Instant Gratification


Chapter 1

Hot and bothered, and not in the good way, Dr. Emma Sinclair switched the sign on her father’s medical clinic from Closed to Open. It was eight a.m. sharp, and out of habit, she braced herself to be bombarded.

Not that that was going to happen, not here in Mayberry, USA.

Excuse her– Wishful, California. Nothing so simple as Mayberry. Not with the coyotes and bears she knew roamed around the property on a daily basis. She heard the coyotes in the early mornings, their eerie howls making the hair on the back of her neck to stand straight up. Even more disconcerting, she’d caught sight of them watching her from the woods lining the property, their hungry eyes making her miss the streets of New York, where the worst predators were grumpy, demanding homeless people.

She hadn’t actually seen a bear yet, but everyone who came through her door had a bear story, so she figured with her karma, it was only a matter of time. Not in a hurry for that, she booted up the computer behind the front desk, remembering with a fond sigh the hustling bustling rush of her
Manhattan ER, where she literally ran her entire shift; bagging and defibbing, resuscitating, whatever came her way, with sometimes little more than caffeine in her system.

Yeah, she’d had it all in New York, a promising career with a great 401K, a fantastic sublet near Central Park, a great shift in one of the best ERs in the country…it didn’t get better than that.

But it certainly got worse.

A world away from her world, Emma was now on the other side of the country, deep in the California Sierras, pining for Starbucks and Thai take-out. Pining for crowds, traffic, and late trains, that’s how homesick she was. She missed having a myriad of take-out menus taped to her empty
refrigerator, her next meal a simple phone call away.

No one delivered in Wishful. Worse, there was no fast food period, no drive-thrus, nothing unless she wanted to drive the thirty plus miles to South Shore, Lake Tahoe — which meant that she, a professional water burner, was in danger of starving to death.

Or at least getting to within five pounds of her pre-med school weight.


Lauren Layne