Welcome to Black Dog Bay, a tiny seaside town in Delaware known as “the best place in America to bounce back from your breakup.” Home to the Better Off Bed-and-Breakfast, the Eat Your Heart Out bakery, and the Whinery bar, Black Dog Bay offers a haven for the suddenly single.
Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant.
Summer heads to Black Dog Bay, where the locals welcome her. Even Hattie Huntington, the town’s oldest, richest, and meanest resident, likes her enough to give her a job. Then there’s Dutch Jansen, the rugged, stoic mayor, who’s the opposite of her type. She probably shouldn’t be kissing him. She definitely shouldn’t be falling in love.
After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores to settle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything….
read an excerpt
Cure for the Common Breakup
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain speaking.”
“He’s so hot.” Summer Benson nudged her fellow flight attendant Kim. “Even his voice is hot.”
“Welcome to our flight from New York to Paris.” Aaron’s voice sounded deep and rich, despite the plane’s staticky loudspeaker. “Flying time tonight should be about seven hours and twenty-six minutes. We’re anticipating an on-time departure, so we’re going to ask you to move out of the aisles and take your seats as quickly as possible.”
Summer leaned back against the drink cart in the tiny first-class galley. “Ooh, I love it when he tells me what to do.”
Kim, a petite Texan with a sleek blond bob, rolled her eyes and started checking the meals that had arrived from catering. “Get a room.”
“As soon as we get to Paris, we will,” Summer assured her. “And then we’re going to walk by the Seine and go to the EiffelTower and eat croissants. If it’s cheesy and touristy, we’re doing it. I actually packed a beret.”
“I was wondering why you had two gigantic carry-ons,” Kim said. “That’s a lot of luggage for a three-day layover.”
“One bag’s half-full of scandalous lingerie,” Summer replied. “I left the other half-empty so I can buy more scandalous lingerie.” She frowned at a snag in her silky black nylons. “These eight-hour flights are hell on my stockings. This pair was my favorite, too. They’re all lacy at the top. Hand-embroidered.”
Kim’s jaw dropped. “You’re wearing thigh-highs? All the way to Paris? Do you hate yourself? Do you hate your veins?”
“When I’m on a flight to Paris with my boyfriend, I don’t wear support hose. Not now, not ever.”
“And do you hate your feet?” Kim glanced down at Summer’s patent leather stilettos. “I don’t have a ruler with me, but I’m guessing those heels are higher than two and a half inches.” She shook her index finger. “Airline regulations.”
“Airline regulations also state that we have to wear black shoes and black tights with a navy uniform,” Summer said. “That doesn’t make it right. Besides, France has laws against ugly shoes. You can look it up.”
“You’re going to be begging for flats by the time you’re through with the salad service,” Kim predicted.
Summer had to admit that her coworker had a point—international first-class service didn’t offer a lot of downtime. Between distributing hot towels, drinks, place settings and linens, appetizers, salads, entrées, fruit and cheese, dessert, coffee, cordials, warm cookies, and finally breakfast, a sensible flight attendant would wear comfortable footwear.
Summer had never been accused of being sensible.
“The only thing more high-maintenance than the meal service is me,” she said. “I refuse to be hobbled by a few plates of lettuce.”
Kim ducked out of the galley with a pair of plastic water bottles. “Hang on, I’m going to go check if the pilots want anything before takeoff. Want me to say hi to your boyfriend?”
“Sure, and ask if he has any M&M’s. I forgot to bring a fresh supply, and he knows I’m an addict.”
Two minutes later, Kim returned from the flight deck, walking as fast as her polyester pencil skirt permitted. “I just saw Aaron!”
“Score.” Summer held out her palm as Kim handed over a bag of candy. “He truly is the best boyfriend ever. I’ll have to keep him around for a while.”
“For a while? How about forever?” Kim clutched Summer’s forearm and gave her a little shake. “He has a diamond ring for you!”
Summer pulled away and braced both hands on the narrow, metal-edged countertop.
“It’s gorgeous!” Kim squealed. “He was showing it to the first officer when I opened the door.”
Where was an oxygen mask when you needed one? Summer inhaled deeply, smelling stale coffee grounds and the plummy red wine Kim had just uncorked for a passenger.
“I . . .” She waited for her emotions to kick in. She should laugh. Cry. Faint dead away. Something.
“He’s going to propose in Paris! How romantic.” Kim looked as though she might faint dead away. “A guy like him, with a ring like that . . . God, you’re so lucky.”
All at once, the emotions kicked in. Complete, overwhelming terror, served up with a side of denial. “Slow down, slow down.” Summer sagged back against the counter. “This is crazy. I mean, Aaron and I have a great time together, but we’ve certainly never talked about marriage.”
“Well, why else would he buy a diamond ring?”
“Maybe it’s for his mom. Or his sister.” Summer scrambled for any plausible explanation. “Maybe he’s carrying it for a friend, like a drug mule for Cartier. He’s not proposing—he’s just smuggling!”
“No way. You should have seen his face.” Kimberly clasped both hands by her cheek. “He looked so nervous. It was adorable.” Her rapturous expression flickered for just a moment. “He made me promise not to tell you. Oops.”
“Oh my God,” Summer rasped.
“Oh my God.” She grabbed the nearest bottle of wine and took a swig. “Don’t serve that.”
“You know where you should go?” Kim’s eyes sparkled. “There’s a great little boutique hotel right off rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Hotel de la something. I’ll Google it. Super swanky, super secluded.” She shook her head. “I guess wearing thigh-highs and four-inch heels was a good call, after all.”
Summer took another bracing sip of wine and wiped her lips on the back of her hand. “I can’t believe this.”
“Me, neither!” Kim planted her hands on her hips. “We’ve all been drooling over Aaron Marchand for years, and you get to spend the rest of your life with him? Not fair. You’ve landed the unlandable bachelor.”
“Well.” Summer realized, as she forced herself to release her death grip on the wine bottle, that her hands were shaking. “I haven’t landed him yet. I mean, this ring is still speculation and hearsay at this point.”
“Pfft. I know an engagement ring when I see one.” Kim pursed her lips in a little pout. “One less tall, dark, and handsome man for the rest of us.” She sighed, then frowned at Summer. “Wait. Why are you freaking out?”
“I’m not freaking out.” Summer straightened up and cleared her throat. “But, you know, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He hasn’t actually asked. I haven’t said yes.”
Kim laughed. “Come on. You wouldn’t say no to Aaron Marchand.” Her eyes widened. “Would you?”
Summer ducked her head and let her hair fall over her eyes. “Well . . .”
Kim wrapped her fingers around Summer’s arm again and demanded, “How old are you?”
“Thirty-two,” Kim repeated. “And you’ve done your share of partying, yes?”
Summer nodded. “I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors. They’re all true.”
“Okay, so you’ve had your fun. But, let’s face it, you’re not twenty-five anymore.”
“Twenty-five is a state of mind.” Summer tried and failed to free herself from Kim’s grasp.
“You’re never going to do better than Aaron Marchand. You know that, right?”
Summer stared down at her shiny patent shoes.
“What are you waiting for? Why on earth would you say no?” Kim threw up both hands in exasperation.
Summer darted around her fellow flight attendant and escaped into the first-class cabin. “Hold that thought. I have to go do the dog and pony show.” She took her place beneath the TV monitor while the safety demonstration video played. While she pointed out the emergency exits, she scanned the sea of faces, looking for any sign of potential troublemakers.
But tonight the passengers looked docile and weary, most of them ignoring her as the video droned on about inflatable slides and oxygen masks. An elderly couple was already sleeping in the third row, the wife resting her head on her husband’s shoulder.
Summer found a thin navy blanket and draped it across the couple’s armrests.
Then, while the lead flight attendant was requesting that everyone turn off all portable electronic devices, Summer dashed to the bulkhead and dialed her best friend Emily’s number.
When Emily’s voice mail picked up, Summer started raving into the receiver: “Hey, I know you’re in Vancouver and you probably have thirty thousand things going on right now, but I need a consult. I’m about to take off for Paris with Aaron. The pilot, remember? The one who’s all perfect and dreamy and nice? Well, he’s about to ask me to marry him. Marry him. Out of nowhere! Like an ambush! What should I say? What should I do? Call me back, Em. I’m scared.”
She hung up, rested her forehead against the cool, curved plastic walls of the cabin, and forced herself to arrange a smile on her lips before she turned back to the passengers. As she walked through the cabin to do her final safety compliance check (“Fasten your seat belt, please. . . . Here, let me help you with that tray table”), she was waylaid by a passenger with an English accent and a red soccer jersey. He exuded entitlement and the smell of stale beer, and she guessed he was either a professional athlete or a professional musician.
“Could you take this, doll?” He handed her a magazine that had been left in his seat pocket.
“Of course.” When Summer took the magazine from him, he brushed his fingers against hers.
“You’re gorgeous. Has anyone ever written a song about you?” He met her gaze, then gave her a thorough once-over. Charming, cocky, and incorrigible. A year ago, she would have been all over him.
But she had finally outgrown bad boys. She had finally moved on to a good man. The kind of man she should marry.
“Twice, actually.” Summer laughed at the passenger’s expression. “What, you think you’re the only musician to ever fly commercial?”
“Anyone written a song about you that people have actually heard?” He grinned gamely. “Won Grammys? Gone platinum?”
“Sounds like someone could use a big glass of ice water.”
He leaned into the aisle until the side of his head grazed her hip. “What’s your name?”
She gave his perfectly coiffed hair a pat. “I’ll be right back.”
“What’s that?” Kim asked when Summer squeezed into the galley to dispose of the magazine.
“Oh, 4C found it in his seat pocket.” Summer glanced at the photo on the cover: a quaint seaside village featuring golden sand dunes and gray cedar-shingled houses. The headline read: The Best Place in America to Bounce Back from Your Breakup.
“Black Dog Bay, Delaware.” Kim peered over her shoulder. “Never heard of it.”
“Me, neither. I don’t think they even have an airport in Delaware.”
“Black Dog Bay. Where all the stores sell Ben & Jerry’s and Kleenex.”
Summer laughed. “And multiple cats are mandatory.”
“And the official uniform is sweatpants and a ratty old bathrobe.”
“And Steel Magnolias is on TV twenty-four/seven.”
Kim tossed the periodical in the trash. “What you need is a magazine all about awesome honeymoon destinations. Because when Aaron Marchand says, ‘Will you marry me?’ you say ‘yes.’”
“We’re number two for takeoff,” Aaron’s voice intoned. “Flight attendants, please be seated.”
Summer buckled herself into the jump seat by the bulkhead, facing the passengers in coach. As the plane began to taxi, she automatically “bowed to the cockpit,” tilting her head in the direction of the flight deck as a precaution against whiplash.
As always, she devoted the last moments before takeoff to conducting a mental inventory of the emergency medical equipment and glancing around the cabin for ABAs—able-bodied assistants—who could potentially help out in a crisis.
Then they were lifting off and she was thinking about Aaron. Visualizing a diamond ring and fighting back the sour taste of bile in her throat.
It wasn’t that she didn’t love him. She did love him, more than she’d meant to.
But could she keep his heart without wearing his ring?
She heard a loud bang and felt the plane shudder.
“What was that?” a woman gasped. Passengers started murmuring in both English and French.
Summer put on her best flight attendant face, striving to convey both competence and nonchalance as the passengers looked to her for guidance. Her job was to keep everyone calm and safe. And to figure out what the hell was going on.
The plane continued to gain altitude, but something about the alignment was off. Her stomach lurched as the cabin tilted suddenly.
“Oh my God!” someone screamed. “Fire!”
Summer saw the bright streak of flames out the window and knew, with sickening certainty, that an engine was on fire.
We’re going to die.
Every muscle in her body locked up, and for a long moment, she was frozen. Her mind went blank.
And then years of training overrode her panic. She grabbed the gray plastic interphone next to her seat and dialed the code for the flight deck.
She pressed the receiver to her ear and waited to hear Aaron’s voice, telling her that everything would be fine.
The pilots didn’t pick up.
As soon as she hung up, Kim rang from the galley: “Did you feel that? What’s going on?”
“I’m not sure.” Summer was acutely aware of the panicked gazes of the passengers. “It’s possible one of the engines is damaged.” She lowered her voice. “Fire.”
Kim sucked in her breath. “What did the pilots say?”
“Nothing yet. I tried to reach them, and they’re not picking up.”
Kim didn’t respond to that; she didn’t have to. They both knew what it meant.
Summer put down the phone and concentrated on calming the passengers in coach. “Yes, I felt that, too. Yes, I see the flames. But don’t worry, the pilots have this under control. We’re all trained for this sort of thing and you know, the plane can fly perfectly well with only one engine.”
We’re going to die.
She kept her hand clamped on the interphone, waiting to hear from the flight deck. But there was nothing.
The plane stopped climbing.
Halfway through her breezy explanation of aerospace engineering, the plane tilted sharply and plummeted downward. People started screaming again.
After what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a second or two, the plane leveled off again, and Summer started breathing.
Still no word from the flight deck.
The cabin lights blinked off and the screams faded into tense silence. Her memory summoned snapshots of her past, the proverbial life flashing before her eyes.
She’d seen the northern lights in Sweden and fed baby elephants in Thailand. She’d danced at Carnival in Brazil and gone snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. She’d traveled all over the world having once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
But she’d never had a garden.
She’d never learned to play the piano.
She’d never let herself fall completely in love.
This is the worst bucket list ever.
If she weren’t so petrified, she’d laugh. Pianos were for singing along to and draping oneself across while wearing a sequined gown. And a garden? Really? That was crazy talk. She’d never even wanted a garden.
As for love, well, she could try, right? She could open up and let herself be vulnerable. She could accept Aaron’s marriage proposal and settle down and love happily ever after.
She white-knuckled the vinyl seat cushion and tried to keep a smile on her face. Tried to slow her heartbeat and catch her breath and say something comforting and authoritative.
The plane pitched sideways again and plummeted down through the darkness. The thick shoulder straps of her seat belt bit into her flesh despite the sensation of weightlessness. She heard the rush of her pulse in her ears. She felt a flood of adrenaline coursing through her limbs.
She forced herself to keep her eyes open as she braced her body for the impact she knew was coming.
Two days later
Before she even opened her eyes, Summer could smell roses. The floral perfume was stale and cloying, almost nauseating in the warm, dry hospital air.
She lay motionless while she regained her bearings, mentally reviewing the few facts she’d been able to retain over the past forty-eight hours:
My head is concussed.
My back is burned.
My ribs and spleen are tore up from the floor up.
Walk it off.
She was safe. No matter how many times she repeated that to herself, she still couldn’t quite believe it. Even though she could feel the tissue-thin cotton of the hospital gown on her shoulders and the starched bedsheets against her calves, even though the confusion of the last few days was punctuated with flashbulb memories of doctors and nurses changing her bandages and asking her questions (“Can you tell me your name?” “Can you tell me what year it is?”), she couldn’t recall anything about how she’d gotten from the plane to the hospital.
She remembered prepping for takeoff to Paris. She remembered the bag of M&M’s and Kim teasing her about her shoes and the British passenger who smelled like a distillery. She remembered the plane’s sudden lurch and the screams in the darkness and the acrid smell of smoke. But then there was a gap, a thick and impenetrable mist clouding her memory. All she knew for sure was that she’d been in a New Jersey medical center for two days now, and a dozen red roses had arrived with Aaron’s signature on the card.
So she understood, on a detached, intellectual level, that she was safe. Her body would mend.
Aaron was safe, too. He’d been busy with debriefings and corporate damage control, but he’d be here as soon as he could. In the meantime, he’d sent flowers she could smell even in her sleep.
So now she had to open her eyes, start patching reality back together, and figure out what to do next.
Or at least try to get her hands on some good drugs.
She took a deep breath, wincing as sharp pain shot through her rib cage, and surveyed the tiny private room. Her lips were chapped, her throat parched. There was a plastic tan water pitcher just out of arm’s reach—so close, yet so far—on a low metal table. Various electronic monitors hummed and beeped, and a flimsy shade covered the steel-framed window.
She startled as she heard a soft rustling from across the room. Her neck ached as she turned her head to glimpse a shadowed figure seated in the vinyl recliner next to the door.
“You’re awake,” Aaron’s voice said.
She could hear him, but she couldn’t see him. Just like the moments before takeoff. Overwhelmed by emotions she couldn’t even name, she had to try three times before her dry throat would swallow.
“You’re here.” Her voice came out thin and hoarse.
“I’ve been here all afternoon.” He got to his feet, cutting a striking silhouette in the late afternoon shadows. The handsome hero, straight out of central casting.
She had dated handsome men before. Fascinating, witty men who were long on charisma and short on integrity. They wined and dined her. They enthralled her. They left her at the first sign of trouble.
He was so much more than handsome; he was honest and hardworking and respectful and loyal. The kind of man that every woman hoped for.
Summer had never seen herself as the marrying type, and in fact had strict rules in place: Never stay in one place too long. Never stay with one man too long. She knew what would happen if she broke these rules. If she needed a man more than he needed her. She had experienced the fallout firsthand.
Kim was right. Summer should be able to do this—to grow up and settle down and form lasting attachments. Her friends were all getting married, having babies, buying houses. Being adults. Being normal. They made it look so effortless, this transition from reckless youth into stable families. As if the whole thing couldn’t unravel at any second.
She loved Aaron, he loved her. He had literally saved her life. She should marry him.
“Why didn’t you wake me up?” She struggled to sit up straighter, wincing and reaching for the water pitcher.
“You need your rest.” He intercepted the pitcher and poured lukewarm water into a clear plastic cup. “Ice?”
She shook her head again, heedless of the pain, and gulped the water. Despite the steady drip from the saline IV, her body craved fluid. She felt empty inside, almost hollow.
He adjusted the window shade, and as golden sunlight streamed in, she saw the worry and fatigue etched in the lines of his face. The sparkle in his blue eyes had gone flat, and his devil-may-care grin had given way to an expression of grim resolve. He still wore a crisp navy pilot’s blazer, but he’d unfastened the buttons of his white shirt, and she could see a patch of gauze taped to his collarbone.
And, in that moment, both of them half-hidden and half-revealed in the shadows and sunlight, she sensed something different about him, a subtle shift in the way he looked and spoke to her.
“Come here.” She put down the cup and stretched out her hand to him. “Are you okay? What happened to your shoulder?”
He took a single step in her direction. “Nothing, just a scratch.”
“That’s a pretty impressive bandage for ‘just a scratch.’”
“It’s nothing,” he repeated. “You got banged up pretty good, though. I’ve been calling two or three times a day for updates.” He came closer and smiled down at her. “You look great.”
She tried to laugh, but it came out as a cough. “You lie.”
“It’s the truth.” He brushed a strand of hair back from her cheek. “Not a scratch on that perfect face.”
“Tell that to my spleen.” As she gazed up at him, she felt the same hot rush of attraction she’d experienced the first time she’d met him.
His right hand patted his blazer pocket, then fell away. Reached again and fell away. And then she remembered: the ring.
She picked up her cup as her throat went dry again.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be here with you the whole time,” Aaron said. “But legal had to interrogate me. And then the public relations team had their turn.”
“Oh, yeah. They want to make sure they spin this as a victory against all odds rather than an equipment failure that justifies a lawsuit. I had to go on one of those morning shows yesterday, and tonight, I’m booked for some cable news interviews. Hence, the uniform.”
“I bet you did great. You’re very photogenic, and—” She broke off as his hand drifted back to his pocket.
He rocked back on his heels. “That’s what the public relations team said. They had the first officer go on air with me. Kim, too. Said her Southern accent was good for the company image. They wanted you, too, but . . .”
Summer let her head settle back against the pillow. “I’m an unreliable witness whacked-out on pain pills and prone to passing out.”
“They didn’t use those exact words.” He finally came close enough to kiss her, pressing his lips against the top of her head. “Does that hurt?”
“No.” She tilted her face up so he could kiss her on the mouth. “Thank you for the flowers.” She nodded at the bouquet. The rose petals had gone dark and crisp around the edges.
His hand went all the way into the pocket this time, and he started to extract something before he changed his mind and put it back. “Summer. You know I love you.” He sat down next to her on the bed.
“I love you, too,” she forced out.
“How much do you remember about the landing?” he asked.
She finally drew a breath. “What?”
“The doctors won’t tell me much since I’m just your boyfriend and not your husband.”
She stilled. “Uh-huh.”
“And your family isn’t . . . they’re not returning my calls.” He shifted his weight. “I looked up your dad’s office number on the university Web site. His department secretary said he’s out of town. And your mother . . .”
He gazed at her, a glimmer of pity in his eyes.
Summer lifted her chin and stared at the roses.
He waited for her to respond for another long minute, then gave up. “Anyway, from what I’ve managed to get out of the nurses, you don’t remember much.”
“Yeah.” She laced her fingers together and squeezed, wondering where he was going with this. “Everything after takeoff’s a little hazy. They told me one of the engines blew out?”
He nodded. “I had to make an emergency landing. We didn’t have time to circle and dump the fuel, so things got pretty exciting for a minute, but we made it.”
“Is that why I have burns on my back?”
“Like I said, things got a little exciting.”
“But you saved us,” she said. “You’re a hero.”
“You’re the hero,” he corrected. “Once we got back on the ground, people were trying to get out the emergency doors, and a little boy fell in the aisle. You managed to push back the crowd and pull him up.”
Summer suddenly wanted an extra dose of morphine. “I let go of the door handle?”
Aaron nodded. “That’s how you got hurt. You fell onto the tarmac.”
“Which is why we’re not supposed to let go of the door handle.” Summer shook her head. “That’s like, flight attendant 101.” She closed her eyes and concentrated, sifting through her consciousness for any recollection. “I really . . . I can’t remember any of that.”
“The whole thing was over in less than five minutes,” Aaron said. “But those five minutes changed everything.” He reached into his pocket.
She held her breath and waited for him to produce the ring.
And waited. And waited.
He continued to look at her with that wistful expression. “I do love you, Summer.”
“I love you, too.” She smiled. “We’re even.”
He stood up and turned his back to her. “There’s so many things I want to say to you, and I don’t know where to begin.”
She couldn’t stand this any longer. “I know about the ring, Aaron.”
He froze, then turned to face her. “You do?”
“Kim told me everything.” She waited for him to look up.
“Okay, then.” His hand moved back to his pocket. “Kim was right. There was a ring.”
“‘Was’? Past tense?”
He caught her gaze and held it. “When I said I love you, I meant it. I’ve loved every minute we’ve spent together. You’re fun, you’re spontaneous, you make me laugh.”
“Okay,” she said faintly. “But . . . ?”
“I love you. But I don’t love you enough.”
She went perfectly still.
He watched her face. “Say something.”
She took a moment, cleared her throat. “You’re breaking up with me?”
He lifted his shoulders and blew out a breath. “I’ve been carrying that ring around for months.”
Her stomach clenched. “Months?”
“I wanted to ask you to marry me. I really did. But it never seemed to be the right time. And after a while . . .”
“You were going to propose in Paris,” she insisted. “It would have been perfect.”
“It would’ve,” he agreed. “But we didn’t make it to Paris. And maybe that’s a sign.” He turned his face away. “Please don’t take this personally. My whole life has changed in the last few days. I’ve realized that all the clichés are true. Life is short. We can’t do things halfway. And you and I, we had fun, but we’re not marriage material. There’s something missing. I wish I could explain it better, but I can’t.”
She took her time sipping the lukewarm water.
“You’ll be fine.” He couldn’t even look at her. “You’re the strongest woman I know.”
Walk it off.
At this, Summer finally regained her voice.
“Go.” Her voice came out flat and low. “Just go.”
“I’m sorry.” He reached for her, but she flinched away.
“Don’t apologize,” she said. “I don’t want apologies. I don’t want explanations. I just want you to go.”
Still, he hesitated.
Her voice got louder, sharper. “Please.”
As the door closed behind him, she felt the prickle of tears in her eyes, but she managed to compose herself. Aaron was right about her strength—she had always been resourceful and resilient. When life got hard, she didn’t stop—she put one foot in front of the other, moving faster and farther until she pushed through the pain.
She would survive this, she knew. She always did.
And in the end, Aaron wasn’t the one who got away. He was the one who reminded her of everything she’d been trying to get away from.
The room seemed to close in on her. She couldn’t bear to stay here, confined, inhaling the scent of dying roses with every breath. So she did the only thing she could, under the circumstances: She hit the call button and when the nurse arrived, she announced, “Bring the consent forms or whatever I need to sign. I’m discharging myself, effective immediately.”
Before the nurse could start arguing, the door swung wide again and a firm, feminine voice rang through the room: “Simmer down, crazycakes. No one’s going anywhere.”
This time, Summer couldn’t hold back her tears. “Emily?”