The January Wish by Juliet Madison
From Escape’s queen of ro-magic comedy comes a sweet, emotional contemporary romance about the pleasures of making a wish and seeing it come true.
When Dr Sylvia Greene makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, it’s the most out of character action she can think of. Hers is not a life of wishes. Hers is a controlled life of order, plans and preparation…of science and research and diagnosis and treatment. But her past has been weighing on her mind, and decisions made long ago have far-reaching consequences.
A week later, the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen arrives in Sylvia’s small coastal town with secrets that can’t be shared. Between feelings of guilt, gossip, and a growing attraction to an emotionally unavailable colleague, Sylvia’s well-ordered life is soon thrown into chaos. She is no longer alone, and for the first time she feels as if her world is open to possibilities.
They say be careful what you wish for, but, for Sylvia, the unexpected consequences may be just what the doctor ordered.
Twenty minutes later they were sitting in Sylvia’s living room, Sylvia’s foot propped up on the coffee table, eating Thai food and discussing their past injuries and illnesses.
‘When I was about seven, I was standing next to a see-saw in the park when my friend jumped on the other end of it, the wooden seat flying up and hitting me in the chin. Eight stitches, I needed,’ Sylvia said proudly.
‘Beat this — my brother and I were skateboarding one day when I was about eight, and we sat on them to roll down a steep hill. I careened into some shrubbery and a branch scraped into my leg as I rolled past. Fourteen stitches,’ Mark said even more proudly than Sylvia.
‘Well, when I was sixteen I spent thirteen hours in excruciating pain that no acupuncture needle could ever fix. As for stitches, I won’t even go there!’
‘Okay you win,’ Mark said, smiling.
Childbirth. Barring large kidney stones, it always won out for the most painful experience. Although during her hospital training in the emergency department, Sylvia had seen things that seemed contradictory to that. She’d enjoyed the excitement of the emergency rotation, but couldn’t do it all the time — too unpredictable. Chronic care in a relaxed clinical setting was more her thing.
‘I better get going and leave you to get some sleep,’ Mark said, getting up from the couch. ‘I’ll send you an itemised bill for tonight’s treatment, shall I?’ He raised his eyebrows.
Was he serious? Sylvia searched his face, his expression straightlaced, before it softened into a wide grin. The bugger!
‘Got you there didn’t I! Don’t worry, I’ll put this one down as a free trial,’ he said. ‘Now let me help you get organised for the night before I go.’ He switched off the lights, leaving the hall light on, and put the empty food containers in the bin. ‘I’ll put these in your room,’ he said, lifting up a bottle of water, the herbal capsules, and her handbag. Then he came over to Sylvia and despite her protest, lifted her up and carried her into the bedroom, placing her gently on the bed. He brought the crutches in and laid them against the wall, and wrapped a newly soaked herbal compress around her ankle. ‘Do you have an old stretchy sock you can wear over the compress to hold it in place and prevent staining your sheets?’
‘Top drawer, the one on the right.’ Sylvia gestured to her dresser. Thankfully her socks were kept neatly bundled in there along with only stockings and scarves. Her underwear was in the drawer on the left.
‘I guess you never have the problem of odd socks,’ Mark said as he opened the drawer. Her drawers had little narrow trays inside that housed everything neatly, in groups of like-colours.
‘I don’t understand how people say their socks go missing. You wash them, hang them to dry, roll the pair up and put them away. How hard is it?’ Sylvia said.
Mark simply smiled his recurring smile and held up a pair of thick woolly bed socks. ‘These do?’
He slid them onto her feet, careful not to irritate her ankle, then pulled the blanket and quilt over her body. ‘If you’re right for work on Wednesday I’ll pick you up on the way,’ he offered.
Sylvia yawned and nodded at the same time. All this excitement had worn her out and she was desperate for sleep. Mark just sat there, on the side of her bed, looking at her with an expression that seemed familiar. When had he worn that face before? Of course. It was the night they’d played candlelit scrabble. The night before they almost…
Just as Sylvia recognised the expression, Mark’s face came closer and his breath warmed her face as his lips gently met hers. Tentatively at first, he cushioned her mouth with his, then pressed more firmly, gathering her bottom lip between his hungry lips. All the pain melted away. Forget acupuncture and pain killers, kissing won out big time. ‘Is that part of your treatment protocol for my ankle?’ Sylvia whispered when they pulled away from each other.
‘I’ll add it to the bill,’ he said, kissing her one last time and closing the door behind him as he walked out.
Q: Romance readers have a lot of choices these days. What makes The January Wish stand out in the crowd?
A: The January Wish is told from three points of view – the heroine, the hero, and the heroine’s teen daughter, and has two romances in one! This book was also a finalist in the Choc Lit Search for an Australian Star contest in 2012.
Q: We like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from The January Wish?
A: My favorite quote from The January Wish is:
Their first embrace all those years ago was brief, and surreal. Over before it had really happened. Now here Sylvia stood, eighteen years later, holding her baby properly for the first time. But this time she wasn’t going to let her go.
About Juliet Madison
Juliet Madison is a naturopath-turned-author with a background in dance, art, internet marketing and perfume sales (yes, she was one of those annoying people in department stores who spray you with perfume). Nowadays she prefers to indulge her propensity for multiple careers by living vicariously through her characters. She likes to put these characters into extraordinary situations and take them on a challenging journey to discover their true passion and inner strength, weaving in some laughs, tears, romance and sometimes a touch of magic along the way.
Living near the beach on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, Australia, Juliet spends her time running her internet business, raising her son, writing as often as she can, and doing her best to avoid housework.
Juliet is a proud member of the Romance Writers of Australia and she loves to interact online with readers and writers. You can contact her on Twitter @Juliet_Madison, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JulietMadisonAuthor, and through her website at:
http://www.julietmadison.com, where readers can also download some free short stories.
The Author Wants To Know:
If you attended the Wishing Festival at Tarrin’s Bay, what would you wish for?