthers works in the veterinary clinic at Hathaway House. When she connects with Iain, she’s his biggest cheerleader and enjoys watching him take steps toward greater recovery. Until she realizes that, while Iain is growing in major ways… she isn’t. When traumas from her past intrude on the present, and Robin is forced to confront issues of her own, she’s afraid she and Iain won’t find their way back to each other again…
Iain was a bit surprised when he received the acceptance to Hathaway House. He does believe it’s the change he needs to make any real progress. However he makes a major mistake by having his friend Bruce drive him instead of traveling by ambulance. This causes a rather large setback before serious rehab can begin.
Robin sees Iain’s arrival and can tell he’s in pain, she doesn’t let him see her, she knows he would be embarrassed to be seen at his most vulnerable. Being a Vet Tech in the Veterinary Clinic below the rehab center is a dream come true for Robin. The job comes with lodging, and meals and a great salary.
One of the things Robin likes to do is bring animals up to visit with the human patients. It during one of those visits she meets Iain.
This is a favorite scene.
Several days later, the man she’d seen arrive crossed Robin’s path again. She was walking around the ground floor with one of the big new cats in her arms. This one was missing a leg, but his temperament was being tried out as a therapy cat. The staff had found that having the formerly injured animals around gave the human patients in the facility additional hope and that they would bond in some way, furthering their rehab efforts.
So, this was Max. He had a patch of fur missing off his hip that had refused to grow back, but apparently he was doing much better. He was mobile— a little too mobile to be let loose right now— and happy, and, as soon as you even looked at him, that diesel engine of his kicked in. She was going from room to room, asking the human patients on the floor above the vet clinic if they wanted to say hi. She hadn’t met anyone saying no yet. Even those with that initial stay away from me vibe instantly broke into a big grin, their walls completely down. It was amazing to watch, each and every time.
As she approached the next room, the door was open, so she stuck her head in and said, “Hey.”
A man looked up, and she was surprised to see who it was. The new arrival she had seen. She smiled and said, “I have Max here, if you’d like to say hello.”
He looked at her in surprise, then at the cat in her arms. “Wow,” he said, “can you actually carry that thing?”
“He is on the heavier side of twenty pounds,” she said, “so part of his rehab includes losing weight.” She walked in, held Max out, then placed him gently on the bed.
The patient looked at her— held his gaze there for quite a while— smiled, and said, “I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before.” He reached out a hand. “I’m Iain. I arrived a few days ago.”
She nodded. “I’m Robin. I’m one of the vet techs downstairs.”
He grinned. “Well, that explains why I haven’t seen you.” He reached down to pet Max. “Wow, look at this guy.” Max immediately walked up his chest and butted him in the head. Iain chuckled. He wrapped his arms around the cat and said, “The advantage of a cat being this big is you can really hug them,” and he held Max close for a moment, just letting his face rest against the big cat’s head. Max took it for a long time. “His temperament is beautiful,” he muttered.
She smiled and reached down to pat Max. “We’re testing him out as a possible therapy cat,” she murmured.
He looked at her with interest.
She shrugged. “We work with a society in town, and they work with animals that can go to children’s wards in hospitals and also to visit with terminal patients— difficult cases where anything like this might put a smile on their faces.”
“I love hearing that,” he said warmly.
She studied him, her smile growing bigger. “Besides, Max put a smile on your face, didn’t he?”
He winced. “Yeah. … Did it look like I wasn’t too happy with life when you first came in?”
“Not so much,” she said. “But it’s obvious you’re not lying here relaxed and comfortable.”
He looked at her in surprise.
She shrugged. “I deal with animals all the time. Humans are just bigger animals.”
“That’s the truth,” he said. “Sometimes we’re easy to deal with, and sometimes we’re not.”
“The same for all animals,” she said.
Max, not liking to be ignored, immediately head-butted Iain again. He chuckled and scratched the big guy under his chin. “He looks like a tabby with those big rings, but he’s so much larger.”
“We’re not exactly sure what other breed is in Max,” she said, “but his previous owners had him declawed, and that’s not a good idea when around other animals and, of course, never when outside. They have no way to defend themselves if they are attacked.”
“Well, as a therapy cat,” he said, “it would probably be okay.”
“Well, for the moment, I’m mostly carrying him around, or he would get away from me really quick,” she said. “I’ll have to get him used to a harness though, for that kind of therapy work.”
“That should be fun,” he said, laughing. “Anytime anybody needs a chuckle, you should grab a group of us and put the harness on Max in front of us all, so we can watch this guy get out of it in two seconds flat.”
She grinned, loving his humor.
Dale Mayer. Iain (Kindle Locations 397-432). Valley Publishing Ltd..
Now Robin and Iain have an up and down kind of relationship. She wants to help, and he’s not seeing his progress.
I love that we see much more of the animals in this one. They always lift my spirits.
This is an interesting journey for both Iain and Robin. They both have things to work out and for him it’s the added physical stuff too.
It’s amazing how Dale manages to show us something different in the lines of recovering in each of these books, and adds in that special romance for good measure.
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.