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Excerpt for Amethyst by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



THE SMOKY BLUES
Mountains, music, love.

CAN’T GET HER…

Deke Gregory has a type – petite, feminine, pliable. His ex-wife was his ideal, but she wasn’t his, obviously. Faced with the realities of joint custody and a family “village” raising his son, Deke sets out to find a woman who ticks all his boxes and thinks he walks on water. Enter Doctor Taylor De Witt: tall, strong, willful, opinionated, and too busy to be bothered with soothing his rough edges. Imagine his surprise when he falls for her – hard.

OUT OF HIS HEART

Taylor De Witt knew she would be a heart surgeon since college. Now a single mother with a schedule that requires roller blades, she has little time for her family, never mind a social life. When she meets Deke Gregory she thinks he’s a Neanderthal – yummy, but from a different era. Little does she know what their mutual attraction will bring, including examining her life to include an everlasting love.


AMETHYST

The Smoky Blues – Book Nine

Emily Mims


ALSO BY EMILY MIMS

The Smoky Blues series

Mist

Smoke

Evergreen

Indigo

Emerald

Mistletoe

Violet

Ruby

The Texas Hill Country series

Solomon’s Choice

After the Heartbreak

A Gift of Trust

Daughter of Valor

Welcome Home

Unexpected Assets

Never and Always

A Gift of Hope

Once, Again

Other Romances

Season of Enchantment

A Dangerous Attraction

For the Thrill of It All


www.BOROUGHSPUBLISHINGGROUP.com

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, business establishments or persons, living or dead, is coincidental. Boroughs Publishing Group does not have any control over and does not assume responsibility for author or third-party websites, blogs or critiques or their content.

AMETHYST

Copyright © 2018 Emily Wright Mims

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved. Unless specifically noted, no part of this publication may be reproduced, scanned, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Boroughs Publishing Group. The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or by any other means without the permission of Boroughs Publishing Group is illegal and punishable by law. Participation in the piracy of copyrighted materials violates the author’s rights.

ISBN 978-1-948029-37-7

E-book formatting by Maureen Cutajar

www.gopublished.com


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

As always, a good book is not created in a vacuum. Many warm thanks to Edwin Floyd, the most dedicated beta reader out there. And thanks to the editing team at Boroughs Publishing for making me look so good!


AUTHOR’S NOTE

This story was inspired in part by a memory from long ago of a doctor’s dedication to his patients. In 1987, my sixty-four-year-old father had a heart attack and had a quadruple bypass to help repair the damage. It was late when Daddy was taken from recovery to the cardiac ICU. His exhausted-looking doctor was still at the hospital. One of the nurses commented on the young doctor’s fatigue and he shook off her concern. She nailed him with a look and pointed to an empty cubicle. “You see that empty bed over there? It’s got your name on it. You need to go home tonight and get some rest.”

I have thought of that often. I don’t know if the doctor took her admonishment to heart, but I hope he did. I do know that my father lived another twenty-four years, thanks to the young surgeon’s dedication and skill.


CONTENTS

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Epilogue


Prologue

Twenty years ago

Taylor sat in the hospital waiting room, the taste of stale coffee and last night’s wine bitter in her mouth as she rubbed her aching temples and counted off the hours in her head. What was going on in the ICU? How much longer would it be before they learned something about Kyle’s condition? She’d been here since early this morning, after a frantic phone call from her mother jolted her out of alcohol-fuzzed slumber a mere three hours after she’d left the Chi Delta party.

Kyle’s in a bad way, Taylor. You better get here now. She’d driven from Knoxville to Johnson City with trembling hands. Her freckle-faced, gap-toothed, precious baby brother was in the hospital again. And this time it was bad. The ten-year-old was fighting for his life.

Taylor glanced across the room. Her mother and father sat with Kyle’s twin, Kelly, between them. They’d been here much longer than she had. She took in the tear-stained face of her sturdy little sister. It wasn’t fair. How could one twin be the absolute picture of health, strong and tanned from hours spent outdoors playing sports while the other lay in a hospital bed sick enough to die?

Taylor gripped the armrests. It hadn’t always been like this. Kyle had seemed to be a healthy baby. The doctors had detected that something might be amiss with his heart, but they didn’t seemed concerned, so the family hadn’t worried. Whatever was wrong made itself known when his imperfect heart could no longer support the needs of his growing body. His health had slowly deteriorated. His rosy glow had faded to a blue-gray pallor. Sometimes he had trouble catching his breath. His hands and feet would swell on occasion. He lacked the energy to play outside and was removed from gym class. His growth rate slowed. Kyle Gentry became the poster boy for heart failure.

Kelly leaned over and whispered something to their mother who glanced over at their father and shook her head, giving him a cutting look in the process. Kelly then looked over at Taylor. Their mother nodded and Kelly slid out of her chair and sat down next to Taylor. “Mama said I could ask you to take me downstairs for lunch.”

Taylor looked at her watch. Almost noon, and as far as she knew, Kelly hadn’t eaten breakfast. Neither had Taylor. Although she’d wanted to be there when the doctor came out to talk to the family, somebody needed to look after her sister. She nodded and took Kelly’s hand.

Together they headed for the elevator. Kelly waited to get out of her parents’ earshot before she looked up at Taylor. “Mama and Daddy had a big fight this morning. Daddy wasn’t home when Kyle woke up sick. Mama called all over looking for him. He and Mama yelled at each other all the way to the hospital.”

“Which I’m sure made Kyle feel so much better,” Taylor murmured. No need to wonder where her father had been. He’d developed a penchant for skirt-chasing in the last couple of years, ever since his only son’s health had gone south. Not that her mother had handled the stress any better. She’d taken her comfort in shopping malls, running up thousands of dollars of credit card debt that, combined with Kyle’s medical bills, had destroyed the family’s finances.

But what right did she have to judge her parents? She was standing here with the hangover from hell from a night of partying to forget her problems. She’d always loved a good time and had been a party animal since the day she hit the University of Tennessee’s campus. But lately it had become less of a good time and more an escape. If she was drunk enough, she didn’t have to think about things at home. She could forget her little brother was dying.

Although she wasn’t hungry, she forced herself to gag down part of a hamburger and made a little conversation while Kelly ate hers. They were getting off the elevator when they spotted Dr. Silverman stepping into the waiting room. Sprinting down the hall, they skidded into the room at the same time their parents rose from their chairs. The hope on their mother’s face nearly broke Taylor’s heart. Don’t get your hopes up, Mom. The doctor’s not smiling. Her father looked sad and resigned.

Dr. Silverman’s face told the whole story. “I’m so sorry. Every test we’ve run has shown the same thing. The defect has worsened since Kyle’s last tests. There’s not much more we can do except keep Kyle comfortable for the time he has left.”

“How much time is that?” their father demanded.

“A few days. A couple of weeks at most.”

Taylor sucked in her breath. Her mother blanched and Kelly started to cry.

“Please, isn’t there anything you can do?” her father pleaded.

“Not anymore. We’ve tried everything we have in our bag of tricks and none of them can help. I am so sorry.” Dr. Silverman was somewhere in his late forties but this afternoon looked a decade older. “Kyle is settled in bed. You can go in for a few minutes, but try not to tire him out.”

Her parents raced toward the ICU with Kelly in tow. Dr. Silverman turned to go. “Wait. Please. I want to talk to you.” Taylor touched his arm. “I have a question and I’m not trying to be rude.” How could she put this without insulting the man who had tried so hard to help her brother?

“Okay. Ask away. I won’t take it personally.”

“You said nothing could be done, that you and the other doctors here had tried everything you knew to help him.” She took a breath. “Would that have been true in a big city hospital? If Kyle could have gone somewhere like that, would we have gotten the same news? I’m not trying to be unkind or ungrateful, but…”

“I don’t know the answer to that.” Dr. Silverman’s voice was gentle. “I’ll be the first to admit that we’re not so cutting edge here. We’re a small hospital in a small town in a part of the country that typically does tend to be a bit behind, and your parents didn’t have the wherewithal to take him to a major medical center. It’s possible that they couldn’t have done any more for him than we did. Or it’s possible that they could have saved him.”

“So you’re saying that if he’d had cutting-edge medicine, the outcome might have been different?”

“It might have.”

As Kyle faded away before their eyes, Dr. Silverman’s words haunted Taylor in the days and weeks to come.

They all sat in front of the small oak casket holding Kyle’s remains, numb and silent. Later, her mother screamed and cried while her father packed a suitcase and left the family home. Kelly became sullen and withdrawn, and their mother grew bitter.

As Taylor’s family fell apart, she was haunted by the possibility that Kyle might have been saved.


Chapter One

Present Day

Taylor dumped the breakfast dishes in the sink and tossed her insulated lunch bag into her favorite tote. “Charlie,” she shouted. “Where are you? You went upstairs to get your backpack ten minutes ago.”

“Coming, Mom,” he called down the stairs. Taylor gritted her teeth at the long-suffering tone in his voice. When had her sweet, charming son turned into a foot-dragging, school-hating pain in the butt? Was it being thirteen, or was changing schools this fall to blame?

She’d thought moving into the new house a few blocks from the best middle school in Sullivan County was a good idea. It was almost twice as big and more modern than the old school, plus it was closer to her office and the hospital where she worked in Kingsport. But Charlie had not seemed happy with the new house or the new school. “I liked our other house better,” he’d complained more than once. “It was closer to Grandma Bea and Aunt Kelly. I liked my old school better, too. I miss Jared. He was my best friend. Now I don’t have a best friend.”


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