Spend Valentine's Day with Connor Donavan - Cat's Patient Heart now just 99 cents through Valentine's Day!
"I need you now,” he said as his mouth fastened onto hers. His lips burned like fever against her mouth and he claimed her with powerful urgency. Connor forced his tongue deep into her open mouth and French kissed her, the caress connecting them on a physical level she’d not experienced since they were still teens. His spark caught and burned as she became part of the conflagration unable to stop and with no desire to end the kiss. – from Cat’s Patient Heart, Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
As a little girl I dreamed about weddings. Almost every Sunday when my cousins came over to play I wanted to play wedding so I got the older kids to gang up on my year-older male cousin (I’ll leave his name out to save his reputation) to make him play the groom. He never wanted to pretend to marry me but it never bothered me he got dragged kicking and screaming to our makeshift altar. As long as I could pull one of my mamma’s white lacy slips or discarded dresses on, drape something lacy over my head, and grab a bouquet of fake flowers, I became THE BRIDE.
After I made my First Communion the way we good little Catholic girls do my first communion veil transformed into a bridal veil for my weekly weddings and if I didn’t get enough bride fantasy, I owned a beautiful bride doll and even bride paper dolls. I cut out bride pictures from the Sears and JC Penney catalogs and dreamed of the day I’d be a ‘real’ bride.
Since Valentine’s Day is this week I figure I need to tell a romantic story so here we go. At the age of nine I fell head over heels in love with, well, I guess I won’t tell his name either since he works at a big time university with a fancy title and a good job. He might not want the world or his wife to know about our summer flings. For the sake of story, we’ll just call him ‘Johnny’.
So I fell hard and fast for Johnny. He lived next door with his many brothers and sisters (yep, another big Catholic family) to my aunt and uncle. We spent a lot of time there so we joined in the never ending baseball game in Johnny’s back yard. Before long I ran through Johnny’s house with the other kids (his mother probably never noticed a stray) and we decided to take over the unused apartment over the free standing garage for our ‘club house’. We talked his mom out of some old furniture, put a couple of pictures on the walls, and hung out there together. Since we were just nine and ten it stayed clean but imagine what could’ve happened if we’d been just a little older…oh, my! Eventually one of his older brothers realized the sagging old couch and relative privacy offered endless possibilities so he kicked us out and brought his girlfriend over.
But I dreamed of marrying Johnny to an almost obsessive degree. As teens we played more than a little tackle football but in time my affections turned elsewhere and so did his. But the sweet fantasies I spun in those long ago summers when the days lasted longer, the heat didn’t seem as hot, and the sunlight sparkled golden remained in my consciousness.
Cat’s Patient Heart is now available exclusively on Amazon.com.
Here’s the blurb, cover (by the awesome Toby by Design!) and an excerpt:
She dreamed of marrying Connor Donavan as a little girl but as a teenager, he broke her heart. Ten years later and far from their hometown, Catherine has become a nurse. One snowy evening she finds a new patient – Connor. As he recovers from an accident, their old feelings return as the sparks fly. Catherine, Connor’s ‘Cat’, realizes she still loves him and believes he loves her too. But when he recuperates at her home, his real life intrudes into their idyll and changes everything. Connor leaves again, Cat stays behind….until a message sends her speeding to Kansas City and Connor’s nightclub on Valentine’s Day!
Word that night shift nurse Catherine Lessard camped by the bedside of a patient who looked a lot like Hugh Jackman would spread through the small hospital with speed. Small town gossip always moved with swift certainty, true or not, and this would be no different. A faint twinge because she just put the first black mark on her impeccable record registered but this old bond with Connor trumped it.
In for a penny, in for a pound, she thought, an old adage her grandmother often quoted and since her presence here would wag tongues through the facility and out into the streets anyway, she lowered the bed rail so she could sit on the edge of the bed facing Connor. She smoothed back a few stray strands of hair and touched his hand. When she did, his fingers curled around her hand and he stirred.
“Hey, honey,” she said in a soft, gentle voice, the old endearment slipping out unnoticed. “Your scan’s over.”
His chin dipped in such a slight nod she almost missed the motion.
“I hurt,” he rasped, hoarse.
“You’re getting pain meds in your IV drip,” Catherine said, “They should kick in before long. I know you probably feel pretty rough right now but in a few hours, you’ll start feeling better.”
“I hope so,” Connor whispered.
“I promise, you will. By the time I come back for my shift, you should be feeling more human.”
His hand tightened around hers. “Don’t leave. Stay.”
“I can stay a few more minutes but I’ve got to get some sleep because I work tonight,” Catherine said, with compassion. “I can’t take care of you and the other patients if I don’t get rested.”
His dark eyes, deeper than a glass of bourbon, stared up into hers until she swore he touched her soul with his gaze. “Cat, please stay.”
His plea touched her heart but she couldn’t stay, even if she wanted to – which she did. “Why?”
“You love me and I still love you,” Connor said in an awful croak. “No one else’s been nice to me for years, not like you. No one else loves me and never did.”
Catherine realized he remained under the influence of the meds, the heavy duty painkiller and even the anesthesia but she caught the truth hidden deep within. He might still be a tough guy – and looked the part – but now Connor seemed vulnerable in a way she’d never seen him. In everyday life, she figured he hid this side of himself so deep no one noticed. Moved to tenderness, she cupped her free hand to his cheek even though she didn’t dare tell him she still loved him too.