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Nerve Damage by Tom Combs

Monday brings with it a new author in its spotlight!!

Digital Reads Alcove pre sents Tom Combs with his medical thriller Nerve Damage


Chapter 1

Wayzata, suburban Minneapolis, late afternoon

She basked in the Minnesota summer sun and the brilliance of her imminent triumph. The morning’s pleasures had been just a sampling of what her future held. She lay on her stomach on the diving board over her pool. A bead of sweat tickled as it ran down her inner thigh. Her cell phone rested inches from her face, awaiting the call that would open the world to her.

Jester, her King Charles Spaniel, dozed atop the poolside settee. His head jerked as the ringtone trilled and the phone vibrated on the board’s grainy surface. The caller’s international exchange displayed. Closing her eyes, she gloried in the moment. From captive princess to ultimate victor—she’d have it all.

As she raised the phone to her ear, it dropped from her hand, bouncing off the board and splashing into the water below. The muscles of her forearms quivered as a freakish spasm coursed through her. Jester yelped and jumped from his perch. He crouched, whining at the pool’s edge.

She struggled to her elbows as an impossible weakness claimed her. Strength dissolving, her arms gave way, and she slumped to the side. Her body rolled, as if in slow motion, off the board. Her choked cry died before she hit the water.

Her face plunged beneath the surface. Internal commands to swim and thrash yielded nothing.

The fresco on the bottom of the pool rotated through her frozen gaze as she spun and sank. Her mind filled with a white-noise shriek of terror and helplessness.

Water flooded her nose and mouth and bubbles streaked for the surface. The fluid advanced down her throat and balloons of air escaped, belching out and up. The reflex imperative to cough and gag demanded but her body would not react. No!

Water rushed into her windpipe, the dense and cool sensation terrifyingly foreign but unmistakable. It invaded her lungs like a first breath on an icy winter’s morning. But it was not air. And it did not stop.

She heard and felt the back of her head clunk against the tiles of the pool’s floor. Her body settled as if lifeless.

The frantic barks of Jester faded, water-muted and distant. Pressure mounted in her head and chest—like an overinflated balloon on the cusp of bursting. Time stretched.

No sound now but her heart’s pounding frenzy and the sobbing within her mind. Awareness drifting…fading.

Fingers clamped onto her arms. Her body pulled upward. Hope surging. Her head and face launched free of the water.

The breath she must take would not happen. Please, God!

Agony expanding. Vision narrowing. Her body dragged over the pool’s edge. A man’s creased face looming. Eyes. A voice…the words melting. Breathe!

Her mind wailing, begging, shrinking.

Blinding brightness. Everywhere white.

A thought stuttering and lost.

A blink to black and the pain was gone.

About the Author

Tom Combs’ career as an award-winning ER physician provides the foundation for his unforgettable characters and riveting plots. His emotional engagement arises from 25 years helping those facing illness, trauma and tragedy.
Taking an unusual career path, Tom worked jobs using jackhammers, chainsaws, and heavy machinery. He then shifted to laboratory equipment and, eventually, to the stethoscope, scalpel and other tools of the Emergency Medicine specialist.
His current weapons of choice are the keyboard and a dangerously fertile imagination.
Tom lives with his artist wife in Minneapolis/St. Paul

Author Contact Details

Contact details: or contact at

Book and Amazon author page links:

Nerve Damage
Hard to Breathe
Author page

Digital Reads Alcove

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