Not having the use of a leg, or being in pain, is really rough. I also think that losing a limb has to be one of the toughest things to handle, both physically and emotionally. You have to learn to depend on others, which isn't fun. Pair that with being in the limelight, and I considered that to be a plot that included major conflict from the beginning.
Thus, 'With My Whole Heart' was born. My youngest daughter did the cover, and loved the color black. I first thought it was too dark, but considering how the heroine felt at the beginning, it kind of made sense. Her life was coming to an end, not literally, but figuratively. She was a model and needed her leg. She also knew she could fool the public only a bit, because they'd figure it out...and they did, in a big way.
So enjoy this excerpt of 'With My Whole Heart,' and realize that not all heroines in romance novels are perfect.
Model Kari Ormond is at the top of her profession when her life is devastated by a horrific accident. Battling tears of shame and agony of disfigurement, she meets Grant Jordan, a handsome physical therapist who takes a special interest in her case.
But beneath the surface, Grant bears deep scars of his own.
Will they be able to heal each other, or both be condemned to a life of loneliness?
Kari looked up at the brick rehab facility as she was wheeled toward the front door. With millions in the bank, she could own this rehab business. But after the car accident, everything changed. She didn't know if she'd ever work again. Her left leg had been amputated below the knee and now her future seemed bleak while she was still unwilling to accept her situation. She knew she'd have to conform to what society wanted her to be—an amputee, ostracized with no future—when she just wanted to live life like a normal person. With her drive and personality, she was determined to take control of her future, or at least let everyone think she had.
While the orderly pushed the wheelchair down the long hallway, she studied the plain white walls inside the facility with her tears trailing past her lashes. Located in Santa Monica, northwest of Los Angeles, California, she was a few blocks from the hospital where they'd performed her amputation. Even though the doctors had tried, they couldn't save her leg after the accident and now she was facing the most important challenge of her life.
"This is your new home for the next few months," the orderly said. He was a large man, void of all emotion in his voice. He'd probably taken so many patients to their beds, like wheeling them to the guillotine that he had to detach himself from feeling the patient's pain. But how someone could get used to such a long depressing walk was beyond her. She didn't want to die and she certainly didn't want to be in the rehab center. However, she had to make the best of it because she had to walk again, never letting the world know of her disability.
"Thank you," she uttered as the tears trickled down her cheeks. The emotions of being in this place overwhelmed Kari. Would she be able to walk? Could she resume her life? It was scary in her mind, just contemplating failure and probably a life on the street, begging for help after her money ran out.
The orderly wheeled her into a room with six beds, all but two beds filled. Kari assumed they were all amputees, but wasn't sure. She kept asking herself if she was seen as less of a person, even though she felt the same. From the way people treated her, she felt broken and could never be fixed. Rehab felt like a place where they threw discarded people. With her brown hair and green eyes, she was usually considered striking. However, that missing leg would damage her entire career.
The bright June sunlight streamed in to cover the room as the orderly wheeled her to a bed on the right side, next to the window at the far end of the room. Once he stopped the wheelchair, the orderly lifted her slight body to the blue blanket, sitting her down on the bed with her foot and partial limb dangling off the side.
"You're a light thing," he said, moving both her legs to the bed. "You need to eat more."
"No. I'm a top model…at least I was a top model." She wiped her cheeks. "I was famous for my walk, but now…" She pointed toward her missing leg. "Now, I just have pain from something that doesn't even exist."
The man offered her a fake smile. "It's not as bad as you think."
"That's easy for you to say. You're not disabled."
"You'll be fine. You'll see." He spun the wheelchair around and left the room while whistling.
How could someone be so upbeat in such a dreary place?
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