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About the author:
Arabelle Stevens lives in Maine with her husband, their Mastiff's, cat, and chickens. Her background, other than writing, is as a criminal paralegal. She has retired from that latter life and now when she isn't writing, she stays busy with her husband on their mini homestead in Maine, in the town she grew up in. She feels very strongly about the arts and is heavily involved with encouraging new writers with public speaking, workshops, and a great deal of personal email advice. To her, it's not about competition, it's about love of the art of writing. There's plenty of work for everyone to be successful. She loves hearing from her fans and tries to personally respond to each contact, sometimes easier said than done.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Molly Wilkes almost tripped over a misplaced medical cart as she hurried after her boss.
“Bill, would you please just stop for a minute and listen to me?”
“I’m a doctor, Molly. I have lives to save. Your betrayal is the least of my worries.”
Molly rolled her eyes. Pretentious ass. He was a plastic surgeon, and not a great one at that. Saving people from scars was probably his biggest contribution to society. Saving them from excess tummy fat was his most common.
“You are making this so much harder than it has to be, you know that Bill? Look, I just need a recommendation letter. It doesn’t even have to be a good one. They won’t . . .” Molly, trying to follow Bill’s fast clip to the ER, narrowly dodged an intern headed to labor and delivery. “They won’t even consider an interview unless they hear from my current employer.”
“Good! You’ll never find a better doctor to work with than me, Molly. Don’t I treat you well? You’re learning so much. I even let you play with the babies in the maternity ward when you don’t have paperwork to do.” He stopped and spun around. Molly bumped into his lean chest before she could stop herself. He leered.
“And isn’t the sex amazing?”
She shoved away from him. “We haven’t had sex in months. And never again. Never EVER AGAIN,” she yelled after him. He’d already gone back to ignoring her and walking away, so she yelled it at his swiftly receding back.
“I have full confidence you will come to your senses,” he called.
She gritted her teeth and followed him. “If you stab him with a pen Dr. Martin will definitely not hire you,” she muttered to herself.
It was Molly’s dream to work with Dr. Martin. Dr. Martin owned and worked as the primary physician for the Portland Birth Center. Dr. Martin was hiring a medical assistant, and Molly wanted that job so bad she could taste it. As a medical assistant, it was her job to be the doctor’s right hand; to help with paperwork, patient care, and whatever else the doctor deemed necessary.
As Dr. Bill Hargrove’s medical assistant, Molly’s job had mostly been fetching coffee for the first month.
Unlike most of the nurses and medical assistants at the hospital, Molly worked directly for Dr. Hargrove. He had his own private practice, but he did a lot of work in the hospital, and he brought his medical assistant with him. The hospital was short staffed on plastic surgeons and offered Bill a lot of concessions to try and lure him into working for them. He even had his own office.
It wasn’t just to get out from under Bill’s thumb that she wanted this job, although it was a factor. Molly loved helping people. Taking histories, explaining treatments and procedures to patients, dealing with insurance companies, and even the reams of paperwork she filled out daily required precision and dedication. Molly firmly believed that small things made a difference, and she excelled at the requirements of her job. She wanted a job that would let her practice those skills. Bill simply didn’t seem to think she was capable enough to handle the work.
Despite his seeming lack of faith in her skills, Molly had found Bill compelling as a person. He’d seemed witty and charming, physically attractive, captivatingly complex, and when he’d expressed his interest in a relationship Molly hadn’t taken long to fall for him. Not love, maybe, but a fascination that made it easy to fall into bed. Unfortunately, after a relationship that lasted for only a couple of weeks, Molly slowly came to suspect that Bill’s true feelings toward her fell somewhere between “easy lay” and “paperwork monkey.”
She might have pulled together enough self-respect to break it off with him, but Bill’s wife found out about her first.
Mrs. Maryanne Hargrove had walked in on them at Bill’s house having sex in his bed. In her bed too. Molly, who’d had no idea that Bill was married, watched silently as his wife screamed, cried, and ultimately threw a heavy and expensive paperweight through the window of Molly’s silver Honda Accord. She thought maybe Maryanne had cursed it, too, since the car just hadn’t run right since.
It had truly been awful, and Molly had done her own share of screaming after Maryanne left, before brushing the glass off her seat and driving away, swearing never to trust a man again.
Remembering everything Bill had done, Molly decided that she’d still quit even if he didn’t write the recommendation. Working with Dr. Martin was her dream job, but she wasn’t above flipping burgers for a while if it got her out from under his thumb. She loved the work, but enough was enough.
When she caught up with him, Bill was talking to their patient, a teenage girl. Molly checked the patient’s chart. Violet Reed. Fifteen years old. She’d fallen down the stairs and received a nasty gash on her face that came awfully close to her eye, which was why Dr. Bill had been called in.
“Ok Violet, this is Molly, she’s going to numb that cut for you and help you get started with the paperwork. I’ll be back shortly to stitch it up.” He smiled toothily at the girl. He probably thought it was endearing. Molly thought he looked like a hungry shark. “You won’t even have a scar after it heals. I’m that good.” He winked and began to walk away.
“Actual patient care?” Molly sniped quietly as he walked past her. “You really must be desperate to get back in my pants.”
He made a kissy face at her, smirked, and kept walking, leaving Molly alone with Violet.
The girl was stiff and avoided eye contact. Molly, who had a sense for fragile or wounded creatures, moved slowly and surely. She gave the girl a gentle warning, then injected a numbing agent into the skin near the wound.
“Can you tell me more about what happened?” she asked.
“It was my fault,” Violet said quickly, still not looking at Molly. “I fell off the front porch.” She suddenly whipped her head around to glare at Molly. “I know what you’re thinking, but it wasn’t my parents.”
Molly was taken aback. “Okay.” She picked up the chart again, watching as the girl fidgeted. Her eyes were wet, though no tears had spilled over her cheeks.
“Did they bring you here?” Molly asked.
Violet frowned. “No,” she muttered. “I have a friend. He brought me. Mom was… Mom wouldn’t have brought me.”
“Did you guys have a fight?”
“She didn’t push me or anything, I already said,” Violet snapped. “She was just… She was really mad at me, and I was mad, and I was just going too fast out the door and I slipped.” She reached up and gently touched near her cut. “We’ve got a railing down the steps and I hit a loose nail. It wasn’t anything bad like you’re thinking.”
Molly thought Violet was protesting too much for it to be entirely true. She noted on the chart that the girl would need a Tetanus booster for the nail.
“It sounds like you really love your mom,” she commented.
That casual comment broke the dam on Violet’s tears. She sniffled and wiped her nose as they fell. “I do,” she said. “I really do! But she just wouldn’t leave it alone, she kept telling me I couldn’t see Roger anymore and then when I went out with him anyways she… she burnt my clothes. She pulled out all my party clothes and she said they were ‘shameful’ and she… she freaking burnt them!” She stared at Molly as if she could impress with sheer will how insane this was.
Molly didn’t need convincing. She was shocked. “Wow. That’s really awful, Violet.”
“I know, right? And I told her that, but she didn’t care, except that she got really mad at me for backtalking, so that’s when I ran out and fell.” She sighed, her shoulders dropping as if a weight had fallen with the telling of her story.
Molly was glad the girl seemed to feel better, but she was worried about the situation. Though Violet insisted that the fall was her own fault, Molly had her doubts, and as a medical professional she was a mandated reporter. If she thought a child was being abused or neglected, she had a duty to report it. She just wasn’t sure if her suspicion was enough to act on.
“Violet, if you’re having trouble at home . . .”
“I’m not!” Violet interjected. “I love my mom!”
“You can love somebody and they might still hurt you,” Molly said.
“She didn’t hurt me, that’s what I keep saying! She didn’t do anything wrong. If you’re going to call the cops or something I’m just going to leave,” Violet said, starting to get up.
“Okay,” Molly said. “It’s okay, I believe you.” She calmed Violet down enough to get her situated on the bed again. Molly thought about it for a moment, then pulled out her wallet. She kept a card with a list of Maine crisis and hotline numbers. There were numbers for domestic abuse, child abuse, and general crisis support.
“Violet, I don’t know your situation, but if it ever becomes too much for you to handle, or you just need someone to talk to, you can call one of these numbers, okay?” She handed Violet the card. “You can call them if you have a fight with your mom, or if you need help.” She paused, then continued. “I know you love your mom, but you’re important, okay. You deserve to be taken care of.”
She expected Violet to argue with her again, but the girl stared at the card. Molly thought Violet might cry again. With a swallow, she put the card in her jeans pocket. “Thank you,” she said, quietly.
Molly, her heart heavy but feeling hopeful, assured her it was no problem. She took the rest of Violet’s information for the paperwork. As much as she hated thinking about what the girl might be experiencing at home, the experience reminded her of what she loved about her job. Helping people.
After the patient was treated and sent home, Molly confronted Bill.
“Look Bill. I know you want to keep me around but you can’t keep me from going after this job. If you won’t send the recommendation, I’m handing in my two weeks’ notice today.”
“Ugh, fine. Just stop bitching about it.” He snatched a blank sheet of paper from the printer at the nurses’ station and scrawled his messy doctor’s signature across the bottom. “Here, write it yourself. I don’t even care. I wouldn’t know what to say to make you sound worth hiring, anyways.” He shoved it at her. “I’m going to lunch.”
Molly clutched the page, then hastily smoothed it out, not sure whether to be thrilled at finally having a shot at her dream job, or furious at his attitude. Even when Bill was giving you something you wanted, he’d take the time to poison it so you couldn’t enjoy it.