The third title in this fast-growing series about the Holmes family.
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By Farrah Rochon
Copyright © 2009
All right reserved.
Chapter One "Boss, watch out!"
He didn't see it coming, but he sure as hell felt it land.
Instant nausea gripped Alexander Holmes's stomach as pain sliced through his right shoulder, shooting to his fingertips. Searing in its intensity, the all-consuming agony roared throughout his bloodstream, wrenching an anguished gasp from Alex's lips.
He went down. Hard.
"Help me roll the beam off him!"
"Hurry up, man!"
Alex tried to distinguish the voices coming at him from every angle, knew they belonged to his men, the construction workers he'd handpicked to work this job. But his mind was quickly becoming numb to anything outside of the torturous pressure radiating from his shoulder.
He attempted a deep breath, but it was too hard. The effort to block out the debilitating pain sapped his energy.
"Come on! We need to get him from under the beam now!"
"Somebody call an ambulance!"
"No," Alex murmured, clenching his jaw as another rush of pain soldiered its way down his arm. "Jason." He called for his foreman, but the word came out weak, barely audible even to his own ears.
Alex cried out as the crushing weight was lifted from his shoulder, leaving even more pain in its wake.
"Don't move him." He heard Jason's voice. "Wait for the paramedics to get here."
"Jason," Alex tried again. It was no use, there was too much chaos surrounding him for his thready voice to be heard through the bustle of men scurrying around the construction site.
"Hold on, boss. The ambulance is on its way."
Alex gave a valiant attempt to remain conscious, but sinking into the unknown promised a relief that he craved. Registering the faint whirl of the ambulance sirens in the distance, Alex succumbed to the pain-induced darkness.
A streak of light pierced the blessed night. Alex clenched his eyes shut, determined to hold on to the tranquil obscurity for as long as he could. It had been years since he'd found such peaceful rest.
Wait, why was he resting?
The week of nonstop thunderstorms had Holmes Construction days behind on the Mahalia Jackson Middle School project and he had another crew scheduled to start on the renovations to the emergency wing at Children's Hospital tomorrow. Rest was not on this week's agenda.
Alex tried rising from the bed only to find his body immobilized. He struggled to lift his arms, but they wouldn't budge.
"Where are you trying to go now?" came a voice that Alex recognized, but his brain wouldn't allow him to assign an owner.
He tried lifting his arm again. Nothing.
"Alex, can you hear me?"
Alex opened his eyes. He finally remembered who the voice belonged to: his future sister-in-law, Monica Gardner.
"There you are," Monica said, appearing at his left side and leaning over him.
Alex groaned as he stared up at the unfamiliar white-tiled ceiling. He tried to move his head, but the brace encasing his neck made it all but impossible. Alex groaned again. He licked his lips, the dryness leaving a stale, nasty taste in his mouth.
"How are you feeling?" she asked as she raised one eyelid, then the other, shining a penlight into his eyes.
"At dinner last night," he started. Why was his voice so raspy? "You said you would be working today, didn't you?" Alex asked Monica, an ER physician at the same hospital where his brother Elijah had just been named head of obstetrics.
"Yes," Monica answered.
Alex winced. "That means I'm in the hospital," he determined.
"Why am I in the hospital?"
"Because you were injured."
Alex fisted a handful of scratchy, utilitarian hospital bedding. "I'll bet it was Jason who called the ambulance. That boy should have known better."
"If you're referring to Jason Deering, then you're right, he is the one who called the ambulance."
"I knew it," Alex ground out. As if he had time to waste laid up in some hospital. He attempted to rise from the bed again, and his brain finally registered the restraints tied to his wrists, holding him prisoner.
"Untie my wrists," Alex demanded. "And get this thing from around my neck."
"I'll take the restraints off if you promise not to try getting up from the bed," Monica answered. "I can't remove your neck brace. You'll have to wait for your doctor."
"Come on, Monica. I don't have time for this, and if anyone knows that, it's Jason. What was he thinking, having them take me away in an ambulance?"
"Exactly what did you expect him to do, Alex?"
"There's a temporary trailer on the work site. He could have just put me in there so I could rest for a couple of minutes until the pain subsided." Even as he said the words, a sharp pain shot through Alex's head, leaving a dull ache to throb at his right temple.
"You think so?" Monica asked, unbuckling one restraint from around his wrist.
"All that ambulance did was probably cause an unnecessary distraction at the site," Alex pointed out. "We're already behind on the job because of all the rain this week."
"And you think all you needed was to lie down on a sofa for a few minutes?" Monica asked.
"Some aspirin and an hour or so rest and I would be good to go."
Monica shook her head, the rueful grin on her lips setting him on edge.
Uncertainty tightened Alex's chest. A slight but definite pounding behind his eyes joined the throbbing at his temple. The painful onslaught created a nauseating swirl in the pit of his stomach.
Suddenly wary, he asked, "What time is it?"
"What time do you think it is?" Monica asked.
Suspicious of that knowing lift to Monica's brow, Alex thought back to what he remembered about this morning. It had been around 10:00 A.M. when Jason had pulled him aside to point out a discrepancy he'd found on the electrical wiring blueprints. That beam had rolled onto him from an above scaffold deck a few minutes later.
"Is it around lunchtime?" Alex tried.
Monica looked at her watch and said, "In about four hours."
That didn't make any sense. Unless ...
"How long have I been here?"
"Since yesterday morning," Monica answered, confirming his suspicions.
"No way," Alex argued.
The door to the hospital room opened.
His mother's excited gasp caused Alex to attempt to whip his head to the left, but the motion was halted by that damn neck brace.
"He woke up a few minutes ago," Monica provided.
"Why didn't you call me?" Mama asked as she came charging to his hospital bed.
Margo Holmes was slight in stature, but made up for it in determination. She was easily one of the most formidable women to walk the planet. And she took fierce care of her family.
Mama pulled one of the metal chairs up to his bedside and captured his hand. "How are you feeling?" she crooned, the light touch of her fingers bringing Alex back to those days when he was a boy and she would nurse him back from the flu with one of the home remedies she'd learned from her mother.
"I'm okay. If I could remember where the past twenty-four hours went I'd be even better."
"Do you remember anything about what happened yesterday?" Monica looked up from the notes she was reading.
"You mean that beam falling on top of me? Yeah, I remember it." Alex was able to move his head just enough to see the bandages wrapped around his shoulder and upper arm through the corner of his eye. "I don't remember anything else, other than the guys at the site trying to lift the beam off me."
"And you remember nothing else about the accident or your surgery?" Monica asked.
"You had surgery yesterday," Mama said. "They just brought you from recovery to a private room a few hours ago."
"Let me get your doctor," Monica said.
"You're not my doctor?"
"I was when you first came through the ER," Monica answered. "But Dr. Lewis has taken over your care. He performed your surgery."
"What type of surgery did I have?"
"I'll let Dr. Lewis explain. He has a lot to go over with you, and I need to get back to the ER."
Mama rose from her seat and met Monica in front of his hospital bed, where the two hugged.
"You'll be at the house tonight?" Mama asked.
"I will. I'm not sure about Eli, though. The doctors in OB are taking turns covering for one of their colleagues who started her maternity leave this week. Tonight is Eli's turn." Monica stopped at the door. "I'm glad you're awake, Alex."
Alex smiled at his future sister-in-law, even though he couldn't look at her. He was grateful Eli had been lucky enough to find a woman like Monica to love him. She had a pure heart and a good head on her shoulders. That beautiful face didn't hurt, either.
Mama settled back in the chair and resumed caressing his hand.
"You scared us," she said.
"Sorry," Alex answered. "Where's Jasmine?"
"Mildred Collins's granddaughter is watching her."
He'd started paying Ebony Collins to watch his six-year-old daughter a few months ago-after Monica had pointed out that his relying on Mama as a babysitter was interfering with his mother's social life. Of course, Alex hadn't realized his mother even had a social life outside of working with her women's group at the church, but something was going on.
Earlier this year, Mama had picked up and left for three days without telling anyone. Six months had passed, and she still had not divulged the truth about where she'd been or who she'd gone with that week. Whenever Alex or his brothers brought it up, she said she was with a few friends and quickly changed the subject. Alex was getting tired of her evading the issue; he'd get a straight answer out of her soon. But not today. He had enough to worry about.
"How did Jazzy get home from school?" he asked.
"I picked her up," his mother answered with an exuberance that caused Alex to grit his teeth.
After years of relying on her sons to take her from point A to point B, Mama decided to get her license renewed a few months ago and bought herself a little used car. The last time he and his younger brothers, Eli and Toby, had gotten together for a game of pool, they'd all agreed they didn't like these new changes in Mama.
"Are you really feeling okay, honey?" Mama asked.
Alex tried to shrug his shoulder, but the zing that shot through his system was like a punch to his gut.
"Don't do that," his mother warned.
"What kind of surgery did I have?"
"Let the doctor explain," she said. Alex heard the door open. "And speak of the devil. Good morning, Dr. Lewis."
"Good morning, Mrs. Holmes."
A tall, slender man with gold-rimmed glasses and salt-and-pepper hair entered Alex's line of vision. He carried a magnetic clipboard in his hand and a large manila folder under his arm.
"How's the patient?"
"He's awake," Mama said enthusiastically, if unnecessarily.
"That's how I like to start my day." The doctor laughed at his own lame joke. "How are you feeling?" he asked as he read the printout from the machine that let out an intermittent beep.
"I'm a little sore," Alex answered. "Can you take this thing off my neck?"
"I'll bet that's uncomfortable."
Alex resisted an agitated eye roll as he lifted his upper body slightly so the doctor could get to the brace behind his neck.
"Okay, that's better. Are you feeling any pain anywhere?"
"It's nothing I can't deal with," Alex answered.
"Are you sure?" the doctor asked, peering at Alex over the rim of his glasses. "We can up the dosage of your morphine drip."
"No," Alex practically shouted. "I don't need any pain medication."
"Believe me, you want pain medication."
Alex knew it was Eli before he turned and spotted his brother leaning against the door jamb. He wore scrubs, which told Alex his brother probably had a round of deliveries scheduled for today. If he was just performing rounds, he would have been dressed in what Alex called his preppy doctor uniform, khaki pants and a polo shirt.
"How's he doing, Doc?" Eli asked, pushing from the door and coming into the hospital room.
"That's what I'm about to find out," Dr. Lewis answered.
Eli ambled over to the bed, giving their mother a kiss on the cheek before clasping Alex's left hand in a firm shake.
"How's it going, brother?"
"Just trying to figure out how I ended up in here," Alex answered.
"Dr. Gardner said you remember the accident at the work site," Dr. Lewis said.
"Yeah, a beam fell from the overhead scaffolding onto my shoulder. Now I've got to deal with OSHA and all that other crap."
Eli waved the thought off. "Jason is taking care of all of that."
"Do you remember anything else?" Dr. Lewis asked.
Alex shook his head, grateful that he could do so freely now that the neck brace was gone.
"Okay." The doctor slid an X-ray film from the folder he'd carried in with him. "Here's what we're dealing with." He held the film up to a lamp that extended over the center of the bed and, using a capped ink pen, pointed to a large white blob on the X-ray. "The beam caused severe trauma to the scapulohumeral muscle group, specifically the subscapularis."
"Uh, yeah, Doc?" Alex nodded toward Eli. "He's the one who went to medical school. You'll have to break this down for me in layman's terms."
"Sorry," Dr. Lewis said with a contrite murmur. "The subscapularis is the most frequently used of the rotator cuff muscles. When the beam came down it tore into it." He pointed the muscle out on the X-ray. "I'll be frank with you, Alex; a tear of this magnitude is pretty severe."
"Meaning what?" Alex asked.
"It means you're lucky Dr. Lewis happens to be one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the South," Eli answered.
Dr. Lewis accepted Eli's accolade with a nod. "It also means you have a long road ahead of you in terms of recovery."
"When you say 'long road' are we talking two, three weeks?"
The doctor shook his head. "Longer than that."
"How much longer?" Alex asked, impatience making his eye twitch.
With a shrug, the doctor said, "It all depends on how quickly the muscle heals, but it will definitely be more than a couple of weeks. I'd say you're looking at a minimum of six before you have any range of motion in that shoulder."
"Six weeks? You mean to tell me with all the strides being made in medicine people still have to wait a month and a half after surgery before they're back to normal?"
"Medical science must still bow down to the natural healing of the human body," Dr. Lewis answered. "There's only so much we can do."
Alex shut his eyes at the news. He did not need this, not with the work they were about to start on Children's Hospital, and the other jobs Holmes Construction had lined up. He couldn't afford a single minute away from his business, let alone a month and a half.
"You'll need to take it easy, Mr. Holmes."
"That phrase is relative," Alex said.
"He means no working on construction sites," Eli clarified. "You shouldn't have been out there yesterday."
"Your brother is right, Alex." His mother decided to chime in. "I thought you were supposed to be behind the desk from now on?"
"I am, Mama. I was just helping out since we were behind on the job. And I still have to supervise."
"Well, you're going to be sitting on the sidelines for a while," Eli said. "I don't know if I'll make dinner tonight," he added, leaning over to give their mother another kiss.
"Monica already explained. If you want, I can drive out here to the hospital and bring you some leftovers," she offered.
"No, thanks, Mrs. Roadrunner. You're going to tire out that car."
"I was just offering," Mama said.
"I'll suffer through the food here at the hospital." To Alex he said, "I'll try to stop in on you later."
"How long will I be in here?" Alex asked Dr. Lewis.
"I want to keep you for at least a week."
"No way." Alex shook his head.
"Alexander, listen to your doctor," his mother warned.
"Forget it. I'm not staying in the hospital for a week." He had a daughter to take care of, and a business to run. And he still had to turn in his test for his online macroeconomics class. He'd worked for two nights straight on that test.
"I need to get out of here," Alex said.
"I want to monitor the progress on that arm," Dr. Lewis said.
"I'll come in for a checkup. There are people way sicker than I am who can use this hospital bed."
"You suffered a serious injury, Mr. Holmes, and you just underwent major surgery. If you do not heed the recommended recovery regimen, the damage can be permanent."
"Don't worry, Dr. Lewis, he is going to follow your advice. I'll make sure of it," Mama said in that voice that brooked no further argument.
Excerpted from Rescue Me by Farrah Rochon Copyright © 2009 by Farrah Roybiskie. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great read. My mama has a man now too, though I'm a female, I still understand where those three are coming from. I'm not as mature as Monica I guess. When you think about your mom (sighing).... never mind. Good read though!
Wonderful series. All three were great. Wonderful, hot, fun!
Loved the book
I couldn’t wait to read this book. It was the one I wanted to read the most out of the whole series. I loved Alex. It was a good story, but after reading the first two, it was pretty predictable. I still liked the book. I loved that Alex finally found someone who will love him and show him how it feels to be loved. He deserves it after everything he does for everyone in his life. Renee deserves it as well. After the childhood she had, she has a lot to overcome.
The story of Alex Holmes and Renee was so-o-o sexy. Definitely the best of the stories of the Holmes brothers.
Now this book was my favorite, don't get me wrong the entire series was good, but Alex's story left a lasting impression on me. This a person, who was very giving of himself out of all the characters and the one who got the rawest deal. That wife of his I wanted to bring back and kill again (sorry for any spoilers) Finally with Renee, they were able to heal each other. Momma Margo's little secret was a nice added bonus. It was a nice wrap up.
Loved the plot of this story! The little twist really took me by surprise. Won't tell what that was. Of the brothers, Alex is my favorite. Can he be cloned?
I enjoyed this book the series of the holmes brothers was great
A happy ending to a really good series . Alex book is truly the best book in the series . I love Alex, great father,great brother, great lover .I have read the other two books in this series and the is my favorite by far .
Oh, how I wish Alexander Wesley Holmes were real. This book was great! If you think that good guys finish last; you are dead wrong. This is a good guy for all times; good looking, kind hearted, a man that loves his family and a business man! The story is so realistic; it is if you are there. Ms. Rochon's writing is flawless. This will be a permanent addition to my bookshelve! If you love Louisiana, balmy weather and hot men! then read this series!
I am from Louisiana and have supported Farrah Rochon since she released her first book. I can honestly say this is the best of the series! The characters are very real and relatable, and there is something about Renee and Alex's story that's heartfelt and touching. She manages to pull you in and keep you there, which signals that she is really working on her craft and giving you a good story. Keep up the good work Farrah! By the way, I met her in person when I won a contest sponsored by her website, she's an absolute sweetheart and I wish her all the success (thanks for the pralines)!!!!!
Widower Alexander Holmes buried his wife six years ago, but the New Orleans-based owner of Holmes Construction has never mourned his loss. Instead, he has given up on women; preferring celibacy since he learned his spouse frequently cheated on him; a fact he has hidden from his family especially his daughter Jasmine.
Renee Moore has come to the city to help her aunt repair her home from the damage Katrina caused to it. She meets Alex at his daughter¿s school where she has been hired as special projects coordinator and he is has agreed to be a volunteer because he hopes his being there will straighten out of his child¿s recent misbehavior. They are attracted to one another, but each has doubts though both decide to take a chance.
The third Holmes brother post Katrina New Orleans romance (see DELIVER ME and RELEASE ME) is a superb tale starring two caring wonderful people trying to help others make it in a city still recovering. In fact the contrast between New Orleans and the tiny Caribbean island of St. Martin (the family travels there for a wedding) is stunning. Once again as with the previous "Me" tales, the lead characters make for a delightful entry as these two caregivers find love places each in a strange situation of receiving.
Ms Rochon has written a delightful and touching end to her Holmes Brothers series. Ms Rochon writes believable characters and wonderful secondary story lines. She also gives this series just the right touch of New Orleans flavor.