Montana Born Books
Marietta Medical, Book 4
Release Date:

Jun 26, 2024



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Adopting With The Doctor


Patricia W. Fischer

Midwife Susan Davidson‘s new life in Marietta, Montana will not only reunite her with her siblings, she’ll get to meet the guy she’s secretly been in touch with all year: Dr. Thomas Reynolds. Now, all she has to do is survive the robbery she just walked in on and deliver a baby. During a snowstorm.

Thomas Reynolds has almost given up on the idea of becoming an adoptive dad, because his single status always works against him. And then he foils a robbery, supports a young woman during childbirth and finally meets Susan–the woman of his dreams. There’s flirting, instant chemistry, plenty of push and the miracle of birth. And a young mother who always planned to give up her baby for adoption and thinks Susan and Reynolds will make the perfect parents!

Susan and Reynolds haven’t even been on a date yet, when they agree to a perfectly rational, logical, platonic co-parenting arrangement while adoption plans proceed. But can their instant connection, best intentions, and desire to give this baby girl their very best withstand the potential heartbreak of the adoption falling through?

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Chapter One

Staring down the barrel of a gun hadn’t been the ideal start to a snowy Monday morning, but it wouldn’t be the first time midwife Susan Davidson faced a firearm. “Calm down.”

With a white-knuckle grip on the handle, the gunman wildly darted his eyes from Susan to the front doors. “You calm down! Bernie’s got a serious situation here!”

A young woman braced against the main candy display, crushing multiple bags of M&Ms and other treats under her butt. Through clenched teeth, she Lamaze-hissed while cradling a protruding, watermelon-sized belly.

“I can see that.” Despite having almost no sleep in the past few days, Susan’s nurse brain kicked in with a large side of caution. Keeping a close watch on the nervous gunman, she moved out of the immediate line of fire. “Bernie? I’m Susan. Talk to me.”

“Can’t. It. Hurts.” No more than twenty, the young woman wore no heavy coat, but instead several layers of unbuttoned oxford shirts over her petite frame. Her well-worn jersey knit skirt hugged flush against her hips as her phone sat between her cleavage. Her bleached, shaggy bob contrasted against the dark layer of black eyeliner along her upper lids.

Wiping her sweaty brow with the back of her hand, Bernie smeared eyeliner across her cheek as she relaxed when the contraction subsided. “There’s gonna be another one, Carl. I just know it.”

Yep, and another one after that. And another one after that.

The grogginess Susan fought for the past hour suddenly evaporated as the steady taps of thick snow hit the front windows. The blanket of white covering the parking lot reminded her of a scene from a standard holiday movie, but she’d be hard-pressed to find a film with an opening that included a raggedy gunman, a pregnant mother, and a caffeine-deprived midwife.

“Not now. Not. Now!” Carl tapped the barrel of the gun against his leg. “You just had to do this. Deliver on purpose.”

Susan bit back babies come out when they damned well please from reaching oxygen. Educating a weapon-toting moron didn’t seem like the smartest idea at the moment.

Carl held his arms wide. “You gonna help or what?”

As Susan shed her thick coat, her annoyance spoke louder than common sense. “Put the gun away.”


From the side pocket of her bag, she gently pulled out her stethoscope and held it up. “If you’re waving that gun around, it’s not safe.”

Bernie’s eyes filled with hope as her Lamaze breathing resumed.

His bushy forehead creased. “You a doctor?”

“A nurse. A midwife.” Placing the stethoscope on top of her bag, she subtly scanned the store for security cameras.

Carl threw his hands up in frustration. “A midwife? What good are you, then?”

“A midwife delivers babies, dumbass!” Bernie snapped as the winds howled, violently rattling the front doors.

The noise reminded Susan of a hurricane she sat through back in Florida. It suddenly dawned on her how dangerous the weather had been. Seemed her vigilant but stubborn determination to see her siblings kept her safe, even during the dark hours of the night in an unknown, snow-covered world.

It was that or Susan was damned lucky to have made it from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Montana without incident.

“We got three hours to make it to Milk River, so hurry up and push that thing out, woman!” Carl quickly shifted his weight before snatching a box of a popular donuts brand, shoving it into his coat pocket. “Lady, you gonna help or what?”

“Put the gun away or deliver this baby on your own.” Undeterred by his nervous behavior, Susan’s gaze swept the store for supplies.

His eyes momentarily widened, as if he didn’t expect her pushback. “It can’t be hard. They do it all the time on TV.”

“But you’re stupid. And gross.” Fear danced in Bernie’s eyes.

With a noncommittal shrug, Susan subtly winked at the girl. “Be sure to wear gloves since you’re dealing with blood, amniotic fluid, and the placenta.”

Despite her exhausted state, Bernie snapped a photo and tucked her phone back between her boobs. “You’re a badass.”

Carl cringed as though he smelled something foul, like his underarms. “What’s a placenta? I’m not stupid!”

“It’s the big, bloody ball of goo that feeds the baby while in utero. You gotta deliver that, too. All of it.” If Susan had a nickel for every ignorant person who insisted birthing babies couldn’t be that hard, she’d have a lot of damned nickels. Adding the graphic details always put things into realistic focus. “You’ll for sure get shit on.”

“Stop it!” He tucked his handgun in the front of his ratty jeans before messing with the handle. “Get the safety on.”

If he reduces the gene pool, making it “safer,” he’s on his own. Unfortunately, the weapon remained silent.

With the immediate danger temporarily neutralized, Susan moved her bag and coat to the endcap of day-old pastries, and pulled out her phone and keys, tucking them in her hoodie pocket. “Bernie?”

With quick breathing, the girl endured another contraction. “They didn’t say … it … would hurt … this much.”

“Kind of hard to quantify childbirth.” Susan’s mental checklist ticker-taped in her brain while the weight of her keys reminded her what she needed most sat in her car.

Outside. In the freezing-assed weather.

April in Montana blows.

“Stop freaking out!” Carl blurted before stabbing his grubby fingers through his unwashed hair.

“I’m not freaking out! You’re freaking out!” Mascara-tinted tears streaked down the girl’s pale cheeks.

“We got on the road. She had to pee. Again. Then she pisses all over my front seat and freaks out about it.”

Bernie clenched her fists. “I didn’t freak out because of pee! You robbed this store!”

The bitter taste of bile coated the back of Susan’s throat. A robbery and a baby on the way? I hate Mondays.

Like a petulant toddler, Carl stomped his well-worn boot before opening his thick coat to reveal his inside pockets stuffed with cash. “Told you last night we needed cash. You said hit this place.”

“You idiot! Not hit it as in rob! Hit to use the bathroom!”

“You always need to use the bathroom.”

“So would you if you had a watermelon dancing on your bladder twenty-four seven.”

Already, Susan located paper towels, garbage bags, and a limited supply of hand sanitizer. I need my medical bag.

“Dammit, Bernie! Why do you always gotta mess things up?”

“If you’d taken me to the hospital last night, I wouldn’t be in this mess. I missed a prospective adoptive parent interview because you couldn’t be bothered to put on pants.”

She’s giving her baby up for adoption? Only yesterday, Susan received verification of her infertility, which destroyed her dreams of a family with an amazing guy.

Yet, on the quiet drive here, her always rational brain yanked her out of heartbreak and gave her a practical solution.


Then she walked into an insane situation with a woman who planned to give her baby up? Susan believed in kismet, but damn, this was bananas.

As for an amazing guy? That would be determined once she got to Marietta and met him. Officially. “You’re giving your baby up for—”

Nodding, Bernie placed her hand on her belly as it reshaped itself. “Settle down, kid.”

“Holy shit! Did you see that?” Carl jumped backward, as did a teenage store clerk, who suddenly appeared from behind a well-worn Avenger life-sized cutout.

“It’s like aliens!” The strength of the kid’s prescription lenses emphasized his shocked expression, making him look extraterrestrial. “Nothing’s gonna pop out of her, right?”

Susan noticed his name tag. “It will eventually, Ben.”

Even with her negative caffeine levels and her well-earned exhaustion from her long drive and side trips, Susan’s midwife focus remained sharp. “Guys. Please. If you can’t handle this, go sit in the corner.”

“I can handle this just fine!” Carl pocketed two mini bags of chips, a can of bean dip, and a handful of breath mints.

“I can’t.” Ben’s shoulders drooped and he shuffled back toward the drink machines.

As the overhead sound system played Diana Ross’s classic dance tune “I’m Coming Out,” Susan bit back laughing at Ms. Ross’s song timing. “How you doing, Bernie?”

The young woman winced before a long exhale. “This really hurts. Is something wrong?”

I hope not. Reaching into her purse, Susan pulled out her favorite pink hair tie and placed it on her wrist like she always did when shit was about to go down. “How long have you had belly pain?”

“Yesterday. Evening. It’s just gotten worse.”

Carl tapped his watch. “We gotta get across the Canadian border before sunrise.”

Susan’s eye twitched. Well, that doesn’t sound concerning at all. “Is that far?”

“It’s over three hundred miles. Even if we drive one hundred miles per hour, we won’t make it.” Sweat pooled at Bernie’s hairline.

Tilting his scruffy chin up, he snarled, “With me driving, we’ll make it. And I’ll do it without attracting cops.”

“It’s basic … math. But you’re too … too stupid—”

“Stop calling me stupid!” His hand rose, but before he gained momentum, Susan instinctively stepped between him and the mom-to-be.

With a slow shake of her head, Susan anticipated his next move, mentally reviewing self-defense tricks her younger sister, Lucy, taught her long ago. “Don’t.”

The moans of the arctic winds momentarily filled the store as Carl’s hand slowly lowered on the handle of his gun.

Sadly, staring down a woman’s abuser had been a necessary part of her job working labor and delivery. For over a decade, she refined her fierceness, but it didn’t mean she wasn’t terrified. “Back off and let me do what you won’t.”

The purposeful words appeared to unnerve him. His forehead unknotted as his hands rose in mock surrender and he backed away. “She’s all yours, but you and I? We ain’t done.”

“Can’t wait.” Turning to her patient, Susan swallowed the bile dancing in her throat. Be scared later. “How you doing, Bernie?”

“No one’s ever stood up for me like that.” Bernie’s bottom lip quivered.

That tugged on Susan’s heartstrings. She knew all too well what it was like to have no one but yourself to rely on. “I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m here now.”

“I bet you’re a fierce mother.” The girl’s unexpected compliment hit Susan hard enough sideways that her tongue tripped.

“I’m not … I mean, I can’t have … I mean … no. Not yet.”

With a head tilt, the girl’s big brown eyes stared directly into Susan’s soul. “Meeting all those prospective parents … I’ve seen that kind of sadness before.”

“What sadness?” A spotlight aimed at Susan’s face would have been less jarring. What is going on?

“But you want to be a mom someday, right?”

More than I’ll admit to anyone. “Absolutely. Someday.”

For a few beats, a sad smile spread across Bernie’s face. “Don’t worry, Susan. No matter what biology says, you’ll be an amazing mom sooner than you think.”

How in God’s name did she figure that out? Susan had known about her messed-up insides for only twenty-four hours. This girl took one look at her and knew?

Is there some sort of psychic fertility voodoo in the Montana air? Shaking off Bernie’s commentary, Susan shoved her brain back into midwife mode. “Is this your first baby?”

“Yes. Contractions started after last night’s dinner. I shouldn’t have eaten hot dogs. Are you single?”

As intense and quick as they are, she’s probably well into transition. That meant a baby could be born on this cold, dirty floor before sunrise if Susan didn’t take charge ASAP.

Ignoring the question, Susan located a few overhead cameras and two screens behind the counter labeled FRONT and BACK. Even if monitored, the heavy snowfall would take one hundred years to dig out of, delaying EMS and police arrivals. Before arriving, Susan couldn’t recall spotting any other cars on the roads for at least three hours. That brought her level of hope for backup to zero. Seems my level of hope for everything right now is zero.

She tamped down her anger for allowing a poor-me distraction. Focus! “You peed in the car? How long ago was that?”

“About an hour.” Panting, Bernie placed her legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and rested on her thighs. “I think those hot dogs are giving me fits.”

“Not any of our hot dogs.” With his hands up, Ben recoiled from Bernie’s death glare. “Feel better, Bernie.”

“Need to go to the hospital.” She took two steps before grabbing the edge of the counter. “It’s happening again. Carl.”

She held her hand out for him to take, but her abuser scoffed. “I ain’t touching you.”

What a gem. After a decade of helping miracles into the world, even without the bliss of magic morning brew, Susan’s skills leveled up easier than breathing.

Juggling trauma and chaos weren’t new. Twenty years ago, a drunk driver hit her and her family head-on, killing her father and permanently injuring their mother. Ever since, Susan bore the heavy weight of keeping her three siblings, their mother, and herself afloat, alive and accomplished.

So, navigating a snowy morning with a first-time pregnant mom, a grubby gunman, and socially awkward onlooker would be a quick walk in the park. “Bernie, the hot dogs aren’t doing this. Your water probably broke in the car.”

“What the hell do you know?” Carl sniffed a refrigerated sandwich before throwing it on the floor.

“She’s a midwife, you stupid piece of shit! She knows more than you do!” Bernie balled her fists. “This. Fucking. Hurts!”

“What she said.” Susan coached the young woman through the next round of pain as the hard stench of sweat, bad breath, and the thick smell of whatever lay in that colorful bin with NACHOS on the side hit Susan square in the face.

Working in labor and delivery, Susan experienced worse, so it wasn’t the odors that caught Susan off guard. Contrary to her petite frame, Bernie’s grip proved to be so painful that Susan wondered if her own fingers would ever function again. “Keep breathing, Bernie. You’ve got this. When is your due date? Holy shit, you’re strong.”

Bernie powered through until her petite shoulders fell. “Yesterday.”

“We gotta go. We gotta go now!” Carl’s thick coat dragged over the top of a discounted cans display, sending the top tiers rolling around the store.

“I just put those up.” With his hands still up, Ben pouted as the fluorescent lights momentarily flickered before a low hum filled the store.

Immediately, Carl fired two shots into the ceiling before destroying the rest of the can display with a hard kick. “How much time before the cops get here?”

“What the hell are you doing? Put that away right now!” Susan’s throat clenched when them not making it out of there alive became as real as the pain of Bernie’s grip.

“Leave Ben alone!” Bernie rested her hands on her belly.

Ben shakily thumbed over his shoulder. “The coffee machines. When they all start at the same time, the lights flicker.”

As a wave of freshly brewed happiness hit the air, Susan deeply inhaled. I’d kill for an IV of caffeine.

While flecks of the ceiling peppered his hair, Carl lowered his gun and kicked away an item that bumped against his boot. It rebounded off the wall and rolled to a stop under the homemade RESTROOMS THIS WAY sign near the back hallway.

Bernie moved her phone out from between her boobs and placed it on the counter. “I’m so tired. Am I almost done?”

Gently, Susan moved a lock of hair out of Bernie’s tired face as Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” played overhead. “How long?”

“Probably nine months,” Carl snorted a bit too hard at his own joke while pocketing several more items.

Straightening to her five-foot-nothing height, Bernie launched an apple from the front counter bin at him. “Shut up!”

Laughing, Carl swatted it away.

“Hey! You’ve gotta pay for that.” Frustration momentarily replaced Ben’s fear. “And I’m gonna have to clean that up.”

This is like herding squirrels. “Bernie. Find something to focus on.” As Susan’s fingers itched to dial 9-1-1, Bernie’s wolf whistle seemed misplaced. “What are you doing?”

“Focusing on that guy.”

“What guy?” Susan scanned the store for other customers she might have missed.

“Where? Where is he?” Carl’s indifferent demeanor changed to panic as he randomly pointed his gun.

With trembling fingers, Bernie motioned. “Calendar. Sexy. Man.”

It took less than a second for his face to register, but Susan refused to be derailed, no matter how quickly he always made her heart beat and her panties combust. “It’s the Marietta first responders’ calendar. I need gloves, Ben.”

“Aisle five,” he answered.

“Shit, Bernie. You got me upset over a calendar?” Carl tapped his temple with the muzzle of the gun before shoving it into the front of his pants. “Use your brain, woman.”

Ben rolled his eyes. “My boss won’t let me take it down. It’s like ten years old.”

“Less than two actually.” And Susan would know since that same calendar sat in a bin in her car, permanently opened to the same month his boss appeared to favor.

“That guy is hot! This. Hurts!” Bernie sobbed while protectively cradling her belly.

“Dr. Reynolds comes in all the time. Nice guy.”

Yes, he is. Last year, her younger sister, Lucy, FaceTimed, introduced Susan to the incredible ER staff on duty, but Thomas Reynolds stayed in Susan’s thoughts the longest. A few days later, when she called the unit in search of Lucy, she talked to him again. Unbeknown to her physician siblings, that conversation led to another one and daily texting, and many late-night discussions.

The man unnerved her in the most delicious ways, and she had yet to actually meet him, but she would when she got to Marietta.

Today. Probably.

“Susan. You’re blushing.” Bernie took a slow breath as the smirk on her face indicated she welcomed the distraction.

“What? No.”

“Uh-huh. Sure, Jan. That’s why you didn’t answer me when I asked if you were single.”

Geez, this girl’s observation skills. “I’m not gonna lie. Having an additional medical professional’s help right now would be nice. Not these two idiots.” She gave the girl a reassuring smile as her exhaustion momentarily let her guard down. “In reality, I am single since I’ve never even actually met him.”

“But you’ve met him.”

“We’ve talked, texted.” Why are you saying all this?

“Sexted?” Bernie gritted her teeth. “It’s starting again.”

“No, we’ve kept things strictly platonic. Uncomplicated.” Not making things awkward before actually meeting proved to be the responsible choice. More than once, Susan imagined the man screaming her name after she worked some sexy magic on him. “Not the point.”

With a stressed smile, Bernie replied, “Susan, you’ve got it bad for him. You’re gonna be an amazing couple. Family.”

Here’s to hoping. Meeting the man would be the first hurdle before bringing up the idea of family. Maybe take him on a date or two first.

She motioned for Bernie to continue. “Contractions?”

“Kicked in hard after dinner last night. I couldn’t sleep because of it.”

Susan’s fingers tapped the keys and phone in her pocket. The itch to throw Bernie in her SUV and drive to the closest ER grew with each passing second. Ideally, driving to Marietta Regional would be her first choice since one of her siblings would probably be on duty.

Or Dr. Reynolds might be.

“You gotta pay for that.” Ben’s annoyance strengthened as the hot snack machine rotated a lonely eggroll.

Bernie rocked her hips from side to side, reviewing her symptoms as Carl rummaged through merchandise like a hungry bear.

When Ben yelled for Carl to stop, the gunman ripped open bags of chips, peppered the floor, and stomped them into dust. “That’s gonna be your head if you don’t shut the fuck up.”

“Any problems? Blood pressure? Diabetes? Keep rocking your hips. It’ll help.” Every time Ben complained, Carl’s behavior escalated and Susan’s worries multiplied.

After pocketing more items, Carl shoved an entire popular cream-filled sponge cake in his mouth and giving them the double middle finger salute.

Please let us get out of here alive. “All your prenatal checkups good, Bernie?”

“No complications. Before you got here, I squatted and this big bloody booger fell out. Then it got worser.” Bernie pounded her fist on the counter. “Like right now.”

Throwing his hands in the air in frustration, Carl yelled as bits of cake flew out of his mouth, “Those hot dogs—”

“Hot dogs don’t make your water break and dislodge your mucus plug.” The thick blankets of snow had Susan wishing for the hot humidity of Florida. Why did I move here again? Oh right. My siblings. My broken heart. And that calendar guy.

Carl growled as if thinking hurt his brain. “What the hell is a mucus plug?”

“I’ll take care of it. I need my medical supplies out of my car.” But Susan didn’t take two steps before—

“Put the gun away, Carl! Put it away right now!” Bernie’s eyes went wide with terror. She threw more apples at him, along with multiple expletives.

As the fruit grazed Carl’s face, Susan froze as Ben slowly disappeared behind aisle three.

Carl stomped his dirty boot like a toddler. “You don’t tell me what to do, woman. I’ll point my gun at anyone I want to.”

His gun remained tucked in the front of his pants. What is she doing?

Unfazed, Bernie’s ferocity continued. “I’ll say whatever I want to keep you from pointing that stupid gun at me. At any of us three. You keep that gun tucked away before you shoot someone. Again.”

“Again?” Susan’s heart dropped to her feet. Shit.

Instantly, that cold, sinister abuser returned as he closed the gap between them. “Woman, I told you to keep your yap shut about that or I’d shut it for you.”

Throwing her hands up in surrender, Susan demanded, “Stop! There’s an innocent baby on the way. A child who has nothing to do with any of this. Judges like healthy babies.”

Carl shifted his weight, his shaggy forehead furrowed as if he juggled all his life decisions. “It’s not my stupid kid.”

So that’s why he didn’t react to her giving it up for adoption. “Does that matter? It’s an innocent baby. Let me deliver her child and you can shoot me afterward? Deal?”

Anxiety thickened the air between them as Carl rolled his head from side to side before backing away. “Fine. But hurry it up. Gonna be light soon. And keep your mouth shut, you hear me, Bernie? Keep. It. Shut.”

Relief flooded her veins, but Susan’s pause was short-lived when Bernie screamed, “Susan! Here comes another one!”

As soon as the contraction ended, Susan refused to wait any longer to get her medical bag. “Bernie. Hang tight. I’ll be back in thirty seconds.”

“You’re such a badass, Susan. I knew he’d back off. Because he’s a stupid chickenshit. That’s why he needs to get to Canada. He shot his best friend yesterday.”

The moment Susan placed her hands on the frigid handle of the door, the cock of the gun froze her in her tracks.

“Deal’s off.”

Why does she keep provoking him? “Carl. Calm down.”

His eyes narrowed, void of compassion. “I’m not a chickenshit!”

“You’re not, but I need my medical bag. Some towels. Please, let me help her. Before it gets light.”

“She’ll tell everyone as soon as they get here.”

“Then go! Leave before any police show up.”

He hesitated, his hands trembling. “I could. But—”

“Take your useless ass out of here,” Bernie snapped.

He slid off the safety. “I’ve had enough of your shit.”

Throwing her hands up, Susan braced for the worst. “Wait!”

Suddenly, a flash of red and white rocketed across the room and slammed into the side of Carl’s head, sending him straight to the floor.

As soon as the gunman’s body went limp, it all processed in slow motion, making Susan wonder, What have I gotten myself into?

End of Excerpt

This book will begin shipping June 26, 2024

Adopting With The Doctor is currently available in digital format only:

ISBN: 978-1-962707-49-7

June 26, 2024

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