USA Today Bestselling Author
Welcome to Hathaway House.
Rehab Center. Safe Haven.
Second chance at life and love.
Jaden Hancock knows that things could be a lot worse. He still has two arms and two legs, even if one of his legs is so badly damaged it’s virtually useless. And it’s not that he isn’t willing to work toward recovery — it’s just hard to see the lack of progress even after weeks of therapy. While he knows that he needs to accept the current state of his body, that acceptance feels like giving up. And he’s not prepared to do that.
Brianna Kole crossed the country to get away from her old life. As the newest member of the staff at Hathaway House, she’s polite but not overly friendly. The last thing she wants is to get attached and to risk getting hurt again. But, in spite of her reservations, she and Jaden gravitate to each other as the two newcomers to the facility. After that, it isn’t long before Brianna’s questioning her feelings… and his.
I’m really loving how as we meet new people, both as patients and staff, we also love how they find the healing they need at Hathaway House.
In this book Jaden and Brianna are both new to Hathaway House. Jaden as a patient and Brianna as a relief nurse.
Jaden was inspired by Iain’s recovery to apply to Hathaway House. His time at the VA Hospital has reached a point where he is not progressing and he really wants to be better.
Brianna is a caring nurse, who came to the area for a new beginning. Her position at Hathaway House was to be a relief nurse. That has quickly turned to full time hours and Dani offers her a full time position and one of the apartments on site.
This is a favorite scene as Jaden and Brianna meet for the first time.
She drove carefully toward where the apartments were, then took her assigned parking spot and started unloading everything. She was more than delighted to live here. As she took out her last load, she looked up to see one of the men on the deck above, outside the cafeteria area. She waved a hand and called out, “Good evening.”
“Good evening,” he said back. She quickly dropped off that last box to her new apartment and then made her way closer to him, standing on the grass below the upper deck. “Did I miss dinner?”
“I don’t think so,” he said. “But I just arrived today, so I’m not sure.”
She raced up the stairs and recognized him as one of the men who had had the ice cream earlier. She smiled at him. “If you’re up for some company,” she said, “I’ll see if I can grab some food first before my time runs out and then join you.”
His eyebrows popped up, and he nodded. “Absolutely,” he said. “I’m just finishing.”
“Good. Can I get you anything while I’m there?” She turned to look at him as she walked slightly backward to the cafeteria line.
“I might come and get seconds in a bit,” he said. “Go ahead and get yours first.”
She raced up to see Dennis standing there, cleaning up a lot of the trays. “Did I miss out?”
“Some of it’s gone, but we always have something to offer,” he said. “What would you like?”
“Just give me a plate of goodness,” she said.
He nodded and served her a massive amount of a beautifully unique salad. It had chickpeas and olives, and it looked like a variation of a Greek salad with skewers of meat and some beautiful rice, yellow in color, with vegetables and maybe raisins too, but she didn’t quite know for sure. With that cursory glance, she put it on her tray, grabbed a bottle of water and some cutlery, and headed to where the guy was who she’d talked to earlier.
As she placed her tray down, she said, “Thanks for offering to share your table.”
“I think here,” he said, “we all share.”
She smiled, nodded, and said, “I’m Brianna, by the way.”
“Jaden,” he offered. “And I literally just arrived today, so I don’t know anything about the place.”
“And I arrived almost four weeks ago,” she said with a conspiratorial look. “So we’re both newbies.”
“Wow,” he said. “Yet you act like you’re very comfortable here.”
“I am to a certain extent,” she said. “But now I just moved into one of the resident apartments, and that’s made my life a little easier.”
“I’m sure it went well then,” he said. “You work here?”
“Oh, sorry,” she said, as she paused and looked at him. She gave a shake of her head. “Yes, I’m one of the nurses. I was part-time, but now I’m full-time.”
“Good for you,” he said. “Well, obviously I’m one of the patients.”
She smiled and nodded. They ate in companionable silence, and then suddenly Dennis was at her side. “Jaden, how are you doing?”
Jaden looked up at him and smiled. “I think I’m good,” he said.
“Do you want any more dessert or other food?”
“I think I’m full. That traveling is likely to upset my system as it is.”
“Got it,” he said. Dennis took away his plate as well as the rest of his cutlery. “Do you want anything else to drink now?”
Jaden shook his head. “I’ll probably crash after this.”
“Good enough,” he said. He looked over at Brianna. “How are you doing?”
“I’m doing great,” she mumbled around a chunk of meat that she’d popped off from the skewer and into her mouth.
Dennis grinned and took off.
“Is everybody this friendly?” Jaden asked. “I came from an institution where people speak in whispers, low voices, and everyone doesn’t want to disturb anybody.”
“It’s not like that here at all,” she said.
Just then came several barks.
Jaden turned in surprise to see an older man and a great big Newfoundlander walking toward the edge of the deck. The dog stopped beside Jaden and woofed. Jaden reached out a hand, and the dog immediately came closer, looking for ear scratches.
The older man looked at him, smiled, and said, “I’m the Major,” he said. “Dani is my daughter.”
Jaden smiled, reached out a hand, and shook it, whereas Brianna stared at him.
“Wow,” Brianna said. “You’re the one she started this for.”
“Yep, in a way,” he said. “Although I’d say both of us started this.”
Brianna immediately felt embarrassed. “I just heard rumors,” she rushed in to save her mistake.
He lifted a hand. “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “What we’ve built, we’ve built. But she has carried it on.” He reached down, scratching the dog on her head. “This is Helga. She’s around all the time too.”
Both of them stopped for a moment to give her a cuddle, but Helga now stared and sniffed at the meat on Brianna’s plate.
“Just remember to never feed any of the animals around here,” the Major said. “Most of them have stomach issues over the more obvious physical ones, and too much human food just causes them more trouble.”
“I’ve heard about that,” Brianna said, giggling, “but Helga is not listening to you.”
The Major gave a shout of laughter. “No, she’s not, but I’ll take her for a walk along the paddocks to distract her and to get her away from this temptation.” And he called Helga to his side, and the two descended the stairs and took off toward the fenced-in area. Several of the horses came wandering over to see the Major. He talked with a few of them and then kept going toward the others.
“It’s beautiful here,” she said dreamily.
“It is,” he said. “For you, it’s home and work. For me, it’s a place to rest and to heal and then to move on.”
“A small distinction,” she said, “but one that is very important.”
“Exactly,” he said with half a smile. “And, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll head to my room now.” And he slowly pushed his wheelchair back from the table, pivoted, and headed inside to the cafeteria and beyond.
Dale Mayer. Jaden (Kindle Locations 366-418). Valley Publishing Ltd..
While Brianna and Jaden do hit it off, there are some conversations that have me shaking my head. Brianna is a caring nurse but perhaps too much so for the patients here. She needs to come to terms with a lot of things, including the fact that pain is regretfully a part of the healing process.
I really love the journeys to healing these two have. For Jaden it’s physical and mental, and for Brianna it’s personal growth and understanding.
The interactions with Shaun are interesting and informative and I really loved getting more insight into Dennis. The animals are also an integral part here and much fun to see and get to know.
I really 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.