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A Family for Sam Chapter One

A free chapter.

This is a rewrite of one of my once published romance novels. Originally, it was the fourth book in a five books series called The Sisters Callaway. Now, after a major change to the characters and story A Family for Sam is the first book in a three-book series I'm calling Home to Hendersonville. The second book will be a completely different story with one of the sisters, and the third will be Kayla's story. After revisions, of course.

I've introduced that heroine in the first chapter here.


A Family for Sam

Chapter One

 "I need you to take your shirt off, Mr. Wilson." Dr. Allison Anderson glanced at the elderly man. Thank God he was the last scheduled patient. "I can't tell if the cream I gave you on Monday is helping if you won't let me examine your back."

"Where's Doc Sanders?" The gentleman backed away from the exam table, bumping into a storage cabinet. "Doc knows how to take care of me."

Allie blew out her breath. Why is he acting this way? She'd already seen him at the beginning of the week. He'd been willing to let her examine his rash then, and he even allowed her to give him a corticosteroid shot. Now it's almost like he'd never been in the office at all.

"Where's Doc anyway?"

Allie sighed out her angry frustration. "He went fishing."


"Yes," she said, glancing sharply at him. "He hasn't been in all day. If you don't get check out now, you'll have to come back on Monday."

A light tap sounded on the exam room door behind her. "Is it okay if I come in?"

"You better, Kayla." All day, one patient after the other, had given her a hard time. Just because Dr. Sanders wasn't in the clinic, they all acted like Allie didn't have a clue what to do with them. "Maybe you can talk Mr. Wilson into letting me check out his rash."

Kayla stopped at the other end of the table and looked at her. "Are you okay?"

Sighing out her annoyance, she glanced at the smaller woman. "He's refusing to take off his shirt."

The look on her face told Allie she might not be able to convince him either. Yet it didn't seem to bother her nurse. She just shrugged and moved closer to the exam table. "All Dr. Anderson needs to do is look at your chest and back, Mr. Wilson. She won't need to touch you."

Dr. Anderson? Allie swallowed. She'd been working closely with her for two months now, and she still called her Dr. Anderson. But then why should she be any different than the rest of the people in Hendersonville? Except for her parents and two siblings, everyone called her Dr. Anderson.

Or they didn't bother calling her anything at all.

Even Dr. Sanders never called her by her first name.

"No, I'm not taking off my shirt with two women in the room."

Kayla grinned. "Afraid we might attack you?"

"That is not a proper thing to say to the patient."

Her nurse froze, and then stiffened up. Just like must of the other women whenever she spoke to them. No matter how she acted, or what she said, the female residents of the town still hadn't warmed up to her. It was strange, though. The men didn't seem to have the same problem.

Had she done the right thing moving back home?

"Dr. Anderson?"

Kayla's tempered voice broke through her thoughts.


The sound of her first name startled her head up. "Yes?"

"Mr. Wilson is willing to take off his shirt," the nurse said, a hint of laughter in her lilting voice. "But only if you promise not to touch him."

An answering grin moved over her lips. She wiped it away quickly. "I think I can manage that."

Her nurse stared at her for a long moment, and then turned toward the elderly patient. "Well?"

The patient looked from the nurse to her, then back to Kayla before turning and slipping out of his shirt. Allie leaned in and peered at the pinkish skin on the right side of his chest. "Have you been putting on the hydrocortisone cream I gave you?"


"Let me look at your back."

He turned and Allie examined his back. Patches of red puckered skin showed at the center of his back with pinker skin on the upper and lower areas. "It looks better."

"Feels better."

Allie leaned in closer. "Is your wife putting on the cream for you?"

He shrugged his narrow shoulder. "I've been doing it, mostly."

"I can tell."

"Does it still look bad?"

"No, you're healing fine except in the center of your back." Allie moved toward the cabinet on the left wall and pulled out a tube of hydrocortisone cream from one of the stocked drawers. "I'm going to put some cream on for you. Will you let me?"

"Is that the same stuff I've been using?"

Allie nodded.

Mr. Wilson studied her for another quiet moment, and then shrugged. "I guess that'll be okay."

"Good." She pulled a latex glove from the box on the side of the stand and squeezed a generous amount of cream onto her fingers. She placed the tube down and turned toward the man. "Are you ready?"

He turned his back to her.

She reached out and laid her fingers on the worse of the sores, smoothing the cream over the botchy skin. He flinched but didn't pull away. Allie sighed in gratitude. She spread it over the pink skin until depositing all of the cream off the glove. "I'm all finished."

"My back doesn't itch anymore."

Allie grinned. "That's what supposed to happen, Mr. Wilson."

She turned and tore off her gloves, throwing them into the trash can near the wall. Then went to the sink and washed her hands. She grabbed a paper towel and dried, closing the water faucet with the towel before throwing it away.

"Are you finished with Mr. Wilson, Doctor?"

"Yes." Allie faced the man. "Make sure you have your wife put the cream on your back from now on, Mr. Wilson. The rest of your skin is healing fine."

"I'll do that, Dr. Anderson."

"You should probably make an appointment for him for next week." Allie peered at Kayla. "Dr. Sanders should see him."

"I'll do it before I leave." She followed the man out the door. "Oh, would you like me to stay around to help you clean up the exam rooms?"

"No, go on home." Allie glanced over the room, looking at everything except the woman standing at the door. "It doesn't take much time or energy to clean up the clinic area."

"Are you sure, Dr. Anderson?"

Allie nodded.

"Well, my brother is waiting for me at the fairgrounds. Sam's planning the Memorial Day Rodeo. Some of the ladies and I are cleaning up the hall for the dance. Memorial Day is a big deal around here." Kayla stopped and looked at her in a questioning way. Her mouth opened, and then she closed it shut. "I'll see you on Monday."


She looked at Allie again. "I'll lock up the clinic on my way out."

"Thank you," Allie said. "Have a nice weekend."

Kayla lifted her lips into a sweet smile. "I hope you have a nice one too, Doctor."

After Allie cleaned and restocked the three exam rooms of the clinic with necessary supplies, she wandered into the reception area of the building. She rearranged all the chairs into their proper places and stacked the old magazines and newspapers, putting them into neat piles on the stands. Then she went to a small walk-in closet behind the reception desk and pulled out a vacuum cleaner.

A little over an hour later, Allie replaced the vacuum in the closet and searched her eyes around the clean and orderly room.

Girlish laughter and a gruff male voice broke through the silence, sending her flying toward the back living area of the house. She entered the cheery kitchen and stopped near the old, wooden table in the center of the room.

Warmth filled her at the sight of her daughter.

"Hey, Becki." She crouched down and opened her arms for her daughter's hug. "Did you have fun fishing?"

"I gots a big one." She stretched her hands out as far as they could go. "It was this big."

"Oh, wow."

"Yes." Her little mouth sloped downward. "Uncle Larry told me I had to throw it away."

"Uncle Larry?"

Dr. Sanders shrugged. "I don't mind her calling me uncle, Doc."

"Are you sure?"

"I like it." He gazed at the yawning girl. "Looks like I tired the poor thing out."

"I'm not tired, Mommy."

Allie picked up her toddler and cradled her against her chest, sitting in one of the padded chairs. Becki struggled for a few seconds, then gave up and settled her head on her shoulder, eyes drifting slowly closed. Of all the rooms in the building, this large old-fashioned kitchen was her favorite.

Larry sat down across the table from her. "She keeps a man on his toes."

Allie grinned. "Yes, she is full of energy."

The man's laughter echoed through the large room. "That is the understatement of the year, Doc."

Becki mumbled under her breath as she curled her legs up in a ball and settled deep into her lap. Allie wrapped her arms around her waist, spreading her hand near her daughter's stomach.

"She's sweet, though."

Allie looked at the man. "I'm sorry if she's a bother."

"No, she's not a bother."

"I thought I found a place to live last week, but..." Allie sighed. "The owner called me this morning to tell me they rented the house to someone else. I really liked the place."

"The Brown's stopped the deal?"

"Yes," Allie said. "And I'm not sure why. Everything seemed fine on Sunday afternoon. Mr. Brown and I met at the little diner in town and discussed the agreement. All I needed to do was give him the down payment and the first month’s rent. Then this morning everything fell apart."

He looked down at Becki. "I'm sorry, Allie."


"It's your name." He jerked his head up and leaned forward. "Oh, you don't like me being so informal with you."

"No, that's not it." She shook her head back and forth quickly. "It just surprised me. You never called me by my first name before."

He jerked his head back. "I haven't?"

"No." She glanced down at her sleeping daughter. "You usually just call me Doc."

"Well, you are a doctor." He looked at Becki again. "If you don't like me calling you Allie, I'll stop."

"Oh, I don't mind. It's better than being called Dr. Anderson. Kayla is still calling me that."

Larry didn't say anything for so long she glanced toward him. He sat in the chair opposite hers, studying something near the stove. She waited for a few more second as a hint of uneasiness filtered through the man toward her.

"I'm thinking the folks here heard you're divorced," he finally said. "I tried to keep that a secret between us."

"Why would you do that?"

He didn't seem to hear her question. "I think that's what's causing all your problems now. At least with the female part of the population."

Allie focused her look on him. "Why would my divorce upset the women?"

"Because," looking sheepishly toward her, "I told everyone you were never married."

Below are the links to the two pictures in order of use.

Image by juan grullon from Pixabay 

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay


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