Excerpt from DANIEL McCLINTOCK:
Clara followed Kathryn [Daniel’s mother] to the room next door. When she entered, she stopped and stared. Daniel wasn’t a boy as she had imagined—he was a man her age or older. And, as handsome as any man she’d ever met.
Kathryn introduced them to one another.
“You’re not serious!” Daniel’s glare chilled Clara as he assessed her head to toe and back up. “You said a man was arriving. You think I’m going to work with this… woman?”
He looked away and made a dismissive wave with his hand. “Forget it and get her out of here.”
Kathryn offered Clara a helpless expression then left the room.
Clara stepped forward, forcing herself to assume her professional demeanor. She had faced this reaction before, but this was so much more important. As much as she longed to help anyone in his position, this man also represented her chance to establish herself in America.
“Daniel, I am here to help you learn to walk again. I have a contract and have moved into the room next door, so you might as well get used to having me here.”
His blue eyes were glacial. “I. Said. Get. Out.”
As if he hadn’t spoken, she continued, “I have completed courses in nursing and mechanotherapy and have helped dozens of people like you recover the use of their limbs. One of your workers has gone to the rail depot to claim my trunks. Inside two of them I have equipment which I will assemble here in your room.”
He threw a book at her but it landed at her feet. “I am not letting you near me.”
She picked up the book, glanced at the title. “Hmm, Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I have wanted to read this. Thank you.” She laid it on the washstand.
“Give me my damned book.”
She smiled but didn’t return the tome. “But, you gave it to me.”
“You know very well I didn’t.” Using his arms and hands, he pushed up higher on his pillows. “You deliberately misled us by using your initials instead of your first name.”
She widened her eyes and blinked at him. “Oh? I believe it is customary to use initials in business correspondence.”
He crossed his arms over his chest. “Don’t give me that innocent expression. You knew we thought you were a man—which is what you intended. I’m not having a woman working on me.”
Clara tapped a finger against her cheek. “I was under the impression your mother has been working with you to insure your leg muscles do not deteriorate. You were not averse to her and she is a woman.”
“She faces prejudice because she is a woman healer. I would think you, as her son who is aware of this, would be more tolerant of other women healers.”
“What she does is entirely different than what you supposedly do.”
“Not so. Each of us does our best to help people. In spite of your low opinion of me, I am going to be helping you for some time. I will be in early tomorrow to help you get ready for the day. After breakfast, I will begin assembling my equipment. You will find it fascinating. For now, good evening.” She reclaimed the book and carried it with her.
He yelled after her, “Bring me back my damned book!”
She smiled to herself as she walked to her room. She thought she had come out best in that round. Tomorrow would begin round two.