Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Long, Long wait for a Happy Ever After

A few months ago, I wrote a letter to my younger self, about the first time I tried my hand at writing romance.  If you happened to see that post, you’ll know that there was a great deal wrong with that book, as I suspect there probably is with most first tries at anything.  But, as I said then, because it was my first try, my hero and heroine have always occupied a special place in my heart.

Ross and Laurie did their best, they really did.  There was a lot of blushing, some misunderstandings and something that resembled an internal conflict.  But none of that was really enough to make their Happy Ever After special, something they’d worked hard for and really deserved.  It just suddenly started to happen somewhere around Page 199, because I knew that I’d be hitting my word-limit on Page 202.

So last year, I decided to put all of that right and give Ross and Laurie the HEA that I’d always wanted for them.  My new heroine Laurie isn’t a lot like her namesake – the original Laurie was a librarian, who had a real talent for blushing.  This Laurie is made of sterner stuff, she’s somehow managed to combine her career as a doctor with one as a championship rower, and she’s not going to let anyone tell her what to do with her life.  My hero Ross isn’t quite as irritatingly perfect as his original counterpart and even though he comes across as pretty laid back, he’s just as stubborn as Laurie is when it comes to doing the best he can for his patients.

This is one of the amazing privileges of being a writer.  I can include little nods to friends in my books, in the hope of making them smile.  I can also re-visit my previous heroes and heroines – in ‘Best Friend to Royal Bride’, when Marie and Alex needed an eye-catching mural for the reception area of their new clinic, who better to call on than Art Therapist and painter Cori Riley, the heroine of ‘Discovering Dr Riley.’  It was enormous fun to be able to check back on Cori and Tom Riley, and to find that Cori still gets to cover herself with paint at the weekends in support of a good cause, while Tom keeps an eye on their two children, Matthew and Chloe.

And now my secret’s out and it gives me a particular thrill to introduce you to Ross and Laurie.  They’ve waited a long, long time for their Happy Ever After, but next month their book will be hitting the shelves and what’s more the Harlequin Cover Artists have provided me with a great new image of Ross.  I think he’s become better looking over the years, too 🙂

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Going for gold is nothing…
…compared to winning his heart

For injured doctor and championship rower, Laurie Sullivan, pushing herself to the limit is all she’s ever known. But enigmatic Dr. Ross Summerby knows she’s not taking her injury seriously. His shock tactic threat of eviction from his exclusive rehabilitation clinic, unless she focuses on her treatment and helps with some of his patients, works wonders. But the unexpected connection between them, soon makes Laurie dream of a very different future!

Guest Blogs, Origin Stories

Life is What You Make it

Today we welcome Harlequin Special Edition author Nina Crespo to our Origin Stories feature.

Visit Nina’s Harlequin page to see all her books!

Life is what you make it—write your own story.

I was recently asked in an interview, “What would be the first song on the soundtrack to your life?” My answer, “La Vida es un Carnival” (Life is a Carnival) by Celia Cruz.

I can truly relate to the song, especially this part (translation from Spanish to English):

All those who believe life is unfair, needs to know that’s not the case. That life is beautiful, we have to live it! Anyone that thinks they are alone and that it’s unfulfilling, needs to know that’s not the case. That in life, no one is alone; there’s always someone!

https://lyricstranslate.com

Those lyrics are even more relevant to me now that I’m packing my life into boxes. Again. I’ve made over a dozen major moves in my adult life—from the southwest to the northeast to attend college, military PCS (permanent change of station) moves to installations in the States and overseas, a few cross-state transfers causing us to live in two homes to accommodate my and my husband’s careers, and cross-town relocations to new homes. Moving is as familiar to me as breathing. Sometimes, it’s been stressful, overwhelming, or even sad. But like the lyrics of the song, it’s also been beautiful. I’ve discovered new places and created spaces that felt like home and made new friends. Each experience is like starting the first chapter in a book.

My love of reading comes from my mother who was also a military spouse. She viewed every move as wonderful adventure (I’d post a picture of her, but all of my photo albums are packed away, and I don’t have any good ones of her on my phone). She was a teacher who chose to become a stay-at-home mom. Some of my earliest memories are of her engrossed in the local newspaper, Ebony magazine, a book, or an encyclopedia, reading about places around the world. She also read me bedtime stories, but as soon as I was able, she had me read my books aloud to her. Cinderella, The Tortoise and The Hare, Little Red Riding Hood, and Stone Soup—I not only learned to love words but also the escape a book could provide.

Eventually, I graduated to Nancy Drew Mysteries, but things completely changed for me while putting away my older sister’s laundry a.k.a snooping through her bedroom. She had a couple of Harlequin romance novels in her dresser drawer. I “borrowed” one and read it. From there, I was hooked. Enemies to lovers, marriages of convenience, love against the odds, as well as unforgettable adventures, loyal friends, and family saga dramas, all in places I’d yet to visit. Romance books were one of the things that inspired me to leave home and travel.

Very important box!

Back then, I certainly didn’t envision moving over a dozen times. I also never imagined I would pack a box of Harlequin romance novels with my name on them. But Mom and Celia Cruz are right—moving is an adventure, life is beautiful, and as my husband and I move into our new place, I’m looking forward to starting another chapter in our lives and writing my next book.

***

Nina Crespo lives in Florida where she indulges in her favorite passions — the beach, a good glass of wine, date night with her own real-life hero and dancing.

Her lifelong addiction to romance began in her teens while on a “borrowing spree” in her older sister’s bedroom where she discovered her first romance novel.

Nina’s sensual contemporary stories and steamy paranormal tales satisfy a reader’s craving for love, romance, and happily ever after. Her work has been published by Harlequin, Pocket Books, Kensington, and Entangled Publishing.

Stay connected with Nina on InstagramFacebookTwitter or through her newsletter.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

May New Releases!

Happy May and Cinco de Mayo!

We have some brand new releases this month and a milestone!

Congrats to Deanne Anders on her 5th book with Medicals.

Now on to some great medicals to sink your teeth into.

Unlocking the Rebel’s Heart by Alison Roberts

When a temporary fling…
Turns into a lifetime together!
Paramedic Benjamin is the beating heart of Cutler’s Creek, and it’s no secret settling down is off his agenda. Yet when locum doctor Joy literally crashes into his life, the attraction between them is electric. Finding themselves working together, they do everything to ignore the growing temptation. But when Joy sees the real man behind the bachelor, she knows she’s lost to him forever!

The Neurosurgeon’s Unexpected Family by Deanne Anders

From single surgeon…
…to family man?
Dr. William Cooper has been truly thrown in at the deep end… His eleven-month-old half sister has been placed into his care and he needs to figure out how to be a surrogate father—quick! So when nurse Hannah Reeves offers to help, William couldn’t be more thankful. He just didn’t imagine that the minute Hannah entered his life, he’d find himself wanting her to be the final piece in his unexpected family!

Reunited with Doctor Devereaux by Allie Kincheloe

An unexpected reunion…
A second chance at love?
Years ago, trauma surgeon Danny Owens broke his promise and broke GP Camilla Devereaux’s heart. Now Danny is back. The terms of his late father’s will mean Danny and Camilla have to work together for the next six months. They loved each other once, and it’s clear there’s still something burning between them. Can they leave the past behind and embrace the bright future they deserve…together?

Reawakened by the Italian Surgeon by Scarlet Wilson

Top surgeon, devoted single dad…
the doctor to open her heart?
Flying to Rome to separate conjoined twins is just the fresh start that Autumn needs. Her latest breakup has proved that her heart belongs only to surgery. But lead surgeon and widower Giovanni Lombardi has her pulse racing, and his adorable daughter awakens a longing for a family Autumn never thought she wanted—until now…
Double Miracle at St Nicolino’s Hospital novel
 
Double Miracle at St Nicolino’s Hospital duet
Book 1 – A Family Made in Rome by Annie O’Neil
Book 2 – Reawakened by the Italian Surgeon by Scarlet Wilson

Nurse’s One Night Baby Surprise by Louisa George

Doctor Off-Limits:
The father of her baby!
Doctor Fraser is the last man nurse Briana should be attracted to—she’s kept her feelings for him under wraps for years. When he moves to her Lake District village with his troubled teenage daughter, Bri wants desperately to help them. But after her chemistry with Fraser flares out of control, Bri must tell him the most shocking news of all…

A Family Made in Rome by Annie O’Neil

Can one last night in New York
Lead to a new beginning in Rome?
When Leon Cassanetti is called on to perform pioneering surgery on conjoined twins, he knows who he wants by his side—his ex, Lizzy Beckley. Their history is complicated…but Lizzy is honored to join Leon in Rome to save these babies. Only first she must deliver a baby bombshell of her own to this career-driven bachelor!
Double Miracle at St Nicolino’s Hospital novel

Double Miracle at St Nicolino’s Hospital duet
Book 1 – A Family Made in Rome by Annie O’Neil
Book 2 – Reawakened by the Italian Surgeon by Scarlet Wilson

Happy Reading!

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Healing her Emergency Doc, by Caroline Anderson

Hi, all!

It’s that time again, and my new book, Healing Her Emergency Doc, is out now!  So excited to see it in print, and even though it’s my 103rd, that excitement never fades.

But before you launch into the little taster below, if you haven’t already read it there’s a fabulous opportunity to snap up my previous book, Tempted by the Single Mom, over on Amazon US for a knockdown price! There’s a link here to an excerpt, too.

Happy reading!

Caroline xxx

x500_deeed33a-08b2-4731-bb3a-ca5e8b26fa38_360x‘Laura?

The voice was deep, soft, and weirdly familiar. She hadn’t heard it for years, but it still made her heart tumble in her chest.

No. It can’t be

But her heart was doing a little jig behind her ribs as if it knew better, and she felt suddenly dizzy and light-headed.

Don’t be ridiculous. It’s just low blood sugar. Or interview nerves. And anyway, it won’t be him. Not here…

Slowly, reluctantly, she looked up and met those totally unforgettable slate grey eyes. Eyes that had teased, and laughed, and—just that once—burned for her.

But not now. Right now they looked a little stunned. She knew how that felt.

What’s he doing here?

The interview? No—but why else would he be wearing a suit? And if he was in the running, she was scuppered. He was too good—too convincing, and the interview panel would fall for it, just like they all did. Like she had.

Almost… But she hadn’t made it easy for him.

She’d turned him down over and over again, but he wasn’t a quitter, so it had turned into a game. He’d ask, she’d say no.

It had taken him five years, but at the Leavers’ Ball he’d had one last go, cranked up the charm to full volume, and he’d almost convinced her to go home with him. Almost.

She hadn’t seen him since that night, but just remembering it made her squirm. Awkward wasn’t in it.

Please don’t bring it up.

Surely he wouldn’t, not here. Maybe he wouldn’t. He was smiling at her now, the warm, effortlessly sexy smile that had always made her stomach turn over and her heart beat a little faster. So that hadn’t changed, then.

Why aren’t I over you?

Her breath locked in her throat, and she dredged up what was probably a very unconvincing smile and found her voice at last. ‘Tom. What are you doing here?’

Stupid, inane question.

His mouth quirked, his smile wry now.

‘Do I really need to answer that?’

She rolled her eyes. ‘Probably not.’

He gave a soft huff of laughter, and dropped casually into the seat next to hers, and she shifted slightly away from him, because the scent drifting from his body brought back memories she would rather have forgotten.

‘So, how are you?’ he asked, and she swallowed.

‘I’m OK. Busy.’ At least it wasn’t a lie, although she’d be more OK if she could land this job in the Emergency Department she’d been working in for months, and he’d just messed that up for her. ‘How about you?’

‘Oh, I’m good,’ he said. ‘Busy, of course, like you, but it goes with the territory, I guess. So what have you been up to since uni? Presumably not married with three kids if you’re going after a senior post.’

‘No, no kids, I’m still single. How about you? Did you finally settle down?’ she asked, to shift the conversation away from herself, and then regretted showing the slightest sign of curiosity. Not that she didn’t want to know…

But his mouth tightened into what could barely be called a smile and those incredibly expressive eyes went blank.

‘Oh, you know me, I’m a free spirit,’ he said, his voice light and breezy and oddly unconvincing as he glanced away.

There was a whole world left unsaid, but he clearly didn’t want to discuss it. Because he’d just come out of a messy relationship, too? She could understand that. She didn’t want to talk about hers, either. They were both allowed their privacy, but it must have been pretty bad, because the Tom she knew would never leave London without a very good reason.

‘So, where are you working now?’ he asked, lobbing the ball firmly back into her court, but she wasn’t about to tell him, so she stuck to the bare bones of the truth.

‘Nowhere permanent at the moment. I’ve been doing a bit of locuming for a while.’

He frowned. ‘That doesn’t sound like you. I thought you always wanted security?’

Trust him to get straight to the heart of it. She slapped on a smile and kept her voice deliberately light and airy as he’d done. ‘I do, but I never had a gap year, so why not? But it’s been nearly a year now, so it’s probably time to get back to focusing on my career.’

‘So is that what this is about, this interview? Getting back on track?’

‘Pretty much,’ she said, wondering when being economical with the truth morphed into a lie. ‘Plus I need to earn a living and having a regular income is quite handy like that.’

He chuckled, suddenly looking more like the Tom she remembered, his eyes crinkling at the corners. They’d always done that, and she hated the effect it was having on her. That it had always had on her.

The meeting room door opened and James, the ED clinical lead, ushered the first candidate out and looked round. ‘Thomas Stryker?’

‘Good luck,’ she said mechanically, and he got to his feet.

‘You know you don’t mean that,’ he murmured with a wry smile tugging at his ridiculously beautiful mouth, and turned towards James, the smile widening.

‘Hi. I’m Tom.’

‘James Slater. Come on in, Tom.’

The door to the meeting room closed behind them, and she stared at it, her shoulders slumping in despair.

He’ll get it. He’s bound to. Why didn’t I do more interview prep? For all the difference it’ll make, with him in the running.

That would teach her to take things for granted. She looked at the other two candidates. She might have stood a chance against them, but now…

Now, there was Tom, always smiling, always up for whatever challenge/opportunity/pretty girl/party presented itself. He’d aced his medical degree, presumably sailed through the early years of Foundation training and after another five years was now a prime candidate for the vacant senior SpR post in the ED at Yoxburgh Park Hospital. The role she’d hoped would be hers, the job she’d been told by James Slater to apply for, because it had her name written all over it.

Well, so it might have had, but James hadn’t met Tom then, of course, and Tom had that way of convincing people that they wanted all sorts of things that in their right minds they wouldn’t contemplate—although thankfully her common sense had rescued her from that particular catastrophe.

The door opened again, and her head snapped up. She could hear him laughing, hear the smile in his voice as he thanked them, almost smell the success on him as he walked confidently out of the room and took his seat again beside her.

‘You look happy,’ she said, forcing a smile, and he grinned.

‘Well, I got through to the second round, so I’m not unhappy,’ he said softly, and then studied her searchingly, his brows pleating together. ‘Are you OK?’

‘Of course.’ She looked away before he could read the lie in her eyes. ‘It’s just a little—awkward. It’s the last place I would have expected you to look for a job.’

She could feel him still studying her, his eyes boring through into her brain, trying to read her mind.

‘It’s not that that’s bugging you. It’s us.’

‘There is—was—no us.’

The soft huff of his laugh drifted across her skin, teasing her nerve endings.

‘No, there wasn’t, was there? And you’re still feeling guilty about that,’ he murmured slowly, and she could hear the laughter in his voice.

‘Why should I feel guilty?’ she muttered, and she felt her skin tingle as he laughed again. She could feel him studying her intently, and she had to force herself to sit still.

‘You tell me.’ His voice dropped another notch and the laughter disappeared. ‘Why did you run away?’

Really? Here and now? Because she was so not going into it here.

‘I didn’t—’

‘Laura Kemp?’

Saved. Bless James and his timing. She leapt to her feet.

‘Good luck.’

He really didn’t mean it, either. He was only being polite, just as she’d been, but she thanked him anyway and walked towards James, her legs oddly wobbly and James’s smile of encouragement not really working, because he was only part of a panel and they had to go for the best person for the job.

Had to. And it wouldn’t be her. Not in a million years, not with Tom in the line-up, but she wasn’t going down without a fight. No way. If he got this job over her, it was going to be because he’d earned it, not because she’d given it away.

She straightened her spine, pinned on her best game face and walked into the interview with her head held high.

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt: Reunited with Doctor Devereaux

My latest book is a second chance romance set in a small Southern town. The love interests are former high school sweethearts who now have more of an enemies vibe after their breakup left a lot of hurt feelings.

Anyone else love a good enemies to lovers story?

An unexpected reunion…
A second chance at love?
Years ago, trauma surgeon Danny Owens broke his promise and broke GP Camilla Devereaux’s heart. Now Danny is back. The terms of his late father’s will mean Danny and Camilla have to work together for the next six months. They loved each other once, and it’s clear there’s still something burning between them. Can they leave the past behind and embrace the bright future they deserve…together?

Get your copy here.

Excerpt:

He stepped through the open door. Another intense wave of grief rushed over him when he stood in front of the antique walnut desk his father had kept polished to a shine. He ran a finger across the dark, gleaming surface.

Why didn’t you give me the chance to say goodbye to you, old man? Did you hate me that much?

“What are you doing here, Danny? I am perfectly capable of taking care of a child with asthma. I don’t require the assistance of a big-city trauma surgeon.” Camilla crossed her arms over her chest and his gaze flicked down to the hint of cleavage her blouse revealed. Immediately adjusting her clothing, she hissed out, “Keep your eyes on my face and your thoughts to a PG rating, please.”

“Maybe I just wanted to check out my inheritance,” he snapped, trying to regain the high ground with her. He knew he couldn’t afford to let his guard down, but even so, the baldness of those words sat hard on his heart. Maybe it was the heartbreak he glimpsed in her eyes before she shut down and the emotionless facade of their teen years returned to her gaze. But it was too late by that point to retract the words; the harm had been done. “That came out badly.”

He was the one who had hurt her. She had done nothing but love him and she certainly had the right to be suspicious of his motives now. He’d given her plenty of reason. He’d broken her heart because he knew he wasn’t good enough for her. He’d been of no use to anyone, even himself. So, why was he acting so defensively toward her?

Guilt, maybe? His mom had always said, A guilty conscious will stalk you for the rest of your life. If this wasn’t proof of that…

Tilting her head, Camilla scrutinized him. He tried not to let her see what he was feeling, but her time in foster care had made her an expert at decoding faces. She’d always been able to read him like a book, while he’d struggled to name a single emotion from her. She’d kept her feelings close to the chest, burying things so deep he wasn’t sure she even processed them.

When they’d first started dating, he’d tried to get her to open up to him about her past, to discover details about her childhood, but she had shut that line of questioning down fast. Even when they’d been together long enough for her to trust him, there were things she still refused to share, topics that he couldn’t touch without her walking away.

Camilla had a policy that the past was the past and it had no place in her present or future. Knowing that, his last words to her eight years ago had been cold, cruel, and designed to cut straight to her core—the only way he knew how to protect her from himself.

He still hated himself for using that knowledge to his advantage.

In doing so, he had put himself in the position of being her past, and despite being forced together for the foreseeable future, there had never been more distance between them.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Reading List

I sometimes get asked, “What books do you read, when you have time?” and so I thought I’d make a list of the last few books that I’ve read.

Be aware, I don’t just read romance. I love something scary, too!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (V. E. Schwab)

When Addie La Rue makes a pact with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But there’s always a price – the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.

Addie flees her tiny home town in 18th-Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day.

Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him.

Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can’t escape her fate forever.

The Giver of Stars (Jojo Moyes)

THE GREATEST LOVE STORY IS THE ONE YOU LEAST EXPECT . . .

Alice Wright doesn’t love her new American husband.

Nor her domineering father-in-law or the judgmental townsfolk of Baileyville, Kentucky.

Stifled and misunderstood, she yearns for escape and finds it in defiant Margery O’Hare and the sisterhood bringing books to the isolated and vulnerable.

But when her father-in-law and the town turn against them, Alice fears the freedom, friendship and the new love she’s found will be lost . . .

I Let You Go (Clare Mackintosh)

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

Tome (Ross Jeffery)

Another dark chapter in the history of Juniper unfolds…Juniper Correctional, jokingly abbreviated to JC, a dark jewel in the crown of the godawful American prison system, where the very worst of Juniper rot for life-sentences that seem to stretch forever.

In this hell-on-earth, it’s hard to tell most days who is worse: the inmates or the corrupt guards that enact the will of the monomaniacal Warden Fleming. Fleming is a fallen star, a once bright-minded leader who turned the prison around, now hiding a terrible secret eating him away from the inside, a secret he’ll do anything to cover up.But Fleming has problems, problems that threaten to unveil his secret.

There is killer among those housed at Juniper Correctional. Inmates keep turning up dead, murdered in ungodly ways, but nobody knows how or why. The only thing that connects them is a nameless book from the prison’s library. However, there is one ray of light: Frank.

Frank isn’t like the other guards. Frank still sees the good in people and is trying to make a difference, to save those souls he can from the darkness in their own hearts. What Frank doesn’t realise, however, is that the darkness is real, and he is about to see its true power…

Aliens Phalanx (Scott Sigler)

Ataegina was an isolated world of medieval castles and rich cultures – vibrant until the demons rose and slaughtered ninety percent of the planet s population. Swarms of lethal creatures with black husks, murderous claws, barbed tails and dreaded “tooth-tongues” rage across the land. Terrified survivors hide in ruined mountain keeps, where they eke out a meager existence. Skilled runners travel the treacherous paths between keeps, maintaining trade and sharing information. If caught, they die screaming.

Ahiliyah of Lemeth Hold is an exceptional runner, constantly risking her life for her people. When she and her closest companions discover a new weapon, it may offer the one last chance to end the demon plague. But to save humanity, the trio must fight their way to the tunnels of Black Smoke Mountain – the lair of the mythical Demon Mother.


So, there you go! A mixed bag. Horror, fantasy, historical, romance. Maybe I’ve intrigued you enough to go look one of these up!

Can two love-weary doctors…

…heal each other?

Dr. Jess Young plans to use her time on the small Scottish island of Thorney to figure out how she can rebuild her shattered life, after a recent blow that has stolen the future she dreamed of. Only Dr. Adam Campbell is a complication she didn’t expect! Handsome but hurting too, Jess sees a kindred spirit in Adam. Will he heal her already fragile heart…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Deadlines, Renovations, Birthdays and Online Schooling…Oh my.

I think I’ve overloaded my plate recently.

I’m on deadline for my 31st book which is due on the 30th of this month. I’m right in the midst of renovations for our big move to my late in laws place in the country, not to mention minor renovations happening here so we can list our city home.

Here are some pics of our renovations at the new place. I was very pleased to find that under all that 70’s shag was pristine hardwood flooring from the centre old farm house.

What will be my new office. I wrote my 30th book Falling for the Runaway Nurse here while my husband renovated!
View from my new office window. Lots of space to think.
JACKPOT! Hardwood flooring under the shag! This was my husband’s childhood room and it will be my eldest son’s room
Sunsets on our new property. I can get used to this.

My eldest had wisdom tooth surgery, my province went into another lockdown because COVID numbers are out of control, kids are back on online schooling and I have two courses on the go.

One course was by accident though, there was a typo and I thought it was supposed to start in May. Whoops.

I get my vaccine on Thursday and this month not only did I turn 43, but I had a new book release with Twin Surprise for the Baby Doctor

Dig if you will this birthday cake my husband got me.

Purple Rain!

Facebook memories are a great thing because it reminded me last year I was on deadline for A Reunion, A Wedding, A Family.

And I inadvertently wore the same shirt on the same day!

Me in 2020

So I’ve come full circle.

Me in 2021.

I’ll keep this post short, because I don’t think I have much brain power left.

Just one night…
…double the consequences!
Dr. Adeline Turner is horrified when Dr. Elias Garcia arrives as the chief rival for her dream fellowship. She could really do without their instant—and inconvenient—mutual attraction! Burned before, Adeline never mixes business with pleasure. Until Elias has Adeline breaking all her rules. But when she finds out that she’s pregnant with twins, they’re suddenly forced to rethink their dreams—together!

Guest Blogs, Origin Stories, The Writing Life

My Hero Origin Story

(Today we welcome guest USA Today bestselling author Naima Simone, talking about where she gets the inspiration for her heroes)

Very recently, my mother-in-love (not mother-in-law, ‘cause I luvs me some her!) asked me a question: Do you read anything besides romance? And let me put this out there, she wasn’t asking it to be ugly. Because my mom-in-love has read every single one of my books, owns almost all the print copies and they occupy a special place on her bookshelf. She was genuinely curious. I answered her honestly. I do read some mystery thrillers—Lisa Gardner is the ish!—but for the most part, I’m a romance reader. There’s so much variety in romance that I can find it all there. Comedy. Suspense. Sci-fi. Historical. Horror. Contemporary. Paranormal. And of course. Love.

I freely admit it. I’m in love with love.

From the time my mother read me my first fairy tale, I’ve been completely enamored with love and everything it entails. The falling into it. The pitfalls of it. The dysfunction of it. The joys and pain of it. The edification and complications of it. The heroines and heroes.

Especially those heroes.

Because the heroes are my romance origin story.

Now, I have a confession. My first books and stories? Horrible. Like, hide in a chest, lock it, bury it and order three viciously horned dragons and a puzzle-wielding Sphinx to guard it, horrible. Yeah. That bad. LOL! But the heroes in them shaped the ones I write now. Who were these heroes? So glad you asked.

The first romance I wrote starred Ralph Tresvant, lead singer of the boy band New Edition. Soft voice, romantic and obviously sensitive. I mean, he serenaded women, sooo… And though I nearly killed him off in my book (hey, didn’t I warn you it was terrible?!), my kiss did bring him out of that coma, so it all worked out in the end!

Naima’s notebooks

The next short story featured Oliver from Oliver Twist. He was so cute with his tortured past. Kid has abandonment issues written all over him. And yes, yes, I know, he has a happy ending, but seriously. You know he has serious emotional baggage. And I live for the tortured hero he’s destined to become!

I followed him up with Duke from G.I. Joe. Alpha, strong, honorable, man in control Duke. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely loved the action and excitement and the whole good vs. evil of the cartoon. But I also obsessively watched for Duke and Scarlett. To see when, and if, they would ever get together. And since they didn’t to my satisfaction, I wrote their story. Over and over again.

Then there was Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block. Oh Donnie. *sigh* Bad boy. Rebel. A little wild. And from the way he could dance, you know he could…move. Whether he was a member of a boy band or a famous producer, or later, a millionaire, he provided the hero for several of my books and short stories. Including the one the first book I sold.

Naima’s first published novel

Though my writing has evolved—thank goodness!—the leading men in my books are all an amalgamation of my first heroes, my origin heroes. The core of honor, strength and alpha maleness of Duke. The sensitivity of Ralph. The tortured pain and hurt of Oliver. The bad boy wildness of Donnie. Their backgrounds, appearances and stories may change, but the heart of them remain the same.

Author bio:

Published since 2009, USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone loves writing sizzling romances with heart, a touch of humor and snark. Her books have been featured in The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly, and described as balancing “crackling, electric love scenes with exquisitely rendered characters caught in emotional turmoil.”

She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Art of Giving Something Away

by Susan Carlisle

I have recently cleaned out a large filing cabinet and consolidated what filled the drawers to the brim. I had over thirty years’ worth of valuable stuff in those drawers ranging from necessary papers dealing with the house, to children’s shot records, folders of travel information to tax papers but the most important was my cross-stitch patterns. Believe it or not, I had a drawer that was over half full of nothing but patterns.

I still cross-stitch but not as I once did. I have a number of projects put back, but I don’t need all the patterns anymore. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. Instead, I joined an online cross-stitching group and asked if I could post the patterns for free.

Over the last few days, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people who cross-stitch from all over the world. I’ve been giving some of my favorite patterns to homes that will love them as much as I have.

It has been a full-time job getting the packaging together, addresses collected but the giveaway has been successful and most of all I feel good about my precious patterns finding new homes.

Do you have anything you’ve had to part with that you took pains to find a new home?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Her One-Night Secret

Hi All!

Hope your April is going well. For us in the Northern Hemisphere it’s Spring, my favorite time of the year. Everything’s fresh and new. The plants are blooming and growing. Flowers. New baby animals everywhere. Vaccines for COVID finally going in arms. So invigorating!

Plum blossoms from the Japanese Plum trees in my backyard!

Anyway, let’s talk Medicals. My next stories with the line release June 1, 2021 and are my first duet–First Response in Florida! Take two adopted brothers who both work in the medical field (Jackson is a top paramedic and Luis is an ER doc), a Key West setting, throw in tons of sexy, romantic conflict, and one nasty hurricane and you have the basis for the First Response in Florida duet!

The last time I was on the blog, I gave you a sneak peek into Book 1 in the duet, The Vet’s Unexpected Hero–Jackson and Lucy’s story. So, today, I thought I’d share and exclusive excerpt from Book 2 in the duet, Her One-Night Secret. This is Luis and Stacy’s story and it’s full of past regrets, second-chances, and one very special surprise.

I hope you enjoy this snippet from the story, where Stacy and Luis have their first conversation since their one night together four years before. And I also hope you’ll check out the First Response in Florida duet when it releases on June 1st! If you like action, suspense, heat, and happily ever afters, these are the books for you!

Until next time, stay safe and healthy and Happy Reading!

Traci 🙂

Excerpt:

HER FIRST IMPULSE was to feign ignorance, but from the way he’d been watching her this whole time, it was clear he’d recognized her, so what was the point? Besides, the last thing Stacy wanted to do was draw more attention to her past indiscretions, so she hiked her chin toward the other members of her fire crew to go on out into the hall, then waited until they were gone before turning back to face Luis.


“It is.” She forced a smile she didn’t feel and looked him over. Man, he was still gorgeous as ever. At first, when she’d looked back on that night, she’d figured she’d been imagining that thick, curly dark hair, those velvety caramel-colored eyes, the impossibly long eyelashes that most women would kill for. Of course, then, as luck would have it, her own son was born with those same features nine months later, so…


Stacy swallowed hard and did her best to cover her nervousness with chatter. “Didn’t think I’d see you again. How are you? You look well.”


Luis blinked at her a moment, a slight frown lining the smooth skin between his dark brows. “I wondered what happened to you after that night, if you were okay.”


That slight accent of his sent a sudden shiver of unwanted awareness through her, taking her right back to that night on the beach, the stars twinkling above, his strong arms around her, sweet endearments on his lips as he’d moved over her, in her, so careful, so tender, so…


“I’m fine. Great, actually.” She needed air, and space. The walls of the room seemed to be closing in on her with him that close, his warmth and scent surrounding her—soap and sandalwood. Stacy turned fast and pushed out into the hallway, grateful for the bright lights and noise of the other meeting members to distract her. She pointed at her badge and headed down the corridor toward the entrance to the ER. “Captain now.”


“I see that,” Luis said, keeping pace beside her, adjusting his long-legged stride to accommodate her shorter one. Funny how that worked. She was a good six inches shorter than him, but that night they’d fit perfectly together.


Stop thinking about that night. Stop it.


“Are you living in Key West now?” he asked as they passed her fire crew, who were giving her curious looks.


“I am,” she said, leaving it at that. She and Miguel had moved into a nice apartment at a local complex the previous year when she’d taken the captain’s job here after leaving her department in Miami. “And you? Are you still traveling the world on your mission trips?”


“No. Not anymore,” he said, tapping the square metal handicapped button on the wall with his elbow so the automatic doors swung open ahead of them. “I’ve taken the position as head of the emergency department here at Key West General, so I’m staying put now.”


“Good to know.” Actually, it wasn’t good. Not at all. Because if they were both staying here in Key West, that meant she needed to tell him about Miguel. Honestly, Stacy had never meant to keep it a secret from Luis for this long. It was just that once she’d found out she was pregnant, he was long gone, and she’d had no way to get a hold of him. Then she’d had the baby and had to fend for herself, and she’d been too busy working and surviving to consider another trip back down to Key West to search for Luis. Being accepted into the fire academy training program had been a godsend—good pay, good benefits, good exercise and a new, extended family she’d always wanted but never dreamed she’d have. The guys in the Miami-Dade County Fire and Rescue Department had embraced Stacy and Miguel as their own, giving her son all the attention and positive male role models he could ever want or need.


Still, having a father—his father—in his life was important for her son, at least to Stacy. So, no matter how awkward, she would tell Luis. Just maybe when the time and place were more appropriate.


“You work with Reed?” Luis asked as they stopped near the nurses’ station in the bustling ER. “The injured firefighter?”


“I do. He’s on a different crew than mine, but we’re all in the same battalion.” She swallowed hard against the lingering constriction in her throat. “It’s like a big family.”


“That’s nice,” Luis said, turning his attention to a chart the nurse behind the desk handed him. “Your colleague is in for a tough battle.”


“Is there any word on how the surgery went?” she asked, glad for a topic of discussion.


“I can’t discuss the specifics because of privacy laws, but suffice it to say that when I left the OR upstairs, he was holding his own. With luck they got the bleeding under control and we can move on to evaluating his leg injury.”


“Will he walk again?”


“I can’t give you a prognosis on that at the moment, I’m afraid.” Luis continued jotting notes in the chart he was working on. “It will be a long recovery either way. Given the extent of the initial injury, there will be nerve and tissue damage that will take time to heal. Physical therapy and bed rest are definitely in his future whether he keeps that leg or not. It will just depend on what the focus is—restoring strength and mobility or retraining him to use a prosthetic.”

“Will he be able to return to active duty as a firefighter?” Stacy asked, her heart aching for his family and what they were going through. “He’ll have his pension, but I know Reed, and he’d hate sitting behind a desk all day.”


“We won’t know until after the surgery and the ortho consult.” He glanced over at her. “But if everything works out well, I don’t see why not. They’ve made huge strides in technology and many people with prosthetics can do just as well, and in some cases better, than their counterparts without disabilities. That would be up to your department, however, and what the physical therapists have to say once they work with and evaluate him. We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here, though.”


Now that Stacy had a chance to really study him as he worked, she could see tiny lines near the corners of his eyes that hadn’t been there before, and a hint of dark stubble just beneath the surface of his strong jaw. She wondered how long his shift had been, if he had someone waiting at home for him once he was done…

Not that it was any of her business. Nope. She was not looking for a relationship. She had plenty enough on her plate as it was with work and Miguel and now the hurricane heading in their general direction. It was just that if he was involved with someone else, that would add another dimension to him finding out he had a son from a previous liaison. She needed to tread carefully, since the last thing Miguel needed right now was more upset to his schedule. With his mild Asperger’s, routine was the glue that held their little world together. And most of all, she didn’t want her son hurt.


As someone who knew the struggle of being an only child, raised by a single mother, Stacy knew all too well the pain of letting someone in, only to have them walk away or disappoint you. She remembered when her own father had walked out on them. At first, she’d cried and cried, running to the window each time a car drove by their house, thinking it might be him. Then, after a while, she’d turned the pain and hurt inward, thinking it was her fault he was gone. That it must’ve been something she’d done, or if she’d only been better, somehow, her father wouldn’t have left them. Eventually she’d internalized that feeling of never being enough and translated it into constantly pushing herself to do more, be more, hoping someday it might be enough to keep those she loved from leaving.


Stacy refused to have her son experience that same trauma by exposing Miguel to a man who might just as likely disappear from their lives as quickly as he’d arrived. She’d never really explained to Miguel about where his father was, and luckily he hadn’t asked. It had always just been the two of them. Now, though, as he was getting older, she feared the questions would come and, with them, the knowledge that he’d been a surprise baby. But in the best possible way. Stacy couldn’t image her life without her son. He was her reason for being, her reason for getting up every day, her reason for everything.


There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for Miguel, including telling Luis the truth.


Soon. Just not yet.

They stood there a moment, neither knowing what to say, until finally Stacy spotted Reed’s wife and daughter in the hall and seized on her opportunity to escape. “Uh, I should get back to my crew and Reed’s family. Excuse me. It was nice seeing you again.”


“I’d like to have dinner,” Luis said as she was walking away, halting her in her tracks. “To discuss coordination of our protocols for the hurricane.”


Her heart thudded harder against her rib cage. The hurricane. Right. “Uh, I…”


“Stacy,” he said, handing the chart back to the nurse then stepping toward her, a hint of his tanned chest visible through the vee of his light green scrub shirt. She concentrated there and not on his eyes, those too-perceptive eyes that sent tingles of heat through her like fireworks and always saw way more than she wanted to reveal. Like how nervous she was around him. Like how he still affected her, even after all these years. Like how almost five years later and a lifetime of changes apart, her attraction to him burned bright as the sun. “Just dinner. That’s all. How about tonight? Say, 8:00 p.m., after my shift? Unless you have other plans already.”

There it was. Her out. She seized on it with both hands, even as she cursed herself a coward. “Actually, I do have other plans tonight. Sorry.” Namely, mac and cheese and homework with Miguel. “Maybe another time.”


She took off before he could ask any more questions, the weight of his stare prickling the back of her neck all the way down the corridor.

First Response in Florida Duet

BOOK 1:

In the midst of the hurricane…

…will she find safety in his arms?


Vet Lucy Miller is happy with her quiet, ordered life. But when a tropical storm bears down on her Florida Keys animal sanctuary, the arrival of devastatingly gorgeous, yet equally guarded, emergency medic Jackson Durand brings disorder—and desire! He’s there to rescue her, but Lucy suspects her red-hot reaction to Jackson will be much more dangerous than the storm raging overhead…

PRE-ORDER HERE!

BOOK 2:

A return, a reunion…


…A shocking revelation!


Firefighter Stacy Williams knows two things about her return to Key West. Her promotion gives her the security she needs to raise her son, and it will be almost impossible to suppress the memories of her passionate night with Dr. Luis Durand. Almost…until working on the hurricane response team brings an encounter with the tall, dark and nomadic doc! And the chance to make her life-changing confession…

PRE-ORDER HERE!