Authors: Taryn Plendl
A Part of Me
Book # 2 in the Philadelphia Series.
You don’t always need a chance at a new beginning. Sometimes you just need a chance at a different ending.
Tom and Talia aren’t strangers. They’ve been walking a tight rope of attraction since the day they met, but after an accident rocks Tom’s world to the core and changes it forever, he spirals into a free fall of emotions. No longer the laid-back, happy guy, he now worries that he will never be enough for Talia. After all, who could possibly love such a broken man?
Talia is a tenacious ER nurse by day and a fun-loving loyal friend and party girl by night. Her developing feelings for Tom are put to the test after his accident as she fights to break through his walls and show him how much she cares, even as he continues to build them back up, determined to keep her out.
As Talia tries to take care of Tom, stronger feelings emerge for both, and neither of them will come out untouched. Everything they thought they knew about themselves and each other will be put to the test as they finally realize it isn’t important how many times you fall down, but only how many times you get back up.
A PART OF ME
BOOK 2 IN THE PHILADELPHIA SERIES
BY TARYN PLENDL
A Part of Me
All rights reserved
Text Copyright © 2013 by Taryn Plendl
This is a work of fiction. Any similarities of characters to actual persons, living or dead are purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, copied in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise transmitted without written permission from the publisher. You must not circulate this book in any format with exception to Amazon Prime’s Kindle Owners Lending Library.
A special thanks to my sister Danielle who is always brutally honest when reading my books in attempt to keep her little sister from making a fool of herself.
Table of Contents
Teaching could be exhausting to begin with, but teaching health to ninth graders, well that could make you downright suicidal.
I longed for the earlier days of explaining the food groups and nutrition from the beginning of the year. Even the alcohol, tobacco and drugs lessons were a cake walk compared to the reproductive system, which we would be covering until the end of the year. There was something about the words penis and vagina that made fifteen year olds completely digress.
Six different classes and I felt like I’d just spent the entire day talking to classes filled with my friend Nick. I was beginning to think that he never made it past the novelty of this lesson either. Three more weeks of this. I really wasn’t sure I was going to make it either.
I packed up my things for the day and headed across the parking lot to the field for practice. My JV soccer team was amazing this year. We had a lot of raw talent, and if they continued to play with the passion they had up to this point, I could almost guarantee that most of them would be moving up to Varsity next year.
Soccer had always been my outlet. I loved the never ending excitement and ever changing game. It was exhilarating and unpredictable, and gave me a rush like nothing else. Both Nick and I had played at the college level while Trevor focused on martial arts. Now Trevor seemed to focus mostly on Ava. It was great to see him so happy. He and Nick were like brothers to me, and Ava was a perfect match for Trevor, she didn’t put up with his shit. We all needed a girl like that.
Meeting Trevor and Nick my freshman year in college was a Godsend. My parents had died in the middle of my freshman year in college in a plane crash. My dad had been piloting small planes for as long as I could remember. He was good—always cautious. In the end it wasn’t enough. You can’t control mechanical failures; you can only try to get through them. I lost my whole family when that plane went down. I was the only child of two only children. Trevor and Nick were the only family I had now. They day their plane went down, I was hanging out at the apartment with Trevor and Nick. I don’t know what I would’ve done if they hadn’t been there when I got the call. I was in shock, and they both took over, doing what needed to be done and making sure I had what I needed. The days that followed were like walking through a dark, cold tunnel that seemed to go on forever. When my parents died, I quickly realized that friendship isn't about how long you've known someone; it’s about who came into your life and never left your side.
I dropped the bag of balls at the splintering wooden bench and started kicking them out to the team to pass around. It was Friday, so I planned on giving them a lighter day, considering they won their game yesterday. The day was beautiful now. The sun shone through the sparse clouds, bathing the field with the warmth of spring. The trees were blooming and the smell of freshly mowed grass floated through the air. It was going to be like pulling teeth to get these boys to focus today.
I blew the loud whistle. “Run drills, switching at the whistle.” The boys scattered around the field like ants searching for food, giving me a sense of pride as I watched them.
The vibrations radiating from my phone on the side of my hip startled me with an incoming call. I raised the phone to my ear, pausing to blow the whistle. “Hey Nick. What’s up?”
“Are you coming to the club tonight with us?”
“I’m not sure. Will it just be the five of us?” Trevor and Ava had always included both Nick and I as well as her best friend Talia. We had all become fast friends and I had a great time with them, but I felt like I had been dragged through the mud today. I had half the mind to just go home and crash.
“Just four. Talia is working the ER tonight.” He explained, pretty much solidifying my decision. I loved going to the clubs to begin with, but when Talia was there it took the fun to a whole new level. She was so witty and sarcastic and she put Nick in his place repeatedly. It was awesome! She had a body that wouldn’t quit, and moving with her on the dance floor was like coming home. I could almost feel her against me just thinking about it. If she wasn’t going to be there, I would probably just go home and relax for the night.
“I think I might stay in tonight. I spent the day teaching the female reproductive system to a bunch of fourteen and fifteen year olds. My mind is really not functioning on adult levels at the moment.” I chuckled.
“Nice!” Nick laughed. “I’m in the wrong field. The most exciting topic for me today was liabilities and expenses.” He groaned. “Alright, no backing out tomorrow night though. Go home and get some rest Sleeping Beauty.” He hung up before I could respond.
After only an hour of practice I let the team go. The clouds had rolled in and it looked like it could downpour at any minute. It amazed me how quickly the weather could change in the Mid Atlantic.
Sure enough, I’d barely made it to the car before the sky opened up and blasted me with a cold spring rain. Laughing, I dove into the driver’s seat, sliding precariously on the leather as I shook the cold water off my head, leaving small splatters of water on the window and dash.
Traffic was light, but still everyone was moving like cattle. It never failed that when the roads were wet, people in Philly automatically slowed down a minimum of fifteen miles per hour. Irritation filled my previously happy mood. If I was going to have to go slow anyway, I might as well take the back roads. I swerved on the off ramp and merged onto the two lane highway, immediately enjoying the scenery much more. The trees were in full bloom with different colors and shapes. Everything almost glowed under the steady stream of the rain. It would be nice to just be inside tonight and listen to the rain beating rhythmically against the roof and windows.
“Shit!” My arm knocked an old bottle of soda over as I reached to adjust the radio, sending it flying, where it was now exploding rapidly over the passenger seat. I grabbed a hold of it before it emptied the entire contents, shaking my head at the wet, sticky caramel colored mess that was rapidly soaking into my grey cloth seats.
Nice job Tom.
I glanced up and sucked in a huge breath. It was almost like moving in slow motion. The white utility van seemed to come out of nowhere. I swerved to the right as it clipped the back end of my car, sending me into an uncontrollable spin across the wet black top. The jolt from the van and the impact of the airbag jarred my body to the core. The sound of metal on metal, crunching and grinding echoed through the car. Tires screeching loudly filled my head and then suddenly it was quiet and I felt weightless, floating. The next impact crushed my driver’s side door with a deafening blow as the window shattered, sending small fragments of glass throughout my car and all over me. The car rolled to the passenger side, finally coming to rest.
The rain pounded me, sounding as loud as a freight train passing right by the window. Faint voices sounded so far away. “Sir? Stay with me, help is on the way.” I closed my eyes. The pain in the left side of my body was excruciating. I tried to shift myself to relieve some of the pressure, but found I couldn’t move at all. I was crushed against the door, almost becoming one with the mangled metal that once was my vehicle. My head felt dark and fuzzy, almost as if I was floating through a dark forest. I couldn’t seem to focus on anything but the cold and the pain. Warm fluid dripped into my eyes. I could smell oil and dirt, and I found myself drifting in and out, catching voices and other sounds but not quite putting them together. The sirens and the yelling. The loud motor and crunching of metal, the stench and taste of something metallic and then…nothing.
It was a full moon, and that always brought out the crazies. The ER had been packed with mostly minor injuries and sickness up to this point. If my entire shift was going to stay like this, it would be a miserable night. If I find the driver of the crazy bus that keeps dropping off all her passengers at my place of work, I’m going to kick her ass! I sat back with my first of what would probably be many cups of coffee.
“Hey Talia, we have PennSTAR Medi Vac coming in with a car accident victim. The second victim is coming by ambulance. Can you meet the Helicopter and run Trauma one?” My charge nurse Sara asked as she was typing in information at the desk. I took another quick sip of my luke-warm coffee. “Sure, what’s the ETA?” I asked as I stood up and shuffled into my lab coat.
“Five minutes. Why don’t you head up and wait and I’ll have Sheila prep the room.” She didn’t look up from the computer. She didn’t have to. She knew I would do what I needed to do. I loved my job and I was damn good at it.
I had wanted to be a nurse for as long as I could remember. My little brother Ethan was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma when he was three. I was only five, but I remembered how kind the nurses were to him. They cared for him and loved him while he was their patient. They also cried and mourned the loss of him after he passed. They were good people with a lot to give. I wanted to be like that. I wanted to make a difference. I loved running trauma. The energy and challenge of it was what kept me coming back. The feeling that came with knowing that we were a lifeline for our patients—that ultimately I was making a difference was worth ever second.
“Talia, are you working Trauma one with me?” Dr. Angelo stepped into the elevator with me. I was glad to see him. He was, hands down, one of my favorite ER doctors. He had a level head and rarely missed anything. His technique was good and he treated the nurses with respect.