Jump (Lightning Riders Book 2)By: Jodi Bowersox
Special Thanks to: Bonnie Swindal – cover model Tristan Bowersox – cover photographer Jessi Bowersox – hair stylist Kelly Buettner – photo shoot assistant
1907 Manitou Springs, Colorado
“Papa, do something!” Nellie paced the small dining room with squalling baby Sadie at her shoulder, tears coursing her cheeks.
Tate was doing all he knew to do. His teen-age son, Jackson, was standing wide-eyed in the doorway with Tate’s medical bag in hand, but he knew there was nothing in it that could help.
Nellie had been preoccupied with a crying baby in the parlor when Tate’s son-in-law had risen from the dinner table to retrieve their apple pie dessert from the kitchen and collapsed before he reached the door. Not detecting a pulse, Tate had begun chest compressions, but after over ten minutes of cardiac stimulation, the man wasn’t coming back to them. Dear God, don’t take Nellie’s husband. Please.
Lita, on her knees beside him, put a hand to his shoulder. He paused merely a moment to wipe the sweat from his brow, then began again. Nellie’s sobs pushed him on, even though in his heart, he knew this was over. Paul was gone.
“Tate,” Lita whispered, “it’s been too long.”
The catch in her voice told him she was crying too. He stopped and sat back on his heels with an anguished sigh.
Nellie stepped toward them, screaming, “No, Papa, don’t stop! You’re a doctor; you can’t… you can’t just let him die!”
Lita rose and went around the fallen man, taking the wailing baby from her distraught daughter’s arms. Nellie fell to her knees, placing her hands on her still husband’s chest, franticly trying to continue what Tate had ceased to do. “Is this right, Papa? How hard do I push?”
He gently stroked her head as he fought tears. “Nellie, Paul’s gone.”
She tossed her head defiantly, loosening several wavy strands of blond hair from her upswept hairdo. “No. We have to just keep working.”
Tate noticed that the small lightning-shaped mark below her ear had turned a bright red. He started to rise, trying to pull Nellie up with him. “No!” she protested. “We can’t give up!”
Stepping over the body, he turned Nellie away and wrapped her in his arms. “Nellie, dear, we knew this could happen. We knew that Paul’s heart wasn’t strong.” Even in this new twentieth century, medical advances could do little to repair the ravages of rheumatic fever.
Nellie’s sobs shook her petite frame. “But I thought we’d have more time than this! Oh, God, I need more time!”
Tate met Lita’s sorrowful gaze. Ever since she had come into his life, the subject of “time” had held special significance. And for the first time, he wished he could do for Nellie what Lita had done for him: go back in time and change the past. Turn sorrow into joy.
Lita had bounced little Sadie into a slightly better mood. Nellie’s grief wouldn’t be so easily assuaged.
Nellie startled awake and felt acutely the night she had spent sitting in the upholstered chair by the open window. It was the early morning birdsong that had brought her out of her grim dreams. Dreams of a frantic search for Paul. Dreams that usually ended in a funeral.
The last one had been different. She had been watching the Paul that she knew as a child in school. She was a transcendent observer to his rambunctious boyhood pranks and energetic games where he always seemed to be sprinting. This dream ended with the boy in bed, a red flush to his cheeks and hushed voices whispering concern.
She’d never actually seen this, as she was only five when the love of her life had fought for his own, taken to the brink by rheumatic fever. She pondered the two types of dreams and concluded that they were basically the same. The fever at ten had led to the funeral at twenty-five.
She shivered and clutched her shawl tighter around her nightgown. Wanting to divert her mind from the dreams, she looked around the room she had grown up in. It had been months since she sold the house that she and Paul had called home—months since she had returned to live with her father and Lita as a widow, although she’d be hard pressed to say how many. The days all seemed to run together now.
She heard Sadie crying across the hall, but it was as one detached. Sadie’s bassinet no longer resided in Nellie’s room. The baby’s colicky nature had been hard to deal with before her husband’s death. After, Nellie simply couldn’t cope. Sadie looked too much like her dark-haired, dark-eyed Paul.
Tate had removed the baby to his and Lita’s room where nearly every night the child screamed as though in pain. Tate practiced the medical wisdom of the day on her, while Lita suggested remedies from her past, which were actually remedies from the future.