Friday, January 16, 2009

Imperative: Saving You by Belinda McBride

Imperative: Saving You
by Belinda McBride
Cover art by Karen Fox
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-149-7
Genre(s): Futuristic
Theme(s): Interracial, Ménage, Bisexual and More
Series: Imperative
Length: Novel


In the future, we don’t choose our mates; Nature chooses for us. Nature doesn’t make mistakes. And if you don’t pay attention to Nature’s Imperative, you suffer.

All he wanted was peace. Eternal peace.

After the death of his Imperative mate, Jason Anders threw himself into a lifestyle of sexual excess and self-punishment. Just when he thought he’d hit rock bottom, Jase was nearly killed in a brutal attack.

Nature listened to Jason’s plea for peace, and gave him what he asked for. But Nature’s version of peace wasn’t exactly what Jase expected.

When Dr. Dove Sinclair stumbled into his life, Jase began to suspect that within her arms, he might find the will to live. And when he looked into the haunting eyes of a mysterious masked man, Jason realized that Nature wasn’t finished screwing with his life.

Sometimes Nature doesn’t play fair. But at least she’s willing to give Jason a second chance.


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“Dr. Sinclair, are you familiar with our Assisted Suicide program?”
Dove shook her head. Her heart plummeted to her stomach. She didn’t think she wanted to know more.
“Primarily, it was designed for terminally ill patients with chronic pain or quality of life issues. It’s a means of giving an otherwise powerless individual some control over their own life and death.” Dove nodded. She knew that much about the program already. “We also have a small group of individuals with other issues. These are the clients we rarely allow into the program -- physically healthy persons with insurmountable problems.
“We are very careful not to approve clients who are depressed or grieving. They must undergo a waiting period and extensive counseling to ensure that they are not in a temporary cycle. Your client was widowed almost nine years ago. He applied to the program five years ago. He has completed his required waiting period. He still wishes to move forward.”
“Why?” She looked from one to the other. “He’s healthy, he isn’t mentally ill. Why is his quality of life so poor?”
“Dove, this man lost his Imperative mate.”
“Oh.” Dove looked at Dr. Drew and then down at her own hands. “My mother was devastated when my father died, but the Imperative gradually faded. She lives a good life now.” But when it had first happened, her mother’s grief had been fearsome, all consuming. Her children had been very afraid for her.
“Sometimes, in a very small percentage of the population, the Imperative doesn’t release the mate who’s been left behind. The survivor is trapped with their separation anxiety and grief. Plus there are extenuating circumstances. He feels responsible for her death.” He shifted uncomfortably. “They were sailing. His wife was midway through her pregnancy and went into early labor. She bled out and died before assistance arrived.”
The skin on her arms pebbled. She swallowed the sympathy that pulled tears to her eyes. To endure almost a decade of the grief that her mother had suffered for only months? Frankly, his wish to die was understandable. Years of that would destroy the will to live. She slipped off her glasses and rubbed her eyes, looking up at a blurry Dr. Patel. “What am I to do with him?”
Dr. Patel booted up the patient’s records and activated the screen in front of Dove. She quickly scanned the data, noting that the man’s name was missing. However, his story was familiar. Slowly, recognition began to crawl into her mind. She fought tears, blinking rapidly.
“He’s finished with life. However, I don’t think life is finished with him.”
“Dr. Patel, this man was one of my ER admits.”
The other woman sat back in her chair, looking speculatively at Dr. Sinclair. “And as an ER physician, what was your evaluation of his mental state?”
When a patient came to Dove in the ER, they were often stripped to the bare essentials. When life and death were involved, other priorities slipped away.
“If he’d been truly suicidal, he wouldn’t have fought off his attackers. When I asked if he would fight to stay alive, he said yes.” Actually, with the very last of his strength, he’d asked her to save him. That moment was still too raw, too personal to share.
“At that time, did you believe that he was suicidal?”
“No. Disturbed, certainly, given the extensive prior damage to his body, but not willing to die without a fight.”
Dr. Patel leaned forward and looked steadily into Dove’s eyes. “Dove. What I am about to say remains between us. This is confidential.”
She nodded in agreement.
“What is your priority as a doctor? When a patient comes to you in the ER, what is your primary goal?”
“To save the patient’s life.”
“And that is your goal with this client. Whatever it takes.”
“But he’s chosen to die. He’s been accepted to the program.”
“And we don’t want him to graduate from the program.” She sat back, never breaking eye contact with Dove. “Mr. Anders had no therapy or counseling following the death of his wife. He rejected crisis counseling after the attack that nearly killed him. This man hasn’t given himself a chance to heal. He’s refused to cooperate with the police investigating the case. He’s only agreed to counseling because it’s required for the program.”
Dove sat up straighter in her chair, her brain going to work on the problem. Mentoring a psych client was out of her area of expertise. But saving a life? That she could do. She watched as Dr. Patel transferred the man’s data to a mail file and sent it to Dove’s account.
“How long do I have until he completes the program?”
“Two months. He’ll be in counseling almost daily, plus workshops on end of life issues.”
Dove bit her lip, gathering all the knowledge she had of this man. She remembered all the gossip she’d heard about him, the conversations she’d eavesdropped on when he’d first been admitted to the hospital. Jase Anders was well known to a certain class of people. He was the pain slut. He would allow anyone to do anything to his body, in exchange for the punishment he craved. His story had almost broken her heart. Now she had some understanding of his motives. He blamed himself for the death of his Imperative mate. It all fell into place.
Person to person, she had no clue how to deal with his problems. But doctor to patient? Dove Sinclair was a doctor. She saved lives. She wouldn’t let Jase Anders go without a fight.

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