Day 1 ~ Chapter 1 Sneak Peek!

It’s the last day of the 10-day Countdown before the release of Time for the Doctor! It’s also the last day of the pre-order sale. Time for the Doctor, a Copper Mills romantic comedy is only 99cents for one more day!

Enjoy this sneak peek of Chapter 1!


Time for the Doctor: A Copper Mills Novella

Chapter 1


Tash Bannon barely registered the eight quiet chimes of the grandfather clock in the corner of his office. He could tell by the crimson-yellow light streaming in the narrow window behind him that dusk was approaching. He still had a stack of charts to finish, three laboratory results to decipher, and two more patients to check before he called it a night.

He’d cracked open the window to let in some fresh air. A few of the patients he’d seen in the clinic earlier in the day had commented on the beautiful warm spring weather outside. Not that he’d ever know. He arrived in the dark and left in the dark, and a warm sunny day looked the same as a cold sunny day outside the clinic windows.

He felt a shift in the temperature of the night air as the sun went down. He’d have to get up and shut the window soon, preferably before any of the cranky members of the Copper Mills General Hospital board of directors noticed. Apparently fresh air interfered with the carefully controlled hospital ventilation system. He rolled his eyes. What next?

He initialed a report and made a note to adjust the dose of Rena Barker’s insulin dose. The advice about the dietary changes must be working. Her blood sugars were improving.

At a knock on the door, Tash looked up. A tall woman walked in. Silver shoulder-length hair framed the flawless porcelain skin of her heart-shaped face. Her eyes were the same sea-blue shade as Tash’s.

Tash saved what he was working on and leaned back. “Mom.”

Katherine Bannon smiled at him and then noticed the open window and frowned. “Tash,” she said with a sigh. “You know the rules. It costs the hospital a fortune in energy bills when a window is left open.”

With a resigned shrug of his shoulders, Tash got up and shut it. “If the board of directors spent as much time at the hospital as I do, maybe they wouldn’t be so pig-headed about it.”

Katherine pursed her lips. “Maybe – until they tried to balance the budget.” Katherine had been nominated as chair of the board eight months ago and had accepted the position reluctantly. Tash had led the voting, thinking his mom would bring a level-headed practicality to the organization, but the wheels of change were slow.

“And there’s no slack for one of the highest money-makers for the hospital?”

Katherine shook her head. “We can’t afford it.”

“Rest assured, it was only open for an hour. Is that why you’re here, wearing your board of directors hat? Or did you come to visit your favorite son?”

Katherine smiled. He was her favorite son. He was also her only son. “Both.” She sat down in the chair across from his desk and looked at the papers covering the wooden surface. “You’re working late.”

“As always.” He ran a hand down his chin, rubbing the stubble of his five o’clock shadow. “I still have a couple of patients to see. New admissions. Seems no one else is capable of adjusting blood pressure medications.” He rocked back on his chair. “But I always have time for you.”

She tilted her head as she looked at him. “Don’t ever get tired of the long hours?”

He shrugged. “Comes with the territory of being the only internist at the hospital. It’s what I signed on for when I came back to Copper Mills.”

“I suppose. It just seems like it’s getting busier and busier.”

He nodded. “I think it is – more hypertension and diabetes. Even in a small town like Copper Mills, we’re seeing the effects of an aging population. It’s going to get busier next month with the influx of summer tourists. But it’s what keeps the hospital in the green,” he added with a crooked smile.

“Would it help to hire another internist?”

“Where would the money come from? It’s been raised before, but the hospital couldn’t afford it. If they’re anal about an open window, I can’t see them shelling out more for another internist. Plus, I’m not sure there’s enough work for two. Maybe in the future, but not quite yet.” He smiled. “You don’t have to worry. If I didn’t enjoy what I do, I wouldn’t do it.”

“You’re whole life is work, though. Where’s the play?”

Tash snorted. “Play’s overrated. I had plenty of time to play when I was younger. I’m all grown up now, Mom. Work is what we adults do.”

Katherine sat straighter. “Don’t be condescending.”

Tash instantly apologized and rubbed a hand over his eyes. “Sorry, but please don’t worry. I’m fine.”

“Are you really?”

“Of course.” Tash frowned. “Why the concern, all of a sudden?”

Katherine cleared her throat. “The hospital received a letter of complaint about you.”

“What? When?”

“Yesterday. A tourist, seen in the emergency department, complained that you were curt and impatient. Felt you didn’t listen to her story.”

Tash leaned his head back and was silent for a moment, his mind racing through the patients he’d seen recently. “A young woman? Twenty-something-year-old complaining of some vague symptoms and a skin rash?”

Katherine nodded.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake. That’s ridiculous. I listened to her story, made a diagnosis, and treated her. Spent more time with her than I should have.”

“Apparently she didn’t think so. She hasn’t lodged a formal complaint. Yet. But the board will have to write a letter of apology. They’re hoping that’ll be the end of it.”

“It should be. She doesn’t have anything legitimate to complain about.”

“She’s not the only one.”

Tash was speechless.

“The hospital pharmacy had to write up an incident report because they dispensed the wrong drug to a patient. Said they couldn’t read your handwriting.”

“I’ve written literally thousands of prescriptions in the past three years. Jed’s never had a problem, but because of one – I repeat, one – script that couldn’t be read by some new junior intern, my name is being smeared?” He struggled to keep his voice level. “Where’s the onus for the pharmacist to call and verify it with me if they’re uncertain? I’m available 24-7.”

Katherine sighed. “That’s not really the point. Nothing undue came of it, but that’s twice in the past three weeks that your name has come up in front of the board.” She raised her eyebrows. “When’s the last time you took a holiday?”

“I was away at a two-day conference last month.”

“That’s not a holiday. That’s work. I’m talking away from medicine, to give your brain some time to recharge and your body a chance to relax.”

“I find work relaxing,” Tash said stonily.


“What? It’s true. What would I do on a holiday?”

“Maybe it’s time to find out. Everyone needs a break, Tash. You’ve been working non-stop for three years. The board is worried about the possibility of more errors.”

“I see. Two minor mistakes and everyone is up in arms?” He shook his head. “So what has the board decided to do about it?”

“We want to give you a paid holiday.”

“The cost of opening a window is prohibitive, but they’re ready to pay me to take a vacation?” Tash raised an eyebrow.

“Yes.” The tone and determined look in her eye told him there’d be no arguing.

He bit back a retort. “All right. Fine. Whatever. I’ll take a week off in May and everyone will be happy. Satisfied?”

Katherine hesitated. “Three months off. Starting the week after next.”

Tash leaned forward and narrowed his eyes. “What?”

Katherine lifted her chin. “You’re owed four weeks a year for the past three years. Fish, swim, hike, finish the house renovations you started, but no medicine until the middle of July.”

He’d worked his tail off for the past three years. Ran countless clinics. Generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for the hospital. Given up sleep, missed meals, put his social life on hold to put patients first, and this – this – was the thanks he got? His mom was chair of the board, and she hadn’t gone to bat for him. The betrayal felt like a knife through his heart. “I see.”

Katherine leaned forward and touched his hand. “Hon, you need a holiday. This isn’t a punishment. It’s thanks for the tremendous work you do. We want you to take care of us for a very long time, but you need to take care of yourself. Find a healthier work-life balance. Everyone on the board loves you. We’d never want to hurt you.”

Tash grunted. “So banishing me from the hospital for three months is how you show your love?” he asked sardonically. “What about the patients? Did you factor that into your grand scheme?”

“We’ve hired an internist to do a locum,” Katherine said quietly.

The knife in his heart twisted. “I see.”

“Three months, Tash. Then you can return, rested, refreshed–”

“Rusty, defeated, never sure if the rug will be pulled out from under me again.”

Katherine shook her head. “No. Trust me, love. It’ll be a good thing.”

Tash looked at his mom, trying to understand, failing miserably. He shrugged. “Seems I have no other choice.”


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