Saving lives isn’t just my job, it’s my whole world. Working eighteen hour days, I live in the hospital, running from patient to patient until I encounter a mysterious woman who stops me in my tracks. Afraid of her own shadow, I quickly diagnose that not all of her injuries are physical and the helpless look in her eyes turns my world upside down.
I follow up with her, trying to convince myself that my actions are that of a concerned doctor. But it’s more than that… turns out there is more to her as well. She’s a single mom, and the fear in her eyes isn’t just for herself, but for her amazing daughter. Before I even realize what’s happening, I’m determined to save them both and it has nothing to do with oaths or medicine. First, she will have to trust me. Not just with her life, but her heart.
Previously released as The Good Doctor, this book is being re-released with a new title, Save Me, a brand new cover and a new epilogue.
** TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains mention of physical and emotional abuse. Although no abuse takes place during the story it is described, at times, in detail. **
“Sophie,” Isabel begins, “we’re going to Dr. Patterson’s house. He wants to make you a yummy dinner for being such a brave girl.”
Sophie’s a smart little girl, she doesn’t believe her mother for a minute.
“Hey, Sophie, do you like ice cream?” I give Isabel a wink because I have an idea, kneeling in front of Sophie I wait patiently for her response.
“I like ice cream, why?” I chuckle. Nothing gets past this one, Isabel is in trouble when she gets older.
“I need to go to the store before we head to my house. I was hoping you would help me pick an ice cream flavor.”
“Ice cream? For after dinner?”
“Yes, but you have to be good and listen to Mommy,” I respond. I feel like I’m negotiating with a terrorist. As long as Sophie feels comfortable, I see it as a win.
I look over at Isabel and see her attempting to stifle a laugh. When I turn back to Sophie, she seems deep in thought.
“How about ice cream and a movie?”
“Ms. Sophie, you have a deal.” I reach my hand out and we shake, closing the deal.
All three of us load into my truck with bright smiles. As soon as we hit the freeway entrance heading back toward base, Isabel begins to panic.
“What if he sees us! We go to Target near base all the time. He’ll know what I did and take her from me.”
“Mommy, it otay. We be otay.” Sophie attempts to reassure her mother buckled into the borrowed car seat in the back.
“Baby, we’ll never be okay. He always finds us. We belong to him,” she whispers as she turns to me with panic in her eyes, “please just take us back. We can pretend this never happened. Maybe he won’t beat me badly this time for defying him.”
Rage courses through my body, I grip the steering will. “You. Will. Never. Go. Back. There.” I growl through clenched teeth, Isabel immediately shrinks into the corner of the passenger seat. Realizing I need to calm down and ease her concerns, I pull over to the side of the road. Once I have the truck in park, I turn the overhead light on, both of them stare at me with frightened eyes,
“I’m sorry for scaring you. My anger gets the better of me when I think of everything he has done and could continue to do to both of you if you ever go back there.” I reach out my hand toward Isabel, palm up, in hope that she realizes I mean no harm. “We aren’t going anywhere near the base. I live in Poulsbo, which although close to base, I find most people don’t venture out that far if there is no need. We can go to the Walmart there.”
Isabel looks between the seats at Sophie, “If you are still afraid, I can take you to my house and you can make a list of things you will need. I can get them for you from the store or we can even call the woman’s shelter I told you about before. They have emergency kits available for the first forty-eight hours we can make use of.”
Looking between the two of them, I can almost hear the silent communication going on between them — it’s a conversation I had with my mother many times over. Sophie willing her mother to accept the help I am willing to provide and Isabel looking at her daughter, wondering if she is just putting her in more danger from her abusive father. I sigh before starting the truck again and pulling into on coming traffic, “I will take you anywhere you want to go, except back to the hospital and into the arms of your abuser. You are finally free — both of you. I’ll do everything in my power to ensure you stay that way.”
AJ lives in the angst capital of the world, Seattle Washington with her own personal knight in shining armour and her two beautiful girls.