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The enticing promise of research funding lures surgeon, Parker Dawson, to Greeley University Medical Center to continue his work in cancer. But little can he imagine that within a year, he’ll be facing a charge of first degree murder.
Dawson’s life turns into a nightmare on the first day he walks through Greeley’s doors when he’s accused of scientific fraud, threatening his professional credibility. The funding to continue his research in malignant melanoma dries up just when his animal experiments show promise. And worst of all, Dawson is accused of murder. Can he regain his standing and his innocence?
Page Count: 484
Word Count: 110965
Dr. Parker Dawson sits alone in the windowless New York City police interrogation room. The detective’s words echo in his ears.
Feeling a sudden chill, he shudders and instinctively wraps both arms across his chest. Is this just a bad dream? He rubs his eyes, shifts on the hard plastic chair, and stares vacantly at the bare mustard walls. His breathing is sharp, rapid. He tries to compose himself.
But his entire life is crumbling.
The room is hot, suffocating and he wipes the sweat from his brow. How did he end up in this nightmare?
His thoughts drift to his first day at Greeley University Medical Center. Excited to begin a new phase of his medical career, he has no idea what lies ahead—that in less than a year, he’d be sitting in this dreary room, facing the charge of first-degree murder.
The July breeze floated through Parker Dawson’s SUV window as he drove onto the campus of Greeley University Medical Center that summer morning. The university, located in the quaint central Florida town of Chester, an hour’s drive from Orlando, still retained its semi-rural charm, despite the growth of the surrounding community. Fairly young compared to other southern institutions, this center of academic learning had gained a reputation for its budding medical research, as well as its aged oak trees.
Parker’s chest tightened with anticipation, enjoying the canopied shade of the stately oaks, their enormous arm-like branches, shading pedestrians from the Florida heat. He circled the campus’s central roundabout, driving past the towering monument of Dr. Benjamin Greeley, anchored on the grassy knoll. Three months earlier, he stood dwarfed by the bronze, reading the doctor’s mission chiseled on its stone base. To heal the sick and explore the frontiers of medicine. That calling assured him he’d made the right decision in accepting the position offered by Dr. Donald Davis, Chief of Surgery.
Parker had been lured from his post at the medical school in Gainesville to Greeley by the promise of research funding. Now in his early thirties and after two false starts, he was convinced Greeley would make his dream a reality—to find a breakthrough treatment for malignant melanoma. Although his salary couldn’t compare to private practice, the fact that Greeley’s research laboratory would be available to him day and night made it worthwhile.
He smiled, recalling the sparkle in Danielle’s blue eyes leaving their newly rented townhouse in the morning. After two heartbreaking miscarriages in her first eight weeks, she was pregnant again. Now in her twelfth week, they were cautiously happy for a successful pregnancy.
His cell phone rang, just as he pulled into the hospital parking lot. The familiar voice of Gainesville’s bioscience chief boomed through the speaker.
“Parker, it’s Hendrix. I’ve heard some disturbing news.”
He caught the urgency in his colleague’s voice, parked, and slowly removed the key from the ignition. “John, what’s up?”
“The rumor is your published articles are up for questioning. Just got the call from a Yale scientist who knows I work with you.”
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