DIAGNOSIS: TRUE LOVE!
Filling the lives of orphaned kids with hope is what gives meaning to Melanie McAdams's own life. So what if she's a little lonely? That doesn't mean she's ready to fly into the arms of Mitchell Stewart, the shelter's handsome new volunteer. Or that her totally irrational attraction to the dedicated doctor means she's ready to put the pain of the past behind her.
Everyone needs dreams, including the compassionate teacher who thinks staying single is a hedge against heartbreak. But Melanie can't deny the powerful chemistry not even science can explain. And with the help of some special matchmakers, Mitchell plans to take their we-won't-call-it-a-romance to the next level…which is beginning to look a lot like love.
Very good book. Melanie has taken a leave of absence from her job as a teacher to work at a shelter for women and children. This gives some meaning to her life after her fiance was killed overseas, shortly before he was supposed to come home and marry her. Then one of the shelter workers asks her to assist the doctor who has volunteered to help out at the shelter. Mitch is an excellent surgeon whose work is his life. He doesn't socialize and his small talk and bedside manner are nonexistent. His mother despairs of him ever getting married and mentions it to a friend who happens to be one of the matchmaking mamas. The next thing he knows, he's been volunteered to provide medical care at the shelter.
Their first meeting is pretty funny. Mitch isn't sure how he got talked into doing this, but he figures he'll spend an hour and that will be it. Instead he's paired with Melanie, who will be his assistant, and she pretty well bulldozes him not just into staying longer, but in coming back a couple days later. I loved their interactions as his aloofness collides with her involvement. I loved seeing her read his reluctance to return and the way she chased him down that Friday. Their conversations are always fun to see as Mitch tries to figure out how to deal with her.
The development of their relationship is great. Mitch finds that the distance he keeps between himself and patients is eroded by Melanie's presence and her involvement in their lives. She drags him into their lives also and his rough edges begin to soften. There is also an intense attraction between them, one that Melanie tries hard to resist. She's not so sure that she's ready to open up her heart to the risk of more pain. A tragedy involving a shelter resident sends them looking for comfort in each other's arms, and Mitch's eyes are opened as to what the strange feelings he's been having really are.
The ending is deeply emotional and intense as they deal with the fallout from the tragedy. Mitch's support of Melanie against that horrible social worker was awesome. He also dropped a couple of bombshells that rocked her world. He was pretty sweet in his awkwardness, but he sure did get his point across. I loved Melanie's reaction and the realism of her response. Seeing them both with April was a really sweet scene.