Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt: Cornerstone of Love by Susan Carlisle

Cornerstone-of-Love-web“What are you doing?” A deep British male voice barked from behind Allison Moore. “Have you lost your mind? Get down from there.”

She gasped as powerful hands encircled her waist. Her feet cleared the hip-high stone battlement at the top of the fourteenth-century castle located in the Midlands of England.

“Don’t you have better sense than to stand on this wall? It’s already crumbling. You could fall.” The words were said close to her ear.

Allison looked around struggling to see who had grabbed her. Her feet dangled a moment before her work boots came to rest on the slate roof of the fortress. She didn’t like being manhandled or being told what to do.

“I have no intention of falling. Let me go.” Allison worked to keep her words even as she made a useless effort to get a good look at the deranged man stopping her from doing her job. Just as quickly as she had been seized she was released. The air at her back cooled. Allison swiftly turned.

Tall and lean, the man stood a head above her. A gust of wind whipped at the toffee-colored locks on his forehead despite his effort to push them back into place. He wore a business suit that appeared to have been tailor made from the way it fit across his broad shoulders. Everything about him exuded authority.

To make matters worse he was the most striking male she’d ever seen, and quite possibly the most intense. Allison retreated a step. What was wrong with him?

Putting out an upturned hand he said, “Don’t move. You’re not far from the edge.”

She glanced over her shoulder, past the wall to the gravel circular drive sixty feet below. A gray roadster was now parked next to her blue rental car. Used to climbing high places in and around buildings, the elevation posed no issue for her, but he was correct, she did stand too close to the side. Moving to her left, she took a securer position.

His forceful expression eased making him even more handsome. His full mouth quirked upward on one side. “I understand you are the new contractor. My estate manager said I would find you up here. I’m Ian Hartley, Earl of Stilesbough.”

So here was the owner of Hartley Castle. She’d seen pictures of him in the newspapers but he was immeasurably more impressive in person. She’d never trust a picture in the media again. No way had any of them done him justice.

Allison straightened her shoulders and extended her hand. “I’m Allison Moore, with Historic Restoration and Designs. My company has been retained to restore your tower.”

He took her fingers in a firm grasp. When he released it she had a fleeting sensation of disappointment.

“Surely you know it’s unsafe to walk on the walls.”

“I’m well experienced at doing so. I do it all the time for my job.”

“That may be true but still please be careful.” He gave her a pointed look. “Accidents do happen. I’d like one not to happen from the top of my castle. With that settled, what exactly do you do at uh…”

“Historic Restoration and Designs. I’m the structural engineer in charge. I’ll handle overseeing the construction portion of the restoration. It’s my job to see it’s done properly and per the guidelines.”

“Is that so?” His forehead wrinkled, as he studied her. “You aren’t at all what I had expected.”

Allison stopped herself from rolling her eyes. That wasn’t the first time she’d heard something like that.

He continued to watch her. “You don’t fit the stereotypical contractor.”

“Is that so?” Allison knew full well he was referring to her gender. Men generally made up the world of historical reconstruction. She and her partners were working hard to change that perception.

His lips twisted up slightly, not quiet becoming a smile. “For one thing you’re a woman. And since you are from America where there are no ancient keeps I’m not sure how knowable you can be about mine.”

Allison nodded then swallowed the words that begged to bubble out. She met his chauvinistic remark with a bold one of her own. “Lord Hartley, I can assure you that I’m more than capable of handling this job despite being a woman and an American.”

He held up his hand. “I didn’t mean to insult you. I was merely making an observation. As the head of the Hartley family I’m responsible for seeing our heritage is maintained and restored in the most skilled and historical accurate manner possible. I take my duty very seriously.”

Allison lowered her chin. His questioning of her skills graded on her nerves but she would let that go for now. She would prove him wrong. “I understand your concerns.” She waited until his beautiful ice blue eyes met hers again before she said slowly, “Lord Hartley, I assure you I’m capable of overseeing this reconstruction.”

“You have experience repairing medieval keeps?”

“I do. Years’ worth.” She was tempted to stomp her foot in frustration. “Before I started my company I worked with a number of well-respected historical architectural firms all over the world. I’ve been a partner and founder in my own business for the last six years. And by the way, you don’t need to live in or own a castle to appreciate how they were built.”

The lord’s expression turned thoughtful. “That was quite an impassioned speech but I’m still not convinced your company is the right one for the job.”

“Is that based on our resume or on my appearance? I understood when I arrived that my company had already been retained for the job. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.” A drop of moisture hit her cheek and she wiped it away. Another late spring time rain. It was something she’d have to contend with if she managed to keep this project.

The lord’s intent look shifted to the sky. “Let’s get out of the wet. We can finish this discussion in my office.”

Allison glanced around the castle roof then brought her eyes back to him. “By the way,” she tilted her head to the side, “do you regularly rescue people from the top of castle?”

A charming grin curved his lips.

Her stomach flipped.

“No, but I don’t usually have woman climbing on my castle wall. In that, you are unique.”

She rather liked that compliment. The man could charm when he put his mind to it.

Lord Hartley ducked through the arched opening and descended the winding stone stairway. Allison followed mindful of the damp, steep, and narrow steps. Even with rubber soled shoe she was careful. No doubt Lord Hartley wouldn’t be impressed if she fall. She lagged a little behind him. When she came out of the passage, he waited in the hall. His lips had formed a thin line. She suspected he didn’t make a habit of waiting on anyone.

“Ms. Moore, this way.” He turned, his legs making long strides down the carpeted hall.

Allison remained where she was for a moment. She needed one to collect herself before she entered into a discussion with Lord Hartley again. Temped to shout, “Who died and made you king?” she reminded herself the HRC couldn’t afford to antagonize a client, especially one as important as he. She had to settle for mouthing the words at his back. He might run his world but he didn’t run hers.

“Yes.” Allison hurried to catch up. She didn’t appreciate being spoken to as if he were the schoolmaster and she the disobedient child. Still she couldn’t help but find Lord Hartley’s soft burr of an accent pulling at her. It made her think of warm nights by a fire.

She watched as his strong loose-hipped strides took him along the stone corridor past enormous portraits that hung on either side of the walls. His ancestors, no doubt. As he walked, the slit in his finely tailored suit coat flipped open giving her a glimpse of his behind. A nice one it was. But a good backside didn’t negate his distrust of her abilities.

With effort she matched her pace to his. He took quick sure steps down the main stone staircase into the great hall, then disappeared though a doorway.

Lord Hartley already stood behind an enormous desk, holding his mobile phone by the time Allison entered a small room lined with books. The space suited him. She had the feeling she was in the presence of importance, or was it intimidation he wanted to exude. Everything about Lord Hartley implied he was used to getting his way.

With a nod of his head he motioned her toward one of the two burgundy leather chairs facing the desk. Settling comfortably into one, she crossed one leg over the other. She was just as confident in her abilities as he was in his position.

She wasn’t sure she liked him or wanted to work for him. He’d already irritated her with his assumptions of who she was and her skills. Would he always be making her prove herself? Question her decisions? While growing up her father had done that pushing her into his ideas instead of letting her decide. Years ago she’d promised herself she wouldn’t live under anyone else’s expectations. This was her job, her life and she was fully capable of running it.

If she couldn’t work with Lord Hartley could HRC take the financial hit if they lost him as a client? Or the poor publicity Lord Hartley might give them? She, Mallory and Jordon had worked too hard to get to where they were for Allison to destroy their reputation because of her inability to get along with one self-important earl.

Allison took a cleansing breath, letting it out slowly as she watch Lord Hartley. On second thought, she’d have to figure out some way to make this work. It was too vital to her life plan and the future of the company.

Still some jobs, some clients just weren’t worth the trouble. Lord Hartley and his castle might fall into that category. On other jobs she’d had difficult clients. Her position throw her into the world of rich and entitled often. One that she hadn’t come from and wasn’t comfortable in. Yet something about Lord Hartley made him seem a little more exacting than others. Would he second guess every move she made?

The repair presented a challenge and she did enjoy one of those. She would hear him out and see if she couldn’t convince him she was the man, person, for the job.

Cornerstone of Love is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK in Kindle and print formats.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Welcome Allie Kincheloe

By Susan Carlisle

It is always my pleasure to get to introduce a new medical author. To do it twice in the same mouth is extra special.

Today I like to be the first to welcome Allie Kincheloe. So that we can get to know Allie I’ve asked her to answered a few questions

I discovered Medical Romance when:

I discovered Harlequin books in my teens and haven’t looked back. Some series I’ve visited more than others, with medicals being one of them. I’ve always been fascinated by medical stories, and I do love a good romance, so when the two are combined, I find that the best of both worlds. As you might guess, I’m a huge fan of medical dramas on TV, like Grey’s Anatomy and New Amsterdam.

I wrote my first story when:

As clichéd as it sounds, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. Even as a child I carried around little notebooks with story ideas—some complete, others not so much. However, I only got serious about my writing about a decade ago and wrote my first full-length novel then. That one will never see the light of day, but I learned a lot writing it.

Where do you live:

For the last 15 years or so, I have called middle Tennessee home. I live in a tiny little town with easy access to Nashville. It’s the best of both worlds.

My best trait is:

I’d say my best trait is my creativity. I love to create things from stories to crafts. I love re-purposed items and old-made-new.

My worst trait is:

My focus would be my worst trait. I have struggled with attention issues my entire life. If there’s a shiny, I’m distracted. It’s problematic with writing because those bright new ideas sometimes pull my attention away from my current work-in-progress.

Five things on your bucket list:

  1. travel outside the USA
  2. Have a book on a bestsellers list
  3. Become fluent in another language
  4. Learn martial arts.
  5. Finish my degree (Will cross this one off this fall!)

 

My first medical is Heart Surgeon’s Second Chance and it releases in April 2020.

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Can they leave their past behind…

To save her son’s life?

When paramedic Rhiann Masters’s young son needs heart surgery, there’s only one man she can trust—former best friend and top pediatric surgeon Dr. Patrick Scott. The only problem? After a tragic accident changed Patrick’s life forever, they haven’t spoken in years. Now as they’re thrown back together, they soon remember just how good life can be when they’re by each other’s side…

 

Do say hello and welcome Allie and also check out her book.

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Living Vicariously

By Susan Carlisle

I always love it when I visit a store and find a book written by someone I know.

Many years ago when I was an author-what-to-be I was on Martha’s Vineyard, a tiny, tiny island off the coast of Maryland, in a small bookstore and found a book written by an author I personally knew. I was so excited. It made me imagine that maybe one day one of my books might be there as well.

See, my books are not on the shelves in America. I’ve never seen one of my romance novels in a store. People have been kind enough to send me pictures so I know that it happens, but as nice as that is it isn’t the same as holding one myself with others on the shelf behind me. Again maybe—someday…

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Recently I was in a grocery store in a small town, very small, in North Alabama. I always stopped to look at the books for sell and there was one of AMY ANDREW’s. I started to squeal but was afraid the police might be called. I then looked around for my son so I could hold it up and tell him that I knew the person who wrote the book. Sadly, I couldn’t find him because he was on the other side of the store. I had to settle for taking this picture.

Until my turn comes I’ll continue to live the experience vicariously through my friends’ books. Maybe my day will come.

I want to let everyone know am branching out on a new adventure and publishing a few books on my own this year. My first will come out on March 17th.  I’ill be releasing two more in the series later in the year. Here’s the cover and a blurb for the first one.

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Ian Chalmers’s dream life didn’t include becoming the Earl of Harley or the CEO of Hartley International Shipping, but he obediently accepted the responsibilities when his father and older brother are killed. Duty to the Hartley title and business reputation becomes his all-consuming focus. Ian’s world revolves around unending work and doing what’s expected of him. Then a nerve-wracking, albeit completely fascinating, free-spirited female enters his structured life and turns it upside down.    

Allison Moore is the American constructional engineer hired to direct the repairs on Hartley castle. Despite their instant attraction, Allison doesn’t appreciate Ian’s high-handed control of everything in his sphere of influence. Still she’s determined to placate the vexing ‘master of the castle’ in order to get the job done, bringing her another step closer to achieving her life’s goal of having a home of her own. Her strategy is complicated then frustrated when Ian’s kisses prove so delicious her treacherous heart undermines her immunity to his charm.  

With the project almost complete and their sizzling interlude ending, Ian and Allison must decide what they want most in life. Is it possible they’ve each been laboring towards the wrong goals? Could what they have with each other be the cornerstone of true love?ave you ever live vicariously through someone’s experiences?     

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Welcome to Juliette Hyland

Happy Valentines Day!
Today we are celebrating love and I think there is no better way of doing that than to introduce you to our newest medical author. Please welcome Juliette Hyland.
Her first book Unlocking the Ex-Army Doc’s Heart, will be one of the May releases. I know you will want to read it.
I’ve asked Juliette to share a little bit about herself so that we can get to know her better.
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1. I discovered Medical Romance when: I discovered the medicals when my sister was deployed to Iraq many years ago. She spent much of her deployment reading Harlequin series because they had a happily-ever-after. I sent a few in each of her care packages and always made sure to include a Medical or four – which is still one of her favorite series. While on bed rest with my oldest, I started reading them too. Medicals, and Harlequin series in general, gave my sister and me something fun to share while she was gone for over a year.
2. I wrote my first story when: I feel like I have always been a story
teller. But when I was a senior in high school, my teacher assigned us a short story. I wrote a love story called Homeward Bound. I still remember my teacher’s scrawled note on the top of the paper that said Do Something With Your Writing. That note meant more to me than she could ever have known and kept me going over the rejections that would inevitably follow.
3. Where do you live: I live in Ohio, USA with my wonderful husband, beautiful daughters, and a pair of giant dogs.
4. My best trait is: Once I set a goal, I will follow through no matter how long it takes me.
5. My worst trait is: As you might realize from my best trait – I am stubborn as heck. It drives my husband crazy!
6. Five things on your bucket list:
         1. Swim with Dolphins
         2. Learn another language
         3. Visit all seven continents
         4. Learn to make candles
         5. See the Grand Canyon
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It will take someone special…

…to thaw her frozen heart!

The Arctic Circle’s remote tranquility made it the perfect place for ex-army doc and former child star Annie Masters to open her clinic. But her cherished anonymity is ruined when celebrity surgeon Rafe Bradstone arrives in town! Seeing that she uses her work as a safe haven, dynamic Rafe seems determined to show her what she’s missing out on. And it’s working… She’s beginning to imagine

a future—with him!
Please gave Juliette a wave and hello.
Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Making a list and checking it twice…

By Susan Carlisle

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Santa and I share one habit- we make a list. Actually I make more than one list. I make lists for everything. Writing this blog is on a list. My office is downstairs. If I don’t want to make more than one trip up then I have to make a list of what I need to bring from upstairs down.

Thankfully you won’t find a Christmas list showing here. I have all that one done. Tomorrow my family will be having their Christmas together so I had to get that list done sooner than most. I do have a list for food to prepare and also what I will fix for a few of us on Christmas morning.

 

One of these is for my office work. Yes, I have edits and writing to do – on not one but two books. Along with a few projects that need to be done. I never mark something off the list until it is completely done. I’m always adding to my list. On this one a ring is covered, the other two I have to do. The chair seats are covered. Part of the HQ outfit is cut out. Blog done!

I also have a list for items that have to be picked up in town. I have already started a list for what I’ll need on a trip in the spring.

These are just a few of the lists I’m working off of right now. Because of the holidays I’m playing catch-up. The best part is marking through the things done and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it.

Also on my list is to share I have a Christmas book out right now. I will also have a book out in January.

Before I go I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Highland Doc's Christmas RescueFirefigther's Unexpected Fling

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Pups That Make Miracles – a New Four Book Christmas Continuity

 

by Susan Carlisle

If you like the idea of Christmas in Scotland, love dogs, castles, and damaged characters who find their happily-ever-after this new continuity is for you.

It all takes place at Heatherglen Castle that has been turned into a physical therapy clinic that specializes in pet therapy as part of the recovery. In conjunction with the clinic is a veterinary clinic on the estate that cares for the dogs and a staff that trains them.

Annie Claydon, Annie O’Neil and Karin Baine and I make up the authors of the continuity. I had the honor of writing the first book. (No pressure there!) Below you will find an excerpt from my book Highland Doc’s Christmas Rescue. It will be out on November 1.

Look for more excerpts from the other books in the near future.

Warning: In these books there is snow on the ground, Christmas in the air and love to be found at Heatherglen Castle Clinic.
Highland Doc's Christmas Rescue (Pups that Make Miracles Book 1)

AS THE TAXI rolled up the rise Cass Bellow looked out the window at the snow-blanketed Heatherglen Castle Clinic in northern Scotland. Why had she been sent here?
MORE THAN ONCE she’d questioned her doctor’s wisdom in transferring her to this private clinic for physical therapy. Weren’t there plenty of other places in warmer climates? Particularly in her native US. Or, better yet, couldn’t she have just gone home and handled what needed doing on her own? But, no, her doctor insisted she should be at Heatherglen. Had stated that he sent all his patients with extensive orthopedic injuries there. He declared the place was her best hope for a full recovery. Finally, at her argument, he’d bluntly told her that if she wanted him to sign off on her release she must complete her physical therapy at Heatherglen.
As the car came to a stop at the front door she studied the Norman architecture of the building with its smooth stone walls and slate roof. The place was huge, and breathtaking. There were more chimneys than Cass had a chance to count. This place was nothing like what she’d expected. Though it was early November, festive Christmas wreaths made of greenery and red bows already hung on the outside of the lower floor windows. They further darkened her mood.
When she had been given the search and rescue assignment assisting the military after an explosion in Eastern Europe, she had never dreamed she’d end up in traction in an army hospital on a base in Germany. Her shattered arm and leg had finally mended, but she needed physical therapy to regain complete use of them. Now she’d been sent to this far-flung, snowy place to do just that. All she really wanted was to be left alone.
She opened the cab door and wind blasted her. Despite the heat coming from the still running car, she shuddered. As Cass stepped out, one of the large wooden castle doors, decked with a huge Christmas wreath full of red berries, opened. A tall man, perhaps in his mid-thirties, with the wide shoulders of an athlete stepped out. With rust-colored hair and wearing a heavy tan cable sweater and dark brown pants, he looked like the epitome of what she thought a Scottish man should be. As he came down the few steps toward her, he smiled.
“Hello, you must be Ms. Cassandra Bellow. I’m Dr. Lyle Sinclair, the medical director here at Heatherglen. You may call me Lyle.”
His thick Scottish brogue confirmed her earlier thoughts. Yet she was surprised by the way the sunny cheerfulness of his voice curled around her name, nudging at her icy emotions. Irritated, she pushed that odd notion away. This doctor was far too happy and personable for her taste. Her goal was to do what must be done with as little interaction with others as possible. She planned on nursing her wounds in private.
“Yes, that’s me.” To her satisfaction her flat, dry tone dropped the brightness of his smile a notch. If she could just get to her room and collapse she’d be happy. Her right side was burning from the ache in her arm and the agony of putting her full weight on her right leg.
“Flora McNeith, the physiotherapist whose care you’ll be under, couldn’t be here to greet you and asked that I get you settled in.” Concern filled his face. “Do you need a wheelchair? Crutches?”
“No, I can walk on my own. Run, that’s another thing.” She pulled at her jacket to stop the biting flow of air down her neck.
A light chuckle rolled out of his throat and over her nerve endings. “I understand. Then let’s get inside out of this weather.” He looked up at the sky. A snowflake landed on the dark red five o’clock shadow covering his cheek.
Cass averted her eyes and gave the cobblestone drive, cleared of snow, a searching look. It was farther than she wanted to walk, yet she wouldn’t let on. The three steps up to the door looked even more daunting.
All she needed was fortitude to make the walk and climb those steps. She had plenty of that. Soft snowflakes continued to drift down as she took a deep breath and steeled herself to put one foot in front of the other. With another silent inhalation, she started toward the entrance. Dr. Sinclair walked beside her.
She managed the first two steps with no mishap but the toe of her short boot caught the edge of the last one. Grabbing at air, Cass finally found the fabric covering Dr. Sinclair’s arm. She yelped with the effort to hold on. Being right-handed, she’d instinctively flailed out that arm and immediately regretted it. Pain shot through it, but not as sharp as it had been weeks earlier. She gritted her teeth, thrusting out her other arm to ease the fall.
Instead of tumbling onto the steps, her body was brought against a hard wall of human torso. The doctor’s arm circled her waist and held her steady. Her face smashed into thick yarn. A hint of pine and smoke filled her nose. For some reason it was reassuring.
“Steady on, I’ve got you.” His deep burr was near her ear.
Cass quickly straightened, getting her feet under her even though pain rocked her. She refused to show it, having already embarrassed herself enough. Her lips tightened. “I’m fine. Thank you.”
Glancing at him, she got the weirdest impression that the concern in his eyes had nothing to do with her physical injuries, as if he was able to see her true pain. That was a crazy idea. She shook that odd thought off and focused on where she was.
Taking a third fortifying breath, Cass stepped into the massive foyer.
No way was she going to let him see the effort it took to keep walking. She’d lived through much worse.

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Covered Bridges of New Hampshire

By Susan Carlisle

I have spent time recently driving around the windy, narrow roads of New Hampshire looking for covered bridges. Some are amazing. Many have been redone in the last 40 years to preserve them.

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Why a covered bridge you ask. Because the cover protects the wood. A wooden bridge built without a cover will last 20 years. One with a cover will last up to 100 years. With the cold, rain and snow of New England having a covered bridge just made since in the 1800s.

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There are over 70 in the state of New Hampshire. No, I didn’t try to see them all in the same trip!

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Most of these are still working one-way bridges that people travel to and from work and school on daily.

I hope you enjoy a little bit of my adventure.

Have you ever visited a covered bridge?