forever love

The Chapman Brothers - Book 1

Chapter 2



I pushed the door to the surgery theatre and took a deep breath. I loved my job as a neurosurgeon, but sometimes the reality of what we had to deal with caught up with us.

Tonight, a fifteen-year-old boy was brought to the ER with a gunshot wound to the head. The cliché would be that he’d been shot by another gang, but no. He was a gifted musician who played with the New York Youth Symphony and wanted to study at Juilliard, had good grades, and was being a good brother picking up his sister from a friend's house. Except that he’d rung the wrong bell.

I wanted to hope for a miracle but the chances of one were slim to none. His life had forever changed tonight. 

“Good job in there,” my primary nurse said, pressing my arm.

“Thanks, Rachel.”

I removed my surgery gloves and threw them in the trash before removing my gown. Last, I removed my cap. I wanted to let my hair loose, but here was not the place.

A young nurse I didn't know came in. “Oh, Dr. Foster, Professor Mullen wants a word with you. In his office.”

She disappeared, and I turned to the sink to wash my hands.

“Any idea what he wants?” Rachel asked.

“I'm hoping it's about the funding I've asked for so that we can have better post-surgery care for the patients who can't afford it, but I doubt it somehow.”

She chuckled. “Yeah, they're not about that here. It's all about profit.”

She wasn't wrong there. But it hadn't always been that way. There’d been a time, long before me, where Memorial was at the very edge of patient post-surgery care. I knew it because my mother had run that program. But that was over twenty years ago.

“Wish me luck.” I pulled my white coat over my scrubs and shoved my cap in my pocket.

Rachel winked. “Mullens likes you.”

That was true. Professor Mullens liked me but not everyone else did. However before I found out what he wanted, I needed to speak to Tyreese’s parents about their son and his chances of achieving his dreams.

When I reached Professor Mullens’s office twenty minutes later, Lynn, his PA, was still there despite the latish hour. She smiled and jerked her head in direction of his office. “Go right in. He’s expecting you.”

I still knocked before opening the door. Professor Mullens sat behind his massive desk, his metal-rimmed glasses perched on the top of his nose. “Ah, Dr. Foster, thank you for coming by. Sit down, please.”

I did as I was told, trying to calm the beating of heart to a more steady rythm. “Sorry, Professor, I was in surgery.”

He waved at me. “I know. How did it go?”

I winced and looked at my hands. “Well, but that young man’s life will never be the same.”

He shook his head, his eyes sad. “At least, he’s alive.”

It sounded callous but it was true. I pressed my lips together and raised my head, until my eyes met his. 

He linked his fingers together above the desk. “I’m sorry, Hannah, but the board decided against granting you the funding your requested for your post-operative care project. They feel money can be spent better on other projects.”

I swallowed hard and blinked furiously to keep the tears at bay. I would not cry. I wasn’t even sure why I was emotional. It wasn’t like me. 

Two years ago, I’d never would have taken things so hard. I’d have argued and fought but not cry. But the, I had hopes and I hadn’t been crushed and abandoned by the only man who mattered to me.

“Not even partially?” I croaked.

Professor Mullens shook his head before taking his glasses off and rubbing his eyes. 

“No, not even partially. But that could change if you found some funding through someone else. I’ll ask Lynn to give you a list of foundations you can apply to. I’m sure you’ll find one that can help get this started.”

He looked at me from behind his desk, grabbing a file, signifying the end of this meeting. I stood up and walked to the door just as he called me. “Hannah?”

I half-turned, trying to stay as composed as I could. “Yes, Professor?”

“It took your mother four years before she could find funding for her project. Don’t get discouraged.”

He was right. Maybe I was letting the fact that I’d sailed through medical school and my residency affect the way I thought. This was a public hospital with limited funding. 

Lynn peered at me behind her computer screen as I closed the door. “I take it that they said no.”

I pushed my hands into the pockets of my lab coat, inhaling deeply, pushing my shoulders back. It was a setback, not the end of the world.

“They did. He said you’d have a list of foundations I can apply to.”

“Already printed it out for you.” She smiled and handed me a two-page document.

“She’d be proud of you, you know?”

I wiped a tear quickly. Dr. Mullens and Lynn were some of the few people left at Memorial who’d known and worked with my mother when she worked as a neurosurgeon.

My mom. My inspiration. The reason I’d become a surgeon and did everything possible to come and work at the same hospital she had.

She wasn't here anymore, but I felt it was my duty to continue what she started and honor her memory. I wouldn't let her down.

“Yeah,” I said in a breath. “Thanks, Maggie.”

“Let me know if you need any help applying to any of these. We’ve got good relations with most of them.”

I nodded and waved before making a beeline for the restrooms. I had barely been there for one minute when Janine, our resident psychotherapist and my friend here, came in. She stood outside the cubicle I’d locked myself in.

“It’s a no then?”


“You know it’s that jerk’s fault, right? He just hates you because you’re way better than him.”

I closed my eyes. She wasn’t wrong, but unfortunately for me, I couldn’t go and confront Dr. Collins as he was the Chief of Neurosurgery and my boss. And yes, he hated me. And only because I had said no to his advances.

The thought made me sit upright. I shouldn’t give up because of him. I’d show him that I could get funding somewhere else. 

I stood up and came out of the cubicle. I took a deep breath, pressing my hands on the counter.

Janine grinned at me in the mirror. “Here she is. The fighter is back!”

I was about to reply to her when my phone rang in my pocket. Dad, it said on the screen.

“Sorry, I need to take this. I’ll see you later.”

“You bet. Come and find me when you got a minute,” she said as she exited the bathroom, the door clicking close behind her.

“Hey, Dad,” I said as I followed her out of the bathroom and started walking to my office.

“How’s my favorite daughter?”

I chuckled. It was an old joke between us; I was not only his only daughter but also his only child. “I’m good.”

“Yeah? You don’t sound so good?”

Dad could always tell when something bothered me. He had mastered the ability to read my moods early on as he was the one who took care of me while Mom worked long hours.

I unlocked my office door and stepped in, sagging against the wall. “I’m okay. Just had a tough surgery. That’s all.”

And a big disappointment.

“Sorry, darling. How’s Joshie?”

I couldn’t help the smile at my Dad’s nickname for Josh. As always when I heard his name, my heart soared. 

My son. 

There was no love like the one you have for a child. “He’s good. Growing too fast, though.”

My baby had just turned fourteen months and was getting stronger and more handsome by the day.

Just like his daddy.

I shook my head to push the thought away. No, I wouldn’t think of him. Not today. I refocused on what my dad was saying instead.

“We can’t wait to see him again. When are you coming to LA? You know, if you lived in California, Carly and I would be happy to look after him whenever you needed help.”

I pressed my lips together. I didn’t have many disagreements with my father, but this was one of them. He wanted me in California while I wanted to stay in New York.

“There are good hospitals in California, Hannah. And maybe they’d be happy to fund that care program you want to develop.”

Not what I needed to hear so I bit down on my cheek hard to avoid snapping at my dad. 

Thankfully, my pager beeped saving me from another pointless argument with him about that. “Got to go, Dad. I’m being called.”

“Wait! I wanted to tell you something.”

“Okay,” I drawled.

He cleared his throat. This was so unlike my father, I started wondering if something was wrong. “I… I asked Carly to marry me.”

Oh. Right. The woman he had spent the last fifteen years with. I loved Carly. I really did. But my throat had closed up, and I couldn’t speak.


I locked the door to my office and started walking along the hallway; I could see the reception for the surgery ward in the distance. A tall man with broad shoulders and dark hair was standing at the desk with his back to me. He looked familiar somehow.

“Yes, sorry, Dad. Did she say yes?” I pinched my eyes closed. Maybe she said no and wouldn’t take my Mom’s place.

What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I be happy for my father? He too had lost my mom twenty years ago. But unlike me, he was moving on.

He chuckled. “She did, although she made me wait for it. Apparently, I took my time.”

I wanted to make a joke, but I couldn’t. “Good for her. I got to go, Dad.”

“Let’s FaceTime soon. We want to see Josh before he’s a little man.”

I didn’t miss the bitter tone in my father’s voice. My heart squeezed. “Sure. Let’s try on Thursday. I Bye!”

As I walked into the surgery reception to reach the elevators, the tall man who had been speaking to our receptionist turned around, and I came to an abrupt stop. My heart stuttered in my chest until it stopped.

No, it couldn’t be him. 

And thought, it was. 


Jake Chapman was in my surgery ward, looking even more devastatingly handsome than he had the night he’d seduced me and ruined me for everyone else. 

Could this day be any worse?

(c) 2024 Celline Chancelier. All Rights Reserved. 


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Chapter 1

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Chapter 2

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© 2024 Celine Chancelier. All rights reserved.