Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Her One-Night Secret

Hi All!

Hope your April is going well. For us in the Northern Hemisphere it’s Spring, my favorite time of the year. Everything’s fresh and new. The plants are blooming and growing. Flowers. New baby animals everywhere. Vaccines for COVID finally going in arms. So invigorating!

Plum blossoms from the Japanese Plum trees in my backyard!

Anyway, let’s talk Medicals. My next stories with the line release June 1, 2021 and are my first duet–First Response in Florida! Take two adopted brothers who both work in the medical field (Jackson is a top paramedic and Luis is an ER doc), a Key West setting, throw in tons of sexy, romantic conflict, and one nasty hurricane and you have the basis for the First Response in Florida duet!

The last time I was on the blog, I gave you a sneak peek into Book 1 in the duet, The Vet’s Unexpected Hero–Jackson and Lucy’s story. So, today, I thought I’d share and exclusive excerpt from Book 2 in the duet, Her One-Night Secret. This is Luis and Stacy’s story and it’s full of past regrets, second-chances, and one very special surprise.

I hope you enjoy this snippet from the story, where Stacy and Luis have their first conversation since their one night together four years before. And I also hope you’ll check out the First Response in Florida duet when it releases on June 1st! If you like action, suspense, heat, and happily ever afters, these are the books for you!

Until next time, stay safe and healthy and Happy Reading!

Traci 🙂

Excerpt:

HER FIRST IMPULSE was to feign ignorance, but from the way he’d been watching her this whole time, it was clear he’d recognized her, so what was the point? Besides, the last thing Stacy wanted to do was draw more attention to her past indiscretions, so she hiked her chin toward the other members of her fire crew to go on out into the hall, then waited until they were gone before turning back to face Luis.


“It is.” She forced a smile she didn’t feel and looked him over. Man, he was still gorgeous as ever. At first, when she’d looked back on that night, she’d figured she’d been imagining that thick, curly dark hair, those velvety caramel-colored eyes, the impossibly long eyelashes that most women would kill for. Of course, then, as luck would have it, her own son was born with those same features nine months later, so…


Stacy swallowed hard and did her best to cover her nervousness with chatter. “Didn’t think I’d see you again. How are you? You look well.”


Luis blinked at her a moment, a slight frown lining the smooth skin between his dark brows. “I wondered what happened to you after that night, if you were okay.”


That slight accent of his sent a sudden shiver of unwanted awareness through her, taking her right back to that night on the beach, the stars twinkling above, his strong arms around her, sweet endearments on his lips as he’d moved over her, in her, so careful, so tender, so…


“I’m fine. Great, actually.” She needed air, and space. The walls of the room seemed to be closing in on her with him that close, his warmth and scent surrounding her—soap and sandalwood. Stacy turned fast and pushed out into the hallway, grateful for the bright lights and noise of the other meeting members to distract her. She pointed at her badge and headed down the corridor toward the entrance to the ER. “Captain now.”


“I see that,” Luis said, keeping pace beside her, adjusting his long-legged stride to accommodate her shorter one. Funny how that worked. She was a good six inches shorter than him, but that night they’d fit perfectly together.


Stop thinking about that night. Stop it.


“Are you living in Key West now?” he asked as they passed her fire crew, who were giving her curious looks.


“I am,” she said, leaving it at that. She and Miguel had moved into a nice apartment at a local complex the previous year when she’d taken the captain’s job here after leaving her department in Miami. “And you? Are you still traveling the world on your mission trips?”


“No. Not anymore,” he said, tapping the square metal handicapped button on the wall with his elbow so the automatic doors swung open ahead of them. “I’ve taken the position as head of the emergency department here at Key West General, so I’m staying put now.”


“Good to know.” Actually, it wasn’t good. Not at all. Because if they were both staying here in Key West, that meant she needed to tell him about Miguel. Honestly, Stacy had never meant to keep it a secret from Luis for this long. It was just that once she’d found out she was pregnant, he was long gone, and she’d had no way to get a hold of him. Then she’d had the baby and had to fend for herself, and she’d been too busy working and surviving to consider another trip back down to Key West to search for Luis. Being accepted into the fire academy training program had been a godsend—good pay, good benefits, good exercise and a new, extended family she’d always wanted but never dreamed she’d have. The guys in the Miami-Dade County Fire and Rescue Department had embraced Stacy and Miguel as their own, giving her son all the attention and positive male role models he could ever want or need.


Still, having a father—his father—in his life was important for her son, at least to Stacy. So, no matter how awkward, she would tell Luis. Just maybe when the time and place were more appropriate.


“You work with Reed?” Luis asked as they stopped near the nurses’ station in the bustling ER. “The injured firefighter?”


“I do. He’s on a different crew than mine, but we’re all in the same battalion.” She swallowed hard against the lingering constriction in her throat. “It’s like a big family.”


“That’s nice,” Luis said, turning his attention to a chart the nurse behind the desk handed him. “Your colleague is in for a tough battle.”


“Is there any word on how the surgery went?” she asked, glad for a topic of discussion.


“I can’t discuss the specifics because of privacy laws, but suffice it to say that when I left the OR upstairs, he was holding his own. With luck they got the bleeding under control and we can move on to evaluating his leg injury.”


“Will he walk again?”


“I can’t give you a prognosis on that at the moment, I’m afraid.” Luis continued jotting notes in the chart he was working on. “It will be a long recovery either way. Given the extent of the initial injury, there will be nerve and tissue damage that will take time to heal. Physical therapy and bed rest are definitely in his future whether he keeps that leg or not. It will just depend on what the focus is—restoring strength and mobility or retraining him to use a prosthetic.”

“Will he be able to return to active duty as a firefighter?” Stacy asked, her heart aching for his family and what they were going through. “He’ll have his pension, but I know Reed, and he’d hate sitting behind a desk all day.”


“We won’t know until after the surgery and the ortho consult.” He glanced over at her. “But if everything works out well, I don’t see why not. They’ve made huge strides in technology and many people with prosthetics can do just as well, and in some cases better, than their counterparts without disabilities. That would be up to your department, however, and what the physical therapists have to say once they work with and evaluate him. We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here, though.”


Now that Stacy had a chance to really study him as he worked, she could see tiny lines near the corners of his eyes that hadn’t been there before, and a hint of dark stubble just beneath the surface of his strong jaw. She wondered how long his shift had been, if he had someone waiting at home for him once he was done…

Not that it was any of her business. Nope. She was not looking for a relationship. She had plenty enough on her plate as it was with work and Miguel and now the hurricane heading in their general direction. It was just that if he was involved with someone else, that would add another dimension to him finding out he had a son from a previous liaison. She needed to tread carefully, since the last thing Miguel needed right now was more upset to his schedule. With his mild Asperger’s, routine was the glue that held their little world together. And most of all, she didn’t want her son hurt.


As someone who knew the struggle of being an only child, raised by a single mother, Stacy knew all too well the pain of letting someone in, only to have them walk away or disappoint you. She remembered when her own father had walked out on them. At first, she’d cried and cried, running to the window each time a car drove by their house, thinking it might be him. Then, after a while, she’d turned the pain and hurt inward, thinking it was her fault he was gone. That it must’ve been something she’d done, or if she’d only been better, somehow, her father wouldn’t have left them. Eventually she’d internalized that feeling of never being enough and translated it into constantly pushing herself to do more, be more, hoping someday it might be enough to keep those she loved from leaving.


Stacy refused to have her son experience that same trauma by exposing Miguel to a man who might just as likely disappear from their lives as quickly as he’d arrived. She’d never really explained to Miguel about where his father was, and luckily he hadn’t asked. It had always just been the two of them. Now, though, as he was getting older, she feared the questions would come and, with them, the knowledge that he’d been a surprise baby. But in the best possible way. Stacy couldn’t image her life without her son. He was her reason for being, her reason for getting up every day, her reason for everything.


There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for Miguel, including telling Luis the truth.


Soon. Just not yet.

They stood there a moment, neither knowing what to say, until finally Stacy spotted Reed’s wife and daughter in the hall and seized on her opportunity to escape. “Uh, I should get back to my crew and Reed’s family. Excuse me. It was nice seeing you again.”


“I’d like to have dinner,” Luis said as she was walking away, halting her in her tracks. “To discuss coordination of our protocols for the hurricane.”


Her heart thudded harder against her rib cage. The hurricane. Right. “Uh, I…”


“Stacy,” he said, handing the chart back to the nurse then stepping toward her, a hint of his tanned chest visible through the vee of his light green scrub shirt. She concentrated there and not on his eyes, those too-perceptive eyes that sent tingles of heat through her like fireworks and always saw way more than she wanted to reveal. Like how nervous she was around him. Like how he still affected her, even after all these years. Like how almost five years later and a lifetime of changes apart, her attraction to him burned bright as the sun. “Just dinner. That’s all. How about tonight? Say, 8:00 p.m., after my shift? Unless you have other plans already.”

There it was. Her out. She seized on it with both hands, even as she cursed herself a coward. “Actually, I do have other plans tonight. Sorry.” Namely, mac and cheese and homework with Miguel. “Maybe another time.”


She took off before he could ask any more questions, the weight of his stare prickling the back of her neck all the way down the corridor.

First Response in Florida Duet

BOOK 1:

In the midst of the hurricane…

…will she find safety in his arms?


Vet Lucy Miller is happy with her quiet, ordered life. But when a tropical storm bears down on her Florida Keys animal sanctuary, the arrival of devastatingly gorgeous, yet equally guarded, emergency medic Jackson Durand brings disorder—and desire! He’s there to rescue her, but Lucy suspects her red-hot reaction to Jackson will be much more dangerous than the storm raging overhead…

PRE-ORDER HERE!

BOOK 2:

A return, a reunion…


…A shocking revelation!


Firefighter Stacy Williams knows two things about her return to Key West. Her promotion gives her the security she needs to raise her son, and it will be almost impossible to suppress the memories of her passionate night with Dr. Luis Durand. Almost…until working on the hurricane response team brings an encounter with the tall, dark and nomadic doc! And the chance to make her life-changing confession…

PRE-ORDER HERE!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

First Response in Florida Duet – Exclusive Excerpt

Hi All!

Hope your February is going well. Since it’s currently -3 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -19 in my little corner of the world, I thought I’d share an exclusive excerpt from my upcoming duet for the Medicals line, First Response in Florida.

These books take place, as you can guess from the title, in sunny, warm Key West and feature two adopted brothers–EMT Jackson Durand and ER doc Luis Durand–on their journeys to find happily ever afters, all while battling a fierce hurricane to save their community.

In this excerpt from book one of the duet, The Vet’s Unexpected Hero, we meet Jackson Durand as he’s finishing up a busy shift as a paramedic at Key West General Hospital and rushing to finish his paperwork before a big meeting of the emergency response team ahead of Hurricane Mathilda’s arrival. He’s not looking for love. In fact, he’s a bit of a playboy. At least until a certain neuro-divergent veterinarian asks him for directions…

🤓📚❤️

Excerpt:

Disasters usually had most people running away from danger. EMT Jackson Durand wasn’t most people. 

His rig stopped outside the ambulance bay doors at Key West General ER and Jackson hopped out the back, followed closely by his EMT partner, Ned. Jackson’s adopted brother, Dr. Luis Durand, met them at the entrance ready to take on the case. 

“Forty-one-year-old firefighter with Key West FD,” Jackson said as he and Ned lowered the gurney from the back of the rig down to the ground. “Riding his motorcycle and thrown from the bike, no loss of consciousness on scene. Obvious open left femur fracture.”

The patient on the gurney moaned loud and tried to get up, but Jackson held him in place with a hand on his chest as they wheeled him into the ER and down a brightly lit hall to an available trauma bay, picking up nurses and techs as they went.

“Sir,” Luis said, stepping in beside Jackson. “Can you tell me your name?”

The patient bucked as they transferred him from the gurney to the hospital bed and one of the nurses lifted the sheet covering his lower body to look at the wound. “Reed,” the man on the gurney said. “What’s wrong with my leg? It hurts so bad.”

“Your leg is broken, sir,” Luis placed his stethoscope on the man’s chest and listened before continuing. “Pretty badly, I’m afraid. But we’re going to take good care of you.” He nodded to Jackson then took over his brother’s position at the patient’s bedside. “Okay, we’ve got a good airway here. Good breath sounds bilaterally. Sir, can you open your eyes again for me? Looks like you’re getting drowsy. Reed, can you wiggle your left toes for me?”

The patient screamed then, writhing on the bed. “Arrgh! It hurts, it hurts. I can’t. I can’t. My leg hurts so bad.”

“Blood pressure?” Luis asked the nurse across the table.

“70/40, doc.”

Jackson hid his wince, barely. He felt for the guy. With an open compound fracture of the femur like that, it had to be sheer agony, but they couldn’t risk giving him any pain meds for fear of his blood pressure dropping even lower, which would cause even more problems, including death if he stopped breathing.

“Right,” Luis said. “Let’s give him six units of blood stat.”

Jackson and Ned cleared the area to allow the staff more room to work. While Ned took the gurney back to the rig, Jackson headed down the hall to stock up on supplies before his shift ended. Along the way, he greeted staff as the passed. He knew just about everyone here and had a well-earned reputation as the go-to guy when it came to EMT services in the Keys. He liked being the man with the plan and the popularity that went with it. Mainly though, he liked the control. Hopefully his rep would earn him a coveted promotion soon; he just needed a chance to prove himself.

He entered the supply room and began to fill his kit with fresh gauze packs, elastic bandages, syringes, gloves, and Steri-strips. The neatly ordered shelves were a perfect reflection on his brother Luis, who was the head of this department. Thoughtful, quiet, efficient. Everything in its place and a place for everything. All equal. Yep. That was Luis Durand to a T. The complete opposite of Jackson, who thrived on chaos, quick decisions, and excitement. Always better to keep moving, keep going, because those who fell behind got left behind.

He’d learned that lesson the hard way.

“Hey,” a nurse said, coming around the corner of the aisle where he stood. She was dressed in pink scrubs with a jacket covered in cartoon babies. OB floor. Jackson’s gaze flicked to her face then back to the supplies he was sorting through. She was cute, maybe late-twenties, Asian. He didn’t remember her name, but from the expectant smile on her face, she obviously remembered his. Probably because they’d gone out, had a good time, maybe more. He had a reputation outside of the medical field too.

“Hey,” he said, not meeting her gaze. He wasn’t embarrassed about his flings. He only slept with women who knew the score. No strings, no complications. If they’d been together, then she’d gone into it with her eyes open too. He grabbed a handful of alcohol wipes and shoved them into the outer pocket of his pack, ignoring the hot prickle of her stare on the side of his face. 

When he didn’t say anything more, she stepped closer and smiled, shaking her head. “You don’t remember me, do you?”

“Of course, I do,” he said, concentrating on the zipper of his pack, and thinking maybe it was time to get out of the game. Not settle down, because he didn’t do relationships—get in too deep and all you ended up with was heartbreak and disappointment—but his thirtieth birthday was coming up soon and frankly he was getting too old for this crap. Maybe he’d get a dog or something to live on the houseboat with him. He hazarded a side glance at the nametag on her jacket. “How could I forget you, Susie?”

Her snort rang loud in the quiet supply room. “And that proves my point. I’m Amy. Borrowed this jacket earlier because I was cold.” Heat crept up his neck as he straightened, hiding his wince. “But don’t worry. I’m not offended,” she said, jovially. “We hooked up at the St. Patrick’s Day party at Durand’s earlier this year. The night’s pretty blurry for me too, since we’d both had way too much to drink. It’s all good.”

Right. 

His adopted parents owned one of the most popular bars in the touristy section of Key West, Durand’s Duck Bill Pub. He’d had a lot of good times at that bar, a lot of forgotten nights too. He flashed her a slow smile, hoping his charm might get him out of another sticky situation. “Ah. Yes, right. I do remember you now, Amy. You won the green beer contest and hung a T-shirt from the rafters.”

She shook he head and laughed. “I lost the whiskey duel and ended up having to kiss that gross leprechaun statue near the entrance. Nice try though.”

“Thanks.” He winked and sidled past her. “Gotta go.”

“Of course, you do,” she called as he walked out of the supply room fast. “Thanks for the memories.”

“Bye, Amy,” he called back, glad to be out of the firing line. By the time he returned to the bustle of the ER, his brother was at the nurses’ station barking orders into the phone to what Jackson assumed was the OR. 

“Yes. Fireman thrown from his motorcycle with a known bad femur fracture. Suspected pelvic fracture. I’m also worried he may have an as yet undiagnosed solid organ injury, perhaps liver or spleen that’s adding to the loss of blood. We’ll need ortho to assist for the leg, but my primary concern right now is saving his life. Okay. Yes. I’ll be up ASAP. Thank you.”

“Another busy day in the neighborhood, huh?” Jackson moved in beside him at the counter and placed his refilled equipment pack at his feet. “You think he’s going to make it?”

“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he does,” Luis said, heading toward the stairwell up to the third floor only to be cut off by the man’s family and fire crew. Jackson concentrated on filling out the requisition forms for his supplies while his brother did his best to put the new arrivals at ease. “Yes. Reed has got a bad leg fracture from the accident and we’re taking him to surgery now to repair it and also to make sure there’s not more bleeding internally. If you have a seat in the waiting room, I’ll be down as soon as I can with an update. I…”

His brother’s voice trailed off and Jackson glanced up to see what had cause the rare occurrence. Luis was always well-spoken, always prepared, always on top of things. He had a mild case of Asperger’s, so that kept him constantly thinking, constantly working through problems in his head that usually spilled out of his mouth as well. So, him going speechless was quite an event. But all Jackson saw were the same people as before. A middle-aged woman sobbing on the shoulder of a teenaged boy and girl, who he assumed were the patient’s wife and kids. Behind them was Reed’s fire crew in their uniforms, their fire truck parked outside the doors beside the ambulance, lights still blazing. Jackson recognized the firefighters as they often went on the same runs as EMS, since many of them were trained as first responders as well. Bud Landry, John Cheeves, and Stacy Williams. Luis definitely wasn’t gay, so the guys were out as the source of Luis’ sudden silence. Which left Stacy. 

Blonde, twenty-seven or twenty-eight maybe. Pretty, in a natural, wholesome, beach bunny sort of way. Curvy and cute, and more than capable in the field and courageous as hell. Looks could definitely be deceiving in her case. Luis was staring at her like he’d seen a ghost. 

Huh. Interesting. Maybe he’d been bitten by the love bug at last. 

An overachiever in nearly every facet of his life except the personal, Luis pushed himself hard. Always working, always helping, always growing. He’d told Jackson once it was because his parents had died bring him to the US from Cuba, sacrificing everything to give their son a better life. Luis felt obligated to live up to the legacy they’d given him, one of bravery and selflessness, even if doing so was to his own detriment. It was the one area he and Jackson had in common, but for very different reasons.

Luis’s past was rooted in affirmation and acceptance. Jackson’s in abandonment.

His mother had left him behind at four years old with no explanation and no word since. 

He had no idea why she’d given him, just that she’d left him and deep down he knew he probably deserved it. 

The nearby elevators dinged and broke Jackson out of his thoughts. Seemed to break Luis out of whatever spell he’d fallen under too. He excused himself and shoved into the stairwell like his butt was on fire. Jackson went back to finishing up his blasted paperwork, pushing the painful past away.

Of all the aspects of his job, the bureaucracy was his least favorite. He much preferred being out on runs, saving lives, helping others, protecting those who needed it. In fact, protection was his calling, his reason for being. Plus, being an EMT meant he got in, got out, got on with the next patient, never getting too attached to any one person or case. Attachment—that’s where you really got in trouble. 

Because everyone left, sooner or later, once they saw the real, unworthy, you. 

“Dude, I’m going to take off,” Ned said, clapping him on the shoulder as he walked by, jarring Jackson out of his thoughts. “You need anything from the rig before I go?” 

“Nah, man. Thanks.” Jackson planned to use the staff locker room downstairs to shower and change after his shift before heading to the latest meeting of the local Emergency Response Team in the hospital conference room. He was Incident Commander for this one and if things went well it could lead to him landing the recently vacated regional director spot for the local ambulance authority.

“Oh, wait,” Jackson said, initialing and signing on the dotted lines. “You can take this full pack back with you if want.”

“Will do. I’m going to run down to the cafeteria and get a soda real quick first, then I’ll be back to get it. Sure you don’t want anything?” Ned asked as he walked over the elevators.

“No. Thanks, man. Have a good rest of your shift.” Jackson smiled over at his partner. If he got in and out of the showers fast enough, he’d grab a bite himself before the meeting. Coming off a twelve-hour rotation, he needed time to wind down though before thinking about a meal. “Take your time.”

Jackson flipped to yet another sheet on his clipboard and started on the next form, only half-listening to the drone of the TV in the waiting room behind him. 

“…Tropical Storm Mathilda is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane by the time it reaches the gulf early next week. As of right now, projections are still vague as to exactly where the eyewall will make landfall, but we do expect it to at least brush the Keys on its way toward mainland USA.”

Jackson sighed. Another early August day in southern Florida. They’d been having meetings off and on since the start of the hurricane season in May. Each week a few new faces appeared in the conference room, and the team was rounded out as conditions changed. The Incident Commander’s job was to coordinate all the different team members into a cohesive whole and direct their resources to the areas that needed them most during the crisis. Considering he’d worked as an EMT in Key West since leaving the Coast Guard six years ago, and had pretty much seen and heard it all, it was a task he was well prepared for. Plus, he loved what he did. But he also had more to contribute and being named regional director would give him that opportunity. 

Jackson dotted the last I and crossed the last T on his paperwork then handed it back to the nurse behind the desk, just as a female voice behind him asked, “Excuse me. Can you tell me where the conference room is please? I’m here for the ERT meeting.”

He turned to see a petite, dark-haired woman with a huge, panting golden retriever at her side. The dog was almost as big as she was, with a goofy doggo grin on its face, tongue lolling, and a red therapy vest on its back. Jackson couldn’t resist crouching to scratch the pup behind the ears. “Who’s a good boy, huh?”

“His name is Sam and he’s working,” the woman said, her tone edged with annoyance this time. “Directions, please? I don’t want to be late.”

Jackson glanced back up into her anxious dark eyes. He straightened and gave her a polite smile. “Sorry. I should’ve asked to pet him first. Come on. I’ll show you the way.” He stowed the pack for Ned with the nurse behind the desk then gestured for the woman to follow him. “You’re way too early though. Meeting doesn’t start until three. It’s only two now.”

“I know.” She moved around him and the dog trotted obediently at her side. “I’d rather be early. I always like to be prepared.”

They walked out of the ER and into a quiet corridor leading to the administrative wing. He gave her a side glance, their shoes squeaking on the shiny linoleum and the dog’s leash jangling in time to the clatter of its nails on the floor. Trying to ease the awkward with humor, he joked, “Isn’t that the boy scout motto? Always be prepared.”

“Could be. I really wouldn’t know.” She stared straight ahead, her steps evenly measured to avoid all the cracks between tiles. Hmm. Her cheeks were pink too, and he couldn’t tell if it was because it was hot outside—almost ninety today—or if she was still mad he’d pet her dog. Either way, it was clear she wanted nothing to do with him. 

At the end of the hall they reached a doorway marked with a gold plaque that read ‘Conference Room A’. She gave a curt nod and finally faced him, though she kept her gaze fixed on the dog. “Thank you.”

“Uh, sure.” He slowly backed away, more intrigued than he cared to admit. People liked him. Women liked him a lot. Except for this one. She posed a puzzling challenge, and he did love a challenge. The list of new team members ran through his head as he tried to pinpoint her identity. “I’ll see you later then.”

Confusion flickered across her pretty features and she frowned. “Why?”

“I’ll be in the ERT meeting too. Jackson Durand, by the way. That’s my name.”

He waited for her to tell him hers, but she didn’t. Just led her big old dog into the conference room then closed the door behind her.

Want to read more? My First Response in Florida Duet will be out June 2021. However, you can pre-order now, so they’ll show up as soon as they’re available! Links are below and until next time, Happy Reading! ❤️

~ Traci 😊

First Response in Florida Duet:

Book One

The Vet’s Unexpected Hero

In the midst of the hurricane…
…will she find safety in his arms?

Vet Lucy Miller is happy with her quiet, ordered life. But when a tropical storm bears down on her Florida Keys animal sanctuary, the arrival of devastatingly gorgeous, yet equally guarded, emergency medic Jackson Durand brings disorder—and desire! He’s there to rescue her, but Lucy suspects her red-hot reaction to Jackson will be much more dangerous than the storm raging overhead…

PRE-ORDER HERE!

Book Two:

Her One-Night Secret

A return, a reunion…
…A shocking revelation!


Firefighter Stacy Williams knows two things about her return to Key West. Her promotion gives her the security she needs to raise her son, and it will be almost impossible to suppress the memories of her passionate night with Dr. Luis Durand. Almost…until working on the hurricane response team brings an encounter with the tall, dark and nomadic doc! And the chance to make her life-changing confession…

PRE-ORDER HERE!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Origin Stories

Creative Origins

As an author, I get asked a lot about when I first knew I wanted to be a writer. I wish I had a sweet story about knowing from childhood authorship was my destiny.

My journey, however, isn’t that tidy or straightforward. In fact, it’s a bit more like this:

I’ve had a lot of different jobs before becoming a published author: cashier, bank teller, certified medical assistant, college teacher and program head, risk management specialist, professional ballroom dancer, call center worker, and retail merchandiser.

In fact, up until I wrote my first book at the end of 2011 (after I had a dream that wouldn’t go away until I put it on paper), it never occurred to me to be an author. Now, that’s not to say I wasn’t a storyteller. I was an introverted only child, who always got along better with people twice my age than other kids, so making up tales to keep myself entertained was a daily occurrence. I just never thought to write any of them down.

Honestly, though, given my family history, I probably should have known I’d end up in some kind of creative field. After all, it is in my blood. Both my parents were artists. My mother was a graphic designer and my father was an interior decorator and visual merchandiser. My mom was also a dancer before she married my dad and she was a Rockette back in the 1950s and toured the country with the June Taylor Dancers.

My mom, front and center, in one of her 1950s costumed dance numbers.

Plus, my maternal grandparents were part of a trapeze/high wire act back in the 1920s and 1930s. The Flying Deislers worked for several major circus organizers in the US, including Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey. They also performed for the Roosevelts at the White House and my grandmother was friends with Ginger Rogers. How cool is that?!?

Part of the Flying Deislers trapeze troupe. My aunt, Juanita (‘Neets’) Deisler, left. My uncle, Royal (‘Roy’) Deisler, center. And my grandmother, Georgia (‘Irene’) Deisler, right. Circa 1920s. Uncle Roy later also worked in Hollywood as a stunt man for Olympic swimmer and actor Johnny Weissmuller on the Tarzan movies.
Newspaper article from the 1945 for the Flying Royals, featuring my uncle Roy, center. They changed the name of the troupe after my grandparents left to raise a family.

So yeah. I guess a little of my ancestors’ creative drive was passed down to me, even though I can’t draw at all and you won’t find me swinging high in the air without a net. Nope.

Like I said earlier, I had a dream in 2011 that was basically the plot of my first published book in 2013, Seal of Destiny, a paranormal romance. My mom lived long enough to see it in print and was one of my first beta readers. I dedicated it to her and that story will always hold a special place in my heart. ❤️

My mom and I, circa early 2000s, when I was ballroom dancing. (Thus the fake tan, LOL! 😉😂)

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Season of Light

2020. Wow. 

I gotta say, folks. I’m tired. Mentally, physically, emotionally exhausted. 

With so much happening in the world and everything on fire (literally and figuratively), I feel drained in a way that hasn’t occurred in a long time. Like constantly on edge, with a low-grade anxiety nipping around the edges of every day. Thankfully, I’ve also had a lot on my writing plate, project-wise, since around August, so that’s been distraction and a reason to keep pushing to the finish line. Finally, the last of those projects will be done this week (yay!) and then I’ll have a solid four weeks to myself to just… be.

Of course, as a card-carrying an overachiever, I can’t just sit that whole time. I’ll spend part of it working up a proposal for my next Medicals book to send to my editor, planning out my personal and professional tasks for the first quarter of 2021, doing a new first-quarter budget, and working on a secret writing project that I hope to launch in 2021 under a new pen name. (P.S. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, M/M Romance, and paranormals, stay tuned. 😉) 

But first, though, I’ll be welcoming the return of the light here in the Northern Hemisphere on December 21st. I know, calendar-wise, January 1st is the official start of the New Year, but the Winter Solstice still holds a special place in my heart and feels like the real new start. It’s when we get the first tangible signs that the darkness is leaving, that light will return, that the days will get longer and the nights shorter.  A tangible sign of hope, at least to me. 

And not to put too great a spin on it, but man. I’m ready for hope again! 

Recently, I’ve been spending some time studying ancient Jewish mythology to refill my creative well. If you’re interested in this sort of thing too, I highly recommend Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism. Very interesting and important stuff. 

Anyway, there’s a beautiful legend about creation that says when God said, “Let there be Light” the first light went forth in the form of ten vessels out into the darkness. Those vessels were intended to reach their destination intact, but unfortunately, they were too fragile to survive the trip. The vessels broke apart, sending sparks of light everywhere. According to this legend, our purpose here on earth is to gather those sparks, wherever they are hidden. And when enough of these sparks are gathered, then the vessels will be restored, and the world will be healed. 

Isn’t that beautiful? ❤️

So, in my final post on Love is the Best Medicine for 2020, I wish you all peace and joy this holiday season. I wish you good health and happiness. I wish you love and time with your families and those you hold dear. But most of all, as we careen into 2021, I wish all of you hope. Hope that you find your spark of light wherever it may be, and gather it close to heal this world we live in. 

Until next year, Blessings and Happy Reading!

Traci 😊

 My latest release:

Christmastime with a stranger—

A lifetime together?

Neurosurgeon Maxwell is determined to atone for the one life he couldn’t save…his late wife’s. Set to perform delicate surgery on a king, Max finds himself shadowed by PR director Ayanna. They must work together to keep the king’s case a secret. But when Ayanna temporarily moves in to Max’s apartment, they face a very different type of tension—their undeniable attraction!

From Harlequin Medical: Life and love in the world of modern medicine.

Royal Christmas at Seattle General

Book 1: Falling for the Secret Prince by Alison Roberts

Book 2: Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember by Traci Douglass

Book 3: The Bodyguard’s Christmas Proposal by Charlotte Hawkes

Book 4: The Princess’s Christmas Baby by Louisa George

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Royal Christmas at Seattle General Part 2

Hi All! We’re back!

Falling for the Secret Prince, Royal Christmas at Seattle General, Book 1
Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember, Royal Christmas at Seattle General, Book 2
The Bodyguard’s Christmas Proposal, Royal Christmas at Seattle General, Book 3
The Princess’s Christmas Baby, Royal Christmas at Seattle General, Book 4

Hope everyone is doing well and you’re enjoying the holiday season underway! The first two books in the Royal Christmas at Seattle General continuity are out now, Falling for the Secret Prince by Alison Roberts, and Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember by Traci Douglass. The final two books, The Bodyguard’s Christmas Proposal by Charlotte Hawkes, and The Princess’s Christmas Baby by Louisa George are out tomorrow, December 1st!

Today, the four authors of the Royal Christmas at Seattle General continuity are here to share with you their favorite holiday recipes to get you in a festive mood!

First up, Falling for the Secret Prince author Alison Roberts:

My favourite holiday recipe might sound odd to many of you but here in New Zealand, Christmas happens in summer and Christmas dinner could be a BBQ or picnic on the beach as easily as a traditional roast meal.  There are always plenty of other occasions in the holiday season where this oh, so easy to make salad is welcome, as well, and I should warn you that if you take it to a gathering once, you’ll probably get asked to bring it again the next time.  And the next!  So, here it is.  Enjoy 🙂

Brown Rice Salad

Cooked and chilled brown rice.  2 – 3 cups but quantities are entirely flexible depending on how many people you want to feed.  Just adjust the other ingredients to make a larger salad.

Saute sliced red and green peppers, mushrooms and green spring onions and mix through the rice.

Toast some cashew nuts to sprinkle on top and then add the dressing.

Dressing:

¼ cup soy sauce

1/8 cup olive oil

1 tsp crushed garlic

Squeeze of lemon juice

Next up, Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember author Traci Douglass:

My story in the continuity involves a staff cookie contest at Seattle General and my hero, Dr. Max Granger, wins it with his thumbprint cookie recipe! This recipe was actually a favorite of my late mom’s so I thought I’d share it with you all today.

Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup butter, softened 

¼ cup packed brown sugar 

1 egg  

½ teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 cup all-purpose flour 

¼ cup finely chopped pecans 

⅔ cup currant jelly 

¼ teaspoon salt 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.

Separate egg, reserving egg white. Cream butter or margarine, sugar, and egg yolk.

Add vanilla, flour and salt, mixing well.

Shape dough into balls. Roll in egg white, then pecans. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 5 minutes.

Remove cookies from oven. With thumb, dent each cookie. Put jelly or preserves in each thumbprint. Bake for another 8 minutes.

Third, The Bodyguard’s Christmas Proposal author Charlotte Hawkes:

Turkey and Cranberry Parcels (makes 12) Level-Easy

I usually make these after Boxing Day with the left-over turkey. Also, you can make the puff pastry from scratch but I confess, with two young boys eager to help but with short attention spans, I tend to use shop bought!

Ingredients:

Puff Pastry – 1kg block

Cranberry chutney

Turkey (cut into strips)

Egg (to glaze)

Directions:

Step 1

Preheat oven to 220degC

Step 2

Beat the egg, and cut the puff pastry into twelve equal blocks, each approx. 100mmx100mm

Step 3

Dollop a decent teaspoon of chutney in the middle of each parcel and lay on some of the turkey strips.

Step 4

Glaze the edges of the parcel with the beaten egg and bring together on opposite corners and pinch closed, then also glaze the top. Don’t worry if the parcels opens a little whilst cooking, as it offers a tantalizing glimpse of the filling inside!

Step 5

Put the parcels into the oven and bake for 15-18mins until golden brown.

Step 6

Serve with holiday vegetables or a tasty salad.

And finally, The Princess’s Christmas Baby author Louisa George:

I asked my kids what was their favourite part of the Christmas lunch and they hands down chose this. Funny! It’s the easiest thing in the world to make and I wonder why I only ever make it once a year….maybe I’ll do it more often. 

Pigs in Blankets

Ingredients

8 rashers smoked streaky bacon

16 chipolata sauasges

Method

Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cut the bacon rashers in half. Wrap a piece of bacon around each of the chipolatas.

Place on a baking tray and cook for 30-35 mins until golden. That is it! YUMMY!

Hopefully, we’ve given you some wonderful new treats to try and gotten you in the holiday spirit! We wish you and yours a happy, healthy holiday however and wherever you celebrate and hope you enjoy our stories!

Do you have a favorite holiday recipe? We’d love to hear it in the comments below!

And in case you haven’t picked up copies of the Royal Christmas at Seattle General continuity yet, what are you waiting for? Click on the links below to start reading now!

Revealing his past…

is a risk worth taking!

Dr. Dom di Rossi’s world literally crashes through the ER doors when his father, the king of Isola Verde, is involved in a car crash. Until now, Dom’s royal connection has been carefully guarded. But when Dr. Emilia Featherstone, his old medical school rival, recognizes a previously unseen vulnerability behind his delicious eyes, she unintentionally becomes the keeper of his secret—and his heart!

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Christmastime with a stranger—

A lifetime together?

Neurosurgeon Maxwell is determined to atone for the one life he couldn’t save…his late wife’s. Set to perform delicate surgery on a king, Max finds himself shadowed by PR director Ayanna. They must work together to keep the king’s case a secret. But when Ayanna temporarily moves in to Max’s apartment, they face a very different type of tension—their undeniable attraction!

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

The top of her Christmas list?

A family!

Nurse Kat Steel always wanted a big family, but a childhood accident and her ex’s departure ended that dream—she’s not about to lay her heart on the line again. Until Logan Connors—ex-bodyguard and new trauma surgeon—and his adorable son arrive! Logan’s complicated past means he’s not looking for happily-ever-after, either. Could a little mistletoe magic change that for them all?

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

A pregnant princess…

…and her knight in shining scrubs?

When a forbidden and oh so passionate weekend together leads to a veryunexpected consequence, Dr. Lucas Beaufort and Princess Gigi Baresi find their lives turned upside down. So when a car crash leaves Gigi’s father—the king!—with his life hanging in the balance, she’ll have to decide: duty to the crown, or claim the family, and love, she’s always wanted…

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Royal Christmas at Seattle General Part 1

Falling for the Secret Prince, Royal Christmas at Seattle General, Book 1
Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember, Royal Christmas at Seattle General, Book 2
The Bodyguard’s Christmas Proposal, Royal Christmas at Seattle General, Book 3
The Princess’s Christmas Baby, Royal Christmas at Seattle General, Book 4

Hi All!

In the US today is Halloween, but at Harlequin they’re already gearing up for the holidays! This year’s Christmas Continuity involves royal secrets, dangerous surgeries, and lots of happily ever afters. As the continuity title suggests, the four stories take place in the beautiful city of Seattle, Washington and span November through December.

The first two books in the series, Falling for the Secret Prince and Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember, are out tomorrow, November 1st! With the second two books, The Bodyguard’s Christmas Proposal and The Princess’s Christmas Baby, out December 1st!

So, today, we thought we’d kick off the festive holiday season a bit earlier, to celebrate the launch of this great series, and have each of our four authors share one of their favorite holiday traditions!

We start off with Alison Roberts, author of Falling for the Secret Prince:

I found it difficult to pick just one holiday tradition as my favourite.  Some are long gone – like enlisting the help of my pet donkeys to sprinkle authentic looking reindeer droppings on my lawn during the night on Christmas Eve, near the overturned water bucket and half-eaten carrots.  And the return letter from Father Christmas (complete with sooty smudges) that got taped to the chimney.  The one that never gets old, however, is the collection of Christmas decorations that I’m still adding something to almost every year, and the way it makes decorating the tree so special.  There are way too many to mention but some spring to mind instantly, like the little wooden bells made from an olive tree that I bought in Bethlehem forty years ago and a felt angel sitting on a cloud that my daughter made when she was about seven.  Some little Santas that look like they’re made out of icing sugar are the most recent and were found in a Christmas shop in Berlin when I was there with a writer friend last year.  My tree is definitely not coordinated or sophisticated, it’s a riot of colour, shapes, lights and memories.  And I love it to bits…

Next up, me! Traci Douglass, author of Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember:

My favorite holiday tradition starts with Thanksgiving Day here in the US. I always get up early to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, followed by the National Dog Show. Then it’s on to a huge dinner with family then back home to nap and do a bit of online shopping for Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving is the day I put up my Christmas decorations, both indoor and out. A tree with ornaments collected for a lifetime and some treasured ones that have been passed down for generations, my nativity scene, and lots of lights and wreaths. Gets me in the holiday mood every year!

Third, we welcome Charlotte Hawkes, author of The Bodyguard’s Christmas Proposal:

Don’t be shocked but I confess that I don’t think I have any real holiday traditions! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed a glorious childhood with wonderful parents, but their respective work meant that winter was always exceptionally busy. Christmas was less of a ‘jolly’ time, and more of a looming-deadline-in-the-middle-of-chaos time. Before I went to boarding school, I spent more December evenings that I care to remember stamping thousands of customers’ Christmas cards and putting them in envelopes, whilst a Christmas tree was hurled up at the last minute (on more than one occasion that meant late on Christmas Eve).

So, since their retirement, my parents and I (and I shouldn’t forget my eternally patient husband) have loved nothing more than making new memories, most of which revolve around my two boys! My favourite new ‘tradition’ has to be getting both boys to bed early, waiting for them to fall asleep, and then creeping into their room to stick a little Elf door on the chimney breast in their bedroom. I then wake them up for a late night ‘toilet’ break and we all gasp with delight as they spot the faint glow from the tiny door and realise Father Christmas and his helpers must be close! I’m enjoying this new ‘tradition’ whilst I can; I know only too well that my boys will soon be too old for it!

And last, but certainly not least Louisa George, author of The Princess’s Christmas Baby:

Since emigrating across the world 18 years ago we have gradually got used to a ‘hot’ Christmas in New Zealand. However, I am not used to firing up the barbecue and grilling prawns/meat for our Christmas lunch as my fellow Kiwis do. Every year you will find me in the kitchen cooking the full turkey and trimmings with Christmas cracker hats, crisp tablecloth and linen napkins, just as my mother and grandmother before me did in our little kitchen in Yorkshire…as the oven is on for hours I have to have fans on full, all windows open and regular supplies of mimosas to keep me cool but I am determined to pass on my family traditional lunch to my kids. The only concession I make is for us to eat outside!

What are your favorite holiday traditions? We’d love to hear them. Please comment below and let us know!

We’ll be back next month to share our favorite holiday recipes. Until then, don’t forget to order your copy of the Royal Christmas at Seattle General continuity. Just click on the links below to start reading today!

Revealing his past…

is a risk worth taking!

Dr. Dom di Rossi’s world literally crashes through the ER doors when his father, the king of Isola Verde, is involved in a car crash. Until now, Dom’s royal connection has been carefully guarded. But when Dr. Emilia Featherstone, his old medical school rival, recognizes a previously unseen vulnerability behind his delicious eyes, she unintentionally becomes the keeper of his secret—and his heart!

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Christmastime with a stranger—

A lifetime together?

Neurosurgeon Maxwell is determined to atone for the one life he couldn’t save…his late wife’s. Set to perform delicate surgery on a king, Max finds himself shadowed by PR director Ayanna. They must work together to keep the king’s case a secret. But when Ayanna temporarily moves in to Max’s apartment, they face a very different type of tension—their undeniable attraction!

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

The top of her Christmas list?

A family!

Nurse Kat Steel always wanted a big family, but a childhood accident and her ex’s departure ended that dream—she’s not about to lay her heart on the line again. Until Logan Connors—ex-bodyguard and new trauma surgeon—and his adorable son arrive! Logan’s complicated past means he’s not looking for happily-ever-after, either. Could a little mistletoe magic change that for them all?

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

A pregnant princess…

…and her knight in shining scrubs?

When a forbidden and oh so passionate weekend together leads to a veryunexpected consequence, Dr. Lucas Beaufort and Princess Gigi Baresi find their lives turned upside down. So when a car crash leaves Gigi’s father—the king!—with his life hanging in the balance, she’ll have to decide: duty to the crown, or claim the family, and love, she’s always wanted…

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember

Hi All!

Halloween is still two weeks away here in the US, but my next release comes out November 1st and is part of the Royal Christmas at Seattle General holiday continuity this year! Stay tuned because we’ll have much more on this amazing four-book series over the next several weeks, but…

To whet your appetite, I thought I’d share an exclusive excerpt from my book with you today, because yeah. It’s 2020 and who can’t use a bit more holiday magic in their lives right now, eh?

(Oh, and if you’d like to pick up a copy, it’s available for pre-order at the link below.)

Enjoy…

Max and Ayanna

Excerpt:

Excerpt (Ayanna’s just finished giving Max a tour of her childhood home after Thanksgiving dinner):

“That’s basically it, I’m afraid.” They went back out to the loft and sat on the loveseat against the wall. It was cozy nook, far enough back from the railing that it couldn’t be seen from below. Ayanna toed off her shoes and tucked one stockinged foot beneath her, resting her elbow against the back cushion to face him. “There’s a deck out back, but since it’s raining now, we should probably wait on that.”


“Agreed.” He stifled a yawn. Between all the food he’d eaten and the ease of being around Ayanna and her family today, he felt sleepy. After pushing himself non-stop for the past two years since his wife’s death, it was a welcome, unexpected relief. “Thank you for the tour.”


“Thank you for coming.” She’d gone with jeans and a sweater, the same as him, though hers was a light pink color and fuzzy. He wondered if it felt as soft as it looked and damn if that didn’t set the blood singing in his veins again. Guard down and unable to resist, he reached over and took her hand, the way he’d been wanting to for what felt like forever. Her dark eyes widened and her lips parted slightly as he leaned in once more until her warm breath fanned his face. Max wasn’t sure what he was doing, only that it felt necessary, like if he didn’t kiss her right then, he’d be missing out on something precious. All the guilt, all the anger, all the darkness that had haunted him disappeared in that moment until there was only now, only them, only this kiss.


He half expected her to pull away again, but this time she didn’t. Time seemed to slow. Then his lips brushed hers and the rest of the world fell away. Her breath caught and he pulled back. A dull voice in the back of his head warned him to be careful, to slow down, this was all too much too soon. But then Max saw those soft lips of hers parted and ready and he was lost.


His mouth brushed hers again and Ayanna groaned low in her throat. Her hand slid into the hair at the nape of his neck, holding him close, pulling him tighter against her as if she felt the same rush, the same urgency. She gasped and he took advantage, sweeping his tongue inside to taste her—cinnamon from the sweet potatoes and decadent temptation—and he couldn’t get enough. It had been too long since he’d held someone close, since he’d felt their heart race alongside his, since he’d heard their tiny mewls of need, since…

The sound of a clearing throat had them springing apart fast.

Release Date: 11/1/2020
Publisher: Harlequin/Mills & Boon Medical Romance
Tropes: Opposites attract, Forced proximity, Holiday Romance
Blurb:
Christmastime with a stranger—

A lifetime together?

Neurosurgeon Maxwell is determined to atone for the one life he couldn’t save…his late wife’s. Set to perform delicate surgery on a king, Max finds himself shadowed by PR director Ayanna. They must work together to keep the king’s case a secret. But when Ayanna temporarily moves in to Max’s apartment, they face a very different type of tension—their undeniable attraction!

“Don’t miss out on this sweet,funny, passionate romance that will have you feeling all warm and cozy.” ~ Clara A., Goodreads

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Traci 🙂

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Happy Birthday to me! Here’s a gift for you! 🎁

Hi All!

September is one of my favorite times of the year, and not just because it’s my birthday month. (We won’t say which one because I stopped counting at 21… LOL! 😉) I love Fall. Spring too, but Autumn just feels so cozy and comfortable and warm, like a favorite pair of slippers and a good cup of tea. Or a wonderful book that you read over and over again.

So, as a gift to you, there’s a very special sale on one of my sweet romance titles with Entangled Bliss, WORTH THE WAIT ! The special price doesn’t technically start until this coming Monday, 9/14, but many retailers drop them ahead of time, so keep checking to get this great deal! 🤓📚

For a limited time, (9/14-9/21), this book is on sale for just $0.99!

I love Alex and Mandy’s story for so many reasons. It’s funny and sweet and touching and heartbreaking and healing, all rolled into one. I started writing this book shortly after my mom passed away in 2013 and it became a way for me to work through some of the overwhelming feelings of loss and love and fear that I was going through at the time. It took seven years and many different sets of revisions to get it ready for the world, but I’m so happy with how it turned out. If you like small-town romances with brooding, wounded heroes and spunky, smart heroines who just keep on going despite the odds stacked against them, then this is the story for you. I’ve included a short excerpt for you below as well, to whet your whistle… 🥰

Be sure to get your copy at the special low price of just $0.99 HERE before it’s gone! (And be sure to let me know how you liked the book too, once you’ve read it. #ReviewsAreLove ❤️)

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Traci 😊

GET YOUR COPY TODAY before it’s too late!

Publisher: Entangled Bliss

Release Date: 3/9/2020

Tropes: Second-Chance, Forced Proximity, Opposites Attract

Blurb:

Mandy Reynolds needs a reset on life in so many ways. Her acting career isn’t exactly where she’d hoped it to be. She can’t even get a job as a germ for a commercial. When she inherits half a house she sees it as a sign and heads home to Heavenly Falls, Illinois. She’ll sell the house, and use the money to take her career to the next level in Los Angeles. That is if she can convince her hard-headed––and stupidly gorgeous–– ex-stepbrother, Alex Noonan, to sell fast. The last time Alex saw Mandy, she was a gangly teen, who followed him around like a sad puppy. But she’s grown into a smart and funny woman, who is as frustrating as she is beautiful. The fact that they have to live in the house––together––while they fix it up, is one temptation he doesn’t need. And while he’s having fun spending time with her, she’s moving on soon, and he needs time to heal. Plus, she has no idea he’s got a secret that could put a monkey wrench in all of her plans…

Short Excerpt:

She took a deep breath then turned slowly to find him watching her from across the room. He 

looked as off-kilter as she felt. Butterflies swarming in her empty stomach, she searched for some way past the awkward. “So…”

“So,” Alex said, pushing to his feet, and for a breathless second, she thought he would stride across the kitchen and sweep her into his arms for a romance novel cover-worthy ravishing. The idea buzzed through her, setting all her nerve endings alight. But instead, he turned and headed out into the hall, saying as he went, “Staining.”

Huh? Mandy blinked after him, wondering what the heck he was talking about until she remembered the cans he’d brought up from the basement. Being busy was better than standing around thinking about Alex and his almost-kiss, so she trailed after him, asking, “Need any help?”

He stopped at the bottom of the stairs, hands full of cans and brushes. “I guess.”

“Cool.” 

They headed up to the second floor and knelt side by side at the railing. He poured stain into two small cups and handed her one. Mandy moved to the opposite end of the railing to start on a baluster, doing  her best to focus on the task at hand and not the man at the other end of the railing.  They worked their way back toward the middle and each other and once they were done, Mandy sat back on her heels, her stomach growling as the smell of garlic and roasting chicken drifted up from the kitchen. She sighed and set her cup of stain aside to wipe her hands on a piece of paper towel. “I should go check the food.”

Alex squinted at the baluster he was finishing. “I’m sorry.”

For a moment, Mandy thought she’d misheard him. “For what?”

He sighed and met her eyes at last. “For whatever that was downstairs in the kitchen. I shouldn’t have tried to kiss you.” Then he shook his head, staring down at the paintbrush he was cleaning. “I’m sorry.” 

“It’s okay,” she said, trying to play it off with a joke. “I mean after you asked me if I wanted to sleep with you, a kiss seems pretty innocent, right?”

Alex looked up at her. “This isn’t funny.”

Her shoulders slumped. “Well, not exactly the end of the world, either. I mean, we’re both adults. We like each other. We want each other. What’s wrong with that?” Then because she knew exactly what was wrong with that whole scenario, she kept on talking so she wouldn’t have to listen to him tell her he didn’t want her. “I’m kidding. We can’t sleep together. It’s too complicated. We each have our own plans for the future and neither of them involves the other. You’re staying here and I’m going to California. Who cares if the chemistry between us is off the charts? I mean, I feel it, but maybe you don’t. I just…” She stopped and took a breath, out of words at last, her hopes sinking along with her voice. “I’m sorry, too.” 

Alex set his brush aside and sat back against the wall. “We make quite a pair, don’t we?”

Mandy gave a sad little snort, settling in beside him. “We do.”

Their shoulders pressed together, and warmth spread through her side from the touch. Man, she had it bad for this guy, and that wasn’t good. 

He exhaled slowly then looked over at her. “And you don’t have anything to be sorry for.”

“Neither do you,” she said, raising her head to meet his gaze, 

Alex reached over to trace his fingers down her cheek. “You’ve got stain on your face,” 

“Oh.” Her breath caught at the wonder in his touch. “Wouldn’t want to look silly.”

“No.” He closed the gap between them at last. “Hate it when that happens.”

The first brush of his lips against hers felt featherlight, tentative, teasing. Then she groaned and slipped her fingers through his hair, pulling him closer, and he deepened the kiss, no longer gentle as she swept his tongue between her lips to taste him for the first time.  She scrambled onto his lap, unable to get enough, her chest pressed to his, heart to heart, their pulses thumping together, strong and steady. 

Kissing Alex was too much. Kissing him would never be enough.

Kissing him was…

Over.

Reviewers are loving WORTH THE WAIT:

“Worth the Wait is a FANTASTIC romance with a “stuck together” trope! This author never disappoints.” ~ Miss W Book Reviews
 
“Worth the Wait, by Traci Douglass (Entangled: Bliss), is just a really very good story with believable and relatable characters and a different kind of wounded hero.” ~ Maria, Goodreads
 
“…a moving, fun, witty and emotional story filled with fabulous banter and a sensual pull… very easy characters to become friends with and I can highly recommend it.” ~ Helen S., Goodreads
 
“All around beautiful romance about falling in love when you least expect it.” ~ Living My Best Book Life

“This was a WONDERFUL book to read and it was very easy to connect with the characters. I would certainly recommend!” ~ Harlequin Junkie, Top Pick

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Together… Apart!

One of the things l love most about being a Harlequin/Mills & Boon author is the sense of family amongst all the authors and editors. Especially now, during the pandemic, when everything seems topsy-turvy and we’re missing the things we used to take for granted, like going to lunch with friends or having a night out on the town.

A highlight of being a professional author are the many conferences throughout the year, where you can meet and mingle with other authors and industry professionals and readers. As with other large gatherings, most (if not all) conferences are cancelled for 2020 and many for 2021 as well as we await a COVID vaccine and news that we can safely attend such things again.

But the team at Harlequin/Mills & Boon made sure that the members on their team, including editors and authors, still had opportunities to network and have a bit of fun–virtually! The first of these happened this past Wednesday with an online Summer Social for all the Medical and Romance authors in the US, UK, and Canada. A separate social will be held this upcoming week for the authors in Australia and New Zealand.

There were about twenty of us who Zoom’ed over an hour and a half this past week and it was lovely! We got to chat with each other from all over the world, have a drink or a cuppa or whatever (depending on the timezone 😉), and even play a quiz–which was WAY harder that should be allowed for a weekday morning. LOL!

Here’s a screen shot of us all during the quiz… (thus the stern, befuddled looks on all our faces) 🤔😂🤣

Screenshot 2020-08-05 11.53.06

Anyway, it was super fun, and so nice to see everyone and forget about the stress in the world right now. They’ve got more virtual events planned for later this year as well and I look forward to attending those too!

For now, I’m back to writing my next Medicals book, a duet about two adopted brothers set during hurricane season in the Florida Keys, and getting ready for my next release with the line, book 2 of the Royal Christmas at Seattle General. It’s my first continuity and I’m so excited to share a world with such talented Medicals authors as Alison Roberts, Louisa George, and Charlotte Hawkes. You can check out the blurb for my book and the amazing cover below. If you enjoy brooding, widowed heroes, smart, savvy heroines, and opposites attract tropes, then you’ll love Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember! 

NCRGif

Christmastime with a stranger—

A lifetime together?

Neurosurgeon Maxwell is determined to atone for the one life he couldn’t save…his late wife’s. Set to perform delicate surgery on a king, Max finds himself shadowed by PR director Ayanna. They must work together to keep the king’s case a secret. But when Ayanna temporarily moves in to Max’s apartment, they face a very different type of tension—their undeniable attraction!

Royal Christmas at Seattle General

Book 1: Falling for the Secret Prince by Alison Roberts

Book 2: Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember by Traci Douglass

Book 3: The Bodyguard’s Christmas Proposal by Charlotte Hawkes

Book 4: The Princess’s Christmas Baby by Louisa George

Until next time, stay safe and healthy and connected and…
HAPPY READING! 😊
What are you looking forward to doing once the lockdown is over? Tell me below! ❤️
Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

All the colors of the rainbow 🏳️‍🌈

Happy June! And Happy Pride Month! 🏳️‍🌈

2020 has been quite a year so far, huh? Fires, viruses, protests. Sometimes it feels like darkness and dread are encroaching everywhere.

But in the midst of shadows, there is still light. 🌈

I’m not gay, but I am an ally to all on the LGBTQA+ spectrum and to celebrate the struggle and achievements of this vibrant community, I want to share my Top 7 favorite male-male romance series reads with you today! 😊

A Charm of Magpie series by K.J. Charles 

Historical Paranormal/Fantasy m/m romance at its best, this series follows Lord Crane, a nobleman in trouble, and Stephen Day, a magician in turmoil. The two are drawn together to solve a number of supernatural cases that could cost them both their relationship and their lives. Lucien and Stephen’s chemistry and connection sizzles off the page. Check them out here!

KJCharles-MagpieBooks-740x226

 

Whyborne and Griffin series by Jordan L. Hawk

Another wonderful Historical Paranormal/Fantasy m/m romance series, this one featuring a more Lovecraftian feel. Taking place in Victorian-era Widdershins, Massachusetts, it follows reclusive scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne and private detective Griffin Flaherty as they battle fantastical otherworldly monsters and fall in love along the way. Click here to see more!

whyborne+griffin+covers

 

Agents Irish and Whiskey series by Layla Reyne

This one is contemporary romantic suspense and features lots of high-octane action to keep you on the edge of your seat! FBI agent Aidan “Irish” Talley and his new partner, agent Jameson “Whiskey” Walker, track down terrorists and slowly succumb to the undeniable, inevitable attraction between them. Read more here!

 

All’s Fair series by Josh Lanyon

I love all of Josh Lanyon’s books (not gonna lie), but this was the first series I read and you never forget your first, right? 😉 Anywho, this is another contemporary romantic suspense series that will keep you guessing as injured and sidelined FBI agent Elliot Mills is forced to partner with his ex-lover, agent Tucker Lance to find an obsessive killer who has his targets set on Elliot. Get more info here!

 

Society of Gentlemen series by K.J. Charles

Another series by K.J. Charles, these Historical romances set during Regency England are rich in detail and brimming with heat and passion as they follow a group of men through a time torn by war, poverty and social unrest. Sounds a bit familiar, eh? Find out more here!

 

Turner Series by Cat Sebastian

These loosely connected Historical romances are delightful romps through the Regency period filled with familiar tropes like opposites attract, hidden identity, and wounded warrior with a unique m/m twist! Get them here!

 

Sins of the City series by K.J. Charles

Yeah, this author hit my list THREE times because I LOVE me some K.J. Charles. Sins of the City is full of pulpy goodness, reminiscent of the Victorian-era penny dreadfuls. With a wonderfully diverse cast of main characters, these books take place in 1873 London and feature, in the author’s words, “…lots of plots, shenanigans, murder, mystery, fog, secrets, and scandals) What’s not to love about that? More information available here!

 

Okay. So, those are some of my favorite m/m reads. Hopefully, I’ve given you some new books to add to your TBR pile or enticed you to take a chance on a new type of romance that maybe you haven’t tried before. I promise you won’t be disappointed with any titles from these amazing authors! 🏳️‍🌈

Do you have any favorite m/m reads? Let me know below in the comments! 🤓 📚

Until next time, Happy Reading! ❤️

Traci 🙂