Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A Daddy Sent by Santa

Read an excerpt below. out now.

Santa Daddy

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

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

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

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

His job as local doctor was starting sooner than anticipated.

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

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

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

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

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

The man moaned and attempted to sit up.

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

“My head.”

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

The man muttered, “Okay.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

No answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seconds later Rick was holding his flashlight over them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ready.”

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

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

He nodded.

“On Three. One, Two, Three.”

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

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

She blinked. “No.”

“Good.” He scrambled to his feet.

Lauren followed his lead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“143/102.”

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

“Yes.”

He disappeared into the night through the blinding snow.

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

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

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

 

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Tis the season…

Oh it’s the season alright! The season where I – and I suspect – a whole lot of you start going berserkers! As my good pal, Susan Carlisle mentioned the other day, I’m an overseas American. I’m not shy in letting people know Thanksgiving is my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE holiday. So much so I tend to have it twice. Once, low key style on the actual day because strangely enough, the whole of Britain doesn’t grind to a halt so I can have my tuIMG_3483rkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Then again about a week later on the weekend so that if a bit too much wine has been enjoyed…there’s a chance for a lovely lie-in the next day.

This year? It’s all bonkers. We had a brilliant Thanksgiving day at the local pub thanks to ‘Mad Ron’ our local publican who regular readers might see (you will always see this) appear as a publican in just about all of my books. He’s fab. And he made me turkey burgers. A first for the pub, and an absolute

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delight for me! They were Delicious!!!

On the weekend I would normally host a Thanksgiving feast of my own, we went out with friends to a Simon and Garfunkle Tribute Band. They were amazing! I love Simon & Garfunkle and I LOVE a tribute band. The only thing that would make it more fun would be roller-skates. (Seriously…I should’ve just had my entire life in the 70s over and over).  Next on the list? A trip to Vienna with one of my former professors. I’m so excited. Kaffee und Kuchen! Cake and coffee in one hundred year old cafes? Yes, please! Then it’s back to the UK to make a long overdue Thanksgiving….and then….whooooosh! Christmas! Which is my second favourite holiday. Love it. I love the cookie making (I regularly borrow friend’s children to make cookies with me and, of course, I adore writing Christmas books. This year’s no different.Army Doc's Christmas Angel.jpg I was lucky enough to be asked to be part of the fabulous Hope Children’s Hospital series. The other books are by the fabulous Caroline Anderson, the delightful Alison Roberts and the wonderful Tina Beckett.

In my book, my hero – the rather gorgeous Finn Morgan – lost his leg whilst serving his country in Afghanistan. I ran a half marathon a couple of weeks ago and about mile twelve, when I was pretty close to throwing in the proverbial towel…I caught up to a real life Finn Morgan. A former marine running for fallen soldiers who had run the marathon with a blade for one leg. I can’t even begin to tell you how emotional it was. I kept bursting into tears! Talk about a dehydrating experience. And powerfully moving.

So that was all an incredibly long winded way of saying…I love taking an annual stop and regroup to really think about what I have to be grateful for. I’m going to start with YOU. Thanks for being here. And see you soon. xx Annie O’

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Ghost in the Red Light: a true story from Amsterdam

My friend T told me a spooky story last night. I love all things that go bump in the night, unless they’re mice, which in my case they have been this week – I live in Amsterdam after all. But this particular story gave me chills before I went to bed and I woke up wanting to share it.

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Amsterdam, Red Light District (a.k.a. De Wallen), Oudezijds Voorburgwal, 1895. Source

With 800 years of history, Amsterdam is not short of ghost stories. Bloedstraat (Blood Street), which connects an old church to Amsterdam’s oldest canal is named after the blood of executed prisoners, which drained down the streets from a dungeon into the waters. Those ghosts still moan and groan. Probably as much as the people behind certain curtains.

Others here talk about tortured souls floating through tourists in Dam Square. Now the home of frozen smiles in Madame Tussauds, this was once the site of public executions, where suspected witches were burned along with anyone else being “weird” about the Spanish Inquisition.

The Red Light District – that’s something else. It’s the oldest part of the city. A friend of mine once pointed a camera at a prostitute in these parts. It was an accident (she swears) but no apology would appease the femme fatale, who stormed through the door, snatched it from her hands and flung it into the canal. In her knickers.

See? It’s a scary place.

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Amsterdam, 1905. Two prostitutes sitting in front of a house, waiting for customers. Source.

So, back to the story.  T was walking through the Red Light District with a friend when they stopped to wait for a table in a rather modern-looking Brewery called Brouwerij de Prael. As they stood waiting, they couldn’t help notice a painting on the wall. A grubby looking woman with fair hair in two stringy braids, seemingly pissed off, or maybe a bit sad. Amused they started giggling over it:

“We were looking up close at her face. She was a bit cross-eyed. She had a weird expression. We were talking about her for five or ten minutes… and also wondering why the picture was framed in some old carpet.”

Nothing too weird, right? Apart from the carpet. Just two girls having a giggle over a painting in a busy brewery. They were ushered to a table, where they feasted on beer and satay brochettes and forgot about it.

When they went to leave a couple hours later, T stopped in front of the painting again.  Her blood ran cold. She turned to her friend:

“WAIT. Was that girl crying before?”

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Look up close. Can you see the tear?

They stepped up close to the painting they had studied meticulously just a short time earlier. On the grubby cheek of the troubled looking girl was a tear stain. A small, unmistakable streak of smudged, watery black, just trickling from her left eye.

“It was NOT there before,” T told me. “We would have noticed it, we were literally looking at it for ages.”

The tear was dry, she said. There was no water anywhere, nothing that could have smudged the painting. Baffled, they took that photo up there and left. Quickly.

I did a quick Internet search and surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly nothing comes up for ‘crying painting red light district Amsterdam’, but could this woebegone woman be…. Helena?

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Amsterdam, Red Light District, Old Church Square, May 1894. Source.

 

Helena was a tanner’s daughter in the 18th century.  She lived on Spooksteeg, just one street over from the brewery, with her dad and sister, Dina. Young Helena fell in love with a sexy sailor, but alas, alack, the sailor was in love with Dina.

Overcome by jealousy, Helena shoved her love-struck sis into the cellar, and covered up her death as an accident. She married the grieving sailor but spent her life in a weepy, guilt-riddled puddle, no doubt, and eventually confessed on her deathbed in 1753.

Helena begged forgiveness, but the sailor said: “Never in a thousand years, you killed the love of my life, you wretched beast!”, or something like that in Dutch, and issued her an actual sailor’s curse. He cursed her soul to roam the dark alleyway in misery for all eternity. Some people have seen her sniffling away near the tannery.

Does she wander through the neighborhood into paintings, do you think? Does she beg for help from beer-addled tourists, and weep when they laugh and call her cross-eyed?

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A window prostitute called “Parijse Leen”. Amsterdam, Red Light District, late 1960’s. Photo by C. Jaring. Source.

I also read that in the sixties, as prostitution grew and grew in the Red Light District, sex workers in windows would often have a painting of a crying gypsy boy in the room. They believed it would bring good luck, fortune and happiness. (Although, further research revealed to me that some of these paintings may have actually been cursed).

I couldn’t find anything about crying gypsy girls in my searching and yes, this might all be clutching at straws, and maybe there was a baby pigeon in the brewery who had a tiny pooh on the painting… I don’t know.

But I say, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. And it’s still all a little bit exciting, don’t you think?

Anyone planning any ghost stories now the nights are black and gloomy? My next Medical Romance From Doctor to Daddy is out in the new year. No ghosts in it, but bits of it might haunt you. 😉

 

 

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Susan Carlisle

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

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

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

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The table ready for my family.

What are you thankful for?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Playing Hooky

Hello everyone

This morning is so stunning here that I’m taking time out to just enjoy and make the most of this while sitting on the deck drinking way too much tea.

There are severe snow warnings out for down south and this picture is going to become full of rain this afternoon, so why not make the most of the moment?

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It helps that I’ve got a friend staying too. She has headed down to the beach for a swim. You won’t find me joining her. It looks warm but it’s not. Not enough for me any rate.

Back to the writing tomorrow. I promise.

 

The Italian Surgeon's Secret Baby

What do you like to do when playing hooky?

Cheers

Sue

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

In England’s Green and Pleasant Land

Hello, Everyone! Big wave!

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged here as when it was last my turn, I was on holidays in the UK. We enjoyed a few days in London, but the highlights were spending  an entire day with fellow medical romance author, Annie  Claydon, as she toured us around Hampton Court.

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Fiona Lowe and Annie Claydon

I was also able to attend the Association of Mills & Boon Authors luncheon and cocktail party where I got to meet LOTS of authors who, up until then, I had only met online. There’s medical romance author, Kate Hardy, front and centre in the red and holding the tickled pink banner.

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After all the excitement of party, party, party, it was time to work off the chocolate and champagne by cycling through the English countryside in the Cotswolds.  In case you didn’t know, the word, “wold” means hill and I can certainly testify to that! We rode up a LOT of very long and steep hills. It was a fabulous trip even if it did come with ALL the weather: blinding rain, headwinds so strong there was a point when I had to peddle DOWN a hill, sunshine and sunburn, oh and midgies….give me an Aussie fly any day than swarms of teeny-tiny midges that get in your eyes, ears, nose, down your bra; everywhere!

We saw some fabulous scenary and I sometimes thought I was back home in the western district of Victoria when I passed all the dry stone walls 🙂

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We cycled along minor roads with hedgerows dripping with blackberries, along bridal paths and canal tow paths and through so many picturesque villages, we started to get a bit blasé.

 

Time and time again, I felt like I was on the set of The Vicar of Dibley, The Holiday, Pride and Prejudice or Downton Abbey, and when we were in Lacock, we were where many of the Harry Potter movies were filmed. And, all those jokes about the Brits wearing green wellington boots and walking their dogs along country lanes? Well, it’s no joke, it happens! And they don’t ever have just one dog…minimum of three in the Cotswolds!

With the rise of the mobile/cell phone, the old red phone boxes are being put to good use as a central place for the village defibrillator! How cool is that? I also saw one as a community book exchange and in one village, a barista was working a coffee machine 🙂 57161DF7-5757-4AFC-9C54-CD75EA7DD778

Have you ever been somewhere real when you felt like you were on a film set?

In Book News, I am getting excited about my next big saga, HOME FIRES, which is out in Australia and New Zealand in February 2019. Instead of a family, this time I’ve tackled a community in crisis eighteen months after a bushfire. Sadly, due to climate change, more and more communities are dealing with wildfire (California as I speak and Canada has a long history too).

The silly season is about to gear up, so I want to take this time to wish you all a happy festive season and may 2019 bring you plenty of time for reading!  Fiona xx

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

November New Releases!

Six shiny new Medical Romances, for November, including the first two stories from Hope Children’s Hospital!

lgcover.9781488080098.jpg A Daddy Sent by Santa, by Susan Carlisle

When a small-town mom…

Falls for a big-city doc…

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

 

 

Midwife Under the Mistletoe, by Karin Bainelgcover.9781488080104.jpg

A kiss under the mistletoe…

A family for Christmas?

GP Fraser McColl longs to be part of a loving family, but past experience has taught him he’s better off alone. Only, thrown together with gorgeous yet guarded midwife Iona Munro, to care for two children at Christmas, he’s tempted to believe in miracles… After one passionate night together, can he persuade Iona that they deserve a lifetime of happiness—together?

 

 

 

lgcover.9781488080081.jpgFirefighter’s Christmas Baby, by Annie Claydon

A festive fling…

With consequences!

Firefighter Ben Matthews is committed to his job above all else since his last relationship ended badly. Until he meets alluring and fiercely independent paramedic Callie Walsh! Their fiery exchanges over the project she’s working on at his fire station, leave Ben unable to deny their chemistry… Then Callie turns up on his doorstep — pregnant! Can some Christmas magic turn their holiday fling into a forever family?

 

 

lgcover.9781488080074.jpgNew Year Wedding for the Crown Prince, by Meredith Webber

Can the charming prince

Claim his gorgeous bride?

When Crown Prince Charles of Livaroche turns up on Dr. Jo Wainright’s Australian doorstep, their two worlds collide. Only while Charles is seeking clues to his past, Jo is determined to forget the heartbreak of hers. Stranded together this Christmas their magical connection becomes hard to ignore… But when Charles proposes, dare Jo reveal the reason that’s standing in her way of becoming his New Year bride?

 

 

lgcover.9781488080067.jpgOne Night, One Unexpected Miracle, by Caroline Anderson

Can one illicit night…

Lead to the love of a lifetime?

In this Hope Children’s Hospital story, senior pediatric surgeon Alice Baxter believes she’ll never conceive. So is stunned to find she’s pregnant after one spontaneous night with colleague Marco Ricci! She might be his buttoned-up boss but their chemistry is off the charts. And when Marco whisks Alice to his family’s Italian castello she discovers he’s determined to claim both his baby…and her heart too!

 

 

lgcover.9781488080050.jpgTheir Newborn Baby Gift, by Alison Roberts

Could an abandoned baby…

…melt the surgeon’s frozen heart?

In this Hope Children’s Hospital story, pediatric heart surgeon Ryan Walker knows that shy receptionist and neonatal “baby cuddler” Evie Cooper is off-limits to a jaded playboy like him! But when they discover an abandoned newborn, they must work together to care for her. Ryan will do everything he can to mend baby Grace’s heart—will he lose his own to Evie in the process?