Monday Sampler: A Woman’s Worth by Chicki Brown

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Monday’s Sampler is an excerpt from A Woman’s Worth, a touching contemporary romance by Chicki Brown.

As one reviewer said: I love how a real man stepped up to the plate and showed how to love the woman who touched his heart. Great storyline around a serious issue. Great read.

The Story

Gianne Marvray has been through the worst two years of her life physically and emotionally. After a battle with cancer and all it entails, she is finally ready to start living her life again.

She wants to see new places, meet new people and experience new things, but she isn’t ready for the rollercoaster ride she’s about to embark on when she meets Las Vegas personal trainer and raw vegan foods advocate, Marc Stafford.

After a four year absence, Marc comes home to Atlanta to attend a family celebration in one of his brother’s honor. He’s not thrilled about seeing his father, but he has promised his mother that he won’t throw off the family balance by being the only one of their six sons absent.

All Marc wants to do is make an appearance at the event and spend a little time with his brothers. Little does he know that this is the night he will meet the woman who will forever change his life.

The Sampler

Gianne Marvray tapped her foot against the chair leg as she waited for her doctor to enter the office. His nurse had called to say Dr. Stafford wanted to see her, but not for an exam. That meant one of two things – either the latest treatments had been successful or the cancer had returned. No one could have possibly understood the foreboding churning inside her unless they were in the same situation. Stefanie, her best friend, offered to accompany her today, but Gianne knew this was a visit she needed to do alone. If the news turned out to be bad, she’d need time alone. Gianne knew Stefanie loved her, but whatever platitudes she might offer wouldn’t do her any good. If her oncologist had good news, her parents and Stef were the first people she’d call.

After radiation therapy, three rounds of chemo, constant nausea and vomiting, losing thirty pounds, all of her hair and all the other accompanying misery, her strength was slowly returning. Very slowly. Ever since her last checkup three months ago, Gianne was feeling better than she had in the past two years.

Her gaze landed on an old photograph on the credenza behind the desk of a much younger Dr. Stafford and his wife surrounded by a slew of the cutest boys she’d ever seen. They all looked to be between two and sixteen years old. Their features were an interesting mixture of both parents. Gianne had seen two of the sons here in the office. Dr. Jesse and Dr. Charles were both surgeons. The oldest son, Dr. Vic, who had performed her surgery, worked from his office at the hospital where he was Chief of Surgery.

Dr. Stafford appeared a few minutes later wearing the unreadable expression he’d probably perfected from years of delivering horrific news to patients. “Good morning, Gianne. How are you?”

She swallowed the lump in her throat. “Good morning. That’s what I’m here to learn.” She studied his smooth, unlined face, which was still quite handsome considering she estimated him to be in his mid-sixties.

He sat behind his desk, pushed up the glasses on his nose and opened the two-inch-thick file containing her medical history. She smiled inwardly at how he resisted new technology in his office. At the hospital, he adapted to the changes, but he always fussed about carrying the notebook computer containing patient records.

“It’s very good news, Gianne. All of your tests were all negative. There is no evidence of the cancer.”

Relief took the wind out of her, and she sat back heavily in the chair. “Are you sure?”

“I wouldn’t give you thisdiagnosis if I wasn’t certain. Of course, you will need to be retested every six months. So we won’t need to see each other again until November, except for this Friday night.”

She frowned, still taking in the enormity of his announcement. “What do I need to do Friday night?”

“Join my family and me at a celebration for my son, Victor. He’s been promoted to Chief of Surgery at the hospital. Since he was your surgeon, you alreadyknow him. When was the last time you put on a fancy dress and had an evening of fun?”

She shook her head. “To tell you the truth, I really can’t remember.”

“Well, I’d say it’s time, especially since you have something to celebrate. You’ve been my patient for two years now and, to tell you the truth, I see you more than I see a few of my own kids.” Smile lines crinkled around eyes that reminded her of a tropical ocean. Rare for a black man. “I’d love for you to join us. The affair is being held in the ballroom at the Twelve Hotel in Atlantic Station at seven o’clock.”

“It’s so nice of you to invite me. I’d love to come.”

Before she left the office, he gave her instructions to get enough rest and to keep her regular checkups with her primary-care doctor and gynecologist.

Gianne walked to the parking garage in a daze, a barrage of thoughts swirling around her like a tornado. Had he really said she was in remission? After the worst two years of her life, couldshe return to life as she’d once known it before uterine cancer changed everything? The awful diagnosis had stolen her health, her strength and her dream of giving birth to her own children. Those days between the diagnosis, ensuing surgery, chemo and radiation had turned into twenty-two interminably long months. But now a brilliant wash of light instantly swept away the dark cloud that had been her constant companion. A growing euphoria carried her to the car, and she found herself grinning as she put her key into the ignition.

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