Ladies' man Luke Morgan has the world at
his feet until a freak explosion leaves him
burned and bitter. Luke's family offers gutsy
occupational therapist Abby Stanford a job
facilitating Luke's physical therapy, but Luke
wants no part of his family's schemes or Abby's
help. When sparks fly between Luke and Abby,
Luke must face his deepest fears in order to
claim the woman who brought his family
together and taught him the real meaning of
Awards and Honors
- Winner! -- Gayle Wilson Award of
Excellence - Romantic Suspense
- Finalist -- Colorado Award of Excellence
- Finalist -- ACRA 2010 Heart of Excellence
- Finalist -- The 2010 Lories Best Published
"Healing Luke is along the lines of a typical romance novel but with a bit more depth and very charming characters. Well written and more than just a light beach read, this story will keep the reader wanting more." -- Armchair Interviews
"Beth Cornelison builds a fascinating tale of a family trying to cope with the emotional upheaval caused by injury to someone they love. Abby is an Occupational Therapist but she has her own pain to cope with. Luke's handsome body has been scarred by fire but Abby's has been scarred by constant teasing, insults, and her fiancé's rejection of her for a buxom blonde. It's easy to relate to the two on some level as the author shows us the struggle they go through to find emotional and/or physical healing.
The author does a great job crafting this tale. Rather than discount the importance of the process of healing Luke has to go through to focus on the love story, Ms. Cornelison make it a total process without the magic wand many wave to let the love story take precedence over reality.
Dynamics in any family are complicated. This tale helps to express that. It's a joy to read the amount of influence one person can have on the lives of the three great men in the Morgan family. The love story is great but made even better because it could be a slice of real life with real people. Ms. Cornelison excels again with this book." Overall rating: 5 out of 5 hearts! -- The Romance Studio
“Ready to begin?”
Luke turned from the living
room window to face Abby when she spoke. She had
disappeared with Bart after lunch, and Luke could only
guess what kind of scheme they’d dreamed up now.
Did Bart really think some
cute little chick was the trick to interesting him in
rehab? If so, Bart was wrong.
He’d get better on his own
terms and on his own schedule. He didn’t need the
humiliation of someone hovering over him while he
struggled like an incompetent klutz. And he especially
didn’t need to make a fool of himself in front of a sexy
woman like Abby.
By now she’d no doubt reported
to Bart how he’d hassled her into admitting her real
reason for being here. Though he didn’t want to admire
Abby for her belated honesty, it seemed she was the only
one leveling with him lately.
Now, as she crossed the room
toward the sofa where he sat, he studied the strange
collection of items she carried: pencils, a small ball,
a rock, a seashell, scraps of cloth,
and a stuffed animal. When she sat down next to him, he
eyed her with suspicion. “What’s all that for?”
“Your rehab. I called your
occupational therapist a little while ago, and she
filled me in on the exercises she showed you the last
time you went-- what, three weeks ago?” She paused and
gave him an admonishing look. “She also suggested a
little test that will help her know where things stand
with your sensory discrimination.”
“I’ll stay in touch with your
OT and help you do the daily exercises she thinks you
need,” Abby continued without blinking. “I’m sort of
your dad’s assistant- helping with the snorkelers as
needed but also making sure you stay on track with your
“The snorkelers might need
your help. I don’t.”
She shrugged one shoulder.
“Just the same. I’m here. You’re here. Why not give it a
Her perky voice and blithe
attitude grated his nerves. “Go away.”
“Not until we do some status
checks Ms. Harris suggested. Give me your right hand.”
She wiggled her own extended hand, encouraging him to
“Get lost,” he grumbled and
turned back to the window.
Trying the silly exercise
didn’t bother him nearly as much as knowing he might not
be able to pass her simple little test. He hadn’t wanted
to do the tests at the OT’s office, so why would he do
them now? The idea that his abilities were now limited
yanked a knot of frustration and grief in his chest.
Before the accident, he’d never doubted himself- never
had a reason to.
He watched a large pelican
swoop down to perch on a post along the pier. The regal
bird, standing alone against the vast backdrop of the
Gulf, created a haunting image, one with which Luke
identified all too well. Never in his life had he felt
so alone against such imposing odds. He wanted to get
out of this rut, but the hurdles seemed insurmountable.
Especially with so many unknowns…
Abby still sat beside him on
the sofa, and he sensed her gaze on him. Damn, she was
stubborn! He thought about the way she’d stood up to his
intimidation tactics that morning and had to admit he
respected her grit.
“Come on, Luke. Ms. Harris
wants me to assess your range of motion, your sensory
discrimination, that sort of thing. It’s normal to—”
“Normal?” He jerked his gaze
around again, narrowing a glare on her. “My life will
never be normal again thanks to that damn explosion!”
“Oh, maybe not your old
normal, but I can help you deal with your new normal,
“My new normal? What kind of
psychobabble shit is that?”
Despite his sharp tone, she
remained calm. Her unwavering composure, when his
snapped so easily these days, irritated him all the
more. She shook her head, giving him a withering look.
In return, he regarded her with cool detachment and took
a magazine from the coffee table.
Abby sighed and propped a hand
on her hip. “Do you want to get better, Luke? Or would
you rather struggle and be miserable for the rest of
“I’d rather you shut up
and left me alone.”
He slapped the magazine back
down and shot a hard look at her. “What difference does
it make to you?”
“It makes all the difference,
The compassion and gentleness
in her green eyes twisted him inside. He remembered the
flash of apprehension he’d seen in those same eyes when
he’d reached for her that morning in the office. She’d
trembled when he’d stroked her breast, yet the desire
he’d stirred in her had been unmistakable… and
reciprocal. Her muffled moan had made him hard.
But if she’d enjoyed his
touch, why had she fought her pleasure? His first
thought was she’d been repulsed by his injuries, even
though electricity crackled between them. Resentment for
this rejection seethed inside him.
The shadows of a memory, long
ago pushed to the recesses of his mind,
taunted him, stirring a hollow ache. Another rejection,
many years old.
As he’d practiced in recent
weeks, he buried the rising pain under defensiveness and
anger, disturbed that Abby had somehow summoned the
Unable to meet her sympathetic
gaze any longer, he stood up and stormed toward the
She pursued him. “I have a
patient at home who was paralyzed from the waist down
when a drunk driver hit his car.”
Though he didn’t answer her,
he sent her a querulous look meant to silence her. It
“You could learn something
from him.” She wagged a finger at him. “Terrence will
never walk again, but he’s glad to be alive and thankful
for the chance to see his daughter graduate from high
school later this month. You are lucky to have—”
“Lucky?” He smacked his good
hand on the kitchen counter and pinned her with a scowl.
“Just how the hell do you figure I’m lucky, lady? Was I
lucky when that engine blew up? Was I lucky to lose an
eye and all practical use of one hand? Was I lucky when
you and my family ganged up on me and lied to me?”
She didn’t answer, and he
stepped closer to her, yelling. “Well, was I? Am I
lucky, Abby? I don’t think so!”
His outburst reverberated in
the tiled kitchen, but she didn’t so much as flinch.
Rather than feeling he’d scored any ground, her
disapproving frown ate away another piece of his
self-respect. Who was this ogre he’d become?
With a slow deep breath, she
kept a maddeningly patient gaze on him. “Yes, you are
very lucky, Luke. You have a father who would do
anything for you. You have a brother who loves you so
much that your pain is tearing him up inside. You have a
heart that is still beating, two legs that work, a
successful family business, a beautiful home, and… me.”
She stepped closer and fixed
an earnest, tender gaze on him. “I’m here to help you,
Luke. I know you’re confused and frightened right now.”
He opened his mouth to deny
her assessment, but she put her hand over his lips. The
gesture stunned him, silenced him. The cool gentleness
of her fingers sent a sharp stab of longing and
loneliness to his heart. He pulled away from her touch,
glowering at her.
“Luke, let’s get one thing
straight from the start.” She aimed a finger at him, and
her voice stayed even but firm. “Life is about choices.
I can’t make you do anything you don’t choose to do. You
have to want it.
“I’ll help you if you want my
help. And I’ll badger you if you don’t want my help,
because your dad is counting on me to get through to
you. But, ultimately, you have to make a choice. You can
remain bitter, or you can get better.”