Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Reading List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Giver of Stars (Jojo Moyes)

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

Alice Wright doesn’t love her new American husband.

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

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

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

I Let You Go (Clare Mackintosh)

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

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

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

Tome (Ross Jeffery)

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

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

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

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

Aliens Phalanx (Scott Sigler)

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

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


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

Can two love-weary doctors…

…heal each other?

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

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

How I Got My Idea for ‘Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc’

Can two love-weary doctors…

…heal each other?

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

I often get asked how I come up with ideas for my stories, so I thought I’d go through the thought processes of how I created my January release, Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc.

I love to write stories that take place on an island (because I live on an island and I like the community feel you get, where everyone knows one another.) Next to Hayling is an island called Thorney, but most of it is taken up by an army base. You’re allowed to walk the coastal walk, but that’s about it. Well, I liked the name, Thorney and decided that Thorney would be the great name for an island up in Scotland where I wanted to have a setting.

So, initially, that was all I had – a place, so then I had to think about what kind of medical establishments would be on this island. Would the island be big enough to sustain an entire hospital and the people to staff it? Or would there only be a GP surgery? With people going to the mainland for surgeries/emergencies, etc?

I preferred the intimacy of a small GP practice, with doctors that took on many different responsibilities and I knew there would have to be a resident doctor to be either my hero or heroine, with a new doctor arriving to play the other part.

Originally, I had my heroine, Dr Jess Young having arrived on the island to take over the hero’s job. She had already established herself there and was great friends with the hero’s family. His parents loved her and she had fallen in love with the stories they constantly told about him, the way he looked in photos and basically had developed a crush on a man she had never actually met (the reason for this crush on a man out of reach will be revealed later) The hero would then return from Afghanistan with PTSD and wouldn’t function well, however, my editor suggested that the hero could still have PTSD, but that he needed to very much be a fully functioning member of the medical team and that my heroine be the one arriving as a newbie and that we be there to watch her fall in love as they worked together.

So I went with that. But then I had to research PTSD and all the ways it could affect someone and how those issues might play into my story. Would there be night terrors, would he be affected by sights, or sounds? I decided that sound and night terrors would play into the story better, as I wanted my hero and heroine to be living in the same block of flats and that proximity would help for more scenes that would establish their burgeoning relationship.

So I knew what problems my hero had, but what about my heroine?

I wanted Jess to be as equally damaged as the hero, but how and why? Where Adam’s problems were mostly mental, I wanted hers to be physical and so I gave her a life-limiting disease. One that had killed her father, leaving her with slight Daddy issues and going after men that were never available to her emotionally.

Well, the Daddy issues were deleted! Mills and Boon like there to be strong heroines and Jess needed to be strong, to cope with her condition and also, to help Adam with his. I knew then, that Jess would be this incredibly caring individual, who put other people first, before herself and that this need to care, to deflect her concern onto other people, rather than herself, would be the key issue towards her and Adam falling in love and being vulnerable with each other.

Once I had all of that information, I began to write. A revised synopsis to send to my editor, and then a detailed chapter plan, exploring what would happen in each scene, before I wrote it. The chapter plan was six pages of single spaced work and as I wrote the book, became six pages of incredibly messy work, as I scribbled all over it and changed things as I went, as new things always occur to me, as I write.

I had this grand idea for a Black Moment at the end of the book, that took place in the pouring rain. You know that screen shot from The Notebook of the hero and heroine kissing in the rain, absolutely drenched? I wanted something like that, my characters arguing with each other, but only because they’re so frustrated and then they end up kissing and realising they can’t bare to be apart, but that idea was nixed by my editor (who suggested a different moment and I sadly placed my rain-drenched characters into a separate folder to be used in another story, at some point.)

So, there you have it. The thought process to starting a book.

It’s not actually as simple as it reads. It comes across that these Aha! moments come to you quickly and easily, but I promise you there were many days of head-scratching, hair pulling and biting of nails as I worked out various bits and pieces. There may even be lots of scrawled up bits of paper lying in rubbish tips with my notes still on them. Or maybe seagulls have used them to help line their nests? Who knows?

If you’ve got any writing questions, then please don’t hesitate to ask them below. I’m always happy to answer them.

Louisa xxx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Origin Stories

Imagination was free.

When I was little, my parents didn’t have much money. What money there was, went on bills or usually, debts, so there was never anything left over to spend on something as extravagant as a book or magazine. Or toys. Everything I ever owned as  a child was second-hand. Clothes from an older girl from up the street (that never fit properly). Pyjamas from my three older brothers ( I had a great set with green tanks on) and anything else like shoes, were from a charity shop.

                So because of this scarcity in dolls and toys, I lived in my imagination and one day, I decided to go for a walk with my Dad to the local library, as he had some books to take back. I went with him and fell in love! With the smell of the place. The endless shelves, filled with tomes! And the fact that there was a separate room, just for children’s books, filled with beanbags and teddies and a dragon you could sit on.

                I begged for a library card and as it was free, I got one. I was allowed to take out eight books and so I did, marvelling at the card system and the stamper as it checked each book out. I chose Enid Blyton and read every Famous Five, or Secret Seven book I could lay my hand on. I read Black Beauty multiple times (which came in handy for a quiz as a teenager, when I was the only kid who knew the answer to ‘Who wrote Black Beauty?’ and won myself £10.)

                I quickly made my way through that children’s library and when I was eleven, I begged the librarians to let me take books from the adult’s section. They allowed it, as long as they could veto any, they thought were unsuitable for me (though I distinctly remember getting out a racy Sidney Sheldon and many doctor nurse romances by Claire Rayner.)

                I remembered thinking that authors were these strange creatures, who existed only in my imagination, all of them living someplace far away, like America, in houses made of gold and silver. I thought authors were magical creatures. Even though every night I would lay in bed thinking up my own stories and dreamed of being one myself. But I didn’t know any writers. It just seemed like a pipe dream.

                One year, I asked my parents for a typewriter. I’d been writing stories by hand for some time, taking them into school and letting my friends read them. Early reviews told me I was brilliant and could they have more, lol. But I didn’t think I’d get the typewriter. They were expensive and money was tight. But that Christmas, I got one. Second-hand, with a crappy ribbon that barely had any ink left on it, but I had one and by golly, I thought that made me a proper author!

                Tap, tap, tap. I think I drove my parents crazy. I wrote a letter to the local paper and it got published on their letters page. I wrote a short story about a mean woman who dumps a bag of kittens in a river that had nuclear waste in it, not realizing that one surviving kitten would come back and wreak revenge and THAT got published in an anthology. I was on a roll!

                But then, nothing seemed to happen. Nothing else got published. I saw my careers teacher at secondary and told her that I wanted to be a writer (this is 30 odd years ago, ahem!) and she said, “No, think of something proper you could do.” Was her response and she sent me to the knitwear factory where I worked for three years. I worked eight or nine hour shifts every day, head down over a lockstitch machine, thinking up stories.

                At the side of my mother’s bed, was a pile of Mills and Boons and I loved reading the blurbs on the back. A young teenage girl, reading about love and romance, what wasn’t there to love? Plus my older brother kept bringing back these paperbacks from authors such as James Herbert and Stephen King and I loved being frightened, too. That led me to JRR Tolkien, David Eddings and Terry Pratchett.

                Why couldn’t I write these things?

                So I started submitting to real publishers. I got The Writers and Artists Yearbook from my library and took notes of what people wanted, sending manuscripts out through the post (no internet or email back then!)

                It took me fifteen years of sending submissions to Mills and Boon, before I got The Call. Fifteen years of marriage and having four children inbetween making up stories when I could and when babies were asleep.

                And now here I am, 18 books in and with other short stories published in magazines and online.

                Sometimes, it’s really hard. Sometimes, it isn’t.

                You just keep having to chase the dream.

                As Kevin Costner would say, ‘If you build it, they will come.”

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Reading, The Writing Life

Filling The Well

These are difficult times. Stuck in this pandemic, trying to get through this second wave and here in the UK, puzzling over the different rules for different tiers and for me in particular, trying to make my mother adhere to the rules especially as she is in Nottingham (an area of the country with some of the highest Covid infection rates) and who is starting down the terribly rocky road of Dementia.

Put simply, she lives alone, now that Dad has died and she forgets that there is a pandemic. We do what we can from 200 miles away. She has signs on the doors reminding her to put on her mask before she goes out (even though we tell her she shouldn’t be going out) and other reminders throughout her flat to wash her hands and to sanitise and to try not to touch her face.

It’s difficult. Especially when I receive calls from one of my brothers to say that he went to take her some groceries, found her flat empty and tracked her down in someone else’s flat, without a mask, laughing and joking!

Grr!

So, despite all of this, despite the fact that I am still trying to get over the death of my father, I have been trying to find things that make me happy. Trying to find things to occupy my mind, that fill the well, that gives me ideas, that allows me to learn new things, to always try and make my writing as good as it can be. So I thought I’d share a few things I’m doing, a few things I’m reading, to maybe give you all some ideas, or even to just spark a light in these weary times.

Books I’ve Read

What if you had a second chance with the one who got away?

Ben’s always loved December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. And then his old flame Alice gets back in touch. Ben’s always thought of Alice as the one that got away, and he can’t help but wonder: what if he’d done things differently all those years ago?

He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

I adored this book. A cross between One Fine Day and A Christmas Carol. Definitely high on my list of recommended reads and it’s perfect with Christmas coming up!

She must marry the knight .

By order of the king!

Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious—even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!

This book won the Joan Hessayon Award and rightly so! It’s a wonderful delve into the past with the Lady Eleanor who is passionate about protecting the people of Tallany from the severe taxes placed upon them by King John, being forced to marry Sir Hugh de Villiers who is the king’s man, determined to find the outlaw who is stealing all the taxes back! Very Robin Hood, I must say!

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

This was perfect! Wonderfully eccentric in that British way, with dabs of humour sprinkled throughout as Joyce and her friends try to solve a murder from their retirement home! I zoomed through this one and enjoyed every single page and shall definitely read more from this author.

Classes

Taking Risks As A Writer (with Julie Cohen, Novel nights)

Julie Cohen chats to Novel Nights about taking risks in a writing career, overcoming writer’s block and challenging the status quo. Her award-winning novels have sold over a million copies worldwide and she’s twice been selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club. Julie runs an oversubscribed literary consultancy which has helped many writers get published. She is a Vice President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, founder of the RNA Rainbow Chapter, and a Patron of literacy charity ABC To Read. Her latest novel, Spirited was published in July 2020.  This author talk and Q&A is hosted by David Lloyd.

By the time you read this blog, I will have taken this class. I love listening to other authors and hearing about what they’ve done, how they work and seeing if I can apply anything to my own writing.

I think it’s always worth continuing to learn, always striving to do better.

Building A Successful Partnership With Your Editor (Harlequin)

This will be a chat for Harlequin authors with Stephanie Doig (editor, Carina Press), Flo Nicoll (senior editor Harlequin presents), Johanna Raisanen (editor Harlequin Heartwarming) Ruby Barrett (author), Sasha Summers (author) and Maisey yates (author). The panel will discuss the ins and outs of editorial partnerships and share tips on building a successful author-editor relationship.

Now, I have a lovely relationship with my editor, don’t get me wrong! But, like I said, it’s always worth finding out more.

Sometimes when I take classes, I find that I know a lot of the information that is presented, but there are always one or two nuggets that I can add or incorporate to my own experience. It’s about being willing to be open to new ideas.

Hobbies

I’m currently into blackwork embroidery and I’m LOVING it! There’s something very peaceful and calming to the mind about it and it’s also an opportunity (when the pattern isn’t too complicated) to think about my story and characters and plot out scenes!

I’m currently working on a pattern called – Save The Stitches.

You can find this FREE PATTERN at Blackwork Journey if you want to take a look at it.

But I have plans to do so many more! The problem is seeing all the wonderful patterns I want to get started on, but know that if I do too many at once, some may get neglected, or they all will, if I get too overwhelmed with projects, so I’m trying to stick to this one, right now.

But, oh dearie me, it’s difficult!

So, what about you, dear reader? What have you been up to? What have you been reading? Doing? Learning? Have you taken up a new hobby? Have you tackled all those DIY projects that have been waiting in the wings? I’d love to hear from you!

Louisa xxx

Their passionate fling…
Has given them a gift to last a lifetime!

When pediatrician Merry Bell turns up at his hospital in Iceland, Dr. Kristjan Gunnarrson’s quiet Christmas is shaken up. After a hot fling together in Hawaii, they both agreed to walk away. But now Merry has brought him life-changing news – she’s pregnant! Commitment phobic Kristjan will not waver from his responsibility, but is his bruised heart ready for a family?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Icelandic Doc’s Baby Surprise

Their passionate fling…
Has given them a gift to last a lifetime!

When pediatrician Merry Bell turns up at his hospital in Iceland, Dr. Kristjan Gunnarrson’s quiet Christmas is shaken up. After a hot fling together in Hawaii, they both agreed to walk away. But now Merry has brought him life-changing news – she’s pregnant! Commitment phobic Kristjan will not waver from his responsibility, but is his bruised heart ready for a family?

I’d always wanted to set a book in Iceland, after we had an unexpected visit there many moons ago.

In the January after the 9/11 disasters, my husband and I had a flight booked with our eldest son (then 14 months) to go to Clearwater in Florida. We boarded the plane (my first ever flight!) and set off. Six hours into the journey, we discover, we’re turning around and being rerouted to Keflavik airport in Iceland, as there was a bomb threat on our plane. Out of the windows we saw two fighter jets escorting us out of American airspace.

We landed at Keflavik and were told to deplane and we came down the stairs we noticed guards armed with sub-machine guns. We were freezing, only wearing tee shirts and jeans, having expected warm weather at Florida, rather than the freezing January cold of almost midnight in Iceland!

They fed us, made each of us do a handwriting sample (the bomb threat had been left on a toilet airplane mirror that Osama Bin Laden was a hero and we all deserved to die, so it was someone on the plane that had written it.) At 3am, we were finally allowed to hotels, with a new flight set for the morning at 9am.

We arrived at the airport, only to be told that we were going to be put on the same plane and that no-one had been arrested yet. Well, neither my husband nor I wanted to get back onto a flight with a suspected bomber, no matter how unlikely a threat there was of a bomb, or not, so whilst everyone else chose to fly on to Florida, me, my husband and our fourteen month old son, stayed an extra two days in Iceland, whilst we waited for a London flight.

Iceland was constantly in the dark, except for maybe two hours of semi-daylight between two and four pm, but we explored when we could and tried to enjoy ourselves. It was expensive, the food was lovely and the showers smelt of sulphur as the water came up through volcanic rock.

All the Icelandic people were kind and generous and spoilt us rotten, knowing how we’d ended up there and I knew that one day, I wanted to set a story in such a beautiful country where at least one of my characters gets stranded on Iceland for different reasons, of course!

I waited a long time for the right story to come along and when it did, Dr Kristjan Gunnarsson appeared in my head, looking exactly like Lasse Matberg. You can see a picture of him here on Pinterest. I hoped my cover hero would look as close to Lasse as they could get!

The Icelandic Doc’s Baby Surpise is due out this September. I hope you enjoy his story as much as I enjoyed writing it! Buy/Pre-order links are below.

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (US)

Barnes & Noble

Love Louisa xxx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Healed By His Secret Baby

Hello everyone. Today I thought I’d share an excerpt of my new release, Healed By His Secret Baby. This was the first book I wrote after having a year off, due to various reasons and this story came to me almost fully formed.

I hope you enjoy the excerpt!

Chapter One

Hey, you.
So, this is it. My final wish. And I’m sorry I’m asking you to do this, but I truly have no one else. You’re the only one I trust, and you’ve always been there for me, and now I’m asking you to be there again. But this time it’s for Tori and that way you can’t say no!
I never told her father. You know why, and it was the right thing to do at the time, but as I get closer to going, I can’t help but think of my darling little girl having no one in the world she’s related to. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And it’s a lonely place. She’ll have you, her godmother, but…she has a father out there and he could be amazing!
So, I’m tasking you with this. Find him. His name is Cole Branagh and he’s a doctor. A GP. And if he’s a doctor then surely he cares about people? I’m hoping he has a good heart. I’m hoping he can be everything she needs.
I want you to find him, and if you think he’s a good man then let him know about Tori.
I need you to find her daddy.
I know you’ll make the right decisions.
Much love to you, always and for ever,
Skye xxx

LANE PUT DOWN the note and exclaimed, ‘Why are you making me do this?’
She went to scrunch it up in frustration but then stopped, thought better of it, and instead stared with defeat at the Liberty Point Surgery, a small general practice nestled in the village of Bourton-on-the-Water. As if just staring at the building long enough would make this whole sorry mess disappear.
He was in there. Cole Branagh.
Dr Cole Branagh.
The man who’d slept with her best friend when he really ought to have known better than to take advantage of a woman whose inhibitions were in question because of her alcohol intake.
Lane knew exactly what type of man he’d be. A charmer. A user of women. The type to hang around in bars looking for lonely easy pickings. This Cole Branagh bloke had got exactly what he wanted from Skye and nothing more.
Just like Simon.
And here she was, sitting in her car, feeling trepidation about going in there because a man like that wouldn’t want to know about his dead one-night stands, or babies they didn’t know they’d fathered. Men like that didn’t care.
Lane had uprooted her own life just to find this slime ball and have her theories proved right! Surely this was going to be a waste of time? Skye had told Lane all she needed to know about this Cole Branagh!
It had been quite easy to find him on the internet. Liberty Point Surgery’s website helpfully had a staff page with a smiling photo of each member of staff and a short paragraph explaining a bit about who they were. Probably to make them seem human.
Who would want to have a go at medical receptionist Mary when they knew she knitted hats for the preemie babies up at St Luke’s?
Cole was the only one who had no photo and his paragraph was missing. There was just his name and a list of his qualifications.

Dr Cole Branagh, BM, MRCGP, DGM, DFFP, DRCOG

Such an impressive array of letters. She’d had to look them up to see what they meant. Bachelor of Medicine. Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Diploma in Geriatric Medicine. Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning. Diploma of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists…
She’d laughed cynically at those last two. This man who knew so much about the best way to have a baby, was a man who had no idea he had an eight-month-old daughter. Wasn’t that ironic?
Sighing with irritation, she folded Skye’s letter and slipped it back into her bag as she stared once more at the surgery building, delaying for just a few more moments. It looked quite nice, as surgeries went. Modern. Redbrick. It even had hanging baskets filled with flowers in glorious pinks and greens.
She’d been lucky they’d needed a temporary healthcare assistant. Lane had registered with an agency in order to get the post there and her mum had stepped in to babysit Tori whilst she discovered if this Dr Branagh could be trusted to know that he had a child.
She flipped down the visor to see the photo she’d tucked there. It was of her and Skye. Tori’s mother was blowing out the candles on a birthday cake, with one arm around Lane, wearing a silly paper party hat. It had been taken just one year away from a diagnosis that would change everything.
‘I can’t believe you’re making me do this, Skye,’ she said out loud. ‘Who am I to be judge and jury?’
You’re Tori’s legal guardian, that’s who. It was as if Skye’s voice came to her. You made me a promise. On my deathbed. You can’t break it! She could almost hear the devilish chuckle in her friend’s voice.
No. She wouldn’t break it. She’d sworn it, holding Skye’s hands, squeezing them tight as her best friend in the whole wide world had taken her final breaths.
She’d almost lost herself afterwards. The intense grief had pulled her towards an unimaginable darkness.
She and Skye had been friends for ever. Since infants’ school. Skye had seemed strange to Lane at first. Someone without a mum? Or a dad? But they had bonded instantly and stuck by each other’s side through everything.
Until the very end.
Only baby Tori had kept Lane going. Going through the courts to get official guardianship. The little girl laughed and smiled just like her mummy! Tori was all she had left of Skye. And now she had to decide if some man—whom she didn’t even know!—could be a father to that precious little girl. That some sleazeball from a bar would have to be in their lives.
It wasn’t fair.
She hated him already. But Skye, bless her heart, had thought that he deserved a chance to know his daughter. That he deserved a chance to show that he could be a good man and a good father.
‘He’d better be some kind of unbelievable saint,’ she said out loud to the photo. ‘That’s all I’m saying.’
Five minutes later, she was walking inside the surgery, headache brewing, with her backpack over her shoulder, trying to look as if she wasn’t an undercover spy on a secret mission, but just an ordinary agency healthcare assistant, ready to start her new posting.
But when she got inside, she saw a crowd of people huddled around a person lying on the floor, and her instincts immediately kicked in.
She dropped her bag. ‘Let me through! I can help!’ she said as she barged her way through, pushing and shoving, desperate to give assistance.
Only she burst through to the front of them to see a woman lying on the floor, looking up at her with curiosity, whilst kneeling beside her was a very handsome man who had clearly been in the middle of some kind of demonstration.
‘Hi,’ he said, one eyebrow raised in question.
Lane glanced again at the ‘patient’. A woman who seemed to be totally unhurt, with a big smile on her face. A woman who was conscious. Breathing. Absolutely fine.
She could only blush as around her one or two people chuckled. ‘What—what’s going on?’ she stammered.
The man smiled. ‘First aid demo. I’m showing our patients how to put someone into the recovery position.’ He pointed at one of the walls. ‘There are posters.’
She followed his finger and noticed that every wall, and even the door through which she’d walked, had a large poster on it, stating that all were welcome to attend an emergency first aid demo to be held at the surgery today. A demo that would be run by Dr Cole Branagh.
How had she not noticed? Had she been so absorbed in trying to look normal?
Lane swallowed hard and turned back to face the man who had now taken the hand of the ‘patient’ and was helping her gently to her feet.
Tori has his eyes.
He didn’t look anything like the charming Lothario weasel she’d pictured in her head. Annoyingly, he had the audacity to be extremely handsome, and she could understand how Skye might have fallen for his charms. The females all around him seemed to be gazing at him with appreciative eyes and he clearly thrived on their attention. Their adulation.
He was probably used to having women throw themselves at his feet.
Well, not me, Dr Branagh.
‘Right. Okay. Sorry I interrupted.’ She grimaced and turned away, trying to control the heat flaming in her cheeks, and pushed back through the assembled throng to get to the reception desk, where she introduced herself in a low, embarrassed voice. ‘Lane Carter…agency HCA.’
The woman on Reception was Mary, knitter of preemie hats—she recognised her from her research—and she smiled at her. ‘Oh, yes, we’ve been expecting you. You’re in Treatment Room Two. This is your card for the computer.’ She passed over a temporary locum ID card that hung from an NHS lanyard. ‘Let me show you where everything is.’

***

An unexpected baby made him a father…

But she’ll make them a family

GP Cole Branagh’s cozy Cotswolds surgery is all he wants and needs. Which is why he’s determined to help beautiful new nursing assistant Lane Carter get settled quickly! Until she rocks his world by introducing him to her baby goddaughter, who she’s caring for…and reveals he’s the father. Cole knows he’ll need Lane’s help navigating unexpected parenthood—he’d just never planned on needing her, too…

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (US)

Mills and Boon

Barnes & Noble

You can catch up with me at my website or on Twitter!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Healed By His Secret Baby

Can I first say just how lucky I am with this cover? The cover fairies were more than kind. How CUTE is this baby???

This book was written after a year’s hiatus and though I told my editor I needed a year off, my writer’s brain carried on working, even though technically I was supposed to be taking a break. But along came Lane Carter, my heroine, whispering insistently in my ears that she needed to find the baby’s father! Pronto!

I kept telling her to be quiet, but what can you do? And when I probed to find out who the father actually was, I discovered Cotswolds GP, Dr Cole Branagh and he had no idea he was a father! I mean, how are you supposed to break news like that?

My mind mused on the problem for a few weeks and I thought to myself, I’ll just write a few notes. No biggie, right? I’m not actually writing. I’m taking notes. Scribbling ideas. Scenes. Plot points. I mean, I was only trying to help them out, right?

And before I knew it, I was emailing my editor with a book proposal and boy am I so glad that these characters began talking to me, because I had so much fun writing them! These characters made me fall in love with them and I hated having to say goodbye. They were the sort of characters that I felt I could have continued writing about even after their Happy Ever After, just so I could keep an eye on them.

Only I couldn’t. I had to say my sad goodbyes. But I am cheered by the fact that all of you will get to spend some time with them! And I hope you love them as much as I do and always will.

An unexpected baby made him a father…

But she’ll make them a family

GP Cole Branagh’s cozy Cotswolds surgery is all he wants and needs. Which is why he’s determined to help beautiful new nursing assistant Lane Carter get settled quickly! Until she rocks his world by introducing him to her baby goddaughter, who she’s caring for…and reveals he’s the father. Cole knows he’ll need Lane’s help navigating unexpected parenthood—he’d just never planned on needing her, too…

Available June 2020!

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Quirky Stories

Romances gone wrong

Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

I thought very hard over what to write for this blog post.

I considered creating a post about most romantic gifts you could give your other half on the big day; the most romantic gestures I’d ever experienced, which then led me onto thinking about when romance went wrong for me!

Most of these stories happened when I was still in my middle to late teenage years, so I can now blame youth for my naïveté, but thought if I share mine, someone else might share theirs! So come on, now! Don’t leave me hanging!

Experience 1 – When I was seventeen, I worked in a kiosk at a petrol station (this was the late 1980s, btw). Most of my customers were men filling up their tanks on the way to work and I soon got to know my regulars. There was this young man, maybe in his early 20s, who I saw often and he asked if he could take me out for a drink. Giddy with excitement, I said yes and he picked me up in his Ford Cortina a couple of days later. He was driving me to a country pub and we were chatting away quite happily, when I happened to glance into the backseat and saw two baby seats. I asked, ‘Whose are those?’

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Mr Suave gave me a look and then said, really casually, ‘They’re for my kids.’

I asked, ‘Are you separated?’

His response? ‘Nah, I’m still married, but you know the score.’ And he winked at me!

I sat there, feeling awkward and embarrassed, with not much experience in dating and not knowing how to get myself out of the situation and worrying that technically, I was with someone I didn’t really know, in the countryside, with no way of getting home. So I said nothing, figuring when the date was over, I just wouldn’t see him again.

Did it end there?

No.

Mr Suave thought that my silence was acceptance of the fact that he was married and when we got to the pub, he couldn’t stop slobbering kisses over me and winking at me from the bar when he got drinks.

When he finally dropped me back home, I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough! And for weeks afterwards, he stalked me, until his wife came into the petrol station to have a go at me for trying to steal her man!

When I protested my innocence, she seemed to believe me, but I was under the stark impression that he didn’t get off so lightly at home!

Experience 2 – Still at the petrol station, I swapped an evening shift with a colleague as I was going out with family to a birthday dinner. As we drove home, we had to pass the petrol station and found it filled with police cars. There had been an armed raid! (Never have I been so pleased to have swapped a shift!) I went to the kiosk to check on my colleague and got talking with a couple of the police officers (I’m sure you see where this is going)

One of the officers, let’s call him Paul, called in a few days later to the petrol station, to check on us and report progress to the owners. Paul chatted to me for a bit and offered to take me out for the day to Alton Towers.

I (Naively) thought, he’s a copper. He’s bound to be honest.

Photo by Marianna on Pexels.com

He offered to meet me one morning in his car at the top of my street and off we went to Alton Towers. Having a great time, going on all the rides, really funny guy, brilliant sense of humour, everything was going great, until it was time to drop me off at my house. He stopped at one end of my street, down a blind lane and said, “I’ll drop you off here, if that’s okay?”

Now, my street was a pretty long one. And it was dark and I was pretty scared about walking all that way on my own. “Can’t you drop me off outside my house?”

“I can’t be seen doing that.”

‘Because you’re a police officer?” I asked. See? Stupid, I know.

“Because I’m married.”

Ah. Well, at least he told me, I guess.

I never saw Paul after that. And updates on the crime were delivered by other officers.

I think my Mum was more upset than me that he wasn’t genuine. She’d quite fancied having a police car parked outside of our house most evenings, keeping our rowdy neighbours quiet for once.

Sorry, Mum.

After those? I’d like to say my dating experiences got better, but sadly they didn’t. Two more married men tried it on (this time I knew they were married, so turned them down) but I did meet a guy there who I ended up living with for five years, who turned out to be abusive.

Still. I learned from that, too.

Now? I’ve been married for 22 years, with four kids of my own.

And no married men have propositioned me since.

It could be because of the six-foot-two husband that walks by my side, that stops them.

So come on everyone! Want to share any of your dating disasters?

Louisa xxx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like …

CHRISTMAS!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yeah, I know. Some of you may be squirming right now at me even talking about the festive season, but I know that the next book I’m going to write is going to be a Christmas one and so that means, for me, a lot of Christmas preparation.

I’ve been making a Christmas Spotify playlist and though there’s only a few songs on there at the moment, it’s slowly building.

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

I’m also setting my story in Iceland, in a fictional town, but am very much enjoying researching Icelandic festive traditions and, of course, my hot hero! There are a few candidates and I thought you could help me choose my inspiration!

Now, because I don’t want to incur the wrath of copyright infringement on photos (which I have fallen foul of, in the past and it cost me a pretty penny, or two!) I’m going to put the link to pictures of my heroes on Pinterest, on my Which Viking? board. This link is safe.

My first hero that I’m looking at is Lasse Matberg. He’s your classic-looking Viking. Blonde. Blue-eyed, rugged. Broad and muscular. Yum!

The second hero that I’m looking at is Travis Fimmel (and he appeared int he show Vikings. He has lovely ice-blue eyes, but appears more rough and ready to me and I’m not sure he has the right appeal for me.

The third hero I’m looking at is Chris Hemsworth! I mean, he plays Thor, so I had to put him in, right?

And finally, my secret favourite, is Alexander Skaarsgard. He played Eric the vampire in True Blood and Tarzan, Lord Greystoke, for heaven’s sake! (sighs)

They all have their plus points for me! I’m not sure if I can choose between Lasse and Alexander.

I can’t think why …

Anyhoo! Tell me which one you like the best?

Who should be my Icelandic Paediatrician hero?

Or is there someone else I might have missed? Tell me all about it in the comments below. I can’t wait to drool over more pictures can’t wait to see what you suggest!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Rainy Days

So, last December, when I still wasn’t receiving JK Rowling sized advances or royalty checks, I got myself a job. As much as I loved being at home writing all day, it wasn’t paying enough and so I got myself a job as a receptionist at a GP surgery.

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

I answered the phones to people who were usually less than pleasant most of the time (you wouldn’t believe the way people talk to GP receptionists!) until about May 2019, when it became clear that they needed a phlebotomist and as I had been trained in phlebotomy years ago, I put myself forward for this change of role and I’ve been doing that (unfortunately still being on reception a couple of days a week) ever since, until last week, when I booked myself a week’s holiday.

Here in the UK, we’d been enjoying a heatwave. Temperatures in the 30s, sweltering heat, gorgeous sunshine, UNTIL i took my week off work, when it decided to rain all week and accompany that delight with gusty winds.

Photo by Sid Ali on Pexels.com

Typical! So, as we were stuck in the house, I decided to enjoy myself as best I could. I rediscovered my love for crochet and tried my hand at my first amigurumi (a little sperm whale) and as that was a success, thought, as you do, that if I could do that, I could do anything and attempted a Freddy Kreuger doll (and yes, his bladed hand is missing, because I’m still doing that and it wasn’t ready for this blog!)

I picked up some books and had reading marathons. I engaged my children in chats and on Thursday, when the sun broke out ever so briefly, we had a day trip to Brighton, just to say we’d had some fresh air all week, after being cooped up inside.

Today, I go back to work (It’s Monday as I write this) and guess what? The sun is shining again and will do all week according to the weather forecast, but I never expected anything different. You see, ever since I’ve been married to Nick (22 years) every holiday we plan goes wrong somehow. Our cruise ship gets put into dry dock and our cruise cancelled. Our car breaks down. The weather ruins it. Our plane gets diverted because of a bomb threat. A family member gets sick. On two occasions, a family member died (grandparent) on the very day we were meant to leave for our holidays, creating a situation where our family now jokes that we’re never to take holidays ever again, as we’re dangerous!

Sigh.

Oh well. At least I got a week off, even if I didn’t go anywhere.

How about you? Got any funny holiday stories to share? I’d love to hear about them. Anyone who responds will be put into a draw and one person will win a copy of my book, Pregnant By The Single Dad Doc!