Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

All she wants is a chance - California Sunrise by Casey Dawes

Alicia’s son, Luis, may be suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, but he’s too young for a definitive answer. She’s struggling with his care, holding down a job, and going to school. All she wants is a chance to stand on her own two feet.


Release Date: June 15th, 2015

Alicia’s son, Luis, may be suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, but he’s too young for a definitive answer. She’s struggling with his care, holding down a job, and going to school. All she wants is a chance to stand on her own two feet.

Dr. Raul Mendez lost everything at sixteen when the rest of his non-US-citizen family was deported. In spite of depression that has dogged his life, he’s managed to become a pediatrician with a specialty in childhood development. Alicia brings something special into his life, but their opposing points of view may keep them from ever finding love.

"The characters are intense, strong and have such wonderful interactions. Healing from within ones self is the only way to move forward and find your true passion and happiness. I always enjoy reading books by Casey Dawes but this one was truly remarkable!" - Goodreads, Linda Rimer


Raúl pushed open the door to the examining room.

The petite woman standing by the child on the examining table turned.

The strong bones of her face, full lips, and dark eyes matched the structure of her body. Attractive. Not that he was looking for anyone right now.

“Are you Dr. Mendez?” she asked.

“Sí. And you are”—he checked the chart—“Alicia Fuentes.”

The boy on the table squirmed and let out a howl.

Raúl glanced back at the chart. No medical problem stood out, but the young woman had been to several doctors, including specialists at Stanford. Was it some type of Munchausen syndrome, or was there a legitimate illness?

“What seems to be the problem?” he asked.

“Luis is difficult.”

He was tempted to tell her all children were difficult, but the set of her jaw stopped him short. “In what way?” He leaned back against the counter, his interest piqued by what she might have to say. If the child wasn’t simply a fussy baby, it might be a chance to increase his behavioral development experience.

“He mixes up his days—sleeps during the day and wants to be up all night. He’s a fussy eater. I practically have to hand-feed him. He doesn’t seem to sit up well. And temper tantrums! I know all children have them, but his seem worse than other kids’. My grandmother says she’s never seen anything like it.” Snapping her mouth shut, she stared at him, as if defying him to tell her there was nothing wrong, that her child was normal.

In that instant, he knew there wasn’t anything normal about Luis.

Although he hadn’t seen a wedding ring, he asked the question anyway. “How is he with his father?”

“I’m a single mom.” Her chin went up. “He never sees his father.”

A too common answer. His heart crinkled with sadness for her and anger at the boy’s father. “He has no contact with his son?”


The finality in her voice warned him not to pursue the subject.

He ignored the warning.

“It must be very difficult for you, especially so young.”

“I’m eighteen.” She made her age sound as if she were in her mid-thirties.

He hid a smile. “The baby is twelve months, correct? What have the other doctors told you?”

“They don’t know what’s wrong. He’s too young for certain tests. They can’t help me.” Defeat crept into her words, and her shoulders slumped, but then she rallied and looked him straight in the eye. “I’m told you can."

He hoped her confidence wasn’t misplaced. “Why don’t you take a seat, and I’ll take a look at your son?”

“Do you have children, Dr. Mendez?” She moved toward the chair but didn’t sit.

“Me? No. I’ve never been married.”

“Brothers and sisters?”

“Yes. Older brothers. Why do you ask?”

“It seems odd for a single man to be a pediatrician.”

“Like many of us, I come from a large, extended family. Lots of cousins. Lots of different problems—some the normal hazards of being a kid, some brought on by poverty. Giving kids a healthy start is a way to help our people.” He looked down at Luis and put his stethoscope in his ears. “Now let’s see what’s up with you, little man.

Alicia’s heart ached as she walked to her fourth-hand sedan. Damn Graciela! First she’d stolen her boyfriend, Eduardo, by filling him with lies about her sexual activity and now she was making her look bad in front of the doctor.

If only she were a child and could get away with ripping the bitch’s hair out.

When she reached the car, she yanked open the door. The hinges squealed.

Plunking herself down in the driver’s seat, she pulled the protesting door closed and rolled down the windows to let air into the stuffy vehicle.

“Alicia! Wait!” Dr. Mendez jogged toward the car. Even as angry as she was, she noted the easy way he covered ground.

The doctor placed his hands on the car door and leaned down, the piney scent of his aftershave slipping into the car, an advance scout of his intentions.

“Don’t let her get to you,” he said.

“I’m not.”

The June heat scorched the inside of the car.

Hell is for those who lie within fifteen minutes of Mass.

“I meant what I said about meeting you for coffee. I’d like to give you all the help I can with Luis.” The doctor swallowed.


He raked his hand through his hair. “I told you—getting to know how Luis responds to different techniques will help my other patients, too.” He hesitated, as if unsure what to say next.

“Do you do this for all your patients?”

“I do what I can for all my patients.” He looked off toward the mountains, then leaned back down, a shadow in his eyes. “One of my cousins had Asperger’s. Of course, we didn’t know what it was in those days; we just knew he was difficult. His parents had a tough go of it with him.”

Unsaid words permeated the air. You’re a single mother.

“I’ll manage. I have my grandmother. The book’s very useful. Thanks for the loan. I’m sure I can figure it out, even if I only have a high school diploma.” Who knew what nonsense Graciela had told him.

“Alicia, I didn’t mean it that way.” His hand gripped the windowsill. “Look, you said you wanted to be the best mother you could for Luis.”

She shifted her gaze to the steering wheel and nodded.

“So meet me for coffee. I know you can read the book. I want to hear what reaction Luis has to the things you try. Think of it as doing me a favor.”

What if what he learned from her made another woman’s life easier? Maybe it would be worth having coffee with him, as awkward as it might be. And the inevitable gossip.

“People might talk—see more than coffee. Watsonville’s a small town.”

“Will that bother you?”

“They’ll think what they want anyway.” She shrugged. “If it’ll help, I’ll show up. Where will you be?”

“Let me have your number, and I’ll call you tomorrow.” He pulled out his cell phone.

She gave it to him. “Thanks, Dr. Mendez.”

“Raúl, please. If we’re going to scandalize the community by having coffee, the least you can do is call me by my first name.” He smiled at her.

“Okay ... Raúl.” Their gazes held for a few seconds longer.

About the author:

Casey Dawes has lived a varied life--some by choice, some by circumstance. Her master’s degree in theater didn’t prepare her for anything practical, so she’s been a teacher, stage hand, secretary, database guru, manager in Corporate America, business coach, and writer.

With a few marriages, two sons, and three step-children, her personal life was a challenge when she met and married her current husband who has proved to be the love of her life. They reside in Montana where she quilts, writes, and coaches on the banks of the Clark Fork River. The couple has been adopted by two gently used cats.

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1 comment:

Jan Lee said...

Instagram should not be an entry to open a rafflecopter since not everyone has (or can afford) a smart phone to be able to get an Instagram account.