Too many infant boys of Palm Beach gentry are dying of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Only obstetrics nurse, Casey Jansson, is suspicious.
Al Warner, crack Miami Homicide detective, is inactive, languishing on medical leave after a deadly shootout with a serial killer, “The Angel of Death.” He’s in the best physical condition of his life, but is struggling to convince the Department’s shrink he is not suffering from PTSD.
Warner meets Casey at a local pub. They are attracted to each other, but misreading the other’s body language, remain reserved. Learning of the SIDS deaths from Casey, Warner concedes it sounds more than coincidental, but can find no obvious Motive or Opportunity. However, he agrees to help investigate, hoping romance develops later.
Casey’s obsession eventually tangles her in mortal danger. Only Warner can save her, if he can figure out where she went, and get there in time.
Casey slipped into the waiting room, checking for anxious husbands.
Wow, Mr. Rollins was still there, red-eyed, sporting a two-day beard. His wife, a tiny woman, was having a very tough time, but steadfastly refused a cesarean. She’d have this baby naturally if it killed her. After 27 hours of grueling labor with no end in sight, it just might. She shrugged, about to leave, when Dr. Marquise entered, his glance passing over Rollins without pause.
A harried, unkempt man burst through the doors, then stood there, shifting uneasily from foot to foot, apparently uncertain of what to do next.
“Mr. Whitman?” the doctor asked.
“Yeah?” the new arrival said.
“Congratulations. Your wife just delivered a healthy seven-pound little girl.”
The man blinked, his jaw dropping. Rollins leaped up, knocking over his chair, his face beet-red.
“What d’you mean, his wife? He just got here. I been here all damned days.”
The doctor stumbled backward, his mouth working soundlessly, as the angry man advanced, his fists clenched. Casey stepped back into the room, a placating hand on the doctor’s arm, giving him a little wink.
“I’ve got it, Doctor. You get back to your patient.”
He nodded dumbly and shrugged as he left. She turned to the fuming man, still glaring after the fleeing physician.
“Take it easy, Mr. Rollins.”
“Who the hell are you?” His glittering onyx eyes took in the striking blonde.
“Calm down. Any more shouting could get you booted out of here. You don’t want to miss it, when your wife finally does deliver, do you?”
He looked at the tall, attractive nurse, smiling at him, and dropped his eyes. He couldn’t help but notice that she had a great pair of gams.
“Yeah, well, it ain’t fair,” he mumbled. “I was here first.”
“I know, but it’s not first come, first served. Every woman does this at her own speed. Your wife could have had her baby this morning, if you’d only agreed to a cesarean.”
“She don’t believe in it.” His lips drew into a petulant frown.
“That’s what you both keep telling us, but she’s a tiny slip of a gal, carrying a very big baby. If this keeps up, it could kill her.”
“You really mean it? She could die?”
“Yes. I just peeked in there, and she’s passed out from both the pain and drugs. It’s getting dicey. The longer we wait, the worse it gets.”
“Yeah, I know. Had to get outta there. Couldn’t stand the screaming.” He regarded Casey with hooded eyes, fingers fidgeting with the collar of his greasy mechanics shirt.
“You really mean it? She’s in danger?”
“Yes, and so is the child. How about it? With her unconscious, you can make the decision. Let us do this now, and end both of your suffering. She’s in terrible pain” Her emerald eyes were filled with compassion.
“You’re the first person I talked to I think I can trust. The rest just come out shouting at me that she needs this, or she needs that.”
“They don’t mean anything by that. They’re frustrated, just like you.”
“You’re sure there ain’t no other way?”
“No. She might still have it naturally, but the odds are getting pretty long.”
The man pulled absently at his ear, studying her. He sighed.
“Okay, do it then.”
“You’re giving permission to go ahead with the operation?”
“Yeah, do it. Save ‘em both for me. I’ll deal with her bitching later. She’s tough.”
“Thanks. You won’t regret this. I’ll get you a consent form.”
She turned to leave, but he reached out, touching her arm. She paused, hoping he hadn’t changed his mind.
“Y’know, you’re what everybody hopes for when they come to a joint like this.”
“I don’t understand.”
“A sweet, caring nurse… an angel of mercy… to look after us.”
“Gee, thanks. You made my day. Maybe my whole week.” Her smile ignited the air.
“Let me get those forms so we can make you a proud papa.” She hurried away.
Dr. Cohen handed Casey the slippery, blood covered child, which she quickly covered with white surgical cloth. Gina, the delivery nurse, was tending to the sedated mother.
“What a mess. Clean her up while I put this woman back together.”
“She gonna be okay? I kinda promised the husband…”
“Yeah, but she’ll never have another baby. Too much damage. I wish I’d thought to ask you to talk to that guy sooner. You’ve got the touch, Casey. People trust you.”
“All part of the job. Being calm and professional.” Not getting personally involved… not since little Mikey. Getting close can hurt much too much… whether with patients or men.
She finished cleaning the baby, wrapping it in a clean cloth. Her daddy was eager to meet her. Mama would have to wait until she woke up from the anesthesia.
Casey smiled. This is what the job was all about.
Purchase Link: Amazon
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
George A. Bernstein is the retired President of a Chicago small appliance company, now living in south Florida. Born to Die is the 2nd in his Detective Al Warner Suspense series, following Death’s Angel, a 5-Star reviewed novel. Two more are already in the works. Bernstein’s first novel, Trapped, was a winner in a publisher’s “Next Great American Novel” contest, and has gained mostly 5-Star reviews at Amazon and Goodreads while becoming an Amazon Top 100 Novel. His 2nd novel, A 3rd Time to Die (A paranormal Romantic Suspense), also has almost all 5-Star Reviews, with one reader likening him to the best, less “spooky” works of Dean Koontz & Stephen King.
He’s also a “World-class” fly-fisherman, recently catching his 13th fly rod IGFA World Records, and has published Toothy Critters Love Flies (www.pikeflyguy.com), the complete book on fly-fishing for pike & musky.
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/georgeabernstein