Have you been properly introduced to Hawk and Regis?
With so many books in the DAKOTA HEARTS series, it's easy to forget that there was a recent release, DAKOTA BLUES. Hawk and Regis were originally introduced to readers in BADLAND BRIDE. DAKOTA BLUES is an update to their romance. I thought you might like a sneak peek of DAKOTA BLUES in this newsletter. Check it out.
The story of the McKinnon family continues...
Hawk McKinnon has been waiting for his lady love, Regis, to marry him ever since she stepped foot in Rudolph, South Dakota. Now that they're expecting a baby, he's determined to finally make her his wife. But Regis has doubts and fears Hawk can't possibly understand given his upbringing in such a big and loving family. As Hawk works to make Regis fall in love with him again, making her believe in the power of love and family, will he succeed in making Regis his bride?
Regis walked through the main hall of the Wounded Veterans Center toward her office in the back of the building, rubbing her hands as she went. Her office was located right next to Ian's. But Ian barely ever used his office except to deal with paperwork he didn’t want his twin boys to get into. She peeked in his office anyway, and found it empty. She hadn’t heard him moving around anywhere else in the banquet hall or one of the other rooms. He must have gone home for lunch to be with Abby and their small three children, who were still not in school yet.
There were some days Ian strolled in late, and left early. He did the work of two men, but he worked with purpose and took joy in being with his family any chance he got.
Regis also knew that just because she couldn’t hear Ian anywhere in the building, it didn't mean he wasn't working somewhere on a project. He’d scared her on more times than she could count. He now teased her and made a lot of noise when he was approaching so she wouldn’t jump out of her skin.
Ian was one of the reasons she worked so hard. He had been wounded during a battle in Afghanistan and lost his leg below the knee. Upon returning to the states, he had fallen into a deep depression and had found it hard to move on with his life, much like many of the military personnel who came to the Wounded Veterans Center.
He was an inspiration, and he understood exactly what these brave men and women were going through. On occasion, a veteran who had heard about the Center would wander through the door even though nothing was on the schedule that day. Ian would drop everything and give his complete attention to that veteran, allowing him or her to vent if that’s what they needed.
Keith had been Ian’s rock when he’d returned from Afghanistan. The two cousins were more like brothers than cousins. He’d found happiness with Abby and the kids. And he loved what he did at the Wounded Veterans Center and loved the days when they had a lot of activity here.
But today Regis knew they didn’t have anything on the schedule. Today would be nice and quiet as long as Ian didn’t start banging a hammer. She’d be able to get a lot of work done. She liked the quiet when working. And when it became too quiet, she’d put on a little bit of music and listen while she worked or made phone calls.
She needed to make a quick call to Joel about the application deadline and to make sure nothing new had been added to the grant requirements. She was just about settled in her office with her notes placed in front of her when she felt a sharp pain below her belly. It was strong enough to make her stop breathing for a second, struggle to catch her breath until the pain subsided. She held onto her desk with one hand and placed her hand over her abdomen with the other.
Oh, God, no! Is this really happening?
She drew in a deep breath. And then another. She needed to stay calm. When she trusted her legs not to collapse beneath her, she slowly got up from her desk and carefully walked to the bathroom to see if she was bleeding.
As she walked, she held the wall to steady herself, calling out, “Ian? Are you here?”
She paused only so she could listen without hearing her movement. Nothing.
Oh, God, what if there was blood? That could only mean one thing right?
She got to the bathroom and shut the door. Something made her keep it unlocked. She didn’t know what she was wishing for. What kind of person thinks this way? What kind of woman doesn’t know?
And then it became all too real and there was no wondering. Blood.
She wiped the sweat budding up on her forehead with the back of her hand. She felt numb. Unable to move. Unable to even process what was going on.
She was bleeding and it terrified her.
She tried to breathe but she couldn't catch her breath. Tears springing to her eyes. She needed to call Keith. He would know what to do. He would hate her for losing a baby he wanted to desperately. And she wasn’t altogether sure that hate would be undeserved.
She’d seen a gynecologist in Rapid City once, who’d confirmed her pregnancy and that she was still very early. Given her schedule, he’d urged Regis to slow down but she didn't listen to him. And now she might be losing this baby.
If Keith hated her, it was completely deserved. Even if she was unsure, she should have taken better care of herself.
She quickly cleaned herself up, and carefully walked to her office with wobbly legs. Her head was spinning, and she blinked to focus. She’d made it to her chair, and with trembling hands, she picked up her cell for and pressed the quick icon to dial the Keith. His voicemail picked up. After the beep, she said, “It's me, honey. I'm coming over to the clinic right now. If you not there already please go there. I think…I think I’m having a miscarriage.”
She waited until she hung up the phone to cry. But it was short lived. She shoved her cell phone in her pocketbook and then searched for her keys. Then she got up and walked as quick as she could through the Center. When she got to the Center door, she called out for Ian one more time, but didn’t get a reply.
As soon as she stepped outside, the bitter cold slapped at her exposed skin. She realized she'd forgotten her coat in her office, but she didn't bother to go back to get it. Instead, she watched the ground for ice patches as she walked, and then pressed her remote keychain button to unlock the car doors. She climbed inside and then held the steering wheel.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She was supposed to have choices now. Not like when she was little and she had no choice at all.
Once she settled in the driver’s seat, she closed the door and turned the key in the ignition. They were going to lose this baby. She knew it. She felt another cramp and thought her world was crumbling around her. It was all her fault.
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