Enchanting Samantha [NOOK Book]

Overview


WASN'T HE SOON TO BE WED?

Staff nurse Samantha Fielding had one golden rule: never get involved. It wasn't easy to follow, though, with the attractive Giles ter Ossel around. Samantha was determined not to let her feelings for Giles affect the way she treated Antonia, the girl she thought was his fiancée. So, she agreed to return to Holland and nurse Antonia through her recovery. But Samantha's calm and professional exterior hid a breaking heart. Meanwhile, Giles was determined...

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Enchanting Samantha

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Overview


WASN'T HE SOON TO BE WED?

Staff nurse Samantha Fielding had one golden rule: never get involved. It wasn't easy to follow, though, with the attractive Giles ter Ossel around. Samantha was determined not to let her feelings for Giles affect the way she treated Antonia, the girl she thought was his fiancée. So, she agreed to return to Holland and nurse Antonia through her recovery. But Samantha's calm and professional exterior hid a breaking heart. Meanwhile, Giles was determined to be happily married…to the right girl!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459239470
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 4/16/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Sales rank: 83,652
  • File size: 2 MB

Read an Excerpt




It was half past five on a cold February morning, and Clement's Hospital, behind its elaborate red brick Victorian façade, was already stirring, and this despite the edict from someone at the summit of the nursing profession that no patient should be aroused before six o'clock. An edict which the night nurses had, for a very long time, decided was a laughable impossibility, probably thought up, declared the younger and more frivolous of their number, by some dear old soul who still thought of nurses as ministering angels, gliding from bed to bed, turning pillows and smoothing brows while a vast number of underlings did the work, while in fact they were a band of understaffed, highly skilled young women who knew all about intensive care and cardiac arrest and electrolytes. True, the ward lights always went on at the precise hour allowed, shining out on to the grimy streets of one of the less fashionable quarters of London, but long before that on this particular morning, stealthy movement had been going on for an hour or more in Women's Surgical, for it was operation day, which meant the preparation of those ladies who were on Sir Joshua White's list, and as most of them had wakened early despite their sleeping pills the night before, the very early morning cup of tea they were allowed was immediately offered before the business of cleansing the patients, clothing them in theatre gowns and long woollen stockings, and in the case of the first patient due in theatre at half past eight sharp, removing anything from her person to which the anaesthetist might take exception.

And now the last of them had been attended to and those who were able were left to sit in a cosy circle, enjoying a bloodcurdling and quite inaccurate chat about their various insides. They spoke in whispers, of course, because most of the other patients were still asleep, but Staff Nurse Samantha Fielding, carefully plaiting her patient's pepper-and-salt hair behind the nearest cubicle curtains, caught a word here and there, just as her ear, tuned in to the various noises, however slight, which she might expect to hear on the ward, caught the stealthy tread of her junior nurse, Dora Brown, who was creeping from locker to locker, laying down washing bowls with the stealth of hard-earned experience, putting soap and flannel and towel within reach of the sleeping patients. Samantha glanced at the clock at the far end of the ward. There was still twenty minutes to go before the lights could go on. She would have time to write the report for Sister before that lady came to do her final round, as well as start the wash-out on the second theatre case. The medicine round could be quickly done, and that only left the Kardex to be written up and then the hundred and one jobs listed in her head.

She smiled down at the elderly face on the pillow—a wrinkled face, still grey from shock, almost ugly. Indeed it seemed unlikely that the patient had ever been pretty, but it was a good face all the same and Staff Nurse Fielding liked it. The poor woman had been admitted just before midnight with badly burned hands, and although she had been sedated she had had a bad night despite all that could be done for her. But now she had been gently bathed and tidied up and her hands in their sterile plastic envelopes disposed side by side on the bed-cover. Second degree burns, the Registrar had said, which they had cleaned up in theatre before starting the Bunyan-Stannard treatment. Samantha had been irrigating them at intervals during the night; she did it once more now, deploring the fact that the patient could neither speak nor understand English. She had been brought to Clement's for the simple reason that when she had been found, lying before the exploded gas oven, all she had been able to say was the name of the hospital, and the police and ambulance men, struggling to make themselves understood, had brought her in, hopeful that there would be someone at Clement's who knew her. But no one did, nor had anyone succeeded in understanding the few muttered words the old lady uttered from time to time.

She had been alone in the house when the accident happened; the police had been called by the housemaid next door, who, curious to know who had come to live in a house which had stood empty for some time, had been standing on the area steps and had heard the bang.

Samantha smiled once again and nodded encouragingly as she popped a thermometer under her patient's tongue and took her pulse, both up, she noted; probably the poor old thing was wondering what would happen to her. She patted an arm and sped down the ward to the kitchen, fetched a feeder of tea and gave it to her with the gentle expertise of long practice.

She had finished the report with seconds to spare beforeand nodded encouragingly as under her patient's tongue and probably the poor old thing happen to her. She patted an arm kitchen, fetched a feeder of tea expertise of long practice. Night Sister made her brief appearance on the ward and was taking down a drip when Brown appeared at her elbow to whisper: 'There's a man outside, Staff.'

'Good luck to him,' said Samantha absently, taking out the cannula with careful fingers and covering the tiny puncture with a strip of plaster.

Brown giggled. 'He wants to see the old lady—the one with the burns.'

Samantha laid the drip paraphernalia on the trolley and prepared to wheel it away. 'Tell him to wait, will you? He can't come in until you've finished the BP round and I simply must repack Mrs Wheeler's dressing.' Her eye fell on the clock. 'Oh, lord—just as we were getting on so nicely…'

She was packing Mrs Wheeler's leaking dressing when Brown appeared again. 'He says he'll be glad if you could be as quick as possible,' she added. 'He's ever so romantic-looking, Staff.'

Samantha muttered rudely under her breath and picked up her dressing tray. 'No one,' she stated repressively, 'is romantic-looking at this hour of the morning. He'll have to wait while I wash my hands. Have you finished the round?'

Brown nodded.

'Then pull any curtains that are necessary, will you?' she sighed. 'I suppose he'll have to come in, but it couldn't be a more awkward time.'

She disposed of the tray, washed her hands and marched briskly down the ward, a small, pleasantly plump figure, her cap perched very precisely on the top of her neatly piled brown hair, a frown marring a face, which, while by no means pretty, was pleasant enough, with hazel eyes fringed with short thick lashes, a nose turned up at its end and a mouth which though a little too large, could smile delightfully.

There was no sign of a smile now, though, as she charged silently through the swing doors and came to an abrupt halt by the man sitting on the radiator under the landing window—a large man, she saw, as he rose to his feet, towering over her. He was wearing a bulky car coat and she could see leather gloves stuffed anyhow into its pockets, she could also see that he was dark-haired, craggy-faced and handsome with it, and had grey eyes of a peculiar intensity.All these things she saw within a few seconds, having been trained to observe quickly, accurately and without comment. Before he could speak Samantha said: 'Good morning—I'm glad you've come; you know the patient, I take it? We don't know anything about her and we haven't been able to talk to her at all—she must feel terrible about it, poor soul. You've come at a very awkward time, but at least you're here now. If you would come into the office now and let me have her particulars, you could go and see her for a few minutes after-wards—the ward's closed, but just for once…Are you her son?'

His straight black brows rose an inch. 'My dear good girl, how you do chat—were you learning all that off by heart while I waited?' He had followed her to the office door and held it open for her to go inside. 'No, I'm not her son, just a very old friend.' His voice was deep and faintly amused and Samantha, still smarting from his first remark, sat down at the desk and waved him to a chair, explained with commendable brevity the nature of the patient's injuries and asked:

'Could you tell me if she lives at the address where she was found? 26, Minterne Square, SW8.'

The chair, not built for comfortable sitting in by heavyweights, creaked alarmingly as he crossed his very long legs. 'Yes, temporarily.'

Samantha wrote. 'Has she an occupation?'

'Er—housekeeper.'

She eyed him without favour. 'Could you help a little more, do you think? I'm very busy. Her name and has she relations or any friends to whom we can apply? And does she live alone and how old is she?'

He smiled lazily. 'She is sixty-nine, I think. How old are you?'

'That's my business,' she snapped tartly, 'and will you please…'

'Ah, yes. Her name is Klara Boot,' he stopped to spell it. 'She is a Dutchwoman, here for a short period to act as housekeeper at the house where she was found. She arrived only yesterday evening, and through an unfortunate chance I was delayed from meeting her. She speaks no English.'

Samantha looked up from her form, pen poised. 'Oh, I see, she lets rooms or something of that sort?'

He smiled faintly. 'Something of that sort,'he agreed. 'She has no relations to the best of my knowledge, so if there is anything needed for her, perhaps I could be told.' He stood up. 'And now if I might see her for a few minutes.'

Samantha felt inclined to take umbrage at his tone, but perhaps he had been up all night like she had and wasn't feeling very amiable. She got up and led the way to the ward, saying at the door: 'You'll come again? Day Sister will want to see you—have you a telephone number?'

He grinned. 'Now we are making strides—we might even arrange a date.'

She lost her breath and caught it again with an angry snort. 'Well, really—' she began, and then, at a loss for words, walked ahead of him down the ward, past the highly interested patients, to where the old lady lay. As she pulled the cubicle curtains back he put two hands on her waist, lifted her effortlessly on one side and strode past her to bend over the bed and greet the patient in the gentlest of voices in some language she couldn't make head or tail of. Samantha watched the elderly face light up, break into a smile and then dissolve into tears, but when she stepped forward, the man stopped her by saying:

'Thank you, dear girl, don't let me stop you from finishing your work.'

She contented herself with a cold: 'Ten minutes, if you please, and not a minute more,'before she stalked away.A rude and arrogant man, she fumed, even though his voice had held unmistakable authority. Too late she remembered that she had no idea who he was. He had mentioned being an old friend— possibly a lodger of some years' standing with the old lady. Perhaps she had moved house and he with her—in that case surely there would have been other lodgers? She started on the medicine round, still cross because he had called her 'dear girl' with an off-hand patronage which she found quite insulting. On an impulse she went to the desk and telephoned the Surgical Night Sister; let him try and patronize that formidable lady if he could—it was unfortunate that she wasn't to be found, and as it turned out it would have been pointless, for when Samantha, after exactly ten minutes, went to remind the visitor that he should go, he was nowhere to be found; he must have gone, very silently indeed, while her back was turned.

She explained it all to Sister Grieves when that lady came on duty at eight o'clock, and then sped away to the dining room for her breakfast, a meal which didn't take very long to eat, for it was the end of the month and she hadn't much money left. Tea and toast and butter—but as her companions at table were eating the same rather dull fare it didn't seem so bad. Besides, she lived out, in a flat shared with three other nurses, all at the moment on day duty, and they had become astonishingly clever at stretching the housekeeping money; there would be a nourishing stew that evening when Samantha got up, and before she went to bed she would make coffee, and there were plenty of biscuits. She thought longingly of her nights off, still three days away, when she could, since it was pay day, go home to her grandparents and eat all she wanted.

'You're quiet, Sam,' observed Pat Donovan from Men's Medical. 'Did you have a grotty night?'

Samantha spread the last slice of toast. 'Not too bad…' Before she could enlarge on this statement Dorothy Sellars from theAccident Room chipped in: 'Did you find out anything about that dear old duck we sent up with the burned hands?'

Samantha nodded and said with a mouth full of toast: 'She had a visitor at six o'clock—a man. She's Dutch, some sort of housekeeper— comes from one of those uppercrust squares in Knightsbridge.'

'Was the man upper-crust too?' asked Pat flippantly.

Samantha considered. 'Yes, he was rude too. He said he was an old friend—I daresay he lodges with her or something of the sort, he was a bit vague.' She pushed back her chair. 'I'm off, see you all tonight.'

The flat she shared was a bare five minutes' walk from Clement's; the top floor of what must have been at one time a large family house, complete with subterranean kitchens and several roomy attics. It was let out in furnished flats now, and besides Samantha and her friends, who lived under the roof, there were seven other occupants, not counting old Mr Cockburn who owned the place and lived in the transformed basement kitchens, with their windows giving a sideways view of everyone who went in or came out. He was a nice old man, born and bred in the district and with a soft spot for the four young nurses living in his attics, a soft spot partly engendered by his theory that if he treated them right, if and when he needed to go to hospital—which the Lord forbid—they would treat him right too. A form of insurance, as it were.

Samantha waved to him as she climbed the steps. She was tired and it was a cold, grey morning. She had no fancy for a brisk walk, nor for the lengthy bus ride which would take her from this plebeian area of the city to its more fashionable shopping streets. She yawned widely as she toiled up the last of the stairs and unlocked their flat door.

It was unexpectedly pleasant inside—small and shabbily furnished, it was true, but they had three bedrooms between them as well as a sitting room, a minute kitchen and a bathroom with what Mr Cockburn optimistically and erroneously called 'constant 'ot'.

She went along to the small room she had to herself because she was on night duty and flung off her coat and gloves. The other three were on duty until five o'clock that afternoon, which meant she would be able to sleep undisturbed all day if she wished. She donned the communal apron hanging behind the kitchen door, switched on the radio and began to tidy the flat, whistling cheerfully in time with the music while she got out the carpet sweeper and found a duster. They were fair about sharing the chores of their little home; whoever was on night duty tidied up in the morning, washed the breakfast things and laid the table for supper, and whoever was off duty during the day prepared the evening meal and did the ironing. The shopping they shared.

Today the other three could share the chores between them. Samantha, having done her quota, undressed and wandered along to the bathroom, where she found, most satisfyingly, enough hot water to fill the bath almost full. She lay in it, almost asleep, wondering about the stranger who had visited the old lady that morning. A sudden memory of his large, firm hands on her waist as he had shifted her out of his path disturbed her so much that she got out of the bath long before the water had cooled and set about getting to bed in the shortest space of time. She was really very tired, she told herself, refusing to admit that she found her thoughts of the man disquieting. 'Probably because I dislike him so much,' she mumbled as she pulled the blankets over her head and allowed sleep to take over.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2014

    Hey

    HATE IT VERY MUCH!!!

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    Posted January 16, 2014

    Jake

    I breathe heavily and smile.you tell me if you want to so

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    Posted January 17, 2014

    Samantha

    Bites my lip "im sorry i just cant my mind is going crazy" unwraps my arms and hugs you

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    Posted July 15, 2012

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