When he fled Eagle Point years ago, former air force trauma surgeon Mitch Wellington left only broken dreams behind. Now he's back with a new dreamopening a trauma center in the rural area and saving lives. He hopes to hire the quick-thinking nurse who impressed him during an emergency. But Lauren Bates lost her faith and doesn't believe she deserves to help anyone. Mitch knows firsthand what loss feels like. And it'll take all his devotion to show Lauren that sometimes the best medicine is a combination of faith, communityand love.
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"Change of plans, carrottop."
Suitcase in tow, Lauren Bates smiled at Grandpa Lem's voice coming through her cell phone. "What, you're picking me up in your tractor?" She exited Refuge Airport. Southern Illinois welcomed her with breezy warmth and a bouquet of bright June colors she wasn't accustomed to in Texas.
Lem chuckled. "Ought to since you haven't come to see me in five years."
Guilt whooshed in like planes on runways nearby. "I know, Grandpa. I'm sorry. What's this plan change?"
"Accompany me to the ribbon-cutting of a new trauma center Doc Wellington founded at Eagle Point? Starts in half an hour."
Anxiety knotted her gut. Not only was she weary hearing about Dr. Wellington, a medical facility was the last place she wanted to be. She sighed. "For you, Grandpa, I'll endure it."
"Good. We're in a blue Dodge Ram. See you in a few."
"We?" She maneuvered past people cluttering the sidewalk.
"Yes. Dr. Wellington's helping me pick you up."
"Why would you need help?" Lauren canvassed curbside cars and spotted a spiffy blue truck near the front.
"I don't drive on streets anymore. Only fields."
Alarm slowed her steps. "Why not?"
"In case you forgot, I'm nearing a hundred."
She almost pointed out he was only turning seventy, but swift remembrance of her reason for this spur-of-the-moment trip halted her. Anticipation spiked as Lem exited the truck.
"Look who's here!" Grinning and hunched, he seemed older and slower than she remembered. Lauren rushed him with a hug. His bear strength was gone. Tears welling, she squeezed thin ribs.
She'd come because of his sudden uncharacteristic fear over turning seventy. Terror struck her now, too, but according to that Dr. Wellington he always spoke of, Lem was healthy. Still, she'd had to come see for herself. She should've come sooner.
"I'll take your bags," a deep voice said behind her. Strong hands reached around and deftly lifted Lauren's purse and colossal suitcase from between her and Grandpa.
Lauren turned. Grandpa leaned aside. Up stepped the most gorgeous creature ever.
Lauren gulped then remembered her manners. The tall man looked less like a doctor and more like a landscaper, with his deep tan and fit build. Intense and chiseled, yet polished like an airbrushed movie star. And he was her age. Not Grandpa's.
The doctor's easy smile tilted her world. His eyes were a stunning mixture of mostly silver with hints of blue. She gawked like a junior high geek facing the football captain.
"Mitch, this is my granddaughter," Lem said.
"Lauren, pleased to finally meet you."
Ooh, his voice! Pleasant. Deep. And, wow. He knew her name? She blinked. He blinked. Her gaze inched to the hot pink handbag draped over his manly shoulder. She tried not to laugh at the sharp contrast of megamuscles toting a tiny pink purse.
As though the striking doctor with the black hair cut in a military buzz and epic eyes suddenly caught on about the purseand also diagnosed this weirdness between them as attractionhe lowered her handbag. He offered a sheepish grin and a masculine hand. When she settled hers into the strength of his, the warmth flowing from it enveloped her entire being.
No dead-fish handshake here. His was firm. Confident. Alabaster teeth gleamed from a mouth framed by a strong jaw. His grin gave way to a shy laugh.
She knew the feeling. She'd been bamboozled by attraction, too. "Nice to meet you, Dr. Wellington." She rescued his endangered ego by retrieving her purse from his fingers.
"It's Mitch." He tilted his head, openly assessing her. His hearty smile expanded and he seemed in no hurry to look away.
She cleared her throat and searched for something else exciting to stare at. Unfortunately, sidewalk cracks weren't near as interesting to behold as the dashing doctor.
Observing them, Grandpa chuckled as if having a private party with himself. Mitch moved first. He placed her suitcase behind the seat then assisted her in so she sat in the middle of the truck's seat. His grip was as sturdy, warm and steady as his fond gaze.
Mitch approached Lem. "Up you go, Gramps."
Lauren's irritation overrode Mitch's appeal, as he helped Grandpa in, then approached the driver's side. His shoulders were broad enough to require a rather pleasant pivot to enter the vehicle and, once inside, for her to move closer to Grandpa.
Not that she noticed.
"Where to?" Mitch asked Lem.
"Since Lauren's flight was delayed, she's coming to the ribbon-cutting so you're not late to your own party," Lem said.
Mitch laughed. The sound both grated and soothed. Grated because of the closeness he obviously shared with her grandpa, which stirred a surprise pot of jealousy. Soothing because Mitch's Grand Canyon voice could make a typhoon swoon.
At a red light, Mitch caught her stare. The corner of his mouth slid into a colossal smile.
"I expected you to be older," Lauren explained. "Grandpa talks about you nonstop."
"Likewise," Mitch said. "I feel like I know you."
Yikes! What all did he know? The failure she'd been?
"So, Lauren, how long will you be in town?" Mitch asked.
"Three months!" Lem announced. "I couldn't be happier." He beamed. Mitch did, too, which meant he obviously cared about Lem. How close were they? Drizzles of dread seeped into her stomach.
"How'd you manage to get so much time off?" Mitch asked.
"I'm between jobs right now. I'm opening a specialty shop in Houston with a friend this fall. We started the business from scratch in her home a year ago. Our client list and workload grew to the point where we needed more space."
"What's the specialty?" Mitch kept a keen eye on traffic.
"Sewing. We're leasing an historic building in town after receiving permission from local government and the Historical Society to open it. It'll be called Ye Olde Time Seamstress Shoppe. We're restoring the building's nineteenth-century period decor. Took a lot of wrangling and red tape but it's in the renovation stage now, so this was a perfect opportunity to finally visit Grandpa."
"She's getting over a much-needed breakup," Lem inserted.
Lauren smirked. "Grandpa's not letting me live it down."
Lem harrumphed. "Told you from the start he was no good."
Lauren noticed that Mitch navigated the roads with extra care. "You're a very safe driver," she commented. "I like that."
"A welcome change from her ex who regularly drove ninety. I know because she called me, often upset," Lem announced.
"My ex got arrested for speeding past a school bus and almost striking a child. That was my last straw," she explained.
"He was reckless in general. With others' lives and their relationship." Lem relaxed. "I'm glad she refused to marry a man who'll have little regard for his future children's safety."
While Grandpa was right, Lauren felt like sinking into the seat. She didn't like Mitch knowing about the poor judgments she'd made.
"Do you miss him?" Mitch asked gently.
"No, actually I don't."
He'd not only ignored Lauren's frequent pleas to slow down, he'd ridiculed her for caring. Mitch was obviously the precise opposite kind of person. One who cared deeply about the safety of others. If only that would ease her concern over his closeness with Lem. Maybe in time. Right now, it hurt. Badly. Still
"It makes me feel better knowing Grandpa has someone like you looking out for him." Lauren meant it. She shouldn't be jealous. The men's friendship should ease her guilt about living in Texas. But being here with Grandpa and the fear that he contended with made her never want to leave him again.
Unfortunately she'd given her word to her best friend, who'd forfeited her career to start the specialty business with Lauren. They'd poured their talents, time and savings into it. The first pangs of doubt about her decision assailed Lauren.
Lauren studied Mitch. Did he know why Grandpa's fear surfaced now? He needed to. Maybe he could help alleviate Grandpa's anxiety. Just because Lem's grandfather and father died in their seventieth year didn't mean Lem would. Right?
For a fleeting moment, she hated that she'd taken out a loan to start her seamstress shop and bound herself to be a business partner with her friend. It hog-tied her to Texas.
"He misses his only granddaughter." Mitch raised his chin in a perceiving manner. "Lem tells me your parents died within hours of one another. I'm deeply sorry. What was it?"
His frankness surprised her. "Carbon monoxide poisoning. Their room sat over the garage of a house we'd moved into that winter. Daddy started the car to warm it up before taking me to school and Mom to work. They lay back down and.never woke up." Lauren blinked swiftly against a wave of emotion.
"Losing her mama and daddy made Lauren want to become a nurse to help people," Lem inserted. "And educate on safety and accident prevention."
"I hear you," Mitch said soberly. "I believe every accident is one-hundred-percent preventable. My dad perished in a motorcycle wreck."
"Across the road from the trauma center site," Lem added.
Had that inspired Mitch to build it? Lauren studied him.
Mitch turned onto the interstate that led Refuge to Eagle Point. "Dad was critically wounded. He could've been saved by surgery, had a hospital been closer, and if the person who pulled out in front of him had been looking."
Lem clicked his tongue. "He also lost his mama. She died from cancer not caught in time. She didn't have insurance and put off going to the doctor until too late."
"But thanks to Lem inviting me to church chili-suppers and becoming like a second dad, I turned out all right." He grinned.
Lauren's heart arched toward Mitch. "I know what it feels like to lose someone to something preventable."
Lem harrumphed. "Yeah, preventable like me losing you to Texas again when your building renovations are complete. I hope you hired horrible contractors who delay the timeline."
"Grandpaaaa. Don't be cranky. My friend sacrificed a lot to go into business with me. She'd be devastated if I bailed."
"Yes, it's prudent to honor your word, but that doesn't make up for the fact that you made this big decision out of duress."
"I'm glad you're here, Lauren." Mitch's chuckle dissolved the squabble. He sounded like he really meant his words.
She crammed her hands under her knees. "Thanks. The seamstress shop will specialize in costumes and uniforms. A percentage goes toward charities for children who've lost parents." For some reason her formerly noble plans felt barren.
"She makes specialty clothes for free to needy little kids and nursing home patrons, too," Lem added. "Nice, although I hate that she's not using her nursing skills like her sewing gift."
"Grandpa! We don't discuss that," she remarked gently. Futile since she inherited her stubborn streak from Lem.
A determined scowl bore down on Lem's bulbous nose and farm-freckled grin. "She don't like me pestering her about it."
"So I won't tread there, either," Mitch said with another tension-diffusing smile, which thinned into a tenacious line as his gaze gripped Lauren's in the mirror. "Yet."
What did that mean? She eyed Lem, smug now, then Mitch. Neither man's expression offered clues. "This smacks of conspiracy." She folded her arms and refused to look into that mirror, or Mitch's arresting eyes, again.
Her resolve lasted an entire eighth of a mile.
At the next red light, she caught Mitch studying her through the rearview mirror. He said nothing at first, then, "Feels almost like we're having a family spat here."
"Yeah. Hatfield and McCoy caliber," she quipped. Especially if he joined forces with Grandpa and tried to talk her back into nursing. Not happening. Even if Lem put him up to it. And no one softened her like Grandpa could.
He'd essentially raised her every summer since her tenth birthday after her parents died. She spent the rest of the year changing homes with the seasons, depending on which relative had room. Lauren's mom was Lem's only daughter. Grieving over her had bonded the two like suture glue.
Now it seemed as if Mitch's bond with Grandpa was stronger.
She shifted in her seat to put some distance between herself and Mitch. His overwhelming presence in the truck's cab made her feel snuggled next to a nuclear reactor with a compromised cooling system. Lem stretched, scooting her closer to Mitch again. She shot Lem a that-did-not-help look.
Which he ignored with fervor.
The whistling old scamp clearly had matchmaking in mind, which meant he was out of his mind. Lauren would no more date a doctor than Grandpa would give up his greasy biscuits and gravy.
These last twenty minutes were going to be one long ride.
Despite her pulse pounding, the ribbon-cutting was not something she could bring herself to joyfully anticipate. Hopefully her unruly heart rate had nothing to do with notions of romance.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Doctor’s Devotion is a wonderful story of love and faith in action. Lauren Bates, a nurse who walked away from her profession, returns home to Eagle Point, Illinois and her grandfather. Lauren finds herself being pressed into service at the new trauma center by Dr. Mitch Wellington. Mitch’s devotion to his calling, Lauren’s grandfather, and his patients shows Lauren that her faith in God’s plan for her life is where happiness can be found. Now, all she has to do is take that first step into her life’s new journey and Mitch’s arms to meet her destiny. A truly satisfying story that will transport to you into small-town life with strong characters you’ll love. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. This book is the first in Cheryl’s new Eagle Point Emergency series, and I can say with honesty that I’ll be looking for the future books in this series. Cheryl’s stories are definitely at the top of my “must buy” list.
Lauren Bates and Mitch Wellington have a lot in common to say the very least, besides the fact they both care deeply for Lem, Lauren's grandfather. Since Lauren has been living in Texas, Mitch has been taking care of the 70-year old since Lauren is the only family remaining to help. Mitch has kinda taken on the role of grandson to Lem and helps him out with whatever needs fixing on his ranch. Since Mitch has lost both of her parents and has no other family, Lem has become one for him as well.Lauren is still running from her past as well. Finally becoming a nurse, she loses her faith and her self confidence when a patient she tries to save, suddenly dies. For Lauren it's more than she can handle and decides to put her nursing into an early retirement. Since losing her parents to carbon monoxide poisoning when she was young, she took up nursing as a way to help save lives but feels perhaps it isn't her true calling after all. So taking a brief time out from jobs, she heads back to Illinois to spend some time with her grandpa, only it seems that Mitch has replaced her in her grandfather's life.When they arrive at a ribbon cutting ceremony shortly after picking her up at the airport for the new trauma center in Eagle Point, they are all suddenly pulled into action when a three car accident caused by a texting teenager puts the trauma center into use. Being short-handed since it's not suppose to officially be open yet, Mitch turns to Lauren's training to lend a hand with 4 trauma helicopters arriving. She has no other option but to jump in and lend a hand, but soon it will prove to Lauren that perhaps God really does have plans for her and nursing after all. It just perhaps wasn't a call in Texas.In the Love Inspired Series by Cheryl Wyatt, The Doctor's Devotion takes the reader on a journey into losing your faith and trying hard to reconcile with your past and learn to forgive yourself when you can't control things that happen around you. We get to see the flaws in the characters of Mitch and Lauren, who both have undergone huge traumatic events and the paths the each of them have taken to come face to face with their faith. Mitch leans heavily on his while Lauren pushes hers away. What happens in this novel is a great story that I can't wait to share with my readers and the perfect summer read.I received this book compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and have to say, I was hooked as I usually am by most medical romance stories. Those always seem to capture my heart and soul as I believe I missed my medical calling to be a trauma doctor and still have the hopeful romantic at heart as well! I rate this one easily a head over heels 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait to pick up more by Cheryl Wyatt in the future.
I loved these books. Good story line and easy to read. Am going to look for more books written by this author.
Thanks to Cheryl for my review book. I have been waiting patiently for another Cheryl Wyatt book and finally its here. The Doctor’s Devotion didn’t disappoint. Eagle point is near Refuge where Cheryl’s last series was set and we do see some of the PJ’s in this book also. The book features a newly opened trauma center in Eagle Point. Mitch is a surgeon with a dream to open the center. Lauren is visiting her grandfather for the summer and has given up on nursing after an incident in Texas. We see an emergency where Lauren ends up helping and Mitch sees the nurse he needs for the center only he now has to convince Lauren to come and work for him. We also see the interaction between Mitch, Lauren and her grandfather. Lauren is dealing with a lot of issues including the fact she hasn’t seen her grandfather for five years and he seems to have a special bond with Mitch. She has to deal with her jealousy. This is another book that flows well and left me also wanting more. I know there will be more in the series but I am not sure I can wait til January for the next book. While I am the first to admit I have a real phobia of doctors I love reading books where doctors are the hero. This book left me wanting to find my own Mitch. Great read.
Grandpa is an integral part of both our hero and our heroine’s lives, which provides plenty of conflict for the two. Jealousy, protectiveness, and concern for Grandpa bring the two together as well as cause negative feelings for each other. And, there are plenty of other obstacles for the two to overcome including careers and personal goals. The conflicts come just as you think things will finally work out for the two, which keeps you reading.
Lauren Bates and Mitch Wellington have a lot in common to say the very least, besides the fact they both care deeply for Lem, Lauren's grandfather. Since Lauren has been living in Texas, Mitch has been taking care of the 70-year old since Lauren is the only family remaining to help. Mitch has kinda taken on the role of grandson to Lem and helps him out with whatever needs fixing on his ranch. Since Mitch has lost both of her parents and has no other family, Lem has become one for him as well. Lauren is still running from her past as well. Finally becoming a nurse, she loses her faith and her self confidence when a patient she tries to save, suddenly dies. For Lauren it's more than she can handle and decides to put her nursing into an early retirement. Since losing her parents to carbon monoxide poisoning when she was young, she took up nursing as a way to help save lives but feels perhaps it isn't her true calling after all. So taking a brief time out from jobs, she heads back to Illinois to spend some time with her grandpa, only it seems that Mitch has replaced her in her grandfather's life. When they arrive at a ribbon cutting ceremony shortly after picking her up at the airport for the new trauma center in Eagle Point, they are all suddenly pulled into action when a three car accident caused by a texting teenager puts the trauma center into use. Being short-handed since it's not suppose to officially be open yet, Mitch turns to Lauren's training to lend a hand with 4 trauma helicopters arriving. She has no other option but to jump in and lend a hand, but soon it will prove to Lauren that perhaps God really does have plans for her and nursing after all. It just perhaps wasn't a call in Texas. In the Love Inspired Series by Cheryl Wyatt, The Doctor's Devotion takes the reader on a journey into losing your faith and trying hard to reconcile with your past and learn to forgive yourself when you can't control things that happen around you. We get to see the flaws in the characters of Mitch and Lauren, who both have undergone huge traumatic events and the paths the each of them have taken to come face to face with their faith. Mitch leans heavily on his while Lauren pushes hers away. What happens in this novel is a great story that I can't wait to share with my readers and the perfect summer read. I received this book compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and have to say, I was hooked as I usually am by most medical romance stories. Those always seem to capture my heart and soul as I believe I missed my medical calling to be a trauma doctor and still have the hopeful romantic at heart as well! I rate this one easily a head over heels 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait to pick up more by Cheryl Wyatt in the future.
Doctor’s Devotion: A Definite 5 Star! Mitch is a man on a mission to save as many lives as possible. He is a caring soul – spends each morning with Lem – the man who took him under his wing when his Father passed away, and he is opening a Trauma Center so accident victims have a chance at recovery – a chance his father never had. He is also harboring pain – pain from a Dear John letter from someone he thought he would spend the rest of his life with, unfortunately when their units were separated during deployment she found someone else. Lauren is Lem’s Granddaughter; she is his closest living relative. She is visiting for the summer from Texas – far from the small town of Eagle Point in southern Illinois. It has been a long time since her last visit and the guilt weighs on her, Gramps looks different and he seems to be convinced that he does not have long on this earth past his 70th birthday. The fear of being alone is deep in Lauren, her parents died when she was young and she spent the summers of her youth with Lem but was moved from family member to family member the rest of the year. Lauren is a nurse, but has left the profession after an incident where a patient died, she was not at fault but her confidence is shaken. The Trauma center is forced into service before it is officially open or fully staffed. Mitch implores Lauren into service and finds she has a real gift. He desperately wants Lauren to become part of his team – however Lauren is trying to keep her distance from Mitch. She doesn’t want to be close to the man who is trying to take her place in her Gramps life. They both know how important immediate care in the time of an emergency is – can they work together for the summer – or maybe longer? Eagle Point is a small town not far from Refuge where Cheryl Wyatt’s Wing of Refuge Series took place. Close enough that the PJs can come help with emergencies or enjoy a barbecue. (Yes we meet up with a few characters from Wings of Refuge in Doctor’s Devotion!) It is full of new and interesting characters Cheryl Wyatt is known for. Cheryl’s descriptions of events bring them to vivid color in my mind. I can see the Trauma Center complete with the camouflaged ribbon at the opening ceremony. Her characters have honest conversations, and deal with real emotions. Lauren does not hide her jealously over Lem and Mitch’s relationship – and Mitch does not change that relationship just to make Lauren happy. The supporting characters have wonderful personalities and issues of their own. Ian is dealing with the feelings of failure over his impending divorce and lashes out at Mitch when he feels his friend is not being honest. And thru all of this they turn to God for help; using prayer, prayer that comes from the heart. They are real people I can’t wait to spend more time with! Doctor’s Devotion is the first of a series of books centered around the Eagle Point Trauma Center – I look forward to read more about Mitch and Lauren, while reading the stories of the other members of Mitch’s team. A copy of Doctor’s Devotion was given to me in exchange for an honest review. Once it is released I will be buying some more copies to give to friends and share this wonderful story.