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The M.D.'s Surprise Family
By Marie Ferrarella
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Are you God?"
The soft, somewhat high-pitched voice punctured a tiny hole into his train of thought. Seated at his desk and studying a new AMA report regarding brain surgery techniques, Dr. Peter Sullivan looked up sharply. He wasn't expecting anyone. This office was supposed to be his haven, his island away from the noise and traffic just outside his door.
His haven had been invaded.
A boy stood in his doorway. A small-boned, black-haired boy with bright blue eyes. The boy's manner was woven out of not quite a sense of entitlement, but definitely out of a sense of confidence.
He had on an Angels sweatshirt and a pair of jeans that looked baggy on his thin frame.
As the boy looked at him, his perfectly shaped eyebrows wiggled together in a puzzled expression as if, now that he'd asked the question, he had doubts about the assumption he'd made.
Served him right for not making sure his door was properly closed, Peter thought, annoyed at the intrusion. Beyond his door all manner of people wandered the halls of Blair Memorial, especially on the ground floor, where all the doctors's offices were located. But traffic wasn't supposed to leak into here.
He carefully marked his place, then gave his attention to the task of sendingthe boy on his way.
"Excuse me?" Peter knew his voice could be intimidating. To his surprise, the little boy looked unfazed. Peter didn't feel like being friendly, especially not this morning. He'd heard that one of his patients hadn't made it.
It wasn't supposed to matter.
He purposely distanced himself from the people he operated on, thinking of them as merely recipients of his skills, almost like objects that needed repairing. To approach what he did in any other way was just too difficult for him.
And yet, Amanda Peterson's death weighed heavily on him.
He'd learned of her passing by accident, not by inquiry, but that didn't change the effect the news had had on him. He'd thought that he'd been properly anesthetized by the knowledge that there was only a two percent chance the woman would survive the surgery, much less the week.
Still, two percent was two percent. A number just large enough to attach the vague strands of hope around.
Damn it, why couldn't he just divorce himself from his emotions? Why couldn't he just not care anymore? Every time he thought he had that aspect of himself under control, something like this would happen and he'd feel that trickle of pain.
Rather than leave, the boy in his doorway crossed into his office, moving on the balls of his feet like a ballet dancer in training.
"Are you God?" he repeated, cocking his head as if that might help him get a clearer handle on the answer.
"No," Peter said with the firm conviction of a neurosurgeon who'd just had God trump him on the operating table. The boy didn't move. "What makes you ask?" Peter finally ventured.
The boy, who couldn't have been more than about seven or eight, and a small seven or eight at that, pulled himself up to his full height and watched him with eyes that were old. "Because Raven told me that you can perform miracles."
"Raven? Is that some imaginary friend?" His daughter Becky had had an imaginary friend. Seymour. She'd been adamant that he address Seymour by name whenever he'd spoken to the air beside her. There had even been a place for Seymour at the table. And she'd insisted that he say good-night to Seymour every evening after he'd read her a bedtime story, otherwise Becky would look at him with those big brown eyes of hers, waiting.
God, he'd give anything if he could say good-night to Seymour again.
"No," the dark-haired boy told him patiently,
"Raven's my sister."
"Well, your sister's wrong." He wondered if he was going to have to escort the boy to the hall. "I'm not God and I don't do miracles."
Because if he could have, if he could have just performed one miracle in his life, it would have been to save Lisa and Becky. He would have willingly and gladly given his own life to save them. But the trade hadn't been his to make.
The small invader seemed unconvinced. "Raven's never wrong."
Peter snorted. Women never thought they were wrong, even short ones. Becky had been as head-strong as they came. He'd always laughed at what he called her "stubborn" face whenever she'd worn it. He couldn't remember the last time he'd laughed.
"First time for everything, kid." He nodded toward the doorway behind the boy. "Why don't you go now and find her?"
The boy half turned. As if on cue, a woman came up to his doorway. A woman with long, shining blue-black hair and eyes the same intense color blue as the boy's. She was of medium height, slender, with alabaster skin - the kind of woman that would have inspired one of the Grimm Brothers to pick up his pen and begin spinning a story about Snow White. The family resemblance was glaring.
As was the fact that the relieved-looking woman standing in his doorway was very possibly one of the most beautiful women ever created.
Even a man whose soul was dead could notice something like that, Peter thought vaguely.
Excerpted from The M.D.'s Surprise Family by Marie Ferrarella Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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