Healing Hazel (The Blue Orchid Society #3) Read Online Jennifer Moore

Categories Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Tags Authors: Series: The Blue Orchid Society Series by Jennifer Moore

Total pages in book: 84
Estimated words: 76619 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 383(@200wpm)___ 306(@250wpm)___ 255(@300wpm)

Hazel Thornton has one great ambition: to help the sick and wounded as a nurse. But that dream can never become a reality. After a devastating childhood trauma, she has spent her life battling fits of panic that make it impossible to finish her studies. Everything changes, however, when a trip to Spain takes a perilous turn that derails her plans to visit her father for Christmas and immediately plunges her into the dangers of a brutal war.
With single-minded focus, she springs into action to help her fellow travelers. To ensure their continued care, she begins work at a Spanish hospital alongside Dr. Jim Jackson, a man whose only emotion seems to be wariness of his new assistant. Armed with gifts of support from each of her dearest friends, a group that dubs themselves the Blue Orchid Society, Hazel embarks on a journey of hope and healing to battle the demons of her past with the help of the doctor who has captured her heart.



November 30, 1873

The grand front door swung open, and Miss Hazel Thornton stepped into the entryway of the Lancasters’ London home.

“Good evening, miss,” Jameson, the butler, greeted her, a twinkle in his eye in spite of his formal manner. “The young ladies are in the sitting room.” He took her wrap, gloves, and hat.

“Thank you, Jameson,” Hazel said, pleased to be spending an evening with the other members of the Blue Orchid Society. She glanced at her gown in the entry hall mirror. It was—as requested in Dahlia’s invitation—Hazel’s most “festive” gown. She believed it was, anyway. Made of deep-green taffeta, this gown had the most ribbons, flounces, and silk flowers of any of Hazel’s clothing. There was even a train, which made a swishing noise as she walked down the passageway.

Hearing the voices of her friends, she entered the sitting room, but just as she opened her mouth to greet them, Hazel stopped, staring around her in astonishment. Pine boughs and holly tied with velvet ribbons decorated every window, doorway, and mantel. A dining table had been arranged on one side of the room, covered with a rich red tablecloth and adorned with greenery, displays of fruit, and even more candles. But what made Hazel put her hand to her mouth and gasp was an enormous pine tree festooned with bows, ribbons, candles, and glass balls that glittered in the light of the flames. Her four friends watched her reaction with wide smiles.

“What is all this?” Hazel asked, her gaze traveling around the room as she took it all in.

“It’s a Christmas party, dear.” Dahlia kissed her cheek. Dahlia, as usual, looked stunning, her hair perfectly coiffed, her gown the height of fashion, jewels glittering at her neck. Hazel had no doubt the decor was her doing, as Dahlia had an excellent eye for embellishments.

“But Christmas is not for another month yet,” Hazel protested.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Sophie said. She put an arm around Hazel’s waist, drawing her closer to admire the tree. “Some consider holiday decor before the season to be bad luck. But we wanted to celebrate Christmas all together before you leave us. And we wanted to do it properly.”

Hazel didn’t know what to say. Her eyes prickled at their thoughtfulness. “This is all . . . it’s all so . . .”

“Extreme?” Elizabeth said, taking Hazel’s hands in greeting. “I know.” She gave a dramatic sigh and then a smirk. “My cousin does tend to get carried away.”

Hazel glanced at the cousin in question and saw that Dahlia shrugged good-naturedly at Elizabeth’s appraisal.

“Happy early Christmas, Hazel,” Vivian said by way of greeting. “I’ll have you know the turkey has been cooked to an inner temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I made certain myself.” Hazel stifled a smile, imagining how Dahlia’s cook must have reacted to a scientific thermometer in the kitchen. “You know,” Vivian continued, “bacteria in undercooked poultry has been known to cause sickness, often resulting in abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.”

“Of course she knows,” Sophie said. “She is a nurse trainee. She knows all about bacteria and illness.” Sophie was not the least repelled by Vivian’s inappropriate dining room conversation. The young ladies were used to it by now, and while Vivian’s observations might be considered improper or, more often, embarrassing, the Blue Orchid Society never discouraged her from speaking what was on her mind, and they never allowed anyone else to do it either. That loyalty was one of the things Hazel loved most about her friends.

Dinner was served: a veritable feast of ham, potatoes, meat pies, various breads, soups, gravies, vegetables and fruit, and a sufficiently cooked turkey. And just when Hazel thought she could not take one more bite, an enormous selection of desserts was brought in.

Once the meal was concluded, the women gathered on the sofas and chairs at the other side of the room.