Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Favorite Book – Maybe?

by Susan Carlisle

Warning – this is a look at me, look at me post!

I am so tickled with my latest book The Sheikh Doc’s Marriage Bargain. It comes out on April 30th. First off – I got a gorgeous cover that looks just like my character Tariq. He is almost too perfect!

SheikThis book was my first attempt to write a Sheikh and I loved every minute of it. I’m not sure I would want to marry a sheikh for a number of seasons, but they do make for great fantasy material. The story came easy. The strong Middle Eastern man and the timid ‘lab rat’ woman who come from two different worlds was great fodder for a romance. I added an exotic setting and I was off to the races. As authors we aren’t supposed to have a favorite because each book is one of our babies. But this one is high on my list of the most loved. I’m really interested to see if readers think it’s a good as I like to believe it is.

On a serious note, I also center the story around a life threatening medical condition- hemophilia. I have a friend whose son was born with the condition. I interviewed him about his family’s experience. I was amazed at how little I knew about what it was to live with a child whose blood doesn’t clot. The cost of medicine is staggering, the pain the child regularly endures to inject himself and the fear the parents live with knowing something could happen at any moment. We (the big we) know so little about what others are going through on a daily bases. I hope I did this family and those with hemophilia justice in this book. My intent was to shine some light on the disease.

Thanks for letting me have a look at me moment. Do you have anything special that has happened in your life lately?

 

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt from Susan Carlisle’s latest – The Sheikh Doc’s Marriage Bargain

By Susan Carlisle

Sheik

Out in April

Dr. Laurel Martin placed the test tube into the rack with great care, her pulse racing in anticipation. This could be it. The breakthrough she’d devoted her career to finding. The process to stop the mutation in the factor IX gene in the X chromosome. If it could be tested for during pregnancy and corrected then thousands of lives could be changed, in some cases even saved. The key was finding that link.

To find the answer she had to have funding. That money was difficult to come by. She’d already been put on notice that hers was running out. Still she held out hope that would change. She’d submitted another grant application and should hear from it any day.

The study of hemophilia had become her life’s calling. In medical school it hadn’t taken her long to realize her comfort zone didn’t include interacting with patients and their loved ones. She didn’t like to tell them bad news. Being an introvert further hindered her ability to do so. Research had become her safe spot.

A tap on her lab window drew her attention. She pushed her glasses up on her nose. Stewart, the director of the lab, stood on the other side of the glass. His medium height was dwarfed by the tall, lean man standing beside him.

Oh, my. Laurel’s heart jumped then adjusted. She stared. The stranger was gorgeous. She hadn’t had that type of reaction to a man in years. Not since college when she’d first seen her ex-boyfriend, Larry. A college football player, he’d been shockingly good-looking as well.  She’d learned the hard way that good looks didn’t make a kind person.

The man beside Stewart had an exotic appearance that implied he might be of Middle Eastern decent. His skin had a warm pecan tint as if he spent a great amount of time in the sun. His proud baring gave him an aura of authority, as if he knew his place in the world and had no trouble holding it. The black tailored suit jacket covering his broad shoulders that matched his hair and equally dark, meticulously-groomed beard screamed wealth and power. His gaze locked with hers.

To her surprise his eyes weren’t like ink. Instead they were chestnut, reminding her of a racing stallion she’d seen once as a girl. One of his well-shaped brows rose slightly as if he suspected the effect he had on women and wasn’t surprised by her reaction.

His look bore into hers making her feel like one of her petri dish specimens under a microscope. The devil of it was, he was the kind of man she’d always been attracted to. The brand of male who had always looked passed her mousy, too serious and impossibly intelligent personality in favor of a tall blonde, with perky breasts, long legs and an engaging giggle that stood just behind her. She was wallpaper and his type were interested in the chandeliers.

Men like him didn’t seriously consider her worth noticing. The one time someone had, she’d been traumatized. Larry had damaged her that much. So much so she’d sworn off men and had stuck to that vow for ten years. Long enough to become so absorbed in her work she had little life outside of it. None of that had anything to do with the man before her.

The wave of hand Stewart’s hand drew her look away from the arresting stranger. Stewart indicated he wanted her to come out of her lab. Laurel checked her test tubes again and pushed the rack further away from the edge of the table before rolling her chair back. She exited the room door with a swish of the airlock seal behind her. In the outer room, she removed her goggles and adjusted her glasses. She pulled her mask, gloves and gown off leaving her in a simple round neck t-shirt and jeans.

Shrugging into her starched lab coat, she touched the bun at the back of her head making sure it was in place. She glanced over her shoulder. The stranger intense gaze remained on her. A ripple of heat went through her, disconcerting her even more.

Shaking off the response, she moved with cool proficiency into the main lab. It wasn’t until she’d almost joined the men that she noticed the two larger ones standing a few paces behind the man. How had she missed those intimidating figures? Because she’d been so absorbed by her reaction to the man standing front and center. These males were larger with bulkier shoulders and had even grimmer faces, if that was possible. They stood with hands clasped in front of them and legs wide as if ready to move into action. Who were these people and what did they want with her?

Laurel’s hands trembled. She shoved them in the pockets of her lab coat. Had she done something wrong? Her eyes narrowed and she gave Stewart a questioning look, relieved to have an excuse to break off eye contact with the other men.

Stewart’s voice shook slightly as he said, “Laurel, this is Prince Tariq bin Al Maktum, and he would like to speak to you.” Stewart enunciated the man’s unusual name carefully as if he’d been practicing in order not to trip over it.

Prince? Why would a prince want with her? A “lab rat” according to her siblings. Astonishment made her blurt, “About what?”

“I’ll be glad to share that in private,” Prince bin Al Maktum answered in a deep smooth voice like refined velvet with a thread of steel running through it. His accent made Laurel want to hear him say more.

She twinkled her nose as alarm washed through her. “Stewart, what’s this about?”

“I’ll let the prince tell you. Why don’t we go to my office?” Stewart turned and started toward the swinging doors separating the main lab from the offices. The prince stepped aside, allowing her to proceed him. Acutely aware of him and his security men, she walked stiffly. At the doors, he quickly stepped ahead of her and held one open. Laurel gave him a quick glance as she passed. His inscrutable look revealed nothing. She wouldn’t want to deal with him on a daily basis. How could she ever discern what he was thinking? Feeling?

As they walked down the tiled hall her low sensible clogs made a tap-tap but there was no sound behind her. How did such great men move with such agility? That thought didn’t comfort her.

Stewart swiped his card and pushed the office door open. She entered, expecting him to follow but instead Prince bin Al Maktum joined her and closed the door behind him. The already small space shrunk in proportion to his large presence. She faced him and shoved her hands into her lab coat pocket, bracing herself.

“Please Dr. Martin, have a seat.” He indicated the chairs in front of Stewart’s desk.

“No thank you. I need get back to my lab as soon as possible.” She wanted to return to her safe place. “How can I help you?” Laurel couldn’t imagine how but it seemed like the right thing to say to hurry this along.

“Sit.” The prince’s tone implied she had no choice.

She hesitated but eased into a chair, noting too late it put her in closer proximity to him. To her surprise he took the other chair. At this point she fully expected he might try to lord over her. After all, he acted as if he owned the place. Stewart didn’t allow just anyone to take over his office. She clasped her hands in her lap and waited for bin Al Maktum to speak.

“Dr. Martin, I would like you to come to Zentar with me.”

“What?” she yelped, leaping to her feet. Had this man lost his mind? Why had Stewart allowed this crazy person in their lab?

The prince raised his hand. “Just hear me out for a moment. Please.”

Laurel eased back into her chair more from shock than trying to please him. She glanced at the door.

“I assure you, you are safe. What I meant to say is that I would like to offer you a position. And chance to further your research.”

Laurel shook her head in confusion. That sounded completely different than his earlier statement. She already had a place to do research, one in which she was so close to a breakthrough. Her family lived near. She already had a settled and secure life. She cared nothing about going somewhere else. Where was Zentar anyway? Even if she know she had no intention of marrying a stranger. “Thank you, but I already have a position here.”

“I understand you are the top researcher in the field of hemophilia. I am the Minister of Health for Zentar. I have overseen the building of a state of the art laboratory. I intend for my country to be a leader in finding a cure for hemophilia.”

Really. That was interesting. Her interest pricked.

“I have vetted you and you come with the highest of recommendations.”

“Thank you but I have no idea who you are.” Why was some prince of some tiny nation she’d never heard of focusing on hemophilia? “I appreciate your confidence in me but I’m happy here.” She wasn’t the adventurous type and she had that fact driven home in no uncertain terms. The idea of living in another state much less some far flung country terrified her. “I don’t even know where Zentar is.”

Finally, there was a spark of emotion in those dark penetrating eyes. Was it pride? “It’s an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Tunisia. We have beautiful white beaches and stark mountains that are amazing in their own right. We are a small independently wealthy country and progressive in many aspects. My brother, the king, has worked hard to make it so. Still we remain very traditional in others.”

What would it be like to have a man talk about her with that same admiration? She shook that shocking idea away. “It sounds nice but I have my work here.”

He leaned forward. “I can offer you anything you desire. The best of equipment, assistants and endless funding.”

“But why me? Why hemophilia?”

He paused, looked away from her so long she became uncomfortable. “I have my reasons.” That sounded like a dismissal more than a confession.

Laurel started to rise.

His expression turned shadowy and looked away. “Hemophilia is a problem in my country and growing.”

Laurel now knew what drove him. “I see.”

He pierced her with a look. “I am not sure you do. In my country the number of children born with the disease is increasing. As the Minister of Health I must find out why. You can help me.”

Apparently he believed she would accept without question but it wasn’t going to happen. Just the idea of getting on a plane made her shudder. She could not and would not pick up her entire life and move to a strange country. “I can go.”

“Is there a husband or boyfriend keeping you here?”

“No.”

“Then why not?” He watched her too closely.

“I don’t fly.”

His silent steady examination lasted a heartbeat too long. “Ever?”

“More like never.”

“You would be taking my private plane. Every luxury would be afforded you. All I ask is that you come and have a look at our facility. Then you could decide.”

Laurel appreciated him thinking so highly of her but she had no interest in going to Zentar. She wasn’t a daring person. Her work, her life, was here. She stood and he did as well. “Thank you for the offer but I cannot accept. So I really shouldn’t waste anymore of your time. If you will excuse me, I need to get back to my lab now.”

The prince’s lips thinned and his eyes were emotionless again, more telling than if they had held some. She’d just refused a man who was used to getting his way. It took a great deal of willpower, but she stepped between the chairs into his personal space. A whiff of his citrus aftershave tickled her nose. A shiver ran along her spine as she hurried to the door. She was unsure if her body’s reaction was in response to his close proximity or from the anger gusting off him.

“Dr. Martin.”

Laurel turned.

In a low, even voice he informed her, “Just so you know, I make a point of getting what I want.”

 

That evening in his hotel suite Tariq poured himself a finger of whiskey.  Perplexed, he pondered where his interview with Dr. Martin had gone awry. The nondescript slip of a woman had refused him! He was both irritated and impressed. In his world, few if any people told him no, yet a wallflower doctor who lived most of her life closed up in a glass room laboratory had done so. He was confounded. What had gone wrong in the meeting he’d so carefully planned?

Leaning back in his chair, he stretched his legs out and crossed them at the ankles, swirling the transparent copper-colored liquid in his glass. He’d done his homework. In fact, he’d even called a couple of research facilities to verify she was the person he should focus his efforts on. It never occurred to him she would turn down his offer. What research scientist wouldn’t want to head their own lab and have access to all the research money they wanted? Apparently he had overlooked some pertinent fact about Dr. Martin. He didn’t have a Plan B formulated but by evening’s end he would. He wanted Dr. Martin in Zentar and he would have her.

After his brother’s death from a car accident, Tariq had taken over the responsibility of his sister-in-law’s and Roji’s welfare. Tariq would give anything to have Roji grow up with his father there. That wouldn’t happen now, but if Tariq had anything to do with it no more of his family would have to endure what Roji would. The future members of the royal family would be free of hemophilia. The cure was out there and he’d built a lab to find it in. Now he needed the right person to lead it, and that was Dr. Martin.

He would never put a wife and child in the same position as Zara and Roji. Despite being the only male in his family that did not have hemophilia he refused to take the chance on having a family. He didn’t deserve one when the others had to deal with the disease. As a doctor he understood that the ailment was thought to be passed by the female. What if he picked the wrong woman? He already lived with enough guilt.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

It’s a Lot of Work to Have Fun

By Susan Carlisle

Every year for the past twenty-five years my family has gone snow skiing. Some family’s go to the beach for a week but mine goes to the cold, wet stuff. I decided when my children were young that I wasn’t going to hear when they were teens that they didn’t want to go on vacation with the family. I made a point to find something that we all could enjoy no matter what our age. In the winter, we snow ski and the summer we go to the lake.

ski1

It has worked. I have no trouble getting them to load up to go. Of course I do pay for the place to stay but I would do that wherever we went. I am now taking the third generation. My grand kids have learned to ski. I fully expect them to out ski me this year.

The thing is that to have all this fun it takes a lot of work to get ready. There are skis to see about. Boots to make sure are in good repair and the food – we have to pile it high to get it up the mountain. A week ago my daughter and niece started texting about the menu. We each have a day to cook. I like that. I used to do all the food. Now I’m more along for the ride. The benefits of getting older.

This week there will be fourteen of us. That includes my mother who is 83, three children under the age of 3 and my niece is seven months pregnant. The fun will have begun. These times are what great memories are made of.

All the work will be worth it.

What does your family do together for fun?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Hot Docs!

Hot Single Docs – Part 2

by Karin Baine and Susan Carlisle

2 in 1

It is Susan here.

In the last couple of posts you’ve heard from Annie and Annie about our join quartet called Hot Single Docs. And they’re really hot – promise. We had great fun creating the fictional island off the coast of Boston. We spent a lot of time laughing and comparing notes about the world. I hope all our readers enjoy our stories as much as I did being a part of the experience.

Karin and I are giving away a copy of our books (both to same person) to one lucky person who comments.

nurse to forever mom

Could a temporary arrival…

Lead to a forever mommy? 

In this Single Dad Docs story, Maple Island Clinic founder Dr. Cody Brennan is committed to protecting himself and his two little girls from any more heartbreak. But vibrant temp nurse Stacey Ryder challenges him and their emotional connection slips past his defenses. As Stacey’s time at the clinic draws to an end, can Cody and his daughters convince her she’s the one they’ve been waiting for?

 

A note from Karin. 

One of the best things about being a writer is getting to build the world around your characters. The only thing better than that is teaming up with fabulous authors who all contribute to bring that community feeling to that fictional setting.

I am so honoured that Annie O’Neil, Susan Carlisle, and Annie Claydon allowed me to be a part of the ‘Hot Single Dads’ medical series. We built an entire island, complete with rehab centre and broken-hearted, hunky doctors via emails and photographic inspiration.

My Spanish surgeon, Rafael Valdez, came into existence some time ago during a conversation with a couple of friends about a handsome Triathlon Dad. Add in one gorgeous daughter he’s devoted to and I hope readers will fall in love with him as much as I did!

9781335641373

Will their new-found love…
Lead to an island wedding?

In this Single Dad Docs story, aristocratic surgeon Rafael Valdez might be the heartthrob of Maple Island, but he only has eyes for one girl—his daughter Gracie! Until child life specialist Summer Ryan helps Rafael realise he doesn’t have to cope with the special care Gracie needs alone. Can he convince Summer there’s room in his life—and in his heart—for her too?

I don’t think you’ll want to miss any of these 4 books.

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Christmas Movies

by Susan Carlisle

I’m addicted to Christmas movies. There I have said it. This year it seems like they have been on for six months. Hallmark showed them in July and started again with new ones in late October. Even the Lifetime Channel is getting into the act more heavily. Their movies are a little edger than Hallmark, but very good. I have to admit I have seen all of them on both channels. If I didn’t get to see them the night they debuted then I caught the reruns during the week. Some of the movies I have seen over and over throughout the years. It is hard to beat a good romance at Christmas.

ChristmasjoyI have to say, I was super excited to see my friend, Nancy Naigle’s book come to life in Christmas Joy. It was well done and the characters were wonderful. She also got a shout out in another movie where the character was working in a book store and made a suggestion to a customer about what book to buy.

On Christmas Eve one of my every favorite people and author, Caro Carson’s book-to-movie will be showing on UPtv and SuperChannel. Hometown Holiday should be great. I will be watching.

It’s exciting to see romances being turned into movies.

If you are looking for a Christmas book to read during the holidays I happen to have one for you.

Santa Daddy

When a small-town mom…

Falls for a big-city doc…

Nurse Lauren Wilson is used to doctors coming and going in her Oklahoma town — and doesn’t expect prestigious Boston doc Paxton Samuels to be any different. Until they’re snowed in together and their sensual tension reaches boiling point! But knowing Paxton is due to leave after the festive season, can Lauren risk giving him her heart and her little boy a daddy for Christmas?

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

How do you feel about Christmas movies?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A Daddy Sent by Santa

Read an excerpt below. out now.

Santa Daddy

Paxton Samuels’ decision to leave Boston had been calculated. Volunteering for the temporary medical position in western Oklahoma hadn’t given him pause. It was his ticket out of the emotional nightmare his life had become. He needed this change in scenery, some privacy. Desperately.

With his experience and training in emergency care and family practice, the temp job was a perfect fit for him. That it was halfway across the country from Boston only added to its appeal. Still he’d not anticipated driving through a blizzard at the end of November in the middle of nowhere. He’d been prepared for culture shock but not this blowing snow and endless road. The unexpected brutal weather notwithstanding, the move was well worth the effort.  It got him away from his parents’ demands as well as the media’s fascination with the spectacular failure of his wedding, which had been hailed as the ‘social event of the year’.

He searched the empty plain of white for any sign of civilization but only spotted an occasional tree. According to his GPS, Last Stop, Oklahoma, should only be a few miles ahead. Visibility was becoming so bad he had thoughts of pulling over until it improved. Still he couldn’t shake the worry that if he did the rapid snow accumulation would strand him. He had to push on.

Moments later the terrain rose enough to obscure the road ahead. Paxton topped the small rise and instinctively stomped the brakes. The back end of his sports car fishtailed. He yanked his foot off the brake, steering the car into the spin, the vehicle straightened. In control again, he slowed to a stop and surveyed the wreckage before him. Blocking the road was a huge combine tractor laying on its side, a truck smashed against it.

His job as local doctor was starting sooner than anticipated.

Paxton parked on what he guessed was road, making sure two of his tires remained on the pavement. Locating his cell home, he called 911. The dispatcher answered and he reported the wreck, its location, and that he was a doctor.

“Help is on the way,” the dispatcher said and ended the call.

Opening the door, Paxton shuttered at the bone-cutting blast of wind and snow that assaulted him. He snatched his heavy wool overcoat from the front passenger seat and jerked it on. Reaching in again, he pulled out his medical bag. Pushing the door closed with his hip, he shoved his unused hand into a coat pocket and lowered his head against a biting gust. His toes curled in his shoes in an effort to generate heat as he trudged toward the accident.

Reaching the pickup truck, he skidded across a patch of black ice doing a little twist and turn before he smacked his hand against the truck to catch himself. When his feet were firmly beneath him, he worked his way to the cab and peered through the driver’s side window.

The man inside was slumped forward, his head against the wheel. Paxton knocked on the glass. The man moved slightly but didn’t straighten. Grabbing the door handle, Paxton pulled it open and touched the man’s shoulder. In a firm but caring tone he asked, “Hey, are you okay?”

The man moaned and attempted to sit up.

“Easy.” Paxton griped his shoulder to hold him in place. “Don’t move. I’m a doctor. Can you tell me where you’re hurt?”

“My head.”

“I want you to remain still.” Swiftly Paxton accessed his head injury. Delving into his open bag and pulling out a packaged 4×4 bandage, he torn it free of the wrapper and pressed it over the man’s bleeding gash. “Someone will soon be here to help you. I need to check on the other person. ”

The man muttered, “Okay.”

Making his way to the overturned tractor, Paxton stabilized himself by pressing a hand on the side of the truck. The sharp cold metal was like pins beneath his fingers but fear of falling overrode the pain. What light he had was disappearing fast.

At the tractor cab, he rubbed his hand in a circle across the Plexiglas. From what he could make out there was one young man lying on his side, not moving. Paxton would have to climb up onto the side of the cab of the hulking piece of machinery, then lower himself inside to really asses the unconscious man’s injuries. He studied the tractor. It wouldn’t be easy.

Strapping his medical bag over his shoulders, thankful for the growing wail of an approaching siren, he carefully made his way around to the exposed undercarriage. To get inside he’d have to open the cab door. He examined the bottom workings of the engine for footing. No help there. Even if he could find something to stand on he still couldn’t swing high enough to reach the cab handle. The metal step to the cab was just above his head but not large enough to do him any good. On his best day he couldn’t pull himself up far enough to reach the door.

He looked at the front tire of the tractor suspended in the air. That was his way in. Using the inside rim of the tire for foot support, he hefted himself up on the exposed axel then on to the side of the engine hood. Crawling on hands and knees, he reached the latch. At least the engine was still warm enough to give his hands some relief.

Reaching the door, Paxton kneaded his fingers to get them flexible then tried the handle. At first it wouldn’t budge. Using his palm, he hit it. His teeth clamped together as pain shot through his arm. After one more knock the handle shifted and he swung the door back. Warmth greeted him but soon vanished into the frigid twilight.

He looked down at a teen who still hadn’t moved. “Hey! Are you okay?”

No answer.

The siren grew louder. Relief washed through him. There would be help soon. In Boston he didn’t get tractor accidents so this a new one for him.

Getting on his belly, Paxton leaned in from his waist until he could touch the closest part of the boy’s body which was his thigh. There was still heat there. He was alive. Carefully Paxton pulled himself back. He didn’t need to fall in and cause more damage to the boy or to himself. Sitting on his butt so he could go in feet first, he braced one foot on the side of the seat’s backrest and the other on the dash. Leaning as far forward as possible, Paxton just managed to put two fingers on the teen’s pulse point just below his jaw. It was faint. If the boy was going to live he needed help soon.

The siren stopped. The strobe of the lights reflected off the cab. Help was finally here.

Pulling his bag strap up over his head, he placed his medical duffle on top of the backrest and against the cab window behind his patient so it wouldn’t slide out of his reach. He opened it and onehandedly found his stethoscope. Getting it in his ears, he placed the bell on the teen’s chest. A thrill went through him. A heartbeat was there.

As Paxton was reaching for the boy’s head a voice snapped, “Don’t touch him!”

Looking back over his shoulder all he could see was a face surrounded by a white cap trimmed in white fur. Echoing that command were rosy lips pulled tight, a small flared nose, and wide glaring dark eyes.

 

“Don’t move him!” Lauren Wilson hung over the edge of the cab, using the tone of voice she’d perfected to stop her two-year-old son from doing something that could harm him. She couldn’t have some Samaritan making matters worse. The situation was bad enough as it was. Gritting, her attention zeroed in on the stethoscope the man held. Amazement rock her. It couldn’t be. Luck was with her. “You wouldn’t happen to be Dr. Samuels, would you?”

“I am and I’m glad to see you. Do you have help coming?”

“I’m your help. Name’s Lauren.” He didn’t look too impressed. “I also have Rick with me. He’s a police officer,” she added.

“We’ve got to get this boy and the other man,” he nodded toward the truck, “taken care of. Where’s the ambulance? This fellow needs to be gotten out of here and on his way to the hospital.”

This wasn’t the type of doctor she’d been expecting. Someone older, less attractive. With graying hair and narrower shoulders. There wasn’t enough light to tell if his eyes were light blue or green.

Last Stop’s longtime physician, Dr. Barden, had retired after forty-five years of service. He’d given up on finding a permanent replacement and had settled for coaxing doctors to at least fill in for a few months at a time, yet often there were no volunteers. The town and neighboring area needed a fulltime doctor in residence. Lauren was the only nurse and medical professional for a surrounding sixty miles. She helped where she could during emergencies until assistance arrived, but the town deserved more. Emergency medical aid was too far away in the absence of EMTs or a resident physician.

Lauren looked over the top of Dr. Samuels as his attention returned to the patient. She had no doubt he was just one more young doctor meeting his medical school loan requirements. He would soon be gone. But for now, she was glad to have him and tonight in particular.

Lewis Williams, the teen who was folded against the cab windshield, she’d known all her life. From the looks of him Dr. Samuels was right. They needed to get him to the hospital right away. “Rick,” she called down, “It’s Lewis Williams. We need to get him out of here. We’re going to need lights, blankets, possibly a rope and your help up here. Throw me my bag.” She grabbed it as it sailed through the air. Lauren looked down at Dr. Samuels wearing an expensive looking coat and no head covering. “We need to get his neck stabilized before we move him.”

“I realize that, but I don’t have a neck brace with me.”

“I have one.” She pulled her bag closer. Unzipping it, she reached for the neck ring and handed it to him. He was already working his way around the steering wheel and further into the cab when she said, “Hold on a minute. I’ll climb in and help you.”

The confining space would be difficult for two to maneuver in but it would take both of them properly get the neck brace into place. Fear clutched at her chest as she worked her way inside.

Red-haired, freckled face Lewis had just earned a university scholarship. His future was bright. Now this. He reminded her too much of her husband. Young, smart and willing to work hard for what he wanted. Then to have it all destroyed by an explosion. She was brought out of her morbid thoughts by the doctor.

“I want you to support him while I check his head wound. We don’t need to make any sudden movements that could make matters worse.”

He seemed to be talking to himself as well as her.

“The light is going. And this weather…” He glanced up.

She watched snowflakes settle on his cheeks and forehead. Even in the dimming light, she registered his wasn’t the average man in looks or attitude. The few single young women in the area would be fighting over him. He was still speaking and she forced her wandering attention back to the crisis at hand.

“If we don’t get him out of here we’re gonna have to worry about hypothermia on top of all his other injuries. What’s the ETA on the ambulance?”

“Under an hour from the time it was called.”

He muttered an expletive as his head jerked around. “That long!”

“The closest hospital is over sixty miles away. In this weather…” she hadn’t meant it to sound so harsh, yet it was the truth.

His mouth dropped in disbelief. Because of the distance or her snapping, she wasn’t sure. It might have been comical in any other situation.

His expression went from resigned to determined as he turned back to their patient. “We’ve got to try and shorten that time or this boy may not make it.”

Terror shot through her. Not another wasted life. She couldn’t stand another one of those. He commanded, “Hand me that brace.”

She did, then placed a foot on the side of the seat to support herself as she climbed down further into the cab. By the time she’d gotten situated, he was working the brace around Lewis’s neck with one hand while supporting himself with the other against the cab roof. Using her free hand, she helped him get it into place then secured it.

“Good. Now I want to have a look at his head. At least get a 4×4 over the wound. Can you get your arm around his shoulders and pull him toward you while I lift his head?”

The action would put her in an awkward position, but she would try. Lauren nodded. “Hold on a sec.” She reached in her bag and pulled out a square paper package, put it between her teeth and tore it open then handed the gauze to him.

Moving her foot on the seat to the floor which put her in contact with the doctor from hip to foot with the steering wheel column between them, she was stable enough to reach both arms around Lewis and pull him against her chest.

At the same time the doctor used his hands to support his head. “Good.” A second later he said, “It looks like he’s taken a good shot to the temple. I’m concerned about his brain swelling. He’s still not regained consciousness. You got a blanket in your bag of tricks?”

Just as he said that Rick called, “Lauren, catch.” A blanket fell into the cab. She passed it to the doctor as another hit her on the head.

“Rick, we’re going to need the rope and you up here,” she called.

“What’re you thinking?” Dr. Samuels asked as he tucked the blankets around Lewis.

“Tie the rope under his arms and have Rick pull him out as we push and steady him.”

“Sounds like a plan. He needs to be in a warmer place than this. I need to check for any broken bones.”

“Lauren, here you go,” Rick yelled from above them as he lowered an end of rope to them. “Just got a message the ambulance is still twenty minutes out.”

Dr. Samuels uttered another word under his breath that she didn’t want her two-year-old to hear, or repeat.

She announced, “Rick, it’s going to take us a few minutes to get Lewis secured, then on my word I want you to pull. We’ll help from down here.”

Seconds later Rick was holding his flashlight over them.

“As I lift can you get the rope in position?” Lauren asked Dr. Samuels as she wrapped her arms around Lewis once more.

“Yeah.” The doctor wound the rope around Lewis and tied it off.

“I’m going up to the door to make sure he doesn’t topple over the side as we pull him out.” She started her climb, but her foot slipped. She fell against Dr. Samuels. His body was hard and his strong hands grabbed her at the waist. “Sorry,” she muttered.

“You get a handhold and I’ll help you out,” he ground out.

Once she was on the engine hood, Lauren remained on her stomach, twisted around and grabbed the rope. Rick lay the flashlight down and stationed himself behind her. “Okay, on three. One, Two, Three.”

Lauren wrapped her hands around the rope. She pulled with all her might until her muscles burned with the effort. Between her and Rick pulling and Dr. Samuels pushing, Lewis’s head came over the door edge then his shoulders.

“Wait. Hold him steady. Let me get a hold of him.” Using her legs, she drug Lewis while Rick pulled and the doctor lifted. Lauren kept working until Lewis almost lay across her, his back to her front.

Rick hurried to help her. With Lewis on the engine hood, they rolled him on his side, placed a blanket beside him, and gently positioned him on it before bundling him up and tucking it around him. Cracking all the heating picks she had she placed them along his side then put another blanket around him. Now they had the chore of lowering him to the ground.

Dr. Samuels, with his bag across his shoulders, hoisted himself out of the cab. He must be freezing in his less than suitable clothes, but she hadn’t heard a complained or seen a winced.

With Lewis wrapped burrito style, she grabbed the rope and tied it around his thighs and shoulders. They couldn’t have Lewis slipping out of control.

“This isn’t the first time you’ve done this,” Dr. Samuels observed from behind her.

“No.” She didn’t slow to look at him. “Rick, you ready?”

“Ready.”

The doctor grabbed the rope. “What do I need to do?”

In the dim light provided by Rick’s flashlight and the running police cruiser headlights she could see Dr. Samuel’s fingers were turning dark. He would need attention as well. But that would have to wait until Lewis was taken care of. “We need to keep the rope taut between us as we lower him so that he remains as level as possible.”

He nodded.

“On Three. One, Two, Three.”

Slowly they lowered Lewis a couple of feet to Rick’s waiting hands. Minutes later Lewis was on the ground and she was climbing off the tractor. She had just reached the pavement when she was bumped. The doctor had slipped. Seconds later they were sprawling entangled in the snow.

He was the first to recover. His arms were around her and his face close. “I’m sorry. Are you hurt?”

She blinked. “No.”

“Good.” He scrambled to his feet.

Lauren followed his lead.

“We need to get Lewis out of the elements and see where that ambulance is.” He hurried toward Lewis who Rick was untying Lewis.

“I have the cruiser running so it’s warm. The back seat is clear,” Rick informed them.

As he and Rick carried Lewis around the back of the tractor to the waiting car, Lauren rushed to the far side of the vehicle. Opening the door, she climbed in as Rick laid Lewis’ shoulders on the seat. She placed her arms under Lewis armpits and pulled him toward her. As she did so Dr. Samuels help by pushing from his end. She kept going until the boy lay across the seat. Before she could straighten up, the doctor joined her on her side.

“Let’s get a set of vitals on him,” he said with authority. “Rick, could you see to the guy in the truck. The best I could tell he just has a head wound. I not sure how serious. Also check the ETA on the ambulance.”

The doctor was good with issuing orders, but he had stood back when she’d been the one giving them earlier. Hadn’t arrogantly assumed command of the situation as other male doctors would have done. She appreciated his unspoken acceptance of her as his professional equal.

Lauren went to the other door leaving him room to work. Putting down her bag, she removed her stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. Lewis was so thin there was a chance she could get a reading from his calf. She didn’t want to remove the blankets or his jacket unless absolutely necessary. Instead she pushed at Lewis’s pants leg in an effort to get it beyond his boot top. Succeeding, she placed the cuff around his leg. With relief, she found it just fit.

“His heart rate is erratic. It wasn’t when I first checked,” Dr. Samuels said. “BP?”

“143/102.”

He shook his head. “We’ve got to get him to a hospital. We don’t have time to waste. Can you get a temp while I check on Rick?”

“Yes.”

He disappeared into the night through the blinding snow.

Finding the thermometer, she closed the door to keep the heat in and carefully moved around to Lewis’s head and ran the electronic instrument over his forehead. Ninety-six. The acid taste of panic filled her. Lewis was well on his way to hyperthermia. With a grateful heart and elation knowing no bounds, she saw the lights of the ambulance arriving.

Dr. Samuels came up behind her. “Go help Rick get the other man here while I report to the EMTs. I may need to ride in with Lewis.”

Lauren didn’t miss the concern in his voice or him blowing on his cupped hands. He was in pain as well was her guess. Would he shorten his stay in Last Stop after this adventure?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Susan Carlisle

table

Today is Thanksgiving in America. In the spirit of that, I’d like to share a few things I’m thankful for.

  1. My family
  2. My health
  3. My writing family
  4. The ability to travel
  5. My friends
  6. For America
  7. My faith
  8. My memories
  9. Auburn University

Sheila Thanksgiving Annie O’Neil, an American living in England, keeps the spirit alive in her home.

thanksgiving

The table ready for my family.

What are you thankful for?