Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Bushfires are not supposed to happen in spring…

Down here in Australia, I live in the south and that means colder winters and wetter springs than the northern states.This week, as we’ve been enduring a cold snap as chilly as winter, our friends in the north are battling bushfires. I can’t post photos as they are copyright but to fully understand, click here.

Although bush fires are common in Australia, they are not common in spring. They tend to happen during, and at the end of, long hot summers. They also don’t happen much in Queensland due to the flora. But, years of drought and its devastating effects are changing our environment and the world’s climate is changing, making for a seimsmic shift in how we experience natural disasters. My heart goes out to the people who have lost loved ones and lost houses — their lives will never be the same. Sadly I know this from being a couple of handshakes away from bushfire victims, from being a nurse who cared for burn victims and from the extensive research I did for my novel, Home Fires.

So what can I do from my damp home in the south ? I can donate to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army I can reach out to friends who live in the areas and check they are doing okay and I can post pretty pictures of my spring garden to try and give people a lift when the mental load of helplessness gets too heavy.

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Life experiences

Hello, everyone!

A couple years ago, I attended a talk by a popular author where she suggested that if we have a big life experience of any kind, we should use it in a book. And so, for my November release, I did. 🙂

I fell and broke my wrist in February of 2018 and had to have surgery. One lesson learned? DO NOT try to walk on ice in slippery boots when you thought more than once that you might fall if you kept going!

So a titanium plate with six screws now hold my bones together. I worked with occupational therapists three times a week for months (my hand was more swollen than most, post-surgery, and they told me I was so ‘special’ I had to have therapy longer than usually necessary!) I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with occupational or physical therapists, but they were awesome and managed to make a painful chore almost fun.

Having only one usable hand was horribly handicapping. We take for granted having everything working the way it should, until it doesn’t, don’t we? It was extremely difficult to wash my hair and virtually impossible to dry it so that it looked presentable, and I had to accept that I would look disheveled for a while! Once I started trying to cook dinner, I couldn’t chop anything so I had to buy pre-chopped onions and such. Had to ask hubby to pour out pasta water, or pick up a big pot, or whatever. Had to wear loose-fitting, elastic waist pants I could pull up with one hand. Couldn’t tie my sneakers. Couldn’t type, or play piano. It was NOT FUN.

Here’s my sad face as I felt none-too-good the day of the surgery, with soup and toast and flowers on a tray that my sweet hubby fixed for me. And my crazy swollen hand after they took the cast off. Looks like a latex glove blown up, doesn’t it? HA!

Me, Sad after wrist surgeryMe, swollen hand

It was a drag to go through, but I’m certainly blessed that I was able to get it fixed and eventually heal. While it’s never going to be quite back to normal again, I can do everything I want, and can’t ask for anything more than that.

So I thought, ah-ha! A life experience I should use in a story! Which is why my November release, Second Chance With The Surgeon, features an orthopedic surgeon hero and an occupational therapist heroine. The heroine breaks her wrist and has to ask her ex-husband to help with the dogs that she took custody of after their divorce, and it ends up that she has to stay with him for a few days post-surgery as well. Being together again reminds them of all the reasons they parted – and all the reasons they loved one another, once. As they begin to understand better what happened between them, will they try again, or is it too simply too late?

Have any of you suffered broken bones or injuries that were difficult to recover from, and how are you now? Anything you learned from the experience?

You might remember that I also had an October release, set in Antarctica. So I’m sharing both covers. Happy November! xoxo

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

November New Releases

Happy November! Depending where you are it’s either the tail end of autumn or spring.

I’m in the autumn end, where it’s grey, bleak, windy. The cold is setting in and it’s darker for longer…although we just had daylight savings time so it’s not SO brutal early in the morning.

Either way, it’s a perfect time to curl up with a good book and here’s some brand new releases for you to enjoy! ❤

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 A Christmas Kiss with Her Ex-Army Doc by Tina Beckett

Can a Christmas kiss…

…lead to their happy-ever-after?

Nurse Hollee Cantrell is stunned when ex-army doc Clancy deOliveira begins working at her hospital. Years ago, they shared a passionate kiss—but then Clancy left and Hollee married his best friend. Now widowed, it’s time for Hollee to admit that her marriage was a sham and she’s never stopped thinking about Clancy. And as their desire reignites, it seems Clancy hasn’t forgotten her either…

 

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Festive Fling with the Single Dad by Annie Claydon

From festive fling…

…to forever family?

In this Pups that Make Miracles story, single dad vet Aksel Olson doesn’t have time for romance; his recently discovered daughter is his priority now. But his vivacious new neighbor, physiotherapist Flora McNeith, is helping Aksel connect with his little girl in the way he longs to…and spending time together, neither he nor Flora can resist their attraction. Could a Christmas fling open both their hearts to a new beginning…together?

Pups that Make Miracles quartet

Book 1 – Highland Doc’s Christmas Rescue
Book 2 – Festive Fling with the Single Dad

 

 

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Highland Doc’s Christmas Rescue by Susan Carlisle

A chance to mend her body…

A doc to heal her heart?

In this Pups that Make Miracles story, search-and-rescue worker Cassandra Bellow arrives at Heatherglen Clinic injured and reeling from the loss of her faithful rescue dog. But a Christmas romance with the gorgeous clinic manager, Dr. Lyle Sinclair, along with Heatherglen’s adorable therapy dogs, restores Cass’s lust for life. Except soon she must return to America—unless guarded Lyle asks her to stay…

Pups that Make Miracles quartet

Book 1 – Highland Doc’s Christmas Rescue
Book 2 – Festive Fling with the Single Dad

 

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Second Chance with the Surgeon by Robin Gianna

Can healing his ex-wife…

…also mend their marriage?

When occupational therapist Jillian Keyser breaks her wrist, the last thing she wants is treatment from her ex-husband, Conor McCarthy. But as he is a leading orthopedic surgeon, she knows she needs his help! As she is forced to live again with the man who broke her heart, they discover a new understanding. With their connection as strong as ever, will the Christmas lights over New York shine on their relationship for a second time?

 

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 The Doctor’s Christmas Reunion by Meredith Webber

Can this husband and wife…

…be reunited for Christmas?

Losing the baby they desperately wanted tore doctors Ellie and Andy Fraser’s marriage apart. Though they still share a home, they no longer share their lives. But when they find themselves caring for an abandoned baby, they must temporarily join forces, and as Christmas approaches, Ellie and Andy start to fall in love all over again. Is it time they created their own Christmas miracle?

 

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Unwrapping the Neurosurgeon’s Heart by Charlotte Hawkes

At the heart of a playboy…

…is the man of her dreams.

ER doc Anouk Hart wishes she could ignore her traitorous body’s reaction to high-flying neurosurgeon Solomon Gunn. Yet beneath his playboy reputation, Anouk sees flashes of compassion, which are even more dangerous than his charm! Especially when the warmth of Sol’s Christmas spirit starts to make her long to unleash the real Solomon Gunn and keep him by her side forever!

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A Japanese love affair

So, the rugby world cup happened. Our adopted home team, the All Blacks, were knocked out in the semis. England lost the final… South Africa won.

Why is this important? Well, rugby is almost like a religion in New Zealand and also in our house. Hubby is a sports doctor and his passion is rugby. He also loves to travel. So when the tickets for the world cup tournament in Japan went on sale he entered the ballot with a couple of friends. They managed to get tickets for four games and when one of the friends dropped out of the trip I was invited along. As I like to travel too (:-)) of course I said yes but with a rider of… as long as we can find a decent hike to do while we’re there.

So, in September we spent 20 days touring Japan. I have never been before and didn’t really know what to expect but I was completely blown away by the friendly people, the amazing food and the beautiful scenery.

We spent 7 days in Tokyo (5 days at the beginning of the trip and 2 days at the end), 4 days in the Wakayama prefecture walking the 75 km Komano Kodo pilgrimage walk, which was fabulous, then Kyoto, Oita, Hiroshima and Osaka.

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Tokyo is crazy. The tube system is bonkers (42 lines!!). Parts of it are garish and busy, other areas are serene. It is beautiful organised chaos. We went from crazy shopping districts to quiet temples and ate so many different types of food/cuisine I couldn’t keep up.

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At the start of the walk.

Then we spent 5 days in lush forests, climbed mountains and stayed in traditional ryokan hotels with shared (gender segregated) onsen baths. This was a challenge as you can imagine, mainly because you are not allowed to wear anything! I was definitely well out of my comfort zone, but after the first time I did become less self conscious and , given the hotel bedrooms didn’t have a shower/bath I had no option but use them!! Once out of the bath we had to wear Kimonos and slippers provided by the hotel. Sleeping was also a challenge as the beds were futons on the floor and not very comfortable, but because we were so tired from the hiking we did manage to get some rest!

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Our beds!! Note the kimonos on the top of the pile

I loved Osaka – the pace of life felt a little slower. Kyoto was temples, temples, temples. Hiroshima was very sobering but also very hopeful as the residents there are fighting for a global non-nuclear future. In Osaka we slept in a ‘capsule’ hotel. Again, segregated into men’s floors and women’s floors. You are allocated a tiny crawl in space where you sleep I could easily sit up in mine but could reach out and touch the sides and roof very easily. Not for the claustrophobic! And not very comfortable, to be honest. But we had heard about them and thought we’d give them a go. Two nights was enough!!

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Breakfast Japanese style. Amazing food, although I wasn’t sure what some of it was.

The rugby games were fabulous, mainly because of the stadium volunteers who were locals who wanted their visitors to have the best experience. They were so helpful and fun and high fived everyone (and I mean all 40,000!!!! spectators!) as we left after the games.

 

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Loving the kimono life!

Considering Japan wasn’t on my bucket list of places to visit I had one of the best holidays there. Have you ever been surprised by a place/activity when you weren’t expecting to be?

 

 

 

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Pups that Make Miracles – Book 2

It’s my turn today, to introduce you to the second book in the Pups that make Miracles quartet.  I’m thrilled to be book-buddies with Susan Carlisle this month (our books are both out today!), and next month we’ll be having excerpts from Annie O’Neil and Karin Baine’s books.

This excerpt from Festive Fling with the Single Dad  introduces Flora and Aksel, along with another very important character.  Dougal is a puppy, rescued by Susan’s heroine and his story runs through all four of the books.  I don’t think I’m giving away too much to mention that Dougal will be finding his forever home in the final book of the series!

Chapter One

x500_277403d2-0c69-4134-b65a-8e71cb79fbd9_540x.jpgUp close, he looked even more…

More outdoorsy. Taller and blonder and… Just more. A two-day beard covered a square jaw, and his mane of shoulder-length hair was tied at the nape of his neck. His casual shirt and worn jeans gave the impression of an off-duty Norse god, and Flora McNeith resisted the temptation to curtsey. It was slightly over the top as a greeting for a new neighbour.

‘Hi. I’m Flora. From next door.’ She gestured towards her own cottage, tugging at Dougal’s lead in a fruitless attempt to get him to sit down for just one moment. ‘Welcome to the village.’

He looked a little taken aback when she thrust the food box, containing half a dozen home-made mince pies into his hands. It might be more than three weeks until Christmas, but the lights of the Christmas tree in the village had already been turned on, and in Flora’s book any time after September was a good time for mince pies.

‘That’s very kind.’ His voice was very deep, the kind of tone that befitted the very impressive chest that it came from. And it appeared that whatever kind of deity Aksel Olson was, language and communication weren’t part of his remit. He was regarding her silently.

‘I work at the Heatherglen Castle Clinic. I hear that your daughter, Mette, is a patient there.’ Maybe if she explained herself a little more, she might get a reaction.

Something flickered in his eyes at the mention of his daughter. Reflective and sparkling, like sunshine over a sheet of ice.

‘Are you going to be part of Mette’s therapy team?’

Right. That put Flora in her place. Apparently that was the only thing that interested Aksel about her.

‘No, I’m a physiotherapist. I gather that your daughter is partially sighted…’ Flora bit her tongue. That sounded as if everyone was gossiping about him, which was half-true. The whisper that Mette’s father was single had gone around like wildfire amongst the female staff at the clinic. Now that Flora had met Aksel, she understood what the excitement was all about.

‘You read the memo, then?’ Something like humour flashed in his eyes, and Flora breathed a small sigh of relief. Lyle Sinclair must have told him about the memo.

‘Yes. I did.’ Every time a new patient was admitted a memo went round, introducing the newest member of the clinic’s community and asking every member of staff to welcome them. It was just one of the little things that made the clinic very special.

‘Would you like to come in for coffee?’ Suddenly he stood back from the door.

‘Oh!’ Aksel’s taciturn manner somehow made the words he did say seem more sincere. ‘I shouldn’t… Dougal and I are just getting used to each other and I haven’t dared take him anywhere for coffee yet. I’m afraid he’ll get over-excited and do some damage.’

Aksel squatted down on his heels, in front of the ten-week-old brindle puppy, his face impassive.

‘Hi, there, Dougal.’

Dougal was nosing around the porch, his tail wagging ferociously. At the sound of his name he looked up at Aksel, his odd ears twitching to attention. He circled the porch, to show off his new red fleece dog coat, and Flora stepped over the trailing lead, trying not to get snagged in it. Then Dougal trotted up to Aksel, nosing at his outstretched hand, and decided almost immediately he’d found a new best buddy. Finally, Aksel smiled, stroking the puppy’s head.

‘I’m sure we’ll manage. Why don’t you come in?’

Two whole sentences. And the sudden warmth in his eyes was very hard to resist.

‘In that case… Thank you.’ Flora stepped into the hallway and Dougal tugged on his lead in delight.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Pups That Make Miracles – a New Four Book Christmas Continuity

 

by Susan Carlisle

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Reading outside your comfort zone

books1For those of you who don’t know me that well I am an avid reader – always have been.  I was the child that had three library cards in different names because you could only take out four books per card.

I was also the child who the teacher didn’t believe she’d finished books as quickly as she did, and would subsequently ask random questions on those books that I would always sigh and answer.

In recent years I tend to read a book a night in bed.  A Harlequin book takes around an hour.  A 3-400 page book around 2 hours.  I spend a lot of money on books, but still always have a ‘to be read’ of pile of around 100 books.  I have a fear of running out!  I’ve also developed a recent habit for audiobooks as I drive a lot for work.  They’ve been a revelation!

But this year I realised that there are some books I just don’t read for pleasure.  In fact, since school I don’t think I’ve read a single classic.  So this year, I decided to do something about it.  I tried The Picture of Dorian Gray first, and to be honest, found it a bit meh.  As I did Jane Eyre (ducking in case you all throw something at me!)  Mr Rochester does not translate well into modern day.  Then came Rebecca which I absolutely loved – so atmospheric.  Two of the above Sense and Sensibility and Anne of Green Gables I’ve still to start.  I’m currently midway through the audiobook of Alice in Wonderland and am currently reserving judgement.

The photo above shows some of the other books I’ve read this year and loved.

As a quick brief:

Sanctuary – a modern day version of the Salem Witch Trials, so, so interesting.

The Wicked Deep – an atmospheric Young Adult book about three ancient witches who come every year from the sea to take revenge for their deaths.

The Flatshare – a fabulous, deep hitting romance about two adults who share a bed, with one using it during the day, and the other using it at night, and they fall in love through a series of notes left for each other.

Clean – a non pc tale of recovery from drug addiction.

One of Us is Lying – A Young Adult mystery that’s basically the Breakfast Club with murder. (for those of us old enough to remember The Breakfast Club)

They Both Die at the End – a young adult futuristic book where you get a phone call to tell you that your time is up and you’ll die in the next 24 hrs. This a male/male romance of two boys who connect in their last 24 hrs.

The Shadow Cabinet – a young adult thriller series about ghosts set in the modern day world.

books2And the last two:

The Glittering Hour – a real heartbreaker set in the roaring 1920’s and covering two decades.  The story of a child wondering what happened to her mother.

The Familiars – set in the 1600s where a 17 year old girl becomes the mistress of a large estate, her sole job to provide an heir, and gets swept up in the hysteria of the accusations of witchcraft.  (Do you see a pattern here???)

I’ve also read some real hardcore sci-fi and fantasy.  I’ve found that I tend to prefer thrillers and mysteries on audio as they tend to hold my attention better.

So go on, give me a recommendation of your favourite book this year!

Susan x