Thursday, October 27, 2022

His Soldier Under Siege (The Riley Code Book 2) by Regan Black



She’s the soldier but he’s the only one who can protect her...

When army nurse Grace Ann Riley is framed for a heinous crime, the shell-shocked major is unsure where to turn. Enter her no-strings-attached lover Derek Sayer, who resolves to help her disprove these allegations. Derek works to exonerate Grace Ann while trying—and failing—to keep his growing feelings at bay. He’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe—even if that means risking his life.

Rooted in love and bound by honor, read The Riley Code series:

A Soldier’s Honor

His Soldier Under Siege

From Harlequin Romantic Suspense: Danger. Drama. Passion. 

Chapter 1

At the nurses’ station of the orthopedic post-op ward, US Army Major Grace Ann Riley peeked at the monitor showing the status of various ongoing procedures in the surgery suites. So far this morning there’d been no update on Kevin Sayer, the patient everyone in her unit was watching for. Coping with a seriously injured friend was proving to be one of the biggest challenges in her career.
It was too soon for updates, even without factoring in the notorious unpredictability of spinal surgeries. Deliberately, professionally, she shifted her focus to the busy day ahead. Brooding wouldn’t be any help to her or the patients under her care. She could indulge that need—and burn off any other stressors—after her shift.
Most days Grace Ann relished the demands of her current rotation here at Walter Reed. Each day posed new hurdles and new successes. She put her heart and mind into every shift, leaving pleasantly exhausted, but rewarded as well. Today couldn’t be different, couldn’t be less, not even with the distraction of a teammate in the operating room. The post-op patients under her care needed her full attention. What she did made a difference, in the lives of her patients and for the families waiting for them to come home whole. Or as whole as possible, in some cases.
Her father always said a good nurse could change a soldier’s world. Of course her father, the highly decorated and equally beloved General Benjamin Riley, had met an army nurse early in his career and been smart enough to marry her. Thinking of her parents eased some of the ache weighing on her heart today and put a little spring in her step. The rubber soles of her shoes squeaked against the flooring as she aimed her stride toward the room at the end of the hallway.
She checked the name on the chart: Trisha Jenkins. Pushing open the door, she smiled and introduced herself. “Good morning. I’m Grace Ann and I’ll be your nurse today.”
The woman lying in the bed gave a weak smile in return, squirming to sit up a bit more. “Trisha,” she rasped. “Your patient.”
“My mother is a Patricia. Occasionally a few people have shortened it to Tricia,” Grace Ann said, establishing common ground. “But it never caught on. I heard my dad call her Patty once and I thought she’d deck him.”
Trisha coughed out a little laugh. “My parents didn’t give anyone the option.”
“Smart.” Grace checked Trisha’s pulse first and then used her stethoscope to check heart and lung sounds. “My advice? Get as much mileage out of that sexy voice as possible,” Grace Ann teased while she noted the vital signs in the chart. “How is your knee feeling?”
“Like an overstuffed sausage,” Trisha replied.
“That sounds about right for the first day after an ACL repair.” She assessed the dressing and anti-inflammation protocol. Satisfied, she gave her patient a rundown of what to expect through the day. “The surgeon, or one of his associates, will probably come by in another hour or so. Physical therapy should be here by ten,” she explained. “Getting up will be an adventure, but worth it.”
“Adventure as in a water park vacation or adventure as in training to become a paratrooper at airborne school?” Trisha asked.
“Well, I suppose that depends on whether you’re more afraid of water or heights.” Hearing the raspy chuckle, she knew this soldier would be back on duty sooner rather than later. “Keep in mind, Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day.”
“Got it.”
Grace Ann double-checked Trisha’s pain levels and medications. She listed the names of the care team for the day and encouraged Trisha to press the call button if she needed anything. At the sound of the cafeteria cart rattling down the hallway, Grace Ann stepped out to collect Trisha’s breakfast tray.
On a normal shift, concerns ran the gamut from pain management to mind-set and soothing anxious family members. Some patients pushed the envelope of recovery, getting up and out of bed too soon. She preferred that kind of trouble over the challenges of those emotionally crippled by their injuries. She put a little tag on Trisha’s chart so the team would watch out for the too-much-too-soon sort of problems there.
Continuing with her rounds, Grace Ann kept one eye on the clock, along with everyone else on duty. The orthopedic ward wasn’t the easiest of assignments and burnout was real. The wounded warriors they cared for put specific faces on the concepts of sacrifice and risks of a military career. But her sense of drive and commitment to helping others helped her, too. Whenever she saw hope or courage chase despair from the faces of recovering patients, it gave her positive ammunition against the ugly memories haunting her after her last deployment overseas.
Having one of their own in surgery for injuries sustained during a training exercise made each minute feel like an hour. There were risks in training, of course, but precautions as well. Drills and exercises weren’t supposed to be career-ending. Sure, accidents happened, but rarely enough in the current environment that most of them took fitness and wellness for granted.
Not anymore.


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