Raphaela's Gift (romance) by Sydney Allan
From the author of RESCUE ME and PRETTY LITTLE KILLER, a romance novel about hope, courage, and a love that almost wasn't.
For anyone who can't get enough of Suzanne Brockman, Susan Wiggs, Sandra Kitt, and Kathleen Korbel... "Raphaela's Gift" is your next feel-good read!
One desperate father.
One determined therapist.
A very special little girl.
And the gift that will change their lives.
Dr. Garret Damiani, a master at denying his feelings, is determined to heal his daughter. When he arrives at Mountain Rise, a camp for autistic children, he is cold, distant and uncomfortable. But Garret's self-protective tactic is difficult to maintain when he confronts Faith LeFeuvre, their art therapist. She is secretly fighting her own battle, yet when she meets Garret and his daughter, an instant and potent bond draws her to them. With steadfast determination, she sets out to heal the Damiani family and force Garret from his spiney shell...not knowing in the process she will also heal herself.
Can a love forged in the heat of a sultry summer survive the pressure of adversity and past tragedy or will it shatter into fragments?
Early reviews of Raphaela’s Gift
A gift to treasure! Sydney Laine Allan's debut paints a touching and haunting emotional world of two people isolated from the true power of their hearts. A Petricelli
Heart touching! The author fully captures the pains and joys of being a parent of an autistic child. The reader is so caught up in this heart touching story, they must battle the urge to laugh and cry with the characters. Robbie J. Barrett “Jo Barrett”
Reviews of Sydney’s other books:
About Monday (currently published under the penname Tami Dane)
“This is a delightful take on the adage about walking a mile in another's shoes. Allan's tone is light and humorous and will keep readers turning the pages.” Karen Sweeny-Justice, RT book Reviews
"Welcome to Mountain Rise, Doctor Damiani," said one, taking a suitcase from Garret. "I'm Jeffrey and this is Dan," he said, motioning toward the other boy. "You can step inside and check in. Would you like some help with your daughter?"
"Wow, thanks. Sure," he said, impressed Jeffrey knew his name.
Dan, who'd been standing silent but displaying an eager grin, nodded and dashed into the lodge, returning moments later to proclaim, "Miss LeFeuvre will be here in a minute."
Nodding, Garret handed the other suitcases to Dan. "What does Miss LeFeuvre do here?" he asked, making small talk. He didn't like standing around waiting, especially with a stranger.
"She's an art therapist--been told she's the best. She's new here, but everyone likes her so far."
He ducked into the back of the truck and reached for Raphaela's favorite blanket, which he'd brought to help her settle down at night. She'd never stayed in a strange place overnight. He had no idea what to expect. "Art therapist? Who ever heard of an art therapist?"
"You haven't heard of an art therapist?" A woman asked, her voice not the gritty, post-pubescent one that had spoken moments ago.
Jerking back, he clunked his head on the truck's rear hatch. Gritting his teeth at the throbbing pain, he resisted the temptation to throw his hand on his head and howl. After drawing in a slow, deep breath, he turned to face the woman he assumed was Miss LeFeuvre, the art therapist. It was always his luck--make a stupid comment about someone, and they end up behind him.
Immediately his tongue froze to the roof of his mouth. She wasn't anything like he'd imagined. Her title had elicited images of a young kid, mid twenties, with a pierced nose or spiky black hair. The artsy type.
Instead, she was a beautiful woman with silky blond hair, and round, blue eyes leveled at him in silent censure.
"You were about to say?" Her voice was sharp and yet he sensed she was neither as angry, nor as insulted, as she sounded.
Of its own volition, his gaze meandered down her body, lingering at the swell of her breasts, emphasized by her v-neck t-shirt. Her khaki shorts accentuated the narrow span of her waist and hips and her trim thighs. Yet, she wasn't waif thin, like Marian. He preferred a woman who was built like a woman. No boyish hard body for him.
When his regard ventured back to her face, he realized she was older than he'd expected--possibly in her thirties, his age.
Wrenching his tongue from the roof of his mouth, he thrust his hand out and stammered, "Garret Damiani. Nice to meet you."
She smiled then glanced at his hand and lifted azure eyes back to his face. Placing her hand in his, she said, ""Faith LeFeuvre. Questioning the program already, Doctor Damiani?"