J.A. Schneider‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:
Description of EMBRYO:
Terror and tragedy in the Obstetrics Dept of a major hospital. An intern determines to investigate.
“The writing is superb, the action tense, the characters fully developed, and the research for EMBRYO flawless.” Gail M Baugniet, Author of For Every Action
“When this book is described as a ‘wild ride,’ that is no understatement! If this were a movie, you would never take your eyes off the screen!” VStrawmier
“I picked Embryo up and did NOT expect such a brilliant story. The plot is fantastic and I was gripped from beginning to end. I read it in one sitting, unable to put it down. I even read while cooking, walking to get a drink–the book went everywhere I did. The pace is excellent, the writing stellar, and the tension is so high in places if I had any nails left I’d have bitten them off.” M Ellis
Amazon Reader Reviews:
EMBRYO currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars, with 48 reviews! Read the reviews here!
EMBRYO is available for purchase at:
Excerpt from EMBRYO:
Maria Moran’s first inkling of trouble was the coppery taste in her mouth. It came suddenly, a rushing whoosh of something that made her gag, and when she reached up to wipe her mouth, her hand came away smeared with blood.
“What…?” She heard her own high voice. Stopping in her tracks, she stood motionless, staring down in panic at the bright crimson smudge on her hand. Around her, on the sidewalk of Third Avenue in New York City, Monday morning pedestrians jostled past her, but she was oblivious to them, oblivious even to the fact that a moment before she had been worried she’d be late for work.
A hurrying young man in shirtsleeves bumped into her. “Fer crying out – oops, sorry.” Maria looked to see him staring down at her great, melon belly. “Jeez lady, you shouldn’t stan’ there like that!”
Flustered, he rushed off and was swallowed by the crowd.
At Sixtieth Street the light was red. Out of habit, Maria stood a few feet away from the impatient crowd at the corner, overcautious as usual. Gums, she thought; try to relax. Probably every first-time mother feels like this. Stumbling over a curb, getting squeezed in an elevator – these were serious things in the Pregnant Lady Department. A faint, Madonna smile crept over her lips as she felt the baby kick. Saw the baby kick, she was certain – right through her white maternity dress with the lace eyelets that Ryan’s mom had insisted on buying for her. Ryan was so excited. They had fun in the evening, just thinking up names.
The light changed and she started to cross the avenue.
The first wave of dizziness caught her as she passed a jackhammer working near the curb. Swaying for a moment, she blamed her weakness on the July heat and the noise. A policeman flagging traffic around the work crew blew his whistle. Maria shook her head to clear it.
She made it to the yellow line before the second wave of dizziness came, and the avenue began turning slowly, sickeningly, on its axis. She grasped futilely at her shoulder bag. People pushed past her. As the dizziness subsided she noticed that the crowd in the crosswalk had thinned. She worried that the light was about to change.
“My God,” she said aloud. She took a step, then another, and was surprised that it was so hard because her feet had turned to granite blocks. A woman in a sleeveless dress shouldered past her and Maria stumbled.
“Hey! You okay?” A man coming up from behind stopped and grabbed her arm.
She blinked at him, trying to smile. “The heat,” she said. “I’ll be alright.”
“You better hurry,” he said, pointing. “Light’s gonna change.”
He rushed off, and in the next
moment Maria was sorry. In a swoop of nauseating terror she knew that her problem wasn’t the heat or bleeding gums or anything so absurdly simple. She was suddenly granite to the waist. The coppery taste came back, this time flooding her mouth too fast to swallow. She bent, gagging violently, put her hand over her mouth and felt a sticky wetness above her lip. Dazed, she looked at her hand again, then felt her nostrils streaming blood.
Horns blared, startling her upright again. The flashing red sign had turned to DON’T WALK. Through a blur she saw a line of glinting fenders begin to move toward her.
A whistle. A man’s shout. The intersection was suddenly clogged with traffic, and as she crumpled to the pavement she thought she saw cars swirling around her. From somewhere came a squeal of brakes, and then another.
“Help me!” Her words came out in a feeble cry. She began to crawl on her hands and knees.
Then the pain in her middle came. Not a little, crampy pain, the way contractions were supposed to start, but a queer, viselike tightening, as hard as a rock.
Too soon! Not time yet! Through a fog she saw men running toward her shouting; felt their hands on her, under her arms, lifting, but she could only focus on the pain. Getting tighter, unbearable. Weren’t contractions supposed to let up? This was not what her mother and sister had described to her. Jesus, help me! She was
vaguely aware of two men carrying her, a policeman and a man in a yellow hard hat, but her eyes came unfocused as the pain became more agonizing.
She felt herself lowered to hot pavement, saw feet crowding around and hands reaching down to her. The cop holding her was yelling for an ambulance. The final pain hit and she screamed. An explosion of knives went off in her belly. She felt the soft, warm mass well up below and pour rapidly down her thighs. She screamed again.
“They’re coming honey, they’re coming,” the cop said. A middle-aged woman was on her knees, stroking Maria’s arm, too rapidly, her eyes full of horror. Through the haze Maria tried to see the woman, and saw instead her own white dress, turning red.
“Help me,” she whimpered, but her voice sounded slow, far away. Her last conscious thought was hearing the wail of an approaching siren.
Then her head fell back, and blackness closed in.
Twenty blocks away, Madison Hospital Medical Center rose in shimmering white blocks above waves of heat, inspiring fear and fascination in people who passed. Not everyone stopped, but many looked at the imposing buildings with nervous, sideways flicks of the eye that acknowledged the world fame of the place; and the gratitude that, today at least, they were on the outside and not the inside.
At that moment Dr. Jill Raney would have preferred being on the outside. Standing in the hall outside the obstetrical suite, she tried not to look too destroyed as she watched her fellow interns troop out of the Special Procedures Room. Ten minutes ago she had nearly blown it. Four years of brutal studies in med school, working hard enough to graduate with top honors, and now this.
She leaned on a gurney and wondered: would it be professional suicide to have a shouting match with one’s academic superior, right here on the ward floor?
“Thinks he’s God’s gift,” she muttered.
“Huh?” from beside her.
Chubby-cheeked Tricia Donovan, her friend since med school, was also in a blue scrub suit, stethoscope and surgical cap, peering up at Jill from behind wire-rimmed glasses. They were both July interns – beginners all
over again, raw recruits. About as much appreciated by the older doctors as an outbreak of hepatitis.
Jill turned her remarkable green eyes to her friend. “Nothing,” she said.
“Oh.” Tricia’s round face resumed its look of furious concentration and she went back to scribbling on her clipboard. Jill watched her ruefully. Nothing ever destroyed Tricia’s ability to concentrate.
It was nine o’clock; three babies had been delivered in the last hour alone, and today’s schedule of gynecological surgery was unusually crowded. Nurses rushed up and down the corridor, pushing medication tables and baskets full of bloody linen. Patients, drowsy from the effects of medication, lay parked on gurneys in various staging areas, some just coming out of surgery, others going in.
Watching the corridor bustle, Jill brooded about how everyone else seemed so briskly confident. She felt close to tears, and fought them down.
A clatter of gurney wheels caused her to straighten, and look in the direction of the Special Procedures Room. By the doorway David Levine and Sam MacIntyre, third- and second-year residents respectively, were bending over a relieved-looking patient, smiling and joking with her. Both doctors were in scrub suits with surgical masks pulled down around their necks. Jill stared. She could not take her eyes off that trio, and the two nurses who were also there, alternately smiling at the patient and gazing
with something less than clinical detachment at the dark-haired Levine.
Jill glared at him.
The only thing she knew about him was that he was from Denver, and possessed that air of rugged stamina one usually saw in shaving ads. Well, so what about his looks; it was the patient who really upset her. Mary Hollins, thirty-eight, had just undergone an amniocentesis, the fourth that Jill had seen performed. Clinically, it wasn’t a difficult procedure: amniotic fluid was surgically withdrawn from the abdomen of a pregnant woman, then examined for abnormal cells or chemicals that would indicate whether or not the fetus was in any trouble. For the doctor, the job was almost easy.
But what about the patients? Jill thought. I’ll bet they just love lying there, fully conscious, having their bellies skewered by a twenty cc syringe.
She peered again at Mary Hollins. It was hard to believe that this smiling patient, fervently clasping Levine’s hand, was the same woman who had been hysterical only half an hour ago.
“Amazing,” said Tricia, looking at Jill again. Fluorescents beamed off her glasses. “He’s really something, isn’t he?”
“Levine. Think of some of the residents we could have gotten stuck with – ”
She broke off as Levine left the patient with MacIntyre and headed their way. Coming up behind him was another resident, George Mackey, a broad and jovial sort who two days ago had introduced the interns to fetal sonography.
“David!” Tricia called out. “I have a question about using Procaine as a pain killer. Do you think if the patient –
” Levine stopped, checking out the troubled expression on Jill Raney’s face. He half-turned in Donovan’s direction.
“Trish,” he said absently. “Why don’t you ask Mackey here? He’d be glad to help.”
Mackey and Levine traded looks. Mackey pulled a ballpoint from his breast pocket while glancing at Jill, who turned, stony-faced, and began walking away from the group.
Levine followed after her. “Why sure,” said Mackey heartily, turning back to Tricia. “Always glad to help.”
“Why the scowl?” David Levine asked.
“Who’s scowling?” Jill said, aware of the brittle tone in her voice.
“You are. Come on, what’s the matter?”
She had made the mistake of marching up the hall in the wrong direction, only to find herself blocked by the double swinging doors which led to the delivery area. There remained only one refuge: a walk-in linen closet. Levine had followed after her and now stood, leaning on the jamb, his tall, broad-shouldered frame blocking the exit.
She kept her back to him, pawing furiously through a pile of sheets pretending to look for something. She felt his eyes on her.
Abruptly he said, “I’m sorry I yelled.”
She hadn’t expected that. She stopped, stared at a stack of white towels, then slowly turned. He saw with surprise that her eyes were tearing, her cameo-perfect face blotchy. Quite a contrast to the way she had looked eleven days ago on the first day of internship. The new bunch had arrived on the floor looking like awkward schoolchildren, except for her. She looked confident and relaxed. Coming from the med school, she had already spent her fourth year in clerkship, caring clinically for patients and generally getting to know her way around. David had seen enough of her, darting in and out, to decide that she was a babe. Once, the week before internship began, he had shown the group around. Their glances had met, she smiled at him, and he was thrilled.
Now he watched her, disappointed. She wasn’t smiling anymore.
Her slender hands clenched. “Oh, you didn’t yell,” Jill said in a faintly supercilious voice. “All you did was make a complete ass of me in an ordinary voice. ‘No comments allowed from the munchkins,’” she mimicked angrily. “Everyone thought it was just hilarious – including the patient!”
He dared a smile. “They say it’s the best medicine.” His face colored as he stepped closer to her. Damn, would he have been this absurdly nice if he weren’t already attracted?
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