USA Today Bestselling Author
Stubborn was something Rick had been called a lot. Independent. A loner. All true but, once a powerful healer connects to bring him back from the brink of death, Rick is in danger of losing that control and that privacy he so values.
Cara understands Rick’s need to be alone, but it’s not likely possible any longer, and that isn’t something she’s ready to tell him. That and the value of the connection they now share is something he has to find out for himself.
And the sooner, the better, as the attacks on the team continue, their temporary headquarters under surveillance, and their much-vaulted skills nowhere in sight …
If you haven’t read the other books in this series, go back and read them. These books are intricately entwined, and things only make sense if you follow the path from the beginning.
Rick was one of those hit hardest by the attack on Terkel’s team. It was so bad that Terk had to recruit some help. That help came in the form of a very special nurse, Cara.
As Rick comes out of his coma, he’s disoriented and doesn’t quite understand how badly he was injured or how much Cara has done to get him to this point.
The goal is to get him to the others, but he needs to get his strength back. Unfortunately, that plan gets changed quickly when their location is compromised. Cara wasn’t supposed to go with him, she was not supposed to be in danger.
The pick-up by the guys was a bit hairy and whether she wants to be a part of all this she kind of is.
This is a favorite scene.
“We’ll get you back safe and sound as soon as we can. I promise.”
She stared at him. “But you can’t really promise that, can you? Not honestly. That attack at the apartment was no fluke, and they were looking for you.”
“I think they were looking for any activity that would confirm that I was still alive. And, as each of us comes out of the coma,” he shared, “they’re hunting for the others even harder.”
She considered him for a moment, seeing and hearing some truth to his words. “It also explains why Terk is trying to bring people closer together geographically, so he can keep his energy focused on one area and not split apart,” she murmured.
“Yeah, that makes perfect sense,” Rick agreed. “Look. I don’t even know how much of this latest hunt by the bad guys had you as a target, but we don’t want anything to happen to you. Especially not after you were such a huge help to me.”
“Ah, so you’re really keeping me alive out of gratitude, huh?” she asked, with a cheeky grin.
He seemed startled by her comment; then he shook his head and froze. “I don’t even know how to take that. I mean, obviously I’m delighted that you’re not overwrought and crying like many women would be in this situation, but I certainly don’t want you to think that we’re taking any of this lightly.”
“No, I know that,” she said. “But, while I’m here, is there anything I can do? I need to be busy, and I’ll go stir crazy if I’m not.”
“A couple of us are putting together a meal right now.”
“Why you? Why are you not resting?” she asked, giving him a hard look.
“Because, like you, I felt like I needed to do something. Everybody else has already been living a life for the last few weeks, while I was under whatever coma you guys deemed safe for me,” he noted, with an eye roll. “I feel like I’m late to the mission, and now it feels like I have a lot to make up for.”
“I get it,” she stated, “but that doesn’t mean you need to do it all at once.”
He looked at her. “I know. Really I do, but, at the same time, it seems odd to be back in the land of the living and not doing anything. I was always a doer. I was always busy. I was involved pretty heavily. So to find the guys here are ahead of me in this, whatever the hell happened,” he explained, “it feels like I need to play catch up.”
She nodded. “So you go from being a coma patient to cooking dinner in what, two days?”
He smiled. “I did warn you that I heal fast.”
“There’s healing fast, and then there’s healing fast.”
“We’ll chalk it up to your skills then,” he teased, with a bright smile.
“You mean, to the energy work?”
“You and I will have to talk about that”—he gave her a hard look—“because I had no idea that you were doing anything.”
“So what difference does it make?” she asked.
With that, he shrugged, then attempted to turn and leave.
She hopped up, coffee in hand. “Let me help with dinner at least.”
“You could try just relaxing for once,” he suggested. “You worked hard looking after me.”
She smiled. “I don’t know how much hard work that was,” she murmured, “but I like to be busy.” He frowned, but she walked past him and out of the room. “If you guys are done with your private discussion,” Cara said, “then no reason why I can’t come out and join you, is there?”
Rick asked, “What private discussion?” But a note of humor was in his voice.
She looked at him and smiled. “Exactly.”
He laughed and walked her into the main computer room. “She doesn’t want to stay in her room,” he announced. “She wants to help.”
At that, one of the other women—Tasha, she thought—looked up and smiled. “Welcome back,” she said.
Cara smiled. “I figured if I gave you guys enough private time to have your secret talks, then maybe I would be welcome afterward.”
After that came a moment of silence, then Terk started laughing. “As if it’ll do any good with you.”
She smiled. “But at least it gives you the semblance of privacy.”
At that, Damon frowned. “I’m sorry, but we need to be filled in on exactly what’s going on here.”
Terk shrugged. “I asked her to look after Rick because of his particular state. She has energetic and healing abilities that he needed most desperately.”
“When you say that”—Rick stared, his gaze going from Cara to Terk—“was I in worse shape than the others?”
“No, not necessarily worse, but you were rattled in a different way. Each of you needed very different things. In your case, it was all about energy, and that’s what we were trying to preserve.”
“My senses?” he asked.
Terk nodded. “Yes, exactly. I’m not sure if that would have mattered to you that you still had your senses when you woke up, but I was pretty sure that it would impact your life forever to lose them permanently.”
“I never thought about it like that,” Rick admitted. “I just assumed we were all in the same boat.” He turned to look at Cara, as she sat nearby, studying the curious faces around her. “You told me that you owed Terk a favor.”
“He’d been a big help at one point in time in my life,” she stated. “So, when he called, I didn’t have any reason to turn him down, and it gave me the opportunity to pay him back.”
“And you do know that no payback was required,” Terk murmured.
She shrugged. “Not everybody sees a debt as a requirement to be paid,” she noted, “but, when somebody calls for help, it’s part of my nature to respond.”
“And that”—Terk nodded—“is quite accurate. She is a nurse and has a history of working with people in long-term comas.”
At that, Rick faced Cara. “You did mention something about that. When you looked after a patient, it could go either way.”
“Sure,” she agreed. “It all entirely depends on how much of their cord is still functioning and how much they actually are still invested.”
“And you can tell that?” Sophia asked, astonished.
She nodded. “In Rick’s case, his cord was already partially severed.”
Silence swept the room.
Dale Mayer. Rick’s Road (Kindle Locations 919-975). Valley Publishing Ltd.. Kindle Edition.
There’s more than a little attraction between Cara and Rick, but neither of them know if it’s real or a side-effect of the energy work she’d done on him.
Once again we run into more problems than fixes and the revelation that at least two others from the team have been calling out in the ethers adds a bit more complication.
Slowly these pieces start to come together as the group already awake heals more. For Rick and Cara, there is lots to overcome. Unfortunately, Cara has the key and Rick has to figure it all out.
I really 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.