Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

Pregnant With his Royal Twins

thumbnail_IMG_1112Freya surreptitiously slipped the packet from her locker and into her uniform pocket, hiding it under her notepad. The lack of her period and the increasing nausea she was experiencing each morning seemed obvious signs enough, but Freya wanted proof. Scientific proof.

Night shift it might be, but to her this was morning, and walking into the staff room and smelling the strong coffee that had been put on to brew had almost made her share with everyone the ginger biscuits she had forced down for breakfast. It had taken a gargantuan effort to control her stomach, and a sheen of sweat had prickled her brow and top lip as she’d fumbled with her locker. Her fingers had almost tripped over themselves in her haste.

Heading to the ladies’ loo, she told Mona she’d just be five minutes and that she’d catch up to her at the staff briefing in a moment.

‘Okay, hun, see you in five.’ Mona smiled and headed off, her hand clutched around a mug of that nausea-inducing coffee.

The toilets were right next door to the hub, so Freya slipped in and locked the door behind her, leaning back against it, letting out a long, slow breath of relief. She took a moment to stand there and see if her stomach settled.

There didn’t seem any doubt about what was happening to her, but she needed to do this just the same. She pulled the pregnancy test from her pocket and stared hard at it, not quite believing that she was actually going to.

She’d always hoped that one day she would become a mother. But the actual chances of that ever happening to her had—she believed—become very slim the day she had been scarred for life. Because who would want her now?

‘Come on, Freya…you’re better than this,’ she whispered to herself, trying to drum up the courage to get herself through the next few minutes.

Freya loved the nightshift, working on Maternity here at Queen’s Hospital. There was something extra-special about working nights. The quiet. The solitude. The intimate joy of bringing a new life into the world and being with that family as they watched their first sunrise together. A new day. A new family. Life changing. Getting better. New hopes. New dreams. There weren’t the distractions of daytime—telephones constantly ringing, visiting families all over the place. It was secluded. Fewer busybodies.

It was the perfect hiding place for her, the hospital at night time, and those nights afforded Freya the anonymity that she craved. Lights were kept low. There were shadows to stay in, no harsh fluorescent lighting to reveal to her patients the true extent of her scarring.

It was better now than it had been. She had some smooth skin now, over her cheeks and forehead, where just two years before she’d had angry red pits and lines, her face constantly set and immovable, like a horrific Halloween mask.

Not now. Not now she’d had her many, many reconstructive surgeries. Thirty-three times under the skilled scalpel of her plastic surgeon.

And yet she was still hiding—even more so—in a bathroom. Her hands sweating and fidgety as she kept glancing down at the testing kit.

‘Only one thing to do, really,’ she told herself aloud, shaking her head at the absolute silliness of giving herself a pep talk.

She peed on the stick and laid it on the back of the sink as she washed her hands and then took a step back. She stared at her reflection in the mirror, refusing to look down and see the result. She saw the fear in her eyes, but she also recognised something she hadn’t seen for years—hope.

‘This is what you’ve always wanted,’ she whispered.

But wanting something and actually achieving it, when you believed it to be impossible, was another thing altogether. If it were possible then she’d finally get her childhood dream. To hold her own child in her arms and not just other people’s. To have her own baby and be a mum. Even if that meant she’d have to revert back to living in sunlight. With all those other people.

Even if they didn’t stare at her, or do that second glance thing, she still felt that they were looking. It was human nature to look at someone different and pretend that you weren’t. And your face was the hardest thing to hide.

Still…this wasn’t exactly how she’d imagined it happening. As a little girl she’d dreamt of marrying a handsome man, having his babies and being in a settled relationship.

She had no one. Even ‘the guy’ had been a mad, terrific impulse, when her body had been thrumming with joy about the fact that she was out amongst people, having fun, enjoying a party behind the veil of her fancy dress costume.

It had been so long since she’d last been to a social event. Too long. Years since she’d stood in a room full of people, chatting, laughing at poor jokes, being normal.

Mike had taken that away from her. That joy and freedom. His jealous actions had imprisoned her in a world of night and pain, surgeries and hiding. Feeling unable to show her face to the world without fearing people’s reactions. A frightened child turning away as if to clutch her mother’s skirts when a stranger did a double-take and tried not to look appalled or disgusted or worse.

The veil she’d worn that night had hidden everything. The high-necked Victorian steam punk outfit had hidden the scars on her neck that had not yet been tackled, and the veil had added a note of mystery.

That night people had looked at her with intrigue and with delight. They’d smiled…they’d complimented her on how wonderful she looked. Their words had made her giddy with happiness. She’d been normal there. Like them.

And then he’d been there. The guy. The pirate. He’d seemed uncomfortable. Had appeared to be waiting for enough time to pass so he could make his escape.

She knew how that felt. She’d felt a kind of companionship with him, despite their not having exchanged a word.

It had helped, of course, that he had seductively dark eyes and a wickedly tempting mouth, and she’d almost stopped herself. She’d taken a moment to register the fact that she was attracted to a man when the very idea of that had been anathema to her for so many years.

But not that night. The costume, the veil, had given her a sense of bravery she hadn’t felt for a long time.

‘I’m Freya. Pleased to meet you.’

‘Jamie.’

‘I saw you eyeing up the exit. Getting ready to make a break for it?’

‘I’ve been thinking about it.’

‘Please don’t. Stay for a little while longer. Let me get you a drink.’

It had been crazy how emboldened she’d felt. Her entire body had been thrumming with adrenaline and serotonin, her heart pounding like a revved-up engine. She’d felt alive, happy, normal again—having a conversation with an attractive man, feeling the thrill of first attraction.

Silly. Childish, maybe, when she really ought to have known better, but it had just felt so good!

He had made her feel that way. The way he’d looked at her, his eyes sparkling with inky delight, his full lips curved in a wicked smile. He’d laughed with joy at her anecdotes, had genuinely seemed happy to stay.

She’d felt warm and wanted again. Desire had filled her the second he’d let go of the stem of his glass and let his fingers trail delicately over the back of her hand. She’d focused on that movement, watched his fingertips on her skin—her very sensitive skin. She’d looked up and met his eyes, and the most extraordinary question had left her lips.

‘Are you married?’

‘No.’

‘With someone?’

‘No.’

‘Do you want to be?’

She’d startled herself with the sheer audacity of her question. That wasn’t her! Freya MacFadden did not proposition strange men!

She’d pulled her hand away then, retreating into the shell she was so accustomed to being inside. But then he’d reached for her hand again. Not to stop her from running away. Not to try and possess her or control her. But just to get her to make eye contact with him.

‘I’m guessing you didn’t mean to say that?’

‘No.’

‘Then we can both forget it. Don’t worry.’

‘I’m sorry.’

‘Don’t ever be.’

He’d been so kind. So understanding. So she hadn’t bolted and neither had he.

They’d continued to sit with each other and talk about what the other guests were wearing and why the charity they were there to support was so important. They’d laughed and had a good time, enjoying each other’s company.

He’d offered to walk her out at the end, and she’d let him, intending to say goodbye at the door. To fetch her coat and leave. For ever to remain an enigmatic stranger at a party that he would remember with fondness. Like Cinderella leaving the ball at midnight, only without the glass slipper.

Freya let out a deep breath. She couldn’t stay here in the bathroom for too long. There was a hand-over from the day shift.

Freya loved her daytime colleagues, and they her, but she was happy when they went home. Because then she could begin to craft the intimacy that the night shift brought. Lowering the lights. Softening the voices.

It was time.

She couldn’t wait any longer.

It was now or never.

She looked down.

And sucked in a breath.

‘I’m pregnant.’

Pregnant With His Royal Twins is available from :

(Kindle, Amazon UK) January 2018

(Paperback, Amazon US) December 19th, 2017!

(Paperback, Barnes and Noble US) December 19th, 2017!

(Ebook, Nook US) January 1, 2018

 

 

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Ups and Downs

It’s been a strange old month. I started it off by spectacularly falling down the stairs – all because I turned around to pick up the remains of a paper bag, my dog had shredded halfway up. The small of my back took the brunt of the fall, resulting in these lovely bruises taking shape at the base of my spine …

Yes. They hurt. I also had some spectacular bruises on my right wrist, along with a carpet burn, so all in all, a pretty hard fall. I couldn’t lie down, stand up, sit down or move without sounding like a ninety-year old, but nothing was broken, so I pretty much just carried on with life. As you do, when you’re a mum of four and things need doing. Laundry doesn’t stop when you’re injured and apparently children need feeding three times a day, so …

A week or so after my injury, I went to the Reader’s Day at Guildford Literary Festival. I met my friend, Neats, from The Haphazardous Hippo Blog and we managed to get front row seats! It was just a shame that those seats were hard, wooden ones and we were going to be sat in them for six hours, so by the end of the day, my poor, bruised back was protesting.

Fanny Blake led the questioning of the authors and it really was a fascinating day and one I’d recommend anyone go to. Seven authors were interviewed – Polly Clark (Larchfield), Lucy Atkins (The Night Visitor), Rachel Joyce (The Music Shop), Veronica Henry (The Forever House), Fiona Barton (The Child), Kate Eberlen (Miss You) and as a last minute stand-in for an ill Penny Vincenzi, we also got Alison Pearson (How Hard Can It Be).

I loved listening to the authors talk about their inspiration, their writing routines and the challenges they face as writers and as women who want to write about relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but friendships, too. How friendships can blossom in the strangest of places and how truth is very often much stranger than fiction. And I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall of Lucy Atkin’s literary agency when she rang up to say that the book she’d been working so hard on was all about dung beetles!

Research can take you down strange paths indeed!

The next book I have out is Pregnant With His Royal Twins and this book came about because I really wanted to write a heroine who was the survivor of an acid attack. There had been one or two stories in the news about the rise of acid attacks on both men and women and the research took me down some pretty grim paths and so I really wanted to write about the psychological effect this has on a person. Here’s the blurb …

thumbnail_IMG_1112Midwife 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!

It comes out December 19th, so just in time for Christmas! I do hope you’ll check it out and, as always, leave an honest review. Many thanks! And as I won’t get to blog again until after Christmas, dare I wish you all an early Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year? **runs and hides**

Louisa xxx

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Choices

We’ve been thinking a lot about choices in the Heaton household just lately and how important they are. How saying yes to one thing can take you down a completely different road to saying no, how saying this is what I want to do, can change everything completely and forever.

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Choices and change can be frightening. Choices can sometimes be made easily and sometimes, require a lot of forethought.

This year, I’ve had three teenagers receive their GCSE results. They had to make the choice as to whether they were going to put the work in, in class, whether they were going to revise and whether they were going to give their all in their exams. The results were mixed, but I know they did their very best and now my three teenagers have choices ahead of them.

Which college to go to?

Which courses are they allowed to do?

What do they want to do in life? What are their goals and ambitions?

These last questions are ones I frequently consider when thinking up a new story. What do I already know about my characters, but what do I think they want from life? What is it in their past history that might be holding them back? What are their goals, ambitions and values? What do they want more than anything?

Because once I make those choices for them, that is the road upon which they will travel. There may be bumps in the road, diversions. They may even do a complete about turn and make another choice, due to circumstances.

But there are always choices. There are always options, no matter how cornered or hopeless everything may seem.

medical3In Their Double Baby Gift, Dr Brooke Bailey makes the choice to return to work after having her baby girl. The hero, Major Matt Galloway makes the choice to take over his wife’s old post and uphold the promise his wife made to Brooke, before she died. Their lives could have been so different if neither of them made those choices.

Matt soldiers on through life despite his PTSD, putting on a brave face and creating a mask for everyone else, but what would his life be like if he gave into the fear and the terrors and flashbacks?

They would both be completely different people.

As authors, we are always making choices for our characters and this for me, is the best part of story-telling. We might put our characters through some rough ups and downs occasionally, but we’re always nice to them in the end! And after the book finishes? Well, their story and their happy ever after is completely up to them, though I guess we all hope and assume they continue to love each other for the rest of their lives.

We all make choices each and every day as to what we’re going to put into our relationships with each other. Supporting a spouse, guiding a child, being there for a friend or neighbour.

As writers we make good art.

But as people, let’s make good choices, too. Choices that show our love and support of one another through tough times and the sometimes difficult and unfair world we live in today. Make good art. Make good choices. And everyone will be there to support you.

Louisa xxx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

If You Can’t Stand The Heat …

Here in the UK, it’s hot. Very hot. Late twenties, early thirties degrees Celsius.

Now, I appreciate that for some of you from traditionally warmer climes, that might not seem much, but we Brits are not used to such temperatures. We look forward to a bit of sun all year and then when we get it, we tend to moan and complain a bit about it being too hot.

We don’t mean to complain. We should be grateful. it is, after all, what we have been waiting for all year, but we can’t help it.

Our homes don’t have air conditioning. We have thermostats.

So, I thought I’d compile a list of all the wonderful things we could do to try and keep cool in the warm weather.

  1. Read. (I mean, this goes without saying, right?)
  2. Sleep. (if you’re lucky enough to not be surrounded by other people who want you to do stuff.)
  3. Eat ice lollies. (It’s just ice, right? Hardly any calories at all.)
  4. Sit in a paddling pool (the one you bought for the dog and grandchildren)
  5. Dream of winter. (Or, if you’re an author, write a book set at Christmas! All that lovely snow and frost. Mmm, icicles!)
  6. Run through  a sprinkler system. (multiple times)
  7. Go food shopping. (it’s always terrifically cold in the refrigerated section)
  8. Have a cold shower.
  9. Do a random act of kindness. Go visit an elderly neighbour and make sure they’re okay.

So, what do you recommend for a stiflingly hot day, when it’s just way too hot to do anything?

Louisa Heaton’s next release, Their Double Baby Gift, is released July 1st!

9780373215423

Can two and two – really make four?

Widower Major Matt Galloway came to London Grace Hospital for his tiny daughter. But he finds himself facing a barrel of emotions on meeting beautiful Dr Brooke Bailey—his late wife’s best friend and single mum to her own baby girl.

Brooke can’t believe Matt is her new boss. But the feelings she has for him are even more troublesome. Brooke swore to raise her baby alone, but loving father Matt melts her heart and Brooke starts to hope…could they really make one big happy family, after all?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Quirky Stories

Reunited By Their Pregnancy Surprise

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I decided to write Reunited By Their Pregnancy Surprise for a very special reason. It uses the amnesia trope and some of you may already know, that my own parents had their very own amnesia story.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to write such a story. It had such personal significance to me, but I also knew a lot of people don’t actually like amnesia stories!

So, it was a risk. But one I wanted to take.

Years and years ago, when my Mum and Dad were engaged to be married, my Dad was in the army, the Sherwood Foresters (no prizes for guessing which city I was made in!) He got stationed abroad a lot – Malaysia, Cyprus, Ireland. But it was in Singapore, when he was driving a water truck through the jungle, that it overturned and he received a significant head injury.

Dad woke up in hospital, not knowing his name, how old he was, who he was or even where he was. The padre in the hospital went through his uniform pockets and found a love letter that my Mum had written to him, just the week before. So the padre then wrote to my Mum, telling her what had happened and that my Dad would be flown back to England and she and his family would have the job of re-educating my Dad.

I’m sure you can imagine my Mum’s distress. She and my Dad had fallen in love, but he now didn’t know who she was! Could she get him to fall in love with her all over again?

Happily (and obviously, because I am alive) she managed this task. My parents have now been married 53 years, have four children and five grandchildren and to this day, my Dad still doesn’t have any memories of his childhood.

It was hard to come up with a completely different story, whilst also documenting the angst the grief of such an accident and how it can affect two people and those around them. That it DOES happen. It’s a trope, for a reason.

I do hope you’ll be able to check it out. It has a lot of my heart in it.

So tell me your favourite trope and WHY?

Louisa Heaton’s next title is out in July, Their Double Baby Gift9780373215423

Can two and two – really make four?

Widower Corporal Matt Galloway came to London Grace Hospital for his tiny daughter. But he finds himself facing a barrel of emotions on meeting beautiful Dr Brooke Bailey—his late wife’s best friend and single mum to her own baby girl.

Brooke can’t believe Matt is her new boss. But the feelings she has for him are even more troublesome. Brooke swore to raise her baby alone, but loving father Matt melts her heart and Brooke starts to hope…could they really make one big happy family, after all?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

RoNA Nomination!

medcover3Now, I’m not one to blow my own trumpet, I’m really not. I’m the kind of girl (woman) that sits quietly in the corner, watching everyone else have their fun, smiling broadly to let them know I’m part of it, but not really joining in kind of introvert.

When other people have got something to be proud of, I’m really happy for them and amazed by their luck and good fortune and kind of hope that one day that luck and fortune might smile my way.

And you know what? It has.

My release last year of Seven Nights With Her Ex is a finalist in the RoNA Rose Awards!

A finalist!

This kind of thing never happens to me. It just doesn’t. But I submitted my book to the awards, just to see what would happen. I didn’t expect it to get anywhere, because, let’s face it, there’s some amazing Mills and Boon authors out there in every line and there are some amazing stories out there, too. Authors that have been writing for years, who know what they’re doing (I still feel like an amateur) and I couldn’t possibly hope to compete with them.

And then I got an email. Back in November, I think it was, informing me that I had made it to the finals and could I please keep it a secret until they announced it on February 7th?

O. M. G.

Me? Little ole’ me?

Let me tell you something about Seven Nights With Her Ex. I was looking to set my book somewhere other than the UK and thought about the place I wanted to visit the most. That place was Yellowstone Park. I suggested a research trip to my husband, who was up for that, but then we ran the plan past our children and my eldest (who frets about these things) told us that there was no way in hell we were going to a park that happened to be sitting on a giant super volcano that was past its due date to go off!

Now I may have downplayed the ‘frets’ thing. My eldest suffers with anxiety, panic disorder and OCD and our suggesting the trip, made him bad. So much so, we cancelled the idea and I bought myself a Lonely Planet guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Hey, I had Google Earth, right? I could research it instead. Problem solved, I thought.

Only the problem wasn’t solved. I got about four chapters in and the writing dried up. I couldn’t think what to put next, I was completely frozen, tearing my hair out one day and crying the next, why on earth did I think it was a good idea to set a MEDICAL in the middle of a national park, instead of a hospital???

My husband would calm me down when I got frantic, tossing bits of paper here, there and everywhere, muttering “no, that won’t work. Nor that. This is stupid!”

He picked up the books I’d written before and placed them before me. “See those?”

I looked at them. “Yes?”

“You wrote those.” he said. “You can do this. Now get on with it.”

Okay, so it wasn’t an inspiring speech on par with the world’s greatest orators, but it did its job. I stopped freaking out, I got a grip of myself and I wrote. And wrote.Until it was done (disclaimer : I made this sound easier than it actually was) and then I sent it in to my editor to see what she thought.

It needed revisions. Two lots of revisions, suggestions that filled several pages, that I highlighted and diligently worked through until she finally accepted it.

This book was hard to write. It almost defeated me.

And now its up for an award. Which is odd and strange and delightful in equal measure.

Even if I don’t win, I will still feel like a winner.

Because I won the second I typed, ‘The End.’

So keep your fingers crossed for me. The awards night is March 13th in London. In fact, please keep your fingers crossed for those lovely ladies who are finalists with me – Scarlet Wilson (Cherish); Christy McKellen (Cherish); Virginia Heath (Historical) and Kate Hardy (Cherish)

We have all written the stories of our hearts and poured a bit of ourselves into each and every one. That they are recognised for that is pure joy for a writer, especially when we hear from readers just how much those stories mean to them, too.

So raise your glasses and toast the finalists.

We’re all winners in my book.

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Dublin ahoy!

This past weekend, myself and the other authors of the Kate Nash Literary Agency, went over to Dublin for a Very Important Business Meeting. The fact that our Very Important Business Meeting happened mostly in bars and pubs, was simply coincidental, but I can assure you all, that business was indeed taken care of, amongst the mingling with the RNA Irish Chapter, helped along with wine and nibbles and the occasional glass of Guinness.

Dublin itself was amazing. It was my first time there and my husband and I (I sound like the Queen) had the morning to ourselves, so we went exploring. We were hoping to find the museum with the Bog Bodies, so at first we went to the Natural History Museum where we saw the skeletons of some huge Giant Irish Deer, that I’d never heard of before, and thought (initially) that they had to be some sort of joke. They were scarily large and a quick search of our friend Google assured me, that they were indeed real in the Pleistocene era.

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A bit further along in some of the smaller cases, I found these spooky-looking bats and this other chap, who being the size of my outstretched hand, scared the hell out of me.

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Around the corner from the NHM, we found the Archaeological Museum, which housed the Bog Bodies and loads of other interesting history artefacts.

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The detailing of the mummy sarcophagi in the Ancient Egypt section was incredibly fascinating and I could have stayed there all day, but I had a pub to get to.

We met the RNA Irish Chapter in JW Sweetmans, just over the River Liffey near Trinity College and O’Connell Street, after we’d had a quick stroll down a heaving Grafton Street. The authors from the agency did a quick ‘panel’ handed out books and postcards and bookmarks and then we got to mingle, which was great fun. The ladies over there were so welcoming and warm and none of us seemed like strangers at all. It was like we’d always known each other and the camaraderie and laughter lasted all afternoon until it was time to return to the MS Boudicca, our ship for the return home. This was my last sight of Dublin.

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All in all, it was a fabulous trip! And I miss all my new friends already. Still, there’s always the next RNA event to look forward to next year!

So all that’s left, is for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Louisa’s latest book, Christmas With the Single Dad is available at all good bookstores, brick built and online! Click on any of the buy links below.

Amazon (US) Amazon (UK) Mills and Boon (UK) Barnes & Noble 

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