Come Closer by Brenda Rothert
An adult standalone, contemporary romance
PURCHASE IT NOW!
Sometimes appearances deceive. Take me, for instance. I look like a respectable doctor with his shit together, but the rural Montana mental hospital I work at is actually a sanctuary from my demons. At just thirty-five years old, I’ve already failed on an epic scale. Treating patients at Hawthorne Hill is part of my atonement. I’ve found peace when a new patient turns me inside out. Allison Cole is a beautiful, haunted survivor who fell into silence after witnessing a murder. But even without words, I’m drawn to her. The closer we get, the more I’m tempted to cross my professional boundaries and give in to my desire. Soon I find myself in a desperate race to put the pieces of Allison’s silence together. Her life becomes inextricably entwined with mine as I fight to save the second chance I never thought I’d have. I’ll break whatever rules I have to in order to protect this woman who’s been to hell and back. For her, I’ll do harm.
EXCERPT:I think it’s the silence that wakes me up. After two weeks of sleeping in the forest, being lulled awake every morning by calling birds, running streams, and leaves dancing in the breeze, the quiet in my cabin doesn’t feel right.
It’s about time to get up anyway. I have to return to reality today. There were moments during the fourteen days I just spent in the Montana forest when I considered not returning. I had everything I needed to get by in a pack on my back. I considered building myself a small shelter and becoming a true mountain man. I’d spend my days fishing, hunting, and climbing. It would be a life without worry.
But my daydreams of escaping real life were interrupted every time by thoughts of my patients. I took an oath to do no harm, and I knew I couldn’t uphold it and willfully leave people with serious mental illnesses.
No, I’m not the only doctor who can treat them, but I’m one of the few willing to live in rural Montana and work at Hawthorne Hill Mental Hospital. Other than a small town a few miles away, this place is isolated from civilization.
Not that you’d know it when you’re on the property. Henry Hawthorne poured proceeds from his oil empire into this place back in the 1930s, and his estate provides for its upkeep.
Even the cabin I live in as a staffer at Hawthorne is nicer than any place I’ve lived before. I cook the fish I catch on weekends in a gourmet kitchen and write up patient reports on a leather sofa in front of a giant stone fireplace in the great room.
I walk into the bathroom and turn on the shower, then step in front of the sink while I wait for the water to get hot.
Damn. I look grizzly. The dark beard I grew while off work is almost an inch long, and my hair is wild and unwashed. I turn my face from side to side, considering keeping the beard. Maybe if it was trimmed and my hair was under control…?
No. With my six-foot-five-inch height and wide frame, I already intimidate most new patients when they meet me. And the nurses like to call me Dr. Lumberjack—they’d have a field day with a beard.