Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Excerpt Week: Janet Lane Walters Special Edition

This Janet Lane Walters special edition published by Books We Love features three of Janet's novels, Choices, Gemstones and Code Blue

Choices
Johanna Gordon, the Director of Nursing at Hudson Community hospital has never worked elsewhere. The hospital is her home. The CEO has plans and she suspects those plans will ruin the hospital and cause trouble with the nurses’ union. While delving into the problems, she is faced with other choices. Her social life suddenly expands with the arrival of an old love and the appearance of a new one. Her problems are now twofold. Can she save the hospital and can she choose the right man to bring happiness into her life?

Gemstones
When Nicola Gordon and her younger sisters travel from India to England, she goes to a marriage she doesn’t want.

Drew Barlow has no desire for marriage, but his distant cousin and Nicola’s grandfather, ran the estates into debt. Drew agrees to the marriage for the money and to please the Dowager, Nicola’s grandmother, but he has no trust for women or for love.

When the two meet they clash and come together, igniting a blazing attraction they cannot resist.

Code Blue
When Susan finds the body of the hospital’s “gossip queen” in the orthopedic storage room, she doesn’t realize this is the first of a series of murders involving her colleagues or that her life is in danger. She is a widow and is exploring a new romantic relationship that promises love but she fears the man she is falling for is as controlling as her dead husband. The arrival of courtship gifts, at first, seen as innocuous soon takes on a sinister note.

Choices
Chapter 1

Johanna Gordon raked her fingers through her short curls and glanced at the clock centered on the wall between her diplomas. Seven-thirty. No wonder her shoulders ached. She’d been hunched over the desk since four.
With a sigh, she closed a folder and added it to the neat stack on a corner of the desk. She pursed her lips. For two weeks, the budget for the nursing department at the hospital had consumed her time. Unfortunately, money would remain her focus until she found areas to cut costs without compromising patient care or breaking the current contract with the nurses. Not that Hudson Community’s CEO cared about either option. She stretched to ease the tension between her shoulder blades.
“Why couldn’t I...” An idea occurred and she smiled.
Something to consider. Richard Jamison didn’t care which programs were dropped as long as his pet projects remained intact. Just this morning he’d reminded her she belonged to administration and to remember where her loyalties lay. Not with him. She’d risen through the ranks and saw more than the profits and losses he tossed around.
The loudspeaker on the wall crackled. “Dr. Red to the Emergency Room.” In staccato fashion, the operator repeated the message three times.
With a well-honed response, Johanna rose, grabbed her briefcase and, in three strides, reached the door. The call for any surgeon meant an emergency requiring immediate surgery. Her body quivered with excitement. She dashed through the empty outer office, crossed the hall and hit the call button for the elevator.
Just like an old fire horse, she thought. The alarm clangs and I’m off running. She stepped into the empty car. What was her hurry? How much help would she be? She’d been away from the bedside for ten years.
As she exited on the first floor, she nearly collided with Rachel Hill. Her friend’s dark hair had slipped from the neat bun at her nape. Like a sail, Rachel’s lab coat flew behind her. She carried two units of blood.
Johanna frowned. Rachel usually worked the day shift. “Bad accident?” Johanna asked.
“The worst. A six-year-old hit by a car. And to think I volunteered to switch.”
As Johanna matched strides with her friend’s half-running gait, the soft leather briefcase slapped against her thigh. “Need an extra pair of hands?”
“Hardly. If there was another body in the room, they’d be standing on the patient. Be glad you’re out of the zoo. Not that I blame people for caring about a child, but if the patient was old, indigent or dying... Don’t let me get started.”
“Want to talk?” Together they dashed up the five steps to the emergency room level.
Rachel straight-armed the door. “Maybe I do. Dinner on—” The door closed and cut off the rest of her words.
Johanna frowned. By the time they found an evening to fit Rachel’s schedule, she would have forgotten the incident that had triggered her anger. Instead of talking about the hospital, she would discuss her children. Despite their closeness, this topic always added to Johanna’s aching knowledge that she had no one.
She continued to the exit. For the past few months, she’d wondered if the climb up the administrative ladder had been the right choice. Ten years ago, she’d been an ER nurse, meeting challenges and solving a dozen crises every day. The decision to leave the ER had been made for financial reasons. The higher salary had paid for her sister’s and her parents’, home health aides. Six months ago, the family obligations had ended, leaving Johanna with an empty social life.
For a moment, she stared at the red brick building. The hospital’s center section was five stories, while the angled wings were four. The sight always made her think of a bird in flight. Lately, her office here had seemed more like home than the house eight blocks away.
A reluctance to move held her prisoner. Spray from the lawn sprinklers misted on her face and arms. She studied the bank of peonies along the walk leading to the hospital’s front entrance. Their sweet scent mingled with the aroma of wet earth. With a sigh, she overcame the inertia and crossed the street.
Brisk steps carried her down the hill. In the distance, the Hudson River reflected the colors of the setting sun. At the bottom of the hill, she turned the corner. She hurried past houses dating from colonial days to a turn-of-the-century Victorian that towered over two houses built in the last ten years. Each house had a unique charm.
She paused beside the yew hedge surrounding the yard of the house where she’d lived all her life. As she strode up the walk, her hand brushed the clipped edges. The scent of roses reached her. Red, pink and white blooms covered the trellises at either end of the porch.
She climbed the steps, turned and paused. With arms crossed on her chest, she stared at the street. As though trying to erase a chill, her hands moved along her arms. A soft sigh escaped. The ice of loneliness couldn’t be rubbed away like frost from windows on a winter morning.
Her hands dropped to her side, but she made no move to go inside where shadows of the past gathered. She had no desire to face memories of the years when she’d been a devoted sister and a dutiful daughter.
She looked at the darkening sky. Sometimes, she felt her entire life had been lived in the moments between day and night—with every instant tinged with gray, and every action controlled by duty and responsibility. Were they virtues or walls she’d erected to keep from reaching for life?



Copyright (C) 2012 Janet Lane Walters

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