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Dr. Sara Mitchell has a successful psychiatric practice, a new beach house and because she was unable to save her drowning brother, a case of guilt the size of LA. The last thing she needs in her life right now is another challenge. But the sea has a way of changing that when the tide brings her a shipwrecked Irishman with no memory of his past, but a strong desire to change Sara’s future.
Sara paced at the edge of the water. She fought the urge to dive in, knowing that the very undertow that snared the victim could also pull her under. Dear God, let ‘em be alive! The undertows near the breakwater were some of the most treacherous for miles. Once a lifeguard, always a lifeguard. Sara couldn’t just stand by and do nothing. Not wanting to think about the odds, she kicked off her sandals. "Damn it all, I have to try!" Her heart slammed hard against her ribcage as the familiar surge of adrenaline raced through her veins. She remembered the time she hadn’t been there soon enough and the anguish she’d felt. If only Jake was here--he was the stronger swimmer.
Her eyes felt as if she’d rubbed salt into them. "Com’ on." Softly she prayed that the waves would carry the person closer. Then the floating debris disappeared behind a wave. When it reappeared, it was considerably closer.
"They’re taking too long! I can’t wait for the rescue squad!" For a moment, her mind was paralyzed with thoughts of the last time she was too late.
The moment passed. Sara mentally prepared herself for what she morally knew she had to do.
Pearl ran back and forth at water’s edge, barking wildly. Sara could make out the form of what she thought was a man, one of his arms draped over what looked like a broken piece of an old wooden mast.
"I can’t wait any longer!" Sara watched as Pearl jumped into the waves and began swimming out ahead of her. "Wait for me, Pearl!" Sara dropped her sweater and her canvas bag with all the seashells she’d collected that morning.
Taking long, jumping strides, she attacked the water with all that was in her. Diving into the first breaking wave saved her from being pushed back to shore. It was hard to see, but she focused on the pale patch of her dog’s fur and headed straight for the man in the water. She could see Pearl paddling hard. As Sara avoided the peak of each wave, she felt the muscles in her arms respond to the need for speed. She pulled hard with each stroke and set her cadence the way Jake had taught her. Almost there, she thought.
After what seemed an eternity, Sara reached out for the piece of mast, pulling herself close to a large man with his head barely above the water. She tipped his head back. He sputtered and coughed. When Sara freed his arm, she was able to turn him and slide one of her arms across his chest, performing her rescue strokes with the other arm. "Relax and I’ll swim for both of us." She was relieved that he was too tired to struggle against her. Once more she set her cadence, each stroke intended to pull them closer to land. She paced herself, praying that her arms still had enough power to get them both to shore.
Out of the corner of her peripheral vision, Sara saw that Pearl had grown tired of swimming and was back on the shore. The dog ran back and forth on the wet sand, barking excitedly as the rescue squad arrived and waded out to help.
Once they were all on the beach, the paramedics worked quickly to warm the frigid man and give him oxygen before loading him into the ambulance.
One of the paramedics handed her a blanket. "That was a brave thing you did, crazy but brave. Bet this guy will be glad you took a risk to swim out and rescue him. We’re taking him to Bayside Hospital in Breakwater Bay." He reached for her hand to take her pulse. "You really should come in with us and get checked."
She walked close to the shivering victim, wrapped in blankets. Momentarily he opened tired brown eyes. The corners of his mouth turned up in a half smile. "Thanks," his voice barely audible. Then he closed his eyes again and gave in to exhaustion.
"You’re welcome." Sara smiled.
"Miss, you really should come with us." The paramedic urged.
Avis Halbert was born and raised in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and familiar with rodeo from a young age. She is a registered nurse and has worked in critical care and surgical settings for over thirty years and has done trauma in the ER.
She has two grown children, one brand new daughter-in-law, and has been writing for over eighteen years in science fiction, medical thrillers, category romance and special interest articles for Osteopathic Journal.
One other novel also published by Wings Press is A Man From The Sea.
“A.J. O'Dell is a fresh new voice on the romance scene. A MAN FROM THE SEA is exciting, mysterious, and a wonderful romance. I loved the story and the characters! A. J. O'Dell is a name to remember. Hurry up, A.J., write the next book!” --Maggie Osborne, Author of I DO, I DO, I DO, Winner Romance Writers of America 2002, LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
“New author, A. J. O'Dell makes a promising debut with this heartfelt tale.” Jessica Wulf
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 200
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