In Finn's Heart (Fighting Connollys #3)

By: Roxie Rivera

Chapter One



Feet cold and feeling nervous, I shifted uncomfortably on the exam table and frowned as the thin paper

shield under me crinkled loudly. I gathered the too big gown a bit closer to my naked chest and wondered

why they hadn't offered me a heated blanket or even a sheet. I shivered uncontrollably, my skin prickling with goosebumps caused by anxiety and the chill.

At the pediatric cardiology practice I had been with since birth, the staff always had lots of warm

blankets and sheets on hand. Here, in this adult practice, they had shoved me into an exam room and

ordered me to strip. The office was freezing cold, the air conditioner on high because of the triple digit temperatures searing Houston.

I swung my legs quickly back and forth and tried to slow my racing, nervous heartbeat. Licking my lips,

I glanced at the posters and art. Unlike the cheerful heart posters at the old practice, this one had some really depressing public service ads on the walls. There were no happy little heart cartoons to make me smile. No, I was forced to read about the signs of a heart attack and clogged arteries.

I shook my head and reached for my phone. Swiping the screen, I tapped in my passcode and checked

my text messages to find one from my best friend and roommate Coby. Only she knew I was visiting my

new heart doctor today. I hadn't wanted to worry anyone else, not until I knew for sure.

Well?

Still waiting.

What?!

Yeah. But I have some creepy heart attack posters keeping me company.

Awesome. Hey! Want to grab an early dinner tonight before I head to Faze?

Coby's alter ego, DJ Cobalt, was one of the most popular DJs and electronic musicians in the world.

Russian tycoon Yuri Novakovsky had recognized her talent early on and had signed her as the house DJ for

his string of unbelievably successful and highly exclusive night clubs. She now hopped from one

international hotspot to the next, spinning some of the sickest tracks ever for wild crowds who lined up

hours before the doors opened just to hear her.

Sorry. I've got plans.

Oooohh. That sounds interesting. His name is…?

It's a double date.

A knock on the door interrupted our chat.

Gotta run. Doc's here.

K. Lemme know how it goes!

Will do.

Setting aside my phone, I watched Dr. Rae stroll into the room in her bright blue scrubs and shockingly

orange clogs. She smiled at me and extended her hand. "Hello, Hadley. It's good to see you again. What's it been? Six years?"

"Eight," I corrected gently, my fingers tightening their grasp on the scratchy gown fabric. I had been fifteen when she had assisted in my last open heart surgery. She had left the pediatric practice I had been seeing since birth to move to this newer adult-oriented practice right after that. Since it was finally time for me to make the transition to a "grown-up" team, I had chosen Dr. Rae because she was familiar and nice.

"Gosh," she said with a shake of her head, her dark hair swishing side to side in her ponytail, and sat down on her rolling stool. "Time has really gotten away from me! Are you still writing and drawing those graphic novels?"

I nodded. "I'm wrapping up one series this year and planning a spinoff."

"That's fantastic! I read the feature on your arts center in the paper earlier this year. I think it's really wonderful that you've opened up a new avenue for special needs kids and adults. It looks like a really great place. You're keeping busy?"

"We've got a full schedule and a waitlist. I'm probably going to add some new instructors for the fall so we can get more classes open."

She smiled at me. "I can see how much you love your work there by the look in your eyes. Looks like

you've found your passion." Leaning back, Dr. Rae clasped her hands together. "So, kiddo, what's the problem?"

Not minding the way she called me kiddo at all, I pinched the thick blue trim of the gown between my

fingers and fiddled with it. "I spent most of April, May and June traveling abroad."

"Backpacking?"

"Yeah," I said with a smile. "It was really fun, but I noticed that I was having a harder and harder time catching my breath when I was on long walks or trying to climb. Like, for reals, I thought I was going to pass out cold when I hiked Tiger Hill."

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