A golden-hearted mountain man. A nursing tech with a secret. Life and death are on the line—and they’re running out of time.
Shepherd knows what people think of him. He’s too big, too tall and too broad not to be scary. But though he looks like a grizzly bear, he’s all teddy on the inside. He’s dreamed of finding someone to love. Someone who can help him break through his shyness and who he can shower with all the affection in his heart.
Kit knows what people think of him. That he’s young, good-looking and kissed by luck. He survived leukemia as a teenager, and he thought he had his entire life ahead of him. But now, the cancer might be recurring—deny it though he might—and Kit’s world has come crashing down. He needs someone like Shepherd. Someone kind and caring, who’s strong enough to lean on.
Kit’s falling fast for the big mountain man—but he hasn’t told Shepherd the truth. He’s afraid that knowing he may be sick will be more than Shepherd can handle. And now, after delaying treatment, he thinks he may be running out of time.
Secrets can be life or death—and when it comes to telling the truth, they can make all the difference.
About the Author
Willa Okati can most often be found muttering to herself over a keyboard, plugged into her iPod and breaking between paragraphs to play air drums. In her spare time (the odd ten minutes or so per day she's not writing) she's teaching herself to play the pennywhistle.
Willa has forty-plus separate tattoos and yearns for a full body suit of ink. She walks around in a haze of story ideas, dreaming of tales yet to be told. She drinks an alarming amount of coffee for someone generally perceived to be mellow.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Willa Okati 2015. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.
Kit made a frustrated sound as he stilled his hand. The tip of his pen would puncture clean through the paper if he wasn’t careful, and he didn’t want to start from scratch. Five more minutes of notes for the resident to sign off on, and he’d be out of there for a full weekend. Nothing difficult.
Truth be told, he should have finished them half an hour ago.
He shook his head and focused on the paper in front of him. If he wanted to keep paying tuition and get his bachelor’s—maybe even a master’s one day—and make something more of his life, then he needed that St. Hawk’s paycheck for his work as a nursing technician. Only way to do that was to walk the line.
“Get a move on already,” he muttered to himself, taking up the pen and applying it to the paper.
But no matter how he tried to lean himself against the counter of the nurses’ station, his joints ached with the sharp, sullen bite of a bad tooth. Kit could feel the grinding in his back, like giants making bread of his bones, when he tried to crack out the stiffness of his neck. Knees, elbows, hips—all as shot to hell as half the patients in this part of the hospital.
I’m fine. I will be. Just fine.
Thank God for the busyness of nurses’ stations, though. Kit might or might not have picked his spot for that very reason. He wasn’t telling. But he looked up in relief when Chelle, an hospitalist Kit had worked with before—and one of the most patient doctors he knew—growled under her breath as she slapped down a stack of lab printouts. “He’s at it again,” she said. “Cantankerous old—”
“Mr. Westmoreland?” asked the secretary, in between calls with her finger on the hold button. Kit wasn’t surprised when Chelle nodded. Everyone knew old Gib. Everyone on every floor of St. Hawk’s could hear old Gib when the gray lion took it in his head to start roaring. He’d come in almost a month ago for surgery on a fractured hip, and as often happened, one complication after another had kept him there.
Kit couldn’t blame the tough old buzzard. He would have done some roaring too, after all that. “What’s Gib up to now?” he asked as he signed the last piece of paperwork. “I could check in on him, if you want. He likes me.”
“Really?” Chelle had put her chin in her hand, but she looked at Kit now with faintly dawning hope. “How can you tell?” She waved that off. “If you can do anything with him, please, go try it. He made one of the interns cry.”
Not that that was hard to do, but Kit grimaced in sympathy. St. Hawk’s treated its people well, but interns and residents lived on coffee and ran on fumes no matter where they worked, shambling around the place gray-faced from exhaustion and chewing antacids by the handful. Kit wanted nothing more than to be one of them.
He’d thought he was on his way.
Still am, he told himself. It might not be happening again. Could just be the weather.
“Yeah, no problem. I’ll see what I can do,” Kit said, shelving his paperwork in the attending physician’s overflowing cubby and bringing up his most carefree grin, the one he was known for. Usually. When he moved, he drew on old habits that he hadn’t needed to remember in a long time to walk without letting any of the deep aches show.
Chelle whistled behind his back as he left. “I hate to see him leave, but I love to watch him go, am I right?” the secretary cracked.
Kit would have kissed her for the compliment if he’d swung that way, but it kept the grin real on his lips all the way into Gib’s room at the far end of the geriatrics ward. He’d been moved down there a week after his surgery, and had it all to himself. No one wanted to share with the old crank, and that was just the way Gib liked it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 stars I loved the play of the characters off each other. The big man being the shy one. The cancer scare made me sad and all that comes with it. The pain that he feels and the caution he tries to take so he doesn't have to love and leave someone behind if it what he feels it is. There were points of laughter and some of sadness mixed in with sexy scenes that seemed to make it all glue together. I can't wait for the next part of this story and more from Willa Okati. Renee ***** 4 stars Let me start out by saying that this is on the shorter side for the type of romance that is within the pages. However, I felt that Okati did a great job hitting the highlights of their relationship. You have two characters that are, I felt, great together. Kit is a geriatric nurse tech working his way through school. He has such plans for his life. I loved his favorite patient, Gib. He made me laugh and cry. When Kit meets Shepherd, there is instant chemistry and attraction. While I normally don’t like insta-relationships, Okati did a good job at pacing this one. Shepherd just sounds sexy. He not only is huge, but he’s so caring. I loved his character. This story had me laughing out loud and crying all within a short amount of time. While I wish the story had been more in-depth and longer in order to really dive in to the complexities of the relationship, I did feel it was a complete story. I would definitely read more of Okati. AvidReader ***** 4 stars This is such a sweet story. I love both main characters. Kit is devoted to his patients, passionate about his education and terrified that his childhood leukemia has returned. He is an inspiring mix of strength and fragility. In contrast, Shepherd is a painfully shy bear of a man. I loved his compassion - and fancied the pants off him! This novella is too short to really navigate the complexities of a cancer scare, but the author does a great job of offering readers highlights without simplifying or rushing the HEA. I still think that there is more than enough material for a novel here, and I’d love to see more of Kit and Shepherd. The characters are great, the sex is hot and the story is well written. I was in tears in a couple of places! A great short romance. Sarah **I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Inked Rainbow Reads**