Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Hot Docs!

Read all about it!

Here at Love is the Best Medicine, we always like to bring you news from the romance community. So when the ‘Six Hot Single Dads’ anthology, which includes stories from three of our Medical Romance Authors, hit the newspapers, we had to know more. And now we can bring you the inside scoop.

The trend for ‘Single Dad’ heroes was spotted by Mills and Boon earlier this year, and the six book anthology of Single Dad stories, with brand new covers, is available now in the UK from Mills and Book and Amazon.  It will be published in Australia in August, and is available for pre-order now at Amazon.  US readers can find the individual titles at Harlequin.

News coverage so far includes articles in the NY Post, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and Glamour Magazine.

We caught up with the three medical romance authors featured in the anthology:-

Emily Forbes: ‘Falling for the Single Dad’

“It has been such a thrill to read these positive articles about our “Single Dad” books. I really love creating my heroes and I find there’s something special about my single dads so it is such a pleasure to know readers enjoy these stories too. A word of warning though – don’t believe everything you read in the media 🙂. In “Falling for the Single Dad” it is my heroine who is the army surgeon, not my hero although he is also a plastic surgeon. Abi suffers from PTSD and it is up to my hero, Damien, and his daughter, to help heal her.

My latest book, ‘A Mother to Make a Family‘ also features a single dad, Mitch, who is a cattle rancher and father of 3!”

Annie Claydon: ‘Saved by the Single Dad’

“Writing Jack and Cass’s story was such a joy, and it’s wonderful to be included in this anthology.  One of the reasons I love Medical Romance is that it gives me the opportunity to write nurturing and caring heroes like these very special Single Dads.  Being ‘on-trend’ isn’t something I’m often accused of 🙂 but in this instance it’s a real thrill!

My latest book, ‘Saving Baby Amy‘ is the story of Chloe and Jon, who take on the responsibility of caring for Chloe’s baby niece, when her mother runs away.”

Lynne Marshall: ‘Hot-Shot Doc, Secret Dad’

“When I wrote Hot-Shot Doc, Secret Dad, I never expected the story would be chosen for a “single Dad” anthology. It is actually a secret dad story, and one or more reviewers have mentioned it. However, I revealed the secret to the hero in the first chapter, and I loved how, after getting over the shock of having a pre-teen son, Trevor stepped up and expected Julie to fill him in on all the years he’d missed. Then he wisely went about getting to know his son step by step, only toward the end telling the boy who he was. My biggest kick out of being included in this wonderful group of writers is having my first ever “man-chest” book cover. 🙂

My latest book is ‘Miracle for the Neurosurgeon‘.”

***

And now for the covers…

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Lynne Marshall: ‘Hot-Shot Doc, Secret Dad’

Julie Sterling hadn’t wanted to return to her hometown. She hasn’t lived there since leaving thirteen years before, heart broken and pregnant. When she loses her parents in an accident she has no choice but to go back where it all began, and try to raise and protect her son.

Trevor still remembers Julie from that summer night all those years ago. The nurse and the doctor have changed a lot from their younger selves but even after all this time they’re drawn to each other. When Julie reveals to Trevor the true consequence of that night was a son he’d never known it’s the second time she’s taking a risk with the handsome cowboy.

And maybe this time their story can have a happy ending…

Life has a way of sometimes putting two hearts exactly where they belong in this sexy-sweet single dad second-chance romance.

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Annie Claydon: ‘Saved by the Single Dad’

It’s just crisis bonding. That’s what Cass tells herself. It’s just stress and exhaustion from the floods and long nights.

She’s not falling for the gorgeous paramedic she rescued near the river. She’s not thinking about what his skin would feel like under her hands as she patches him up with the first aid kit. She’s not listening to him showering in the next stall.
She’s definitely not thinking about how when she’s around him and his young daughter Ellie she feels like she can finally let herself have the family and love she’d tried so hard to make, and lost. They both think anything they could have would only be temporary— intense and fast.

But when her house is flooded and Jack— and adorable Ellie— invite her to share their house, Cass begins to feel like she wants to stay…

51PzeYOHUFLEmily Forbes: ‘Falling for the Single Dad’

Abi isn’t really one for believing in ‘happily ever afters’. The combination of spending two years working in Afghanistan as a reconstructive and plastic surgeon, and post-traumatic stress disorder tends to do that to a person. When she takes a job at a high-end plastic surgery clinic in Hollywood, all she’s thinking about is rebuilding herself and healing. There’s no room in her life for anything but surviving. Exceedingly hot or not, Damien would only be an unnecessary complication.
Especially since he’s a single Dad.

Abi resolves to keep her distance. Unfortunately this might be little difficult since he’s her boss and neighbour…

Excerpts, Guest Blogs

Excerpt – The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash

We’re thrilled to have Charlotte Nash with us again today, with an excerpt from her latest release.  ‘The Paris Wedding’ is released on 27th June 2017 and can be pre-ordered from: iBooks,  Kobo,  Google Play (Charlotte Nash Author Page),  Amazon AU,  Booktopia

FINAL COVER_PARIS WEDDING_800x519 Chapter 1

The day after the funeral, Rachael by force of habit, woke near dawn and made two cups of tea. She dumped the teabags in the sink, then, remembering it would annoy Tess, squeezed them out and tossed them in the bin. It took her longer to register that the second cup wasn’t needed.

She poured her mother’s tea away and braced her hands on the sink, looking out the window. Their harvest had finished two weeks ago and the wide rolling fields of stubble were grey before the sunrise. A beautiful grey, like a dove’s feather, joining the pale soft light at the horizon. As the sun appeared, it gilded the cut stalks, and the single majestic gum on the rise seemed to float on a sea of burnished gold.

Seven, Rachael thought. Seven sunrises without my mother.

She pressed her hand to her mouth. The tears kept boiling up unbidden, the wound still raw and open. Mercifully, Tess, Joel and the children were still asleep. She had time to pull herself together.

‘You’re up early.’

Rachael jumped and sucked back the tears. Tess had padded into the kitchen in thick, silent socks. Her checked robe was tightly knotted at her waist, her blonde hair stowed in a neat plait. Rachael involuntarily touched the unbrushed, ragged clump behind her head, the result of sleeping on her ponytail. Amidst the frizz were bits of broken elastic sticking up from the overstretched band.

‘So, we’re getting started on Mum’s things?’ Tess asked, flicking on the kettle.

‘What?’

‘Mum’s things. I asked you about it last night. You said we’d do it today.’

‘When?’ Rachael said. She couldn’t remember a single thing that had happened yesterday, apart from those two women talking outside her window. The day had been a blur of tears and hymns and the scent of white lilies.

‘This morning.’

‘No, I mean when did you ask me?’

‘After dinner. When Joel was doing the dishes.’

‘I don’t remember.’

She didn’t even remember eating dinner. She took her tea from the windowsill, but didn’t drink it. She wouldn’t have been able to swallow around the lump in her throat.

‘Look, have some breakfast,’ she said, dodging around Tess.

‘I’ll eat later. Where to first – lounge or bedroom?’

‘We don’t need to start right now,’ Rachael said, trying and failing to keep the wobble out of her voice.

‘But it’ll be a huge job. Her wardrobe is overflowing. What a woman on a farm wanted with all those fancy clothes, I don’t know.’

‘She made a lot of them for other people – for formals and weddings and things like that.’

‘What are they doing in her cupboard then?’

‘Because people brought them back and she’d modify them for someone else. She didn’t—’

‘I bet you don’t even know what’s in there,’ Tess said. ‘I bet that ottoman’s still stuffed with winter woollies nobody wears. Don’t worry, Joel will feed the kids and keep them away.’

Rachael had a vision of her sister striding around her mother’s room and stuffing garbage bags with dresses and quilts and other precious things, mixing up what was going where. ‘No,’ she said.

‘I don’t understand. We have to get back to the farm in a few days, so I won’t be around to help later. You said you wanted to get started.’

Rachael threw her hands up. ‘I don’t remember what I said! It was her funeral, Tess. Besides, I was here with her the last ten years. I know what she wanted. If you have to go home, that’s fine. I can manage.’

‘Oh, I see. This is about me choosing to go with Dad when we were kids.’ Tess folded her arms, bringing out a well-worn bickering point like a favourite toy. ‘Well, someone had to. It doesn’t mean I didn’t care about her. And I’m just trying to make things easier for you.’

Tess delivered her speech without a shred of sadness. Rachael was utterly unable to understand how her sister was navigating the grief so easily.

‘It’s not about that,’ she said.

Though she couldn’t help remembering standing beside her mother on the day Tess and her father drove away. Rachael had pressed herself against her mother, her eight-year-old eyes unbelieving. Marion had squeezed her fiercely, tears in her eyes, though she’d held her voice calm and level. ‘She’s still your sister,’ she’d said. ‘This will always be home. She’ll be back one day. She’ll be back.’ Over and over the same words, as if they had the power to make it true.

Now, Tess pursed her lips. ‘Well, can I at least make some lists for you? There’s all the medical hire equipment that needs to be returned, and someone should throw out all the tablets.’

‘Why would I need a list?’

‘So you don’t forget.’

Rachael stared. Was it possible that Tess still thought of her as a dreamy girl with her sketchbook and pencils, often late and forgetful? Yes, that’s what she had been, once. But she’d worked very hard in her last years of school; and then had come ten years of looking after her mother’s appointments, medicines and meals, toilets and showers, and the farm. All that had changed Rachael forever. Tess simply hadn’t been here to see it.

‘I’m not going to forget,’ she said.

‘You forgot what you said yesterday.’

Rachael gritted her teeth. All she wanted today was to be left alone, to stare down the fields or wander round the house, to be as lost as she needed to be. Choosing retreat, she abandoned her tea and headed for her room.

Tess followed. ‘Well, what about cleaning out the fridge? There’s tonnes of food from the wake that needs organising.’

‘Then take it home for Christmas.’

‘Speaking of Christmas, I think you should come up to Dubbo. You shouldn’t be here all by yourself. Or, a better idea. I’ve got someone I want you to meet.’

Rachael spun back. ‘Why would I want to be fixed up with anyone?’

‘Who said anything about fixing up? It’s Joel’s cousin, nice man. He’s bought a farm near Orange and he doesn’t know anyone yet. Family’s all in WA, so he’s going to be alone too. You can talk shop and keep each other company.’

Rachael rubbed her face. She hadn’t slept much this week, her mother’s last days in the hospital replaying in her thoughts at night. Worries about the farm and the future were also accumulating like fallen leaves. Couldn’t Tess understand how tired she was, how upset? How the smallest things seemed like mountains?

She started back down the hall. ‘Will you please just leave it alone? We only just buried Mum.’

‘I thought it would take your mind off everything, and besides it’s time you found a man. There’s been no one since Matthew.’

Rachael froze with that same sick feeling she’d had yesterday, as if his name had dropped a cage around her body, one that was so tight she could barely draw breath. She steadied herself on the wall. Retreat wasn’t enough; she needed to escape. The door onto the rear verandah was right there. She suddenly found herself outside, boots on, striding through acres of field, mowing down a row of cut stalks in her haste.

‘I’m just trying to help!’ Tess yelled at her back.

Rachael didn’t turn around. Out under the sky, she pulled out her hair band and sucked in the warming air, trying to shake off the shock. Finding that Matthew’s name could still hurt was an unpleasant surprise. She thought she had packed him away so deep in her heart that he couldn’t affect her any more.

She strode south, trying to lose herself in her steps, and avoiding the long field where a dip in the ground lay hidden in the wheat stalks. Sadly, avoidance didn’t help. If she closed her eyes, she could still imagine lying in that hollow with Matthew, the earth cool against her arms, his body warm beside her. She had lost hours lying against his chest, twisting his curly brown hair in her fingers, staring into his eyes, and listening to his plans for them both. She’d been so excited by the prospects he’d effortlessly sown in her mind: of university, and then coming home to work and build a home together. Dreams that were still tied to the earth and the baked-straw scent of the fields, to everything Rachael was.

He’d broken off and given her his broad smile. ‘I’m going on.’

‘No,’ she’d said. ‘I want to hear more.’

So he’d brushed his thumbs across her cheeks, cradled her face, and said, ‘I’ll love you forever.’ Fierce and certain, he’d sealed his promise with a kiss and her heart had lifted with joy.

Rachael wrenched her mind back with an exasperated curse. That same straw scent was in her nose, but everything else had changed. They’d both been seventeen when he’d made that promise, imagining a different life than the one that had happened. And yet she knew she would never love anyone like that again.

She walked until she hit the south fence and still the ache clamped around her like a too-tight belt. The sun was behind a cloud, shooting beams of filtered orange across the sky, and birds wheeled and skimmed low over the stalks. Across the highway in a neighbour’s field, a combine turned a lazy circle at the end of a row, the distant grumble of its engines competing with sporadic traffic. Rachael lifted the hair off her sweating neck, but couldn’t put it up again; she’d lost the band somewhere in the field. She leaned on a fence post to pick the prickles off her socks, then chewed the remaining nail on her left hand as a truck rumbled down the highway towards Parkes. Another passed a minute later. Rachael lingered, watching.

The next truck had cowboy western murals painted over its cab. Then came two caravans, and two sedans. A sheep truck was next; the driver waved. Then she spotted a green Corolla flying down the highway. Rachael straightened. Just as she made out the mismatched door panel, the car flicked its lights at her and ploughed onto the hard shoulder.

The driver’s door flew open and Rachael almost cried again, this time in gratitude. Sammy was here.

‘I thought that was you,’ Sammy called, negotiating the slope to the fence, the breeze ruffling her choppy fringe. She had a blonde pixie cut, dimpled cheeks and long eyelashes. ‘What are you doing out here?’

‘Avoiding the house.’
Sammy raised her eyebrows. ‘Tess?’

‘She wants to get into Mum’s stuff.’ Rachael’s voice caught.

‘She’s being really awful. I don’t understand how she can be so…’

‘Callous? Invasive?’

‘Yeah. She’s worse than normal.’

Sammy hugged Rachael awkwardly across the fence. She was wearing her black work pants and blue blouse with Parkes Country Motor Inn stitched over the breast pocket.

‘Are you on your way to work?’ Rachael asked, confused. It was far too early for a shift at the motel; Sammy was more likely to have been at her second job, at the bakery.

‘Later. I came to see how you are. I brought food.’

‘I’m not hungry.’

‘I know. But I bet your nieces and nephew will be. Come on, I’ll give you a ride back to the house.’

Rachael glanced over her shoulder, gauging how long it would take to walk, then bent to slide through the fence. ‘Probably a good thing. Tess might have decided to clean things out on her own.’

‘I’m sure she wouldn’t,’ Sammy said. ‘But leave Tess to me. You’ve got enough to deal with.’

***

Charlotte Nash - Author Charlotte Nash grew up obsessed with horses and good stories, and is now a bestselling author of contemporary romantic novels. She came to writing after an eclectic past in engineering and medicine, and loves writing about brave women in testing circumstances, finding love and themselves. She lives in a cosy Brisbane cottage with her family. The Paris Wedding is her fifth novel, released 27 June 2017. 

Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorCharlotteNash/
Twitter: @CharlotteNash79
Website: http://www.charlottenash.net/

 

Guest Blogs, Travels Around the World

Persistent courage, under unrelenting fire – by Charlotte Nash

Today, Charlotte Nash makes a very welcome return to ‘Love is the Best Medicine’.  Charlotte will be joining us again next Wednesday, with an excerpt from her new release ‘The Paris Wedding’.

Charlotte Nash - Author

Recently, I drove 3600 km across America in the name of research for my next novel. Before I left, everyone was asking if I was excited, with that hopeful (perhaps vicarious) gleam in their smile that I hated disappointing. Because sure, I was excited, but I held more than a little trepidation, and I didn’t mind saying so. The trip was going to be tight. I had to learn to drive on the other side of the road. In Los Angeles. And I was leaving my little boy at home with no knowing how he would handle the time without me.

I thought it would be a kind of character research, because my protagonist is making the trip against her will, being forced to exhibit a courage under fire she’s never had to find before. And that’s the kind of character we write about, right? Romantic stories are as much about how people negotiate their lives, and survive their circumstances, as they are about relationships. Maybe the surviving circumstances is really the core of it, the protagonists the embodiment of a bigger idea.

This book won’t be out until next year, but I think every character I’ve written is like that. In my current book, The Paris Wedding (out this month), Rachael is having to face the love of her life marrying someone else in Paris. She goes only because she sees she had no choice: it’s that, or be hung up on him and their imagined life forever. She thinks the decision to go is the easy part, the courageous part. Muhahahaha … of course it isn’t.

Same thing with my trip. I wrote a blog in the early days of the trip about the mild culture shock of America. “Mild” belies the effect of it, because it creates a huge background anxiety. Just thinking about driving on the right, of flicking light switches up not down, of paying before pumping gas, of saying pumping “gas” not “fuel”, was enough to make me want to curl up in my cheap hotel room, watch endless TV and not venture out anywhere.

But, then, I was there for a purpose I couldn’t escape. I had one shot at the research. A lot of people thought what I was doing was crazy, but it was really, really important to me. So I had to drag my unwilling self up and to the local diner. And strike up conversations. And ask questions. Man, it was uncomfortable. For at least the first half of the trip, I was constantly self-conscious, sure everyone could tell that I was a stranger in a strange land. And it dawned on me that my characters go through the exact same thing. They, too, have one shot at this situation they’re in. Big consequences if they fail to act. Uncomfortable as hell, in their own version of a culture shock: out of the comfort of what came before. And in the acting, in the persistent pursuit of this once in a lifetime chance, no matter how wrong it seems to be going, they earn the courage they need to get through it. Ergo, persistent courage under unrelenting fire.

On my trip, I began to find I didn’t care about being the American n00b. That people were in general hospitable, generous, proud of where they came from and glad to share it with me. I could tell the moment my attitude changed because I started to meet interesting people in all kinds of places: a group of exuberant schoolteachers in a park in Fort Smith AR, a veteran pilot in a Starbucks in Nashville TN, a TV personality in Katz’s Deli in New York. Things that just seem to happen once I got over feeling I couldn’t do it.

I’m fortunate that my trip did not have the “all is lost”, darkest-hour moment that stories require. It’s not that I couldn’t imagine what that would look like: lost down some Dixie Alley back road with a broken-down car and a tornado roaring through. But there came a point where I was all in: I’d made it this far, and I was sure I could make it through something like that. And I guess that’s where I want my characters to be at the end of the story: with the courage that comes from having survived something big. I was very glad to come home, but I’m not the same as when I left, not quite. Stories should be about things like that. I want to go again.

FINAL COVER_PARIS WEDDING_800x519Charlotte Nash grew up obsessed with horses and good stories, and is now a bestselling author of contemporary romantic novels. She came to writing after an eclectic past in engineering and medicine, and loves writing about brave women in testing circumstances, finding love and themselves. She lives in a cosy Brisbane cottage with her family. The Paris Wedding is her fifth novel, released 27 June 2017. 

Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorCharlotteNash/
Twitter: @CharlotteNash79
Website: http://www.charlottenash.net/

Pre-order The Paris Wedding from:-
iBooks,  Kobo,  Google Play (Charlotte Nash Author Page),  Amazon AU,  Booktopia

Excerpts

Excerpt – The Shipbuilder’s Daughter by Emma Fraser

51QRrTnj+zL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_Prologue

Glasgow, 1920

The scream was like nothing Margaret had ever heard before and seemed to go on forever. She dropped her book and clasped her hands over her ears. Almost worse was the awful silence that descended a few moments later.

Her heart hammering, she ran to the window and looked outside. Although her father’s office was on the third floor, only a fraction of the shipyard was visible; the rest, sprawling alongside the Clyde, was hidden from view. Beneath her a crowd was gathering, converging on something she couldn’t quite see through the grimy window.

She used the sleeve of her dress to clear a patch, but all she managed to do was smudge it more. As urgent shouts filled the silence of moments before, she sped downstairs, emerging into the soot-filled air, her breath coming in painful gasps. She hesitated, suddenly reluctant to discover what horror had precipitated the blood-curdling screams.

‘Where are you going, Miss Bannatyne?’ a man asked, grabbing her by the elbow.

‘What’s happened? Is it my father?’

His lip curled. ‘No, it’s not your father. What would he be doing down here? It’s an accident. Nothing unusual, but not summat a young lass like you should see. Better go back indoors.’

She shook his arm away. ‘Let me go!’ she couldn’t just go back inside – she had to see for herself.

Eyes fixed on the huddle of men obscuring her view, she threaded her way through the grim-stained figures, their stale sweat mingling with the smell of burning coal, welded steel and other odours too foreign to identify, until she was standing inside the circle of onlookers. One of the workers, his face deathly pale, lay on the ground, pinned down by several steel girders. Blood seeped from beneath him, staining the dust red and, just visible through his torn trousers, white bone glistened through a ragged gash in his lower leg Margaret clamped her hand over her mouth to stop herself from crying out. Part of her wanted to turn away, to slip back through the mass of bodies and return to the safety of her father’s office, but another, stronger part couldn’t tear her eyes away from the scene unfolding in front of her.

The injured man groaned, sweat trickling down his face and pooling in the hollow of his neck. He looked up at his colleagues with frightened, pain-filled eyes. ‘Help me. For God’s sake.’

His please galvanised the group into action. Several men jostled past her, almost pushing her to the ground. One of them crouched by his side and grabbed the end of the girder. He turned back to the watching men. ‘We need to get the weight off him. Come on, men, put your backs into it.’

‘Stop!’

The shout, loud enough to be heard over the clanging metal, stopped the men in their tracks. Way above her head, so high up she had to crane her neck to see, a shipyard worker was standing on the scaffolding surrounding the ship currently under construction.

Ignoring the ladders connecting the different levels, he ran across a narrow plank, grabbed hold of a steel pole and swung down to the levels below. As he descended at breakneck speed, Margaret held her breath. If he wasn’t careful, he could easily plunge to his death.

But within moments he was on the ground and the crowd parted to let him through.

‘Jimmy,’ he said, addressing the man who had ordered the others to move the girders, ‘we’ll not be able to lift those off him without a crane. Get one over here. Toni, fetch the stretcher. And a cart too.’

The new arrival couldn’t be much older than her, yet to her surprise the men did his bidding without argument. He shoved dark hair out of his eyes and knelt by the injured man’s side. ‘How are you holding up, Hamish?’

‘I’ve been better, Alasdair. I’ve a feeling I’ll no’ be home for my tea.’

A brief smile crossed the younger man’s face as he ran his hands across Hamish’s body. ‘Aye, well. I’ll get someone to let the wife know. In the meantime, let me have a look see.’

Why didn’t they lift the girders off Hamish? He needed to get to a hospital as soon as possible. Why were the workers listening to this man? Where was her father? He should be here, telling them what to do.

‘Alasdair, lad, we have to get him out from under that weight,’ one of the men said. It appeared she wasn’t the only one wondering about the delay.

The dark-haired man shook his head. ‘He’s punctured an artery at the top of his leg. The pressure of the girders is stopping him from bleeding like a pig. If we take them off without putting on a tourniquet first, he’ll not last more than a few minutes.’ He yanked off his belt and wrapped it around the top of the injured man’s thigh. ‘Hold on, Hamish. We’re going to move you in a bit. I just need to do something first.’

He glanced up, his eyes narrowing as he caught sight of her. ‘You. Do you have anything I can use as a bandage?’

Margaret stiffened. He’d spoken to her as if she were a nobody. Anyway, she didn’t have a handkerchief and her dress was stained with soot from the yard. ‘No. I’m sorry.’

‘You’re wearing a petticoat, aren’t you? Tear a strip off and pass it to me.’

As several pairs of eyes swivelled in her direction, she blushed. ‘I can’t do that. Not in front of everyone.’

‘You’re going to have to. There’s nothing else. I need something to staunch the bleeding that’s not covered in muck.’

‘That’s Bannatyne’s lass,’ one of the men said. ‘Best leave her out of it.’

‘I don’t care if she’s the Queen of Sheba. She shouldn’t be here but since she is, she can help.’

Her face burning, Margaret lifted the hem of her dress. She tried to rip a piece off her petticoat but couldn’t make even the tiniest tear. ‘I can’t.’

Alasdair gave an exasperated shake of his head. ‘Someone help her.’ When no one made a move, he rose to his feet. ‘Is the crane here?’

‘Aye, son. And the stretcher.’

‘Right then, secure the poles.’ While the men started tying ropes around the girders, Alasdair stepped towards her. Before she could stop him, he lifted her dress and tore a strip from her petticoat with his teeth.

He looked up at her and a smile flitted across his face. ‘Sorry, Miss Bannatyne.’ He was so close she could see the freckles scattered across his face. Thick, long lashes framed eyes the colour of the sky in winter.

As soon as the ropes were tied, Alasdair knelt once more on the ground beside the injured man. ‘Hamish, I know it hurts like buggery now, but it’s going to hurt even more when we lift the girders. You can yell as loud as you like. No one here will mind.’ He squeezed Hamish’s shoulder. ‘Right, lads. As slowly and as carefully as you can.’

The ropes tightened, then inch by inch, the lengths of steel began to lift. Hamish screamed, his arms thrashing about in agony. Margaret watched in horror as blood spurted over Alasdair’s hands.

‘Hold still, Hamish. For the love of God, just hold still.’

If Hamish could hear Alasdair he was in too much pain to pay heed. He continued to flail his arms, trying to push Alasdair away.

‘Someone hold him down, for God’s sake!’ Alasdair shouted, his bloodied fingers slipping on the straps of his makeshift tourniquet.

One of the men pressed down on Hamish’s shoulders and Alasdair tightened the belt until the blood slowed to a trickle. Satisfied, he moved on to the gash in Hamish’s lower leg, wrapping the strips of Margaret’s torn petticoat tightly over the wound. Within moments his temporary bandage had turned red.

‘Pass me some planks,’ he ordered.

Eager hands thrust several at him. He discarded a few before selecting four of equal length. He placed one on either side of each of Hamish’s legs and tied them quickly with more belts.

‘Let’s get him onto the stretcher, lads,’ he said. ‘Go carefully. His legs are likely broken. The planks will help – but only a little.’

As they moved him, Hamish screamed again, then mercifully fell silent. They laid his unconscious body on the stretcher and set it on the back of the cart.

‘Take him to the Infirmary. As quickly as you can. Avoid the potholes. I’ll let the boss know what’s happened, once I find out what went wrong.’

‘Is he going to be all right?’ Margaret asked, grabbing Alasdair’s arm.

‘You need to leave, Miss,’ he replied curtly. His expression softened. ‘There’s no more any of us can do here. It’s up to the doctors at the hospital now.’ He turned back towards the men. ‘Right. Those who have nothing to say about what happened, back to work.’

As the cart rolled away she looked up. Her father was standing at his office window, staring down. Doing nothing. Just looking.

 

The Shipbuilder’s Daughter is available from Amazon.co.uk and The Book Depository now, and will be available from Amazon.com in October.

Guest Blogs

Guest Blog – Emma Fraser

51QRrTnj+zL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_One of the pleasures of reading (as Laurie said so eloquently on her blog last week) is that it allows us to experience places we haven’t been to and lives we haven’t led. The same might be said of writing. I have always been intrigued by ‘what if’ scenarios. What would I have done had I been in a particular situation? How would I have coped? What choices might I have been forced to make?

Having said that, in my most recent book The Shipbuilder’s Daughter, I draw on personal experience and childhood memories as well as stories of a time before I was born, passed on to me by my grandfather Peter, my mother Annie and her brother, Lachie as well as great aunts and other relatives.

In The Shipbuilder’s Daughter, my heroine, Margaret, fearing her children will be removed from her, flees to North Uist where she has accepted a post as a doctor. Unable to keep her children with her while she carries out her medical duties, she arranges for a family of a friend to care for them while she works. I’ve kept the name of my grandparents home, Sandbank, describing it as it would have been in the thirties (and still was when I was a child !) and modelled the family the children stay with on my mother’s family, even giving them the same names.

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My grandfather worked in the shipyards of Govan but left to return to the islands when the health of his children, particularly that of his eldest son, Lachie, suffered in the smoggy, damp conditions of Glasgow. My grandfather, Peter Morrison was a remarkable man. Although he received very little formal education he was a well-known Gaelic bard. Many of his stories, songs and tunes have been recorded and collected over the years by the School of Scottish studies and are still sung today. He was also a prolific writer of letters to newspapers, sharing his opinions, of which he had many with the world at large. In the forties – seeking a better life – he took his family, including my mother, to live on the Monach Islands, about as far away from civilisation as you can get, where they lived, just the six of them for four years, surviving on what they could grow themselves, and income from the sale of lobsters or rabbit pelts – but that it a story for another time.

As a child going to Sandbank to stay with my grandparents for the summer holidays was a great adventure. The journey there seemed to take forever involving an interminable car journey; how me and my five siblings and our parents ever squeezed in to one car, I can’t imagine – it almost certainly involved sitting on laps – plus a boat journey of around three hours. Arriving at Lochmaddy (North Uist’s port) we’d be met and another journey over single-track roads would follow. Even then the journey wasn’t over. Sandbank at that time had no road or causeway to it, so if the tide was in, we’d be bundled in to anther small boat and rowed across to the house.

The magic for me didn’t stop there. Because of where Sandbank was built the tide would come in twice a day, high or low depending on the time of year and when it did it would completely change the landscape. I’d go to bed, (my way lit by a small paraffin lamp – there was no electricity at the house only a generator which supplied electricity for a couple of hours ) with my uncle’s boat lying its side on the sands only to wake up to find it bobbing in the sea, the house completely surrounded by water. (The causeway you can just see in the photo is a relatively recent addition.)

Without television or toys, we children would make our own entertainment. There were too many of us to be kept in doors so we’d be chucked out to play regardless of the weather (although the sun always seems to shine in childhood memories ) and we’d roam the croft, sail pretend boats made from reeds in the fissures of the fidean, or share a home- built wooden one (made by my then bachelor uncle Lachie), on the incoming tide. We’d search rabbit holes and feed hens, play in boats that were no longer in use and had been left to rot on the sands, dig for cockles, or hang our legs over the jetty and fish using crab heads for bait.

Many of the activities necessary to survival were shared by the community and often we children would help lift and stack peats or gather the hay – looking forward to when the Byre filled and we could fling ourselves from the hay loft into mounds of sweet-smelling hay. There were also trips in Grandfather’s boat to other, uninhabited islands where lunch would be tea, made with water taken from a loch and boiled by a fire made with heather (to this day I can still smell its particular scent) along with mussels picked from the rocks and bannochs or scones baked that morning by my grandmother and spread with home-made butter.

Not all the memories were pleasant; there was no indoor toilet and no running hot water so baths had to be taken (and shared ) in a zinc tub in front of the Rayburn stove, and my grandfather used to force spoonfuls of seal blubber on us to keep us healthy. A man of his time, he was strict and as a staunch member of the Free Church of Scotland, forbade any activity on Sundays that wasn’t reading the bible or writing letters – excruciating for young children.

In the evenings, people from other parts of the island would visit. Drams of whisky would be poured for the adults, someone would bring out an accordion or fiddle and then the music and dancing would start. In between there would be the story-telling. My parents and all the islanders were gaelic speakers – but not us children – so sadly we couldn’t follow what was being said.

My mother’s family were crofters and lobster fishermen and an abiding memory is of my Uncle Lachie striding across the sands – a sack of crabs slung over his shoulder (crabs weren’t considered to have monetary value back then in the same way lobsters did) and me running to meet him. It was he who told us the story of Baroomba who lived in a nearby loch and wanted nothing more than to grab a child and drag her, or him, in to a watery grave – thinking back it was to keep us away from that particularly deep, steep- sided loch, he who made us bats and boats out of wood and even painted them for us and he, who later, when my brother and I returned to live with him and my grandfather as lively teenagers – intervened in what could only be described as a clash between the generations. But that too is another story and for another time.

So it is with much love and gratitude that I dedicate this blog to the memory of my Uncle Lachie, who died in 2015 at the great age of 91 and is still sorely missed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. You can read an extract from The Shipbuilder’s Daughter here on Wednesday and order it on Amazon. The ebook version of my second book We Shall Remember is currently, but only for a little longer, heavily discounted and you can buy it on Amazon at its reduced price if you’re quick.

Thanks also to my fellow authors for inviting me to contribute today!

Finally, I have a question for you. Is there somewhere that holds an abiding place in your heart?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Celebrating International Nurses’ Day

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Today, we’re celebrating International Nurses’ Day! And to help do so, we’ve come up with a list of some of our favourite stories, featuring nurses as (Super) Heroines.

 

Their Meant-to-be Baby, by Caroline Anderson

0217-9781488020285-bigwUnexpectedly pregnant!

Having discovered her night with surgeon Sam Ryder had unexpected consequences, Kate Ashton is left reeling when he walks into her Emergency Department. Now she’ll have to tell the ‘emotionally broken’ man she’s been belatedly warned about that she’s pregnant!

Sam’s feelings might be frozen, but he wants to be a dad. When Kate reveals she’s afraid of becoming a mum, her heartrending story opens Sam’s heart. He must convince Kate to give them a chance. This baby was meant to be—perhaps their love is too…

Find this book at Amazon

Swept Away by the Seductive Stranger, by Amy Andrews

SABTSSmedicalcverWhen that guy on the train turns out to be your boss!

Nurse Felicity Mitchell’s train journey of a lifetime is even more unforgettable when she meets Callum Hollingsworth. Neither is looking for temptation, but that doesn’t stop them from sharing one hot, wild night!

Except when they disembark, they learn that what happened on the train won’t stay on the train. Because the gorgeous stranger is Flick’s new boss…and it’s increasingly difficult to keep their chemistry under control and leave it at just one night.

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The Enigmatic Surgeon, by Annie Claydon

9781472045478When opposites attract…!

Edward North—child prodigy turned genius microsurgeon—has no idea how attractive women find him! Hours spent researching and saving lives leaves little time for socialising. Until an adorable little boy wanders into his office, followed by his frantic mum, nurse Charlotte King, and they turn his world upside-down!

Charlotte’s never allowed herself to act on her feelings for devastatingly gorgeous Edward—her life is complicated enough! But when everything begins to fall apart this enigmatic surgeon is the only man she can turn to…

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Waking up to Dr Gorgeous, by Emily Forbes

image002Her unexpected rescuer

1. Leave your troubles behind and escape to Sydney for a temporary house swap.

2. When a gorgeous stranger walks into your bedroom, smile—you’ve hit the jackpot!

3. Indulge in a hot fling with said stranger!

But little does nurse Luci know that her fling is about to become so much more. Because Dr. Seb Hollingsworth has ways of making her feel alive again. With Christmas just around the corner, suddenly Luci knows exactly what she wants under her tree!

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A Baby on her Christmas List, by Louisa George

A baby on her christmas listBest friends…to parents? 

Nurse Georgie Taylor has just one thing on her Christmas list: a baby! But she never expected her best friend, broodingly handsome Dr. Liam MacAllister, to offer to be the father…

Liam’s heart has always been strictly off-limits—a baby is the last thing on his Christmas list! But he’ll do anything to make Georgie happy, and seeing her pregnant with their miracle baby ignites feelings that he just can’t ignore…feelings that could destroy a beautiful friendship—or result in so much more.

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Baby Surprise for the Doctor Prince (Royal Spring Babies), by Robin Gianna

51nATqO7--L._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_Their royal bundle of joy!

Two months after her breathtaking night with Prince Enzo Affini, nurse Aubrey Henderson arrives in Venice to discover he’s her new boss. And even more shocking? The news she’s carrying his royal baby!

Guarded doctor Enzo has long protected his legacy—and his heart. He’s determined not to trust his attraction to irresistible, spirited Aubrey. But as their baby grows, so, too, does their undeniable connection…and a longing for a happy-ever-after that neither can deny!

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Mummy, Nurse…Duchess, by Kate Hardy

image3The Duke and the single mum!

Nurse Rosie Hobbes knows charming men cannot be trusted. Visiting paediatrician, sexy Italian Duke, Dr Leo Marchetti is surely no exception! Her toddler twins are now the centre of Rosie’s life, and she expects Leo to run a mile when he meets them. Instead his warmth leaves her breathless!

Leo never expected to find joy as part of a family after his cold aristocratic upbringing but Rosie and her twins bring him to life. Can he prove to her he would make them the best husband and father – ever!

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One Life-Changing Night, by Louisa Heaton

51MUTCUqZmL._SY346_A kiss to mean for ever?

For A&E nurse Naomi Bloom, a handsome man only spells bad news. So when she’s forced to move in with her gorgeous new boss, Dr Tom Williams, she is certain he’s strictly off-limits!

Tom swore he’d never love again after losing his wife. But Naomi’s presence is a breath of fresh air and Tom finds his long-held vow challenged. Will he be ready to embrace the risk when one kiss leads to a night these two will never forget?

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Fiona Lowe’s Weddings, by Fiona Lowe

WeddingsFlatFour of Fiona’s favourite rural romances, re-published in one volume!  Three of the four stories in this anthology feature nurses as heroines.

From the red dust of the outback to the tropical islands in the north of Australia, and then the heat and humidity of Vietnam, three strong women change the lives of three doctors, who finally realise what their life has been missing 🙂

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His Pregnant Sleeping Beauty, by Lynne Marshall

9780373011148Rescuing the runaway
When paramedic Joseph Matthews rescues a vulnerable pregnant woman left in a coma, he vows to be there for his Sleeping Beauty. Even though after his ex-wife’s betrayal everything about innocent nurse Carey Spencer evokes bittersweet memories…mixed with unexpected desire.

As Joseph helps gorgeous Carey recover and build a safe new future for her unborn baby, can he gather his courage to give them the happy-ever-after they deserve?

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One Night, Twin Consequences, by Annie O’Neil

lgcover.9781488009686Unexpected surprises come in twos!  

When Dr. Matteo Torres invites nurse Harriet Monticello to work with orphans in Buenos Aires, her head says yes! It’s something she’s always wanted to do…although her heart is wary of the irresistible off-limits doc. Shy Harriet isn’t used to taking anything for herself, and yet before they board the plane for Argentina, the chemistry between them combusts and they give in to just one night together…

But their night of recklessness isn’t without consequences. And now Harriet has nine months to melt this brooding doctor’s heart!

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His Pregnant Royal Bride (Royal Spring Babies), by Amy Ruttan

9780373215164Nurse Shay Labadie’s one exquisite night of passion with Dr. Dante Affini was meant to be a beautiful memory. But now Shay’s expecting…and Dante is expecting her to take his hand in marriage!

Dante’s proposal is shocking enough, but then he drops an even bigger bombshell—he’s not just a doctor, he’s a prince! Now to win his child and the woman he loves, Dante will have to prove he can master his most important role yet—as the husband Shay deserves…

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From Fling to Forever, by Avril Tremayne

Fling cover medWhat started as a fling…could lead to forever!

When fate conspires to repeatedly throw kind-hearted Nurse Ella Reynolds and deliciously sexy documentary film maker Aaron James together, it’s not long before this unlikely couple finally gives in to their irresistible chemistry. Their hearts may be locked away, but what does it matter when it’s only a fling…

Spending time and saving lives together is bound to break down the barriers between them. Yet with so much heartbreak and loss to overcome, could their fling ever lead to forever?

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Make a Date…

The Harlequin ‘Make a Date’ and ‘Romance When You Need It’ videos have been around for a while now, but we loved them so much we think they’re worth a second look.  And if you haven’t seen them yet, please sit down, and put any hot drinks out of reach… 🙂

Make a Date with Harlequin – Viking!

Make a Date with Harlequin – Cowboy!

Romance When You Need It