Promises of Mercy

By: Vella Day

Montana Promises Book 1


To Dr. Charley and Dr. Rebecca Lynn for all your help.

Without Olivia Jaymes and Kennedy Layne this book might never have been written.

To the best proofreaders and editors around: Maureen, Anne-Marie, Carol, Corinne, and Erica. You ladies rock!

Chapter One

As oncology nurse, Amber Delacroix, stepped from one of her patient’s room, her boss, Tammy White, headed toward her with tense shoulders and a haunted expression. She hesitated only a moment before wrapping an arm around Amber’s shoulders. Amber stiffened at the unexpected contact—and feared what it might mean.

“We need to talk,” Tammy said in a soft voice. And Tammy didn’t do soft.

Those ominous words “we need to talk” swam in Amber’s head, and her stomach tumbled. Something horrifying must have happened. Tammy never approached her unless it was serious.

“What’s wrong?” Amber’s voice shook.

Her boss escorted her down the hall into the break room. “Let’s sit down.”

Tammy motioned to the sofa. She sat next to Amber and inhaled deeply, the lines around her eyes and mouth appearing more pronounced than usual. When Tammy picked up Amber’s hand, an ugly sludge oozed through Amber’s veins.

She couldn’t stand the suspense. “Tell me.” Her voice cracked.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you that your brother was in a very bad motorcycle accident an hour ago.”

Amber’s heart stopped. That couldn’t be true. Intense pressure crushed her from all sides. “But he’s okay, right?” She needed to go to him. “Why didn’t I find out sooner?”

“Amber. Chris ran a red light. The paramedic on duty did everything he could to stabilize him, but his spinal cord was compromised and his spleen may have been damaged.”

Amber shook her head. “No.” Chris was a bit careless, but he was a good driver. She rubbed her temples, but Tammy’s words still stampeded through her brain. “I have to see him.” When she tried to stand, Tammy gently pulled her back down.

“He’s in good hands. Let the doctors do what they do best.”

Having their standard saying apply to her made Amber realize what her patients’ family members truly went through. Living Hell. A sob bubbled up and escaped.

Tammy rubbed her back. “It’ll be okay.”

No, it wouldn’t. Amber’s shoulders trembled. Poor Chris. She dropped her face in her hands and cried. When the tears finally stopped, Tammy stood. A few minutes later, she was back with a cup of tea and some crackers.

“Drink this. It’ll make you feel better.” She placed the package next to her.

Amber shook her head. Nothing would make her feel better. Upon Tammy’s prodding, Amber sipped the hot tea, but it didn’t dull the ache racing through her.

For over an hour, her boss remained by her side trying to comfort her, but nothing helped. The door had opened a few times and whispers sounded, but her boss must have shooed her coworkers away.

Tammy’s pager then went off, and when she looked at it, her jaw hardened.

Amber wiped her cheeks. “Go ahead and take it. I’ll be okay.”

“I hate to leave you.”

“It’s okay. You have a job to do.”

Tammy appeared torn. “I’ll check up on you.” She gave Amber one last hug and hurried out the door.

No longer able to sit, Amber stood, wrapped her arms around her stomach, and paced. She couldn’t believe this was happening.

She halted. Oh, God. She had to tell her mom. The thought of delivering the bad news made her stomach churn even worse. She wasn’t even sure she could say the necessary words.

Just do it.

Inhaling, she punched in her mom’s number, hoping she’d be free to talk. As head cardiac surgeon at the Oklahoma City Memorial Hospital, her mother could be with a patient or addressing a group of doctors somewhere in the country.

“Amber? Can I call you back? I’m having lunch with someone important.”

I’m not important? The hurt and anger from the past, combined with this recent blow, nearly drowned her. There never would be a good time for her mom, so she blurted out the terrible news. “No, Mom, you can’t. Chris was hit by a car.” She choked out another sob and rubbed her palms down her pants, trying to dry the perspiration. “He might be paralyzed.”