So, it’s been a week…

It’s been a week since “Red” was released. Have you finished? What do you think? Any questions? If you read it and have a minute, a review on Amazon or Goodreads would be awesome.

In the meantime, here is another favorite scene…

_____________________________________________________________________

“Julie was really shaken up about Tommy and Jack,” she began.

“Why? What happened to Tommy and Jack?” he asked worriedly.

“Oh, sorry, Tommy attacked the doctors who tried to do something to Brittany and then Jack attacked the doctor for sedating Tommy when it almost killed him,” she stopped and saw Mike’s expression.

She smiled at him.

“Tommy is stable and Jack is okay. I helped Jack after they got Tommy into a room. I have worked enough ER shifts that it was simple to get back into that. I got him in a gown and started an IV and Jack was able to order the right meds and he should be okay after a nice sleep. Brittany was with him and Stephanie was helping Jack. Everything is calm for now.”

Mike was quiet for a minute.

“Wow,” he said.

“I know. Julie was really struggling and it kind of made me think about the fact that I never had anyone in my life that I was that close to. I guess it just hit me. I wonder if never having any connections has made me too damaged.”

“What? No way,” he said passionately. “There is nothing about you that’s damaged.”

“I know, it’s just that sometimes it hits me, how different my life was growing up.”

“I know, but now I think it’s simply my job to make sure you never feel alone again.”

She nodded and then smiled at him as his expression changed.

“What is it?”

“Nothing,” he walked a little. “You undressed him?”

“Who?”

“Tommy,” he said.

“Oh, well I wouldn’t say that. I helped get him into a gown. It’s not like I looked at him or anything.”

Mike was jealous and he knew it. Why on earth was he jealous of this?

“Mike? It’s my job. When you’re in that setting, it’s not really about looking at anything. It’s just helping the patient.”

He blushed and smiled.

“I know. It’s just that everyone in this group is so much better looking than I am. I guess I worry.”

She was stunned.

“What? Worry that I would look at someone else? How could I? I am in love with you.”

He adored how she said it so matter of factly and she truly didn’t understand how he could even think it would be a possibility. He also loved that, for her, it wasn’t.

“I know,” he walked to her and his eyes were wet. “I guess I just have some insecurities. I don’t really match up to the accomplishments of everyone else. I just don’t want you to regret being with me.”

She moved to pull his t-shirt off and she ran her hands over his chest.

“I love you. You have done so much in this world that inspires me and those around you. You have protected our country and saved our friends. You love me and you are a survivor. What you’ve been through would turn the strongest person off from love and I am so grateful you have decided to give it a chance again with me. You are the sexiest and the most handsome man I have ever laid eyes on.”

“You’re wrong,” he said. “What happened to me had nothing to do with love. The first and only woman I have ever loved is standing right here,” he pulled her shirt off and she looked up into his eyes.

“The way you look at me is something I wished for my whole life. It’s like you see the man I always wanted to be. You can’t know how much that means to me.”

She took his hand and walked to the tub.

“You make me feel beautiful, Mike. More importantly, you make me feel worth this life.”

He watched as she took the rest of her clothes off and he did the same. They got into the tub and she sat back against him, his arms holding her.

“You are worth it all,” he said as she turned and kissed him.

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Another Favorite…

One of my favorite flashbacks…

 

Julie walked into Tommy’s bedroom and stood at the door. “Tommy?”

“Go away,” he grumbled and rolled over. “It’s the middle of the night.”

“I don’t feel well, wake up.”

“You have to go to school. Do you have a test?” he mumbled in his sleep.

She walked to his bed and shook him. “Wake up.”

He sat up and blinked. “What is it?”

“My stomach hurts and I threw up.”

“Did you eat anything you shouldn’t have?” he turned the light on and looked at her.

She lay down on his bed and held her stomach. “Something is wrong, Tommy. I’m scared.”

He got up and touched her cheek. “You’re burning up, Jules,” he went to get the thermometer and knocked on Jack’s door. He went back and took her temp. “Shit.”

“What is it?” she asked fearfully?

“Someone better be dying,” Jack said as he made his way into the room. He scratched his chest and yawned.

“Put some clothes on. We need to go the E.R.”

He looked at Julie in the bed and walked over. “What happened?”

“I don’t feel well. My stomach really hurts and I’m so hot,” she moaned and Jack felt her forehead.

“Her temp is 103. We need to go now.”

Jack nodded and ran to throw on some clothes. He came back in and Tommy was helping Julie to stand up. “I can’t move,” she said and Tommy looked at Jack who scooped Julie in his arms and they ran to the car. Tommy sped off to the hospital.

They sat with Julie in the triage area while they waited for the doctor. She had been vomiting and was getting worse. “Am I going to die?” she asked Tommy with a tiny voice. Jack went to get someone in there immediately.

“Of course not. You are going to be just fine,” he said, his chin quivering.

She was shaking and he held her hand, his fears running into overdrive. Jack came in with the doctor. “She has appendicitis and needs to have an appendectomy right away.”

Tommy nodded. “I figured,” he looked at his sister. “Jules, you’re going to have surgery to remove your appendix. They are going to take you now.”

She looked at him and Jack. “I’m scared. Will it hurt?”

Jack smiled. “Nope. You’re going to go to sleep and when you wake up, it will all be over. You’ll feel great.”

“Will you both be here when I get up?”

The men looked at her. “You’re our whole life. We will always be here.”

She cried and nodded. “I love you both very much.”

Tommy kissed her forehead. “Love you Jules.”

Jack leaned in and kissed her cheek. “I love you Julie Bean.”

They took her in and Tommy and Jack walked into the lobby. Jack could see Tommy was ready to lose it and he sat down next to him. “She will be fine. You know that. Most surgeons can do this procedure in their sleep.”

“I didn’t even ask who was operating. Maybe I should observe?” Tommy wiped his eyes.

“We are only students. They won’t let us near the OR and they shouldn’t. She will be fine, Tommy.” Jack looked at his hands.

“You’re worried. I can see it,” Tommy said. “What am I going to do? I can’t lose her.”

Jack shook his head. “Don’t be an ass. This is nothing. She will be fine.”

“Did we miss something? Are we too busy to notice when she is suffering? Maybe she should live somewhere else.”

Jack stood up and looked at him. “I’m not listening to this. I’m going for a walk,” he paced into the hallway and felt his eyes fill with tears. Was Tommy right? Did they let Julie down? She was really the glue that held them both together. She had given them a purpose and she was the best thing in both of their lives. He slid down against the wall and put his arms on his knees.

“You’re right,” Tommy said as he walked up to him and sat down. “She will be fine.”

Jack looked at him and his eyes were wet. “I know.”

“Who would have thought? You and I as parents to a teenage girl.”

Jack grinned. “I always thought when I had a child, it would be with someone a lot more attractive and less hairy.”

Tommy chuckled. “I could say the same thing, but we’ve all seen some of the women I’ve dated.”

The two friends laughed and looked up as the doctor walked out. They scrambled to their feet.

“She did great. She will be in recovery soon and you can see her. She will need to stay a day at least, but then she can go home. We can go over more instructions then.”

“Thank you so much,” Tommy said and he hugged Jack.

“It’s always nice to see couples so devoted to each other. Julie is lucky to have you both.”

Jack and Tommy looked at each other. “Thanks. Julie is the best of both of us,” Jack said and put his arm around Tommy.

The doctor walked away and the two men laughed as they made their way to recovery.

“Julie? Can you wake up?” Tommy asked his sister as he and Jack sat next to her bed.

She opened her eyes slowly and looked at him. “Did I make it?”

Tommy grinned. “Can you see your handsome brother?”

She looked at him. “Since when do I have a handsome brother?”

Jack laughed and Julie smiled. “I’m kidding.”

“That’s not very nice,” Tommy said. “But you did just fine.”

“Is there a scar?”

Jack took her hand. “They went in laparoscopically, so there shouldn’t be any scarring.”

“Good. I need to wear my bikini soon,” she said.

Tommy crossed his arms. “No bikini. You don’t need a bikini. If you want to swim, you can wear a t-shirt and shorts.”

Julie looked at Jack. “Will you talk to him? I can’t deal with him.”

Jack smiled. “How about we discuss this tomorrow?”

“You can discuss all you want. You never need a bikini or make up or a car or anything else that will mean you’re growing up,” Tommy said.

Julie smiled at her brother. “You’re cute when you’re delusional,” she took his hand and took Jack’s hand in her others. “You are both my heroes. Thank you for being here and for being my family.”

The two men were both choked up and looked at their sister. They were blessed more than she could ever know.

 

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Posting a few of my favorites…

Tommy had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He paced in his office as he went over his colossal failure in Brittany’s office. Two things she had said kept running through his mind. I hate that I met a man who I truly enjoy being around and I know in my heart that it can never be anything more. That’s what she said, and more importantly, she said it saddens me that when you look at me you see my HIV. He was a jumble of thoughts and nerves and he felt like he wanted to punch the wall. No one had ever had the power to make him feel like this. He was scared and excited and angry with himself. He ran his hand through his hair and turned to walk out of his office, he had to do something.

*******

Brittany looked at her watch and realized she had a few more hours before Stephanie’s procedure. She sat down and pulled her long hair up into a ponytail. She took out her lunch and put her iPod in the dock next to her desk. She found the song she liked and began to eat her sandwich and read her magazine. She looked up as her door opened.

Tommy walked in and closed the door. He stood before her, out of breath. Brittany was beyond startled. “Just listen before you throw me out,” he said. “You said your piece and now I need to tell you something,” he spoke fast and with an intensity that surprised even him. “You have to cut me some slack. You can’t be here, at this hospital, and dictate how I react to you. You are irritating and confusing and you make me crazy,” he sat down on her couch and continued. “But you are also wrong. You think I look at you and see your HIV. You think you aren’t able to have a relationship. But you have convinced yourself of this without giving me or anyone else a chance. I am infuriated that some jackass would question your ability to be a doctor. It infuriates me that you just let it happen. I get that this is your issue, but really, it isn’t going to change if the only people who fight against prejudice are those directly affected by it. You didn’t choose to be attacked, you didn’t choose to contract HIV, yet you are alone with the consequences and it isn’t fair. I also don’t know why I care. I don’t know why you get to me and I don’t know how to get through to you. I’m sorry if I didn’t react the way I should have, but I don’t know what’s the right thing to do,” Tommy stopped and sighed. He realized the extent of his rant and turned to look at her.

Brittany sat in silence and wiped the tears, which had fallen down her cheeks. She stood up from her desk and walked over to him. She knelt in front of him and took his hands in hers. “You have nothing to be sorry about. You are right to feel the way you do and I am sorry I gave you the wrong impression about how you need to react. In case you haven’t noticed, I am not the best at expressing my feelings. I think it has been a long few days for you and I think you are on overload,” she stood up and he felt her break their connection. “Look, I am not the one to get involved with. You have so much to offer, Tommy, you need to leave me and go live your life. I am not your problem to fix and I don’t need to be rescued. I am happy with my life,” she lied.

Tommy stood up and nodded. “Okay. I get it,” he turned and walked to the door. “But I don’t think you’re happy, and neither am I,” he said and left the office, leaving her alone again.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Anyone remember when this happened?

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A memory…

“It’s amazing how one moment can change everything you ever thought to be true about human nature. You live each day and expect the same results, some people are nice and some aren’t. Some people expect things from you and some don’t. Some people are there for you and others walk away. Treat others as you wish to be treated. These are simple truths we have all come to rely on. It’s important to have these simple truths, because it allows us to condition our response to certain events, to know what to expect. It is when these truths fail us that we learn just what we’re made of.”

I hope you are all having a great Saturday evening!

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It’s out!

I hope you are all buried in your e-readers, but if you have a minute to stop by, let me know which book you would like me to write about next! I’m loving doing the behind the scenes and I want to know which one you want next.

Pick from the following…

robin nadler ad ragt 66 afh

 

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Heartbroken

Tommy and Jack walked into the room and looked at Julie. She lay on the bed, her body covered and the sheet over her head. Brittany stood behind and simply stared at them, too numb to move.

“How is she supposed to breathe when her face is covered,” Tommy said and uncovered the top of the sheet. He sat down on the side of the bed and smoothed her hair back.

“That’s better,” he said softly. “Now you need to wake up so we can go home.”

Jack went to the other side of the bed and sat down.

“It’s like when she didn’t want to go to school. She would pretend to be sleeping,” Tommy said and smiled. “I need you to wake up now.”

One of my most favorite and heartbreaking scenes from Heartbroken was the moment above. I had such a hard time figuring out how to write Tommy because I couldn’t imagine how he would handle losing Julie. Jack was already a mess because of Stephanie and Tessa, and his reaction was one of utter heartbreak.

But Tommy couldn’t process it. He acted like we would all act- it simply wasn’t true. His heart and mind couldn’t comprehend what Brittany was telling him, and when he uncovered Julie’s face so she could breathe, I had to take a break from writing. It just made me so sad.

Now I knew, from the beginning, that Julie wasn’t going to die. I used to joke that if anyone ever looked at my search history on the computer, I would be in trouble. It was all about how to make someone appear to be dead who wasn’t. I had enough trouble when I researched Arsenic poisoning for Jade, but this was different. I had to concoct a reasonable explanation (albeit far fetched) that Janet could have carried out with limited resources.

So why do it?

I was asked this question a lot.

The answer is complicated, but as a writer, I had to do what I knew would shake up the story the most, and that has always been Julie. She is the glue, as we know, but she’s also Bill’s lifeline and David and Josie’s mom. She’s the ‘normal’ one amid the doctors and soldiers and she is the grounding force for all of them as well as for me when writing.

I took a similar approach to Heartbroken as I did with Love Endures. I began to tell more of Bill and Julie’s story- scenes I had never shown before and moments that were profound for them as a couple. The first being the time Julie learned Bill was a virgin. I loved writing that scene because she had all of these ideas about how he might react hearing she was a virgin and when he confessed, she said all of the things she was afraid of to him.

She also said the things we all thought- he was handsome and strong and in the Army. He was in his early 20’s and he had never had sex? How? Why?

The issues Bill talked about were heartbreaking. He never saw a healthy relationship growing up. His parents were never loving and he knew his mother had to do whatever his dad wanted, whenever he wanted it. Bill fought with that idea. He never wanted a woman to fear him in any way, and he held back on that kind of commitment because it needed to be completely done out of love.

It was just the opposite for Julie. Growing up with Jack and Tommy, Julie saw sex as something they did all the time (not in front of her). It didn’t necessarily mean love, but it was fun and something most men did.

Or so she thought.

Julie hurt his feelings and she knew it. The way they talked it out was a beautiful and profound moment from them, and showed just how much they really were soul mates.

“Bill, no, I’m sorry, I just didn’t expect that.”

“Why? Because I’m a man and all men want one thing?”

She shrugged.

“Well, no and yes. I mean look at you,” she walked over to him. “You are incredibly handsome and smart and sensitive. You treat me like I’m this gift and I guess I just assumed it was,” she stopped.

“It was because I was trying to get into your pants? I was only after one thing? It was all an act?” he said and felt his own eyes fill, furious with himself for getting so upset. He started pacing. “I’m such an idiot.”

The second flashback was another normal day. Julie broke up a fight in school and was a little banged up, but she didn’t call Bill. He had just returned from his year tour in Iraq and he was struggling with fitting back into the day to day. He was upset she didn’t call him and they ended up having a great talk about how grateful they both were to be together and that now was the time to believe it would last.

I also had Jack recall a special moment from the past as he let the news sink in.

He remembered picking Julie up from school once when she was sick. It was sweet and sincere and showed again, their incredible bond.

I chose these moments to show the family because when someone is gone, we don’t tend to focus on the huge memories- it’s the simple moments- the day to day dealings that we miss so much.

I needed a way to bring Julie back and I needed it to somehow explain what happened.

Bringing Bill to the edge the way I did was a calculated risk. Bill values life and he knows that his children needed him. He didn’t really want to die, but he was so completely lost at the idea of living without his wife.

It was also the circumstances. She had been taken because, in his mind, he failed. That was something he couldn’t live with. He didn’t know how to be in the world without her.

So he chose to kill himself.

I knew who would be the one to stop him.

I knew how it would happen.

So I went back. I began to show the moments from Julie’s point of view. I wanted to show her crying out for help and the scenes we had read from the other characters’ perspectives were now shown from hers. The moment Bill put his shirt on her to the moment Tommy uncovered her- she was aware of it all.

“Stop!”

Such a simple word.

Bill heard her and everything changed. At the same time, Stephanie was able to tell Jack about what she remembered the carjackers saying and the fight was on to save Julie.

That’s when the real heart of the book began.

What Julie and Stephanie went through had a ripple effect for all of the characters. We had to deal with the immediate aftermath of the health of both women, but also with the trauma they suffered.

Julie had a huge hill to climb, but she was so worried about Bill. She also began to suffer anxiety issues with being alone and being out of control. It was a new thing for her- having always been someone who was in control of her emotions. She was scared and worried and so much of what happened to her was still unknown. That would come in to play little later.

I also had Mike and Jade, dealing with her past and the sudden resurgence of the letters.

To add some lightness to the story, I had Evan and Elizabeth going through the procedure to try and get pregnant. I loved seeing the experience through their eyes and how profoundly excited they were to become parents. I’ve always wanted to see Evan with a child. I couldn’t wait for that to happen.

One of the major points I needed to address was Bill’s shame at almost throwing his life away. I didn’t want it to be a secret, so I had him tell Brittany right away and I needed his support system to be on top of all of it. It also helped Julie to know he wasn’t alone when she couldn’t be there. Another favorite moment for me was the following.

“Brittany is going to set up an appointment with a doctor. Probably Dr. Cruze, the one I saw briefly before. I probably shouldn’t have stopped.”

She was so relieved and thankful for their family.

“Can you get in here with me?”

He stood up and pulled his shoes off before he laid on top of the covers.

“We will find a way to help you,” she said as her own tears fell. “I love you and I am with you, no matter what. Never doubt that,” she tried to hold him, but her arms didn’t move so well yet.

He pulled her to him and she cupped his face in her hand.

“You are my hero.”

“How can you say that? How can you even think that anymore?”

She kissed his chest and shrugged.

“Because you’re here with me. You’ve survived, and that’s what a hero does.”

“Then you are the most heroic of all,” he said softly.

The healing process for both of them would be ongoing, and I never wanted to rush it or make it seem like suddenly everything was okay.

I loved Bill’s scene with his children when he apologized to them. So profound and simple, but necessary.

I also had a minor point I struggled with, and that was Bill punching Mike. It was completely understood and I don’t know of anyone who would blame him-Mike certainly didn’t-, but I have always loved writing the admiration Mike has for Bill. When they were able to finally talk, I felt they came out stronger as a team.

When I look back at writing this book, I realize just how many stories were happening at once.

I had to deal with Stephanie’s recovery on top of everything else and I wanted to really focus on the real issue of PTSD that she may deal with. One of the most heartbreaking scenes was the following:

Julie had gone home with Bill and Stephanie was sitting in the family room with Tessa while Jack finished up some research. He had spoken to her doctor and wanted to try soaking with her in the tub. He put everything away and stood up when he heard a blood curdling scream and then Tessa crying.

“Stephanie? Stephanie?” he yelled as he barreled into the family room. He saw Stephanie struggling to breathe and Tessa on the blanket next to her, sobbing.

He didn’t know what to do first. He looked at Stephanie and she pointed to Tessa for him to help her.

Jack scooped his baby girl into his arms and she was bright red from crying. He held her and soothed her and she quieted down quickly. He kissed her little head and wiped her tears and she smiled at him as her green eyes were wet.

“It’s okay little Tessie. You’re safe,” he said and she fell asleep again. He walked over and placed her in the little portable crib they kept in the room and turned to Stephanie.

“Oh, God,” she said and got up, running outside and collapsing in the snow.

Jack flew after her and quickly picked her up, carrying her back inside. He didn’t know what had happened, but it was obvious to him she was having some sort of PTSD reaction. He sat down on the couch and held her to him, trying to help her calm down.

“You’re safe and Tessa is safe,” he repeated. “I’m here and I love you so much.”

“I’m going to be sick,” she got up and made it to the basket in the room before throwing up. Jack felt his tears fall as he watched her and he wondered what he should do. He ran and got a washcloth.

“Stephanie? I need you to look at me and focus on me,” he said after she sat back. She did and he smiled as he gently wiped her face.

“That’s good,” he spoke softly. “You’re doing amazing.”

She didn’t say anything, she just reached out and held his hand, still struggling to catch her breath.

“You’re doing it,” he said and let his own tears fall. “Try to stay grounded in my eyes.”

“Jack,” she said and he was so relieved. “I’m so sorry. Is she okay? I need to see Tessa.”

He helped her up and showed her their little daughter sleeping sweetly in the crib.

“She’s fine,” he said. “I’m a tad more worried about her mom at the moment.” She felt her legs shake and he helped her to the couch.

“I fell asleep with her on my chest. I woke up and I was back in the cabin and I could feel the cold. I thought she was stuck to me again and I panicked. I put her down and I thought she was dead. I thought I killed her,” she felt her tears flow again and put her head in her hands. “I was so scared, Jack. I’m so sorry. I don’t know what else to say.”

He pulled her into his arms again and they held each other for a long time.

“Okay,” he sat back and smiled at her. “Let’s look at what we know.” She followed his every word and stayed grounded in his eyes. “You had a flashback when you woke up. It’s to be expected and I’m surprised you haven’t more of them.”

She shook her head and wiped her eyes. “It was so real,” she said brokenly. “I felt the cold and the fear,” she said as her whole body shook. “She was so still. I don’t know what happened. I could have given her a heart attack. I scared her so badly, Jack. She was sound asleep and I screamed at her.”

“Okay, that’s enough,” he said softly. “Tessa is fine and you’re going to be okay. As the best heart surgeon there is, I can tell you she will be just fine. She is sleeping and will not remember waking up.”

She stood up and took a deep breath. “I’m going to clean up real quick, okay?”

He nodded and watched her walk into the bedroom. He felt the air go out of his lungs as he sat down. He just wanted to help her. He just needed her.

“Jack?” He looked over and saw she came back.

“What is it?” he walked over to her.

“Can you help me? Can you hold me? I just need you,” she said brokenly.

“My love,” he said as he gathered her in his arms. “I will hold you forever.”

I love writing Jack and Stephanie, and I needed Jack to be able to help Steph with this. He felt so helpless with everything that happened to her and Tessa and he just needed to help her. She needed him as much and it truly helped heal them both.

I also touched on her fears having to use any type of assistance to get around. As someone with MS, I understand the implications of using an assistive device. It’s hard to separate the reasons in your mind. Stephanie struggled with that. I have, too.

Another story that continued at this time was Mike and Rebecca- or at least the house issue. Mike was engaged to Jade and planning a wedding and he was faced with the idea that he lost everything because of the divorce. Rebecca was tying up all of his savings and he was at a low point after listening to her spew her garbage at him.

A little behind the scenes info for the next scene:

Mike walked through his house. He stood in the darkness and crossed his arms.

Pregnant? I don’t know how you were able to have sex with her. I didn’t think you could even do that anymore, what with your injuries. Maybe that’s why you’re with her? She couldn’t do any better than half a man.

He made his way to the master bedroom and stood in the doorway, looking in at the bed. He hadn’t ever slept in it. She bought it and furnished the house while he was away. When he came back, he moved into the guest room.

He walked to the dresser and looked at her things, which still sat on the top. His anger grew as he took his arm and cleared everything to the floor. He turned and walked to the bed, sitting down. What the hell had he done? How was this his history?

It wasn’t like he was forced to marry her. He went along with all of this, and that meant he was okay with it.

The truth hurts, Michael. You have never been good enough. I just believe in telling you what I know. I’ve lived with you. I think it’s time you understood why I did the things I did. All of this was because of you.

She was right. He was and is a failure and he has no one to blame but himself. With Rebecca holding up the house, he has nothing to offer Jade. He can’t afford a wedding or a house. How could he expect her to marry him? He was a loser and a fraud. Jade deserved so much more.

Mike got up and looked around again. He made a decision and walked out.

_________________________________________________________________________

I was going to have the house burn down. I actually wrote an arc where he was a suspect and nobody knew if he did it. I decided, ultimately, not to do it, but I always wondered about it.

I know this is getting long, but there are so many things I was able to cover in Heartbroken. I had Jade bonding with Elaine and picking out a wedding dress. I had Brittany and Tommy more in love and finally taking some pictures. I had the introduction of a dog into Bill and Julie’s life.

I also had the ongoing struggle of learning to cope with Naomi’s diabetes. The insulin pump helped so much, but anyone can make a mistake. Tommy broke my heart with this one.

“The receiver? Do you have it?”

He paled.

“It’s in the car. Shit,” he ran out and came back a second later. As soon as he got close to Naomi, the alarms went off.

“It’s at 65,” he said. “I’ll get the gel,” he reached for the tube, measuring the amount and quickly wiping it inside Naomi’s cheek. They waited a minute and watched her.

Josie and David sat perfectly and watched while Naomi was attended to and Tramp sat with them.

“Okay, we are doing better,” Brittany said and held her daughter, grateful she was becoming more alert.

“Mama?” she said softly.

“I’m here, mini red,” she said and rubbed her daughter’s back. “How do you feel?”

Tommy grabbed the materials to check her sugar and Naomi started to cry.

“No owie,” she said softly.

“I’m sorry baby,” she said. “Let’s sing a song.”

Brittany sang and David and Josie sang with her, mesmerizing Naomi as Tommy quickly pricked her, not drawing her attention at all.

“All done,” Tommy said to Brittany as he looked at the reading. “Back at 90.”

Brittany smiled and kissed her daughter’s cheek.

“Let’s continue our book, okay?”

“Okay,” the kids said and Brittany sat Naomi in her lap as they all went back to reading while Tommy cleaned up.

Tommy decided the receiver needed to be attached to them at all times. He shook his head at his anger over his own mistake.

It was an easy mistake, but he was so hard on himself. Both of them were. Naomi is a little champ, and she is always proving her strength.

I had an idea with the dog for Bill and I knew it wouldn’t be the one they expected, but rather the dog that needed them as much as they needed her. Poor little Hope was in rough shape and she didn’t trust anyone. The way she came to the children was so sweet and there was no doubt about what dog they would get. Hope was made for them.

There were so many things I loved about Heartbroken.

-Elaine and Evan tricking Nick into telling them what he did to Julie.

-Jade and Evan bonding over their twins.

-Every single Bee and David interaction.

-Jade and Mike’s bachelor/ bachelorette party.

-Bringing Jason back into the story.

-Even though it was scary, I loved Brittany’s issues with the clot because it brought Jack as a surgeon back into the forefront.

-I also loved exploring Jade’s body issues and how she was continually dealing with them.

-Bill’s sessions with Dr. Cruze.

-Potty training both Bee and David.

So many things happened in Heartbroken and it is one of my favorite books of the series. It was controversial and surprising, but also full of love and hope.

Thank you all so much for reading and letting me know what you love about the series.

Enjoy Red!  Available tomorrow.

red

 

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Free! Today only…

Free for today only! Books 1-5. Great for anyone who wants to get started on the series. Click on the picture to order.

1-6

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Choices..

Thanks for reading about the making of Heaven’s Tiny Tears… I am deciding which book to do next, so here are the choices- let me know what you want (either comment here or on Facebook).

If Only

Our Legacy

Heartbroken

robin nadler ad ragt 66 Heartbrokenll

 

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Heaven’s Tiny Tears

It’s hard for me to tell you about what went into the creation of Heaven’s Tiny Tears because it’s not a simple answer. It’s also hard for me to think of Brittany and Tommy without Naomi. Knowing I was seriously considering having her be still born makes me sad because now I know her and I love her.

To tell the story behind the story, I need to go back to book 3, when they found out Brittany was pregnant. It was a time of fear for Brittany because of the potential for infecting Tommy, but after the initial shock, their joy at being parents began to take over.

“I need to ask you something first,” he said. She looked at him with a question in her eyes. “I know you were afraid that you had infected me and I know you are scared that you aren’t healthy enough to carry a child, but aside from the fear, I need to ask you this,” he touched her face. “Do you want to have a baby? Is this something you would be happy about? I know I have pushed my own desire to have kids on you, but it won’t mean anything if you don’t share that feeling.”

She smiled. “You’re right, the prospect scares me to death, but Tommy, I can’t think of anything better than having your baby. I do want that. I want to raise a family with you and show our children what it means to be loved and cherished. I want them to see how you look at me and how I know that no matter what, love is the reason they are here. I want them to play with David and Sabrina and know what family and friendship really means. I do want that, Tommy. I don’t think I ever realized it, but I do. Taking care of David these past few weeks has made it so much clearer. I want a family and I want it with you,” she wiped her eyes as he listened to her and she watched his face as he opened the envelope and pulled out the paper.

His face scanned the page and he looked at her as tears fell out of his eyes. “We are going to have a baby.”

She took the sheet and read it. “Wow, look at that,” she smiled and he engulfed her in his arms as he held her and they both cried complete tears of happiness. He pulled away after a minute and held her face in his hands. She touched his cheeks and wiped his tears away. “My love, forever,” she said softly.

Tommy always wanted to have kids. He loved children and made it his life’s work to care for them. He also wanted to show Brittany that she could have it all. He knew she would be an amazing mother.

It wouldn’t have been realistic for me to have the pregnancy go smoothly. Brittany was not healthy and coming out of the whole ordeal where Megan tried to kill her was not conducive to becoming pregnant. I knew that, and I knew the stress from everything would be a challenge the pregnancy may not withstand.

I flirted with her miscarrying numerous times. The reasons I did that were multiple. I needed Brittany to realize she deserved to be a mother and I wanted her strength to grow as her baby fought to survive. It’s when I began to see how much Naomi and Brittany fed off each other- in the best way.

But, realistically, there was going to be no easy way to bring a child into the world for this couple. Too much had happened and coupled with the stress of Tommy losing his memory, I knew I had to tell the story I wanted to tell.

The story of Naomi’s kidney defect mirrored a true story. I have always tried to make the medical issues the characters face real, even though their survival isn’t always what would happen. I also knew I was treading on very dangerous ground with Tommy and Brittany’s relationship by having the birth happen so soon after his accident. But as in life, man plans and God laughs.

Although the development of Naomi was always an issue, there is no way Brittany could let go of the guilt she felt in not being able to carry her to term. Couple that with Tommy’s guilt over hurting Brittany by forgetting her, well I was setting them up for disaster in every way.

I knew that, but life never waits for the ‘right’ time or moment. Naomi made her presence known to help her parents with an incredibly tough decision. They were advised to end the pregnancy and Brittany couldn’t do it. Tommy didn’t want to do it, but his fear over losing both of them was suffocating. Naomi made the first of many decisions which helped her parents. She decided it was time to meet the family, and labor began.

I coupled this with Bill finding out he was related to Brittany. I wanted this to come out at a time when he knew it was clear he might lose her. It made their bond beautiful and sincere and he finally found a part of his past he could be proud of. More with that in a little bit.

My focus was on Tommy for much of the beginning of the story. He was like us- waiting and hoping and feeling completely helpless. I wanted to show his vulnerability and his need for his wife to make it. This was his biggest fear; losing everything he loved in an instant. He lived it before and he couldn’t do it again.

“Here we go, push again.” Dr. Lacey said and Brittany pushed and pushed.

Tommy was trying not to panic, but this was just too much. He didn’t know how she was still able to move. They had been at this for a while and there was little progression. Brittany lay back in the bed and Dr. Lacey sighed. “There is a lot of bleeding going on and little progress. I think we need to consider surgery.”

“No, she won’t survive. We can’t do that,” Tommy yelled as he got up.

Dr. Lacey looked at him. “I will have you removed from the room if I need to.”

“Tommy, look at me,” Brittany said weakly as she pulled off her oxygen mask.

He sat down and did as she asked.

“This isn’t about us anymore,” she began and he went to protest when she touched his face. “We need to help our baby make it. We need to do whatever it takes to bring her into this world,” she let her tears fall.

“I can’t lose you. I can’t live without you. Please don’t ask me to do this,” he sobbed.

“I’m not. I’ll consent on my own,” she said.

This was his worst fear. He had no control and he was just watching his wife slip away. He knew she would give her life for their child and he was terrified.

Having Naomi come into the world with neither of her parents able to see her or hold her was heartbreaking. Brittany crashed so fast and nobody had any chance to process what happened before the fight was on to save Brittany’s life.

I had Jack help Dr. Lacey because I needed him to be the voice of reason. I had him get Tommy into the OR to talk to Brittany because they needed each other.

Having a story centered around doctors enables me to do things like that. Normally, a spouse would obviously never be able to come into the OR, but since they were all doctors, I allowed it :)

“Listen to me right now. I have seen the worst, Red, and this is nothing. You have survived such heartache and pain and you are not that person anymore. You have strength in buckets and you need to remember who you are. You are the woman I love and I can’t be in this world without you,” he felt his tears fall. “You once told me that when I was with you, your world was a lot less scary. But Red, without you, my world is nothing. I waited my whole life for you and we deserve this life. We deserve this happiness and we deserve this love. You are not allowed to quit on me. I love you and I need you. Please don’t leave me,” he put his head in his hand as he cried and he felt Jack put his hand on his shoulder.

“We’re done. We need to move her to recovery. Whatever you did, it worked; she’s stabilized. We put pressure bandages on and we will pump her with platelets and blood,” he smiled at him. “Let’s get her into a room and then you can stay with her,” he waited and Tommy didn’t get up. “Come on, man, I’ve got you,” Jack helped him up and supported him as they walked out into the surgical lounge.

Having Tommy talk to her was important for me to show his thought process and I needed Jack there to help him. Jack and Tommy’s bond is something I love writing, and this was no different.

I also needed to know what was happening with Naomi. Having Stephanie check on her was an ideal way to introduce the little squirt into the world. I knew both Tommy and Brittany thought she died and to have Stephanie tell him about her was beautiful.

Jack sat with Tommy in the conference room and looked up as Stephanie walked in. He had sent a message for her to come in and talk to Tommy. She walked over and sat down next to him. “Tommy, let me tell you about Naomi.”

He looked at her. “Do we have to bury her? I need Brittany to tell me what she wants to do.”

Stephanie wiped her eyes. “No. She is alive and fighting just like her mom. Her lungs are fairly well developed and she has partial function of one kidney,” she stopped when Tommy seemed to hear her.

“She’s alive?” he asked.

Stephanie smiled. “She’s alive. She is a little spitfire.”

I also knew Brittany was going to fight a huge battle with her health. Having a bleeding disorder and giving birth was precarious enough, but surgery made her chance of survival minimal at best. The trouble with being a doctor was that they all knew it. No matter what, her system might simply not recover.

I also needed Tommy to be the one to tell Brittany their little girl was alive.

He lifted his head up and saw her sapphire eyes open a fraction and her tears spilled over the side of her face. He leaned inches from her and wiped her eyes. “Hi. Welcome back.”

She stared at him, almost like she was trying to see something that wasn’t there. “Is she gone? Did you at least get to say goodbye? Did you tell her we loved her?” she spoke in barely a whisper as her chin quivered and his tears kept coming as he looked at her.

“She is alive and waiting for us. She is a fighter just like her mom,” he said and he saw her begin to cry in earnest relief. He leaned in and gently held her. “It’s going to be okay my love,” he sat back and wiped her eyes, alarmed at her sudden nosebleed, but he didn’t want to alarm her. “You saved her. You did everything to help her into this world and now I just need you to get better,” he reached for gloves and took some Kleenex to wipe the blood that came from her nose. “Your system is doing everything it can, but we pushed it to the limit,” he felt the sob build in his throat as she closed her eyes, exhausted.

One of the points that has given me the most feedback after publishing this book was about the Kangaroo hold. I knew, once again, that in Brittany’s condition, it would be a challenge, but I read story after story about the miracles this touch could do. I also felt it was an incredibly intimate bonding experience for both Tommy and Brittany and I wanted to give them that.

He nodded and watched as the nurse very gently lifted Naomi out of the incubator and placed her between Brittany’s breasts. She put the tiny oxygen over the baby’s nose and looked at them. “Just hold her and talk to her. I’ll be right over there if you need anything,” she smiled, as they didn’t even acknowledge her. She walked to the door and sat down.

Brittany looked at the tiny baby she had carried for 7 months and didn’t think she could ever feel so much love and devotion to another human being. She reached up and stroked Naomi’s tiny foot. The teeny baby squeaked and Brittany felt her tears fall. She looked at Tommy who was mesmerized by his beautiful wife and his baby girl. He held them and never wanted to forget this moment. Naomi’s oxygen saturation began to improve and both Tommy and Brittany saw the numbers on the monitor. “See how much she needs you? We both do,” he said and kissed her forehead.

Brittany nodded. “Hi sweet baby. Your mommy and daddy love you so much. You are the strongest little girl in the whole world and there is nothing you can’t do,” she said softly.

This was a beautiful moment and I continued to use it, even as Naomi grew, to show their bond. When either one of them has been at their weakest, the simple act of contact helps them.

I even used it in with Jack and Tessa after the carjacking. The parent child connection is beautiful and I’m so glad people liked it.

Moving forward with the story, I had a few other plot points I needed to bring in. Both Stephanie and Julie were pregnant, Julie with triplets. I knew Stephanie would lose the baby, but I didn’t know Julie would lose the two boys just yet.

I had Julie suffer a serious bout of morning sickness, I had Jack suffer what they thought was a heart attack, but turned out to be a gall bladder attack. I had Bill get called back to a meeting at the Army. I had Brittany and Tommy deal with the press getting too close.

Then I introduced Bridget.

Once I introduced Bill and Brittany as siblings, I had to address Bridget. I had Julie go to see her against Bill’s wishes and that caused a rift. I knew I was going to have Brittany want to meet her mother, so I needed to introduce her in a way that raised the stakes.

Bill’s constant leg injury also complicated things for him. For a man who is so physical in everything he does, being sidelined by this nagging leg injury hit him very hard.

I used a specific flashback to show Bridget’s mental state and it left a lot of questions. It also enabled Jack and Tommy to understand a bit more about what Bill had endured.

“Are you sure we should be here? What are we going to say to her?” Tommy asked Jack as they signed in to the facility to see Bill’s mom.

“Yes. Julie is getting married and the only parent of any of us around to see it is Bill’s mom, so we owe it to them to try,” Jack said.

“I know, you’re right.”

“I’m always right. Now let’s go.”

Tommy glared at him and they made their way to her room. Jack knocked as they walked in and Bill’s mom was sitting on the bed. “Excuse me, Mrs. Kastan, can we come in?”

She looked at Jack and Tommy for a moment and shrugged. “It’s a free country.”

The men looked at each other and entered, pulling up chairs. “Mrs. Kastan, my name is Tommy and this is Jack and we are friends of your son.”

“Get out,” she said, her demeanor changing.

Tommy was surprised at her response. “My sister is going to marry your son, Bill. We were hoping that,”

“I said get out,” she yelled louder.

“We heard you, but I wonder why you’re so mad at the mention of Bill,” Jack said. It was hard not to get angry with her, even though they knew she was ill.

She didn’t say anything and Tommy looked at her. “Would you like to come to the wedding and see him get married?”

“Unless it’s his funeral, get out,” she said and looked away.

Jack looked at Tommy and motioned for him to get up. “We’re sorry to have bothered you.”

Tommy stood for a minute and walked out with Jack.

Bridget was an important connection to Bill and a part of his past he always held close. I decided to use Brittany as a way to give Bill a chance to reconnect with his mother. It was heartbreaking for Brittany, but a blessing for Bill.

Bridget saw Bill come in hesitantly on his crutches, Julie standing behind him. He looked like he was ready to bolt and Brittany didn’t blame him. She squeezed her mom’s hand and nodded. “It’s your son.”

Bridget stood up and walked to Bill who braced himself for whatever was to come. She stood in front of him and looked into his eyes, searching for something. “Billy?” she asked him.

“Hi mom,” he said softly.

She smiled and pulled him to her in a hug. “My Billy, my sweet boy,” she cried and held him and Julie watched them, tears streaming down her face.

It was a moment that Bill deserved and as much as it broke her heart to not be able to connect with her mother, Brittany was able to help her baby brother in a way she wished she could have years before.

Through all of this, Naomi continued to struggle. It was so hard for Brittany to leave her in the hospital and it was increasingly hard for everyone to believe she would live. She received a kidney, but it didn’t seem to be working. She wasn’t growing or thriving and her parents were at the end of their faith.

That’s when I wrote my favorite scene of the entire book.

“Stop it,” Tommy said to her. “Stop trying to make this okay.”

“No, you stop it. You said your piece; now let me do what I need to do. Let me be with our daughter and you go do what you need to do,” she yelled at him and her voice was full of passion and intensity.

“Why? Why do you insist on protecting me from this?” he raised his voice again.

“How exactly am I protecting you from this? How is there any way for me to protect you from this? If you figure it out, please let me know, because I would give anything to not go through this,” she yelled back at him and suddenly there was a noise that neither of them recognized.

“What was that?” Tommy asked and Brittany stared at her daughter when suddenly something else happened.

“Tommy, come here,” she said excitedly.

”What?” he ran to her side.

“She peed all over me,” Brittany said and looked at him with tears streaming down her face.”

“She did? She went by herself?” Tommy asked.

“Well I didn’t do it?” Brittany laughed and looked as Naomi kicked her feet and let out the unfamiliar sound again. “She’s crying and she peed.”

I loved that scene so much. I loved that Naomi made herself known in the only way she could. I loved every part of it.

Heaven’s Tiny Tears ended with Naomi being kidnapped and Megan resurfacing. It also ended with the most catastrophic injury Bill would ever face. You know me- all about the cliff hangers :)

Naomi is such an important and integral part of the series. She didn’t speak in this book, but because she is here, we have our Mini Red and “yoo my sunshine” and “Daddy hab hairy balls” and Love yoo”.

We also have the beautiful relationship between Naomi and Tramp, which I love, too.

I hope you enjoyed this! Which book do you want next?

 

 

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Been a long week…

I’m so sorry I haven’t updated the book sketches yet, but it’s been a crazy few days. I will have the sketch of “Heaven’s Tiny Tears” up tomorrow. In the meantime, please enjoy this little sneak peek of “Red”

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“I just want to be here for you and the girls. I want to make you happy and give you the life you deserve,” Jade said with her emotions brimming over the surface.

Mike smiled and took her hands in his.

“You have already done that. You have made me happier than I have ever been. You have given me a family and more importantly, a home. You tolerate my inability to cook and my need to protect you. You make me happy to wake up in the morning and proud to walk around in my own skin. I love you so much and I love our life. You have given me a purpose and a reason to want more. You are everything to me, Jade. I just want to be the same for you.”

“You are. I am so happy to be here with you and to be who you love. I guess I’m just struggling with believing in all of this. I have lived for so long all alone and my life has changed so dramatically in such a short time, that I sometimes worry it’s a mirage. I just want to stay in the moment and not miss anything.”

He walked behind her and wrapped his arms around her middle, resting his chin on her shoulder.

“Look outside and tell me what you see.”

She leaned back against him and smiled.

“I see our children playing and laughing. I see traditions and laughter. I see hope,” she said softly.

“I see that, too,” he said.

She turned in his arms and placed her hands against his chest.

“Thank you,” she said, her voice full of emotion.

“For what?”

“For being here with me. For dealing with my issues. For not running away.”

“Never,” he said.

She smiled as he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her softly and tenderly. She moved to wrap her arms around him and pressed her body to his.

“This is something I never imagined,” she said after he broke the kiss.

His thumb ran over her lips and he grinned.

“What’s that?”

“Enjoying your touch. Wanting to feel your hands on my body, on my chest. Needing the connection only you can give me. You have made me feel beautiful and sexy and that’s something I simply never imagined would happen.”

“I was so nervous the first time we made love,” he said as his hands never left her body.

Surprise covered her beautiful features.

“You were? Why?”

“Because you were the first woman I made love to who I was in love with. I never felt such a connection to anyone like I do with you and I was worried you would be disappointed. I am not really someone who is adventurous or overly creative with sex and I think I just wanted to make sure you enjoyed everything. I still do.”

“The first time we made love we conceived twins, so I think it was pretty amazing,” she said and grinned. “That was all you.”

“Hardly,” he grinned. “I think that one was all you.”

“Nope,” she moved to unbutton his shirt. “It was your amazing and powerful moves that made all the difference. You know, working with Brittany in gynecology, I was with a lot of women during their exams. I know how many women talked about how painful and non enjoyable their first time was. After being with you, I wonder what happened with them. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.”

He chuckled and swallowed thickly as she ran her hands over his chest and under his shirt.

“Nice, but not true,” he moved to run his hands over her chest and felt his arousal grow as she leaned in to kiss his chest.

“Oh, it’s very true. You know, we never went through the whole suitcase we got for the wedding,” she said as she moved down his torso.

He closed his eyes as she unbuttoned his pants.

“Should we see what’s there?” he asked huskily.

“Why not?”

He went to get it and she sat on the bed.

“Well?” she looked at him as he brought it out and opened it.

“We have flavored condoms and something that requires batteries,” he said and took out a little bullet shaped device. “And there’s this,” he said and handed her a video.

“A porno?” she grinned. “I’ve never seen one before.”

“Seriously? Do you want to watch it?” he grinned.

She shrugged.

“Why not?”

He smiled and looked at her.

“Before we watch it, I need to tell you that what you will see is not normal. The men in these movies last for like an hour.”

“Is that right?” she said. “And that isn’t normal?”

He raised his eyebrows.

“Nope. Not at all.”

“Okay,” she grinned.

He put it in and laughed at the title.

“The money shot.”

She moved to sit next to him as he sat on the bed.

“What’s that?”

“I’m guessing it has little to do with finances,” he said and pressed play.

They watched a few minutes and Jade opened her eyes wide.

“I know it isn’t the point, but that guy, looks,” she stopped and Mike’s mouth dropped open.

“Oh my God. Is that Jack?” he asked.

They both squinted and looked again.

“No, it can’t be,” she said.

The actor took his clothes off and Mike raised his eyebrows.

“It can’t be him. He would walk funny if it was.”

“That’s true. I’ve seen that size before and it’s a problem.”

“What? Where have you seen that?”

“I’m a nurse, Mike. I started out in the ER and we saw all kinds of things.”

“Seriously?” he smiled and faced her. “Like what?”

“Lots of sex injuries.”

“No way,” he grinned.

“Yup,” she laughed and they both looked at the screen.

“Oh, well that’s obviously what they meant by the money shot.”

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:)

 

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