Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Falling for her Italian Billionaire by Annie Claydon

NEWRelease1First impressions matter, but often a heroine has to wait before she hears what a hero really thinks of her.  But I decided to ring the changes a little in this book, which is the first of my ‘London Heroes’ duet.

Gabriel DeMarco wakes up in hospital with a beautiful woman by his bedside.  The after-effects of the drugs that were slipped into his drink last night mean that he’s not able to stop himself from voicing exactly what’s on his mind…  

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

Gabriel DeMarco opened his eyes. That seemed to be quite enough work for today, so he closed them again.

‘How are you feeling?’ A woman’s voice flowed over him like warm honey. It was a nice voice, quiet yet firm. The kind of voice that any man should take notice of.

‘I could go back to sleep.’ The words slipped out before he had a chance to tell himself that sleeping probably wasn’t what the voice wanted him to do. And at the moment it seemed like a siren’s call, which couldn’t be resisted. ‘Or…I could wake up.’

It sounded as if the voice was smiling. ‘Why don’t you wake up? You’re in hospital.’

Really? The thought didn’t bother him as much as it should. He was comfortable and relaxed, as if lying on a cloud. He tried opening his eyes and light seared through his brain, making his head hurt. He’d just have to keep them closed for a while…

‘Which hospital?’ Not that it mattered particularly. But talking might convince the voice that he’d complied with her request.

‘The Royal Westminster. You’re in the private wing.’

That made sense. Someone must know who he was, and that the son of Leo DeMarco, head of one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Europe, could stand the cost of a night’s stay in hospital. Or maybe he’d been here longer than just one night. Gabriel couldn’t remember.

He flexed his fingers, running his hand across his chest and then moving his legs. Everything appeared to be working. No pain. Whatever he was in here for was probably very minor…

‘Open your eyes.’

No… He didn’t want to. Maybe he said as much, without knowing it, or maybe the voice just read his mind, because he felt the touch of a hand against the side of his face.

‘Come on. Open your eyes.’

He couldn’t resist. This time the pain wasn’t so bad, because the hand was shading his face. When he turned his head in the direction of the voice, a mass of red-blonde curls and a pair of blue eyes snapped suddenly into focus. What had happened to him suddenly came a very poor second in importance to who she was.

‘What’s your name? Are you a nurse?’ Stupid question. She wore a dark blue sleeveless summer dress, which seemed to be held together by a few buttons and a belt around her waist. Clearly not a nurse unless they’d changed the uniform from sensible to sexy.

‘My name’s Clara Holt. I’m not a nurse, although I’m medically trained. Your father sent me.’

His father? Since when had he started sending women to sit at Gabriel’s bedside? The thought occurred to him that maybe his father had, for once, made a marvellous choice. She was perfezionemolto bella… Porcelain skin and shining gold hair. Right now, making the gorgeous Clara happy was all he wanted to do…

‘Grazie.’ Her lips curved into a slight smile. He’d missed out her lips, and that was unforgivable…

‘You speak Italian?’

‘Only a few words.’

She knew the ones that mattered. Every woman should understand the words a man said when he called her beautiful.

Wait. How many of his thoughts had sprung to his lips by mistake, and what language had he voiced them in? The feeling that this wasn’t right was beginning to nag at the edge of his consciousness. If he thought a woman beautiful, he usually had the manners to wait, and make quite sure it was the kind of compliment she wanted to hear.

Gabriel shook his head, trying to clear it, and struggled to sit up. Pain shot across his temples and he suddenly felt very nauseous. The wonderful Clara reached out, gently pushing him back down onto the pillows.

‘You’ll feel better in a moment, just take it slowly.’

She was an angel. Clara could take him up to her cloud any day of the week and…

No! He still wasn’t thinking straight. He fought to locate a sensible question in his head, and came up with only one.

‘What’s the matter with me?’

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A fine Bromance…

I’ve always imagined that the heroes and heroines of my books have friends – the really great kind, who’ll be there for them through thick and thin, because our heroes and heroines are themselves the stuff that good friends are made of.  Sometimes the friends get a little page-time, and sometimes not, but in my head they’re always there in the background somewhere.

So imagine my delight, last year, when I found that I wasn’t just in the process of writing two linked romances – but that somehow a bromance had crept in.  Gabriel De Marco and Alistair Duvall are the founders of a charity in London.  They’re very different characters – Gabriel is a risk-taker with a talent for blue-sky thinking, while Alistair is the more practical of the two, a facilitator who can take the bold step of turning ideas into reality.  Their talents compliment each other perfectly, and have made the charity into a real force for good.

They don’t always see eye to eye 🙂  Everyone around them is used to hearing raised voices as the two passionately disagree.  But their friendship and respect for each other means that they’ll fight things out between themselves, and come to a conclusion that they’re both happy with.

About now I expect you’re beginning to feel a small concern for the two heroines of the stories!  It’s sometimes not an easy prospect to find yourself working with, and falling in love with someone who is one half of such a strong partnership.  But, when Gabriel meets Clara, Alistair knows that she’s the woman who can make his good friend happy.  Gabriel and Clara may have to overcome the real challenges themselves, but I imagine Alistair in the background, keeping his fingers firmly crossed that things will work out for them.  And likewise, when Alistair is re-united with Raina, Gabriel and Clara do what they can to smooth their path.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I loved writing these stories.  The two books gave me a chance to explore a little about a friendship, which isn’t always possible over the course of just one book.  This is one of the things I love about reading continuities as well – being introduced to characters who’ll be featured in the next books, and seeing them as part of a community of friends and co-workers.  What do you think?

 

 

Falling for Her Italian Billionaire
Can she protect her heart?  In this London Heroes story, protecting Italian billionaire, Dr Gabriel DeMarco, is bodyguard Clara Holt’s most challenging assignment yet. She’s vowed never to mix career with romance again – only Gabriel is breaking down the walls around her heart…

Second Chance with the Single Mum
Can her little girl reunite them?  In this London Heroes story, Dr Alistair Duvall is stunned when his ex-wife Raina walks back into his life with her amputee daughter. Losing their own baby tore them apart – can this little girl help them try again?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

New Releases for May

Welcome to May! Spring is springing (in this part of the world, anyway…) and we have six fabulous new releases.

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Finding her Forever Family, by Traci Douglass

Risking her heart for the single dad!

After losing her mother to a hereditary illness, nurse Wendy Smith vowed never to risk having a family. But growing closer to sexy single dad, Dr Tom Faber, awakens her longing for a family – with him!

 

 

 

 

9781474089920.jpgMending the Single Dad’s Heart, by Susanne Hampton

The doctor’s family-ever-after?

Vowing never to get close to anyone again, being a locum doc suits Dr Jessica Ayers just fine! Until she meets dashing single dad Dr Harrison Wainwright… Is he the man Jessica never knew she needed?

 

 

 

 

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Rescued by her Rival, by Amalie Berlin

Fighting fire, fighting attraction!

Two years ago, elite firefighter Lauren lost out on her dream job as a Smokejumper to golden-boy Beck! Now she’s back and a wildfire forces them together, but it’s the flaming attraction between them that they’re desperately trying to extinguish…

 

 

 

 

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Tempted by the Hot Highland Doc, by Scarlet Wilson

A year-long seduction…

TV presenter Kristie Nelson’s new job could make her career, but it involves filming GP Rhuaridh Gillespie on a remote Scottish island. And Kristie’s just as tempted off camera by the irrepressible doc as she is when they’re in the spotlight…

 

 

 

 

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The Sheikh Doc’s Marriage Bargain, by Susan Carlisle

From shy Cinderella…

To convenient princess!

For sensible Dr Laurel Martin heading up a new lab for royal doc, Sheikh Tariq Al Marktum, is the chance to conduct the study of a lifetime. But to protect Laurel from the scandal her presence in his palace will cause, Tariq has a condition – a paper marriage! Once Laurel is swept into his desert kingdom, passion overtakes them, but can Laurel find her place in Tariq’s world – and his heart?

 

 

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The Surgeon’s Convenient Husband, by Amy Ruttan

Surprise reunion…

…with her husband!

Dr Ruby Cloutier agreed to a marriage with army doc Aran Atkinson in name only, so she could continue working in Alaska. Aran’s military service has suitably kept them apart – and their attraction at bay… Until he unexpectedly returns, more brooding and tempting than ever! Now, working together on life-threatening cases, it’s getting harder to resist the burning chemistry between them. Suddenly Ruby finds herself inconveniently falling for her convenient husband!

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Things I’ve been learning

Since I last blogged, a couple of months ago, I’ve been on a bit of a learning curve. A month before Christmas, a slight on and off ache in my back, became an insistent scream. I rested up, did all the things that generally worked for me and… nothing did. So, with a book to finish and Christmas to organise, I did what any responsible person would do. I panicked.

And, of course, the book was finished (due mainly to a great deal of support and patience from the Eds), and Christmas happened (much as it does every year). And my back still hurt.

As they always do, friends stepped in. After meeting up for tea, Kate (Hardy) and Annie (O’Neil) practically broke the internet with a blizzard of supportive emails. I embarked on yet another mission to find out exactly what the problem was, and found myself prodded, scanned and asked to stand on one leg rather a lot. And then the verdict came back. I didn’t have a bad back at all. I wasn’t slowing down due to an accumulation of birthdays, or stiffening up because of hours spent typing. It’s all due to an old injury to my hip.

Because this had been going on for years, there were quite a few other things, which had developed so slowly that I simply hadn’t noticed them. I was genuinely surprised to find that I can’t walk in a straight line (despite being stone cold sober 🙂 ) Little things, which happen over time to many people, but hearing them all in the space of five minutes was a bit of a shock to the system.

The good news is that it can all be fixed. It’ll take a while, but that’s okay, because the hope is that I won’t just be back to normal, I’ll be a lot better than normal. So I’m looking forward to being able to do a Wonder Woman twirl by next Christmas!

And what have I learned? The first lesson is thankfulness – I’m so lucky that medical expertise and science has done its best for me, and that all this is reversible. I’ve learned, yet again, to be grateful for the support of family and friends. I’ve learned how much I love writing (and in the pursuit of that, that not all office chairs are the same…). And I’ve learned that sometimes the best thing it’s possible to do, is just to stop. Look again at what you’ve been told, and what you thought you knew. Learn.

Is there something you’ve learned lately? I have a feeling that we never really run out of things to learn, and that comes as something of a relief to me 🙂 Or perhaps, like me, you have something to be thankful for. I’d love to hear about it!

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Maple Island (Excerpt)

I’m posting an excerpt today from my latest release, Resisting her English Doc.  As this is the second book, of a four book series, I’ve chosen two short passages from the middle of the book, which mentions the heroes and heroines from the three other books in the Maple Island quartet.

So – just to set the scene – everyone on Maple Island has gathered together for the Fright Night, in the Library, which has been organised by Pamela Vandenberg, the librarian, and Fleur Miller, the heroine of my book.  She’s taken Dr Rick Fleming and his daughter Ellie along, and they get a chance to rub shoulders with Alex and Maggie (Annie O’Neil’s hero and heroine, from Book 1), Rafael and Summer (Karin Baine’s hero and heroine, from Book 3) and Cody (Susan Carlisle’s hero from Book 4).  Annie, Karin and Susan all chose their characters’ costumes for the event.

We also meet Salty Harrington – who was the hero of the hour when he helped save two children from a stranded ferry.  He’s the Clinic’s most awkward patient, and his story runs through all four of the books.

Next week we’ll be blogging again about Maple Island, so please drop in again, to have a chance to win one or more of the books in this four book series!  But in the meantime, please meet the Maple Island cast and crew.

 

Salty Harrington was parked in one corner in his wheelchair, in charge of storytelling, and Ellie had run off to join the circle of children around him. A cocked hat, an eye patch and a wicked-looking cutlass were all that Salty needed to look exactly like a pirate. Fleur had left Rick’s side, to speak with a mummy who he guessed was Pamela, although it was difficult to tell under all those bandages. A taller mummy, who arrived with drinks for them both, and pressed his bandaged mouth against Pamela’s bandaged cheek, must be her husband.

The clinic staff were out in force, along with a few of the patients. Summer Ryan, the daycare assistant, was dressed as a white witch, complete with a basket of fragrant herbs. And the new spinal surgeon, Dr. Rafael Valdez, wore an immaculate dark suit and top hat, his face painted to resemble a skull, with intricate traceries of black and red on his cheeks and forehead. His little daughter Gracie was clinging to his hand, dressed as a fairy princess. Rick smiled. If Ellie was anything to go by, three-year-old girls rarely wanted to dress as anything else.

Wondering what Salty was filling the children’s heads with, he wandered over. Ellie was sitting cross-legged on the floor with a dozen others, drinking in the story.

“Are there trolls on the ship, Uncle Salty?” One of two identically dressed trolls, with pointed hats and patchwork jerkins over colored leggings and boots, piped up.

“Every ship has trolls, little ’un.Two trolls together is especially lucky.” The two little girls squealed with delight, and Rick saw Cody’s head turn at the sound of his daughters’ voices. It seemed that Cody’s imagination had been exhausted by finding costumes for his girls, and he’d come in a surgical mask and gown, looking exactly the same as he did most days at the clinic.

“No doctors in fancy weskits, though…” Rick jumped as Salty singled him out for comment and grinned, moving away. Clearly Salty had had his fill of doctors today.

Fleur was still talking to Pamela and Rick made his way over to the drinks table, accepting a fizzing purple concoction from a red-haired Bigfoot in a leather jacket. Tonight was going to be an interesting night.

*****

“Where’s Pamela?” Rick looked around.

“She was dreadfully nervous about this evening and ended up downing one too many of those purple cocktails. Her husband’s taken her off for a lie-down in the family pyramid.”

“She needn’t have worried. Tonight was amazing.” The library looked even spookier now that it was empty. Long, dark shadows, one of which seemed to be moving…

“Hey, you two. Take it home…” Fleur called out laughingly, and when Rick focused more carefully, he could make out two figures. Zombie superheroes, the tallest of whom had his cloak wrapped around the smaller one’s shoulders, were busy smudging each other’s face paint.

“Fabulous party, Fleur. Goodnight.” Maggie’s voice emanated from the smaller zombie, as she led Alex from the shadows. Rick and Alex exchanged a gruff “See you at work” and Fleur closed the library doors behind them.

“I’ll just check there’s no one else here and lock up.” Fleur flipped on the overhead lights, and suddenly the artistry of the decorations became apparent. Floating cobwebs, a few torn and painted sheets and cleverly placed lighting were all that she’d needed to turn the library into a place of shadows.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

November New Releases!

Six shiny new Medical Romances, for November, including the first two stories from Hope Children’s Hospital!

lgcover.9781488080098.jpg A Daddy Sent by Santa, by Susan Carlisle

When a small-town mom…

Falls for a big-city doc…

Nurse Lauren Wilson is used to doctors coming and going in her Oklahoma town — and doesn’t expect prestigious Boston doc Paxton Samuels to be any different. Until they’re snowed in together and their sensual tension reaches boiling point! But knowing Paxton is due to leave after the festive season, can Lauren risk giving him her heart and her little boy a daddy for Christmas?

 

 

Midwife Under the Mistletoe, by Karin Bainelgcover.9781488080104.jpg

A kiss under the mistletoe…

A family for Christmas?

GP Fraser McColl longs to be part of a loving family, but past experience has taught him he’s better off alone. Only, thrown together with gorgeous yet guarded midwife Iona Munro, to care for two children at Christmas, he’s tempted to believe in miracles… After one passionate night together, can he persuade Iona that they deserve a lifetime of happiness—together?

 

 

 

lgcover.9781488080081.jpgFirefighter’s Christmas Baby, by Annie Claydon

A festive fling…

With consequences!

Firefighter Ben Matthews is committed to his job above all else since his last relationship ended badly. Until he meets alluring and fiercely independent paramedic Callie Walsh! Their fiery exchanges over the project she’s working on at his fire station, leave Ben unable to deny their chemistry… Then Callie turns up on his doorstep — pregnant! Can some Christmas magic turn their holiday fling into a forever family?

 

 

lgcover.9781488080074.jpgNew Year Wedding for the Crown Prince, by Meredith Webber

Can the charming prince

Claim his gorgeous bride?

When Crown Prince Charles of Livaroche turns up on Dr. Jo Wainright’s Australian doorstep, their two worlds collide. Only while Charles is seeking clues to his past, Jo is determined to forget the heartbreak of hers. Stranded together this Christmas their magical connection becomes hard to ignore… But when Charles proposes, dare Jo reveal the reason that’s standing in her way of becoming his New Year bride?

 

 

lgcover.9781488080067.jpgOne Night, One Unexpected Miracle, by Caroline Anderson

Can one illicit night…

Lead to the love of a lifetime?

In this Hope Children’s Hospital story, senior pediatric surgeon Alice Baxter believes she’ll never conceive. So is stunned to find she’s pregnant after one spontaneous night with colleague Marco Ricci! She might be his buttoned-up boss but their chemistry is off the charts. And when Marco whisks Alice to his family’s Italian castello she discovers he’s determined to claim both his baby…and her heart too!

 

 

lgcover.9781488080050.jpgTheir Newborn Baby Gift, by Alison Roberts

Could an abandoned baby…

…melt the surgeon’s frozen heart?

In this Hope Children’s Hospital story, pediatric heart surgeon Ryan Walker knows that shy receptionist and neonatal “baby cuddler” Evie Cooper is off-limits to a jaded playboy like him! But when they discover an abandoned newborn, they must work together to care for her. Ryan will do everything he can to mend baby Grace’s heart—will he lose his own to Evie in the process?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

New Toys

It’s difficult to get too excited about most of the purchases I make – even though the manufacturers would probably like me to, I can’t bring myself to feel much emotion over washing up liquid or breakfast cereal.  But the child in me loves a new toy.  And last week I treated myself to two!

My first toy was Writing Socks!  Now most of you will probably be raising an eyebrow over my enthusiasm for socks, but I’m one of those people who hasn’t yet worked out how to separate my feeling of well-being from the state of my feet 🙂  If my toes are cold, I’m cold all over.  If I have blisters, or my feet ache, that’s how the rest of me feels.

So imagine my delight in finding the perfect Writing Socks, just as the first cold of winter is beginning to bite (actually they’re bedsocks, but it would be a waste to use them just at bedtime).  They’re… warm and cosy, not too tight around the ankles, and best of all they’re pink and slightly sparkly.  My toes are happy and so am I!

And the second toy was a New Phone!  Because – okay – a mobile phone’s a very handy and practical thing to have, but in practise it’s the fol-de-rols that mark one model out from another.  My old phone was outdated and struggling to cope with more than a couple of the most useful apps, but the new one has loads of space and some fancy features.  I’ve been playing with the fingerprint reader for two days now, and I’ve already got the feeling that the phone has its own personality and knows who I am.  Before long I’ll be confiding in it, the way I used to confide in my dolls when I was little.

And… it’s blue.  That doesn’t make any difference to its capacity to make phone calls, and at a glance it looks black rather than dark blue.  But it says it’s blue on the box, and that’s what matters, because conversations are somehow so much better on a blue phone.

So right now, I’ve reached the unusual state of being at peace with the consumer world.  Neither of my purchases turned into a nightmare of things not working/fitting the way I thought they might, and in addition to their practical purpose, I have new toys to play with.  And the thing about a new toy is that it doesn’t need to be costly or top-of-the-range.  It just has to have something about it that you like, beyond its practical use.  Like the cheap-as-chips salt and pepper grinders that I bought a couple of years ago.  They’re not much to look at but they never get clogged up, and they’ll grind from very coarse to extremely fine at the twist of a knob.  I might not use the most coarse or fine settings, but I know they’re there 🙂

Is it just me that thinks like this?  Do you assess all of your purchases with a cool head, matching your needs to their capabilities?  Or do you sometimes find yourself lured by a new toy?  And what are the little things that you like about them?

51EtM4S1QZLAnd before I go – another thing that I like much more than is strictly practical, are my new covers.  So here’s the latest!