Trucker (The Good Guys #1)By: Jamie Schlosser
When I first decided to write a book, I had no idea I would need so many people to help me along the way. Thank you to my husband and kids for being so supportive of this new adventure. I couldn’t have done this without your encouragement, especially on the days when I felt like giving up. And a special thanks to my hubby for volunteering to be my cover model. (That’s right. The man on the cover is mine!)
Thank you to my betas Brittaney, Carole, Christine, and Alice. You were the very first people to enthusiastically volunteer to read my book, and I appreciate you!
Thanks to my Newbs. Writing a book was incredibly lonely until you came along. Your support, knowledge, and encouragement has helped me so much.
Thank you to my editor Kim Huther, my cover artist Lori Follett, and my formatter Shari Ryan.
Last, but certainly not least, thank you to my readers!
To all the romance addicts out there who love to read about a good guy—this one is for you!
ONE MONTH EARLIER
My aunt’s fingers felt cool and smooth as I held her hand in mine. I softly hummed ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ by the Beach Boys as I filed her nails until the edges were rounded and smooth. Claire never wore nail polish. She said she couldn’t stand the smell. I wasn’t sure if the hospital would have allowed it anyway.
I glanced up at her closed eyes, silently willing them to open, even though I knew—I knew—it wasn’t going to happen. The steady rise and fall of her chest generated by the machines was a cruel illusion.
I squinted my eyes against the harsh lighting of the sterile room and continued shaping her fingernails while medical terms like ‘irreparable brain damage’ floated around in my mind.
That’s what the doctors told me.
But I still had a little bit of hope. Miracles happened every day.
After I finished her manicure, I planned to read to her. I’d snagged a gossip magazine from the waiting room, and although it wasn’t the best option, it was better than nothing.
Putting down the nail file, I decided to try reading, hoping the sound of my voice might cause some improvement. I picked it up and cleared my throat.
“Okay, uhh…” I flipped through the first few pages, passing perfume ads until I came to the first article. “Who wore it best at the VMAs?” I announced the headline.
She couldn’t actually see the dresses, so I skipped ahead a few more pages. “Celebs dish their secrets to achieving—” multiple orgasms. I didn’t finish the sentence out loud.
I’m not even touching that one.
Then again, if anything could snap Claire out of it, surely it would be the opportunity to torture me with more awkward sex talks.
I closed the magazine, then opened it to a random page somewhere in the middle. “Um… Something about a Kardashian, blah blah blah...”
Oh my God. I really suck at this.
I was willing to bet most of the stuff in there wasn’t even true anyway.
Setting the useless gossip aside, I decided I would just bring a book from home next time. Probably Anne of Green Gables. My heart warmed at the memories of all the times we’d read it together.
“Claire, please,” I pleaded quietly as I grabbed her hand. “Please wake up. You’re all I have left.”
Was it possible to guilt-trip someone out of a coma? It was worth a shot.
Needing something to do, I went back to filing her already perfectly-shaped fingernails.
The door to the room swung open, and Claire’s doctor walked in with a nurse following close behind. I squeezed her hand one last time before turning away from the bed.
Their somber expressions had me giving them my full attention.
The doctor was a tall, thin man with wire-rimmed glasses. His salt and pepper hair indicated he was probably in his late forties. He quickly checked over the machines and tubes surrounding my aunt before turning to me.
I felt numb as he told me the stipulations of Claire’s will—she didn’t want to be kept alive under these circumstances, and she was an organ donor.
“Time is of the essence,” the doctor said as he explained what would happen over the next several hours. Claire’s healthy organs would be harvested, saving the lives of the lucky recipients. There was no emotion in his voice, no sympathy behind his eyes. He might as well have been telling me what he had for lunch earlier that day.