Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt from Best Friend to Doctor Right

I’m so excited about release day on July 1st, I can hardly contain myself. Best Friend to Doctor Right allowed me to write some of my favorite characters to date, and invent a Caribbean island reminiscent of my own home, Jamaica.

Friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, but somehow I’d never gotten around to writing a story centered around it. Mina and Kiah allowed me to tap in to some very personal experiences and memories, as well as writing about some other aspects of life that I love. Like family bonds, and the value of being accepted exactly as you are, without expectations or qualification. I experienced that, as an immigrant, in Canada, and will always be appreciative of it, because it didn’t necessarily need to happen that way. (Looking at you, Amy Ruttan, and my other Canadian friends!)

I hope you all enjoy the excerpt, and the book itself. It’s my favorite, and I’m so happy that it’s almost time for my book baby to fly into the world!

Excerpt:

There were footsteps in the hallway leading from the kitchen, and when Kiah came into the dining room, both Mina and Charm turned to look at him.

“What are you two up to in here?” he asked, giving them an exaggeratedly suspicious glance.

Totally deadpan, Charm responded, “Plotting to take over the world.”

“Well,” he shot back as Mina sputtered into laughter. “I’m sorry to interrupt the planning session, but it’s time for you to start getting ready for bed. All your homework done?”

“Yes,” Charm said. “I didn’t have a lot. Just some math problems, and they were easy-peasy.”

“Lemon-squeezy?” Kiah tacked on, making it a question.

“You know it,” she replied, pushing back her chair and getting up. “Mrs. Hastings is talking about letting me do some advanced work for the rest of the year. I brought home a note about it but told her she’d have to wait for you to get back before she got an answer.”

“I’ll take a look at it tomorrow,” Kiah said, snagging Charm as she was going by and pulling her in for a hug.

Even though Charm said, “Uncle,” in a disgusted tone, Mina saw how she rested her head against Kiah’s chest and smiled when he planted a kiss on the top of her head.

“Have your shower, and then you can read for half an hour before it’s lights out, okay?”

“It’s still early,” Charm said, ducking out of the hug and heading for her room. “If I hurry up and bathe, can I read for an hour?”

“Bathe properly, and then forty-five minutes.”

“Deal,” came her answer from down the hall.

Kiah gazed after her for a moment, and then turned his smile on Mina. Something about the tender set of his lips melted her heart, and she smiled back.

“If I don’t keep an eye on her, she’d stay up all night reading,” he said, holding out his hand to Mina. “Let’s go sit outside for a while. There’s a nice breeze tonight.”

Instinctively she took that outstretched hand, and then everything froze, just for an instant.

Something shifted inside as an indescribable sensation crashed through her, causing a jolt of adrenaline, sharpening her consciousness so that she saw Kiah as though for the first time. Became aware of his beauty anew, just as she had so long ago when she’d watched him walk past her desk on the first day he’d come to school.

And as though to emphasize the strangeness of it all, she caught a hint of his scent, warm and woodsy, as familiar to her as her own, and yet suddenly different, too. Not that it had changed, but it was somehow interpreted in a new way, so that her pulse began to pound and warmth flooded her belly.

“Mina?” Kiah’s gaze sharpened, became probing. “You all right?”

The words shocked her out of whatever the heck she’d been going through, and she blinked, as though awaking from a dream.

“What? Yes, I’m fine,” she replied, getting to her feet, firmly shaking off the last vestiges of her strange mental hiatus, although they wanted to cling, like cobwebs. “Just woolgathering for a second. Lead the way.”

Kiah didn’t move immediately, just held her hand, his fingers firm and strong around hers. “You sure?”

“Of course I’m sure. Come on. I could use a little cool breeze just about now.”

And that was no word of a lie. In fact, she’d go so far as to say she could use a cold shower. The lingering effects of whatever she’d just gone through felt suspiciously like arousal.

But that was impossible.

Wasn’t it?

“You Canadians and your inability to enjoy whatever the weather is. You constantly complain about it being too hot, or too cold, or too wet, or whatever.”

His teasing words were exactly what she needed and led to a spirited argument about his expecting her to not feel the heat when coming out of the winter’s cold. But even while they were going back and forth with each other, she felt his gaze on her and knew something had irrevocably changed.

Now she needed to figure out what it was.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Determination

I’ll be honest. There are days when I’d like to declare, “I’m staying in bed for two weeks.” Then, amply supplied with food and snacks, books and some feel-good movies (Dirty Dancing, or Bride and Prejudice anyone?) I’d hunker down, hoping when I emerge from my self-imposed exile, everything will be better.

Of course, I can’t do any such thing. Although over the years I’ve battle anxiety, and gone a few rounds with depression, what I end up doing is coping. It isn’t always pretty but, somehow, I keep putting one foot in front of the other, until I make it through to the other side.

And during those hard times, I learn a lot: about myself, and about others, and that helps me when I sit down to write. Because, in the end, we authors really are writing tales of how people cope with life, their pasts, and their hopes and dreams for the future. In the case of romance writers, we try to figure out how our characters cope with all those things so as to find their way to love.

And one of the things I constantly remind myself is that I can’t fix everything. I fact, there’s very little I can fix beyond my attitude toward, and the resolve with which I face obstacles and problems. Growing up, I had a great example of how to handle whatever life throws at you with grace, style, and determination: my Granduncle, Dr. William “Billy” Aird.

Uncle Billy was our family doctor, and delivered all three of my mother’s children. He had a storied career, including being the head of Kingston, Jamaica’s only psychiatric hospital for a while. But by the time I knew him, he was in private practice, and it never occurred to me at the time how unusual it was to have a doctor with only one arm.

You see, one night, Uncle Billy was driving home from work in his huge old boat of a car, and passed too close to a parked truck. His arm was sheared off just above the elbow. The way I heard the story, he pulled to the side of the road, took off his tie, and made it into a tourniquet. He then drove himself to the hospital. Once there, he was rushed into surgery but, before that, he was joking with the nurses, trying to cheer them up because they were all crying at seeing him in that condition.

It seemed to me that Uncle Billy’s continued success in life came from his refusal to lie down and give up, just because of his circumstances. Of course, not everyone has that ability, and I don’t know what agonies of spirit he went through privately, after his accident. All I know is that he only retired because of old age, many years later, not because of his amputation.

His story is, obliquely, the inspiration for my July release, Best Friend to Doctor Right. I found myself wondering (as we writers do) what it might have been like for Uncle Billy had he been practicing today rather than fifty years ago, and came to the conclusion that he would have found a way to keep on going. He’d have probably been right there on the frontlines, doing whatever was necessary to help.

And that’s the kind of determination we all need right now.

No matter our circumstances, our impediments or situations, we can all make a difference.

Sometimes the deepest desire…

…is the one you’ve hidden the longest.

Realizing her world is dramatically falling apart, surgeon Mina’s childhood friend Kiah offers her a fresh start on the beautiful Caribbean island he calls home. She’s beyond grateful for his help in regaining the spirit and purpose she feared she’d lost. But when a long-denied attraction spills into their friendship, they must decide whether to risk everything on the breathtaking passion that’s quickly unraveling between them!

And the wonderful Honey Magnolia PR is hosting a Blitz for my release on July 1st, 2020. There’s a giveaway too!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Winter in the South

Most folks up north probably shake their heads in disgust when they hear Floridians talking about winter, but we here in Central Florida don’t care. There’s a reason we live here, and that’s because it’s warm. From November to February, Mother Nature usually tells us that it’s unwise and no fun to do the things we enjoy, like swimming and boating. We may not have snow, but the winds, rain, and lower temperatures often make going out on the water not that pleasant. So when a good friend asked if a group could come down for a visit from Canada, I was a little worried. I wanted them to enjoy all the Space Coast had to offer, but if the weather wasn’t going to cooperate, I thought they’d be disappointed.

Turns out, I shouldn’t have worried. Mother has been kind, and they’ve been able to see and do many of the things that make this part of Florida so special. You see, Central Florida is best known as Mickey’s home, but here on the coast, the Mouse isn’t the main attraction. Central Florida isn’t “sexy”, like the Keys or Miami, and not as wild as the Everglades, but we have our own brand of entertainment.

My friends arrived just in time to see the Spacex Flacon 9 go up.

Monday’s launch, at 10:10am, Cape Canaveral

And we were able to go boating down the Indian River Lagoon, which is part of the Florida Intracoastal. The weather was lovely, and the wildlife was out and about. Storks lined the grass alongside the pier, and while on the water they saw pelicans, ospreys, cormorants, and gulls.

Storks hoping a fisherman will come along and give them some handouts!

Best of all, as we went along, there were dolphins aplenty, and when we stopped at our favorite anchorage (known just as The Sandbar) a pair of manatees swam by. They’re difficult to photograph, since they stay under the water and only come up for air periodically, so kudos to my friend for her patience in getting the shot below! I teased her that she was like one of those wedding photographers who only take pictures of people with their mouths open…

Manatee coming up for breath in the waters of the Indian River Lagoon, with the Sebastian Inlet bridge visible in the background.

They’re having a beach day, and then later, if the weather permits, there may be an airboat ride, but I’m thinking we might be getting a little greedy. This year, three days without rain might be asking too much. Even as I type, I see the clouds massing to the west… At least I know the temperature will remain in the 80 degree range, and they just had a cold snap in Ontario.

I think they’ll be happy just sitting on the patio, watching the rain fall, knowing they don’t have to put on their winter coats for a few days more. Winter in Florida… You gotta love it!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Hot Docs!

Seasonal Ramblings

This year has been a rollercoaster, filled with triumphs and tragedies; the sort of year one wishes to see the back of, although it wasn’t all bad. A year that, in some ways, seemed to be as long as two and yet, in others, flew past. There were so many things I said I wanted to do, but didn’t get done—for example write one more book, crochet presents for all the ladies on my list—but I refuse to beat myself up over my shortfalls. I’m at an age now where I fully accept I can’t do it all, no matter how hard I try. Sometimes, you have to be gentle with yourself, (she says, while eyeing that one gift that HAS to be done in the next couple of days!)

All the ups and downs have shown me, again, never to take anything for granted, and also to be oh, so thankful, for the things that make life special. Even the littlest of things.

As I started trimming our Christmas tree, memories bombarded me. I’m sentimental about my ornaments, and always worry that one or another of the very old ones may not have survived, especially since this year they were shipped from Canada, where I used to live, to my new home in Florida.

Finding them all intact made me so happy.

Just a little thing, but so meaningful at this time, when I look at various old ornaments and think of all the people I love, some of whom I’ll see next week, others now gone, but never forgotten.

And there are newer ones, some I made, others given to me as gifts, that remind me of the love of family and friends. The wooden Garfield and Odie my brother gave me years ago. A little sailboat and a train my mother bought for my son, and the Patrick ornament I made to tease him, since he shares the name with that kooky starfish from Spouge Bob Square Pants. A polar bear I made after my friend Amy Ruttan asked me to make her some as swag for one of her books. Looking at them made me smile, and filled my heart with gratitude for love given, received, and shared.

I wish for you all joy and peace, and everything great and wonderful for the year ahead. I’m so grateful to be a part of such a fantastic community, where promoting love is seen as glorious, and necessary. Because love, in all its shapes and forms, is worth celebrating, now and always.

Patrick ornament on the tree, making me smile, and miss having his namesake here, every time I see it!
Sleepy Polar Bear on a bell snoozes another year away…

And for a heartwarming Christmas story, with a daring Scottish doctor, and a nurse who craves stability, all set on an island called The North Pole of Scotland, may I humbly suggest The Nurse’s Christmas Temptation?

Lots of love, fruitcake (grin), and season’s greetings,

From me, Ann Mc

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations

Christmas in October is better than Christmas in July!

When I was a child, like most kids, I loved Christmas. There was so much to look forward to. Not just gifts, but, in my case, a trip to my Grandma’s house in the country, visits to my Aunt at the beach, and Christmas brunch at my Grandaunt’s house too.

Even as a young adult, I enjoyed the season, for different reasons. In Jamaica, “the season” pretty much starts on December 1st and lasts until after New Year, with parties of all kinds, family visits, etc. abounding. Also, my mother loved Christmas and we’d spend happy hours decorating the house and planning for the making of Christmas puddings, along with figuring out who was hosting what event among the family members.

Truthfully, my feelings about Christmas starting changing the year my mother passed away. Although by then I was a mother myself, and I always tried to make it special for my son and step-kids, but my own personal feelings about the holiday took a bit of a dive.

The final nail in my Christmas cheer coffin came from working in a retail craft store, after I moved to Canada. Initially the needlework and cross stitch kits started coming out in June, and then we’d have a reprieve until about September but after that it was all Christmas goods. A few years later there was a “Christmas in July” event at the store and then it was all Christmas thereafter, until I was, frankly, sick of the whole thing.

By the time actual Christmas came, I was without even a modicum of seasonal cheer. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I was more likely to say, “Bah, humbug” than “Merry Christmas.”

Last year, though, I found myself looking forward to Christmas once again. In this new life of mine there may not be any winter snow, but I’ve rediscovered the joy of the season. Having a Christmas themed story coming out in October this year though, almost set me back! “Too soon!” I thought, when I saw the October 1st release date, but I’ve gotten over that knee-jerk reaction, to rather enjoying the thought of those people who really love the holidays getting a chance to get their hands on Christmas books!

BookOct6My Christmas story, The Nurse’s Christmas Temptation, is available now, for all you folks who just can’t wait until December to get your Christmas fix. I hope you enjoy Harmony and Cam’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Unfortunately I’ll be offline when this post goes live, but once I get a chance to check, I’ll make sure to reply to any comments.