The Last Bloom
Intrigued by homeopathic and conventional powers of healing, Cassia Holmes always wanted to work in the medical field. After years of studying in England, she returns home to practice medicine beside the town’s doctor. When he suffers a heart attack, his oldest son, Dr. Brodie O'Clarity, returns from Boston to take his place. Until now, Cassia considered Brodie like an older brother. As they work together, an attraction flairs and complicates their working ethics.
Brodie never wanted to be a small-town doctor. But something strange happens…little Cassia has turned into an intelligent and beautiful woman, stirring every facet of his being. When he decides to profess his love, Tucker, his younger brother and her first love, returns and disrupts everything.
Losing Cassia’s heart becomes a real possibility. Or will she be lost to them all at the hands of an escaped convict who is terrorizing the town with Cassia as his next victim?
After one glance she thought life had been kind to Brodie. Truth be told, life had been downright generous. The lean, baby-faced young man she bid farewell to had returned a well-built, muscular gentleman with a strong, handsome face. But the russet curls and large green eyes were the same, as was the genuine, kind smile that spread across his semi-freckled face when he spied her entering the door.
In an instant he came to her, his strong arms circling her waist in a familiar embrace. She immediately, standing on tiptoe, wrapped her arms around his neck and inhaled the clean scent of spice that was his aftershave. “Thank God you’re finally here,” she whispered, meaning her words more than even she realized.
“Did you have any doubt I’d come?” He pulled back to search her face.
Her cheeks warmed beneath his scrutiny. She stepped from his embrace, confused. What had changed between them? This was Brodie, the neighbor and friend who was more like an older brother—looking out for her and buying her ice cream with the first pay he earned mucking the local stables. He picked her up when she fell, wiped her tears, and carried her to his father when she’d skinned her knee. He kept bullies from teasing her as she walked home from school. Why did she now feel so strange in his presence?
She cleared her throat nervously. “No, I had no doubts at all.”
He arched a brow as he took in the length of her hair. “And what happened to all those long, golden curls?”
She brushed back a wayward strand from her forehead. “Shorter hair is all the style now.”
“So it seems.” He crossed his arms. “Well, at least it suits you. Really brings out those large baby blues of yours. Did you know your eyes always reminded me of my favorite marble?”
His small compliment made her heart race and left her tongue-tied; therefore, she chose to make no reply to his confession. At this point she felt it was much safer to stay silent, for fear her voice would crack. But his approval, for some strange reason, left her self-conscious. Again she wondered why.
The awkward silence filling the room brought an immediate change to Brodie. “Yes, well, I’d say we’d better get going on these house calls. I’ve picked up a schedule from Shailyn earlier. So, I trust you’ll fill me in on each patient, Nurse Holmes,” was his stern response as he turned to retrieve his bag.
She wiped her sweaty palms on her nurse’s apron, worried she’d offended him. Not wanting to do any further damage, she also responded in a professional manner. “Yes, of course, Doctor O’Clarity.”
He turned to face her. “Have you a bag?”
“Yes, waiting for me in my bicycle’s basket,” she replied.
“Well, that way of travel would be most inconvenient for the two of us, so we’ll be using a horse and wagon. I’ve one ready and waiting out back.” He walked in the opposite direction.