Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Siblings Day

I’m filling in with a post for the blog today, and in an attempt to put myself in the path of a few passing ideas, I hit the internet.  And what should I find but that yesterday was Siblings Day.  It’s an American holiday, but have a feeling I’ll be appropriating it on an ongoing basis.  All good things should be shared, after all!

So I’m writing today in praise of siblings.  I have one of each, a brother and a sister.  I can’t think of many other people that I’ve fought with so often, or defended so implacably.  Who have forgiven so much in me, and supported me beyond the point where any rational person would have given up on me.  And we’ve done all of that since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.  Not many people know me so well, and there’s no-one who’s known me for so long.

Maybe the fact that I’m a ‘middle child’ has moulded my personality – lots of people say that it does, although I’m a strong believer in the idea that you are whatever you make of yourself.  All I can say is, that I’d be a very different person without my brother and sister.

And – of course, it’s not just the people that we share parents with.  Calling someone a ‘brother’ or a ‘sister’ is a way of saying that they’ve been with us through thick and thin.  We all have brothers and sisters – even the only children amongst us.

So – are there little things that your brothers or sisters do for you, which no-one else does?  My sister called me her ‘skin and blister’ when I was a baby, and continued to do so  when we grew up.  My brother makes me chocolate cake, because he knows how much I like it.

Do you celebrate Siblings Day?  I didn’t this year, because it’s a new one on me, but there’s always next year…

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Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Healed by the Single Dad Doc, by Annie Claydon

9781474074957

Could single dad Ethan be the one…

…to put Kate together again?

When kind-hearted single father Dr Ethan Conway comes to vet Kate Foster’s rescue one night, it forges an unexpected bond between them. Could Kate be the perfect woman for Ethan and his young son to let into their life? If Kate can learn to trust again and let Ethan help her perhaps they can both move on—and be a family!

 

 

Chapter 1

Dr Ethan Conway was no stranger to the saving of lives. And also no stranger to the desolate feeling of having to accept that sometimes there is nothing that can be done.

And Jeff wasn’t ‘just’ a dog. He was Ethan’s dog. The gentle, giant Newfoundland would be over ninety now in human years. Old age was finally catching up with him and, if his gradual decline over the last three weeks hadn’t come as any surprise, it had still been hard.

‘All right, Jeff. She’ll be here in a minute.’ Ethan had parked the car in the empty forecourt of the veterinary surgery, and he twisted round in his seat. Jeff lifted his head slightly at the sound of his name and Ethan reached back, stroking the dog’s head. Jeff had been with him for nine years, through love and loss, dreams and shattered hopes, and the thought of losing him now hurt.

It’s okay to be upset about this.

The words of the pretty red-haired vet who’d seen Jeff last week sounded in Ethan’s head. He’d explained to her that, in the scheme of things, this wasn’t so bad and she’d cut through his bravado with one look.

Another car swung onto the forecourt, its headlights blinding him for a moment. It stopped at an interesting angle, taking up two parking spaces, and the driver’s door opened. Kate Foster got out, hurrying across to where Ethan’s car was parked.

‘I’ll straighten it up in a minute…’ Ethan wound the driver’s window down and she grinned at him. ‘Have you been waiting long? I’m sorry, my last call took a bit longer than I anticipated.’

‘I was early. And it’s good of you to see us so late in the evening.’

She brushed the idea away with a wave of her hand, even though Ethan knew from his earlier conversation with the receptionist that Kate had been working all day. Despite that, she was all fresh-faced energy as she craned her neck through the window of his car, her gaze seeking Jeff out.

‘Hello, Jeff. How are you doing, old boy?’

Jeff’s tail thumped on the seat and he raised his head again. Kate smiled, and Ethan provided the answer to her question.

‘He’s been a lot more comfortable since you saw him last week. I’ve been giving him the medication regularly.’

She nodded. ‘Good. Let’s get him inside and I’ll take a look at him.’

Kate unlocked the main door of the surgery and waited while Ethan unclipped the car safety-harness. Jeff lumbered slowly inside. The door slammed behind them and she squeezed past him in the narrow entranceway, leaving a scent of fresh air and flowers behind her as she walked through the darkened reception area and opened a door to the surgery at the back, flipping on the light.

‘Bring him through…’ She held the door open and Ethan bent, ready to lift the large dog up onto the examination couch. ‘That’s okay. Sit down there with him. He didn’t much like it up on the couch last time, did he?’

She’d only seen Jeff once before but she remembered. Ethan sat down gratefully on the long vinyl-covered bench which ran along one wall of the surgery, and Jeff sprawled on the floor next to him, leaning against Ethan’s legs.

‘You’ll be okay there for a moment? I’ve got to go and get my bag from the car.’ She gave a smiling shrug that, for one moment, dispelled the weight in his heart. ‘I should probably take another shot at that parking bay, too. I’m told the white lines are there for a reason.’

‘We’ll be fine. Call me if you need someone to wave you in to your space.’

She chuckled, and it occurred to Ethan that parking in a straight line wasn’t much in Kate’s nature. At work, she was thoughtful and methodical, but everything else she did betrayed a deliciously free spirit.

He heard the sound of the front door closing behind her. Then silence, broken only by the faint whisper of a car engine. A dull thud, and then silence again.

‘Better go and see if she needs some help, Jeff.’ Ethan shifted Jeff to one side a little and got to his feet. As he did so, the sound of a scream made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end…

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

March New Releases

March is going to be a busy month!  Get set for healing, redeeming, resisting and temptation – along with a miracle!

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 A Child to Heal Them, by Louisa Heaton

Might saving a little girl…

… help mend their broken hearts?

When ex-doctor Tasha Kincaid escapes to Africa to teach, haunted by the loss of a young patient, she never expects to find now-widowed Quinn Shapiro—the doctor who once broke her heart. But a pupil is sick and she needs his help! As they care for little Abeje, Tasha finds herself falling for Quinn again… Could healing this child help them embrace a future together?

 

 

9781474074957

Healed by the Single Dad Doc, By Annie Claydon

Could single dad Ethan be the one…

…to put Kate together again?

When kind-hearted single father Dr Ethan Conway comes to vet Kate Foster’s rescue one night, it forges an unexpected bond between them. Could Kate be the perfect woman for Ethan and his young son to let into their life? If Kate can learn to trust again and let Ethan help her perhaps they can both move on—and be a family!

 

 

9781474074971Redeeming the Rebel Doc, by Susan Carlisle

She was hired to rebuild his reputation…

But will this doc be too hot to handle?

After successfully fighting a year-long lawsuit, handsome and rebellious surgeon Rex Maxwell is ready to get back on top of his game! So when buttoned-up but beautiful PR exec Tiffani Romano insists on making him the centre of his hospital’s campaign he reluctantly agrees. And even though she tries hard not to let him, Rex is determined to get under her skin…

 

 

9781474074940Resisting her Commander Hero, by Lucy Ryder

Frankie doesn’t need a hero…

But can she fight her attraction to Nate?

Paramedic Frankie Bryce is finally over her crush on her late brother’s best friend, ex-Navy SEAL Nate Oliver—but then he returns to their hometown, acting as if she’s still the wild-child teenager he has to protect because he promised her brother he would! Frankie’s all woman now, and she definitely doesn’t need rescuing! The trouble is, this super-sexy hero is impossible to ignore…

 

9781474074988Tempted by the Hot-Shot Doc, by Becky Wicks

Three weeks with a gorgeous TV doc…

How long can she resist?

Madeline Savoia is thrilled to be writing sexy, infamous Ryan Tobias’s biography—and to be accompanying him to the Amazon to film his TV show! She won’t be tempted. She’s just suffered a break-up and Ryan’s only interest is in saving lives—perfect! But their passion sizzles even before they reach the rainforest! Is three weeks up-close-and-personal enough to become for ever?

 

 

9781474074933The Doctor’s Baby Miracle, by Tina Beckett

Losing a baby tore them apart…

Can having another reunite them?

Losing their daughter left doctors Tucker and Kady heartbroken, and when Tucker couldn’t face trying for another child it left their marriage in pieces. Meeting again at a medical event, they find their memories are reawakened—along with their scorching chemistry! But Kady still longs for a baby…and Tucker must finally face his fears if he’s to find happiness with her again…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Cover Crazy

One of the best things about writing Medical Romance, is the books which arrive regularly on my doorstep – not just the English-language editions, but the translations, too.  Many of the covers are beautiful, and since most of our English-language readers probably never get to see them, I thought I’d treat you today to a quick round-up of my own favourite covers from around the world.

My first stop is Italy – this cover was for the Italian edition of my first book ‘All She Wants for Christmas’.  I remember thinking I’d really made it into the world of romance writing when I saw this, because it’s the perfect romantic scene.  A heroine in a red dress, a hero in a tux and a glittering Christmas Tree.  Thank you Italy!

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Next, Germany.  Here’s the cover for ‘Re-Awakening his Shy Nurse’.  I can’t really claim this cover as all mine – there are three books in this anthology, but I’m sure that my book-buddies, Louisa George and Fiona McArthur, won’t mind if I say that the cover fits my story exactly.  A story about a vet who’s setting up a nature reserve wouldn’t be complete without a few trees…

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Now France.  I love the gorgeous, romantic French covers, and this one seems to me to really fit the bill.

Discovering Dr Riley

And Iceland.  The image fits the story beautifully, but I like the title even better :).  ‘Snowbound with the Surgeon’ became ‘Hot Snow’!

Hot Snow

My tour wouldn’t be complete without Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.  It’s difficult to choose from the many and gorgeous covers from Scandinavia, but this one really caught my eye.

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Next, Poland.  Here’s the cover for ‘Discovering Dr Riley’.  This story is set in the city, so the image is just perfect.

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Holland uses a blue theme for it’s medical romances.  I loved this edition of ‘Doctor on her Doorstep’

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my little tour, and I can’t finish without a big thank you to all the cover artists!  Or without including one of the brand new covers which are part of the UK re-launch for 2018.  Here’s the cover for ‘Healed by the Single Dad Doc’, which is available now!

9781474074957

 

Could single dad Ethan be the one…

…to put Kate together again?

When kind-hearted single father Dr Ethan Conway comes to vet Kate Foster’s rescue one night, it forges an unexpected bond between them. Could Kate be the perfect woman for Ethan and his young son to let into their life? If Kate can learn to trust again and let Ethan help her perhaps they can both move on—and be a family!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

January Releases

Six new releases to get the New Year off to a great start!  We have a King, a Prince and a Duke – as well as Army Docs and two stories from The Sinclair Hospital.  Enjoy!

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Pregnant with his Royal Twins, by Louisa Heaton

New year, twin babies!

Midwife Freya MacFadden has stuck to night shifts since she was injured in an acid attack. But a hospital costume ball offers her the chance to hide her scars, and, lost in the moment, she seizes a passionate encounter with a handsome stranger. Leaving her pregnant…with his twins!

Desert prince Jameel Al Bakhari fought hard for his medical career, far from his kingdom of Majidar. And he’ll fight for kind and courageous Freya and their babies, too! But first Jamie must show her how beautiful she really is!

 
lgcover.9781488079467.jpgThe Surgeon King’s Secret Baby, by Amy Ruttan

A family by New Year’s Eve?

Reagan Cote left war-torn Hermosa thinking the gorgeous surgeon she’d shared a brief affair with was lost on the front line. So she clung to the child she was carrying.

While Kainan Laskaris’s voice is damaged, he’s alive. And when he finds Reagan in Toronto and discovers he’s dad to their sick baby boy, he asks her to marry him. Now he’s king of Hermosa, he needs a queen and heir, but before she’ll accept, Kainan must prove that marrying Reagan means more than claiming his kingdom.

 

lgcover.9781488079474.jpgForbidden Night with the Duke, by Annie Claydon 

One stolen kiss…

Nurse Megan Wheeler won’t let that passionate kiss, or the way she feels about Jaye Perera, ruin her dream job. Yes, he may be a duke, a doctor and devastatingly handsome but he’s also her future boss, and that’s a boundary she won’t—can’t—cross!

But working side by side under the Sri Lankan sun is a delicious torture. One that reveals to Megan a different side of guarded Jaye… After the hurts they’ve both experienced, can they learn to trust in love again?

 

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Tempted by Dr. Off-Limits, by Charlotte Hawkes

One night is never enough…

For trauma doc Major Elle Caplin, spending one night in Lieutenant Colonel Fitzwilliam’s arms is out of character but oh so good! It’s meant to be a one-off, until Fitz shows up on her army base!

Fitz doesn’t do long-term—he knows he’s bad news to anyone he cares about—and learning that he’ll be working with capable flame-haired Elle puts her in the strictly off-limits category. But with the memory of their hot, life-changing encounter keeping him awake, suddenly Fitz is tempted to break his one-night rule!

 

lgcover.9781488079498.jpgReunited with her Army Doc, by Dianne Drake

Can he trust her with his heart?

Army doc Caleb Carsten will do anything for his gifted son—even if it means returning to his hometown of Marrell and working for Leanne Sinclair, the childhood crush who once broke his heart.

Leanne is thrilled to meet Caleb again. But why can’t she remember more about their past, and what she did to hurt him so badly? And if Leanne can’t show Caleb she’s changed, will he ever trust her with his heart?

 

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Healing her Boss’s Heart, by Dianne Drake

Daring to love again…

When handsome surgeon Jack Hanson returns home, he’s not looking for love. His guilt over his wife’s death means he’s never going to risk his heart again! But feisty new employee Carrie Kellem can’t help but intrigue him…

Carrie’s tough childhood has made her independent; she doesn’t need anyone! Until she meets Jack… And suddenly Carrie wishes she wasn’t alone. Can she help Jack to let go of the past and see that he has a future with her?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Words of the Year

This blog took a while to write (and my apologies for being late with it!).  Part of the problem was my topic.  The Collins Dictionary announced their ‘Word of the Year’ yesterday, which seemed to me to be a good conversation starter.  It was, unfortunately, also a cue for me to spend an inordinate amount of time doing some internet research.  Words of the Day, Words of the Year.  Popular words, and words which have fallen into obscurity.  Words which aren’t strictly speaking words 🙂 …

Because the Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year for 2015, was an emoji – the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji.  I remember a bit of discussion about it at the time, but I’m not sure that anyone can deny that emojis are now an established part of the way that we express ourselves.

This year, the Collins Dictionary Word of the Year isn’t strictly a word either – it’s two.  ‘Fake News’.  Amongst the runners-up my favourites were ‘cuffing season’ – which is apparently the ‘period of autumn and winter when single people are considered likely to seek settled relationships, rather than engage in casual affairs’.  As a romance writer I feel I need to work that into a book somewhere.  And ‘unicorn’.  I’m not entirely sure why that’s a candidate, but who doesn’t like unicorns?

I couldn’t find a Word of the Year from Webster’s Dictionary, but it I learned a bit from their Words of the Day – I’ll be sure to use ‘lagniappe’ (a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase), at the first available opportunity.  And from the Macquarie Dictionary’s list of words which have been suggested for inclusion, comes the word ‘hepeated’, which is when an idea is ignored when suggested by a woman, but loved when suggested by a man.

And who could resist ‘Snollygoster’?  I don’t even need to know what that means to love it!

Everyone has their own favourite words.  At the moment I have a cold, so ‘honey’ and ‘lemon’ are pretty high on my list.  I have a love/hate relationship with ‘manoeuvre’, which I have spelled out on my fridge door, because however many times I type it, I never spell it right the first time 🙂  I think ‘rose’ is a lovely word.  And, for some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, I like the word ‘impetuous’.  What are your favourites?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Saving Baby Amy by Annie Claydon

The cover fairies are always gracious, but sometimes I just can’t stop looking at a cover.  I do love a good sunset, and this cover has to be one of my favourites!

SBA cover  CHAPTER ONE

Hospital gossip was a bit like the wind: unpredictable and prone to sudden gusts in one direction or another. Information could easily end up at the furthest corner of the hospital before it came to the notice of the people involved. So it was no particular surprise to Chloe Delancourt that she’d walked all the way over to the canteen before hearing a piece of news that quite obviously pertained to her.

‘So what’s all this about your boyfriend and a baby?’ One of the other junior doctors joined her at the end of the queue.

‘My boyfriend?’ Jake was long gone, and if he did have a baby it was nothing to do with her.

Petra grinned. ‘All right, so he’s not your boyfriend. Since he’s good looking, single and living with you, that might be classed as an omission on your part.’

‘You mean Jon?’ Chloe had only seen Dr Jonathan Lambert for a total of about ten minutes since he’d moved in two weeks ago.

‘How many good-looking men are you living with currently?’

‘Just the one…’ The ten minutes had been more than enough to notice that he was good looking. And that he had a delicious smile. But apart from that all she really knew about him was that he was a good friend of her brother’s and he kept the bathroom tidy. He’d started his new job at the hospital six weeks earlier than anticipated and had needed a place to stay because the renovations on his own house weren’t finished yet.

‘Glad to hear it. If there was more than one of them, I’d be looking for an invitation to come over for dinner at the weekend.’

Chloe shrugged. ‘Come over anyway, I’m not doing anything tomorrow. It’ll be just the two of us, though, he’s not exactly made his presence felt.’

‘If he’s working nights then I suppose you wouldn’t see much of him during the week…’ Petra was obviously turning the idea over in her head.

‘Or the weekend. He spends every waking hour over at his place. I’ve hardly seen him.’ Maybe Jon was avoiding her. Or maybe he just took the promise that she’d hardly know he was there very seriously. Whatever. It suited Chloe not to get too involved with a face as handsome as his.

‘Well, he’s here now. With a baby.’

‘What kind of baby?’

Petra rolled her eyes. ‘Two arms, two legs…the usual. A little girl, he was calling her Amy…’

‘What?’ Chloe almost dropped her tray and instead thrust it into Petra’s hands. ‘Where is he?’

‘He was in A and E about five minutes ago. Someone said he’d asked for directions up to Orthopaedics—.’ Petra broke off as Chloe turned, running for the doors of the canteen.

*

Chloe had sprinted across the courtyard and up three flights of stairs, back to her own department. Jon had been up to Orthopaedics and left a message that he was going back downstairs to A and E. By the time she got down to the Paediatric A and E department she could hardly breathe so it was just as well that the receptionist knew what she wanted without Chloe having to say so.

‘That was quick, I’ve only just paged you. They’ve just gone through. Consulting Room Three.’

The pager in Chloe’s pocket buzzed suddenly and she jumped, switching it off. Taking a deep breath, in an effort to slow her racing heart, she thanked the receptionist and walked slowly towards the consulting rooms.

If Amy was here, then where was Hannah? And if Hannah had left her child with Jon that posed a whole slew of other questions that Chloe really didn’t want to think about until she was sure of the situation. She knocked and turned the handle of the consulting-room door before whoever was inside had a chance to answer.

Jon was lifting Amy out of her car seat. He’d obviously dressed quickly, because his shirt was buttoned up wrong, leaving one red checked tail slightly longer than the other at the front. Amy fretted a little, and then seemed to decide that the strong cradle of Jon’s arms was a safe place.

‘What…?’

She hadn’t noticed how blue his eyes were before, or how tender. Or that his light brown hair, falling across his brow, gave him a slightly boyish look. Or that his hands seemed so large and capable next to Amy’s tiny fingers.

‘Sit down.’ Amy stirred slightly at Jon’s words, and then snuggled back against his chest. For a moment it seemed the best place in the world to be. Held in his arms without a care in the world.

But if Amy didn’t seem concerned about the whereabouts of her mother, Chloe was. ‘Where’s my sister?’

‘Hannah’s at your place.’ The tenderness in his eyes seemed reserved just for Amy, and he gave Chloe a more dispassionate look. ‘Sit…’

Clearly something was up, and he wasn’t going to tell her until she was sitting down. She bit back the temptation to tell him that she was a doctor too, and that she’d been working at this hospital a good deal longer than he had. Even if she did feel far more like a slightly panicky aunt than a doctor at the moment.

The dark blue windcheater on the chair next to him had been hanging in her hallway for the past two weeks, and was probably the most familiar thing about him. Chloe moved it, draping it over the backrest. When she sat down, an elusive hint of his scent halted the clamour of her senses for a moment, as if they’d paused to appreciate it. This wasn’t the time, or the place…

His eyes and the slight curve of his lips invited calm. No… Actually, they invited surrender, and that wasn’t something that Chloe was prepared to give. ‘Tell me what’s happened.’

‘Hannah was worried about Amy and she took her to her own doctor this morning. He told her that Amy just had a virus, but Hannah thought it was something more so she brought her to you.’

‘And…?’ Chloe reached across to feel Amy’s forehead. She was a little feverish, and her cheeks were flushed.

‘I agreed with Hannah. So I brought Amy here, where she could be examined and treated properly.’

‘But where’s Hannah?’ Chloe couldn’t keep the frustration from her voice.

‘She’s at your place. She was…a little distressed.’

‘A little distressed?’ Chloe frowned at him. Jon didn’t need to play the situation down for her benefit.

‘She was crying her eyes out, and she insisted on staying behind while I brought Amy here.’ Chloe’s eyebrows shot up and he flashed her a cool smile. ‘It’s okay. I got to know Hannah quite well when she was staying with James. She wasn’t entrusting Amy to a stranger.’

So, however distressed Hannah was, she was still thinking straight. That was something. James had mentioned that a friend of his had helped out a lot with Hannah, spending time with her and letting her talk, but Chloe hadn’t realised it was Jon.

But if Hannah had found someone to talk to in Jon, then Chloe couldn’t see how. He seemed somehow distant, as if Amy was the only person in the room he could trust with an unreserved smile.

‘Then you’ll know that Hannah’s…vulnerable.’ Chloe twisted her lips. Vulnerable wasn’t quite the right word. Hannah could be surprisingly strong and very determined. But she was young. Troubled sometimes.

‘I know that she’s almost ten years younger than you, and that she was only nine when you lost both your parents. That you and James have done your best to look after her, but it hasn’t always been easy.’

‘No, it hasn’t.’ Chloe hadn’t made it any easier. Hannah had always wanted to live with her, and Chloe had worked hard, saving every penny she could and adding to her third of the money from the sale of their parents’ house so that she could afford a home for the two of them. She’d bought the house, and then two months after they’d moved in Chloe had fallen ill. Hannah had gone to live with James instead, but had never really settled.

‘Look, Hannah’s okay for the moment.’

Okay for the moment. Most people had learned to settle for that where Hannah was concerned, but Chloe wanted more for her sister.

‘You do know that Hannah’s still only eighteen? And that Amy’s father isn’t on the scene?’ Hannah had run away two weeks before her sixteenth birthday. Chloe had been too ill to do anything but worry, while James had moved heaven and earth to find their sister. When he had, she’d been living with a boy of nineteen, who had been more than eager to give her up when James had wondered aloud whether Hannah’s queasy spells might be morning sickness.

‘Yes, I know. She’s all right.’ It seemed that Chloe was going to have to take his word for it, because Jon’s face showed no evidence that he really understood the gravity of the situation. His whole attention was focussed on Amy.

‘I’d just feel a bit better if she were here and I could see for myself.’ Her words sounded rather more accusing than Chloe had meant them to.

‘I felt that Amy needed to be looked at sooner rather than later, and that was my first priority. Hannah calmed down when she saw I was taking her concerns seriously and promised to stay put while I was gone.’

‘Yes… I’m sorry. Thanks.’ None of this was Jon’s fault. Hannah had put him in a difficult position and he’d taken the only decision he could. Chloe stretched her arms out towards Amy. ‘I’ll take her now.’

He didn’t move. ‘Why don’t you let me examine her? I can do it now—my shift won’t be starting for another three hours.’

‘And you’re better qualified than me?’ There was something he wasn’t saying, and Chloe guessed it might be that. It was true, after all. Jon’s speciality was paediatric emergencies, and even though he’d only been here a couple of weeks he was already gaining something of a reputation as an excellent doctor.

‘Yes, I am. And I’m not Amy’s aunt.’ He said the words dispassionately. ‘I dare say you’re a lot better at dealing with Hannah than I am. Why don’t you give her a call, while I fetch my stethoscope?’

Maybe he was just giving her something to do to keep her quiet, because it seemed that he had already come to some kind of agreement with Hannah. But he was right. Chloe nodded and Jon delivered Amy into her arms.

‘She’s two years old. All of her immunisations are up to date and she’s on no medication.’ If she was going to take up the role of concerned aunt then she may as well give Jon all the relevant information. And ask the relevant questions. ‘What do you think?’

‘I don’t know anything for sure yet.’ He got to his feet and walked out of the room, without looking back.