St. Cross book 1
- Won't Feel a Thing
It takes more than a doctor to mend a broken heart.
Ollie Warne is fresh out of nursing school and working his dream job as a pediatric cardiology nurse at St. Cross Children’s Hospital. Wanting to start the year fresh from personal heartache and his track record of falling for the wrong man, Ollie’s New Year’s resolution is to rid himself of emotional baggage and live a life of carefree liaisons.
But before the resolution can even begin, Ollie is called to care for eight-year-old Daisy Monroe, who’s struggling after heart surgery. Her father, Jacob Monroe, never leaves her side, apart from the times her mother comes to visit.
The tempestuous and somewhat estranged relationship of her parents is cause for concern enough, but the father’s brooding nature has Ollie investing far more time than usual in his Room One patient. Striking up a friendship of sneaking takeaways into the ward, card playing until dawn and the occasional breaking up of domestic fights, Ollie finds himself drawn to Jacob and becomes a friendly ear for the man who’s harboring more guilt and past demons than even Ollie, which is saying something.
The growing attraction makes it hard for Ollie to keep his distance, though he has to—not only do the ethics of his profession demand it, but Ollie is still somewhat involved with another man. One who has a huge stake in Ollie’s life, both personal and professional.
Ollie is risking more than just his job by getting involved with a patient’s father—much more even than the success of his New Year’s resolution, something that was supposed to ensure that, this time, he won’t feel a thing.
Publisher's Note: This book was previously released by another publisher. It has been reedited for rerelease with Pride Publishing.
- 1 Read list
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 3 Age: 46-65
Tropes: Bad Breakup, Blackmail, Families/Raising Kids, Love Triangle, Mind Games, Office / Workplace Romance
Word Count: 64092
Setting: England, London
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
“You want my opinion?”
“My honest opinion?”
“Yes,” Ollie repeated. “Please.”
“Brutal honest opinion?”
“Even if you don’t like it?”
“Even if I never want to talk to you again.” Ollie took a sharp slurp through the straw of his smoothie and winced, his glasses tipping to the end of his nose. “Until tonight, anyway.”
“Then leave well alone.”
Ollie sighed. He sucked up another mouthful of his daily fruit and veg intake, flicked back his blond hair that had lost its vigor after a twelve-hour night shift and glanced away from Taya’s wide brown eyes. The eyes that signified she meant every damn word. Bitch.
“Told you.”READ MORE
Taya freed her dark, waist-length hair from its curled bun and stroked it over one shoulder. She wrapped the band around her slender dark-skinned wrist then sipped her dainty cup of pink hot chocolate. The blue edges of her lips, caused by the freezing weather, were subsiding back to their usual reddish tinge with each guzzle of the pink cream and rainbow of chocolate candies scattered over her ridiculous sickly concoction. She hadn’t even offered a spoonful to him. Twelve hours straight on night shift clearly meant she needed the sugar all to herself.
“He’s not worth your time, your worry or your respect.” She clanged the cup down onto the glass surface of the table, pulled her winter trench coat over the scrubs she hadn’t bothered to change out of and reached for her packet of menthol slims.
“Neither are they.” Ollie pointed to the cigarettes.
Taya glared across the table. She unhooked the top of the packet, took one of the white sticks between her teeth and lit it with her pink lighter. Blowing the smoke into the freezing cold air, she waved her hand.
“We all have our vices, Oliver.”
Ollie stuck his middle finger up. He slapped it back down and shoved it into his jacket pocket. It was freezing, and Taya had to bloody sit outside the corner coffee shop in order to smoke her way out of the trying night shift. She was right. Everyone needed their vices, especially with what he and Taya did for a living. He sighed.
“I think he needs patience.”
“He’s got plenty of those.” Taya pointed her two fingers clutching the death stick at Ollie.
“Har fricking har. Patience with a c.”
“He’s a c all right.” Taya took another drag. At Ollie’s glare, she sighed and rested her elbow on the tabletop. “What? He is.”
“I think you may be the only female in the entire hospital who doesn’t like him.” Ollie slurped the dregs of his raspberry-ripple smoothie and shivered. He should have gone for a hot drink, but it was hard enough to sleep during the day as it was. Caffeine would only make it infinitely more difficult.
“That’s because I know him,” Taya replied.
“Urgh. Not you, too?”
“Ew.” Taya grimaced around her cigarette. “No, thank you.”
Ollie leaned back in the chair. He waved a hand to waft away the smoke drifting into his face. To give her some credit, Taya was trying to blow it out of the side of her mouth to avoid him, but the icy-cold January breeze from the earlier sleet downpour blew it straight back. Ollie zipped up his puffer jacket, folded his arms and jiggled on the cold metal chair.
“You nearly done?” He nodded to the half-full cup of violently pink chocolate.
Taya blew another puff of smoke into the air, stubbed out the remains of her cigarette and downed the rest of her drink, leaving a foam mustache on her top lip. She licked it away. “Yeah. Home to bed, miss the snowfall, back at eight. You?”
They scraped back their chairs and Ollie tucked a five-pound note under the ashtray for the servers. Anyone willing to come outside and serve drinks in this weather should most definitely get tips, even if his wages would no doubt be far less than those of the coffee baristas working this part of London.
“I should go see my dad,” he replied.
Taya linked her arm in with his, curling her slender fingers around his quilted sleeve. Checking both ways along the crossroads lined by independent boutiques, high-class restaurants, unconventional cafés and health-food shops, she steered him across, narrowly missing a black cab speeding over the mini-roundabout. The glass-enclosed bus stop’s bench overflowed with waiting passengers, so he stood, his freezing toes within his inappropriate-for-the-weather slip-on loafers numbing with each passing second, and checked the time on the electric board for when the next bus was due.
“How’s he doing?” Taya asked.
“Good days and bad days.” Ollie sighed. “Keeps calling me Tilly.”
Taya tried to hold in the chuckle but failed miserably. Ollie didn’t mind so much. A good sense of humor was always best in these situations, not to mention their line of work. He pulled Taya in closer. It was fricking freezing and snowflakes fell from the overcast sky. How would he get back to work later that night? London came to a standstill if even one flake hit any mode of public transport. Him living in the other end of the city—the cheap end—would make it all the more difficult to travel across town. On occasions when there wasn’t a downfall, he would have cycled in. But that was out of the question with the ice on the roads. And the fact that he hadn’t woken up in his own bed last night. Ollie shuddered at the memory.
“Right.” Ollie bounced to keep warm while awaiting the number 252. “It’s January. So that means New Year’s resolutions. What’s yours?”
“Good luck.” Ollie meant it.
Taya stuck out her tongue.
“Well, we both know mine—”
“Which you broke last night.” Taya was a bitch like that.
“I don’t believe New Year’s resolutions should start until the second week of January.” Ollie rubbed his hands together, digging Taya’s arm into his side, and wondered why he hadn’t thought to bring gloves. Ah, yes, he hadn’t had any where he’d been before his shift started. He wasn’t allowed to leave any trace of his existence there.
“Riiight,” Taya said. “So that means from today, you’ll be steering clear of arsehole men?”
“Sadly, no. Unfortunately, I will no doubt encounter many of them in my time without realizing until it’s too late.”
“Amen.” Taya saluted.
Ollie wasn’t sure what the salute was about. But he wasn’t particularly religious, so maybe that was how it was done in church these days? Or temples, considering Taya’s family were Hindu.
“So, what is your resolution, then?”
“No baggage,” Ollie replied.
“Yep,” Ollie confirmed.
The gleaming new red Routemaster bus edged along the narrow High Street, bumping over the speed mounds meant to slow the traffic down, which Ollie thought ridiculous as the morning rush-hour pileup tended to last all day in central London. The streets were filled with scuttling people carrying takeout coffee cups, cyclists braving the ice, and the occasional honking of a taxi horn. This time of the morning, most people were trying to get to work and not home from it like Ollie and Taya. He was never quite sure who was keener to reach their destinations.
“I don’t mind a complete arsehole—”
“Obviously.” Taya cut Ollie off with a raise of her smoothed-out eyebrows. That new rainbow hot chocolate had clearly contained one too many e-numbers and sent her loopy. That and the long night shift. Not that she hadn’t been a little bit loopy to begin with.
“Ha ha.” Ollie pushed her forehead. “Like, I can handle a dickhead—”
“We all know.”
“Jesus Christ,” Ollie muttered. “No more white hot chocolate with pink dye for you, okay?”
“Sorry.” Taya pressed her lips together. She rose up on her tiptoes to check on the bus’s progress but needn’t have worried, as it had traveled all of a millimeter since the start of their conversation. At this rate, Ollie might get home in time to have a shower and come straight back.
“What I mean is—”
“You don’t want a man who can’t commit because of circumstance,” Taya finished for him.
Ollie was capable of finishing his own sentences, but Taya was getting warm from flapping her lips, so he allowed it. “Exactly. I’m married to my job. I love my job. Therefore, I should have the occasional fling and become the arsehole myself.” He pointed a finger at Taya. “Don’t fricking say it.”
Taya shrugged and mimed zipping her lips up.
“What do we nurses say daily?”
“‘No, you can’t have McDonald’s’?”
“Not that one.”
“‘You’re going to feel a little prick’?”
Ollie sniggered. “Not that one either.”
“Oh, I know. It’s ‘Of course I’ll change your TV channel for you—it’s not like I have anything better to do with my time.’”
“No! I mean the big one—‘You won’t feel a thing.’”
Taya nodded. “So?”
“So, my resolution is to no longer feel a thing.”
“Good luck.” Taya smiled. Bitch.
The bus pulled up and Ollie jogged on the spot, waiting for the doors to open. They hissed to the side, and even though he and Taya were standing correctly at the hop-on part of the Routemaster with the exit farther along the double decker, a tall man with floppy dark hair jumped straight off and bashed Ollie’s arm as he rushed up the high street, heading toward the gleaming glass frontage of St. Cross Children’s Hospital.
“Ouch.” Ollie pouted and rubbed his arm.
“Ha!” Taya jumped the step onto the bus.
Amusement shimmered across Taya’s face as she bleeped her Oyster card onto the yellow reader. “You just felt something.”
“Oh, bog off.”COLLAPSE
Carra Saigh on Making It Happen Blog wrote:
New Year’s Resolutions - do you make them? Me? Well, I try not to because I invariably always break them *shrugs* lol.
Ollie Warne makes one - he decides from now on he won’t feel a thing. Strange, isn’t it? For how can we experience all life has to give - good or bad - if we don’t open ourselves up to the feelings that go with it? So as you can imagine, I was hooked. What would make this warm, charming and demonstrative young man make such a decision?
Landing a coveted position as a paediatric cardiology nurse straight from college seemed like a dream come true. Especially given Ollie’s personal responsibilities. Only, as Ollie has come to realise, nothing in life is free, and this job certainly has extra ‘strings’ attached. Cue a certain doctor...
All Ollie wants is to come first, just once in his life. Isn’t that something we all deserve?
Ollie knows he has more than enough on his plate already. He doesn’t need any more added complications. Especially not in the form of the tall, dark, and edible, I mean delectable Jacob Monroe *winks* Getting involved with the father of one of his patients is a great big NO! A job ending NO!
Jacob is not without his own complications. Getting involved with his daughter’s nurse screams lunacy, but sometimes the heart wants what it wants.
Can Ollie rid himself of Dr. Evil without jeopardising his job, and the benefits that come with it? Can he help Jacob in his time of need? Even if it all works out, do they even have a future together?
I swear my blood pressure went through the roof with this book, and not always in a good way *snorts* I raged - oh, how I raged. I ran the full gamut of emotions - as per usual *snorts* What can I say? You all know I’m an emotional reader.
A fabulous start to a new series by a new-to-me author. I can’t wait for the next release.
Now, put your hand on your chest. Trust me, go on... feel that? Your heart beating? It means you’re alive. We have but one life. Embrace it - feel EVERYTHING.
Kenna on Joyfully Jay wrote:
Usually for a book of this length, I can read the whole thing in a single day. This one I wound up spreading out over three days because I needed to put it down every so often to give myself a break due to two characters who aggravated the heck out of me every time they were on the page—the doctor with whom Ollie’s been entangled (Elliot), and Jacob’s ex Becky. There’s a lot of angst in this book, but each time when these two made their appearances during the story, it’s like I could feel my blood pressure shooting up. This is one of the few times when I’ve had what I consider the “baddies” of the story really affect my reading—which is actually not a negative thing here. The fact that the author could evoke such a response from me shows she’s done a great job with these characterizations.
But enough about the ones I loathed (yes, I said it—especially Becky, I wanted to throttle her through the entire story). Ollie is kind of caught up in a no-win situation; or at least that what it seems for much of the story. He’s a wonderful person, caring and thoughtful putting his family first. It was great watching him realize he needed to put himself first as well, and take steps towards that—particularly when it came to Elliot. Jacob has so much happening in his life, and I really felt sorry for him with the way Becky treated him. Yes, he was in the wrong…but her actions and words along with when and where (and how loud) she shared them were uncalled for and one of the main reasons I despised her character so much.
Jacob and Ollie match quite well with each other, you can definitely feel the chemistry between them. The intimate scenes are rare, with much of the focus on the conflicts between Ollie and Elliot, and Jacob and Becky, but those that are there are heated and passionate. Aside from the breaks I had to take to decompress from Elliot and Becky before I could decide to hurl my e-reader into a wall, the rest of the time I was thoroughly engrossed in Jacob and Ollie, and remained on edge waiting to see if and how things would work out for them.
Won’t Feel a Thing was a very strong 4-star read for me, and if you love the angsty reads you’ll want to add this one to your library. Since this is the start of a series, I’m interested to see where things go from here…if Elliot gets his own book, then my curiosity would surely be piqued for how his bracing personality and controlling holier-than-thou attitude will figure in to a story to redeem him. As for WFaT, this book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.
Ollie is a nurse who works with pediatric cardiac patients. He’s also a man who isn’t lucky in his romantic life. Ollie wants to start out the new year by breaking up with Elliott, a controlling doctor he has been seeing, and having zero baggage.
Enter Jacob, the father of his patient Daisy. Jacob is divorced from Daisy’s mother. They married because Jacob was trying to deny his homosexuality and got her mother pregnant. The divorce was contentious because his wife found out about what he was doing on his business trips. Jacob spends his nights with Daisy in the hospital as his ex wife doesn’t want him around during the day because she refuses to spend any time in the same room with him.
Ollie begins to have feelings for Jacob and they have developed a sudden, but real, connection. Unfortunately, Ollie can’t seem to get rid of Elliot as he is holding some things over Ollie’s head, such as the elderly care facility where Ollie’s father resides. Now, Ollie and Jacob want to be together and they have to deal with everything and everyone who want to stand in their way. Can they get past it all?
I grabbed up Won’t Feel a Thing because I have a weakness for medical romance stories…especially if one of the MCs is a nurse. My Dad was a male nurse in a sea of women and it wasn’t always easy for him (I have so many stories, but that would take up hours and hours of your time). I think Ollie was written nicely and was a good depiction of not only a male nurse, but a nurse in general. He was gentle with the children in his care, honest with his patients’ parents, and friendly with the other nurses. However, he doesn’t make very good choices when it comes to his love life. At first, when he was only a student nurse, he was happy with Elliot’s attention. Elliot was handsome and all his colleagues wanted him. Ollie felt lucky he was getting the doctor’s attention. Unfortunately, that attention turned sour when Elliot turns out to not be the man Ollie thought he was.
I loved Jacob. I immediately felt for him. At first, his ex wife didn’t even tell him Daisy was in the hospital. When he came to see Daisy, his ex threw a tantrum, yelling, swearing, and berating Jacob. At first, she didn’t even want him near his daughter, but finally agreed he could spend the nights in the hospital with her. That way, when she came in the morning, they didn’t have to spend any time together. Jacob had a lot of guilt about how their marriage broke up. Normally, I’d be upset one of my MCs cheated on a spouse. It makes me wonder if they’ll act the same way with the other MC before too long. This time, I understood Jacob’s issues and was sad for him. He’d been hiding who he truly was and he was able to live like he wanted while he was on his many business trips. Jacob is tremendously sorry for his actions, but he loved his little girl so much. He seemed lost and afraid, and Ollie was a lifesaver to him.
As a couple, Ollie and Jacob were good. There was a lot of angst during their time together. Elliot, Jacob’s ex, Daisy’s illness, Ollie’s father’s dementia…there were so many things in the way of their happiness. Won’t Feel a Thing is a novel, but to me, it read like a novella. It didn’t feel as long. It was a smooth read, even with all their personal issues. However, I was starting to feel overwhelmed by that angst. I was getting upset and feeling a little anxious, but it all ended nicely and was wrapped up neatly.
I thought the three (what I considered) background characters were instrumental in making Won’t Feel a Thing the story it was. Taya is a fellow nurse and Ollie’s best friend. She was his conscience. Sometimes, what she had to say wasn’t pretty, but she always had is best interest at heart. Becky is Jacob’s ex. God, she was a bitch, but I did see why she’d be that way. Finding out your husband has had multiple hookups, and then realizing they were with men had to be a real shock. Then there was Daisy, a sweet little girl who’s been through a lot. Not only does she have her cardiac troubles, she had to deal with the hatred her mother had for her father. She loves her Daddy, and she wants to see more of him, but her mother keeps getting in the way. The women and the little girl all play perfectly within the story.
All in all, I liked Won’t Feel a Thing. It was a good book, with the ending it (and I) needed to have. At times, it wasn’t pretty, but real life never is. I would recommend it to fans of medial drama and fans of redemption. I’ve read other stories written by C.F. White, and I will continue to do so as she releases new ones.
St Cross Series
St. Cross Children’s Hospital, London—a place of life-or-death drama, conflict and heartbreak, where the events of just one single night can change entire lives forever.
And that’s just the staff.