Silent Pledgeby Hannah Alexander
Dr. Mercy Richmond struggles to balance her roles as a single mother and busy physician whose patients have nowhere else to go. Her small Missouri town has no E.R. and Mercy is overwhelmed by the sick, the injured and the personal problems they bring into her clinic—and her life. If she thought her schedule would help her forget Lukas Bower, the handsome
Dr. Mercy Richmond struggles to balance her roles as a single mother and busy physician whose patients have nowhere else to go. Her small Missouri town has no E.R. and Mercy is overwhelmed by the sick, the injured and the personal problems they bring into her clinic—and her life. If she thought her schedule would help her forget Lukas Bower, the handsome doctor she believes betrayed her, she was wrong. A new Christian, Mercy must make a decision that will change four lives forever—including her daughter's. And then Lukas comes home….
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Mercy had begun, in the last few months, to put her patients in God's hands as quickly as possible when her worry for them began. All she had to do now was learn to leave them there, to stop trying to control every situation. She found that difficult to do.
She went into the front office and fed the fax machine the final pages they would need at Cox North for Kendra's admittance, reading each page as it fed through to make sure she had all her boxes marked and her information correct.
The telephone rang beside her as the final page fed through, and she picked up quickly. Probably the night secretary at Cox North, asking for more information.
"This is Dr. Richmond."
"Hi, Dr. Mercy, this is Vickie over at Knolls Community. I thought you might still be in your office."
"Yes, Vickie," Mercy said in surprise, recognizing the voice of one of her favorite nurses at the hospital down the block.
"I just wanted to let you know that Crystal and Odira are both settled in, and Crystal was already asleep when I left the room. We'll keep a close eye on both of them tonight."
Mercy felt a little easing of tension at the nurse's reassuring tone. "Thank you, Vickie, I'll be over in the morning to check on Crystal."
"If you plan to get any sleep, you'd better get with it. Oh, and, Dr. Mercy, you might want to check Odira out, too, when you come. I saw her press her hand against her chest a couple of times while we put Crystal in bed, and her feet look a little swollen. We'll make her comfortable tonight, but I just thought I'd let you know."
Mercy reached up and massaged her temples, closing her eyes in weariness. "Thank you, Vickie. I'll check her if she'll let me." She replaced the receiver, sighed, and walked back into her office. She'd guessed earlier tonight that there might be a problem with Odira but had to push those thoughts aside while she cared for Crystal and Kendra and completed all the duties that ordinarily her staff would handle.
She stepped over to her desk and plopped down into the leather chair for a moment. She stretched out her arms and flexed her shoulders, rolled her head around, and took a few deep breaths. Odira was always so concerned about Crystal that she seldom took time to notice her own physical ailments. That could turn out to be a real problem. Maybe in the near future. Maybe in the morning ...
Time to go home, but right now she was too tired to move. Would she ever again get a whole eight hours of sleep in a row? Should she consider getting a partner to take part of the load? At one time she'd hoped Lukas might stay around and help her with the influx until the ER was complete. She'd even dropped a few hints on several occasions, during those few times the two of them had been together in the past three months. He hadn't caught the hint. She hid her disappointment, telling herself that he was, at heart, an emergency physician. Family practice would probably bore him.
But deep down she found herself wondering.... Was he, for some reason, avoiding her?
She knew he cared for her. She knew it. She could see a tenderness in his eyes when he looked at her and hear a gentleness in his voice. He cared a lot about Tedi, as well, and the two of them spent hours together laughing and talking and working on homework assignments when Lukas was in town.
Mercy couldn't help the doubts that surfaced, memories of last fall when Lukas had told her he couldn't see her anymore. But hadn't all that changed? During the explosions at the hospital, Mercy experienced a more powerful explosion in her own lifeshe realized she could no longer deny God's power or her need for Him. She had accepted Christ and had announced her newfound faith to a congregation of people at the Covenant Baptist Church. Since then she had witnessed the power of her new faith in many ways. The most obvious was her sudden ability to get along with Theodorenot with perfect ease and not always without resentment, but enough to make Tedi comfortable when they met together.
She glanced at the framed snapshots she kept of Tedi on the credenzababy pictures, and then school pictures from kindergarten to the most recent sixth-grade shot. Tedi was the joy of her life. Just spending time with that bubbly, outspoken child renewed her, made her laugh, and gave her courage. After everything Tedi had been through, from the divorce nearly six years ago to the near-death experience last year, she was recovering and growing every day. No parent could be more proud.
And then Mercy's gaze drifted to the unframed snapshot of Lukas, the only picture she had of him. She still remembered the day she'd snapped it. He was covered in mud from a hike in the rain. His glasses were steamed up enough to camouflage the blue of his eyes, but not enough to hide the smile that radiated across his face, relieving a habitually serious expression. In the picture, his light-brown hair was darkened to coffee. His slender five-foot-ten frame carried him well, and somehow the way he stood and looked at the camera revealed the gentle, caring soul within. Or maybe his demeanor had impressed itself upon her so much since last spring that she automatically saw it when she looked at him.
She laid her head back and closed her eyes. She would never forget their first hike together in the Mark Twain National Forest in August last year. The spider webs were thick across the narrow, overgrown logging trail they followed. Lukas had insisted on walking ahead of her, watching for snakes, knocking down the webs for her, even though he hated spiders. His thoughtfulness was one of the many traits about him that endeared him to her. She didn't have the heart to point out that she'd been hiking those trails for years and was used to the spiders and the snakes and the ticks and the chiggers. She let him help her over the rough spots, as he had been doing in her life since April. But she was in another rough spot now, and he wasn't here.
Did he know how much she needed him?
Meet the Author
Hannah Alexander is the pen name for Cheryl Hodde, who uses the medical input from her husband, Dr. Mel Hodde, to write romantic suspense with medical emphasis, both contemporary and historical. Their first collaboration began with a blind date instigated by Cheryl's matchmaking pastor, and has continued for the fifteen years of their marriage.
Discover more about their work at www.hannahalexander.com
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