ER nurse Sloane Ferrell escaped her risky past—new name, zip code, job, and a fresh start. She’s finally safe, if she avoids a paper trail and doesn’t let people get too close. Like the hospital’s too-smooth marketing man with his relentless campaign to plaster one “lucky” employee’s face on freeway billboards.
Micah Prescott’s goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive Sloane Ferrell.
Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane’s past.
Can hope spring from crisis?
~ Excerpt ~
Beautiful and immediately hostile. One glimpse told Micah he’d underestimated this challenge.
“I should have known you were behind it,” Sloane said, finding him sitting alone in Fiona’s office. “Is our PIO even coming? Or was this a diversion tactic?”
Sloane crossed her arms. “Because you figured I wouldn’t come if I knew it was you.”
“No . . .” She was right; the meeting was Micah’s idea. But right now he was more concerned that this hostility was . . . personal? It sure felt like it. He pulled out an adjacent chair, expecting her to refuse it. She didn’t disappoint. Color infused her cheeks. Attractive if she wasn’t assuming a battle stance. “There’s no ‘tactic.’ Fiona called us both here.”
“And . . .?” She glanced around.
“She just texted me. She’ll be late. She said to make ourselves at home. There’s coffee. And that tray of muffins.”
Sloane’s dark brows pinched. “Seriously? Muffins?”
Micah cleared his throat, more surprised by her disrespect for baked goods than for his offer of seating. Hospital staff were notorious snackers; ask any sharp sales rep. It wasn’t as if he’d asked her to nibble crumbs from his palm, for crying out loud. “Look, I didn’t call the meeting, but I’m sure you’ve guessed it’s about the incident with that girl.”
“I gave a full report to the police.”
That was a stretch. Micah overheard the detective complain he’d once prodded more information from a troupe of mimes.
“Fiona’s responsibility is to the hospital,” he explained, rising from his chair. He realized immediately that it was a mistake; she probably viewed it as n intimidation tactic. He was taller by a head—and she’d just squared her shoulders. “A PIO needs to be able to relay information to the media, answer queries.”
“Have there been?” There was the faintest suggestion of nervousness in Sloane’s expression. “Queries?”
“I think so—I know so,” Micah told her honestly. “I had a call from the Times and referred it to Fiona. I believe she received a couple of calls directly. My best guess is that at least a dozen witnesses called 911 from our parking lot. it stirs things up. And requires Fiona to make a statement that both speaks the truth and presents the hospital in the most positive light. A big part of PIO’s job is to put a face on the organization.”
Sloane frowned. “You seem to be obsessed with faces.”
And you want to fight. Not going to oblige. Micah made himself take a slow breath, a crisis team method borrowed from combat training. Who knew he’d need it to deal with a nurse?
“I think,” he said finally, “what Fiona will want is simple statement. But moreover, she’d like to be able to personalize it with something about you. ‘Sloane Ferrell, skilled and compassionate LA Hope nuse, going above and beyond the call of duty.’ Something like that.”
“Because it’s good press.”
“Because you did a good thing, Sloane. I told you that before—I meant it.” Micah met her gaze directly and saw the suspicion there. “Sure, it would be good press. But it’s also good news at a time when there’s bad news everywhere you turn.” He thought of the crisis team tagline: “When tragedy strikes, we’re there.” “What’s wrong with taking some personal credit for a good deed? Sharing it with the public?”
“So if it’s not public—if I don’t share—it doesn’t count.”
“I’m not saying that.” Micah couldn’t curb the frustration in his tone. He was getting nowhere. “But maybe you could look t it a different way. On a more practical level. You’re a new hire. It doesn’t hurt to impress the powers that be. You did a great thing for that girl. Some people are even saying it was heroic. Maybe it’s only fair that it also helps you and—”
“Stop,” Sloane warned, her face coloring again. She took a step toward Micah. “That girl didn’t stay long enough to get a Band-Aid. There was nothing ‘great’ about what I did. It didn’t change her life, and a dumb-luck incident in a hospital parking lot won’t ever change mine. It’s not like one random event can just pop things back into perfect alignment.”
A faraway look came into Sloane’s eyes, one that Micah had seen before. With trauma victims. What was going on with this woman?
~ My Review ~
Candace Calvert has done it again! Her previous release in this series, Step By Step, was one my highlights of 2016 (in a very busy reading year for me, I might add), and I have been anticipating Sloane’s story ever since. That’s a whole twelve months of anticipation to live up to, people; after a book that’s a pretty tough act to follow. But, by George, she did it. She drew my heart right in and wrung the tears out all over again.
You don’t have to have read the previous book in the series to pick this one up, but reading it first will give you a deeper appreciation of the fact that Sloane’s life has been no bed of roses. She has some pretty tough walls for Micah to breach—for anyone to breach, really—and so their friendship took a little while to get going; but in the meantime, we get a great feel for the complex person that is Sloane Ferrell. She may be cynical and difficult to get to know, but she’s also the first person to go above and beyond the call of duty as a nurse when she recognises another person suffering under the weight of their own irresponsibility.
Micah… What can I say? He melted my heart so many times, which made his character journey—particularly in the last third of the book—especially affecting; because despite his strengths, he lets himself down when it matters most and must confront a weakness he didn’t even know he had. I don’t want to say any more than that for fear of giving spoilers, but I do have to say that his speech to the hospital review panel toward the end had me sobbing, particularly his closing remarks. I’m tearing up just typing about it!
And I think that’s one the things I appreciate most about Candace Calvert’s writing. She builds her characters’ journeys so well, lays the foundations so thoroughly throughout the story, that at the most critical moments, all she has to write is one or two well-chosen lines, and BAM! You’re hit with the significance of the moment without any further explanation. Your heart fills in the rest (and occasionally swells to overflowing, leaking out through your tear-ducts!)
It is impossible not to get thoroughly caught up in this story—and I haven’t even covered the half of it: the teen girl who snags Sloane’s attention, the suspense (which particularly ramps up in the second half of the novel), Marty the kitten, and the many layers of meaning behind ‘Hope’ hospital and its ‘Maybe it’s you’ campaign.
If I don’t stop now, this review might never end, so I’ll just close by saying Maybe It’s You is poignant, heartfelt, and full of hope. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review.
Release date: 3 February 2017
~ Previous Books in the Series ~
Read my review for Step By Step.
~ About the Author ~
Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse and author of the Mercy hospital series—Critical Care, Disaster Status, and Code Triage—the Grace Medical series—Trauma Plan, Rescue Team, and Life Support—and the Crisis Team series—By Your Side, Step by Step, and Maybe It’s You. Her medical dramas offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, Candace makes her home in northern California.