WHAT A TEXAS GIRL DREAMS about, along with any other red-blooded female, is a guy like Trickett Samuels! So, without further ado, here he is:

Tell me about yourself? What is your occupation? Why? What are your strengths & weaknesses? 

- looks through the computer monitor Who's in there? You can't really want to know this, can you? Silence Okay, fine. My name is Trick Samuels and I'm a veterinarian in a small town in Texas.

Monica Trick, that isn't all the nice lady asked.

Trick sighs and beetles his brows I'm a vet because I like puzzles. Animals can't tell you how their feeling or what hurts, you have to figure it out yourself. And I'm not answering that strengths and weaknesses question, this isn't a psychiatrist's couch.

How did you two meet? What was your first impression of Monica?

gives Monica the side-eye That she was the most beautiful girl at the annual Bull Sale and Ball at the Double Diamond. And that I should run far, far away from her.

What do you like about the heroine? 

Everything? What's not to like? She's funny, independent, knows how to sit a horse, is passionate. And she loves me. That's a keeper-girl in my book.

Aside from your heroine, tell me about your best friend. 

That would be Mat Barnes, my future brother in law. He got hooked by another Witte woman a few months ago, and they just had a baby.

What CD is in your CD player right now? 

I don't do CDs but I've had Parmalee's Carolina on repeat on the MP3 player for a few weeks now.

Monica, tell me about yourself? What is your occupation? Strengths, weaknesses?

waves toward the computer screen Hi, everyone! I'm Monica and I'm a professional barrel racer, which sounds a lot more glamorous than it actually is. And I agree with Trick, no need to go into psychiatrist talk right now.

What’s your family like and how does your upbringing affect you now?

For a long time I thought my family was completely dysfunctional, now I'm realizing we're not worse off than a lot of other families. My dad is a recovering alcoholic, my grandfather a meddling busy-body. My mom died when I was little, but I'm lucky in that I have two sisters who've stepped in to that gap. And now I'm adding Trick to the family list. So it's good.

Tell us about Trick. What was your first impression of him and did it change over time?

Whistles How did I know you were going to ask this one? covers Trick's ears That he was too hot to handle…and that I needed to handle him as quickly as possible. He's still hot to the touch, but I've stopped trying to push him away. Because I've learned life is better when things don't fit into nice, tidy boxes.

Is there anything about Trick that you would consider a flaw?

No, not really. He's loving and kind, tenacious, a little bit silly. I wouldn't change a single thing.

What CD is in your CD player right now?

Miranda Lambert's "Four the Record". And I do still have a CD player in my truck.

Book Blurb:

Monica Witte has life the way she likes it. She comes home to be babied every few months and the 

rest of the time she has no strings holding her back. But after her horse is injured in a rodeo performance, Monica knows it's time to come home and face her family – warts and all.

Trickett Samuels works best on his own. The large-animal vet likes his quiet life in the Texas countryside. When Monica Witte blows into town, demanding a quick fix to her horse's big issues, his life is turned upside down. Trickett doesn't understand Monica's need to perform before perfect strangers or why she wants to keep the truth of their relationship from her family. And the more he gets to know her, the more he wonders if he can convince this Texas girl that having roots will only help her soar higher.


Trick followed and was barely inside the trailer when Monica launched herself into his arms.

“Did you miss me?” She whispered the words against his mouth, nibbled his lower lip. Trick knew it was a rhetorical question. He knew Monica would go running into the Texas afternoon if he answered with one hundred percent honesty. So for the first time today he kept his big mouth shut—figuratively speaking—and fell into the moment.

Her mouth was hot on his, demanding. Mad at her or not for risking her life in that bull pen, he couldn’t resist her. Trick dug his hands into her hair, breaking the elastic at her nape in the process. Monica wrapped one leg around his, pushing herself against him, as if their bodies might become one hot, writhing unit. Trick pushed his tongue between her lips, wanting to taste more of her.

Their teeth clicked together and Monica chuckled. “God, I’ve missed you.”

Trick pushed her against the side of the trailer. “Really? Because you didn’t even want a handshake ten seconds ago,” he said between kisses. He smelled coconut in her hair, bananas on her skin, and despite the overpowering aroma of cooped-up horse, the trailer was suddenly a tropical paradise.

“You know the rules.” She panted and kissed her way along his jawline. He lifted her up by the hips until her legs were wrapped around his waist.

Yeah, he knew the rules. No deep feelings, no firm commitments, no family involvement. They drove into Austin or San Antonio for dates, she stayed over at his place, and he was never invited to the Diamond for more than vet checks. On the occasional long weekend or during a break from the rodeo, he’d go to her place in Austin. Easy.

Up until two weeks ago, it had been enough. Then he asked her to take a long weekend and she balked. Pride made him throw down the ultimatum that she stay. After seeing her in the ring with the bull, easy wasn’t nearly enough. He wanted more. He wanted to take her to dinner in town. Wanted to wake up with her wild hair spread over his pillows every morning. Wanted to come home to her every night.

“This isn’t exactly the safest place in the world for hot, sweaty sex.”

     Author Bio:

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days 

running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police—no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she’s never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and four-year-old daughter. Happily ever after.
Now share with us what YOU want in a hero!       


I'm a little nervous today as I'm interviewing someone in the news business. I mean, I do my little interviews for fun. Jackson Murpy is the real deal. Let's just dive in, then. Maybe I'll swim rather than sink.

Jackson, tell me about yourself? What’s your occupation? What are your strengths & weaknesses?

Hi MJ, thanks for having us over today. Let’s see, I’m 34, the executive news director at KBHY-TV in Lewiston. My strengths? Hmm, I suppose my business sense. My weaknesses … I’d argue with this one but most people who know me would probably say I’m a little too serious.

Tell me about your family. What’s it like and how does your upbringing affect you now? 

Let’s just say that it wasn’t ideal. Don’t get me wrong, my dad was an excellent provider, but that was pretty much the extent of it. He dropped the ball when it came to being a decent husband and father. I suppose that made me try to shoulder more responsibilities growing up. I guess you could say I resented it. He let my mom, my younger brother, Rob, and me down. We’re only now trying to repair the rift in our relationship, and I’m not entirely on board with that yet. It’s going to take some time.

That's understandable. Now, if you could take an object, any object, to symbolize you, what would it be? 

Can I say turtles? Ask anyone what they immediately think of when my name comes up, they’ll all probably mention turtles. Long story.

You're going to have to share that with me someday. Now let's get down to the juicy part. How did you and Sabrina meet? What was your first impression of her? 

Sabrina just about ran me down with her car! I wish I was kidding but it’s true! Then she went from ogling to injuring me. I never knew what I was going to get next. I thought she was a cute but scary danger to society—me in particular.”

[Chuckling and winking at Sabrina.] What do you like about the heroine? 

Once I got over the panic attacks at the sight of her, I realized, I’m laughing and smiling more than I have in years. She’s quirky and sweet, a good friend and great company. Being with Sabrina is a rush, a jolt of adrenaline to the system and the only other place I feel that kind of kick is in the crazy newsroom. She’s the eye of the storm and I’d rather be inside of it than get pelted by the debris that seems to swirl around her.

Oooh! Love that imagery! Now, Jackson, if you had an unexpected free day, what would you do with it? 

I wouldn’t mind borrowing my brother’s boat again. Or golf. Golf is always good.

That's good! You can't be too serious then, because I've had guests that were so involved in their work lives that they couldn't even come up with an answer to that. As a final question, what CD or song best describes your relationship? 

 [Jackson laughs.] That’s easy. Queen’s ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’. It’s perfect.

Sounds like it! Now it's Sabrina's turn. Tell me about yourself? What’s your occupation? Strengths, weaknesses?

My Name is Sabrina Eckhart and I manage the restaurant and nightclub, Oasis. Contrary to what you’ve heard, I’m not a total disaster. It seems to be centered around Jackson. Well, Jackson and my brother’s CD’s. And Roommates, and apartments. And nippy little dogs. And … next question. I don’t have to say my age, do I? Oh, let’s just move on, okay?

Suurrre. So, what’s your family like and how does your upbringing affect you now? 

Believe it or not, I have three older brothers; Andy, Aaron, and Sam. I got the full dose of estrogen in the family and it kind of shows up at the worst times. I give my brothers a lot of crap but I love them, I really do, and their wives and kids. I’m crazy about my family. Oh, and I should probably mention that my parents are awesome, but they’re retired and live in Santa Fe now. That means my brothers all think they have to watch over me. Like I’m a screw-up or something. It can get annoying at times. Of course I forgive them. I pretty much have to because they’re always willing to help me move when I call. Not that I move a lot. Well… next question.

Okay. Sabrina, what tangible object would symbolize you?

I scrapbook, does that count? I have books full of interior and exterior pictures—furniture. Basically I’m building my dream home in my head because I can’t afford to do it for real yet.

[I skooch forward so we can talk more intimately.] Describe Jackson. What was your first impression of him and did it change over time?

OMG! What did he tell you? I’m serious, what? Forget it, don’t answer that. Tell me this instead. Did you see Jackson’s butt? That was the first thing I noticed about him. Black running shorts and a tight butt. Stunning. I’m talking STUNNING! [Laughing.] That assessment hasn’t changed only now I’m allowed to touch it! [That earns her a high-five from me. She nods.] I know, right?

He does have some rather, er, interesting assets. [I feel my cheeks get hot.] Let's change the subject. Is there anything about Jackson that you would consider a flaw? 

He’s working on trust issues, but I totally understand where that’s coming from—and I didn’t exactly help in that department. But, he’s working on it, and his brother, Rob is a psychiatrist and they’re like, joined at the hip. Rob is Jackson’s First Call for Help. [Giggles, rolling her eyes.] Yeah, I was the reason he made a few of those calls.

You seem almost proud of that! So, what is it that you want out of life?

I’d love a home, a decent bed—mine has a sinkhole in the middle—and well…love. Don’t we all basically want that?”

We sure do! If you had an unexpected free day, Sabrina, what would you do with it? 

It doesn’t even matter as long as I’m not at work! Probably something cheap. I live on a budget. Maybe I’d go fantasy shopping with my best friend, Tanya, to Ikea or Pier 1 Imports. That’s like, my favorite store!

What CD or song best describes your relationship?

What did Jackson say? 

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love." 

He did? Uh, what? He really did? Ooooh, I don’t know now. How am I supposed to concentrate on stupid songs when I’ve got that running through my head? Dang it!

Jackson swoops back in to collect Sabrina and gives MJ a broad smile. 

Thank you for having us, MJ.

Sabrina adds, slightly distracted: Yes, MJ. Thank you. This was fun. 
[Naturally she’s still trying to come up with a better song than Jackson’s suggestion but it eludes her.] 

The pleasure's been all mine! And now let's hear about ACCIDENTS MAKE THE HEART GROW FONDER!

Sabrina Eckhart is losing it. Oasis, the restaurant

she manages is getting battered by a trendy newcomer, and with everyone looking to her for ideas, you could say she's under a little pressure. But wait, that's not all. Her evil landlady has given her until the end of the month to vacate her crummy apartment. And her thirtieth birthday is looming, reminding her of the milestones she's missed. No wonder she’s distracted and driving off the rails…down the sidewalk, and nearly running over the man with amazing glutes.

Jackson Murphy is an avid jogger, and the local television station’s scrumptious news director -- if he can keep the job. Unfortunately, he has one year to resuscitate their wheezing news department or the owners are going to pull the plug. His hands are already full even without Sabrina dropping into them. The last thing he needs is to be involved with a publicity stunt.

The road to love is bumpy. It’ll take all of Cupid's arrows, and a lot of interference from friends, for these two to win the Dating Game.

Accidents is available in e-book and Print on Demand (POD) through; The Wild Rose Press, Amazon and Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and All Romance.

Author- Tara Mills

I'm a lifelong wordaholic, contemporary romance

writer, pampered wife, and proud mom. Escape with me into books.

If you like fun and flirty, saucy and sexy, exciting thrills and suspense, or simply a good chuckle, I've got a story for you.

Please visit my website, Tara Mills Romance, for more information on my titles, sneak peeks, and my quirky blog.

You can also find me on Facebook, Goodreads, or follow me on Twitter.


Oh, yeah! It's summer and the livin' is easy! Time to stretch out on your bed under the alluring swoosh of the ceiling fan with a hot read and a cold drink. And has Erin Richards got the book for you! Just check out this cover!

Vigilante Nights

Vigilante Nights by Erin Richards
Publication date: July 18th 2013
Genre: YA contemporary w/light supernatural element

A "good boy" will do anything for vengeance when a gang rite kills his twin sister. Will Lucas win, or follow his sister Silver into the darkness?

After a hideous car wreck, Lucas wakes from a coma to find that his world is gutted. Not only is his beloved twin sister, Silver, gone forever, but Lucas is broken in body and spirit. He will never be a college athlete, and is robbed of what he now realizes was the most important bond of his life. Although they weren't identical twins, Lucas and Silver shared a bond so fierce it defied reason, and was nearly supernatural.

After her death, that bond seems to endure when Lucas sees Silver everywhere he turns. Either he's crazy, or Silver is trying to tell him something about the California gang initiation they stumbled into that cost Silver her life. Lucas is bent on revenge, turning on Raymond, Silver's former boyfriend; the one Lucas never wanted her to date. He forms a posse of vigilantes to take out the gangsters responsible for Silver's death, but he risks not only his own life, but the love of the new girl on his block, who knows more about Lucas and Silver than can be accounted for by mere chance.


Silver’s babbling continued at racecar speed.

Seriously, I didn’t want to hear about the new target of my sister’s lust. The fallout of her last crush with one of my friends still jacked me up. Memories surged and my gut pinched. Ex-friend now.

A blissful moment of silence descended. I peeked at my twin in the passenger seat. Brow puckered, she sucked on the straw to her daily iced mocha. My gaze slid past the speedometer clocking me at ten over in a fifty-five zone.

“Something feels weird tonight, Lucas.” Her tone turned somber. “Maybe you ought to slow down.”

“Meaning?” I felt her apprehension, a feeling I’d grown used to over the last week since she’d kicked Raymond—our collective ex—to the curb.

She shrugged. “Just a weird vibe I’ve had since we left the mall.”

“Raymond still bothering you?”

Silver looked out the passenger window. She didn’t have to hide the tears I felt from her in our weirdo twin bond. Hoping to lighten the mood, I gunned the car on a clear stretch of the frontage road. Despite her heebie-jeebies, I knew she loved the speed as much as I did.

Night had sneaked up on us as we left Monterey behind. We zoomed past the dimly lit Welcome to Sea Haven, California sign. Population 28,342, give or take ten million in an influx of farm workers from the inland counties, yearly tourists, and summer resort peeps.

The thumping drone of the Red Renegade’s new headers oozed ’68 perfection. Or as sweet as the Camaro SS should’ve sounded back in 1968. “Camaro sounds badass, you think?”

“I guess.” Silver sighed, knocking her cup on her thigh. “Do you think I did the right thing?”

“Dumping Raymond?” Incredulous, I glanced at her. “Hell, yes.”

“He’s still your friend. He keeps calling me.”

“We’re football teammates. Nothing more. I’ll make sure he stays away from you.” I tweaked her hair. “You know he’s gunning for my spot.”

“You’re the best quarterback the school’s ever had. Coach would never,” Silver said thoughtfully, jingling her silver bangle bracelets.

Good enough to get three scholarships to killer schools. “I am perfect, aren’t I?” I teased, wanting to slide her mind off douche bag Raymond. He’d never know how much I hated him for the way he treated my twin. If I didn’t continue to keep the peace, he’d get all vindictive on her, like he did with other girls who quit taking his crap. I’d bite my tongue into pieces before I let on how much I knew about him . . . pressuring her . . . before she was ready. A slow burn spiraled up my chest. Screw him.

Dropping my speed, I felt for the glassy shift of the four-speed transmission. I’d spent junior year restoring the Camaro, using all the money from my weekend gopher job for my mom at the resort. I finished the last engine mods in time for summer break in two weeks. I was raring to open up the Red Renegade on the public track.

“I’m still ticked about my cell,” Silver said, her long blonde hair streaming out the open window, her mind already switching gears as usual. “Karma’s like a boomerang.” She swished her drink. “It always comes back ’round.”

I snorted. “In your case, it always bites you in the butt, and I gotta wipe up the mess.”

“Not always, Lucas.” I deflected her playful backhanded slap. “You owed me a trip to the mall. Besides, I didn’t lose my cell. Someone stole it out of my purse.” She danced her fingers on her silver bangles into a tinkling vibration. “I needed a new phone anyway. Screen was shot.” A giggle slipped out. “Karma’s a bitch.”

As we neared the speed trap on County Coast Road, I eased up on the gas. The small-block engine thumped and growled, the exhaust burbling defiantly. Few cars zipped past, driving south toward Monterey. Cops wouldn’t clock me going more than seven over north of the Sea Haven sign. This stretch of the frontage road had already earned me a speed warning. Lucky for me, I weaseled my way out of a ticket by promising to install a Borla exhaust on the sheriff’s Corvette. Killer small town bribery.

Silver traded my quick grin with her evil squint. Her evil squint was one of her poker “tells.” That particular tell meant the hard drive was spinning in her head. Which led me to believe she knew who nicked her cell. Man, I felt sorry for the poor sucker.

She slurped down the dregs of her mocha and tossed the empty cup in the pristine backseat, missing the trash bag by a mile. “Oops.”

“Silver! My car’s not a trash bin.” I knocked my fist on the gearshift, glowered for half a tick. We approached the STOP sign at the Ocean Avenue intersection. I downshifted and rolled to a full stop. The streetlight across the intersection bathed the red car in amber fire and ghosted the stickweeds along the side of the road. Light glinted off a small spot in the ditch to our right.

“Jeez, go find your happy place, will ya? I’ll get it when we . . .” Silver cranked up her window so fast I thought she’d just discovered that sea air killed genius brain cells. She mashed her elbow on the door lock. “Someone’s hunched over in the ditch.” The seat harness squeaked as she squeezed closer to the center console. “Oh. My. God. A body’s lying down there, too.”

Author Bio

After bemoaning the lack of young adult books to

read, Erin wrote her first novel at the age of eighteen hoping to shift the tide. Then everyday life took its toll on her writerly dreams until 2003 when she couldn’t ignore the writing bug any longer. By then, she had immersed herself in reading adult fantasy and romance novels. Writing paranormal & fantasy romance was a no brainer. Erin has published two adult romance novels: CHASING SHADOWS, a paranormal romantic suspense (EPPIE award finalist and Night Owl Romance 5-Star Top Pick) and WICKED PARADISE, a fantasy romance, released in August 2012. Erin will finally realize her lifelong dream of publishing a young adult novel when VIGILANTE NIGHTS debuts in July 2013.

Erin Richards lives in Northern California. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, photography, and American muscle cars.

Pre-Order your copy of Vigilante Nights before its official hardcover release date of July 18, 2013 and get an exclusive gift! Details at: http://www.erinrichards.com

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16287787-vigilante-nights?ac=1


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That's right! We're having the party, but YOU get the present! All five of these books are FREE~ today through the 22nd on Amazon!

What happens when authors team up with a common theme in mind? You get something brilliant like the Class of '85 series from The Wild Rose Press. Ahh...1985! It was a good year. I hear the best people graduated then... ; )

Jannine Gallant


Lonely Road to You by Jannine Gallant

Kate Abbott isn’t looking for excitement and is perfectly content with the secure life she’s built in Seattle, even if her son thinks she’s in an uninspired rut. Former rock star Tyler North has no intention of shaking up his life on the Montana ranch where he fled years before to escape the ravages of fame and fortune. Neither plan to attend their 25 year high school reunion in Summerville, but fate throws them together on a lonely road, leading them on a journey of discovery. From the majesty of Yellowstone to the shores of Lake Ontario, Kate and Tyler fight unexpected attractions and old insecurities. Their journey is full of surprises and odd twists. From bison and bears to a deep crevasse and a crazy old man, they work together to overcome the obstacles in their path. But will these two opposites be able to put aside fear of change and rejection to take a chance on the promise of love?

Margo Hoornstra


To Be, Or Not by Margo Hoornstra

Barry Carlson had it all, a successful career in professional baseball and the adoration of any woman he wanted. Except one. Forced to retire in his prime, Barry returns to his hometown of Summerville, New York to coach the Minor League Hornets. Twenty years ago, Barry broke through Amanda Marsh’s trust issues. He melted her ice, won her love, then walked away without a backward glance to survey the wreckage. Now Amanda is the head of public relations for the Hornets and happily single—until Barry slides back into her life. Still reluctant to trust, Amanda gives Barry another chance. But the announcement of their twenty-fifth high school reunion leads to an asinine bet between Barry and his old buddies, and threatens to ruin their newfound relationship. As scandals of the past and present converge, can Barry and Amanda get beyond their differences to find their second chance at love?

Kat Henry Doran


Embraceable You by Kat Henry Doran

Award-winning photojournalist Dru Horvath doesn't stay in one spot for too long. Her vocation of documenting abuses against women worldwide prevents her from risking her heart. Every day working stiff Rory McElroy is a two-time loser when it comes to women—and he doesn't plan to take a chance on a relationship again, thank you very much. But when Dru comes back into his life, he's not sure which poses the greater risk: protecting her from third world thugs who want to silence her permanently—or allowing the one woman who captured his heart years ago to embrace him for good.

Silver James


Promises, Promises by Silver James

Betrayed former society wife Kelly Kincaid only wants to make things right. Paying off her ex-husband’s debt of honor is tough when a minimum-wage job back in her hometown is the only one she can find. Could the answer to her problems be right in front of her? The moment pub owner Michael Doogan sees Summerville High School’s former golden girl at the train station, he loses his heart. Again. He’d give Kelly Kincaid the world on a platter, but the stubborn woman is intent on going her way alone. A threat to her safety provides him the incentive to stand up for what he wants, but will he have the patience to win her love?

Keena Kincaid


Something More by Keena Kincaid


 If she could, Nora Emerson would demand a "do over" of the last twenty-five years. An emotionally abusive marriage, failed fertility treatments and a nasty, public divorce have left her bruised, skittish and determined to remain independent at all costs. With an all-consuming business and a furious teenage sister on his hands, Nora is a complication Nick McPherson doesn't need. It's one he wants. Her vulnerability and kick-ass competency intrigue him, and the sexual sparks between them could set Summerville on fire. The more she insists the sex is just for fun, the more determined he becomes to turn their fling into something more.
The Class of ’85 ~Get Your Copies Today!


I am very happy to announce that the second in the ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION ~ ABANDON ALL HOPE is now available for sale on Amazon! Come join me and find out what the excitement is all about on my blog tour, kicking off today! 

Find me at:

SUNDAY – Samantha Anne’s blog ~ http://readsamanthaanne.blogspot.com/

MONDAY- Leslie Garcia’s blog ~ http://lesliepgarcia.wordpress.com/

THURSDAY-Juli Morgan’s blog ~ http://julipagemorgan.com/backstage/

FRIDAY-Katrina Knight’s blog  ~ www.katrienaknights.blogspot.com

SATURDAY- Anne Ashby’s blog ~ http://www.anneashby.com/blog/



*          *          *

            Beth hovered over her daughter.  Her heart was full of gratitude for the miracle the doctor had announced, and full of anguish over the long road back Cas’ would have to take, physically, as well as emotionally.  “How am I going to tell my baby her best friend is dead?”  she whispered to Chad.
            “You’ll find the right words when the time comes,” he reassured her. 
            Beth put the rail of the bed down so she could hold Cassie’s hand.  She struggled to find her words.  “Cas’, baby, I’m right here.”  The mother paused, unsure of what to say next.  “Cas’?”  She rubbed her daughter’s arm, peering again into her still face.
            Then, for no particular reason, Beth remembered a trip to Chicago they took when Cassie was little.  “Remember that time Dad and I took you up to the Navy Pier and Shedd’s Aquarium?” she said out loud, starting slowly.  “There was a Beluga whale making all kinds of noise because she was about to give birth.  I think it was one of the first Beluga births in captivity, but I’m not sure.  I know they were very excited about it.”
            There was no return, except for the beep of machines. 
            “Keep going,” Chad encouraged her.
            “And then we watched the dolphin show.  You always loved dolphins because of those silly smiles they always wear.  You were so excited because you got to be part of the show and feed the dolphins. And remember the seahorses?  They had a seahorse exhibit and we never knew how many different kinds there were.  Some didn’t even look like the seahorses you usually see in books.” 
            Chad saw Cassie’s foot move. 
            “And we discovered the males carried their babies--”
            “Beth, look.”
            Cassie moved her head a fraction.  “M-mom?”
            Beth struggled for a second with the lump in her throat.  “Oh, Cas’!  I’m right here, honey.  I‘m right here,” she choked out.
            “M-mmm,” she moaned, her eyes still closed.  “Wh-what happened?  Ohhh!”  She seemed agitated, as if she was in a lot of pain.  Beth’s eyes flitted to the nurse.
            “I’ll get the doctor to up her pain meds.”
            “Sweetheart, you were in an accident.  But you’re okay now.” 
            “We’re you just talking about the dolphin show?” Cassie asked as the doctor entered in a rush, followed by the nurse.
            Beth smiled, “You remember it?”
            “I got to make him do a trick.”
            “That’s right.  I had forgotten that.”
            “Cassie,” the doctor inserted, “I’m Dr. Tuilly.  How are you feeling?”
            She opened her eyes, blinking in the bright light.  “I’ve had better days.” 
            They all smiled, exchanging relieved looks.
            “Listen Cassie, we’re going to give you some more pain medication, but first I need for you to do a couple of things for me.”  He pulled back the covers on the bed and placed her heel in his hand.  “Cassie, can you push on my hand with your left foot?”  It was clear she could.  Beth squeezed Chad’s hand.  “Good, good.”  The doctor ran Cassie through a series of tests, all of which she passed with flying colors.  “You’re getting tired now, aren’t ya, hon?”  Cassie nodded, again closing her eyes.  “Well, we’re going to give you some good stuff now to help you get some sleep.  Say goodnight to your mom.”
            “Goodnight, Mom.  Hey, Chad!  What are you doing here?”
            “I was in the neighborhood.  I’m glad you’re feeling better,” he reached down to squeeze her hand.
            “Thanks,” she mumbled with a smile.  The doctor nodded to the nurse, who injected something into the IV.  Cassie closed her eyes, and drifted peacefully off to sleep.
            “Let’s step outside,” the doctor suggested in a hushed tone.  But when they were in the hall, the doctor was hardly able to contain his excitement, blurting out, “This is the best possible scenario.  All her neuromotor skills seem to be intact, there seems to be no memory loss….  Mrs. Donovan, she’s going to be just fine.”
            “Oh, you’re the best!”  Beth threw her arms around him again, kissing him on the cheek. 
            Once more, the young doctor seemed embarrassed by Beth’s exuberance.  “As I said before, we’ve done little more than make Cassie as comfortable as possible and monitor her progress.  The credit goes to you and your daughter.”
            “Yes, but doctor, you knew what pain medications to give her, and you monitored her progress so you could be ready to step in and help her if the time came.  You’ll forgive me, I hope, for my excitement.  You’ve just returned my daughter to me.”
            He grabbed her hands, “Okay, Mrs. Donovan, you win.  I’m glad I could be of help.  And I thank you, too.  A doctor can also get excited about a patient getting better, and this has made my day.  Now…Cassie will be out for at least 2 hours, more likely close to 4, so stretch your legs, or do whatever you need to.”  He turned to go, but as he passed Chad he added, tapping his shoulder with the medical chart in his hand.  “Now, you, Mr. Evans, I’m not so happy with.”  Both men grinned as they parted.
            “What did he mean by that?”
            “Uh, I’ll explain later.” Chad grabbed her up in a huge bear-hug.  “See,” he whispered in her ear, “I told you it would be all right.”  They parted and she kissed the singer happily.  “I think we should stretch our legs,” he commented, “as the good doctor advised.  Hold on, I’ll be right back.”
            Beth watched as he went up to the nurses’ station to ask a question.  The nurse was gesturing with her response, and Beth could tell he had asked for directions. 
            “What did you ask them?”
            “You’ll see,” he hinted, taking her hand and leading her down several halls.  He finally opened a set of double doors, and they stepped out into a small courtyard.  The entire courtyard was covered with giant skylights, so it was like being outside, without the inclement weather.  There were several tables scattered about, but they were alone, possibly due to the fact that, despite the designer’s best efforts, it was still fairly cold in the area. 
            As soon as they entered and the door closed behind them Chad grabbed Beth by the hips and pulled her to him.  “I couldn’t wait to get you alone.”  He bent in and kissed her, long and deep.  They separated but laid their foreheads together.  “Mmmm…that’s more like it.”
            “If you kiss me again like that, I may not be able to let you go.”
            “Who said anything about going?”
            “Chad…you have shows lined up.  Now Cassie is awake, and doing well…you should go, be with the guys.”
            “I’ll stay if you need me.”
            “Of course, I need you,” she replied, kissing him again.  “But I’ll be fine.”
            “Well, this time I’m giving you my cell number, and if you need anything….”
            “I’ll call you.  I promise.”
            “Well, I guess I should go, then.” He rubbed her arms in the cold.  “Roger’s probably having a mini-cow by now.  He can be pretty anal.”
            “Actually, he called me on a hospital line when you were in the bathroom.”
            “He did?”
            “Yes.  He was very sweet.  Wanted to know if there was anything I needed.”
            “I don’t know if I like that clown callin’ my best gal.”
            “You,” she whispered tugging on the sides of his leather jacket, and then gazing up at him with both sincerity and longing, “have nothing to worry about.”  And the kiss she gave him left little doubt.
            They strolled back towards Cassie’s room, arm-in-arm, both quiet, occupied with their own thoughts.  Beth stopped in mid-step.
            “It never dawned on me to ask before, I don’t know why, maybe because I was just so happy to see you, but, how did you know what had happened?”
            “When you didn’t show up at the stadium, I started calling your house.  By the time your friend, Cali, answered, I was half-crazed.”
            Beth smiled, “Cali.”
            “Yeah.  She’s…interesting.”
            Beth laughed.  “Let’s just say, she’s my Roger.”
            “Ohh.  God help us both.”  They laughed.
            “She should have been here by now,” Beth commented, checking her watch.  “But knowing Cali, she probably stopped at Starbucks, and got her nails done.”
            “Heyyy!” came a loud cry from down the hall.
            “There she is!” 
            Chad looked up to see a loud, leggy, good-looking blonde approaching with, ironically, a carry-out tray from Starbucks with two cups and a bag of some sort, which the blonde, without warning, shoved into his hands.
            “Take this so I can give my girl a hug.”  She drew Beth in and then pulled away to ask seriously, “How is she?”
            “Much, much better,” Beth answered her with a smile.
            “Good.  I told you my prayers would work.” Cali smiled up at Chad, taking the tray back.  “I’ve got an in with The Big Man.”  Chad somehow doubted that.  “You’re Chad Evans,” she balanced the coffee and extended her hand.  “Nice to finally meet you.”  She leaned into Beth, “You’re right,” she whispered loud enough for him to hear, “he is hot.”
            Beth giggled but swatted her friend on the shoulder.  “And he was just leaving.”  Chad extended his hand to take Beth‘s.  “Just sit right here, Cal.  I’ll be right back.”
            “Sure you will.”
            “She’s…interesting,” Chad stated again.
            “Yeah, but she’s fantastic.”  They had reached the door.  They could see a couple of cabs waiting for a fare in the taxi stand across the circle drive.  “I’ll miss you,” she said, brushing her lips over his.
            Without pulling away he ordered, “Remember, call me if you need anything.” 
            She pointed at the pocket where she kept her cell phone, which he had programmed his number into.  “I will.” 
            The rocker snagged her bottom lip in his and then kissed her one last time, hating to leave her, but knowing he probably should.
            Beth watched until the cab had driven away, partly wishing she had made him stay.