USA Today Bestselling Author
Uncle Sam’s Navy wasn’t kind to Owen Powell. After he walked too close to a landmine, he was left with leg and back injuries and a rough road to regaining his health. His career is down the drain; his future is uncertain, and every day is a struggle toward better mental and physical health.
The last thing he expects to find is love in the midst of therapy at Hathaway House.
Penny Abigail has spent all her adult life trying to prove to her family that she’s strong enough after a lifetime of illnesses to live her life on her own terms. Although frail, she’s worked hard to get to where she’s at today. She has created several charities and hands out large sums of money to deserving organizations, including Hathaway House.
Meeting Owen wasn’t part of her plan, but she’s willing to run with it. The problem is convincing her overprotective family that the broken SEAL is good enough for her and is not just after her money …
In the prologue to this book is the phone call Owen gets from his former roommate Nash. He’s astonished that Nash had put him on the waiting list without his knowledge and now there’s a bed available. He only has to finish the paperwork and he knows he has to go, the results he sees with Nash just prove that he can go further too.
Of course like so many other’s he over does it on the first day, using crutches instead of the wheelchair to prove he’s serious.
Penelope ‘Penny’ Abigail drops off a few animals at Stan’s vet clinic on the lower level of Hathaway House before making her way upstairs to see Dani. Hathaway House and Stan’s Clinic are just a couple of the many places that benefit from her financial trusts. With Dani busy she heads to the dining room for coffee, where Dennis talks her into a salad and fried chicken since she admits it’s been a while since she ate. This is where she meets Owen.
This is a favorite scene.
Penny smiled and watched as Owen awkwardly sat down and then propped the crutches up beside him.
“I am tired,” he admitted, “but there’s just something odd about being in a wheelchair.”
“Is it that bad?”
“Brings up all kinds of bad memories,” he admitted. “I haven’t quite adjusted to accepting that I need it for a time, and then later I can let it go. I just see myself heading down the pathway of my grandfather.”
“Was he wheelchair bound?” Grimly he nodded. “From a disease.”
“I walked too close to a land mine.”
She stopped and stared at him. “I hope you’re kidding,” she replied, her voice faint.
“I was on the outside of its blast radius. There was a group of us,” he explained. “So I only took a periphery impact. One of the guys lost both legs. He’s still having surgeries, trying to get enough of a stump to sit on. Another one of us died,” he added sadly. “It’s one of those times in life where you just keep trying to get better, but it doesn’t always work.”
“I get it,” she replied. “Sounds so sad.”
“It is, but I’m here, and I have mobility, and I have both legs,” he said. “So I really don’t have any right to complain.”
“Doesn’t stop us though, does it?” she added cheekily. She watched as his smile bloomed across his face.
“So why are you always here?” he asked. “I figured you must have been a nurse or someone off duty or I don’t know what. Most people here are in uniforms, not in jeans.”
“I wear many hats.” She chuckled. When he remained silent, as if wanting more, she explained. “I run my own businesses, which cover my many interests.” Again she laughed. “Also I’m loosely a consultant here.”
Owen raised his eyebrows. “So what do you consult on?”
She hesitated, then the Major joined them, with his usual boisterous self. “Ah, she’s just being modest, our Penny,” the Major said, bending to give her a kiss on the cheek. He turned to Owen, extending his hand. “I’m Dani’s father, but everyone calls me Major.”
“Nice to meet you, sir.”
“And this lady here is our benefactor, our personal social worker, and another animal lover in the fight to save them all.”
Owen turned in surprise to face Penny. “Wow. Impressive.”
“What brought you here today?” the Major asked Penny.
“I delivered a dog and two cats downstairs,” she explained. “Stan’s going to take care of them.”
“Are they yours?” Owen asked.
“Nope. I operate a charity that helps out animals at vet clinics, rescues, and other well-deserving institutions.”
“Ah, like the veterans at Hathaway House, by any chance?”
“One of the things that Dani and the Major have done here is they’ve opened up beds for those who can’t afford it and don’t have any medical coverage,” Penny said. “So my charities like to help out with that.”
Just then Dennis arrived with another plate of fried chicken, and— instead of a green salad— there was potato salad on the side.
“Oh my. I hear my stomach calling me. I’ll just go visit Ilse for a minute.” The Major winked at Penny and waved to Dennis, while calling out to Owen, “Nice to meet you, son. Stay the course.”
Penny watched as Owen stared after the Major, then at the food. Owen looked up at Dennis and asked, “Is this normal fare here?”
“Absolutely it is.” He proudly nodded. “Also, don’t you let her hogwash you into believing that she doesn’t do much. She’s a hugely valuable part of this place. She donates many hours as a social worker to our patients on an as-needed basis.”
“I believe it.” Owen nodded. “Apparently you are invaluable too, and whoever is on the staff behind those double doors.”
“Ilse runs the kitchen, and she’s got a wicked hand with food.” Dennis smiled. “So, enjoy.”
“That goes for both of us, I guess,” she noted. “We arrived in between meals, so I felt a little guilty.”
“Like you, I don’t know any better, so I think we can get away with it right now,” Owen said in a conspiratorial whisper.
Dennis shook his head. “You two are welcome here at any time. So eat up. Tell me what you think.”
Just as they both chomped down on their first piece of chicken, Dani came around the corner and joined them. “There you are.”
Owen watched as Penny hunched her shoulders guiltily, and Owen felt his own going the same way. They both stared up at Dani, waiting. She took one look at their faces and laughed. “Talk about two-year-olds caught in the act,” she said. “And where the heck did you get fried chicken from?”
They both looked at each other, at her, and then at Dennis.
“You had fried chicken today?” Dani asked. “And you didn’t tell me?”
“You didn’t show up for lunch,” Dennis said, shaking his head. “How am I supposed to do anything, if you don’t appear on the spot?”
“Maybe,” she muttered. Then she groaned, walked to the coffee station to grab a cup, and returned to join them again. “You guys are quite the picture.”
“You want a piece or two?” Penny asked, offering her plate.
Dani hesitated, and Penny urged her again. “Go ahead. I asked for two pieces, and he gave me three.”
“Yeah, but he also probably saw that you had dropped ten pounds. Are you feeling any better yet?”
“I am. Otherwise I wouldn’t be eating.”
Dani smiled and nodded.
Dale Mayer. Owen (Kindle Locations 284-311). Valley Publishing Ltd..
Owen leaves Dani and Penny to navigate back to his room. Unfortunately he gets turned around and almost collapses. It’s Penny who sees him as she’s leaving and helps him get where he needs to be.
Shane is going to be his Physical Therapist and one of the things that had me laughing is the green shake, it seems many end up drinking that.
Penny and Owen have many meals together and I really loved the connection that slowly forms.
Now Penny’s family is another thing altogether, trying to manipulate her into doing things she doesn’t want to do.
There is so much growth for both Owen and Penny as a relationship begins to form.
I can’t wait for 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.