You can’t dance this dance unless it’s in your blood. Claire McCall is praying it’s not in hers. Claire McCall is used to fighting back against the odds. Hard work, aptitude, and sheer determination have helped her rise from adverse circumstances to an internship in one of the nation’s most competitive surgical residencies. But talent and tenacity mean nothing in the face of the discovery that is about to rock her world. It’s called the "Stoney Creek Curse" by folks in the small mountain town where Claire grew up. Behind the superstition lies a reality that could destroy her career. But getting to the truth is far from easy in a community with secrets to hide. As a web of relationships becomes increasingly tangled, two things become apparent. One is that more than one person doesn’t want Claire to probe too deeply into the "Stoney Creek Curse." The other is that someone has reasons other than the curse for wanting Claire out of the picture permanently. Somewhere in the course of pursuing her career as a surgeon, Claire lost touch with the God who called her to it. Now she realizes how desperately she needs him. But can she reclaim a faith strong enough to see her through this deadly dance of circumstances?
|Sold by:||HarperCollins Publishing|
|File size:||3 MB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I May 2000
The end of a tough road.
"The beginning of a dream."
Claire McCall closed her eyes as the commencement speaker droned on with another clichéd graduation metaphor. She was about to do what everyone in Stoney Creek had said would never happen. In a few minutes, with diploma in hand, she would join the ranks of the medical profession as Elizabeth Claire McCall, MD. She wanted to savor the moment, to not think about the future, the years of training yet ahead. But she'd heard too many of the horror stories about internship to relax for very long. Stormy water was dead ahead. She only hoped she'd be ready when the wind picked up.
Claire kept her eyes closed and smiled. She'd shown 'em. The people in Stoney Creek, that is. God bless 'em, she thought. They're simple people, with simple dreams. Her smile faded. Too simple. And narrow, too. People need vision to stay alive.
Thankfully, she hadn't listened to the town gossip, though she knew exactly what they thought. Little girls shouldn't grow up to be surgeons. Especially girls with fathers like Wally McCall. Around her, the portraits of past medical school deans lined the mahogany-paneled walls. They were near-idols at Brighton University, those who had risen to lofty heights by hard work and academic excellence. They seemed to be watching her today, welcoming her with their long white coats and studious expressions.
"A new dawn. An open door."
Claire yawned. The speaker had over a hundred book chapters to his name, but couldn't seem to find an original phrase to captivate his nodding audience.
She turned and squinted to see her family. Della, her mom, sat motionless in the back. Looking at her was like looking into a magical mirror, capable of revealing the future. Della was gorgeous and youthful and enjoyed every stranger's confused insistence that she must be Claire's sister. Strawberry blond without a hint of gray, high cheekbones, a figure that could turn a man's head, and a smile that could melt his heart. Fortunately for Claire, she looked just like her mother. "I know I'm pretty," Della would tell her, "but you're pretty and smart."
Next to her, Claire's grandmother, Elizabeth McCall, cast a worried glance toward the rear exit. Clay, Claire's twin brother, sat next to Grandma, leaning against the bench back with his eyes closed and his mouth open. Oh, well--she couldn't expect Clay to stay awake if she was having trouble paying attention herself. Next to Clay, John Cerelli, Claire's fiancé, was hidden by a woman with a large hat. If Claire leaned to the left, she could just catch a glimpse of his wonderful dark hair. But where's Daddy?
Claire looked at the clock hanging on the back wall and checked it against her watch. Her father must have gone out to the bathroom. Or to smoke. Or worse. Wally, her father, was the one person in Stoney Creek that she'd been glad to leave behind. Their relationship, close during her early school years, had been on a roller coaster since Claire entered high school--up when he was dry, and down and dangerous when he was drinking. Their communication had been on a continuous slide since she'd left for Brighton for undergraduate studies eight years ago. Now, she barely visited, and when she did, his erratic behavior and mood swings transformed every family gathering into a shouting match. When she'd last talked to her mother, Della had hinted that he'd given up on AA again, and hadn't been able to find work.
He's probably out for "a little drink."
Claire touched her throat and tried to refocus on the speaker, who sidetracked into a story of his own triumph in the discovery of some obscure gene responsible for a rare form of kidney disease. Genetics didn't interest Claire. She liked real, hands-on medicine, not futuristic theories of gene alteration. It went without question that she would be a surgeon. She was captivated by the prospect of making quick decisions on her feet, of seeing the gratifying results of her hand's work without delay. Yes, she'd known it since the first day of her surgery rotation. Surgery was for her. For Claire, it was more than a practical match. Her decision ran much deeper. It seemed a destiny, a calling. And in a few short weeks, she would start one of the most grueling years of her life as a surgical intern.
The smile returned to her face. Claire McCall, surgeon. Send that through the gossip mill in backwards little Stoney Creek!
Movement in the back of the auditorium interrupted Claire's dream. She watched as her father moved slowly down the aisle in search of his row. Her hand covered her open mouth as her father stumbled forward. Each step was practiced once or twice, then executed in a slow, deliberate slap. Della lifted her hand quickly, then lowered it as a murmur escaped the crowd.
Wally seemed lost, wobbling past his bench and down the carpeted aisle. Midway to the front, he turned and began a labored journey back, his face twitching in constant rhythmic motion. His right arm flailed for-ward, then returned, a swing propelled by an erratic, unseen wind.
How long had it been since she'd really seen him, studied him like this? Months? Years? It was close to a decade that Claire had avoided her father in the name of her educational pursuits. Now she gasped and felt a flush burn her cheeks. Drunk again.
Claire turned her head away, clenching her jaw, silently grateful that her classmates didn't know the identity of the strange man. She stared for-ward, oblivious to the speaker's monologue. How could he do this to me? Long minutes later, she stole a glance behind her. Mercifully, her father had found his seat, and the disturbance seemed over. For the time remaining, Claire fixed her eyes on the podium, not even looking back when the dean returned to the stage and asked the parents of the graduates to stand. The ceremony passed in a blur. She stood to be recognized with the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society graduates, and then, a few minutes later, walked the stage to receive her diploma, not risking a glance toward her family.
Table of Contents
What People are Saying About This
Dr. Claire Mc Call is on a mission to discover the truth behind the Stoney Creek curse in Kraus's sixth book, a well-written medical thriller with romantic and inspirational overtones. Claire puts the backwards town of Stoney Creek, Va., and her 'cursed' alcoholic father, Wally, behind her as she begins a grueling medical internship at Lafayette University Hospital near Boston. Yet as her father exhibits classic signs of Huntington's disease (or 'the dance' in medical slang, from which the title is gleaned), Claire wonders whether the legendary curse might be due to genetics, rather than superstition or alcoholism. Fearing for her future, she turns up information that leads to puzzlement over her and her twin brother Clay's paternity. As her world crashes around her, Claire becomes confused about her faith and ponders how a loving God could orchestrate her disastrous circumstances. Claire is fallible and multidimensional, and the narrative palatably combines suspense, medical instruction, romance, humor and faith. However, like many recent CBA novels, this one is too long, and a little judicious editing might have smoothed the pacing in spots. Reader credibility will also be stretched when Claire shares a great deal of personal information with hunky intern Brett Daniels, or a little too conveniently keeps stumbling over her undergraduate genetics project, which holds clues to her present dilemma. However, Kraus's experience as a general surgeon lends authenticity to his medical descriptions, and the curveball conclusion makes the long read worthwhile. (Mar.) Publisher’s Weekly
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is one of the best books I've read. Dr. Kraus combines interesting medical details with suspense, romance, family dynamics, and cultural implications into an original intriguing story that's difficult to put down. I was compelled to find the two sequels and did nothing else until I had finished them. Dr. Kraus could easily give up medicine for a writing career, but medicine in general and his work in Africa would undoubtedly suffer. Excellent read!
I literally could not put this book down. This author is great and I hope he will write more, though I have to say, I don't know how he could possibly top this one. It's love and romance mixed with thriller/suspense. If I had one complaint it would be that there wasn't enough info at the end concerning Claire and John's relationship and what happened later. Maybe there will be a sequel. I hope so!!!
"Claire McCall is used to fighting back against the odds; after discovering her father has Huntington's Disease, Claire is afraid to test herself and possibly lose her internship at the hospital. While Claire moves from trying to win God's favor to a realization of his grace, her engagement dissolves, she fights a malpractice suit, and she finds someone wants her dead." (the book's description taken off the internet)This was a gripping story of the life of an intern, Claire McCall. I felt the grueling requirements of her goal to become a surgeon; the determination it takes, the competitiveness to be the best so you can succeed, the sacrifices and choices one must make. There was alot of medical jargon going on in this story and although I didn't understand it all, I felt this just made the story that much more realistic. The title of this book was very cleverly chosen and I was taken in a whole different direction than I thought I would go with this title. Claire McCall makes some wrong decisions in her life, just like we all do, but watching her struggles really made you think about some of the choices we all make in our life and how sometimes we put the Lord on the back burner. The ending to this story was very fast paced and unexpected by me. I began to figure things out near the end but wasn't really expecting it to play out the way it did. I don't know how I would have handled the whole disease issue in this book. Do you take the test and know the outcome of your life, or not take the test and live your life each day as it comes? Does the truth set you free?? I don't want to give alot of the story line away, but I will say that I enjoyed myself and found my heart racing near the end. If you want a good gripping story of life in the medical world, along with some romance and a good mystery to unravel, then I recommend you pick up this book and read it. There are two other books in this series and I plan to read them soon.
This book was excellent. I could not put it down. I wish there was more. The constant story and the beliefs of the characters was awesome. Great book.