The butler glanced toward the door. “Nurse Simpson, why don’t you take a break for an hour or two?”
JT nodded. “Anna will take good care of me.”
As the door slammed shut behind the nurse, Rhianna took a step closer. “Mr. Lance, my name is Rhianna McLeod.”
“Rhianna?” JT sighed. “Well, yes. I guess you are.”
Confused, she turned to Higginson. “I don’t think he remembers writing me about the nursing position. He even contacted the hospital I used to work in and―”
“I hate it when people talk as if I’m not in the room,” JT fumed. “Of course I remember you, uh…Rhianna. And I do want you to be my nurse. Higginson! Make up the Rose-Mist Room for Ms. McLeod. She’ll be staying with us indefinitely.”
“Are you sure?” Rhianna asked, surprised. “You may want someone more experienced. I’ve only worked in one hospital and one nursing home before coming here.”
“References are for untrusting fools. It’s my blasted memory that’s disintegrating, not my eyes.” JT eyed the door. “And references sure didn’t make a difference with Nurse Dracula. Which reminds me…see that the old bat gets a nice severance package.”
As the butler’s footsteps faded, Rhianna was at a loss for words. “I…uh…thank you.”
“You can thank me by getting my pills over there.” JT pointed to the nightstand. “The ones in the red bottle.”
She fetched his medication and quickly scanned the bottle. The prescription was for Vicodin, a narcotic pain reliever. She shook out two pills and poured a glass of water before approaching his bedside.
“Thank you, Ann―Rhianna.” His breathing was strained.
“Are you feeling all right, Mr. Lance?”
“JT, my dear. When you call me
, I feel so damned ancient, like some old geezer waiting to croak.” He chuckled at his own joke. Mr. Lance
After he was resting comfortably, she sat down in the chair and studied him. His thinning gray hair and handsome face suggested the rather dashing young man he must once have been. A once-strong jaw line, now softened by age and illness, still held traces of stubbornness. But it was his eyes, bright and kind, that held her attention. They seemed sad. Tired and sad.
“Now, Rhianna, tell me a bit about yourself.”
“Well, I grew up in
, and graduated―” Bangor, Maine
“Not the technical interview stuff, dear. I want to know about you. What are your goals, your dreams?”
Nobody had ever asked her about her dreams. For nearly two years, she had hidden herself in the nursing home in
, afraid to let anyone too close. Afraid to dream. Portland
In that bedroom, sitting beside a dying man, she found more than an employer―she found a friend. Tentatively, she told him bits and pieces about her life. It started slowly, like a gurgle of water bubbling up from the center of the earth.
Within an hour, Rhianna had told him all about her childhood, about the terror she had endured, and the fear and abuse that had drained her soul of all self-worth.
A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.
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What do you think about JT Lance? What do you learn about him in this scene? Do you like him?
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