Forgotten Kisses by Verna Clay by Verna Clay - Read Online

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Summary

Hannah Tanner, daughter of Sage and Sarah Tanner from book one, Dream Kisses, has always dreamed of experiencing diverse cultures in countries other than the United States. To that end, she joins a nonprofit organization that sends her to a third world country where she works as office assistant to a doctor in the same organization. From the beginning, Hannah and the doctor develop a rocky relationship, but over time they become friends--and inevitably much more. Hannah falls deeply in love...then the unthinkable happens.

Working for a non-profit organization in a third world country requires tenacity and drive, both of which Dr. Alexavier Wyndham (son of an English Earl) possesses in abundance. The latest addition to his staff isn't what he expected. The girl may be young and frail looking, but the fact that she doesn't kowtow to him is rather impressive.

Published: Verna Clay on
ISBN: 9781311450647
List price: $3.99
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Forgotten Kisses - Verna Clay

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coincidental.

Preface

After writing books six and seven, Rock Star Kisses and Forever Kisses, I knew I had to write Hannah's story. She is the sister of the twins (heroes) from those books. Whereas the twins, Toby and Preston, have never wanted to live anywhere other than Paxtonville, Colorado, Hannah has always dreamed of experiencing another culture in a country other than the United States. To that end, she joins a nonprofit organization and is sent to a third world country to work as office assistant for a doctor.

For reasons you will discover, Hannah and Dr. Alexavier Wyndham have a rocky relationship in the beginning, but over time they become friends…and then much more. Of course, to create an interesting story there has to be conflict and angst, so Hannah and Alex do not escape heartache before resolution.

As in the other books in this series, I include characters from previous stories so readers, including myself, will know what has been happening in their lives.

I hope you enjoy Hannah and Alex's story, and also the hint at a secondary romance between two of Hannah's friends to be resolved in book nine. Rather than give a spoiler, I'll let you discover who they are.

Verna Clay

Sequence of books in the Romance on the Ranch Series:

Dream Kisses

Honey Kisses

Baby Kisses

Candy Kisses

Christmas Kisses

Rock Star Kisses

Forever Kisses

Forgotten Kisses

Angel Kisses

The Last Kiss (2017)

Table of Contents

Preface

Prologue

Chapter 1: In the Trenches

Chapter 2: Learning the Ropes

Chapter 3: Saving a Life

Chapter 4: Gumption

Chapter 5: Goodbye, Ms. Buttons

Chapter 6: Another Village

Chapter 7: Elder Woman

Chapter 8: Confrontation

Chapter 9: Phone Call

Chapter 10: Family

Chapter 11: Poor Alex

Chapter 12: Secret

Chapter 13: Just a Kiss

Chapter 14: More than a Kiss

Chapter 15: Village Ceremony

Chapter 16: Nowhere to Run

Chapter 17: We have a Situation

Chapter 18: Problem Solver

Chapter 19: Answer

Chapter 20: Home Sweet Home

Chapter 21: Ranch Life

Chapter 22: Buttercup

Chapter 23: Complication

Chapter 24: Peasant

Chapter 25: Anger

Chapter 26: Whisperer

Chapter 27: Ten Steps

Chapter 28: Angel

Chapter 29: Mi'Lady

Chapter 30: Brothers

Chapter 31: Truth

Chapter 32: No Longer Forgotten

Epilogue

Author's Note

Crashed in Oasis

Novels and Novellas by Verna Clay

Prologue

Hannah Sarah Tanner—her middle name being the same as her mother's given name at the insistence of her father—gazed out the porthole of the transatlantic jet that would take her far from her family. The tears that had started early that morning threatened to spill over again. Her stint with the nonprofit organization, Borders Removed, would fulfill a lifelong dream of living in a foreign land, while also helping the less fortunate. She would be away from home for at least a year—longer than she'd ever been.

Remembering her tearful farewell with loved ones, first at the hotel they'd all stayed at the previous day, and then curbside at Denver International with everyone crammed into the Lazy M Ranch van, put a lump the size of a golf ball in her throat. Her entire family and a dear friend had come to see her off—parents, twin brothers and sisters-in-law, older sister and brother-in-law, two nieces, baby nephew, and Angel Martinez.

The plane began taxiing to the runway and Hannah closed her eyes, feeling the love of her family. When she opened them again she resolved to stop getting teary-eyed and focus on the next year. Joining Borders Removed had been a desire since the age of fifteen when she'd attended a job fair in Denver with her school group. She'd always loved helping people and visiting faraway places with her family. What better way to experience both than joining such an excellent organization?

The plane, which had stopped at the end of the runway, now began speeding forward faster and faster until she felt it lift skyward. Hannah placed a hand over her pounding heart and felt reborn. She was about to live her dream.

Chapter 1: In the Trenches

It was late afternoon and Dr. Alexavier Wyndham was exhausted. He glanced from his laptop screen to the door of his office when a crisp knock sounded. Enter, he called.

His office assistant, a middle-aged, no-nonsense woman over the age of fifty, poked her head around the door and grinned. Since Gladys Buttons rarely smiled at him, he frowned. Yes?

It wasn't a secret that he and Gladys often butted heads, so her smile puzzled him. Then he decided it was because she was a short-timer. Her contract with the organization would be over as soon as he authorized her replacement.

She said, My replacement is here. Her grin widened.

Now he was completely baffled. Okay, show him in. He heard Ms. Buttons laugh as she closed the door and he got an uneasy feeling.

A few minutes later there was another knock. He yawned and turned his attention to meeting his new assistant. He'd been up most of the night with a child suffering from malnutrition and the ailments associated with it. The child had been brought to the only doctor within a hundred miles—him. The poor mother hadn't been in much better condition after her three day journey on foot. He typed one last notation into his laptop, hit the save button, and closed the screen.

The door opened and Ms. Buttons entered, blocking his view of whoever was behind her. With a flourish, she waved her hands and stepped aside. Dr. Wyndham, meet Miss Hannah Tanner, your new assistant.

Alexavier's eyes widened and then narrowed. He had specifically requested his new assistant be male. Life in a third world country was grueling, and other than cantankerous Ms. Buttons who could survive anything, he'd already witnessed the affect it had on young women in the organization. Often, they came believing their ideals were all they needed. He never doubted they were well-intentioned, but after weeks of sometimes unbearable heat, unusual food, little sleep, and the overwhelming needs of the population, the women began to fade. The sparkle left their eyes as they attempted to become all things to anyone who needed them.

Alexavier pressed his hands onto the top of his desk and glared at Ms. Buttons. He said, What the bloody… Tell me you're kidding.

Ms. Buttons' smile brightened. No, Dr. Wyndham, not kidding.

Ignoring Hannah Tanner, he said, I specifically requested a male assistant.

Ms. Buttons shrugged. Guess you didn't get what you wanted.

Alexavier returned his gaze to Miss Tanner, who now looked as surprised as he. He said, There has been a mistake. I'll contact the agency and have you reassigned to a location more conducive to your youth.

Ms. Buttons glanced between them. If you'll excuse me. I have work to do while you two hash this out.

Before Alexavier could tell his ornery assistant there was nothing to hash out, she was gone. He glanced again at Miss Tanner and physically shook his head. She would never do. She was young, really young, slight of build, and looked like she'd never done anything other than shop or have her hair and nails done.

Without standing or even motioning for her to sit, he repeated, I'll get you reassigned. Life is difficult here and sometimes dangerous. There are other locations more favorable to the interests of a young woman.

The smile on her face had long since vanished and been replaced by confusion. She said, I'm not going anywhere. I specifically requested the village of Jata.

Alexavier shook his head and, as if speaking to a child, said slowly, Believe me; you really don't want to stay here.

She interrupted. If it's so bad, why are you here?

Her remark brought him to his feet. Obviously, I'm going to have to stop mincing my words. He folded his arms across his chest. I am a doctor and my services are needed. You are a young woman who will find yourself with nowhere to shop, dine with friends, or get a manicure. This country only came out of civil war a few years ago and, although rare, the opposing faction has been known to still rear its head. He paused for breath. And, more importantly, you could become the target of undesirables who would like nothing better than to… he paused again deciding how to continue, …spend time with a young woman. He watched her peaches-and-cream complexion pale and her hazel eyes widen. He finished with, I see you understand. He sat back behind his desk, picked up his pen, and said dismissively, I'll get you reassigned this afternoon. When she didn't respond or walk out of the room, he glanced up and groaned. Her crestfallen expression had been replaced by anger.

The young lady said, "Dr. Wyndham, I am not going anywhere. Out of ten locations open to me, I specifically chose this one. He watched her gulp before continuing. And your assessments that I would rather shop, dine, and have manicures, rather than help others, are offensive and downright obnoxious. Perhaps the women in your life have been obsessed with those pursuits, but rest assured, I have not. She leaned closer. If you have me reassigned, I will expose you for going against the tenants of this agency and for being a male chauvinist. She straightened to her height of maybe five feet, four inches, lifted her chin, and said evenly, Do we understand each other?"

Alexavier almost laughed. No one, much less a woman barely out of her teens, had ever spoken to him in such a forthright manner. Rubbing the stubble on his jaw he studied her until she squirmed. He finally shrugged and said softly, It's your life.

Just as softly she replied, Yes, it is.

Chapter 2: Learning the Ropes

Hannah turned and stalked out of Dr. Wyndham's office. She couldn't remember ever being so angry. The man was obnoxious and uncouth. Ms. Buttons glanced up from her desk and couldn't contain what appeared to be glee. Hannah frowned.

Ms. Buttons asked, Are you being reassigned?

Hannah straightened her shoulders. I am not. I intend to stay and perform my job.

Ms. Buttons smiled widely. Good for you. But I have to warn you, you'll probably change your mind. The good doctor can be quite demanding.

Is that why you're leaving?

The woman chuckled. Goodness, no. I love my work here, and as much as the doctor gets under my skin, I like and admire him; he's an excellent physician. She lowered her voice. Even if he is nobility from some hoity-toity English family.

Before Hannah could question Ms. Buttons further, the door to Dr. Wyndham's office opened and he said, Ms. Buttons, I need you to inventory the antibiotics. He lowered his gaze to Hannah's and her heart kicked.

Ms. Buttons chuckled again when his door closed. Oh, what I wouldn't give to be a fly on the doctor's wall. He's not used to anyone, other than me, challenging him. But to answer your question, I'm leaving because I'm getting married. I'm fifty-six years old and after waiting most of my life for the right man, he finally showed up. He's a rancher out in West Texas who's got ten years on me, so I figured I'd best marry him quick. I met him while in France last year attending a symposium. I was visiting the Louvre and he was there on vacation with two of his grandchildren. They confided that his wife had died a couple of years earlier and they'd bamboozled him into coming to Europe to cheer him up. We hit it off and his grandkids invited me to join them on some sightseeing tours. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Ms. Buttons had talked nonstop and when she paused for breath, Hannah hurried to say, Congratulations. She was just about to ask about the strange remark of Dr. Wyndham being from nobility, when the doctor's door opened again. Sarcastically, he said, Inventory already completed?

Ms. Buttons replied just as caustically, Not to worry. You know me; faster than a speeding bullet as soon as I don my red cape.

The remainder of the day became a blur as Ms. Buttons trained Hannah in her duties. The clinic was located in a village chosen because of its central location to neighboring villages, and the workers consisted of one doctor, one office assistant, two nurses, one lab technician, and several local volunteers.

The next morning at eight when Hannah walked with Ms. Buttons from the dorm to the clinic,