Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A Small Early Christmas Gift–Under The Kissing Ball

Hello everyone. I wanted to share a little bit of my Christmas novella Under The Kissing Ball. It is out now for only $.99.

A Christmas kiss between friends is simple, until it isn’t… Clarissa Chalmers Simmons’ world is in turmoil. After fleeing an abusive marriage and her divorce, all she wants is to heal and create a calm, safe environment for her children. She’s returned to her ancestral home and the comfort of family, which includes a trusted childhood friend, Roger. She finds him handsome and sweet, but too set in his ways for her taste. With Roger’s encouragement and help, Clarissa takes on a new position in the family business and gains personal satisfaction she’s never known. What she doesn’t plan on is her and Roger’s ‘under the mistletoe ball’ kiss rocking her world. Roger Clarke, is the easy-going estate manager at Hartley Castle and a confirmed bachelor. He has always been there in Clarissa’s background but recently has become her rock-steady confidant. Despite his long-held secret feelings for the flighty, beautiful and willful Clarissa, he has never acted on them. He’s not a suitable match for her. After all he is an employee of his best friend and her brother, Lord Hartley. Even if given the chance, Roger has no desire to become the rebound guy. Despite that, if he doesn’t act on Clarissa’s passionate reaction to his kiss, he might lose his chance of having the only woman who’s ever stirred his heart. This book is a part of the Modern Masters of Their Castle Series.




“You have to kiss. You’re standing under the kissing ball!” Clarissa Simmons’s children Jonathan and Margaret called in unison as they looked away from the video game they had been playing to point at the mistletoe.  

Their uncle’s fiancé, Allison Moore had just explained at dinner the reason she’d hung the ball-shaped mass of greenery in the doorway of the Hartley Castle library, in Hartshire, England.  

Clarissa looked up at the orb and then to Roger Clarke, the estate manager who stood beside her. He’d been her friend, and her brother Ian’s best friend, for almost a lifetime. Roger’s handsome brown brows rose in question. Was he asking if he could or if she would?

It had been over a year since she’d last kissed a man. Her horrible marriage, ugly divorce and impossible ex-husband had soured her on anything related to kissing. Still Roger had been a friend who made no demands. She’d be participating in a tradition for the kids. What could be the big deal about a friendly kiss?

She gave Roger a direct look as if to say “you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” Her eyes widened as he stepped forward. His fingertips lightly touched her waist. Her body heated. That response she hadn’t anticipated.

Her gaze locked with his as his mouth lowered. Her eyes fluttered closed. She had no idea what to expect because she’d never thought of kissing Roger. But the feather brush of his full, firm lips stole her breath and sent her heartbeat flying.

Seconds later his mouth settled over hers and took possession. His fingers gripped tighter at her waist, yet he maintained his distance. Roger’s lips planted themselves on hers as if they belonged there. Her ears roared. She moaned and leaned toward him.

Then his mouth was no longer there, along with the heat that had washed through her. Roger was gone. He had stepped back, creating space between them. 

Clarissa shivered as cool air surrounded her. She took an unsteady step, struggling to keep her knees from buckling. Through a daze, she looked at Roger. His emerald eyes held a yellow flame of fire before he blinked, smothering it. Her gaze moved to his mouth. She licked her lower lip to ease the tingle lingering there. She quaked. What a kiss.

Jonathan and Margaret’s squeals of delight then giggles had her regaining her composure.

She glanced at the kissing ball as if it had some kind of magical powers. Who knew the straitlaced, always focused on business, and in her opinion rather dull, Roger Clarke could kiss like a top-dollar gigolo?

            Her brother Ian Chalmers, Lord Hartley, hand in hand with Allison took that moment to enter the room.

            “What’s all the commotion?” Allison looked to the children.

            “Uncle Roger had to kiss Mum because they were under the kissing ball,” Jonathan offered with a grin.

            Still stunned, Clarissa flickered a look at Roger who moved to the fireplace. He looked into it a moment before he turned and placed his hands behind his back as if warming them. He watched her as if what had passed between them had not impacted him one way or the other. Not even his eyes held any emotion. The audacity of the man. She wanted to kick him. Here she was barely standing with her nerves still shaking as if they were salt in a shaker.

            Allison looked at the kids with a teasing grin. “I told you what would happen if you stood under it.”

            Ian seized the moment to pull Allison into his arms. “You only hung it because you would manufacture any excuse to kiss me.” He gave Allison a quick kiss on the lips.

            Allison giggled. “With you I don’t have to get the kids involved to get a kiss.”

            He chuckled.

            Clarissa enjoyed seeing her brother so happy yet was envious she’d not found that same love and companionship in her life. It had always eluded her. With knees still trembling, she made her way over and joined her children on the sofa. At least with her sitting she didn’t have to worry about collapsing. 

            “Mum, when do we get to open our Christmas presents?” Margaret looked at her with longing, her five-year-old’s patience being stretched thin as seven-year-old Jonathan watched for her response.

            Clarissa looked to the beautifully decorated tree in the far corner of the room. “I’ve already total you, honey. We’ll do that on Christmas Day.”

            “How long to Christmas Day?” Margaret asked.  

            Daring a glance at Roger, she found him watching her. Her heart tripped. His look held hers for a second before it flickered away. What had that kiss been about? She still didn’t understand what had happened in those brief moments. Her world had tipped sideways. Didn’t she have enough turmoil in her life already after the move to Hartley Castle and the divorce?

            Roger said, “What you need is a calendar so you can mark off the days. That’s what my Mum used to use. Have your Mum bring you to my office tomorrow and I’ll let you use a big one I have. You can even mark it off yourself. How will that work?”

            “Can I Mum?” Margaret’s eyes widened with an eager look.

            “Me too?” Jonathan asked leaning toward her.

            Roger stepped away from the fire adjusting his sweater as if he had warmed himself enough. “Of course you may, but Margaret gets to do the marking.”

            “That’s very nice of you, Roger.” Clarissa offered him what she hoped looked like a full-on appreciative smile while not chancing direct eye contact. She’d just managed to get her heart to settle down.

            Fifteen minutes later, Roger excused himself, needing to check on some work before he departed for his cottage.

Clarissa watched his broad back as his long strides took him toward the door. Just a few years older than Ian, he had a few silver hairs intermingled within his dark waves. They gave him a distinguished look that added to his charm.

 She shook her head dumbfounded by the realization she found him attractive. Roger had been in her life for as long as she could remember. His father had been the estate manager before Roger. When his father passed away, Roger had stepped into the role. He was Ian’s right-hand man. She’d followed them around as a little girl. Where Ian had acted irritated to have her there, Roger showed compassion to the girl with no other play companions during her holidays at the castle. Since moving to the castle permanently, their friendship had grown, and he’d become her valued confidant.

She couldn’t get over her reaction to Roger’s kiss? Why had it affected her? Was it because it had been so long since she’d been kissed? Maybe it had been an abnormal occurrence. Her eyes widened. Or had it been because she’d kissed Roger?

*

Mid-morning the next day, Roger checked his emails in his office in the castle without much interest. He groaned. The evening before he’d had to make an excuse to leave the library before he acted on his impulse to tug Clarissa under the kissing ball again. How many times had he thought about kissing her over the last few months? Too many to count.  

At Jonathan’s and Margaret’s insistence he kiss Clarissa, he’d taken his chance. His fascination with her had become as much a part of him as his skin.  

When she’d run away and married he hadn’t been surprised. She’d always been a free spirit, pushing against the structure of the rigid social world Ian had accepted. She tagged along behind him and Ian when they were boys. Younger than them, more than once he had to defend her against Ian who didn’t always want his sister around. Yet Roger liked the joy Clarissa found in life. His seemed so gray in comparison. He found her invigorating.  

As she became a young woman he watched as men visited her at the castle. Just as mesmerizing as the other young men found her, Roger had too. He wanted the same attention she gave them while knowing it wasn’t to be. He was an employee of the family, not of the same position.

He heard footsteps in the hallway. Clarissa and her children were on their way to his office door. Jonathan and Margaret rushed to him without hesitation coming straight to his desk. Clarissa lingered at the door with an unsure look in her eyes.

Had he scared her last night? He believed he’d kept his feelings for her well covered.  Their relationship had always been an easy one. He had no desire for that to change. His gaze met hers as he gave her a reassuring smile. The children stood on either side of his desk chair. They’d been coming to his office at one time or another since they had come to live at the castle months earlier. He lifted Margaret onto his knee as Jonathan moved in close enough that his shoulder pressed against Roger’s arm.   

“Uncle Roger, we’re ready to look at the calendar. What’s a calendar?” Margaret looked at him as if he had all the answers to life.

Roger chuckled. Clarissa’s soft laugh washed through him like warm honey. When she’d first returned to the castle she been subdued and had lost some of that spirit he’d always enjoyed. Slowly it had started to return. Her friendship with Allison had helped. Yet shadows filled Clarissa’s eyes when she believed no one watched her.

“A calendar tells us the months and the days of a year.” He pushed some papers to the side so his large desk calendar could be clearly seen. “This is my big calendar.” He pointed to a square. “This is today.”

“Right there’s Christmas Eve.” Jonathan’s voice rose with excitement as he pointed at another box.

“That’s right. And Christmas Day is the next day.” Roger pointed to the next square.

A hint of a floral smell caught Roger’s attention. Raising his head, he saw that Clarissa now stood on the other side of the desk. He filled his nose with the enticing scent.

She wore a gentle smile, her eyes indulgent.

He returned his attention to the children. “I put out a special pen so you could mark the days with it.” He pulled off the top of the pen and handed it to Margaret. “You can draw an X across today.”

Margaret carefully made a squiggly mark.

Roger pointed to the square with December 19th in it then to Christmas Day. “Now see here, this is how long it is until you can open presents. Jonathan, why don’t you count the days for us?”

The boy stood taller in his importance. Roger grinned as he listened to Jonathan count off the days.  

Clarissa had shifted around the desk as if she were making an effort to see better. He looked at her to find a proud smile on her face. His chest swelled with pleasure as he watched her. He had to admit she had great kids despite their loser dad. Clarissa had done a good job raising them. His focus returned to Margaret. Lifting her off his knee, he sat her on her feet beside him. “Tomorrow, come back and we’ll mark off another day. Before you know, it will be time to open presents.”

Clarissa waved a hand. “Come on kids, we’ve taken up enough of Uncle Roger’s time. I’m sure he has other things he needs to do.”

 “It’s nice to have a break.” Roger stood. That was an understatement. Managing the estate and the additional duties Ian had given him with his new venture of the environmental studio had taken its toll. They had already talked about hiring more help after the new year but it couldn’t happen soon enough for Roger. He’d been drowning in paperwork lately. Add in overseeing the greenhouse construction and Ian’s absence, the stress had started getting to him. Yet he had no intention of letting on. “I’ll see you at dinner, okay?”

Clarissa placed a hand on Jonathan’s shoulder and gave him a nudge toward the door. Margaret followed. Clarissa turned to leave but looked at Roger once more. “Thanks. I appreciate that. This Christmas isn’t going to be anything like the others and it’s nice to see both of them smile. You’re wonderful with them.”

Roger moved closer to her. “It’s not a problem. They’re great kids. I enjoy having them around. I needed the break.”

She glanced at his desktop where stacks of folders and papers were strewn about. “You do look busier than normal.”

“A little. Uh…about that kiss last night.”

Clarissa’s eyes took on a caged animal wildness before she looked away. A hint of pink rested on her cheeks as her eyes darted around. “I’m the one who’s sorry. The kids shouldn’t have put you in that position.” She waved a hand as she headed toward the door. “It was no big deal really. I’ll let you get back to work.”

Roger swallowed hard. His heart dropped. No big deal, she says.

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Pride Goeth Before a Fall

by Susan Carlisle

This was to be my year. The one that a number of things I’d been working toward for years would happen or I hoped for them to happen. For all that time I could imagine the crowd clapping, me receiving my award, even knew what I would say in my speech and then came the virus.

There would be no travel, no events, no spotlight.

This summer Harlequin was to honor me for writing 25 books. I was to walk across the dance floor and be recognized and be given a pin. They did recognize me online and with a beautiful bouquet of flowers but it wasn’t the same being dressed in my painting clothes in my basement office without be surrounded by my friends. Since the day I started writing for Harlequin, I never dream I’d be able to write so many books. I have to admit I am overly proud of the accomplishment. Maybe that’s the major part of the problem. Too much pride.

For over ten years I’ve entered my local romance writers contest called the Maggie. It’s one of the top five romance contests. This year two of my books made the finalist list. I was tickled. After I read the other books in my category, I feared my chances were slim. I was thrilled to learn of my win by a website announcement. Once again there were no crowds, no clapping or spotlight. There went my pride again.

The winner was…

Compared to many people my woes over the year is nothing. I’m tickle and grateful for what I do have. I learned a lesson in being humble, not once but twice. For that I’m a better person. Too much pride can be a dangerous thing.

I now humbly submit that I have two books coming out for the Christmas season.

My indy Christmas novella will be out on October 1. It is only .99

 This one is out on November 1

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Designs on Forever – Excerpt

by Susan Carlisle

Available September 1

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DESIGNS ON FOREVER

PROLOGUE

Mallory Andrews hurried across the parquet floor of the main hall of Ashley Court. She hadn’t expected a visit from the owner, Eleonore Townsend, yet she waited inside the parlor. Mallory clasped and unclasped her hands as her nerves rattled. They’d spoken on the phone, but hadn’t agreed to meet in person. Was Mrs. Townsend there to check on her work, or was there something more going on?

Entering the room, she found a tall, raw-boned woman with short white hair. Wearing a classic-cut navy suit, Mrs. Townsend looked every bit the head of a famous hotel group. An air of authority surrounded her.

Mallory cleared her throat. “Hello, Mrs. Townsend.”

The older woman turned, her lips tight. She appeared to be in her mid-seventies. Her gaze coolly observed Mallory from head to foot.

“I’m sorry you had to wait. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Mallory extended a hand, then, realizing its condition, pulled it back, wishing she’d taken the time to change out of her dust-covered work clothes. “I’ve been painting. Sorry.”

“Hello, Ms. Andrews.” Mrs. Townsend offered Mallory a slight smile. “I’m glad to meet you as well. I’ve enjoyed your updates on your work here. I wanted to see it for myself.”

Mallory released the breath she’d held and forced herself to breathe normally. “I’d love to show you what I’ve accomplished so far. I’m excited about a number of the rooms. Especially the Lady’s bedroom.”

That brought a true smile to the woman’s face. “Then, please, start there.”

Over the next hour and a half, Mallory showed Mrs. Townsend around the hotel, pointing out areas where her renovations were complete, while others still needed attention. Mallory was delighted to show off her pride and joy – the Lady’s Room. Her grandest accomplishment to date. A tingle of excitement ran through her at the idea that this room alone could win her the International Historical Design Award.

The older woman asked probing questions, offering remarks and suggestions. They shared a connection through their love of the Cornishcastle.

As they reentered the parlor, Mrs. Townsend said, “You’re doing an excellent job here. I’m pleased and impressed. You’re bringing the old girl back to her original beauty. Thank you for that.”

Mallory glowed under the praise. She liked that the older woman respected Mallory’s vision. “I’m glad you’re pleased. I look forward to finishing the project.”

“About that…”

Mallory’s chest clenched. Something was going on. Her gaze fixed on the other woman, waiting for her next words.

“The board’s not convinced the restorations are cost-effective. They’re sending an auditor to review your work and the financials.”

“My work’s about more than money. The art and history…” Panic filled Mallory’s chest. She needed to complete this job. Had to. From what she could tell, Mrs. Townsend understood the importance of what she did, the time it took to find quality replacements. “My job’s about detail and research. No one else in my field is as comprehensive.”

Mrs. Townsend suddenly looked tired. “And I agree, but my board doesn’t.”

“Then we must prove otherwise.” Mallory squared her shoulders and gave a curt nod. “When should I expect this auditor?”

“In the next few weeks. His name is Evan Townsend.” She paused, her lips thinning. “My grandson.”

CHAPTER ONE

Two weeks later…

Mallory checked the position of her foot. If she could inch out…

She stretched her arm and extended her leg while maintaining her precarious balance as she moved closer to the top of the chapel ceiling. Her former yoga coach would have preened with pride. Another small twist should do it. This job must be perfect. The tiniest detail needed attention, even if it killed her.

Scooting her foot from side to side until it remained half-on, half-off the scaffolding plank, she reached toward the rosette. A very unladylike word, one her mother would’ve chastised her for, escaped.

She twirled the paintbrush out to the tip of her fingers. Her lips pursed in concentration. The bristles of the brush touched the right spot. She grinned, and blew out a breath of satisfaction.

“There,” she exhaled.

Mallory shifted her weight almost to standing when her balance failed. The paintbrush flew, landing with a thump on the distant stone floor. She grabbed the closest rail, twisting, and landed on her bottom–hard.

A gasp filled the air. She peered over the edge of the board.

An impeccably-dressed man in a suit and tie craned his neck to look at her. She met his gaze. His good looks dazzled her for a moment. She stared.

“Come down here before you kill yourself!” His tone matched that of a coach chastening his players for a poor performance. His football-player-wide shoulders made him look fully capable of catching her had she fallen. “You’ve no business mucking around up there.”

Mallory narrowed her eyes, stood, and swatted at the dust on her pants before starting down. Who was this guy with his curled lip and demanding attitude?

As she neared the floor, the man asked, “Are you Mallory Andrews?”

Jumping the last six feet, she landed nimbly and then moved to stand in front of him. “I am. How can I help you?”

“I believe you’re expecting me.” He quickly checked an expensive-looking silver watch on his wrist. “I’m Evan Townsend.”

He was finally here.

“I’m sorry.” She glanced at the ceiling. Had she missed something? “I was just touching up after the painters this morning and didn’t realize you had arrived.” She offered him her most polite, professional smile before giving her bottom a final slap, creating a cloud of plaster dust. Bending, she retrieved her favorite paintbrush.

The small hairs on her nape prickled. She felt Evan Townsend’s gaze resting where her hand had popped her jeans. Men had ogled her for years, especially when she’d strutted on the catwalk. These days she rarely gave their wandering gazes any thought. So why did Townsend’s eyeing her backside make her heart trip?

He checked his pricey timepiece again.

“Did we have an appointment I didn’t know about?” Her heart revved up another notch as his storm-gray gaze moved along her body in increments. A shiver shot down her spine. His appraisal made her blush like a schoolgirl.

The man stood well over six feet, would be her guess. But his superior manner made him seem loftier. She’d always been tall, growing well above her friends, who had called her “stork legs” in school. But next to Evan Townsend, she looked average height.

“I understood you were expecting me.”

Trying to regain her composure, she volunteered, “I met Mrs. Townsend a couple of weeks ago.” She paused. “She said you were coming, but hadn’t specified a date. I had no idea you would be here today. I needed to check the progress on the ceiling before the workers returned from their lunch break.”

“Can we talk?” His lips tightened with impatience. Irritation seemed to radiate off him. “Now?”

“Sure. Do you mind if we go by my workroom first? I should put this brush in thinner.”

“That’s fine.”

Townsend probably had no idea of the location of her workroom, or he wouldn’t have agreed. Not only had she given him a fright, he seemed annoyed at her for not being right where he thought she should be. To make matters worse, he’d had to come looking for her. They weren’t getting off on the right foot.

As they walked through the arched chapel doors, he asked, “Do you climb around on the scaffolding often?”

Mallory grinned. “Only when I need to approve something. Which is pretty much all the time.”

“Then you should know better than to reach out like that. You almost fell. If you had, you would’ve been seriously injured. Or killed. What were you doing, anyway?”

“Touching up a missed spot.”

He turned his head sideways in question. “Why? No one could’ve seen it from this distance.”

“I don’t skimp. It doesn’t matter whether others can’t see it or not. I do what’s right. It’s not only my job but the foundation of my reputation that no detail, however small, is overlooked.”

“Then you should’ve had one of the workmen take care of it.”

She looked over her shoulder. “Why? I was already up there.”

He put his hand on her arm, stopping her. His eyes searched hers. “As I said, you could’ve fallen to your death.”

Something electric vibrated through her. Partly because of the physical contact, but more from knowing of his concern for her safety. She found it refreshing to have someone other than her business partners and family worried about her. Years had passed since a male had shown interest in something other than her looks. Yet, at the same time he irritated her. He’d implied recklessness on her part. Even though she’d reassured him she considered the tiniest detail of her job important and she spent a great deal of time up on scaffolding.

Mallory waved her hand, dismissing her annoyance. “It’s no big deal. I’m used to doing touch-up work. This way, Mr. Townsend.”

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Our Big Trip During the Virus

by Susan Carlisle

Warning: This is like being invited to your neighbors for dinner and having to see all their vacation pictures.

My husband said he needed to get away. (Thankfully it wasn’t from me.) He wanted to go somewhere. Being a red haired man with fair skin, he cares nothing about the beach. Since it’s super-hot, and the humility makes it feel like you’re always walking in the rain in our part of the US at this time of the year, he always wants to go north where it’s cooler. He suggested Yellowstone National Park. We’ve been a number of times, and even with the virus it’s crowded in the summer time. I didn’t won’t to be involved with too many people with the virus about. So I took his wants into consideration and my concerns and came up with North Dakota.

We had been to North Dakota before, sort of. We’d stepped across the state line just to say we’d been there. But I can now say I have experience it – big time.

All our family and friends asked what we were going to do for a week in a state with nothing but miles and miles of plains. It turns out we found plenty to do. We had great fun finding the unusual and out of the way sites. I have to say that North Dakota is the friendliest place I’ve ever been. The people couldn’t have been better to us. We had an A+ visit.

Below are just a few of our finds. If you would like to see more check out my facebook page.

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This is the State Capital built in the Art Deco style in Bismark. It was well worth the visit.

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This is fort Abraham Lincoln and the Missouri River. General Custer was station here. He took his calvery down to Little Big Horn and didn’t return.

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Miles and miles of wheat growning. This area is call the “Bread basket of the World.” The sunflower fields were my favorite. 

We visited The Teddy Roosevelt National Park. It’s the best kept secret of the national park system. We thought it was amazing, and unbelievably  beautiful. President Rossevelt started our national park system. He thought everyone should have a chance to see the majesty of the US.

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What is the US west without a buffalo?

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The zany wasn’t to be under estimated. This is the wood chipper from the movie Fargo in Fargo, ND

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Road art. My husband is in the picture for scale. This is a family of pheasants. A large family in more ways than one. There are 8 of these type of sculptures along this road.

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Who knew that Rigby, ND was the Geographical center of North America? I do now.

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We also managed to get in a little culture while we were in Medora, ND. It included singing, dancing, and cowboys on horseback all in an outdoor theater with social distancing.

All in all, I would recommend a visit to the US’s least populared state. It had a lot to offer.

Have you ever been somewhere you thought wouldn’t have much to offer and found there was plenty to do?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Welcome Shelley Rivers

Hey everyone! I’d like to introduce you to our newest medical author Shelley Rivers. I’ve asked her to share a little bit about herself so we can get to know her better. Please give her a warm welcome.     

Shelley Rivers

I discovered medical romance when:
I’ve been reading Mills and Boon novels since I was eleven years old. I was sick and bored so my mum handed over the Mills and Boon she had just finished. This was before they were too sexually explicit. And so my obsession with romance began.

I wrote my first story when:
I’m a reader first. Being a writer didn’t enter my head for years. But sometime during my twenties, I attempted to write something loosely resembling a love story. It involved an Italian millionaire, a gorgeous blonde model and hundreds of clichés. It was brilliantly awful, had no plot line, far too short and still holds a fond place in my heart.

Where do you live?
In a house in Dorset, England.

My best trait is:
I asked my family this question and they insist I’m caring and funny.

My worst trait is: I’m sorry but I really don’t suffer any bad traits. 😊 I just have unique personality quirks that may occasionally annoy people.

Five things on your bucket list:
This was hard because I don’t really do the bucket list concept where you make a note of things you want to do at some point in the future. I think it’s important to do the dreams in your heart and not put them off for years. If this year has taught us one thing, I hope it’s that.

Anyway, here are my five things.
1) Travel to Ireland and wander around castles and medieval ruins while dreaming up wonderful historical stories that I will one day write.
2) Adopt more greyhounds. Though this may upset the princess hound I already spoil. My aim is to slip into old age with more animals around me than people.
3) Name an Irish race horse. My dad loved horse racing so it would be lovely to do this in his memory.
4) Tango badly on a deserted beach on a cloudy day.
5) Laugh with a loved one beneath the Northern Lights.

 

Shelley Rivers book

Alex Morsi:
Heartbreaker…or heart-healer?
The lush Dorset countryside is just what veterinary nurse Kiki Brown needs to regroup after her broken engagement. What she doesn’t need is grumpy-but-gorgeous new boss local vet Alex Morsi and the temptation of his sweet kisses! Yet the shadows in Alex’s eyes are all too compelling for soft-hearted Kiki. She’s been let down badly before, but can Alex prove that he’s the man who will always be by her side?
Release date July 2020

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Lake Re-do

By Susan Carlisle

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Two years ago my family and I started updating my mother’s place on the lake. She has owned it for 50 years. The 4th generation is now enjoying it but the cabin needed some attention. Over the years, my mother has made some additions and improvements but more were required. Mother agreed, and I made a list of large and small repairs and changes. This year is the second wave, and most of them take place outside.

During the virus my neice, her husband and their small children have been living at the cabin. They wanted projects to do to keep them busy and I welcomed the help. They have done a great deal of the work and it looks wonderful.

We have done some major landscaping to the front yard. It’s still a work in progress but with the rock, pinestraw and new grass it is amazing the difference that has been made already.

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There has been an addition of a firepit. Everyone thinks it might be the best thing that has been done.

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A new handrail and paint has improved the deck.

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The pier even got a face lift.

The largest change has been the updated screen porchs.

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The best part of all of this is that the next time re-dos need to be done my kids will be doing them all. We are looking forward to the 4th of July and enjoying our hard work.

Have you ever updated a place?

 

 

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Smile and Laugh

By Susan Carlisle

More than ever I think we need things that make us smile and laugh in our lives. I want to share some of what does that for me. These are in no particular order of importance.

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My birthday gift

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A great travel picture

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My family. If you are looking for laughter this is the group to know.

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There is nothing like the satisfaction of receiving a new book.

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A craft turning out extra cute

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Father and daughter celebrating a birthday and the pure happiness on their faces.

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This one made me laugh out loud. What’s not to love about a woman with a great hairdo?

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My fat cat makes me smile because he can sleep in almost any position. Many I wouldn’t have thought possible.

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Teaching a grandchild about something you love.

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Watching Kelly and Ryan each morning. I almost always have a good laugh.

Those are a few things that make me smile and laugh. I believe the saying laughter is the best medicine.

Tell me what makes you smile and laugh.

 

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?