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Love and Death in Istanbul

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: SENSUAL
Word Count: 10,273
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Emily North, an experienced hospice nurse, is fed up with controlling men and predictable jobs. In her search for something more, she volunteers for a medical mission in war-torn Istanbul, Turkey. While trying to focus on herself and the work at hand, she becomes fascinated with surgeon Jake Compton as he applies his considerable skills in the trauma unit under dangerous conditions.
But Emily soon discovers Compton has a secret: a covert life in military service which has no room for her--or any woman. Between warring factions and Jake's superiors, Emily struggles to find adventure, herself, and one decent man.

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She glanced at the spot Nick once occupied. Empty now—but it wasn’t him she missed. No matter how badly she might crave a man’s touch, it would be a long time before she allowed her bed to be filled to capacity again.

Begrudging the fact that she had to leave the comfort offered by three inches of memory foam and head off to a job she was beginning to loathe, she rose to start her morning routine. After reaching into the closest closet and blindly picking out a set of scrubs, she trudged to the bathroom.

After her shower, she took time to look at herself in the mirror, an act she rarely participated in. She’d always considered her hips too wide, but Nick—and just about every other man she had been intimate with—appreciated the slope of her waist and what lay beyond.

“The kind of curves you just can’t hide,” he always said as he marveled at her body.

Her breasts, just large enough to attract attention, were perhaps the only feature she liked about herself. Her hair: a totally different story. The brown kinks refused to be hidden, even when wet. But the men she’d known claimed to love her hair too, admiring its wild and untamable flair.

Too bad the same men failed to allow Emily to feel quite as free.

After dressing, she pulled her hair back from her scalp as tight as she could manage. She dreaded the headache it would bring by the day’s end, but it was better to keep the wild mass out of the way and the curls out of sight. Finally, she was out the door.

As she took Washington Avenue, she wished she’d taken the time to put on makeup. Not that she particularly cared how she looked on a day-to-day basis, but just once maybe she should spice up the routine. Maybe tomorrow, she would add a little shadow, enough to make the blue in her eyes pop.

Ellie Burke, the latest vice in top-forty pop, failed to bring a bit of life into the boring scene playing through the windshield. Emily spotted her favorite bar, or a department store.

“Maybe I’ll hit one after work one of these nights,” she said to no one but herself. After a couple blocks battling early morning traffic, she said, “Oh, hell, what am I thinking? I’m always so tired by the end of the day I can barely make it up the steps into the apartment.”

She flipped the radio dial to an all news station. Compared to the events reported, her life felt incredibly dull. Emily North’s story would sound like: “Nurse drives to work for the millionth time and does everything exactly the same way.”

When a report about the war raging in and around Instanbul, Turkey, guilt over her own negativity speared her conscience. “Obviously, things could be worse in southern Missouri.”