The Surgeon King's Secret Baby

By: Amy Ruttan


Isla Hermosa—war-torn country

“I NEED A unit of packed cells—stat!” Reagan shouted over her shoulder. But no sooner had the words left her mouth than another explosion rocked the mobile hospital unit.

She had a wounded man open on her table, and instinctively she threw her body over her patient’s to try and prevent dust and debris from entering into the exposed body cavity.

After working in this war-torn place for over a year, throwing herself over a patient came as second nature. It shouldn’t have to, but such was the nature of war.

Isla Hermosa had been a beautiful, peaceful country once. A paradise in the Atlantic for vacation-goers. A country founded by Spanish and Greek settlers over seven hundred years ago, full of pristine beaches and tall palm trees.

Now the beach they were on just held the charred remains of its tall palms, and the blue sky was blackened with plumes of smoke rising from the capital. Dust filled the hot air, making it hard to breathe. There was no relief.

It was not ideal to be operating out in the open like this, but it was stiflingly hot on the beach, and being closed up in a tent in this humidity would not make matters any better. What they needed was a hospital, but that was impossible. Most of Isla Hermosa had been taken over by the rebellion, and Canadian peacekeepers, along with those on Isla Hermosa who remained loyal to the dysfunctional Hermosian King Aleksander, had been pushed out of the city and back to the Atlantic Ocean.

The mortar fire stopped and Reagan went back to work on saving this Hermosian soldier’s life. As a trauma surgeon for the Canadian Armed Forces she had seen her share of war-torn countries. As soon as she’d had her medical training she’d joined up for active duty. She wanted to serve her country. To prove to herself.

To whom?

She shook that thought away and continued her work. It wouldn’t matter soon. Her agreed-upon tour of duty was ending and she had to return to the attending position that was waiting for her in Toronto.

She didn’t know quite what she was going to do with herself back there, besides work. During patients there was down time, card games and a camaraderie. She didn’t really have any one in Toronto. The people she served with were like a family. Not like her family, though. Not really, because her real family was cold and barely in her life.

The people she served with were her family.

In Toronto she’d be all alone. Again.

Toronto was her home town in the sense that she had been born there, and knew it well. She had a job waiting for her, but it wasn’t really home. Her parents weren’t there anymore.

Her parents had retired and moved to warmer climes while she’d served. They hadn’t even told her that they sold her childhood home until a letter she’d sent them came back marked “Return to Sender.”

Only the Canadian Army had ever wanted her, but she had to return to Toronto. She’d served the time she’d signed up for and her leave of absence from the Toronto hospital was ending.

The friends she’d made here would forget her soon enough. No relationship ever lasted and that was fine. She was used to that. She didn’t want to rely on anyone.

Her parents had taught her well. They’d always told her to make a life for herself. Not to rely on them. So she didn’t.

I wish I had someone.

She was annoyed that she’d let that little thought sneak in.

Get a grip on yourself, Reagan.

Now was not the time to get maudlin.

“The packed cells you were looking for,” a rich, deep voice said, and her body instantly reacted.

Dr. Kainan Laskaris, the foremost trauma surgeon in all of Isla Hermosa, stood beside her. Kainan always unnerved her. He made her feel exposed, vulnerable, as if he knew the pain she was hiding. Knew all her insecurities.

He was the first man in a long time to unnerve her in a good way.

“Thanks,” she said, barely glancing at him.

When she’d first arrived there she’d tried to keep him at a distance, but it had never worked. He’d wiggled his way in and, though they didn’t really talk much about personal stuff, she enjoyed his company. And he was a damn fine surgeon.

He hung the unit of packed cells, calmly drowning out the chaos of the war that was going on in the background.

His presence made her very aware of how very close the quarters were in this tent, but he helped her focus. He distracted her from all that was going on outside.

“How do you keep such a calm demeanor?” she’d asked, the first time they’d worked together on the wounded during mortar fire.

“I drown it out. I ignore it. I think of it as thunder, or something else, and focus on the person in front of me. I try to picture my patient’s life and on my duty to return this patient to those who love him or her. Clear your mind and picture the life you’re saving.”

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