Announcing my newest release: Work of Art: A Sweet Romance (Manhattan Lights Series – Book 2)
Never mix work and play…
Tiffany can barely afford bologna sandwich dinners. Even with her new nursing job, she’s struggling to pay off her student loans and pay rent at the same time. Feeling like she’s bitten off more than she can chew, she does what any broke, self-respecting woman living in New York City would do: become a model.
Of course, it doesn’t involve catwalks and designer outfits. That would be the obvious choice. Instead, she’s dressing in strange clothes and standing perfectly still while being stared at by artsy painters. Tiffany isn’t the shyest person in the world, but having so many eyes on her makes her skin crawl. The only saving grace is the attractive man who puts all this together. Trent is part businessman and part artist—an intriguing combination that catches Tiffany’s interest.
But when the hospital director catches wind of the side job, Tiffany has to make a choice, and she has no idea if Trent’s newfound attention will last if she’s no longer his work of art.
If you enjoy sweet romance stories with happily ever afters, no cliffhangers, and a big city setting, then you’ll love this second installment in Laura Westbrook’s heartwarming series.
You can find it here (free if you have Kindle Unlimited):
(and all other Amazon websites)
Here’s a sample portion of the story:
Work of Art: A Sweet Romance
Tiffany’s mind was a jumble of numbers and dollar signs. She’d been working on her budget for hours. She finally decided to call it a night with a cup of green tea and honey. She felt like a glass of something stronger, but instead opted for the healthier option. She was pretty sure stressing out about bills wasn’t part of a healthy lifestyle.
Small steps toward big goals was her new mantra. The trouble was her sky-high rent, utilities, student loans, and credit card debt. Living in Manhattan was just plain expensive. She felt swallowed up in a sea of stress that meant she had to work overtime at the hospital just to keep herself afloat. She had no life, hardly any friends…just work.
Probably none of those debt gurus have actually been in debt, she thought, scrunching up her nose.
The clock on the wall ticked loudly. She didn’t feel tired, but she was going to be working early at the hospital the next morning, which involved a seven a.m. start with Shirley, who knew everything, if she could be believed. Looking at the roster had become a weekly effort with the employees crossing their fingers and toes in the hopes they wouldn’t be scheduled with Shirley. She did everything by the book, but annoyingly so. She was probably writing her own rule book in her spare time. That would be something she’d do.
“Time for bed,” she muttered. She shook her head. Her routine made her feel like a robot. Go to work, eat, sleep, stress, and repeat. It was a never-ending cycle that repeated day after day, something she’d never dreamed would happen. When they’d asked her what she’d like to be when she grew up, she’d always said a nurse.
She still didn’t regret her career path. She just figured it should be less exhausting and more caring, in the emotional sense. But she couldn’t get close to patients the way she wanted. One wasn’t allowed that close. A professional distance was required. She could get fired for overstepping patient care boundaries, and someone like Shirley would be sure to pounce on any lapse in protocol. Nursing was cold and efficient for Shirley…a bit like her personality.
* * *
At the shift change, the supervisor read the patient lists out. She explained where they had left off and then read out which nurses had which patient loads.
“Shirley and Tiffany, you have Mr. Catanon in room eight, Mrs. Greer in room one, Mr. Derrickson in room twelve, Ms. Keifer in room nine, and Mrs. Foster in room six. Lastly, you have Mr. Carrera coming in at eleven.”
Tiffany and the other nurses briskly walked to their stations to get organized and to begin the breakfast, medication, and shower arrangements. Shirley was in her usual mood, sporting a bun that sat high on her head and reading through the notes with her glasses set down on the tip of her long nose. Tiffany was waiting for her to choose her “preferred” patients.
To argue the point would result in the whole morning being wasted. Time usually flew by on the morning shift. It was like an evil force that wanted to race everyone, hurrying them onward without ever letting them gain the upper hand. A coffee break at ten-thirty was a laughable goal most days. Tiffany imagined that somewhere there were nurses who sat down for coffee. But not there.
“You take Mrs. Foster, Mr. Catanon, and Mr. Carrera when he comes in,” Shirley said. “I will help you turn Mrs. Foster after her sponge bath at nine.”
“Okay, no problem.” She was secretly annoyed that Shirley always chose her patients for her, like she was still a nurse-in-training. The other nurses worked it out between themselves so it was fair. The time-consuming patients would be split up evenly so they could get their medications done on the dot, so every patient would have completed their schedule by lunchtime. During that time, any bell calls and wounds that came up would need to be addressed, and patient education was slipped in there somewhere, time allowing.
Tiffany began her morning by whisking in to see Mrs. Foster, a lady with a big smile and no teeth. She was eighty-four and had been brought in last Thursday after a low blood sugar episode. The most important thing was education so she could understand the need to keep her glucose levels right.
“Good morning, Mrs. Foster,” Tiffany said. “It’s time to take your blood sugar level, and then we’ll have a bath in bed today.”
Mrs. Foster shrugged. “I watched a documentary on British royalty yesterday. Do you like them?”
Tiffany pricked Mrs. Foster’s finger. She said a little “ouch,” then relaxed as her breakfast tray arrived.
“I keep up with them sometimes. Make sure you eat everything. I need you to maintain this level all day long.” She looked into her eyes with a seriousness that was mixed with a kind smile.
“I’d love to trade places with one for a day. In one of those long dresses. They have dinners with entire tables of food. One alone for sweets.”
“It would be nice, but sugar isn’t the best for you right now. We’ve got to get you back to normal levels.”
The woman swirled the spoon in her oatmeal, saying nothing about the advice Tiffany gave. Tiffany was glad Mrs. Foster had a daughter to help take care of her. Otherwise, the woman might become even more unwell than she’d already been.
Mrs. Foster nodded. “I’m sick of documentaries. I’m going to watch the shopping network today. I like it. I ring those numbers all the time and buy things. Last week, I bought a set of pots and pans and got a free knife set. This week, I’m going to see if they’ve got drills and hammers for Charlie. He’s my eldest son. He works for a big company in Florida. He might like those.”
Tiffany smiled at the lovely woman who wore her heart on her sleeve. She was just happy to be alive and didn’t seem to have a care in the world. Tiffany hoped she’d be like her one day—able to spend whatever she wanted on whatever she wanted. A new wardrobe of clothes would be nice. For a social life I don’t have.
“I’ll be back soon to give you a bath,” Tiffany said. “But only if you eat all your oatmeal and drink your cup of juice.”
“Yes, dear, I will,” Mrs. Foster said, smiling at the shopping channel she’d found by flicking through. “Ohh, that’s a pretty design. I might get some for Genevieve.”
“Who’s Genevieve?” Tiffany asked as she headed for the door.
“My Persian cat.”
Tiffany realized it was a pet collar displayed on the screen. People bought the craziest things for their pets these days. That one collar would probably cover her grocery bill for a week. She shook her head but kept moving until she reached the next room.
“Good morning, Mr. Catanon,” Tiffany said.
“Morning. I hope you didn’t bring any of that soup for lunch. I’d rather put my boot in a pot and stir it.”
She suppressed a laugh. He was a funny man, a good time-waster if one wasn’t careful. “I’ll tell the kitchen staff to quit hiding the good stuff.”
Shirley walked in then, looking way too serious. “Good morning, Mr. Catanon. May I borrow your nurse for a moment?”
“Be my guest,” he said. “Bring her back, though. She’s a nice one.”
Shirley remained straight-faced, despite Mr. Catanon’s good natured humor. He seemed like he’d be the life of the party, if one had time for them.
Shirley looked Tiffany up and down as though weighing her competence. “We’ve been given two more patients. You can have Mr. Loster in room fifteen. I’ll take Mr. Yensen in room fourteen.”
Not wanting to argue, Tiffany nodded.
“You should know Mr. Loster is nil by mouth,” Shirley continued. “He already knows this. And Judy went home with a case of food poisoning, or so she claims.”
Tiffany tried not to smile at the mix of professional directions and staff gossip. “Claims?”
“That’s what she’s saying. She hasn’t been properly diagnosed, so she might just be trying to get out of work.”
Tiffany cringed inside. “But she was at work on time and ready at the shift change. She’s a brilliant nurse, Shirley.” She tried her best not to get upset at her stiff-necked companion. “I hope she’s all right.”
“I heard she’s sleeping with Dr. Fraser, and he’s off today, so you know, if you put two and two together…”
“That’s all just gossip. It doesn’t matter. Whether she is or isn’t sleeping with anyone is her business. We all work ourselves to the bone around here. Don’t spread things around you don’t know. Judy’s married, and talk like that could cause trouble in her marriage, especially when it might not be true.”
Shirley exhaled loudly. “I’m telling you, she doesn’t have food poisoning, and if you could follow her right now, I bet she’s going to his house.”
Of all the time Tiffany had spent talking to Shirley that morning, only a few words of it had been useful. She was all for speaking the truth, but Shirley only cared about her truth and nobody else’s. In her mind, anything out of place reeked of scandal, whether there were any facts behind it or not.
Tiffany gestured to Mr. Catanon’s room. “Look, I have patients to deal with, and so do you. Let’s not go making assumptions, okay?”
“With the way you’re defending her, it sounds like you might be hiding something too.”
Tiffany shook her head. “Never mind.” She broke away and returned to Mr. Catanon’s room. The work wouldn’t finish on its own. He probably had the next dozen jokes thought up by now. Tiffany made sure he’d eaten his breakfast and then pointed to the shower.
“The next time I see you, you’ll be clean,” she said. “The shower is calling your name.”
“Oh yes, I can hear it.” He leaned in. “That other nurse isn’t coming back today, is she? She has the personality of a toilet plunger. Is she always so…prickly?”
“I plead the fifth on that one. The shower?”
“Actually, I might need to drink my coffee first.”
“All right. Drink your coffee, I’ll check in with another patient, and I’ll come back later.”
She wasn’t exactly looking forward to her new “nil by mouth” patient. She was sure he hadn’t been there yesterday. He was in for a procedure, and he needed to be checked several times that day. Her other patients, for now, were doing great. That brightened her mood enough to shove aside the other thoughts stressing her out. She’d have plenty of time to think about her finances when she got home.
(end of sample)
Read the conclusion here (free if you have Kindle Unlimited):
(and all other Amazon websites)