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Authors: Sandra Leesmith

Love's Miracles

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Love’s Miracles

By
Sandra Leesmith

Copyright Page

Kindle
Edition | Copyright © 1989, 2013 Sandra Lee Smith

All
rights reserved.

First edition published by Popular
Library (An imprint of Warner Books, Inc.) 1989

 

“Sufficiency” © 1988

By Marie Daerr Boehringer

Poem first appeared in
Unity
magazine. Reprinted with permission of the author.

 

This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, and events are either products of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, businesses,
locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

 

Cover design:
Lena Goldfinch

Cover images:
Photography33
(models photo),
Elenathewise
(daisy),
Michael Vorobieb & Mtilghma
(background images)

Table
of Contents

Copyright Page

Table of Contents

Dedication

“Forever Friends”

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Epilogue

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Other Romance Novels by
Sandra Leesmith

Dedication

To my brother Hal, who served in the Air
Force in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

 

To my uncle Hal, a Marine who sacrificed
his life on the island of Iwo Jima during WWII.

 

To my father John, who served in the
Navy during WWII.

 

To my father-in-law Edward, who was a
Navy veteran of WWII and a POW in Korea.

 

To my husband Edward, who is a Navy
veteran of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

“Forever Friends”

By Sandra Leesmith

 

“There are worlds to see and know my
friend.

To far-off lands your sails unfurl.

Ride across the oceans of experience.

Friends we’ll be forever.

Forget mistakes of yesterday.

We’ll dream another dream.

Tomorrow discover truth and promise

On the tides of destination.

Friends we’ll be forever.”

Chapter 1

Spring
1989

“You
can’t go all the way to Fort Bragg to bring this guy in. It’s unorthodox.”

Dr.
Margo Devaull shook her head, sending the curled ends of chestnut hair across
the shoulders of her bold print sweater. She was well aware of the
unconventional practice of going to see Dominic Zanelli. “Since when have I
ever been orthodox?”

“Since
when do clinical psychologists go on home visits?”

“What
do you think I travel all over the country speaking about? Home visits are my
subspecialty.”

“For
agoraphobics and traumatic accidents. But this guy lives two hundred miles away
and out in the wilderness. Be reasonable.”

Fred
Barlow, her friend and former colleague, stood and began to pace the cluttered
confines of her office. Margo absently noted that he maneuvered his lanky form
around several piles of books. She really should pick them up. Her desk wasn’t
much better. Papers lay scattered over the surface in between stacks of manila
folders. They were case histories of her patients and they all needed updating.
She sighed. “Look, Fred. I am being reasonable. The family wants my help. I
want the case. Besides, I’ve already arranged my schedule to go tomorrow.” She
gestured at her desk. “You know how hard it is for me to get time.”

Fred
was well aware of her hectic pace, she knew. Margo had just recently left the
Veteran’s Administration Center because of her growing popularity as a
consultant and speaker. The two of them had worked there together for years.
But she had needed to establish a practice that allowed her more flexible
scheduling. Not only did Fred miss her, but Margo also suspected that he
harbored some jealousy for the growing prestige she’d achieved lately.

Fred
raked his fingers through his thinning, sandy-colored hair. “If you insist on
working through the weekend, why don’t you clean up this mess?” He skirted
around a pile of professional journals that she’d stayed up past midnight
reading two nights before.

Margo
picked them up and managed to shove aside a space for them in the
floor-to-ceiling bookcase. Her disorder had been the bane of Fred’s
professional life when she’d practiced with him in the Palo Alto center. Fred
was organized and had hardly contained his dislike for Margo’s clutter, but
they’d managed to develop a close friendship in spite of their differences.

“You
must be delighted I have my own practice now. You get the whole office to
yourself.” Margo chuckled.

“Now
at least I can move around and I can find everything. All papers are filed. All
books are put away.”

Margo
shook her head. “There must be something Freudian about that. This is an
organized mess. Everything has its place.”

If
Fred thought this looked a mess now, he should have seen it last month when
she’d been contracted by the city. A cable car had broken loose resulting in
traumatic shock to a large number of victims. She had been overloaded with
cases, so it wasn’t that she was careless or irresponsible. To her way of
thinking, her patients and their problems held priority over the condition of
her office.

“You
just got back from Los Angeles and you’re off to New Orleans next week. Don’t
you think that’s enough traveling?”

“I’ve
made a commitment, Fred.”

“Why
is it so important to go? Is it because Zanelli’s big time in the city?”

The
dig didn’t deserve a response. In part it was true. Taking on a Zanelli would
enhance her credibility as a consultant on outreach programs.

“What’s
next? You looking to move into the big time? A contract with the government?”
Fred lifted his hands in defeat. “I can see it coming. Another famous stress
expert off to D.C. debriefing victims of terrorists.”

“This
isn’t a big deal. One weekend or two at the most.”

“You
aren’t doing this just for the extra money?”

“Give
me a break.” Fred could be a dolt at times. He’d tried her patience many times
at the center. He didn’t believe in psychologists making home visits and he
often reminded her of the fact.

“You’re
doing this because of your wild plans to establish a retreat.”

“Now’s
the time. The new generation is into wellness and stress-reducing vacations.”

“Stick
to your consulting jobs to earn money for that. They help build your reputation
and credibility as a stress expert.”

The
consulting jobs paid better too, but she didn’t point that out. Rarely did
visits with her outreach patients earn her much money. It was more
cost-efficient to schedule appointments back-to-back in her office and let her
patients spend driving time to come to her. Few psychologists made home visits,
but sometimes it was necessary to go to a patient. Margo knew firsthand what
could happen if the effort wasn’t made.

Margo
tried to be patient while Fred continued. “This case could put you at risk.”

“What
risk? Vincento Zanelli is driving me to his brother’s home. What’s the big
deal?”

“This
man could be dangerous. He’s a Nam vet. Some of those guys hole up in their
homes with guns.”

“You’re
getting paranoid, Fred. Working with vets too long. Maybe you should go into
private practice.”

Vinnie
had assured her there were no guns, nor had his brother ever had an attack of
violence. He did have nightmares about the war. She didn’t tell Fred that.

“Could
be a delayed P.T.S.D. reaction.” Fred wouldn’t let it alone.

“If
it looks like posttraumatic stress disorder or anything else related to his war
experience, I’ll refer him to you.”

“The
V.A. could send one of their counselors.”

“We
don’t know if Dominic Zanelli even has a problem. It’s not unheard of for
people to step out of mainstream society.”

“For
eight months?”

Margo
ignored Fred. She’d heard this before. “I saw an ad for some property along the
coast.”

“Forget
the property!”

“You
know it’s my dream.”

With
a booted foot, Margo kicked aside the folds of her calf-length wool skirt
before she moved to the window. Whenever she felt the walls closing in around
her, she’d step to the glass and stare over the city of Berkeley and across the
bay to San Francisco. It was a habit of hers. The city stood like a spired
castle on the peninsula surrounded by azure sky and blue water. The sunshine
called to her for a brief moment, and she indulged in a fantasy of walking
along the embarcadero to let the salt-misted air clear her mind.

The
shuffling noise reminded her that Fred was still there. Concerned. Waiting. In
a low voice she said, “Look at the sailboats. They look like wings in flight,
racing across the choppy waves.”

Fred
moved behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders. Her tension eased
slightly when he began massaging the stiff muscles.

She
murmured almost to herself. “Don’t you wish you could sail away sometimes?”

“Dreams,
Margo. You’d never last a day sitting on a boat with nothing more to do than adjust
the sails. You have too much pent-up energy.”

“But
it helps to think about it once in a while.”

“One
of these days you’re going to have to do more than think about finding a way to
relax. For an expert on stress you certainly haven’t learned to take your own
advice.”

“Maybe
I don’t see it as a problem. What’s one person’s stress is another’s
challenge.” She shrugged away from his hold and went back to her desk. “I’ll be
staying at the Fort Bragg Inn. The number’s here.” She dug through the papers
until she found the one she was looking for, then leaned across the desk and
handed it to Fred. “Call me Saturday night if you’re worried about me making
the drive.”

Fred
held up both hands to stop her. “I know what to do.”

“Don’t
you worry.”

He
rolled his eyes upward.

“Come
on, Fred. Nothing’s going to happen that I can’t handle. I’ve had lots of
experience. There aren’t any surprises he can pull on me.”

“When
you’re dealing with the complexities of the human mind there are
always
surprises.”

Margo
veered around her desk and nudged him toward the door. “Yes, yes. I’ll keep
that in mind. Now let me be so I can clear out of here. I still have to pack.”

Fred
finally left and Margo returned to her desk. One look at the unfinished work
sent pangs that could easily turn into a headache. Rubbing her temples, she sat
down in the plush office chair.

Fred
was probably right. It was almost two hundred miles up the coast to Fort Bragg;
a long drive to make alone. But if she took on this case and it turned out to
be a lengthy project, she’d have to get used to it. She’d be making the drive
every weekend. The thought sounded exhausting. It would be a tough schedule
working seven days a week.

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