One Summer in Santa Fe - By Molly Evans Page 0,1

son. Pushing those memories away, he focused on Caroline and gave a long, long sigh. “When do you leave?”

“Next Monday. Early.”

“Bring him over Sunday afternoon, and we’ll go through everything I need to know about being a parent for six weeks.”

“Thank you so much, Taylor. Somehow, I’ll make it up to you.”

“Right.” Was there anything that could truly make up for this lost time? Then again, was six weeks that much to sacrifice if he could help out his sister and nephew? He wasn’t that selfish.

“Sure I will. When you have kids, I’ll be the best auntie they’ll ever have.”

“Having kids of my own seems pretty farfetched at this point in my life.” There were no guarantees that he’d be a better parent than his own and childhoods like theirs should be avoided at all costs.

That should be avoided at all costs. Caroline was certainly trying to give Alex a good home and a stable life despite the challenges of being a single parent. No, he’d be better off just living his life single and being a good uncle to his eleven-year-old nephew.

“If you ever stop jumping out of airplanes and climbing mountains by yourself, you might meet a woman that intrigues you enough to keep your feet on the ground.” She patted his shoulder and gave him a look that made his stomach knot. “Then it will be easy.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Didn’t we have this conversation when you tried to fix me up with that nurse friend of yours?” The memory of the disastrous arranged date made him shiver. Never going there again.

“We did, but repetition helps. Someday you’ll get it.”

Doubtful, Taylor ushered her out the door and returned to the ER where it was safe.

Nurse Piper Hawkins walked into the ER on the first day of her new travel assignment to pure chaos. Before introductions could even be made, she shoved her purse under the desk and dove into the fray. Adrenaline pumped through her system, and she was ready to tackle anything. At her best in the midst of an emergency, she just hoped the other staff would accept her help quickly. Every assignment was different, and she hoped this one would be a good one. First impressions were always important, and she was about to make one right now.

“I’m new here, but someone give me a job to do,” she said at the first trauma room. With only one doctor and one patient present, Piper figured this was as good a place to start as any.

“You a nurse? Glove up. I’m going to have to intubate this guy and get him off to surgery.” A tall man in green scrubs spoke to her from behind protective mask and goggles. Only his eyes were exposed, and they were intently focused on the trauma patient in front of him.

“Got it.” Piper grabbed gloves from the box on the wall rack and put them on, then a pair of goggles from her pocket. Automatically, she looked at the monitor and assessed the patient’s vital signs. Blood pressure was low, and the heart rate was erratic. “I’m Piper Hawkins, your new travel nurse,” she said, and grabbed the suction setup and cleaned the patient’s mouth.

“Taylor Jenkins, ER doc on today.”

“Tell me what you need.” While noise and movement went on all around them, Piper felt as if she and Dr. Jenkins were in a world all their own. Just the two of them focused entirely on the patient in front of them. This was why she was a nurse, stepping right into the chaos and knowing exactly what to do to save a life. This was what she had trained to do.

Dr. Jenkins nodded to a cupboard behind her as he struggled to keep the oxygen mask on the patient’s face. “Intubation tray, in there.”

“You okay with me helping on this?” Piper asked, knowing some physicians preferred to work with certain nurses, but in an emergency situation, that didn’t always work.

“You qualified?” Taylor asked, and paused to shoot her an inquiring look.

“Absolutely,” Piper promised confidently.

“Then I’m good. Open the tray.”

Nerves still made her hands shake, and she almost dropped the tray on the floor, but managed to catch it and keep it sterile. “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” She was such a klutz sometimes and a blush lit up her cheeks and neck.

“It’s okay. Just relax a little,” Taylor said. “Take a deep breath.”

The sound of his deep voice and the reassurance he was trying to give her did help.