Batch the third of the Healing Hearts short stories. Some nice ones today.
It's a Calling, Mara Ismine
Weary of life and of his job practicing medicine, Jock reevaluates his life when an old friend passes on. World travels eventually lead him back to the Scottish town where he grew up, where he must face his memories of Ewan, the lover he left behind many years before. Will Ewan still be there? And if he is, can they recapture the magic they once had together?
A sweet and loving story, this small tale of returning to roots and redemption takes a twist that was all the more fun for being so unexpected. Jock and Ewan have more to endure than most to achieve their happiness, but time matters little in the face of this sort of love. Greatly enjoyed this.
Breathe Into Me by Jenna Jones
After a warning from his doctor, Caleb Smith is looking for ways to get healthy in both body and mind. His sister Katie convinces him to give yoga a try, and he's surprised to find that Sasha Volsky, his boyfriend from high school, is her teacher.
At first, Caleb is more interested in reuniting with Sasha than in yoga, but Sasha has a single condition before they can become involved again. Caleb has to take care of himself. Can Caleb find balance between what he wants and what he needs? The answer may be as simple as breathing.
This is a charming story of non-Western medicine and of youthful sweethearts finding each other again -- holistic Sasha and hard driving, everything-that's-wrong-with-the-Western lifestyle Caleb come to terms with being in each other's life again. Sasha, pliable as willows in the wind but still unwilling to risk himself on a man who seems hell-bent for destruction, has something to teach his lover of long ago, and Caleb, too, has a lesson for Sasha. This story made me smile, and it's funny -- I wouldn't have chosen it just from the blurb, but it's one of my faves so far.
El Cedral By Kiernan Kelly
Dr. Derek Thomas has a pediatric practice at an affluent New York Hospital that comes with all the perks -- the salary, the townhouse, the car, and the handsome neurosurgeon boyfriend. When his relationship goes south, so does Derek, but will he be happy with a simpler life working in a Mexican clinic with a man from his past?
Looking to evade heartbreak in New York City, Dr.Derek Thomas comes to spend his sabbatical practicing medicine in what feels like a less prosperous Cozumel with a friend and former lover, Dr Juan Canche, who has returned to his home to practice. They slip quickly and easily into a sexual relationship but it isn't until Derek's left behind lover, the imperious Dr.Peter Schmidt, comes to make demands and threats, does Derek acknowledge what he finds important.
This was an ok story, with occasional puzzling sentences, where who does what needs to be sorted out, but I didn't connect. The characters seem like Central Casting directed them into the text, and the relationship between Juan and Derek is never questioned -- it's simple and inevitable. Some practical matters are also left unaddressed, like how does Derek get an adequate patient history if he speaks no Spanish? He learns, but he's going to be less than useful until he can communicate. I've read better from this author.
Buy the stories here.