The book is out on August 1.
Cynthia Marcum tapped the mouse of her laptop. Her emails came into view. Scanning them, she paused when she saw one from Dr. Sean Donavon. Her body tingled in anticipation. Why would he be emailing her? Her interactions had always been with his staff. Had she done something wrong?
She had been doing Dr. Donavon’s transcription for just over a month now. He was an otolaryngologist and one of five surgeons she typed dictation for in the metropolitan Birmingham, Alabama area. The pay was so good she’d added him to her client list despite already having a full load. She could use the money. Her brothers, Mark and Rick were always in need of something costing at least a hundred dollars.
The money wasn’t the only thing she enjoyed about working for the mystery doctor. She loved the sound of his voice. It drew her in. She always saved his tapes for last. His deep resonating tone was smooth and silky like warm chocolate. It brought to mind a cool night with rain tapping against a tin roof and him pulling her close.
Her imagination worked over time where Dr. Donovan was concerned. She couldn’t get enough of listening to him, often playing his tapes back more than once. Even all the medical-ezes sounded erotic when he uttered them.
She often wondered if he looked like he sounded. All dark and sexy.
A ‘humph’ escaped her. Yeah, more like short and bald. That had happened one time when she had met a radio DJ. Based on his voice she’d built him up into this young, buff guy who every woman would want. Unfortunately, he turned out to be a short, middle-aged man with a gray ponytail. To say she had been disappointed was an understatement.
Listening to Dr. Donavan, had become her romantic outlet. Since she currently had no one special in her life, hearing his voice had filled that void. She’d been in a relationship when her parents died. Wedding bells with Dave didn’t seem too far off, then life happened. Her parents’ estate issues, the needs of her brothers and everything in between worked against the commitment continuing.
Dave soon began complaining that she wasn’t spending enough time with him. It then went into, “I didn’t sign on to help raise two teenage boys.” Finally, he told her he had found someone else. In a way Cynthia was relieved. He just didn’t share her mind set about the importance of family. He didn’t understand her or the necessity of keeping her family together at all cost.
After they broke up, she didn’t try to have another solid relationship. She dated a few times but never let the guys close enough to matter. Usually, when they found out she was responsible for her brothers, they quickly backed away. Now wasn’t the time for a man and she’d accepted that. Sadly, until the boys were situated in life she would just have to get her thrills from listening to Dr. Donovan. And he was well worth listening to.
Her finger hovered over the computer mouse. Would his emails be just as amazing? Yeah right. She’d been without a man far too long when fantasy started overtaking reality. She clicked the email, opening it.
The black words against the white screen read:
HELLO MS. MARCUM. MY OFFICE MANAGER GAVE ME YOUR NAME AS THE PERSON WHO HAS BEEN PREPARING MY TRANSCRIPTION. I’M IMPRESSED WITH YOUR WORK. THE REASON I’M CONTACTING YOU IS THAT I AM CURRENTLY IN THE MIDDLE OF PUTTING TOGETHER A GRANT PROPOSAL AND NEED TO HAVE SOME EXTRA REPORTS TRANSCRIBED OVER THE NEXT THREE WEEKS. I WANTED TO KNOW IF YOU WOULD BE WILLING TO TAKE ON THE ADDITIONAL WORK. OF COURSE I WILL COMPENSIATE YOU FOR YOUR TIME. I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR HELP.
Nope. Nothing sexy there. But he sounded nice. Considerate. In her mind she could almost hear him say the words. Cynthia reread the message. There wasn’t much time in her days. Taking on more work might be difficult. This was Rick’s senior year in high school so what extra hours she had were spent going to his activities. Yet the extra money Dr. Donavon offered would help pay for Mark’s college tuition that was coming due soon.
Plus, she liked to keep her clients happy. Took pride in her work. So far that hadn’t been a problem with any of her employers. And she would get to listen to his voice more often. But if she didn’t agree to Dr. Donavon request would he take all his work elsewhere? She couldn’t afford to let that happen.
Moving the cursor to the reply button, she clicked and typed:
I’M GLAD YOU’RE PLEASED WITH MY WORK. MY TIME IS TIGHT AT PRESENT BUT I’LL DO MY BEST TO FIT IN ANY EXTRA REPORTS YOU SEND. I DON’T KNOW HOW QUICK OF A TURNAROUND TIME I CAN PROMISE YOU BUT I WILL MAKE IT AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE.
Scanning the message, she made sure she had used the correct tone then clicked send. She didn’t want to lose his business but couldn’t overextend herself either. Her brothers, her family, took priority-always. The up side was if there was enough money from the extra work maybe she could start looking for a new car. Hers was on its last leg. She grinned. More like last tire.
Since she had left nursing school to become a fulltime transcriptionist she’d gained a reputation as being competent and professional. It had been difficult to build a client list. She’d been tickled to add Dr. Donavon. As a surgeon, he produced plenty of work to keep her busy. He also paid better than her other clients. Getting to enjoy his voice almost daily was an added perk.
“Hey Cyn,” Rick called. His tall lanky body appeared in the doorway of the small front room of their house she used as an office. He wore his usual uniform of jeans and well-worn t-shirt. “I’m going over to Joey’s house.”
Cynthia swiveled in the chair to face him. “Do you have that project done?”
“Almost.” He put up a hand stopping her from saying more. “I’ll have it finished tomorrow and it isn’t due for another week. Don’t worry I have all As.”
“Yeah, but you don’t want that to slip. That scholarship you’re after depends on it.”
Rick waved a hand at her. “You worry too much. See ya.”
Seconds later the back door squeaked open and slammed closed.
She did worry. That had been her full-time job since her parents had died in that devastating car accident. She’d become sole guardian of her two teenage brothers when she was only a few years older than them. It hadn’t been easy for any of them but they were making it.
Her father had told her more than once, “Cynthia, family is everything. You have to support your family.” She lived by that motto. She would honor her parents by seeing that her brothers had a good start in the world. Once they were settled, she would go back to school and think about her own future. She missed that carefree time when she’d been on her own. The times she hadn’t had to considered her brothers before she did something as simple as go out for the night.
The three of them had inherited the house, but there was still day to day expenses. Those came out of her paycheck. Her parents had left some money but it wouldn’t last long if she tapped into it. What her parents had left them was for the boy’s higher education or to help them buy their own place.
Enough pondering. She had work to finish. Glancing at her email list one last time, she saw that there was a new note from Dr. Donavon. She opened it.
I CAN’T SAY THANK YOU ENOUGH. I’LL ELCTRONICAL SEND OVER THE DICATON THIS AFTERNOON. I WILL NEED THESE BY MONDAY MORNING. IS THAT DOABLE? IF YOU CAN GET THEM DONE BY THEN I WILL OWE YOU BIG TIME.
She could imagine the smile on his face when he read her email. She liked that she’d made him happy. But work so soon. This weekend. He really must be in a hurry. Well, she knew what her plans were for tonight and tomorrow morning.
I WILL DO MY BEST TO HAVE THEM READY BY MONDAY.
Seconds later came back:
YOU’RE A LIFE SAVER.
Cynthia wasn’t sure she could be anyone else’s life saver. She was already taking care of more people than she could manage now. Taking on someone else might sink her boat. What would it be like to have someone take care of her for a change?
The kitchen door opened and slammed shut. “Cyn?” Mark, who was just six years younger than her called.
He flopped into the cushion chair beside her desk and flung a leg over the arm.
“So how did it go today?” Cynthia asked.
“I’m going to quit.”
His blunt statement wasn’t unexpected. She leaned toward him, gripping the arms of her chair. Her parents had wanted them all to get a college education. She been fighting Mark’s apathy about doing that for months now. The weight of doing so was starting to get to her. “Why?”
“College doesn’t get you anywhere.” Mark spoke to the floor instead of her.
This was one of those times when she wished she had some backup, someone to turn to. She refused to let her voice rise. “You know Mom and Dad wouldn’t like that.”
“Yeah. But it’s not for me.”
Cynthia moved the chair to face him more directly. “Then what’re you going to do?”
He shrugged and continued to looked at that floor. “I don’t know.”
That wasn’t a good plan. “Well, you’re going to have to figure something out.”
Mark jumped to his feet. “Get off my back. You’re not my parent. We can’t all be Rick.” He stomped from the room.
She sighed. Could the day get any better? Mark’s statement hurt on a number of levels. Cynthia missed her parents too. That was why she took her guardianship responsibilities seriously. Wanted to do the best by them. And no, she was not Mark’s parent. If the situation was different she would prefer just being his sister.
His dictation arrived in her transcription systems’ end box right before dinner. The work could wait until after dinner. Her parents had made the evening meal time important and she continued the practice. Her brothers knew that if possible they were expected at home at six during the week so they could spend some time together.
Two hours later she pulled her chair up to her desk. This wasn’t the way she’d planned to spend Friday night, but she would get over it. Doing what had must be done had become a part of her life. She’d have Dr. Donavon’s work to him Monday morning hoping to impress.
She clicked the dictation inbox and Dr. Donavon’s voice filled her ears. It didn’t take long for her to forget about how tired she was or the amount of house work that needed doing and start enjoying the rich deepness of his voice. If she had to work on Friday night, there were worse jobs to have than one that involve having the sound of a sexy voice in her ear.
After lunch Monday, Sean settled in behind his desk at his clinic office. Pushing his chair back and putting his feet on his desk, he crossed his ankles and got comfortable. He didn’t usually reread all his reports but in this instance, he couldn’t afford not to. The grant was too important.
His future depended on it. Not to mention the quality of life for his patients, for the vast number of patients who would have their hearing improved and those of other ears, nose and throat doctors as well. With the grant he could continue his research and make that difference.
With the success of his procedure and the patent of a new instrument he would also be financially set for life. He knew too well what it was like being without and he’d vowed never to feel that way again. He’d heard some people call it the Scarlet O’Hara syndrome. He just called it smart.
Long ago he’d hired a financial planner. He was determined not to live paycheck to paycheck as his parents had, wondering if there would be enough cash to pay the bills or buy food. While growing up, more than once he’d been unable to participate with his friends in an activity because there hadn’t been funds. His parents had been and still were the types to fall in with the next big money making scheme which always cost them money instead of making them rich as they claimed they one day would be. There had been multi-level marketing, investing in commercial ventures or selling the next great vitamin product. Nothing seemed to work but they were always ‘in’ for the chance it might.
Sean hated any part of that way of life. Money shouldn’t be squandered. Instead it should be saved and invested. He was determined to do just that. Their attitude toward paying their bills and handling finances embarrassed him. Their philosophy about life was so different from his that they found little in common. Because of that he’d not seen them in almost a year. Even then visits had been short. He wasn’t interested in hearing about the next get rich plan.
The one thing about his new breakthrough was that it would allow him to put away enough money to support his parents in their old age. He was confident that they would need his help. Despite his bitter feelings about his childhood he would take care of them. No matter what, they were his parents.
Now he only had to get the grant documentation in order. The submission must be flawless. The competition was tight, right down to the written documents. Even the smallest element could make a difference between him or someone else receiving the grant.
Picking up his iPad, he pulled up his most recent reports and started reading. Halfway through the first one he was pleased to find not a single mistake. Not that he really expected one but he couldn’t be too careful. Ms. Marcum had done a superb job and certainly in a timely manner. He should tell her so.
When his last transcriptionist had taken another position she’d given his office manager Ms. Marcum’s name along with a glowing reference. Because he didn’t have time to waste completing the grant he’d told his office manager to hire her without further question. He wasn’t known for making snap decisions. Thankfully that one had been a smart one. He didn’t know what would have happened to his grant submission if she hadn’t been willing to take on the additional work.
Now he needed to make sure he kept her. He couldn’t have her quitting just when he needed her the most. He didn’t have time to waste hiring another especially when there was no guarantee that the next person would be any good. His manager had already said they were lucky to get this one. He needed his dictation done in a timely manner and she had proven she could do that.
Pulling up his email he entered Cynthia Marcum’s address. Her name made her sound like a middle age matron. It didn’t matter what she looked like. What concerned him was the quality of his papers and keeping her typing them.
I HAVE REVIEWED YOUR REPORTS AND I’M VERY PLEASE WITH YOUR WORK. THANK YOU ALSO FOR GETTING THEM TO ME IN SUCH A TIMELY MANNER. I WAS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED TO LEARN THEY WERE WAITING ON ME WHEN I RETURNED TO MY OFFICE AFTER COMING OUT OF SURGERY TODAY. I CAN’T SAY ENOUGH ABOUT HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE YOUR EFFORTS. I HOPE IT’S STILL OKAY TO SEND YOU ADDITIONAL WORK.
Without hesitation he clicked the send button.