Dr. Gaige Adams is a surgeon at a large hospital in Charleston, he is lauded for his brilliance and ability to save lives. But all is not as it seems with the troubled man.

Amelia Cox is a nurse, posted to the same large hospital after completing her training. She is down to earth, independent and not afraid to take on any challenge thrown her way.

When she discovers Gaige is floundering, and doubting his ability to continue on in the medical field, she steps in and offers her help.

Will Gaige emerge from the darkness he has been trapped in for several years, or is Amelia losing her heart to a man destined to always be crippled by grief?

𝐀 𝐍𝐔𝐑𝐒𝐄 𝐅𝐎𝐑 𝐆𝐀𝐈𝐆𝐄 𝐈𝐒 𝐋𝐈𝐕𝐄 𝐆𝐄𝐓 𝐘𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐂𝐎𝐏𝐘 𝐍𝐎𝐖!!

𝐀𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐨𝐧 𝐔𝐒 – www.amazon.com/dp/B087PZWG64
𝐀𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐨𝐧 𝐔𝐊 – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B087PZWG64
𝐀𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐨𝐧 𝐀𝐔 – www.amazon.com.au/dp/B087PZWG64
𝐀𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐨𝐧 𝐂𝐀 – www.amazon.ca/dp/B087PZWG64


Chapter One

Five miles from Charleston, South Carolina May 1868

AMELIA

As the stagecoach rattled along the dusty road on the final leg of my journey to Roper Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina, I laid my head back against the seat and allowed my thoughts to drift.

I had graduated a little over a week earlier from the Harrow School of Nursing which had been founded by a protégé of Miss Clara Barton and Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell – Miss Constance Harrow. The highly intelligent and experienced woman had also been our teacher.

When Miss Harrow’s students had graduated, contacts of Miss Barton had found us positions within hospitals all over the country. I was excited to commence this new phase of my life and after being informed of my placement, had made inquiries about the establishment.

Those in need of medical assistance, regardless of their station in life, race or religion, were welcomed to attend the hospital for treatment. This condition had been stipulated by Colonel Thomas Roper in his bequest to the Medical Society of South Carolina. He had wanted even lowly paupers to be able to seek medical help to prevent further suffering.

During the Civil War, the hospital had been commandeered and used as an unofficial Confederate hospital, much to the trustees’ dismay. It wasn’t until 1866 it had again opened to regular patients. Many soldiers continued to receive treatment for ongoing war wounds alongside civilian adults and children.

I was unsure of my placement within the large hospital, being told only to report to Matron Cynthia MacCauley and Doctor Gaige Adams – a Director and the principal surgeon in charge. I hoped to be placed in a position of nursing adults, believing I had not yet developed the constitution for nursing a young child in their last hours on earth and I risked devastating hurt.

At twenty-four years old, I was still naïve in many ways of the world, having been sheltered by my parents. I hadn’t experienced the cruelty of the recent war first hand, being largely protected from the misery by living in California – we had moved there after living in Boston. Although the war caused shortages and other difficulties for us, we hadn’t witnessed the death and slaughter like those unfortunates in the east. We had been kept well-informed by newspaper reports, but I’d felt like the conflict was a world away.

We had journeyed to California when my father, seeking a change from his high-pressure position in the bank, had succumbed to the lure of the gold rush. The year was 1854, six years after the rush had begun. He had given up his position as a respected banker to chase his dream of becoming wealthy through gold. Mama and I had been uprooted, endured the long trek west on the train and taken up residence at a mining camp in Coloma.

Life had been hard after the comfort of our well-appointed home in Boston. When I wasn’t in school I helped mama with her chores which included collecting water from a nearby river. I had been ten years old at the time.

Papa’s dream of striking it rich hadn’t come to fruition. It appeared those who had rushed to the area when the first find had been made were the ones to have benefited from the rich seams.

By 1855, mama complained she’d had enough and with, or without papa, she was taking me to start a new life in San Francisco. It was never really a question that father would join us, he adored my mother as she adored him. He had agreed there was no point in staying any longer in Coloma, fortune had not been forthcoming. So we packed up the few belongings we had left and made the trip to San Francisco.

Being only children, like I was, mama and papa hadn’t much in the way of family and weren’t particular about where they lived, they hadn’t wanted to endure the long journey back to Boston.

Papa secured a position as bank President, after having telegrams forwarded from contacts in Boston which highly recommended him for the position. He purchased a house and I was enrolled to attend a prestigious school for girls.

The next decade passed in the blink of an eye. I graduated with excellent grades and attended college to obtain a teaching degree. I had also begun stepping out with Bradley Hayes, a boy down the street I’d become friends with not long after moving to town. Many people, including my parents, believed it was only a matter of time before we married. Bradley had asked many times, but I’d always refused. I wanted to spend time developing my skills as an elementary school teacher before committing myself to being a wife and possibly a mother.

Then, papa fell ill and was found to have consumption. Mama nursed him, becoming more and more despondent with how frail he was becoming. Less than a year later, mama also succumbed to the horrid disease and I left my teaching position to care for them both.

I was grief-stricken when even the best doctors sadly shook their heads after examining my parents and stated there was nothing more to be done. They had all agreed, it was only a matter of time before they succumbed to the ailment.

Every waking hour in the daytime, and many during the night, was spent attending to one or the other of my beloved parents.

Bradley insisted I have them moved to a home for the terminally ill because he was afraid I would also become afflicted. We argued loudly when I refused. After a few months, he presented me with an ultimatum – it was to be him, or my parents. Not needing to give my choice a second thought, I bid him goodbye.

Thanks to papa’s position at the bank and our rather frugal lifestyle, money hadn’t been an issue for the foreseeable future, so I was able to nurse them without financial concerns.

Papa succumbed first, passing at the beginning of June in 1867. Mama followed two weeks later; more from a broken heart than from the disease.

After the burials, I pondered my future. It was during this time I realized teaching was no longer what I wanted to do. It wasn’t my calling. I was convinced, nursing was the calling in which I was meant to dedicate my life.

I began making inquiries and the Harrow School of Nursing was brought to my attention. I sent a telegram and applied to be included in what would be their first intake and was thrilled when I was accepted.

Keeping only a few precious items which had belonged to my parents, I sold the house along with everything it contained.

My journey to Baltimore was a long one, involving three changes of train. Despite this, it was uneventful and I had arrived in time to commence my training.

A room had been secured at a boarding house for ladies which was owned and run by Mrs. Honeycutt – a widow with no children of her own. I liked her immediately, found her easy to speak with and sometimes imparted my troubles. She confided that she loved having students like myself staying with her, taking care of us. She insisted cooking breakfast and supper was one of her greatest delights. I came to adore the woman and saying goodbye when I left for Charleston brought tears to the eyes of us both.


𝐌𝐄𝐄𝐓 𝐒𝐔𝐒𝐀𝐍

I live in sunny Queensland, Australia and retired after 37 years of Nursing.

My husband of 45 years, together with our elderly Jack Russell Terrier and extremely opinionated 26-year-old Cockatiel, enjoy holidays and travelling.

When we are at home, which is a small rural village, we spend our time renovating our home.

I write a variety of stories including Western Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, Male/Male, Ménage and Shapeshifter.

Each book has a strong focus on story line with romantic interest building throughout.

I explore real life issues from kids on the streets to motorcycle war and put my own twist on each one.

𝐅𝐎𝐋𝐋𝐎𝐖 𝐌𝐄

𝐁𝐥𝐨𝐠: www.susanhorsnell.com
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