Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekend Taste From "A Patient Heart" - Cat and Connor

Relationships can be hard whether they're brand new and just beginning....more complicated yet if there's a history.   When Connor Donavan shows back up in Catherine's life after ten years neither knows quite what to do or how to feel.  The love they shared remains but a decade of baggage must be dealt with before they can move on.....and since his arrival back into her life coincided with a motorcycle accident, Connor has to heal body as well as in spirit.

First the blurb:

As a little girl, Catherine dreamed she'd marry Connor Donavan one day and as teenagers, that dream seemed within reach. Until Connor ended their relationship, leaving town and breaking Catherine's heart. Ten years later, far from the old hometown, Catherine reports for work as a nurse one snowy January evening and learns that her new patient is none other than her old love, Connor. When he recognizes her, all the old feelings stir but a few sparks fly, too. As Connor recovers from an accident, Catherine realizes she loves him more than ever and he seems to love her as well. But after he leaves the hospital and convalesces at her home, his real life intrudes into their quiet time together. Then Connor leaves Catherine behind and she stays until a message sends her speeding to Kansas City, to Connor's club... On Valentine's Day.


            “I think your supper’s here,” she said just as the door opened and a dietary aide with a tray entered the room. She left the covered plate and exited so Catherine asked, “Do you want to see what it is?”
            His lack of enthusiasm showed as he curled his lip, “I guess.”
            Catherine swung the bed tray in place and raised the lid to reveal beef stew congealing atop a mound of white rice.  It didn’t look appetizing even to her so she wasn’t surprised when Connor shook his head.   She covered it and pushed the bed tray out of the way.
            “Okay, so what would you like?”
            He made a brat’s face at her, “I don’t know.  Nothing sounds good.”
            Catherine’s patience waned fast.  Just because she still loved him, she didn’t plan to toady to him or indulge his every whim.  She’d offered to bring him whatever he wanted but he wanted ten miles when she’d willingly give him one.  She struggled for patience and restrained from saying anything that might make him angry.  Remember, he’s hurt and lonely.  It’s been a long time and he wants to make sure I really do love him so he wants me to prove it. But I shouldn’t have to do that, should I?
            Her gut said ‘no’ so Catherine, tone as mild as she could make it, said, “If you want to get well, you have to eat and I’ll bring you whatever you want.  You’re making it difficult, though.”
            His dark brown eyes narrowed with irritation. “Christ, Cat, I feel like death warmed over and I don’t know what sounds good.  I’m hungry, though.  If you’re so worried about me getting better, maybe you should have stayed instead of being gone so long.  You probably stretched it out just so I’d miss you.”
            Connor’s words stung like a handful of gravel tossed by a raging windstorm and each one hit home hard.  Her emotional wounds, still raw even after a decade, bled pure pain and if he wanted to hurt her, he did.  Tears burned in her eyes and so he wouldn’t see, Catherine moved from the bed to stare out the window, her back to him.   She didn’t answer, not with a voice silenced with unshed sobs made her throat ache.  In the funeral home parking lot below she watched a group of men in nice suits, women in good dresses meet, then hug.  That brought home how close he’d come to dying and not for the first time.  If Connor’d died in the accident, she would’ve grieved him like a widow but alive she wasn’t sure if they could have a future based on the past.   She waited, quiet, expecting him to either toss out more hurtful words or sling his dinner dishes into the floor but instead, after several minutes passed, he spoke up in a soft voice she almost didn’t recognize.
            “I did, though,” Connor said.
            He’d missed her and that explained a lot but she couldn’t halt the tears that flooded her cheeks.  Aloud, she asked, “You did what, though?”
            He exhaled a hard, slow breath and she realized being open about his emotions must be very hard for him, “I missed you, Catherine.  And I’m sorry.  I really don’t mean to be such an asshole.”
            A memory surfaced, Connor, sick with some stomach bug making the rounds through their high school, curled up on the couch at her house because his mom threw him out, too hung over to tend him or listen to him hurl.  Catherine tried to nurse him then, to offer him some 7-up and a cold compress for his head.  He’d snarled at her and she retreated but she couldn’t stay away.  When she came back, he’d apologized and she’d sat up with him through a very long night, with her parents’ permission.  She’d been fifteen and he was a week shy of his 17th birthday.
            She laughed, the sound emerging somewhere between a giggle and a sob, “You always were, when you didn’t feel good, Connor.”
            “You remember too,” he said in a voice so muted she turned around to face him.  
            “Yeah, I do.”
            He stared at her, eyes vivid in his pale face and croaked, “Oh, shit, you’re crying.  I’m sorry, Cat.  I didn’t mean to make you cry.”
            Connor’s words meant to comfort instead opened the floodgates to the emotions she’d held in check since he arrived as a patient.  All the jumbled all baggage, the hurts, the powerful love and the anguish poured from her in a rush of tears that caught her unaware.  Catherine sobbed aloud as the force of it rocked her and she wrapped her arms around her torso as if she could contain it.  She struggled against it for a few moments but she couldn’t stop it so she let it go, all of it and turned back to gaze unseeing through the window.   Once her back faced Connor, she buried her face in both hands and muffled her weeping as much as she could.
            Until his hands came down on her shoulders, she didn’t realize he’d moved.  His touch soothed her turbulent emotional storm and without thinking she turned into his embrace.  Connor wrapped his arms around her and held her, tight against him.
            “Don’t bawl, baby,” he whispered, “I’m so sorry Cat.  I don’t want to hurt you.”
            Her head rested against his shoulder, the new white T-shirt soft against her face and Catherine stood where she’d longed to be for a very long time.  As she calmed, however, she felt the tremors scuttling Connor so she lifted her head. He’d turned paler than before and swayed as if he couldn’t stand much longer.
            “I’m okay now,” she gasped, “Come sit down, honey, before you collapse.”

A Patient Heart
Contemporary romance, Valentine’s Day theme, second chance at love

Rebel Ink Press (January 31, 2012)

Word count: 43,200

 available on, Barnes and, Bookstrand and more

Facebook: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Twitter: @leeannwriter

Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Seanachie Stories – Tuesday Tales And More

Book trailer:

And stay tuned - coming February 17 from Rebel Ink Press, a contemporary/time travel/ghost love story like no other....more sweet than heat....In Love's Own Time

There may be no place like home and nothing like love…..when history teacher Lillian Dorsey inherits a three story Edwardian brick mansion from the grandfather who banished her pregnant mother decades before, it’s a no brainer.  She’ll visit the place, see it and sell it.  Instead Lillian’s captivated by the beautiful home and intrigued by the ghost of the original owner, Howard Speakman.  Soon she’s flirting with the charming, witty gentleman who’s been dead for more than a century and before long, they admit it’s a mutual attraction.  Still, when she’s alive and he’s dead, any shot at being together seems impossible.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way….one afternoon while pretending to visit the past the impossible becomes a brief reality.  If they visited 1904 before, Lillian knows they can do it again and if so, she can prevent Howard’s untimely death.  With a combination of love, powerful hope, and stubborn will, Lillian bends time to her will and returns to the summer of 1904.  But Howard’s death looms ahead and if she’s to find a happy ending, she must save him from his original death.

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