When I first thought about getting serious and writing, I had a vision. I’d read countless books about younger characters, you know, the virgin who meets the billionaire, the virgin who – – fill in the blank. And, don’t get me wrong, those stories are good and have their voracious readership. But, I was in my fifties at the time and I was hungry for mature characters. So, when I finally put my butt in the chair and began writing, it was a silver fox and a mature woman who my mind was on. Today, it’s called Seasoned Romance.
Many mature characters have already been down the road of marriage, divorce or widow/widower, grown children, grandchildren and impending retirement. Hopefully. The thought of meeting someone and falling in love brings on a host of other issues – blended families are real, but not always without issue.
So, I wrote – Designing Samantha’s Love. The title seemed to make sense to me, but as a marketing tool, it’s been a bit hard to market and probably should be retitled. Grayson Kincaide, the hero, is an architect and the reason I named this book “Designing” Samantha’s Love. I was a newbie in the field, what can I say?
Years later (9 to be exact), this book still finds readers and is nicely reviewed and the common theme in the reviews is, “Thank goodness for mature characters.” This makes me happy. That’s not to say mature characters always act mature, and let’s face it, life shapes us by the burdens we bare and the issues we deal with. So, take it as you will.
I decided to share the first chapter of Designing Samantha’s Love with you, so sit back and enjoy a small taste of Designing Samantha’s Love.
Chapter 1 – A Year Ago
“Mrs. Powell, this is Officer Garrison. I’m calling to inform you that your husband has been in a car accident and is being transported to St. Mary’s Hospital. Do you have someone who can drive you to meet him?”
“How is he? May I speak with him? Was anyone else hurt?” Samantha rubbed her forehead; she’d always feared this call would come.
“I’m sorry, ma’am; he’s in the ambulance now and being transported.”
“Can you tell me anything, officer?”
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Powell, we are still processing the accident, and I am unable to comment further at this time. I’m sorry for being vague. Do you have a way to the hospital, ma’am? I don’t want you driving if you’re upset.”
Sam glanced around her home, freshly cleaned this afternoon and unusually sparse of photographs and pictures since her husband, Tim, hated anything on the walls. It was only one of many arguments they’d had over the years.
“I’m home alone, but I’ll be fine. I’ll be careful.” She pulled her phone from her ear to hang it up, then remembered the officer. “Ah, thank you, Officer Garrison. I appreciate the call.”
Tapping the end call icon, Sam turned toward her desk. She snatched her purse from the the desk and pulled it open to grab her car keys from the side pouch as she made her way to the garage. The plethora of thoughts that ran through her mind were dizzying. Had Tim purposely hit someone to end it this time? He’d been so depressed again lately—refusing his medication and not seeing his psychologist again. This would be one more thing to send him deeper into his despair.
She tapped the button on her visor, and as the garage door opened, she tapped the Bluetooth icon on her dash.
She carefully navigated the steep hill which served as her driveway—another argument they’d had over the years. Tim claimed she wasn’t careful when she pulled onto their road. Her jaw clamped tightly together as her stomach began a slow roll.
“Hey, Mom, what’s up?”
Swallowing, she replied, “Josh, the police just called. Dad’s been in an accident, and I’m on my way to the hospital. I’ll call you when I know more, but can you call your brothers and let them know?”
“Shit! How bad this time?” The resolve in his voice clenched her stomach further.
Tears instantly sprang to her eyes. Her children had been down this road with her before, and she hated it. Even now, Josh didn’t panic as much as he dreaded the fallout of this latest accident in a list of damaging behaviors Tim had exhibited over the years.
“I don’t …” She cleared her throat. “I’m not sure. Officer Garrison said he’d already been placed in the ambulance and that I should meet him at the hospital … St. Mary’s. So, I’m on my way there.”
She fought the panic that threatened to rise in her throat as she listened to Josh exhale loudly. “I’ll meet you there.”
“Josh, don’t worry until I call you back. The kids are probably just getting ready to go to bed; you should tuck them in and spend time with Tammy.”
“It’s okay, Mom. The kids are at a sleepover tonight at Tammy’s sister’s house. I’ll be right there.”
She listened as the call disconnected. Taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly, she navigated her car from her heavily-wooded, treelined road and onto the main road that would lead her quickly to the hospital. At eight o’clock-ish in the evening on a Monday, traffic would be light, and her trip would last a total of ten minutes.
Entering the emergency entrance of the hospital, her eyes darted around to locate a nurse or employee who could tell her where Tim was. She walked to the nurse’s station and addressed the tired-looking nurse sitting in front of a computer. Her name badge boldly announced her name as Shari; the dark circles under her eyes said she’d put in a long day already.
“Hi. My name is Samantha Powell, and my husband Tim was just in a car accident and brought in or on his way in. Can you help me find him?”
Shari’s light blue eyes held Sam’s as her mouth turned down. “Let me see what I can find out for you.” She stood and briefly glanced around. “Follow me, please.”
Shari walked from behind the desk; her Crocs softly squeaked on the highly-polished floors. Sam silently followed as she fought the panic rising inside. She was lead to a darkened room which Shari illuminated by tapping a switch on the wall just inside the door. “Please take a seat in here, Mrs. Powell. I’ll see if your husband has been brought in yet and come back right away.”
Sam stepped into the softly-lit room, furnished only with a deep blue sofa and two red upholstered chairs with a table in between. Sighing heavily as Shari refused to meet her gaze further, Sam’s fingers shook. The clock on the wall, one of the three wall decorations in this room, ticked off the seconds as her mind whirled.
Exactly five minutes and thirteen seconds later, Josh and Tammy entered the little room. Josh’s handsome face was marred with worry, and Sam fought the tears that threatened once again. He was her spitting image in male form—green eyes and sandy blond hair. Though he was a foot taller, there was no denying his parentage. She jumped up and shivered when his strong arms squeezed her tight. “It’ll be okay, Mom. Any word?”
She shook her head, embraced her daughter-in-law, Tammy, and motioned for them to sit with her. “Not a word, and I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but I don’t have a good feeling about this. The nurse wouldn’t look me in the eye.”
Tammy leaned forward and folded her chilly hand in a soft embrace. “She could be tired. Or preoccupied with a million other things.”
Sam scrunched her face and cleared her throat. “I’m sure you’re right. I’ll try not to borrow additional troubles.”
Her sons, Gage and Jake, entered the room. They silently glanced around before immediately approaching her. “No word yet, boys.” She hugged each one before they settled in to wait.
It was about thirty minutes before a doctor entered the now-cramped room. Noting no additional seating, he held up a finger and stated, “I’ll be right back with another chair.” He was back shortly, wheeling a flimsy looking desk chair into the room and promptly sat in it. He rested his forearms on his knees and folded his hands together. His eyes roved the room before landing on Sam.
She held her breath, waiting for the words she’d already assumed were coming. “Mrs. Powell, I’m your husband’s attending physician, Doctor Sinclair. I’m very sorry to tell you that Mr. Powell didn’t make it.”
Choking back a sob, Sam glanced around at her sons watching carefully for their reactions. Gage teared up but sat stoically beside his brother on the sofa. Her eyes met his and held. Jake’s raspy voice broke the silence in the room. “Can you tell us what happened?”
She swallowed as she sadly watched her sons processing the news that their father had died.
“I’m afraid all I can tell you is the medical side of things. The police will need to fill you in on the accident. In general terms, Mr. Powell died from a ruptured spleen. He was alive at the scene and rushed here, but he died in the ambulance. We tried to resuscitate once he arrived, but we were unable to. I’m very sorry.”
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