Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Falling for his Best Friend

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by Emily Forbes

They’ve been friends forever…

When nurse Kitty Nelson becomes a surrogate for her sister, her best friend, paramedic Joe Harkness, is right there for her. But as Kitty’s pregnancy blossoms, Joe begins to see her in a very different light! Finally admitting a connection he’s never felt with anyone else, is it too late to convince Kitty they’re meant to be?

This is my current release and it is also one of the books on our  VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY! Don’t miss out, it is running until the 13th February 2018. If you haven’t entered yet here is the link ….

Valentines day giveaway 2018

Good luck and Happy Reading!

If you do miss out here are the buy links for my book:

Mills & Boon UK

Mills & Boon Australia

Harlequin

Other bookstores

And you can keep up to date at my website https://www.emily-forbesauthor.com/

 

 Falling for His Best Friend

Kitty was starting to feel more like her normal self. Her morning sickness was abating and, at twenty-two weeks, she was now feeling like she thought she was supposed to – a glowing, pregnant woman. She hadn’t gained much weight yet except for in her breasts but she felt voluptuous for the first time in her life and it was making her feel very feminine. She knew it was hormonal but she was constantly thinking about sex. She hadn’t had sex in six months, nearly seven, and she was beginning to think she might go crazy unless she did something about it.

And it seemed she wasn’t the only one as she sat with Lisa and a couple of other nurses at the Manly Pier Hotel and the talk turned, inevitably, to men and the lack of good ones.

Kitty was enjoying the evening. It was good to be out and nice to have the focus off the pregnancy for a little while. At home it had become the number one topic of conversation and she was looking forward to talking about the things she used to discuss with her girlfriends. The pub was busy, the line at the bar a couple of people deep. It was her turn to buy the drinks but she didn’t feel like fighting her way through the crowd. Like a knight in shining armour Joe appeared and offered to place their order.

‘You and Joe aren’t an item?’ one of the nurses asked, continuing the conversation as she watched Joe walk to the bar.

‘No. Just friends,’ Kitty replied.

‘With benefits?’ Victoria asked.

‘No.’ She shook her head.

‘He’s hot.’

He did look good tonight she thought although she had to pretend she hadn’t noticed. He wore his favourite jeans, they were her favourites on him too, they hugged his arse and highlighted what she considered to be one of his best features. A white t-shirt hugged his chest. It was a simple outfit but it showcased his body to perfection. He was fit and muscular with just the right amount of confident swagger she thought as she watched him leaning on the bar. His dark hair was casually perfect, he looked like he hadn’t made a huge amount of effort, as if he got out of bed looking like this – relaxed and gorgeous with a cheeky grin for whichever female he was talking to.

She had to agree with Victoria. Joe was hot but she’d long ago taught herself to ignore it. They were friends, first and foremost, and she was too afraid of ruining the status quo to ever test the boundaries of that friendship. She needed him as a friend and she wasn’t going to risk their relationship by blurring the lines.

‘Is he single?’ Victoria asked as they watched Joe return to their table.

‘He’s single,’ she admitted.

He delivered their drinks with a smile, making the dimple in his chin flash and Kitty noticed that Victoria couldn’t take her eyes of him. He didn’t stay, choosing instead to go out to the deck where some of his mates were drinking, and Victoria’s gaze followed his path through the crowd.

All the talk about men and, more specifically, Joe, had Kitty flustered. She couldn’t think about him and sex in the same conversation. She’d trained herself not to and besides, he’d never even hinted that he’d be willing to cross that line in the sand.

But what if he did? What would she do?

She shook her head.

She’d be crazy to even consider it. She wasn’t prepared to risk the friendship of a lifetime for a brief encounter between the sheets. Even if her hormones were going crazy there were others ways to scratch that itch. Kitty drained her water glass and stood up as the DJ played his first track. The pub was full of good-looking young men, Joe was not the only eligible bachelor here, she thought as she dragged Lisa onto the dance floor.

 

 

 

Joe could see Kitty on the dance floor from his vantage point on the deck. She looked particularly beautiful tonight. He knew she was suffering a little from morning sickness but she had a pregnancy glow and by the evening she was obviously feeling, and looking, better. Her hair was thick and glossy and her skin was luminous. She moved well, she was the epitome of someone who danced as if no one was watching and he took advantage of that fact to watch her.

She was normally slight but the pregnancy had added some curves to her bust and her hips he thought as he watched her hips move to the music. She let herself go to the rhythm of the song and Joe let his eyes follow her movements. There was something hypnotic, almost sensual, about her dancing.

He shook his head and turned away. He felt awkward and exposed now, he wasn’t used to thinking about Kitty in that sense. Of course he’d noticed little things about her before, the depth of her brown eyes, the curve of her lips, the twin dimples in her cheeks, but he’d never let himself entertain an image of her as a sexual being before. He’d always kept her firmly in the friend zone.

He turned his gaze to Lisa instead as he tried to get the image of Kitty’s hips out of his head and watched as the girls were joined by a couple of guys – strangers – or at least they were strangers to him. Not that who Kitty danced with was any of his business but Joe felt his hackles rise anyway as his protective, or should that be territorial, instincts came to the fore.

Kitty danced for a few more minutes but when Lisa’s boyfriend arrived she excused herself and headed to the bar, followed by one of the guys. Joe’s protective instincts kicked up another notch.  If this guy wanted a chance with Kitty he’d have to go through him first.

He pushed his way through the crowd and arrived at Kitty’s side just as the guy asked. ‘What can I get you?’

‘She’ll have a water,’ Joe answered.

The guy looked from Kitty to Joe. ‘I wasn’t asking you.’

‘And yet, I’m answering.’ His protective instincts were on high alert now, Kitty didn’t need a stranger buying her drinks, and as the guy half-turned away from Joe to face Kitty, obviously not about to listen to Joe, he couldn’t resist adding, ‘She’s pregnant, she’ll have a water.’

He saw the guy glance down at Kitty’s stomach. There were no visible signs of her pregnancy yet, not unless you knew her. Joe knew that her breasts were bigger and she was a little softer, a little more rounded, more voluptuous, but she was wearing a loose sleeveless top and jeans. All anyone else would notice was the size of her breasts. And Joe didn’t want other guys noticing that.

Her skin glowed. She looked beautiful. And cross.

She was glaring at Joe but he pretended not to notice.

The guy looked back at Joe. He looked irritated too but Joe didn’t care. ‘Are you the father?’ he asked.

‘No.’

‘Then what business is it of yours?’

‘It’s her brother-in-law’s baby,’ Joe stated flatly.

The look on the stranger’s face was priceless. If Kitty wasn’t still glaring at him Joe would have laughed. The guy looked completely horrified and he disappeared fast. Just as Joe had hoped.

‘What are you doing?’ Kitty turned on him.

‘What are you doing?’ he countered.

‘I was talking. He was cute.’ She was watching him walk away. ‘And now he thinks I’m a complete crazy.’

‘He wasn’t cute,’ Joe said. ‘And he looked about eighteen. No wonder he ran.’ He couldn’t help the smile that broke out on his face but Kitty was still cross.

‘Shit, Joe, I haven’t had sex in almost seven months, my hormones are going wild and I’m about to burst with frustration. I wasn’t going to marry the guy. It’s just sex.’

Just sex.

Joe saw red. He’d never understood that expression until now. Blackness encroached onto the edges of his vision as a red haze washed over the centre. His scientific background told him that the visual disturbance was due to a rush of blood through his body, and he would swear he could feel his blood pressure building, but he had a burning desire to punch something.

He didn’t want to think about Kitty having sex and certainly not with strangers. The very idea horrified him.

He was aware of other men looking at her with interest and listening to their conversation. He took a deep breath and tried to clear his vision as he gripped her elbow and steered her out to the relative quiet of the deck before any other strangers offered to help her out.

‘I was only talking to him,’ she argued, not prepared to let the discussion drop. ‘What’s the matter with you?’

‘You were talking to him but thinking about sex,’ he replied. ‘You don’t know anything about him.’ He knew he sounded like an irrational fool, Kitty was an adult and could make her own decisions, but he really didn’t want her thinking about having sex with strangers.

Kitty rolled her eyes. ‘If you hadn’t scared him off I might have found out more about him. That’s how meeting people works, Joe. You meet, you talk, you decide if you like each other.’

‘And then you have sex.’

‘That was my plan.’

‘But you’re pregnant.’

‘So? You think people don’t have sex when they’re pregnant?’

He didn’t want to think about her having sex, pregnant or otherwise, and not with strangers, that was for damn sure.

She was grinning at him now, the little dimples in her cheeks twinkling. He didn’t want her to think he was being funny, he was deadly serious. And he wanted her to take him seriously.

He was sorely tempted to offer his services but bit his tongue just in time. There was no way in hell that was a good idea.

She was waiting for his answer. Looking up at him with her big brown eyes, making it difficult to remember just why taking her in his arms and taking her to bed would be so terrible.

‘I don’t want to talk about you having pregnant sex,’ he said as he tried futilely not to imagine what her lips would taste like. Tried not to imagine how her breasts would feel under his fingers.

‘Why not?’

They were standing very close now and the noise from the bar receded into the distance as Kitty continued to look up at him, a challenge in her dark eyes.

Why not what? He couldn’t remember what he’d said. He couldn’t think straight when she looked at him like that. She was all lips and eyes and breasts and he was a mess.

Their conversation was forgotten as he stared at her lips. He thought about kissing her soundly, showing her what it was like to be kissed by someone who knew her well. Who cared about her. Showing her how much better that was than kissing a complete stranger. Why had he never kissed her before. He couldn’t remember.

Everything receded, the noise, the crowd, until there was just the two of them.

He searched for a good reason not to kiss her now and couldn’t think of one. The urge to kiss her was overpowering and he didn’t know if he could resist.

He bent his head.

She lifted her chin and tilted her head up to him.

***

 

 

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Excerpts, Guest Blogs

Excerpt – Greyfriars House, by Emma Fraser

isbn9780751566123

Prologue

Charlotte

October 1984

The house looms behind me, grey and forbidding in the moonlight. From the turret window a light flickers so briefly I can’t be sure I saw it. Ever since I arrived on the island I have had the sensation I am being watched, that someone wants me gone. But I no longer trust my senses. There is so much that is strange about Greyfriars.

It is very still. As if the island is holding its breath. I move towards the shore. What my great-aunt has told me so far has shaken me. And there is more to come. More secrets to be revealed. I am not sure I can bear to hear them.

As I pick my way along the rough path I think regretfully of the torch left behind in the porch. But I persevere, wanting to put distance between me and the house. The moon and stars provide just enough light although every now and again scudding clouds obscure the moon and I am momentarily plunged into darkness.

I continue through the trees, innocuous in the daytime, but in the shifting darkness as sinister as watching sentinels. Then at last I am in the open again, the sea, glittering in the moonlight, stretching in front of me. I suck in lungfuls of salty air and my pulse slows.

A rustle comes from the copse behind me and my heart kicks as I whirl around. Something has moved within the shadows. I think of the ghostly presences my mother told me about, then immediately dismiss the thought with an impatient click of my tongue. The only ghosts are the ones in my head. Some placed there by Georgina, others of my own making.

Tiger has run off and I can hear cracking of branches as she sniffs amongst the piles of rotting leaves. A shape swoops over my head and I smother a cry. A flutter and a flash. It is just the owl that roosts in the eaves, returning with a mouse trapped in its beak.

It isn’t just the house that unsettles me, or the two women within, it is me, the way I feel inside. Untethered and adrift. A boat without an anchor at the mercy of the wind and tide.

I’d told myself I’d come here to find answers although I knew, deep down, I was fleeing from the world, my grief, my guilt, from having to make a decision about the rest of my life.

Tiger growls. She has emerged from the bushes and is standing in front of the copse of trees, her ears up, her tail rigid behind her. The hair on the back of my neck stands on end. I know she is there before I see her. The figure emerges from the shadows, her face hidden. I have seen her before. Edith sleepwalking I’ve been told. I no longer believe it.

 

Greyfriars House‘ by Emma Fraser is available now in hardback and ebook, and in paperback in May, (available to pre-order from Amazon, now).

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

And We’re Back! by Fiona Lowe

Happy New Year! Going by the world’s weather reports, you are either sweltering in a heat wave of epic proportions or freezing with an artic blast that is dumping you in  metres of snow and withering conditions. Welcome to 2018!

IMG_0316In Australia, it’s summer and after all the Christmas food frenzy, I am back exercising and alternating between swimming and running. I’m working summer hours, 9-3pm while the rest of the household is on holidays. Put it this way, I will shoot anyone who tries to take my noise cancelling headphones off me. After work, I’m catching up on movies, reading, entertaining and playing board games. The two new games are Settlers of Catan and Sequence. Next week, we’re off on our annual camping beach holiday where I plan to eat, sleep, walk, swim, sail, surf and cycle. Oh, and read. Lots and LOTS of reading.

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BOOKS!   My next medical romance isn’t out until May but never fear, I have other books available. I’m very excited to say that Daughter of Mine, my Australian-set family saga is now out in a second printing and this time in mass market paperback.  The Book Depository, with it’s free postage is stocking it. Squee!  So no matter where you live in the world, you can buy it and it will be shipped to you 🙂

Daughter of Mine is a novel about family, secrets and lies and how you can live in a family and never really know your relatives. It’s about mother-daughter relationships and sisters. Australian Country Magazine says, ‘A sweeping Australian novel of lost love and tangled family secrets…’ and the Weekly Times says,This is a readable and thoughtful book. It has winner written all over it.’ Read the first three chapters here.

KGEF0782Birthright, my next big novel is about family and this time it’s also about money. ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a relative’, is a popular saying and scratch the Jamieson family just a little and you’ll uncover secrets,  betrayal and revenge. It’s out on Feb 19th but it’s up for pre-order. 🙂

If you live outside of Australia or New Zealand, then The Book Depository is your only option. For the ANZACS, preorder it from your fave book store, either physical or online. You can read the first two chapters here.

So my January is some work and some relaxation. What do you have planned?

Fiona xxx

Follow me on Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest.

 

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

Pregnant With his Royal Twins

thumbnail_IMG_1112Freya surreptitiously slipped the packet from her locker and into her uniform pocket, hiding it under her notepad. The lack of her period and the increasing nausea she was experiencing each morning seemed obvious signs enough, but Freya wanted proof. Scientific proof.

Night shift it might be, but to her this was morning, and walking into the staff room and smelling the strong coffee that had been put on to brew had almost made her share with everyone the ginger biscuits she had forced down for breakfast. It had taken a gargantuan effort to control her stomach, and a sheen of sweat had prickled her brow and top lip as she’d fumbled with her locker. Her fingers had almost tripped over themselves in her haste.

Heading to the ladies’ loo, she told Mona she’d just be five minutes and that she’d catch up to her at the staff briefing in a moment.

‘Okay, hun, see you in five.’ Mona smiled and headed off, her hand clutched around a mug of that nausea-inducing coffee.

The toilets were right next door to the hub, so Freya slipped in and locked the door behind her, leaning back against it, letting out a long, slow breath of relief. She took a moment to stand there and see if her stomach settled.

There didn’t seem any doubt about what was happening to her, but she needed to do this just the same. She pulled the pregnancy test from her pocket and stared hard at it, not quite believing that she was actually going to.

She’d always hoped that one day she would become a mother. But the actual chances of that ever happening to her had—she believed—become very slim the day she had been scarred for life. Because who would want her now?

‘Come on, Freya…you’re better than this,’ she whispered to herself, trying to drum up the courage to get herself through the next few minutes.

Freya loved the nightshift, working on Maternity here at Queen’s Hospital. There was something extra-special about working nights. The quiet. The solitude. The intimate joy of bringing a new life into the world and being with that family as they watched their first sunrise together. A new day. A new family. Life changing. Getting better. New hopes. New dreams. There weren’t the distractions of daytime—telephones constantly ringing, visiting families all over the place. It was secluded. Fewer busybodies.

It was the perfect hiding place for her, the hospital at night time, and those nights afforded Freya the anonymity that she craved. Lights were kept low. There were shadows to stay in, no harsh fluorescent lighting to reveal to her patients the true extent of her scarring.

It was better now than it had been. She had some smooth skin now, over her cheeks and forehead, where just two years before she’d had angry red pits and lines, her face constantly set and immovable, like a horrific Halloween mask.

Not now. Not now she’d had her many, many reconstructive surgeries. Thirty-three times under the skilled scalpel of her plastic surgeon.

And yet she was still hiding—even more so—in a bathroom. Her hands sweating and fidgety as she kept glancing down at the testing kit.

‘Only one thing to do, really,’ she told herself aloud, shaking her head at the absolute silliness of giving herself a pep talk.

She peed on the stick and laid it on the back of the sink as she washed her hands and then took a step back. She stared at her reflection in the mirror, refusing to look down and see the result. She saw the fear in her eyes, but she also recognised something she hadn’t seen for years—hope.

‘This is what you’ve always wanted,’ she whispered.

But wanting something and actually achieving it, when you believed it to be impossible, was another thing altogether. If it were possible then she’d finally get her childhood dream. To hold her own child in her arms and not just other people’s. To have her own baby and be a mum. Even if that meant she’d have to revert back to living in sunlight. With all those other people.

Even if they didn’t stare at her, or do that second glance thing, she still felt that they were looking. It was human nature to look at someone different and pretend that you weren’t. And your face was the hardest thing to hide.

Still…this wasn’t exactly how she’d imagined it happening. As a little girl she’d dreamt of marrying a handsome man, having his babies and being in a settled relationship.

She had no one. Even ‘the guy’ had been a mad, terrific impulse, when her body had been thrumming with joy about the fact that she was out amongst people, having fun, enjoying a party behind the veil of her fancy dress costume.

It had been so long since she’d last been to a social event. Too long. Years since she’d stood in a room full of people, chatting, laughing at poor jokes, being normal.

Mike had taken that away from her. That joy and freedom. His jealous actions had imprisoned her in a world of night and pain, surgeries and hiding. Feeling unable to show her face to the world without fearing people’s reactions. A frightened child turning away as if to clutch her mother’s skirts when a stranger did a double-take and tried not to look appalled or disgusted or worse.

The veil she’d worn that night had hidden everything. The high-necked Victorian steam punk outfit had hidden the scars on her neck that had not yet been tackled, and the veil had added a note of mystery.

That night people had looked at her with intrigue and with delight. They’d smiled…they’d complimented her on how wonderful she looked. Their words had made her giddy with happiness. She’d been normal there. Like them.

And then he’d been there. The guy. The pirate. He’d seemed uncomfortable. Had appeared to be waiting for enough time to pass so he could make his escape.

She knew how that felt. She’d felt a kind of companionship with him, despite their not having exchanged a word.

It had helped, of course, that he had seductively dark eyes and a wickedly tempting mouth, and she’d almost stopped herself. She’d taken a moment to register the fact that she was attracted to a man when the very idea of that had been anathema to her for so many years.

But not that night. The costume, the veil, had given her a sense of bravery she hadn’t felt for a long time.

‘I’m Freya. Pleased to meet you.’

‘Jamie.’

‘I saw you eyeing up the exit. Getting ready to make a break for it?’

‘I’ve been thinking about it.’

‘Please don’t. Stay for a little while longer. Let me get you a drink.’

It had been crazy how emboldened she’d felt. Her entire body had been thrumming with adrenaline and serotonin, her heart pounding like a revved-up engine. She’d felt alive, happy, normal again—having a conversation with an attractive man, feeling the thrill of first attraction.

Silly. Childish, maybe, when she really ought to have known better, but it had just felt so good!

He had made her feel that way. The way he’d looked at her, his eyes sparkling with inky delight, his full lips curved in a wicked smile. He’d laughed with joy at her anecdotes, had genuinely seemed happy to stay.

She’d felt warm and wanted again. Desire had filled her the second he’d let go of the stem of his glass and let his fingers trail delicately over the back of her hand. She’d focused on that movement, watched his fingertips on her skin—her very sensitive skin. She’d looked up and met his eyes, and the most extraordinary question had left her lips.

‘Are you married?’

‘No.’

‘With someone?’

‘No.’

‘Do you want to be?’

She’d startled herself with the sheer audacity of her question. That wasn’t her! Freya MacFadden did not proposition strange men!

She’d pulled her hand away then, retreating into the shell she was so accustomed to being inside. But then he’d reached for her hand again. Not to stop her from running away. Not to try and possess her or control her. But just to get her to make eye contact with him.

‘I’m guessing you didn’t mean to say that?’

‘No.’

‘Then we can both forget it. Don’t worry.’

‘I’m sorry.’

‘Don’t ever be.’

He’d been so kind. So understanding. So she hadn’t bolted and neither had he.

They’d continued to sit with each other and talk about what the other guests were wearing and why the charity they were there to support was so important. They’d laughed and had a good time, enjoying each other’s company.

He’d offered to walk her out at the end, and she’d let him, intending to say goodbye at the door. To fetch her coat and leave. For ever to remain an enigmatic stranger at a party that he would remember with fondness. Like Cinderella leaving the ball at midnight, only without the glass slipper.

Freya let out a deep breath. She couldn’t stay here in the bathroom for too long. There was a hand-over from the day shift.

Freya loved her daytime colleagues, and they her, but she was happy when they went home. Because then she could begin to craft the intimacy that the night shift brought. Lowering the lights. Softening the voices.

It was time.

She couldn’t wait any longer.

It was now or never.

She looked down.

And sucked in a breath.

‘I’m pregnant.’

Pregnant With His Royal Twins is available from :

(Kindle, Amazon UK) January 2018

(Paperback, Amazon US) December 19th, 2017!

(Paperback, Barnes and Noble US) December 19th, 2017!

(Ebook, Nook US) January 1, 2018

 

 

Excerpts

Excerpt – A Firefighter in her Stocking by Janice Lynn

CHAPTER ONE

IT WASN’T EVERY morning that Dr. Sarah Grayson stepped out of her apartment and saw a couple making out.

It had happened, though.

Same man, different woman.

Nausea churned in Sarah’s belly. She ordered her eyes away, but since a nice, but somewhat bland apartment building corridor offered nothing to snag her attention, her gaze stayed put.

Making out in her hallway might be a bit of a stretch. Still, the couple stood in her rather hunky neighbor’s apartment doorway, sharing a far from innocent kiss.

Even if the kiss had been a mere lip peck, her neighbor’s lean hips wrapped in only a towel knocked innocent right out of the ball park. Home run.

Grand slam.

Sarah ran her gaze over his chiseled torso. He rated pin-up-worthy—centerfold, for sure. Part of her couldn’t blame the busty brunette for clinging to his broad shoulders. Or for totally ignoring the fact Sarah had stepped into the hallway. Common decency said they should pull apart and look a little embarrassed, right?

When Sarah’s gaze collided with piercing blue ones, her breath caught. No embarrassment in those magnificent eyes. Just pure unadulterated sexual temptation.

Good grief. He probably was a grand slam.

What eyes. A color so intense they pulled you in and made you feel as if you were drowning, made you want to drown in everything promised in the enticing blue depths.

Not Sarah, of course.

She was immune to playboys like this guy. She’d built up her defenses years ago while listening to her mother harp about the blight of good-looking, fast-talking men.

Adulthood had fortified her defenses.

Still, she wasn’t blind. Her neighbor was hot. She knew it and so did he.

Even as his lips lingered on the brunette’s, those eyes crinkled with bad-boy amusement. Probably laughing at the fact Sarah had taken up full-fledged voyeurism.

Gaze locked with hers, he pulled back from the kiss.

“Baby,” the brunette protested, still not noticing Sarah as she tugged downward on her cocktail dress skirt.

Good, the skimpy material barely covered her perfectly shaped bottom. A sticking plaster would cover more than the clingy sparkling spandex. Then again, if Sarah had curves like the brunette maybe she’d wear shrink-wrapped clothes, too.

She doubted it, but who knew? Sarah dressed to avoid drawing attention so she could focus on more important things than meaningless ogling. Either way, she’d never know because her stick-straight slender body lacked the brunette’s hourglass shape.

“Brandy, we have company,” her neighbor said, much in the way a parent would to a petulant child.

The brunette turned, flashing big almond eyes, raked her gaze over Sarah’s shapeless body beneath her heavy jacket, scarf, and hat. She dismissed Sarah’s importance and quickly turned back to towel boy.

He was better to look at than a ready-to-face-the-chill-of-a-Manhattan-November-early-morning Sarah.

Or Sarah on any morning, really.

“Jude,” the woman practically cooed.

So that was his name. Jude.

He’d tried talking to her a few times when they’d bumped into each other in the hallway, but she’d ignored him. What would be the point? She wasn’t interested in going through his revolving front door and he didn’t seem the type to want to just be friends with a woman. Plus, he made her feel uncomfortable. Not a creepy uncomfortable, just a very aware of how male he was uncomfortable.

Realizing she was standing in the apartment hallway, gawking still, Sarah turned from the couple, locked her deadbolt, and pretended she couldn’t hear Brandy begging to do anything he’d like her to do. Had the woman no pride?

Go home, girl. He used you.

Too bad Brandy’s mother hadn’t warned about men like him as Sarah’s mother had repeatedly done.

At the woman’s next words, Sarah’s cheeks caught fire. Nope, no pride whatsoever.

Sarah turned and her gaze collided with Jude’s amazing blue one again. She’d swear those eyes could see straight into her very being, knew her thoughts. Maybe they even had some type of superpower because her stomach fluttered as if it had grown thousands of tiny wings.

Nausea, she told herself. Men like him made her sick. Out all hours of the night, never seeming to work, always with a different woman. Sick. Sick. Sick.

Maybe he was a gigolo or some kind of male escort.

Her nose curled in disgust to go along with her flaming cheeks.

“I think you’ve embarrassed my neighbor.”

His voice was full of humor, which truly did embarrass Sarah. What was wrong with her? Standing in her hallway, as if frozen in place, ogling the man as if she’d never seen a bare chest.

She’d never seen one like his outside magazines and television, but that was beside the point.

She needed to get her voyeuristic self to work.

She couldn’t make out most of what Brandy replied but caught the words “prude” and “dumpy”. Ouch.

Refusing to look that way again, Sarah dropped her keys into the oversized bag she carried to work, and got out of Dodge before she had to listen to Jude’s reply.

She hurried down the stairs, through the apartment complex foyer, and out onto the sidewalk to walk the few blocks to the hospital. The cold November wind bit at her face, but her jacket shielded her from the worst.

Too bad she’d not had a shield against what she’d just witnessed. That image was going to be hard to erase.

No doubt her neighbor had dismissed her as unimportant just as the brunette had. Sarah didn’t care what he thought. Or what any man thought. She knew her strengths, her weaknesses. She preferred to be known for her brain and her heart rather than for outward appearances.

She was quite proud of who Sarah Grayson’s brain and heart was. A dedicated emergency room doctor whom she believed made a difference in her patients’ lives.

She wouldn’t let her revolving bedroom door neighbor make her feel badly about herself. After all, what did he do?

He never seemed to do anything.

Except beautiful women.

On that, the man was an over-achiever.

A neighbor from the floor below said she thought he came from old money. Either Sarah was onto something with her paid male escort theory, or he was nothing more than a carefree, lecherous playboy using his family to fund his depraved lifestyle.

Maybe she would get lucky and he’d move.

* * *

Adrenaline drove firefighter Jude Davenport as he pushed his way through the flame-filled building. Or maybe it was the heat that kept him moving. Sweat dripped down the back of his neck and his ears burned beneath his Nomex hood.

First checking temperature with his thermal imaging camera, Jude opened a door and thick black smoke billowed out, banking low.

“Engine Seven to command. We are entering structure and making a left-hand search.”

“Command copies Engine Seven is entering structure, making a left-hand search.”

As lead man, Jude crawled to the left-hand wall and, staying in contact with him, his partner made his way around the room, using his axe to search. Visibility was next to nil thanks to the rolling black smoke.

They had to find her.

A four-year-old little girl was trapped in this hellish inferno.

Somewhere.

Along with more than a dozen tenants, they’d already rescued her mother and sister. Jude did not want to have to look that woman in the eyes and say he’d not been able to find her daughter.

He knew first-hand the pain of losing someone you loved and that drove him as he crawled toward a closed door he could barely make out.

A child was in there, was alive. Every instinct said she was.

He just had to get there, get to her, and pray that when he did find her, that she was still alive and he’d be able to get himself and her out of the fire.

Finally, he reached the door.

Then what he’d been dreading happened, what he’d known was coming because of how long they’d been searching in the burning building.

The air horn on the truck blew.

Once. Twice. Three long times.

“Command to all units. Evacuate the building. Repeat, evacuate the building.”

He hadn’t needed the sound of the horn or command coming over the radio speakers in his air pack to know things were bad and the building was lost.

Things were bad.

Somewhere in this hellhole was a terrified four-year-old.

“Command says part of the stairs has collapsed,” his partner, Roger Woods, yelled. “We gotta go.”

Jude had to check the room. They were too close to turn back without doing so.

“Seriously, Davenport,” his partner called from behind Jude. “Don’t make me drag your butt out.”

“As if you could.”

Roger was one of his best friends and Jude trusted the man implicitly. There was a reason Roger was his partner. Because they had similar life philosophies. They valued others’ lives much more than their own. Roger wouldn’t turn back any more than Jude would. Not when they were so close to where the girl was supposed to be.

Finally Jude got to the door. Using the back of his wrist and his thermal imaging camera, he checked the door for heat.

Hot, but not unbearable.

He reached up, grabbed the handle with his gloved hand, and opened the door.

The room wasn’t quite as smoke-filled as the one he was leaving, but visibility was still barely above zero.

Reaching again for the camera hooked to the strap of his breathing apparatus, Jude scanned the room. The left and right walls glowed white, indicating that there was fire on both sides of the room. Jude was pretty sure the wall not lighting up, the opposite wall from him, was an exterior wall, which was good, because he was also pretty sure they weren’t going out the way they’d come in.

Then, with the aid of the TIC cutting through the smoke and steam, the image of a little body not moving made his heart pound.

“Davenport? Do you hear me? Get out now,” Command screamed in his ear.

It wasn’t the first time Command had screamed at him.

He prayed it wasn’t the last.

He didn’t answer his boss. What was the point? He wasn’t going anywhere. Not without the girl. He wouldn’t leave her. He couldn’t walk out of a burning building when the child’s thermal image was in his sight. Reality was that Command wouldn’t want him to. None of their crew would exit when a fire victim was within sight.

“There she is.”

“Thank God,” Roger called from behind him.

“Engine Seven to Command—we need a ladder to fourth division A-side window for rescue.” God, he hoped there was a window on the exterior wall because he couldn’t see a thing. “We have one victim.”

Command acknowledged, repeating the call.

“Keeley?” Jude yelled, hoping the girl could hear him above the fire’s loud roar. Hoping that she’d answer, that she’d move.

She didn’t.

Please, don’t let us be too late.

He couldn’t see her with his bare eyes, but used the camera to guide himself toward her. The room was a sweltering hot box.

Then the thermal image on his TIC moved and Jude wanted to cry out in relief. She was alive. Who knew how much smoke she’d inhaled, what kind of burns she might have endured, but she’d moved so there was hope.

“Keeley,” he called again, crawling toward her. “We’re here to get you out of this place.”

He had no idea if she could hear him over the deafening sound of the fire destroying the building. If she could, he wanted her to know he was on his way.

Finally, he reached the far corner of the room where she was huddled beneath her mother’s bed.

Coughing, the little girl stared at him with watery eyes, but didn’t make any move toward him or respond to his motioning for her to come to him. Was she asphyxiated?

In his gear, he couldn’t fit under the huge low-rise bed she was hidden beneath and wasn’t quite sure how he’d move the massive bed with her beneath it without risking hurting her, but he had to get to her fast. They had to get out of the building pronto.

“Keeley, we have to go.” He tried again, tugging on the corner post of the solid wood monstrosity without any success. Was the thing nailed down? “Come to me, honey. Let me carry you out of this place.”

“Don’t leave me.”

He could barely make out her words. Maybe he even lip-read them more than heard them, but they rang loudly through his very soul.

As did the terror in her big puffy eyes as she coughed again.

“I won’t leave you, Keeley. I promise. Crawl to me, Keeley.” He purposely said her name over and over, hoping to get through to her, to let her know to come to him. He stretched his arms as far beneath the bed as he could. “Just move close enough that I can pull you to safety, Keeley, so we can get out of this building.”

He heard a crash and knew another section of the structure had given way.

Any moment the building could come collapsing down.

They had to go now.

“Keeley, come to me,” he pleaded, pushing against the bedpost again to see if it would move. Nope. The piece was solid, low to the floor, and heavy as hell.

He and Roger could stand, use their weight against the frame to see if they could shift it, and pray Keeley got out of the way if they did manage to move the massive piece of furniture.

She was crying, but she scooted forward a little, then back to where she’d been against the exterior wall.

Precious seconds were ticking by. Despite his protective gear, Jude could feel the worsening heat.

Instincts kicking in that said bad was about to get a whole lot worse if he didn’t get her and get her now.

“I know it’s scary, Keeley, but you’re going to have to crawl to me so I can pull you to safety.”

That was when she moved.

Finally.

“Just a little closer, Keeley.” He reached as far as he could beneath the bed. “Just a little closer.”

Then her hand touched his glove.

“That’s it, Keeley. Just a little more.”

His hand closed around her wrist and he pulled her to him.

“I’ve got her.”

He wrapped his arms around her, just as a window burst out on the exterior wall.

Thank God. An exit.

No doubt the aerial truck platform was just outside the window and some of his guys were waiting to pull Roger, Keeley, and him through to safety.

Thank God.

“Don’t leave me,” the girl repeated, clinging tightly to him and then going limp in his arms.

“Never,” he promised again, praying he’d not been too late.

 

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Hot Docs!, New Releases

Christmas with the Best Man

By Susan Carlisle

I hope this is a little early Christmas cheer.

This is an taste of my last book Christmas with the Best Man which is out on December 1. It is a part of the Manhattan Mercy continuity that joins my fellow medical authors: Amy Ruttan, Robin Gianna, Janice Lynn, Alison Roberts, Amalie Berlin. You don’t want to miss theirs either. 

Christmas with the Best man 300

Dr. Helena Tate knew what a mad house the ER could be like during and after a major nor’eastern but to experience it first hand was always a draining experience. Not only was snow piled everywhere, the wind was howling and the temperature teeth clatteringly cold.

Injured people filled the chairs and any extra space in Manhattan Mercy Hospital’s Emergency Department in New York City. Even though the department might be the most modern and efficient ER in the world, it had still been all-hands-on deck for the last couple of days. Inside was at least warm and cheerful. Being a week before Christmas and the nurses had banded together to decorate the department. Garland hung around the unit desk, wreaths adorned each trauma room door, and there was even a Christmas tree in the corner of the waiting room.

Despite the festive time of the year the sick and injured just kept coming. Thankfully the flow had started to ease. She must be out of here in an hour if she had any hope of making Grace and Charles’s wedding on time. A must, since she was the maid of honor.

Grace and she had been friends and roommates during medical school and had stayed in touch. When Grace had mentioned needing a change from her overseas work, Helena had told Grace about a position becoming available in the ER and had offered her the extra bedroom. Grace soon learned Charles Davenport would be her boss and talked of cancelling the interview. Helena had encouraged her to come on anyway having no idea there had been something between Grace and Charles during their medical school years.

Helena smiled then sighed. Now, they were getting married just a couple of weeks before Christmas. She was thrilled for them.

Finishing with her latest patient, Helena headed to the ER doctor’s on-call room to shower and change. It wasn’t the perfect place to dress for a formal event but unusual circumstances called for flexibility. If anything, she’d learned long ago as an unwed pregnant teen to adjust to what life threw her and move on.

The pain of finding out that her boyfriend wanted nothing more to do with her, and especially the baby, had been horrible. More devastating had been the loss of the child. Seventeen was too young to become a mother, but the guilt she carried over not wanting the baby was what had stayed with her all these years.

She had survived with the love and support of her family. That’s what mattered now. The part of her personality that made her think positive had made being a ER doctor a good fit professionally for her. Days like the last few only proved it. How she was holding her love close. She wanted a man who wanted her forever. Some might think she was too old to believe in happily ever after but she was still going to hold out for it. Grace and Charles were proving it could be had and Helena had to believe Prince Charming was somewhere out there for her as well.

She stepped out of the examination room and was sideswiped by a blur of white. “Ho.”

Dr. Elijah Davenport, Charles’ twin, glanced over his shoulder. “Hey Helena, can you give me a hand in Trauma Four? A kid just came in with a broken leg and the father’s having trouble breathing.”

She hurried to keep up with him. “Is Jim seeing them? I saw him coming in a few minutes ago. You’re off the clock. Shouldn’t you be thinking about getting ready for the wedding? After all you’re the best man.”

“Yeah, but there’re also patients to see. When Charles left me in charge I promised not to let the place fall apart.”

Like Elijah would ever do that. He might be the quintessential playboy doctor but Helena never doubted he was a dedicated physician. Truth be known, she thought him the best doctor in the department. But no way would she tell him that. His head was already big enough where women were concerned. It would only add to his already over-the-top ego.

Still he had earned it. Elijah was beyond good-looking. From his dark brown hair, charmingly out of place most of the time, to his tall, buff beach boy physique and his ‘Davenport blues’ that sparkled when he laughed, Helena easily understood why women were agog over him. She might be as well but she wasn’t interested in anyone who worked their way through the nurses. Nor in the heartache he would cause if she lost her heart to him. She wouldn’t accept anything but true love.

Helena’s attention went to Elijah who had paused at the door to the patient’s room. “I’ll take the kid and you see the father.”

“Okay.”

She covered it well but no matter how much time had passed since she’d lost her baby the young patients still got to her on occasion. Sometimes a look or a laugh from a child triggered something in her that sent her emotions spinning out of control. During those moments, the pain was so harsh her chest felt like it might explode. The what questions came flooding in. What would she have looked like? Would her child be acting the same as this one? The list and the pain went on. Thank goodness it didn’t happen often. But when it did…

“Done.” Elijah walked into the room.

A boy of about eight lay on the exam table with his face contorted in pain while a tight-lipped father holding his side paced beside him.

“Mr.,” Elijah looked at the clipboard he held, “Kakasides, I’m Dr. Davenport and this,” he nodded his head toward her, “is Dr. Tate. Why don’t you have a seat and tell us what happened.”

“I’d rather stand. It hurts worse when I sit. We were sledding in the park. Like an idiot, I tried to catch Louis when he came by me going too fast. I fell on him. I think I’ve broken his leg. I hit the edge of the sled and messed up my side.”

Elijah glanced at her with a ‘are you believing this look’ and then said to the father, “I’m going to check out your son while Dr. Tate does the same for you, okay?”

“Why don’t we step right over here?” Helena indicated an area off to the side.

The father glanced at his son, nodded. “Louis, I’m not going far. Hang in there, buddy.”

“Before I have a look at your side I need to listen to your heart and check a few more things.”

Again, the father dipped his head but his attention remained on his son.

With vitals completed she said, “I know this is going to hurt but I need for you to take a deep breath.”

The father winced but did as she asked.

“Now Mr. Kakasides, I have to look under your shirt. Can you raise your arm?”

He hissed as he brought his arm up. Moving the shirt away Helena could see a dark blue hematoma spreading out along his left side. The fall had defiantly been hard.

“I’m going to need to step out and have a look at your chest X-ray,” she announced. “At the least you’ve broken a few ribs but I need to make sure there isn’t more. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do for broken ribs. They’ll have to heal on their own. You can take an anti-inflammatory for the pain.”

They rejoined Elijah as he was saying, “Okay Louis, I need to have a look at your leg. I see the nurse has already done her worse with your pants.”

The material had been cut away so that it flapped back exposing the leg. There was a large bump with redness and bluing around it.

“Yep, that looks like a broken leg. You and your father sure know how to have a good time in the snow.”

The boy gave Elijah a weak smile. “He fell on me but I know he didn’t mean to.”

Elijah patted him on the shoulder and a wink. “I’m sure he didn’t. Maybe next time you can save him.”

The boys smile was brighter this time.

Good with kids, Elijah would make a great father. But he was also ‘good’ with women which would not make him a great husband. Fortunately, that wasn’t an issue. He’d never approached her and that suited her fine. Just watching him in action with the other female staff was enough for her to know he wasn’t what she was looking for in a man.

Elijah gave a reassuring smile to the boy’s father. “Radiology should have sent the pictures over by now. Let us review them. Dr. Tate and I’ll be back in soon.”

“Thanks.” The father looked at her and then at Elijah. “To both of you.”

On their way back to the ER desk Elijah was stopped by one of the nurses with a question. Helena didn’t wait on him. At the desk, she pulled up the X-ray for Mr. Kakasides. His eight, nine and tenth ribs were cracked. He would be in pain for a few weeks but would recover. She had the x-ray Elijah needed to review up on the screen by the time he arrived. He slid into the chair beside her.

“Thanks Helena.”

“No problem. As Maid of Honor, I think it’s part of my duty to remind the best man he needs to get out of here as soon as possible.”

He studied the computer screen. “Well, Joe has a break to his femur.”

“His father is going to take it hard. He feels bad enough as it is.” Helena stood and checked her watch. “I’m going to give him instructions about his ribs and get ready for a wedding. You need to do the same.”

Elijah rolled back his chair. “Yes, doctor. I’m right behind you. First, I need to call Lloyd up in ped ortho and have him come in on the case. The boy will need surgery to put a rod in.”

“Then I’ll let the father know you’ll be in to speak to him. I’ll see you in the Park.”

“Yeah, in the Park.” There was a dry note in Elijah voice.

“Don’t sound so excited.” Helena grinned back at him as she circled the desk and headed down the hall. “Remember weddings aren’t contagious.”

 

Elijah sure hope they weren’t. He wanted nothing to do with one.

Forty-five minutes later, he left the ER station desk and headed down the hall toward the doctor-on-call room. There a shower and his tux waited. He had plenty of time to get dressed and make it to the park. At least the hospital was just across the street, but Central Park was a huge space. Just to walk to the Shakespeare Garden would take time.

Charles would never let him forget it if he was late to the ceremony. Grace would be in tears and nothing Elijah said would make that okay in Charles’s eyes. The ER had been so busy Elijah had seen two more patients before he felt he could call his shift done. It then took another fifteen minutes to bring the doctor taking over for him up to speed on the patients being seen.

Elijah admitted to himself that he was dragging his feet about the whole wedding thing. It wasn’t he didn’t want to be there for Charles or that he didn’t like Grace. He did. He wished them both the best. Was truly happy for them. It was just that the ‘wedded bliss’ idea didn’t appeal to him much. He’d seen little of that in his parents’ marriage. Knew he wouldn’t be good at it.

He was halfway down the hall when one of the two swinging doors at the end opened. Helena came toward him. Elijah stopped dead in his tracks. She was a vision of loveliness like he’d never seen. Her curly, shoulder-length, auburn colored hair was now pinned up, the waves flowing randomly about her head. A red poinsettia bloom was fixed behind her right ear. She wore a long forest green dress that hugged womanly curves usually hidden by loose scrub shirts. The top of the dress dipped, giving him a hint of cleavage that only made him want to see more. Small short sleeves cupped her creamy shoulders. The skirt swirled about her legs as she came toward him drawing his attention to her hips.

His heart picked up a beat. Not to mention the stirring south of his beltline. Heaven help him, Helena was breathtaking. Why hadn’t he noticed before?

They had been working together for a couple of years. More than once she and a few other of the staff had gone out to eat as a group after a shift but he’d never thought of her in any way except as a colleague. She’d always been pleasant but seemed closed off somehow. She gave off the vibe that she wasn’t someone who played around. With her wholesome southern drawl and gentle smile, she wasn’t one of those women who gave him a come-hither look he had no trouble obeying. Everything about her said serious, down to earth, love me forever. That was the type he stayed clear of. Maybe that’s why it never registered Helena could be so completely stunning.

Whatever the cause it had been lifted from his eyes. He was noticing her now. Big time.

He needed to snap out of it. Had Helena said something to him? He blinked.

“Elijah, are you just now going to get dressed? You have less than an hour before we’re supposed to be walking down the aisle. Grace is going to have your hide.” She stepped closer.

Her wonderful aroma filled his nostrils. Nothing like the antiseptic smell of the hospital but something warm and earthy, intriguing. He was acting like a fool. Working to get a grip on himself, he grinned. He focused on a point just over her shoulder to get beyond how enchanting she looked. “It’s a good thing you’re a doctor. At least you’ll be able to patch me up.”

She lowered her chin and gave him a speculative look. “I don’t think I have enough medical training to save you from Grace’s wrath if you’re not there on time.”

He laughed. Helena did too. It had a sincere ring that sounded as if it came from her heart. He’d always liked that about her. She had a sense of humor. “Then I guess I need to get moving.” He started down the hall.

“That would be my suggestion.” She headed the other way.

Elijah stopped and looked back, his attention drawn to her hips. It was a shame her scrubs had been disguising those full curves for so long.

Minutes later he was under a hot shower. He was surprised he hadn’t needed a cold one after seeing Helena. How spectacular she looked still amazed him. At least he’d managed not to make a fool of himself. This sudden interest, no, infatuation, with Helena was crazy. He’d seen many woman in formal clothing yet had not reacted this way.

It was probably being overtired from covering for Charles when the ER was impossibly busy. Or maybe it was due to the wedding hoopla he normally stayed clear of. There was something out of cynic with the universe for him to have had such an intense reaction to Helena. Especially when she was clearly not his type.

Half an hour later he shrugged into his black overcoat adjusting it over his tuxedo. Wrapping his groomsman’s gift, a scarlet red scarf securely around his neck, he popped a short black top hat on his head. It might be the silliest thing he’d ever worn if it wasn’t for the fact that it was so cold and not wearing a hat was even more ridiculous.

He received more than one interested look and a few grins as he made his way through the older part of the building to the lobby and out the front entrance of the hospital. His idea of dressing up was putting on a pair of slacks and a collared shirt. Causal was his style, less dog and pony show. He worked hard and liked to relax and have fun when he was off. Only when he couldn’t avoid it did he put on a suit for a medical meeting. To be wearing a tuxedo was taxing. The only reason he was doing so was because he loved his brother. Elijah wished him well. It had been hard on Charles when he lost his wife and was left with two small sons to raise. Elijah was glad his brother had found love again, happiness.

Elijah pulled on his black gloves as he went down the stone steps to the street to catch a cab. It would get him to the closest park entrance nearest Shakespeare Garden and then he would have to walk from there. Just as Helena told him more than once, he’d be cutting it close on time.

The taxi driver put him out at the curb and he hurried down the path. Thankfully having grown up in New York he knew Central Park well. He’d heard of people getting lost in the massive acreage. As a child, he and his brothers and sister had played there. More than once they had picnicked in the Shakespeare Garden area among the trees and large foliage. Those were sunnier days both literally and figuratively. Ones from a long time ago.

He hurried up a slope and made a left turn at a sign reading ‘Grace and Charles’ with a large red bow on it. Up another rise he followed another path into an open area surrounded by snow-tipped trees. Smaller trees in the area were decorated in white lights that were shining bright in the diming light.

An arch made of red poinsettias blooms and more white lights were at one end of the field. Facing it were rows of white chairs with red bows tied to the ones closest to the aisle. A few people were already taking their seats. Tall portable heaters were stationed around the ceremony area. At the other end of the field was a huge enclosed tent with four low round fires pits that glowed. His family was standing around them.

Elijah took a deep breath to fortify himself for what was coming.

As he approached Charles left the group and walked toward him. “I thought I’d have to send Zac after you.”

“I told you I’d be here.” Elijah grinned at his brother. As twins, they had always been close. It wasn’t until they were eighteen that they’d had secrets between them. Elijah carried that guilt and regret to this day.

“Yeah, but I know better than most that you’re always five minutes behind.”

Elijah gave him a wry smile. “Funny big brother. I’ve heard it all before. Just because you were born before me doesn’t mean I’m one step behind you.”

“About following in my footsteps, how’re things at the hospital?” Charles asked as they continued toward the tent.

“Under control. We managed to get the patients waiting down to a reasonable headcount before I left.” Elijah couldn’t fault Charles for his dedication to his job even on his wedding day. “What you need to be worrying about is that beautiful bride of yours. I’ve got the ER covered. Enjoy the day, your honeymoon and let me handle the rest.”

“I’m trying. I guess most of my worrying has to do with nerves.”

Elijah didn’t doubt that. The thought of a wedding made him edgy as well and he wasn’t the one getting married. He looked around. “So where are the Rugrats?”

“Max and Cameron are with Grace. They’ll be coming down the aisle ahead of her.”

Elijah gave him a brotherly pat on the back. “I hope you have them bundled up. It’s cold out here.”

Charles laughed. “I know. But this is what Grace wanted. I love her so that’s what we’re having.”

That kind of love Elijah didn’t comprehend. He’d never felt that for a woman. Didn’t think he ever would. He understood wanting, enjoying, appreciating a female but loving one the way his brother did Grace wasn’t something he’d experienced. More than that, Charles had been able to find it twice. Elijah didn’t plan to have it even once.

Excerpts

Excerpt – A Christmas Miracle by Amy Andrews

9781474051781

BLURB

Her knight in shining leathers! 

Trinity Walker has learned the hard way to stand on her own two feet for her sick son, Oscar. But, when ex-army surgeon Reid Hamilton walks into her life and offers her a job and a home, she can’t refuse! 

He might ruffle her feathers, but Trinity can’t help falling for the knight in motorbike leathers. Reid never expected this little family to bring such sparkle into his cynical life but now he’ll do whatever it takes to give Trinity the love she deserves this Christmas!

EXCERPT

Trinity was in the kitchen making a banana cake when Reid came home. She tensed as she glanced at the clock – ten past two. His footsteps diverted to the living room and she heard the rumble of two male voices for a couple of minutes.

Then he appeared in the kitchen.

He hesitated for a moment when he spotted her at the bench before nodding and crossing to the fridge. He pulled out a beer, twisted the top and tossed it into the sink from where he stood.

It landed with a clink.

He tipped his head back and took several long swallows. It took all Trinity’s willpower to keep her eyes on the job at hand and not feast her gaze on his neck.

“You do know Chase flirts with every woman with a pulse, right?”

The sentence came from out of the blue. She’d been feeling happy since returning from Allura. But Reid seemed hell bent on ruining that, too.

“Gee thanks,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm as a spike of temper infected her blood stream. “You sure know how to make a girl feel real special.”

“Oh for -” He bit off whatever expletive he’d been about to utter. “I just meant you should be careful, the guy wouldn’t know monogamy if it bit him on the ass.”

“Who says I’m after monogamy?” she snapped.

He blinked, clearly taken aback. Good. A slightly crazed sensation pushed at the inside of her skull as an urge to let fly took hold. She’d learned not to argue over the years. Not to rock the boat. To grind her teeth and quietly submit.

But, screw him. She was really pissed off now.

“I would have thought being a single mum and having to think about Oscar –”

Don’t bring Oscar into this.”

“I’m just saying,” Reid pushed, obviously not going to let it drop. “He’s not daddy material.”

“I’m not going to marry the man,” Trinity said, letting the spoon fall to the bench with a clatter as she crossed to the pantry and opened the doors.

She searched the shelves for vanilla. She knew it was in here because Reid used it to make French toast on the weekends.

God, she’d never be able to eat French toast again without thinking of him in this kitchen, beating eggs and flipping bread fried to a perfect golden brown.

Her anger cranked up another notch.

She glanced over her shoulder. Reid was glowering at her and it pissed her off even more.

“Maybe I just want to a quick tumble,” she said, her cheeks burning, her pulse throbbing wildly at her temples. “A few hours of goddamn pleasure. You ever thought of that?”

She turned back to stare blindly at the shelves.

Where was the bloody vanilla?

“Seeing as how you don’t fancy me,” she said, not bothering to turn this time because his rejection of her still stung, “why shouldn’t I look somewhere else?”

“Don’t fancy you?” His voice was deep and dark, brimming with pissed off.

Before she could blink his hands were on her shoulders and she was spun around and pushed hard against the pantry door. His face loomed up close, white hot flame burning in the blue eyes that raked her face. His breathing was husky, his chest heaving.

“I can’t get you out of my head,” he muttered, each word puffing his breath in her face, disturbing her fringe, “If you had any idea how much I wanted to rip your underwear off with my teeth the other night you’d run screaming from this house.”

Trinity’s heart rate skyrocketed as his grip on her upper arms tightened and his lips slammed onto hers.

It was a kiss that took. That ruled. That owned.

Possessive. Demanding. His tongue thrusting into her mouth, taking the kiss deeper. The graze of his beard marked her face, prickling everywhere.

She felt it everywhere.

She was a slave to the sensation. A slave to the onslaught.

His thigh jammed between her legs, high and hard, grinding against the apex of her thighs. She moaned as her aching flesh revelled in the delicious torture, rubbing herself shamelessly against him.

As quickly as it had started, it was over. His mouth was gone. The kiss was done. His hands still gripped her arms though, his thigh still jammed between her legs, the only things keeping her from collapse.

They stared at each other for long moments, nothing but ragged breathing between them. His mouth was wet and swollen, the white hot flame in his gaze burning brighter. He grabbed her hand and shoved it on the hard bulge pressing against the zipper of his bike leathers.

“This is not,” he whispered, “about me not fancying you.”

He let her go abruptly and stormed out of the room.

Trinity’s legs wobbled for a beat or two before they lost the ability to keep her upright and she slid down the pantry door to the floor, her fingers pressed to her mouth, her mind wiped of coherent thought.

LIKE IT? A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE IS OUT NOW AND YOU CAN BUY IT HERE