Nursing the Soldier's Heart (Love Inspired Series)

Nursing the Soldier's Heart (Love Inspired Series)

by Merrillee Whren

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373879779
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 07/21/2015
Series: Love Inspired Series
Edition description: Original
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 4.00(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.55(d)

About the Author

Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award for best inspirational romance manuscript. She has been the recipient of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is married and has two grown daughters. Visit her Web site at http://www.merrilleewhren.com or connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/merrillee.whren.

Read an Excerpt

The familiar recorded voice on the other end of the line made Kirsten Bailey's stomach churn. The phone number had an Atlanta area code, but if it was a cell phone, no telling where the owner resided. She mustered some politeness and repeated her daily mantra. How many messages would she have to leave before she got a response? She slammed down the phone.

"Why are you abusing the phone?" Jen Chafin, the other late-shift nurse, swiveled in her chair as she tucked a lock of auburn hair behind one ear.

Kirsten grimaced. "Cora Barton asked me to call her grandson again. I've lost track of how many times I've left him a message. The man obviously doesn't care about his grandmother."

"Are you calling the right number?"

"Absolutely. The voice mail message says, 'This is Brady Hewitt. Leave a message.'" Kirsten shook her head again. "I hate the expression on Cora's face when I tell her I haven't reached him."

"Does he have a job where he's out of signal range for a period of time?"

"Cora doesn't know what he does." Kirsten shrugged.

"Sounds like he's a ne'er-do-well who picks up jobs here and there when he feels like it."

Jen turned back to her computer. "Does Cora have any other family?"

"I don't think so, otherwise I'm sure she would've asked me to call someone else. Her daughter died in a car accident when her grandson was young. Cora raised him."

Jen stopped typing. "That certainly makes him ungrateful."

"My thoughts exactly. How could someone ignore a grandmother like Cora? She's one of the sweetest women I know."

"Next time you could always leave a message telling him what you really think." Jen laughed halfheartedly.

"I'd like to, but I have to keep it professional." Kirsten grimaced. "At least Cora has lots of friends here at The Village to make up for her inattentive grandson."

Jen nodded. "And speaking of friends, look who's coming down the hall."

Kirsten peered over the counter. "Annie and her kids. That'll make Cora's day."

Kirsten waved at Annie Payton and her two small children, Kara and Spencer. The kids let go of their mother's hand and raced to the nurses' station.

Shaking her head, Annie caught up to her children. "Sorry, Kirsten. They're excited to see you."

"That's okay." Kirsten greeted the youngsters with a hug. "Who are you here to see?"

"Ms. Cora," the children said in unison.

"We want her to get better, and Mommy says our visits will help." Kara scrunched up her little nose. "I hope Ms. Cora gets out of here soon."

"We all do." Kirsten turned her attention to Annie. "How are the wedding plans?"

Annie's face brightened. "Everything's falling into place. Just ten more days."

Kirsten came around the counter and gave Annie a hug. "I'm so happy for you and Ian."

"Thanks." Annie glanced down the hallway. "Guess we better get down to see Cora. Talk to you later."

Kirsten waved as the trio went down the hallway. Seeing Annie and her children made Kirsten long for the family she'd almost had. But she shouldn't dwell on what could have been. She had to concentrate on the here and now.

"Are you going with someone to Annie and Ian's wedding?" Jen asked when Kirsten returned to her computer.

Kirsten frowned. "That's another sore topic."

"Really?"

"Yes. Maybe we should work and not talk at all."

"But I can work and talk at the same time." Jen waved a hand over the computer keyboard. "You know the rest of the evening is usually pretty quiet. Besides, you can't leave me hanging like this."

Shaking her head, Kirsten looked straight ahead as she input some data. "No fair. You have a husband who's a built-in date for such occasions, so you don't have to worry about someone trying to find you an escort."

"Your dad?"

Kirsten released a harsh breath. "Yeah. Ever since I came back from Brazil, he's been pushing some guy at me. I think he's hoping I'll find someone here, so I won't go back."

Jen nodded. "I can understand that. Lauren's a college senior, and I'm hoping she finds a job close to home when she graduates. I can't imagine what it would be like to have a child in another country, where you could never see them. Look at it from your dad's point of view."

Kirsten shrugged. "I suppose. Family's important to me. That's why I came home as soon as I found out how sick Mom was, and I stayed even after she passed away because Dad needed me. But he needs to let me live my own life, and he needs to get on with his."

"I'm sure the loss of your mom still weighs on him."

"I know. It hasn't been easy for either of us." Kirsten stopped typing and looked at Jen. "His duties as director here at The Village keep him busy, and that's good. But the nights are hard for him. He didn't want me to move into my own place, but I think that's better for him, don't you?"

"Probably, but your dad still looks at you as his little girl. You're an adult, but you're also his child." Jen grabbed a folder from the end of the desk. "He wants the best for you."

"I know that, but I wanted to adopt those three children in Brazil. Now that won't happen." Kirsten fingered the beaded bracelet on her wrist—the one Luciana, Nathalia and Rafael had made for her right before she came back to the States.

"Do you think they'll lift the suspension of international adoptions?"

"Those children are lost to me. But I'm still trying to get a new visa in order to go back." Kirsten tried not to think of those sweet children, but the image of their smiles and dark brown eyes looking up at her wouldn't go away. Losing them was worse than the day she'd found out she could never have children of her own.

"What about trying to adopt children here?"

"Another thing my dad suggests when I mention going back to my missionary work, but it's not the same. The kids here at The Village have wonderful homes with house parents who love them. The children in Brazil are in crowded orphanages with an inadequate number of caregivers. And there are many more on the streets." Kirsten tried to shake away the sad memories. "I love my dad and want to be here for him, but he has to move on with his life. So do I. Going back to Brazil is my plan. That's what I want more than anything."

"Even though the kids in the children's homes here have a wonderful place to live, don't you think the ones who are eligible for adoption would want a special family of their own?"

Kirsten shook her head. "I only know the children I worked with in Brazil were destitute and neglected far too often."

"Do you ever think these things happened because God has another plan for your life?"

Kirsten didn't want to answer that question. "For the ten years I was in Brazil, I knew God wanted me there. I want to go back."

"Think of it this way. You're still helping—helping your dad and these seniors who need your gentle caring spirit in their lives."

"I'm not sure my spirit is so gentle." Kirsten tried to smile. "Tracking down wayward grandsons and shoveling pills at senior citizens isn't exactly what I'd hoped to be doing with my life."

Forcing herself not to dwell on Jen's assessment of the situation, Kirsten grabbed some more charts and prayed for an uneventful evening. Were Jen and her dad right? Should she think about adopting children here? If she did that, how could she ever go back to Brazil? Why wouldn't God want her to return to Brazil as a missionary nurse? What better plan could He have for her?

After Kirsten finished her paperwork, she got up and checked the medication cart, then turned to Jen. "I've got a few meds to deliver, and I'll have to give Cora the bad news."

Jen shook her head. "I hope the unresponsiveness of her grandson doesn't affect Cora's recovery."

"Me, too. I hate giving her distressing news." Kirsten headed down the hall.

As she delivered the medications to her elderly patients, she willed herself to get rid of her negative attitude toward Cora's grandson. It would do Cora no good.

Four doors down the hall Kirsten came to Cora's room. The door was slightly ajar. A television blared with the local news.

Kirsten peered through the small opening. While Cora's roommate watched the television, Cora appeared to be sleeping. Not wanting to disturb her, Kirsten backed away, but she caught sight of a man with a scruffy appearance sitting in the chair at the foot of Cora's bed.

Who was he, and what was he doing there while Cora slept? Kirsten's radar for trouble zoomed into action.

Brady sat on the chair at the foot of his grandmother's bed and glanced around the room. What would he find here at The Village of Hope? His grandmother had come to live here after she'd had a slight stroke about four years ago. He'd prayed this place was a good home for her.

At the time, he'd been in the army over in Afghanistan. There had been no chance to get home to see her. He shouldn't use that as an excuse because even when he'd been stateside, he'd never taken the opportunity to spend time with the person who'd saved him from foster care. He'd never appreciated that until now. He should've come to see her rather than calling her a few times a year.

Guilt for the years he'd stayed away consumed his thoughts. The time had come to make amends—to renew his relationship with the one person on this earth who actually cared about him. She looked so frail lying there, her gnarled fingers resting on top of the blanket. What had happened to the robust woman of his childhood?

Was she okay? Her eyes were still closed and she didn't move a muscle, but the steady rise and fall of her chest eased his mind. Her glasses and her well-worn Bible lay on the table next to the bed. She used to read that Bible every day and had gone to church every Sunday. He'd disregarded her faith—even mocked it. He was sorry about that, too.

So many of the decisions he'd made had been made with only a thought to his own life. Could he break that pattern? It might not be easy, but the time had come for him to think about someone besides himself.

Brady's stomach rumbled, and he glanced out the window at the tall pines interspersed with oaks and maples with leaves that held a hint of fall color. He wished he'd stopped to eat, but he'd wanted to get here before the place closed to visitors. Did they have a cafeteria where he could get supper, or a vending machine? If he went searching, he might run into the disagreeable nurse who had left far too many messages on his voice mail. Shaking his head, he smiled at his ridiculous thoughts. Why was he afraid to face this unknown woman of the numerous phone calls?

He was done hiding out in his grandmother's room. He would march out there and let the nurse know he was here. Brady Hewitt—soldier, oil-rig worker, commercial fisherman and all-around good guy. That last part was a stretch, but he was working on the good-guy stuff.

Pushing out of the chair, Brady looked toward the door. A nurse stood in the doorway. Their gazes met. Her chocolate-brown eyes held him captive, and he couldn't look away. He fought to keep his mouth from dropping open. Did this attractive woman belong to the impersonal voice he'd heard over and over on his phone? Maybe she wasn't the nurse who'd called. He could hope. He hated to think that such a pretty face served as a facade for those unpleasant messages.

"Sir, may I speak with you out here in the hall?" The nurse motioned with her hand.

Nodding, Brady sauntered across the room to the door. He couldn't mistake the voice. The frosty tones on his phone's voice-mail messages belonged to the attractive nurse. He followed the nurse, whose dark hair was pulled into a knot at the back of her head. "What can I do for you, ma'am?"

Although she wasn't short, she had to look up at him. "Do you mind telling me why you're in this room?"

"Cora Barton is my grandmother. Is there a problem?" He feigned an innocent expression along with a smile as he rubbed his stubble-covered chin.

His height advantage didn't intimidate her as her dark eyes seemed to bore into his soul. She frowned. "So you're Brady Hewitt. I've been trying to reach you for days. Make that weeks. Why didn't you tell us when you arrived? Why didn't you answer my calls?"

"So you're Kirsten Bailey. Nice to meet you, too." He broadened his smile into a grin. Could he make her smile? She was the beauty and the beast rolled into one. Prickly and pretty all at the same time. Or maybe she was the beauty, and he was the beast. His disheveled looks might put him in that category. Was she going to chastise him? "Yes, I'm Brady Hewitt, and I arrived a few minutes ago. I know you've been trying to reach me."

"At least you could've told us you were coming, so I wouldn't have kept calling."

He'd lived on the edge for most of his life. He liked a challenge, and he could sense she was going to be one. "You know after listening to dozens of your messages, I figured I wasn't really interested in talking to you. But now that I'm here I'll let you know what I think."

"And what would that be?" Kirsten gave him a defiant look.

She wasn't backing down, and he liked that. But he wasn't going to back down, either. "You need to work on your bedside manner, Kirsten. Is it okay if I call you Kirsten?"

Blinking, she opened her mouth as if she was going to say something, then closed it without uttering a word. She stared at him as if she couldn't believe what he'd said. Okay, then. She obviously didn't have a sense of humor, either. Now what?

They stood there staring at each other until Kirsten finally blinked. "We have rules here, very strict rules about people coming and going."

Brady gave her a lazy grin. "Ma'am, I apologize if I broke your rules, but my name was on the list at the guardhouse at the main entrance, and the lady at the front door here had my name, as well. She buzzed me right in."

"But didn't she tell you to check at the nurses' station for Cora's room number?"

"She did, but on my way in, I met, ah… Annie was her name. She had two cute kids with her. The little girl was quite talkative and said they'd been visiting my grandmother. They gave me her room number and directions to get here." Brady could tell by Kirsten's expression she didn't have a response for his explanation. He took some pleasure in knowing he had her tongue-tied. "So you see I had no reason to check at the nurse's station."

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Nursing the Soldier's Heart (Love Inspired Series) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
janesquires More than 1 year ago
A Village of Hope book. Brady's Grandmother becomes ill and ends up in Nursing Home part of Village. She has nurse Kirsten try to reach her grandson she raised. Kirsten and Brady do not hit if off when they meet. But overcoming those first impressions, bring Kirsten and him together. Sometimes God even has to shut doors to accomplish his purpose. Kirsten has her heart set on Mission work. A fire in kid's home area causes two boys to move in with Adam, Administrator who is Kirsten's Dad. Brady rents from her Dad. The boys keep asking Kirsten to come make popcorn and watch a movie. The rest of the story you have to read for yourself.
Mary_F More than 1 year ago
Nursing the Soldier's Heart, while renewing our acquaintance with many people we got to know in Second Chance Reunion, can be read as a standalone novel. Author Merrillee Whren uses this book to introduce us to some new friends. Nursing home resident Cora Barton has asked nurse Kirsten Bailey to contact her grandson to let him know that she is in the Village of Hope hospital. Kirsten’s repeated efforts to contact Brady Hewitt result in only reaching his voicemail to leave messages that are not returned. Needless to say, Kirsten thinks little of someone who does not care enough to even let his grandmother know that he is concerned about her. When Brady shows up unannounced she makes it clear that she is not impressed by him or his delayed response. Cora and her meddlesome friends love to play matchmaker and immediately start in on Kirsten and Brady. Brady, it turns out, has a valid reason for not returning her calls and drove from Texas to Georgia as soon as he found Kirsten’s many messages. He finds ways to be in the same place as Kirsten, even renting a room from her father and taking a job at the hospital. Slowly the reasons that Kirsten uses as an excuse she should not date Brady are peeled away and the two become friends. However, she still has reservations about romantic involvement as she very much wants to return to mission work in Brazil and also for a more personal reason that caused the breakup of a previous relationship. I loved this story of how faith can help us accept unexpected and not necessarily wanted changes in our lives and use them for good. Yes, I already have the third book in this series, Falling for the Millionaire, and look forward to my return to the Village of Hope.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Nursing the Soldier's Heart is the second installment from the Village of Hope series. I just loved this sweet story with Kristen and Brady. Looking forward to the third book of the series. 5 stars. I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion, which was given.
TrixiO More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed revisiting the Village of Hope, especially Cora! She talked about her grandson, Brady in the first book and how she worries over him. In this story, she’s none too happy about being in the nursing home recovering from a broken hip. She enlists Nurse Kirsten Bailey’s help in trying to reach Brady several times to no avail. The reward for her efforts is several annoyed voice messages left on his phone! Why would anyone abandon this sweet lady? If she ever meets him, she’s sure to give him a piece of her mind! Brady hears every one of those messages and decides it was past time to visit his Gram. And maybe find out just who Kirsten really is! This was a fun story where we meet two characters who couldn’t be more opposite! Brady is a fun loving, adventurous kind of guy, whereas Kirsten is more serious and grounded. She has plans for her life where he seems to be drifting with no real direction. This makes for quite a few sparks between these two! There are also some serious issues for each of them to deal with. Why is Kirsten so opposed to give her heart to anyone? And Brady’s broken too many hearts and had too many regrets to make up for. You’ll see how God works on each of them as their faith walk plays a huge part in this story. I also loved revisiting past characters from “Second Chance Reunion”. Watching Ian and Annie on their wedding day, and getting to know Adam (Kirsten’s dad) and Melody more. You’ll also be delighted to meet two little scamps in the form of boys, Zach & Tyler who stole my heart (and maybe the show?) They add even more fun to this delightful story of faith, trusting God and healing hurts! As a side note, this can be read alone, but I’d recommend reading the first book in this series to get the depth of character & learn all about the Village of Hope.
Janine_S More than 1 year ago
“Nursing the Soldier's Heart” by Merrillee Whren is the second book in her 'Village of Hope' series but is a stand alone book for these are two new characters and a few characters from the first book in a background kind of way. This is a sweet and tender book that shows second chances are all around us if we are willing to reach out and grab a hold of them, and that second chances are not just with love as in the first book “Second Chance Reunion” but at happiness and life with loved ones. Lately I have been struggling getting through reading books, for I go in cycles of reading Amish, Historical, and Contemporary, but lately nothing seems all that interesting, but this book was able to keep my interest. The struggle within the book, was internal without a doubt for one was struggling to move forward when a door closed while the other was struggling with where they belonged period. I guess in a way both of them were trying to figure out where their futures lay after their past didn't work out they way they hoped. One was learning a better way of living and the other was struggling with hopes, plans and dreams not working out the way they wanted them to. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed for there is one character who frankly seemed a little flatter than the other. I am not sure if that is the best word for it but I couldn't think of anything else for there is something in this character's past that they really avoided talking or even thinking about at all cost, which I think that if at least the readers were able to see this part of the character, it would have explained so much about this character. As it is, I personally didn't understand the motives for holding themselves back part of who they were but yet be so determined to win a challenge. I think if I had more information then things would have been so much sweeter and tender when emotions finally won out. Kirsten is a woman who is loves her family with all of her heart and it is because of her family that she has made some of the decisions she has made. Her heart is pretty much worn on the sleeve of her shirt but at the same time she is determined to protect her heart as much as she can. She seems to have so much energy for she is doing this or that for other people, but she makes time for those who matter the most to her. Brady is a man who oozes charm in everything he does, with a bad boy look to him. That is one thing that really disappointed me is the picture of him on the cover for I got the impression that he had quite a few tattoos on his arms yet they are not present on the cover. Even though apparently he has this bad boy look to him, there is a heart purer than gold under it all for he too is willing to do whatever he can in order to help others even when a lot of the helping others had a motive under all that. I got the impression frankly that even without the motive he would have been there helping out so I didn't hold the motives against him. There are some pretty important secondary characters who had a whole other level to the whole story. Those secondary characters are Cora (we first met her in “Second Chance Reunion”), Tyler and Zach. Each of them play a pretty big part between their dreams and matchmaking and why they are in the story in the first place. I wont give away who does what for they did help with the story. I enjoyed this book and hope all who read it will enjoy it as much as I did.
Proudmom508 More than 1 year ago
Nursing a Soldier's Heart is the second in the Village of Hope series. It can be read as part of the series or a stand-alone. Because this is about a village, there are many recurring characters between the books and reading the whole series does help you understand the back-stories. I really loved Kristen and Brady's story. The parts that happened in the nursing home were realistic. I got a sense of who the characters were and really liked them. Everything the characters deal with in stuff that happens in real life. I enjoyed seeing how they got through their struggles. Great story of how Brady and Kristen found their family, individually and together. This is a Christian book but is not preachy. Great example of discerning what God wants you to do versus what you think you want. I'm looking forward the next book in the Village of Hope (Melody's story maybe??)