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No sooner does Dr. Chloe Semple buy her dream practice, than Dr. Max Carmody, the rightful heirâ€”and thought to be deadâ€”turns up out of the blue.
Initially set for battle with Max, instead she falls in love with him. Sometimes he seems to care for her too, yet at crucial moments he draws back.
Why? What is he hiding?
She smiled. In the face of Dr. Carmodyâ€™s grief, she felt guilty at feeling so happy here in Golden Bay--with its strange healing qualities seeping into her soul. It seemed obscene to display her happy face to him while he was so sad.
She strolled over the road and the grassy verge and sat down on the still warm sand. She knew now her determination to return to Golden Bay was right. Here she would devote her life to her work. Work was real, dependable; love was a mirage and not to be relied upon. She didnâ€™t intend to dwell on it but get on with her life--here.
Max had obviously been loved but he had still left. This she couldnâ€™t understand. If sheâ€™d had love like that she wouldnâ€™t have gone away.
She did remember how it felt to be loved--and to lose it. Digging her hand into the beach beside her and letting the sands of time run backwards through her fingers, she thought of her grandmother and the blissful year sheâ€™d basked in her love, when she was nine. Then her grandmother had died.
She remembered, too, her intense enjoyment of living by the sea with its ever-changing moods and colours; the blues of its calm, glassy, sparkling surface, the ruffled white caps, then darkening greys and angry waves of a storm; the feel of the hot, golden sand between her toes, the excitement of finding delicate shells; the smell of the fantastic shapes of seaweed from deep in the oceanâ€™s garden; the taste of salt when she licked her lips.
A longing for all this had brought her back. Her gaze wandered around to the far end of the beach some thirty kilometres away, where her grandmotherâ€™s house had been. When she had the time, sheâ€™d search for it.
A peace settled on her that she knew no other place on earth could give her. Sheâ€™d been happy here once and sheâ€™d come back with a fierce determination in her single-minded way to reclaim that happiness. She knew she was silly to set such store by this one place, but there it was.
Idly picking up limpets and cockleshells and catâ€™s-eyes, she arranged them in a circle while thinking how fortunate sheâ€™d been to be able to buy one of the two practices here. Well, it was nearly hers; it was all signed up and would be handed over in two weeks. The other practice in town certainly wasnâ€™t for sale, and wouldnâ€™t be either. She knew Tom Jenkins, the other GP, was dug in with a young family and loving it in Matarae. She couldnâ€™t set up yet another practice; Matarae was too small to support a third.
She heard a car pull up behind her. She didnâ€™t turn around, hoping the car would drive away again and she could prolong her reverie. But, no. Someone got out, the door slammed and the car drove away.
"Damn,â€ she said out loud, "a patient, I guess.â€ Her mobile phone was in her pocket and nobody had rung. She glanced at her watch. Nine-fifteen. She stuffed the prettiest limpet in her pocket to join the growing collection on her dressing table. Better go.
She rose reluctantly, turned and walked across the road and through the wicket gate. No one was at the door. Perhaps Dr. Carmody had let whoever it was in. There was no one in the waiting room or the surgery either. She had a sudden fear that Dr. Carmody had taken ill and, not wanting to bother her, had rung Tom Jenkins. But why wasnâ€™t his car outside?
A burglar perhaps? Oh, my God, the poor old man doesnâ€™t need that. There was an ominous silence. Something was wrong.
With rising panic, she rushed up the hall to his study where sheâ€™d left him an hour ago. Wrenching the door handle, she stumbled inside and stopped dead.
Rose lives at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand with her husband. Their children have left home now, but the days are full with gardening, music, photography and, of course, writing. Walking on the beach or swimming in the hot salt water pool, both two minutes walk down the hill, keep the illusion of fitness.
In her other life she was a doctor. Now she enjoys reminiscing. An incurable romantic, she delights in the opportunity to combine both in her medical romances.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 226
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