I still have one final romance coming out November 7th, and I really like it. I hope it doesn't get lost in the shuffle of ending one series and starting a new one in a different genre. Been there, done that, when I shifted from urban fantasy to romances.
SPECIAL DELIVERY is about a topic I've lived with a few times in my life. Some people grow old and wise when they age. They're pleasant to be around. But some people get frustrated and bitter when their bodies let them down and they have to depend on other people to care for them. In my last Mill Pond romance, Karli is a traveling nurse who has a month off between assignments. She comes to Mill Pond to care for her grandfather--who was never a prize--when he needs to decide if he wants in-home care or to go to a nursing home, since he can't care for himself anymore. Axel isn't happy to see her and refuses to cooperate:
Karli carried the food into his room. An empty carton of cottage cheese sat on his TV tray. Good. He’d wheeled himself into the kitchen last night to get it and then wheeled for Ensure this morning.
“Did you clean a spot for your lunch?” She reached for the remote to turn down the volume on the TV, but he snatched it first.
“Leave my things be. I like it this loud.”
“I’ll turn it up later. I’d like to talk to you while you eat.”
He got a mulish look on his face and pulled the remote closer to his chest.
She looked at the full plate of tamale pie she’d carried in and shrugged. “Fine.” She turned to carry it back to the kitchen.
“Where are you going, girl? I said I’m hungry.”
“Then turn down the TV.”
He glared. “It don’t matter what you say. I ain’t gonna do anything you want.”
“Then I’ll bring you a carton of applesauce.”
His gaze riveted on the hot food, and he tossed the remote on a nearby chair. “There. You happy now?”
He wouldn’t hand it to her, but she didn’t care. She’d dealt with worse. She’d had patients in hospitals that she’d had to restrain so they wouldn’t yank all of their IV tubes out. She put the food on his TV tray and went to get the remote. After pushing the mute button, she sat across from him. She’d eat her food later, couldn’t make herself eat with him. He was too disgusting with his stained shirt and leftover food stuck in his beard. “I know you don’t want to leave your home, but you’re reaching a point where you need to.”
“Bullshit.” He shoveled another forkful of food into his mouth.
She sighed. “Your house is in terrible shape. So are you. You can’t get around very well. If a fire started, you wouldn’t make it out of here. And you’re not eating right.”
“That’s my business, not yours.”
“What have you got against a nursing center? You’d get three squares a day and a shower once a week. They’d let you have your TV in your room and they have activities. You’d be moving up in the world.”
“People would think they had the right to boss me around. No one tells me what to do.”
“Even if it’s for your own good?”
“I do what I want.”
He did indeed. “Why not go now when you have a choice rather than waiting for poor health to make it for you?”
He stuck out his chin. “Let them try.”
She shook her head and rose. “What if I try to arrange for you to get Meals on Wheels and some in-home nursing?”
“I don’t want some strangers sticking their noses in my business.”
She was losing patience. “Well, you’d better cozy up to the idea, because you’re not safe on your own.”
“I can make it outside if a fire starts. The door’s right there and Keagan put a handle on the doorframe that I can use for support.”
He’d finished his meal, gave her a look, and tossed his plate against the far wall. He’d eaten every bite, and the plate was plastic, so it didn’t do any harm.
She laughed at him. “Are we two?”
“We aren’t anything. Go home, girl. I don’t want you here.”
She bent and picked up the empty plate. Then she put his remote on the chair she vacated. “Learn some manners, old man.”
“Hey, I can’t reach the remote there.”
“Use your wheel chair since you can do so much.” She went in the kitchen and dished up a plate of food for herself. After eating it, she took out the stack of six more dishes and the rest of the silverware to put in the soapy water. No dishwasher. Why would Axel need a modern convenience when his wife had twelve children to help her?
The TV blurted to life in the back room, so Axel had gotten his remote. She wondered how much he actually could do. When everything was in the drying rack, she wiped down the cupboards and counters. She groaned when she looked at the stove. Axel was lucky he’d never had a grease fire. She emptied the dirty water in the sink and refilled it. It took an hour and a half to get the stove clean enough to use.