Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

March New Releases

March is finally here! And with March we have a batch of new releases, including a very special final one. Meredith Webber is retiring from writing and her final medical romance is being published this month.

Congratulations Meredith on your retirement and thank you for so many years of amazing stories.

A Wedding for the Single Dad by Meredith Webber

Will the GP and the vet…

…say “I do”?

Crashing an ultralight, in the middle of the bush, was not part of the plan for vet Campbell. Neither was being rescued by local GP Lauren! The pull Campbell feels to Lauren is unrivaled…and, as they get to know each other under the starlit Australian sky, he finds himself wanting more. But with a bruised heart and a daughter to think of, love can’t be in the cards, can it?

Falling Again for the Animal Whisperer by Becky Wicks

Is unlocking past secrets…

The key to their future?

After inheriting half a Dorset veterinary practice, single mom Jodie is dismayed to discover Cole Crawford is her new partner. The renowned vet and animal behaviorist ended their intense love affair twelve years ago. Cole is determined to prove he’s changed, but Jodie has to protect her heart—and her little girl—from further heartbreak. Only, walking away from their practice would be nothing compared to walking away from their reignited chemistry!

Greek Island Fling to Forever by Annie Claydon

Their journey started in Greece…

Will it end with forever?

Single dad Dr. Benjamin hasn’t forgotten the woman whose life he once saved. And compelled by the knowledge that, while he couldn’t save his wife, Dr. Arianna is alive and well, Ben travels to a Greek island to see her. He never imagined the sense of homecoming he’d see reflected in Arianna’s eyes, or that their enduring connection would make a fling irresistible. So is a future together impossible…?

Night Shifts with the Miami Doc by Ann McIntosh

From fast-paced hospital days…

To slow, sultry nights!

Dr. Regina Montgomery’s temporary job in Miami is a chance to refocus on her goal of becoming chief of medicine. But she’s unprepared for her former resident, Dr. Mateo Herrera, to be working in the same hospital. When Mateo makes it clear he wants her…the term night shift takes on a whole new meaning! But Mateo’s family needs him, and Regina has fought long and hard for her career back in California…

Rescuing the Paramedic’s Heart by Emily Forbes

Bondi Beach Medics (Book 1)

You can’t heal a heart…

…by keeping your distance

Paramedic Poppy is back in Sydney. Her first stop? Bondi Beach’s surf and sand! There’s just the small matter of bumping into the bay’s newest elite lifeguard—Ryder Evans, her first love, who was forced to move away…taking a piece of Poppy’s heart with him. If she wants him back, she must be bold enough to let gorgeous Ryder show her what she’s been missing.

Reunited with Her Daredevil Doc by Susan Carlisle

An old flame…

…a new beginning?

Dana Warren almost doesn’t recognize the man Dr. Travis Russell has become. He’s far from the carefree guy she once spent an unforgettable summer with years ago as they trained to save lives and fight wildfires. Now an experienced smoke jumper, Dana must take the guarded doc through stunning but dangerous wilderness to reach a vulnerable patient—and take care not to lose her own scarred heart along the way…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

February New Releases

Happy February and as I prep this blog for release on February 3rd, it’s actually February 2nd and Groundhog Day, which is a thing here in North America. There are 3 main ground hogs I’m watching today, Puxatawny Phil, Shubencadie Sam and my local hero Wiarton Willie.

Anyways, I digress (you know the level of lockdown is bad when you’re talking about rodents excessively).

On to the new releases. Whether we get an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter, these medicals will get you warm and cozy.

The Doctor’s One Night to Remember by Charlotte Hawkes

A night to remember

A man she’ll never forget!After her failed engagement, a relationship is the last thing on junior doctor Isla Sinclair’s mind. She’s focused on her forthcoming new life, working aboard a prestigious cruise ship. But before she even reaches the gangplank, she meets Nikhil… Their connection is unlike anything Isla has experienced before! But Nikhil is clear. One—unforgettable!—night is all he can offer…leaving Isla wholly unprepared for their unexpected reunion aboard ship!

Reunited with Her Secret Prince by Susanne Hampton

Second chance with a doctor…

Forever with a prince!Four years ago, Dr. Daniel Dimosa disappeared and left nurse Libby McDonald with a broken heart…and a tiny life growing inside her. Now, unexpectedly reunited in the Caribbean, Libby’s in for another shock: Daniel, the father of her little boy, is a prince! Stuck together on assignment, Libby and Daniel discover that keeping the past in the past isn’t quite as easy as it sounds…

Awakening His Shy Vet by Shelley Rivers

They’re looking for a fresh start…

…with each other?After the tragic death of his wife, horse trainer Kern MacKinley shut himself off from the world—and love. Until the arrival of vet Ruby Day… Ruby may be reserved, but she has an unrivaled way with animals. Soon Kern discovers it’s not just her patients that Ruby has the ability to heal. But once he lets Ruby in, there’s no going back… Can he heal her, too?

A Surgeon with a Secret by Alison Roberts

It’s time…

…for the surgeon to take a chance!Pediatric surgeon Lachlan doesn’t do emotion. Until nurse Flick comes crashing into his orbit! She may be poised and professional, but it’s Flick’s warmth that tempts Lachlan to open up. Now, as his world begins to crumble, Lachlan knows she may be the only person he can trust with his secrets. Can Flick also show him they deserve a future—together?

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

Twins Reunited on the Children’s Ward

Book 1: A Pup to Rescue Their Hearts

Book 2: A Surgeon with a Secret

A Stolen Kiss with the Midwife by Juliette Hyland

Dare these best friends…

…risk it all?Midwife Quinn Davis and Dr. Milo Russell have been friends forever. So why is it now that they’re working together things have become…awkward? Quinn can’t get Milo out of her mind—and when they share an explosive kiss, she’s left questioning everything! Free-spirited Quinn never planned on settling down…and Milo has a life plan of his own. Are they ready to think about a new life—together?

A Pup to Rescue Their Hearts by Alison Roberts

Could an unlikely bond…

…be the answer to their dreams?Nurse Stevie hates feeling out of her depth. But with a new job and a son who’s struggling to settle in, she needs help. She just didn’t expect it to come in the shape of her boss and one adorable dog! On paper, Josh is everything Stevie should avoid. But beneath his charming exterior is a heart also in need of rescuing…

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

Twins Reunited on the Children’s Ward

Book 1: A Pup to Rescue Their Hearts

Book 2: A Surgeon with a Secret

I hope you’re all staying safe this month! Check in, how are you doing so far?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

January New Releases

Six new stories to see the New Year in with!  

y404Falling Again in El Salvador by Julie Danvers

A second chance…

…could be their greatest adventure! A humanitarian mission in stunning rural El Salvador will give obstetrician Cassie Andover the chance to focus on the medicine that she loves. But the one piece of her past she never expected to find there was the handsome Dr. Bryce Hamlin! And while this bold motorcycle-riding version of Bryce is nothing like Cassie remembers, he’s certainly one she’s compelled to know…

y404-1His Blind Date Bride by Scarlet Wilson

A missed blind date…

…leads to a chance at forever! After exchanging messages for months via a dating app, surgeon Ivy Ross is finally ready to meet up with “Mr. Right.” But when work calls her away the chance is lost…until fate intervenes and Ivy’s blind date—Travis King—arrives as her new senior medical officer…aka her boss! Travis and Ivy know mixing business and pleasure is a bad idea, but sometimes bad ideas feel so good…

y404-2One Night with Her Italian Doc by Karin Baine

One hot summer night together…

…that just isn’t enough! A Mediterranean cruise is exactly what nurse Sophie Blythe needs. It’s the perfect opportunity to rediscover the free-spirited woman she once was, before she met her cheating ex. And ship doctor Luciano Montavano could be the perfect fling… Gorgeous yet guarded, the irresistible Italian isn’t interested in settling down any more than she is. Until one night of passionate abandon forces them to acknowledge that they both might want more…

y404-3Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc by Louisa Heaton

Can two love-weary doctors…

…heal each other? Dr. Jess Young plans to use her time on the small Scottish island of Thorney to figure out how she can rebuild her shattered life after a recent blow that has stolen the future she dreamed of. Only Dr. Adam Campbell is a complication she didn’t expect! He’s handsome but hurting, too, and Jess sees a kindred spirit in Adam. Will he heal her already-fragile heart?

y404-4Second Chance in Barcelona by Fiona McArthur

He’s the stranger she’ll never forget…

…she’s the midwife he still wants! Midwife Cleo Wren is horrified to discover the gorgeous Spaniard she spent an impulsive night of passion with is Dr. Felipe Gonzales, an eminent oncologist with VIP connections! She’s tempted to turn down the job of accompanying his young cousin back to his home in Barcelona. But she accepts…on the understanding that they never revisit what happened. Now Cleo just has to stick to her own rules!

y404-5The GP’s Secret Baby Wish by Sue MacKay

Is the future she wants…

…just a dream? Four years ago, GP Lily Scott walked away from Dr. Max Bryant and their sizzling fling. Why? Well, if the past had taught Lily anything, it was to be cautious with her heart. But Lily’s rule book is about to go out the window, because Max is her new colleague! She can’t ignore their powerful connection—or the family she pictures—every time she’s with him. Can that family become a reality?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

December New Releases

Wow. I can’t believe it’s December. It feels like 2020 has lasted a MILLION years, but here we are at the end of a very tough year.

And we have some brand spanking new releases to finish off 2020 and what a way to make things brighter!

Also congrats to Charlotte Hawkes on her 15th book and Louisa George on her 20th book!

The Princess’s Christmas Baby by Louisa George

A pregnant princess…

…and her knight in shining scrubs?

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

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

Royal Christmas at Seattle General

Book 1: Falling for the Secret Prince by Alison Roberts

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

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

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

The Bodyguard’s Christmas Proposal by Charlotte Hawkes

The top of her Christmas list?

A family!

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

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

Royal Christmas at Seattle General

Book 1: Falling for the Secret Prince by Alison Roberts

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

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

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

Mistletoe Kiss with the Heart Doctor by Marion Lennox

Can just one kiss…

…really change her life—forever?

When Dr. Elsa McCrae rescues a mortified Dr. Marcus Pierce from a fall into an underground cave, planning the usual Christmas party for her local community has to take a back seat! As she’s forced to accept Marc’s offer of help during the busy holiday season, the charming cardiologist soon has Elsa fighting to protect her heart, knowing he’ll return to the city as soon as the festivities are over…

Forever Family for the Midwife by Kate Hardy

Can he risk his heart…

…on the single mom?

Midwife Nathaniel has been wary of love ever since his girlfriend walked out after his accident. Until he meets obstetrician Rebecca! Their chemistry is undeniable. Only, she’s a widowed single mom with no interest in a relationship. As Nathaniel gradually breaks down her walls, and their spark becomes a flame, he knows they have something special…but are they ready to take a leap of faith for a chance at forever?

Christmas Under the Northern Lights by Annie O’Neil

One Christmas on a Scottish island…

A lifetime together?

After her fiancé’s shocking betrayal, district nurse Audrey Walsh hopes to escape Christmas on remote Bourtree Island! Instead, she’s met by a gorgeous man in a Santa suit—Dr. Cooper MacAskill! They’re stuck working—and living—together till New Year, both with their demons to face. Except their inconvenient attraction and the warmth of this island community offer them healing and happiness—if they have the courage to take it!

A Nurse, a Surgeon, a Christmas Engagement by Allie Kincheloe

From emergency wedding date…

To happily-ever-after?

Nurse Lena has serious doubts about playboy surgeon Dex’s request that she be his emergency date to his brother’s wedding… But when he offers to be her fake boyfriend in return to meet her family obligation, she reluctantly agrees. Maybe it’s the heady spirit of the season—or a Christmas miracle!—but Dex surprises Lena at every turn. Could he be the man she swore she never wanted?

Have a Happy Holiday Season! Happy Reading! xo

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

November New Releases

I can’t believe November is here! And we have some brand new releases to share with you all!

The Single Dad’s Holiday Wish by Susan Carlisle

All he wants for Christmas…

…is her!

Christmas is supposed to be the most magical time of the year. But for single dad and doctor Carter Jacobs, it only holds painful memories. He definitelyisn’t looking for romance. Until Carter meets hardworking Dr. Liz Poole. She offers a safe harbor and the promise of a future Carter thought lost to him… As Christmas approaches, might Carter’s happily-ever-after be just around the corner?

The Best Man and the Bridesmaid by Annie Claydon

The magic of a wedding…

…isn’t just for the bride and groom!

Dr. Andrea knows it’s a cliché for the bridesmaid to fall for the best man. But when Cal arrives in the Italian Alps for her best friend’s wedding, he stirs desires that have long lain dormant. When a series of disasters threatens the ceremony, Andrea realizes Cal is the only one who can help her save the day, even if it means risking her heart in the process…

Neurosurgeon’s Christmas to Remember by Traci Douglass

Christmastime with a stranger—

A lifetime together?

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



Royal Christmas at Seattle General

Book 1: Falling for the Secret Prince by Alison Roberts

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

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

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

It Started with a Winter Kiss by Tina Beckett

Voted most likely to marry…

Will they finally have the chance?

Dr. Dexter Chamblisse always has a plan. He just hadn’t planned on an ER reunion with his high school sweetheart, Maura! She may work in his hospital, but Dex has tried to keep his distance. He can’t bear to be reminded of the tragic accident that tore them apart. But it’s getting harder to ignore the sparks still flying between them… Could this be their second-chance Christmas?

Falling for the Secret Prince by Alison Roberts

Revealing his past…

is a risk worth taking!

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


Royal Christmas at Seattle General

Book 1: Falling for the Secret Prince by Alison Roberts

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

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

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

A Reunion, a Wedding, a Family by Amy Ruttan

Reunited—

With the single dad

Candice Lavoie is stunned when handsome paramedic and single dad Jimmy Liu walks into her office. Ten years ago, he left her brokenhearted when he joined the army. Now he’s back and she’s his boss! As old feelings resurface, Candice and Jimmy share one stunningly passionate kiss. But can Jimmy ever let go of his past enough for them to find a future—together as a family?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

October New Releases

Happy October! We have some brand new releases to enjoy, whether your summer is on its way in, or you’re heading into fall and want to curl up.

The Icelandic Doc’s Baby Surprise by Louisa Heaton

Their passionate fling…
Has given them a gift to last a lifetime!

When pediatrician Merry Bell turns up at his hospital in Iceland, Dr. Kristjan Gunnarsson’s quiet Christmas is shaken up. After a hot fling together in Hawaii, they both agreed to walk away. But now Merry has brought him life-changing news—she’s pregnant! Commitmentphobic Kristjan will not waver from his responsibility, but is his bruised heart ready for a family?

Tempted by the Heart Surgeon by Lucy Ryder

A dance floor rescue…
…a reunion they’ll never forget!

Boston socialite Samantha Jefferies leaps when offered a job with a charitable foundation in California. It’s the escape she needs after her broken engagement. But the new role reunites her with a man she never expected to see again—cardiothoracic surgeon Adam Knight. He once saved her with an earth-shattering kiss, but now she must find a way to resist her insatiable desire for this far too delectable doctor…

Second Chance with His Army Doc by Charlotte Hawkes

From first love…
To forever?

Fourteen years ago, teenage Kane Wheeler disappeared from Mattie Brigham’s life without a word of explanation. While nothing has filled the void left by Kane, Mattie has forged a successful life as an army doc. When they’re unexpectedly reunited in the line of duty, their attraction is still as fierce as ever. And Kane’s determined to convince Mattie they can still have a happy-ever-after above all!

Reunited on the Front Line

Book 1: Second Chance with His Army Doc

Book 2: Reawakened by Her Army Major

Reawakened by Her Army Major by Charlotte Hawkes

Could their one night together…
Change everything?

When playboy army major Hayden Brigham meets innocent nurse Bridget Gardiner in a nightclub, the chemistry between them is impossible to ignore! But when they must then work together in a hostile and challenging environment, it means keeping their focus on the job! Being under fire only brings them closer…but is Bridget ready to accept that their relationship could survive beyond their mission?

Reunited on the Front Line

Book 1: Second Chance with His Army Doc

Book 2: Reawakened by Her Army Major

One Night to Forever Family by Meredith Webber

The baby she always hoped for…
The family she never expected!

Dr. Sam Reilly can’t believe it. She’s standing face-to-face with Andy Wilkie, her late husband’s best friend—and her new boss! Sam cut ties with Andy years ago. But for their patients’ sake, they must learn to work together. They just didn’t expect to learn that, maybe, they might want to be more than just colleagues! A temptation that leads to one baby bombshell…

Christmas with Her Lost-and-Found Lover by Ann McIntosh

He’s walked back into her life—
After half a lifetime…

It’s been years since Rohan Khan promised Dr. Elise van Hagen that he would be back for Christmas. But he never returned and Elise raised their son alone. So when the veterinarian reappears during a rescue in snowy Banff, Elise can’t believe her eyes! But Rohan has no memory of their past. Can these long-ago lovers make up for all the Christmases they have missed?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

September New Releases

Happy September!

We have a some brand spanking new releases this month!

Weekend Fling with the Surgeon by Janice Lynn

A boyfriend for the weekend…

A love of a lifetime?

When Dr. McKenzie Wilkes’s boyfriend dumps her before a family wedding, she desperately asks her colleague surgeon Ryder Andrews to take his place. There’s a connection with Ryder she’s never experienced before that she’s determined to ignore… Until one unexpected and impulsive kiss puts paid to that! As passion explodes between them, could McKenzie be heading for wedding bells of her own?

The Vet’s Secret Son by Annie O’Neil

Returning for forgiveness…

Staying as a father

When Lucas Williams was forced to walk away from Ellie Stone, he knew he was giving up on their dreams of opening a veterinary practice together. Now he’s back and hoping to make amends. But he’s not surprised by how successful Ellie’s become or that their powerful connection has endured. The surprise is discovering that when he’d left six years ago, Ellie was pregnant—with his son!

The Nurse’s Secret by Sue MacKay

A single mom and her daughter…

Could he complete their family?

Three years ago, nurse Stacey Wainwright shared one magical night with a gorgeous stranger before he flew back home to New Zealand. Stacey never got a chance to tell him about their baby…until now. Because surgeon Noah Kennedy has walked back onto her London surgical ward, ready to rekindle their passion. But is he ready to learn that he’s a dad?

Healing the Vet’s Heart by Annie Claydon

Can his shy colleague…

…mend his wounded heart?

Injured vet Drew Trevelyan is relieved to be back at work. He just wants to leave his past behind, but is irritated to learn he’s relegated to desk duty! Apart from one new project—liaising with shy robotics engineer Caro Barnes. At her cliff-top cottage, Drew discovers that finding ways to put the light back in Caro’s eyes is restoring his own faith in life…and love!

Falling Again for the Single Dad by Juliette Hyland

Fatherhood has changed him—

But can she risk her heart?

ER nurse Amara Patel is starting over. Running into her ex, physician Eli Collins, on her first day at Boston General throws a major wrench in the works! Because despite his still irrefutably sexy appearance, he’s not the Eli she remembers. He’s always put work first, but now that he’s bringing up his niece, everything’s changed—except his and Amara’s feelings for each other! Dare Amara allow herself a second chance at love?

Enticed by Her Island Billionaire by Becky Wicks

Tempted…

By a man she can’t have!

Dr. Mila Ricci is excited to visit the stunning Indonesian island where Sebastian Becker is pioneering a technique to heal scars. But he’s the exact opposite of the rich celebrity surgeon she’d been expecting—and Mila is immediately attracted to him! Wrestling his own demons, Sebastian might be sexy but he’s no superficial playboy; he craves a home and family. Things Mila feels are not for her, especially not with him…

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

Friends on the Long Road to Publication

NA CoverIt is hard to believe that I am getting to write the blog post for my second Mills and Boon Medical! An author may dream up the characters and write the stories, but, if they are lucky, the bumpy road to seeing their name on the cover of a book isn’t done alone. And I am incredibly lucky to have had more than a few people hold my hand or give me a shoulder to cry on when that long road felt never ending.

This book fulfills a promise I made years ago to my very first beta reader, Sarah. I always said that my first book had to be dedicated to my supportive husband, but if I was ever lucky enough to write more than one, the dedication would be to Sarah.

Sarah read works that have never, and may never, see the light of day. Though she is a good friend; she also never held back on telling me when something didn’t work, or when a hero was coming off a might (or a lot) evil! She cheered me on as rejections piled up and never hesitated to say she’d love to read what I had.

There are not enough words to say thank you for all Sarah read and her continued encouragement. But I hope this dedication makes a small dent in the enormous debt I owe her.

For Sarah, who lovingly read my early works and cheered me on.

An excerpt from Falling Again for the Single Dad – available September 1st: 

Chapter One

DR. ELI COLLINSS breath caught as he stared at the gaggle of new employees. The first night was always a bit disorienting for the new hires, and they tended to arrive in packs for the first week or so. A petite woman, with long dark hair, lagged behind the rest.

The graceful way she moved sent a pulse of need through him. Amara? He hadn’t seen her in years.

And he wasn’t seeing her now.

Still, Eli’s heart pounded as he tried, and failed, to control his reaction to the miniscule possibility she was here. Hope, need, love, all wrapped around him before pain dismissed the fantasy.

Amara Patel was the best part of his past—and the worst. Any time he saw someone who bore a vague resemblance to her, Eli would stare for just a moment. It was never Amara, but after nearly a decade of trying, he still couldn’t break the habit.

“The new crop of nurses and doctors start tonight.” Dr. Griffin Stanfred slapped Eli’s shoulder as he slid in front of him.

“I know.” Eli shifted, trying to catch another glimpse of the woman. But she’d disappeared with the rest of the group. He wanted to run after them, force his mind and heart to realize that the mystery hire was just another look-alike. A beautiful, graceful, jet-haired woman, a talented nurse or doctor, sure, but it wasn’t his Amara.

His—that was a ridiculous thought. Amara hadn’t been his for nearly a decade. It was just a symptom of Eli’s loneliness.

He had let his desire to be the perfect son of the great Dr. Marshall Collins cost him his happiness. At least he’d come to his senses before taking on a surgical residency he didn’t want. That decision had been the right one, but Marshall had refused to speak to Eli during the entire duration of his residency and subspecialty training or the years that came after.

Only after Eli had given a keynote address at the second-largest emergency medicine conference in the country, eight months ago, had his father reached out to him. Their relationship was still more professional than personal, but Eli couldn’t stop the hope that one day Marshall might finally soften toward him. If Eli just achieved enough…

He let his eyes linger on the staff lounge door for a moment longer. Eli took a deep breath. Amara wasn’t at his hospital—she couldn’t be.

She’d landed a job at a prestigious university research hospital a week before graduating with her nursing degree. And two weeks after they’d broken up. Eli had watched from the corner of the room as she celebrated with their friends.

He’d wanted to reach out to her, to tell her how proud he was, celebrate with her. But he’d worried that if he said anything, he would beg her to take him back. Instead, Eli had made his excuses and left the party. It was one of the many moments in his past he wished he could change.

But life didn’t have a rewind button.

Eli hadn’t gone into surgery, but every activity he did was weighed against what it could do for his career. How it would improve Boston General. Make the institution great. Get it noticed.

Get him noticed.

Because no matter Eli’s achievements, he couldn’t stop the questions about his father. Even when he was surrounded by emergency professionals, someone always asked if he was related to Dr. Marshall Collins. Their eyes inevitably widened when Eli admitted he was his son. And part of him evaporated as they peppered him with questions about his father’s legacy.

You’re enough…

Eli’s soul lifted a bit. Even after all these years, Amara’s voice still floated through his memories just when he needed it. That constant kept him sane and yet sometimes drove him mad.

Eli had considered calling Amara so many times. Just to check in, say hello. See if she’d like to catch up; if she’d gotten the life she wanted; if she’d moved on. But he couldn’t, because if she had, then the tiny ball of hope Eli had never managed to extinguish would die. His heart didn’t want to accept that final loss.

It was easier to imagine Amara in the ER than at home with a husband and family who loved her. Safer… They’d both believed emergency medicine was their calling. Even if he’d doubted it for a brief period.

“Gina quit. Took a job in Baltimore.” Susan Gradeson, the ER’s head nurse, sighed as she laid her laptop on the charging pad at the nurses’ station. “Luckily, one of the new hires agreed to take her shift.” Before Eli could ask any questions, Susan hustled away.

Boston General’s emergency room had one of the highest trauma rates in the nation. It was used by physicians and nurses as a launching pad to one of the nationally ranked academic hospitals that dotted the city. If only they were recognized on that list, then maybe the other hospitals wouldn’t have such an easy time siphoning away Boston Gen.’s talent.

Eli had been offered a position at several of those academic hospitals too. But he loved the chaotic nature of Boston Gen. He thrived on the constant challenges, and even took pleasure in turning down the jobs. He’d bring in the offer letter and let the staff help him draft a blistering no-thank-you note. Eli never sent those, but it was an excellent way to let his friends and colleagues blow off steam.

His cell dinged with an image of his niece, Lizzy. She was waving at the camera; her cheeks covered in chocolate pudding. Eli darted around the corner and video called his mother. She’d taken to the role of grandma the minute Lizzy was born. And she’d refused to allow him to hire a nanny when Lizzy came to live with Eli eight months ago. He didn’t know how he would have survived without his mom’s calming presence.

He’d never expected to be a father. Marshall hadn’t set a great example, but Eli was doing his best. Which mostly meant Googling everything and hoping the mistakes he made were minor. His insides relaxed a bit as Lizzy waved again. Lizzy looked a lot like her father—a man she’d never remember.

Eli pushed his grief away. The months since his brother’s passing had dulled the pain, but there were still moments where Eli had to remind himself that he couldn’t call Sam after a hard day. Or text him a celebratory note after an unexpected success.

At least he had Lizzy.

“Hi, cutie!” Eli cooed as his niece played with the chocolate pudding on her high chair tray. Lizzy needed a happy parent, not a concerned, uncomfortable uncle who was still terrified that he was going to screw everything up.

He smiled and laughed at her silly antics as worries niggled at the back of his brain. Eli never wanted Lizzy to see how terrified he was to be a father. He may not have planned to be a dad, but he couldn’t fail Lizzy now that he was.

“Did she eat any of that?” Eli shook his head as he stared at the messy, almost two-year-old.

“A bit.” His mother laughed. “I was just getting ready to put her in the bathtub. Figured she might as well have some fun. Every kid loves to play with pudding at this age. I’ve got pictures of you and—” she paused for just a moment “—and Sam covered in the sweet stuff.”

A nurse with dark hair passed by in Eli’s peripheral vision. Amara? She’d already slipped into a patient’s room by the time he turned to get a better look.

Why was his mind playing tricks on him tonight?

“Look!” Lizzy giggled as the pudding dripped off her fingers.

Focus, he reminded himself. Smiling at Lizzy, Eli shook his head. “You really are a mess—a cute mess.”

“Daddy!” Lizzy stuck her tongue out at the camera.

Eli’s stomach clenched. That title still felt off. Like he was robbing Sam somehow. “It’s Uncle Eli, sweetheart.”

“Daddy,” Lizzy repeated.

“Well, I’m going to get her cleaned up.” His mom offered a soft smile, though he could see her blink away a few tears. “It’s okay to be daddy, Eli. Maybe it’s what she needs. Sam would understand—even give you a hard time about it.”

“Probably.” Eli agreed, then waved one last time before his mother shut off the video connection. Eli wasn’t Lizzy’s father. Sam was…always would be.

But he was gone.

He’d been killed in a plane crash along with his wife, Yolanda, heading to a surgical conference, just as Lizzy was starting to say her first words.

Like Daddy.

Daddy… It held so much meaning. Eli still felt lost, but Lizzy was his responsibility. No, she was his daughter. When she was older, he would make sure that Lizzy knew as much about her parents as possible.

Sam was the good son, after all. The one who’d followed in his father’s footsteps, though he’d refused to take on any roles at his father’s research facility after Yolanda announced she was pregnant. It was unfair that Eli was now the one putting Sam’s daughter to bed, getting to watch silly pudding videos, planning her future.

And hearing the word Daddy.

When Sam and Yolanda had asked him to be Lizzy’s guardian less than a week after her birth, Eli had agreed without thinking about it. But he’d never expected to take custody of Lizzy. He loved Sam, though watching him with his wife and daughter had always sent a wave of jealousy through him. But Eli’s goals didn’t include a family.

Hadn’t included a family.

In the horrid days after the accident, Eli had held their sleeping child feeling devastated. But he’d sworn to raise her with all the love Sam had shown for her. Somehow, Eli was going to be both an amazing father and a top emergency room doctor. The patients and Lizzy came first. He could do this—he had to.

Turning, he stared at the room where the dark-haired nurse had disappeared a few minutes ago. Eli didn’t think she’d exited yet. If a patient was being difficult, she might need help. That was why he was moving toward the room. Not because he needed to prove to himself that it wasn’t Amara.

Just before he got to the door, Susan grabbed his arm. “I’ve got a kid in room 7 that needs stitches and an elderly man in 4 that probably needs to be admitted for pneumonia. Any chance you can clear either of them out of my ER?”

Your ER?” Eli echoed. “Last time I checked, I was the senior doctor on staff this evening.”

“That supposed to mean something?” Susan quipped as she marched toward another room.

That was Eli’s running joke with Susan. The head nurse had worked at Boston General longer than anyone, and she ran a tight ship. Everyone fell in line when Susan Gradeson ordered it.

Eli looked over his shoulder one last time. But the nurse, or more likely, the figment of his imagination, still hadn’t materialized.

He tried to convince himself that it wasn’t Amara. It wasn’t.

Eli had a few hours left on his shift. He’d see the dark-haired woman before he went home. Then his brain could stop hoping that a miracle had occurred. He had never stopped loving Amara, but that was a feeling he’d learned to live with.

***

Amara held her breath as Dr. Eli Collins finally walked away from the room where she was hiding. Her pulse rate was elevated, and she could feel the heat in her cheeks. Eli was here…here.

She’d already double-checked on the patient, a young woman waiting on her release papers following a minor fender bender. Amara had gone over the concussion protocol with her and made sure she knew the indicators for internal bleeding. Now Amara was hovering. Her stomach twisted as she tried to work out what to do.

She’d left Massachusetts Research after her relationship with Dr. Joe Miller had crashed and burned in full view of all her colleagues. No matter how high she’d held her head, there’d been whispers when Joe immediately started dating her ER colleague Kathleen Hale. Louder whispers when they’d eloped a few weeks later.

Amara had been considering a change for years. If Joe’s affair was the catalyst for it, so what? But now she was facing working with another ex—and she’d never fully recovered from their breakup…

Amara was independent. That was the word she used to describe herself. Independent…that word sounded so much better than afraid of commitment. Terrified of losing your dreams to someone else’s goals. Of disappearing in the one relationship where you were supposed to stand out.

That was the fear that had driven her to walk away from Eli. It had been the right choice. But it didn’t stop the regret that sometimes seeped deep into her bones as she lay awake at night. They wouldn’t have worked. It was the mantra she’d repeated for years. He wanted to chase glory, like her father. Eventually, that need destroyed everything it touched.

She’d watched her mother give all of herself to her father. All her dreams, her goals had been sacrificed to support him. And she’d gotten almost nothing in return.

Even after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, Amara’s father hadn’t put away his bid to secure funding for his newest start-up. Her mother had fought for her life without her husband by her side. And it had been Amara holding her hand at the end, not the man she’d stood beside for nearly forty years.

The patient coughed, and Amara’s cheeks heated again. The young woman hadn’t commented on her extended presence—yet, but she was watching Amara count the supplies in the cabinet. Amara made a note to restock the extra-small gloves, and wanted to shake herself.

Coward! her brain screamed. She should march out of the room and pretend that Eli was just any other doctor on the ER floor.

Boston General was supposed to be her fresh start. Her new place.

And Eli was here.

Did he still have to look so handsome?

Amara hated the selfish thought. Eli had been gorgeous in college, and the last decade had been very kind to the man. No beer belly or receding hairline for him. No, he was still the tall, broad-shouldered, dark-haired medical student that had been every woman’s dream date. Except now, he was an ER doctor. Not a surgeon.

Joy tapped across Amara’s skin. Eli had evidently followed his own path. That didn’t make it any easier to walk out the door and say hello, but she was surprised by how much it warmed her heart.

Amara once believed they’d grow old together. That they’d work in the same ER and go home to a small house with a couple of kids. It had been a good fantasy, and for a short period, she thought those dreams were enough for Eli too. But what was a happy home life compared to medical glory?

Amara’s heart clenched as she forced the past away.

What was Eli doing at Boston General?

She’d assumed he’d gone to Chicago. It was ridiculous, but every year she checked the online annual hospital report to see if he was listed with the other top surgeons. He’d wanted to be like his father so much, but working at Boston Gen. wasn’t likely to land Eli on that list.

In a city full of prestigious academic hospitals, Boston Gen.’s administration wasn’t interested in attracting investors that would make demands that took resources away from the hospital’s patients. Which meant it was chronically underfunded in its quest to provide quality care. Eventually, many of its talented physicians and nurses sought out the hospitals with research dollars, beautiful new buildings and better hours.

The low retention rate for employees at Boston Gen. was well-known. It was one of the reasons why, when Amara figured she needed a change to jump-start her life, she’d applied here.

If she’d known Eli was working at this hospital… She forced that thought away. It didn’t matter. Amara was not going to be another retention statistic on Boston Gen.’s ledger.

Squaring her shoulders, she marched from the room and ran directly into the head nurse, Susan.

“Sorry!” Amara grabbed her to keep them from tumbling to the floor. She instinctively looked over Susan’s shoulder. Eli was gone—at least he hadn’t witnessed her bout of clumsiness.

What would he say when they finally crossed paths?

Amara ignored that thought. She didn’t want to think about Eli, now. Or ever, though there was little hope of that.

“No harm done…?” Wrinkles ran along Susan’s forehead as she stared at her.

“Amara,” she said helpfully. She’d stepped in at the end of their orientation yesterday when Susan had announced that the ER was short-staffed for this evening’s shift. Amara doubted the head nurse had even bothered to write her name down before rushing back to her post.

She looked around Susan one more time and then mentally chastised herself. Amara needed to get Eli out of her head.

“Looking for someone?” Susan raised an eyebrow.

“A doctor… I…no,” she stuttered.

Amara suspected Susan knew she was lying, but at least she didn’t press her. “While we have a lull, I wanted to see if you’d help with the health fair in a few weeks. All the hospital’s departments have a few booths. Several of the ER doctors always run their own. There is a competition—the winner gets two extra vacation days.”

Eli would love that. He’d thrived in competitive environments in college—always pushing himself to come out on top. But Amara hadn’t been the right prize. She knew that wasn’t fair, but a decade later, she still woke up from dreams where he was holding her. Her subconscious refused to give up the whisper of hope Amara was too scared to voice while awake.

Pain rippled up her spine, but she ignored it. Amara was starting a new chapter, and it did not include Dr. Eli Collins. Straightening her shoulders, she gave Susan her full attention. “Put me down for whichever booth needs help.” Her voice didn’t sound as strong as she wanted, but at least it was a start.

A man walked behind Susan, and Amara made sure to keep her gaze focused on the head nurse. She was not going to look for Eli again—she wasn’t.

“You might want to get to know the doctors who are participating first. Like I said, this helps the community, but the competition…”

Amara waved away Susan’s concerns. “It’s fine. I don’t need extra vacation time.” Her father and his new wife lived in California now, and she had no desire to visit.

Not that she’d been invited.

Jovan Patel had barely waited until her mother was gone to set a wedding date. No long mourning period for him.

“We’ve got a four-car pileup coming in!” one of the nurses cried as she ran past Amara and Susan.

Susan turned and yelled, “Dr. Collins was talking to his daughter over by room 3, but he might be in room 7, putting in a few stitches now, and Dr. Stanford is in room 6.”

Amara’s insides chilled. Eli had a daughter. Perhaps even a wife. Her heart raced as she headed for the ambulance bay doors. It was her body prepping for the incoming wounded, not because of Eli.

How simple would life be if she could believe that?

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

August New Releases

Happy August! July just flew by. For me anyways. I was on deadline. I was head down and I looked up, here was August!

We have a milestone this month! Congrats to Tina Beckett for her 35th Harlequin Medical.

And big congratulations to Rachel Dove on her debut Fighting for the Trauma Doc’s Heart.

Have a great August everyone!

MedicalAug1

 

The Army Doc’s Secret Princess by Emily Forbes

Could her royal fling…
…last a lifetime?

Princess Viktoria made a promise: do her duty and marry a duke. But she wants one final adventure first! So she welcomes the freedom that working incognito at the Legion’s Games gives her. There’s only one tall, dark and brooding problem—surgeon and medical team leader Campbell Hamilton. Because the delicious-yet-damaged army doc leaves Viktoria wondering if the adventure she really wants is forever with the man she’s falling for…

 

 

MedicalAug2

 

 

Risking It All for the Children’s Doc by Tina Beckett

She has nothing to lose…
And only him to gain!

Pediatrician Lyric is looking for a fresh start. For her and her orphaned niece. And New Mercy Hospital is just the place. There’s just one problem: her colleague Dr. Ellis Rohal! It’s impossible to ignore their instant connection…or how nice it is to talk to someone who understands her past pain. Still, she must keep her distance. She can’t put her heart on the line again. Can she?

 

MedicalAug3

 

Reunited with Her Hot-Shot Surgeon by Amy Ruttan

Only one surgeon can save her patient—
The one she left behind.

Pearl Henderson and Calum Munro were best friends, too focused on becoming orthopedic surgeons for a relationship—until one night led to an unexpected pregnancy. But when they tragically lost their unborn baby, Pearl ran, the guilt too hard to bear. Returning to San Francisco for a high-profile case proves time’s a powerful healer. But it’s also intensified her attraction to the man she had never wanted to leave…

 

MedicalAugust4

 

Pregnant Midwife on His Doorstep by Marion Lennox

Rescued—
By the brooding neurosurgeon

Neurosurgeon Josh O’Connor’s isolated island hideaway is on lockdown, but nothing will stop him entering a raging cyclone to rescue mom-to-be midwife Hannah Byrne. Hannah hasn’t found happiness since leaving her beloved Irish village. Yet stepping into Josh’s warm house, she starts to feel she might finally have found a home—for her and her unborn baby. Might Josh’s rescuing Hannah from the storm change both their lives for the better?

 

MedicalAugust5

 

Pacific Paradise, Second Chance by Susan Carlisle

Is their surprise reunion…
…enough to heal them?

Nurse Macie Beck never imagined she would see Dr. Landon Cochran again—especially in her small Pacific island hospital. But the shock of his arrival is overtaken by their obvious and unresolved chemistry… As they are forced to work with each other, memories of the past blur their professional boundaries. Keeping things strictly business becomes impossible…and they find themselves wondering if this might be their opportunity for a second chance together!

 

MedicalAugust6

 

 

Fighting for the Trauma Doc’s Heart by Rachel Dove

From professional rivals…
To a family of three?

Ex-army doc Jacob Peterson is still adjusting to life as a single dad when his job is threatened by returning trauma doc Michelle Forbes. The sparks of animosity with the smart, sassy doc soon turn to attraction. But there’s room in Jacob’s life for only one girl—his daughter—and he can’t risk her heart, or his, again. Resisting his growing bond with Michelle will be the fight of his life!

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

The Army Doc’s Secret Princess

 

The Army Doc's Secret Princess, UK Aug 2020 large Emily Forbes

Could her royal fling…

…last a lifetime?

Princess Viktoria made a promise: do her duty and marry a duke. But she wants one final adventure first! So she welcomes the freedom that working incognito at the Legion’s Games gives her. There’s only one tall, dark and brooding problem – surgeon and medical team leader Campbell Hamilton. Because the delicious-yet-damaged army doc leaves Viktoria wondering if the adventure she really wants is forever with the man she’s falling for…

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

Two years ago

Campbell’s headphones blocked out most of the engine noise, but he could still hear a faint rhythmic thump-thump as the chopper blades beat the air and he could feel the vibrations as they shuddered through his body. After almost six months he thought he’d be used to the overwhelming assault on his senses—the smell of fumes and dust, the incessant noise, the constant jarring and jolting—but he had yet to get used to the tension. He was always on edge when he was in flight, despite knowing that one of the Australian Army’s best pilots was in control of the aircraft, and he was looking forward to getting back on the ground.

Cam kept his eyes cast down, focusing on his patient. He kept up a one-sided conversation despite the fact that his patient was heavily sedated, and the engine noise would make conversation almost impossible even if he were conscious. He gave him a rundown of his situation—only the positives though. His IV line was running smoothly and his vital signs had stabilised, he told him. He avoided the specifics of his injuries. The soldier was badly wounded, but he didn’t need to be reminded of that. He’d live, at this stage that was the important information, but he’d be getting sent home for a while. Home to Australia. Where he’d have a chance to recover physically, if not mentally.

Cam knew the soldiers would always be haunted by their experiences fighting a war on the other side of the world. Some would cope better than others. He knew he’d have scars too. Mental, not physical. This war wasn’t what he’d anticipated or expected.

Gemma had warned him, but how did you warn someone who had grown up in rural Australia? A land of dust and dirt but safe enough. Hot, and at times desolate, but it had been a different sort of barren. A different sort of danger.

Apart from the snakes and some angry rams or falling off a motorbike or a horse, Cam hadn’t really had anything to worry about. Now, every day was a battle. Here, there was always a chance of getting hit by a bullet, being on the wrong side of an IED, being wounded or killed by enemy fire or even by a civilian on a suicide mission. Life here was stressful.

His job as a medical specialist with the Australian Army meant he was responsible for lives in a country where lives were not highly regarded. Lives here were seen as disposable, which went against everything he believed in and made his job difficult and, at times, impossible. He still had access to First World medical facilities but, more often than not, he was trying to save lives in the middle of a dustbowl, trying to do his best while war raged around him. Gemma had tried to explain it to him but, until he’d seen it with his own eyes, until he’d lived through the experiences she had told him about, he knew he hadn’t understood.

He glanced towards the cockpit to where Gemma sat in the pilot’s seat. As if she had felt his gaze, his fiancée turned and looked back at him and smiled.

Cam was looking forward to getting back to base. He was looking forward to dinner with Gemma, even if it was just in the mess tent. He could pretend for a moment that they were a normal couple, looking forward to making a life together, planning a family. He needed that idea of his future—it was what kept him going on tough days. Gemma was the bright spot in his world. He loved his job but, if he was asked, he’d have to admit he preferred to do his job in the sterile environment of an Australian medical facility. He didn’t mind dust and dirt, he was country born and bred after all, but practising medicine in these conditions was challenging, often unpleasant and definitely not fun.

But no one was interested in his opinion and if he wanted to be with Gemma, this was where she was.

He wondered if he had any chance of convincing her to quit the army and return to Australia. She loved flying but it would be years before she would achieve flight instructor status with the army. Years before she wouldn’t have to fly combat missions. Perhaps she could work privately instead.

He wondered when it would be safe to have that discussion. Would it ever? Could he ask her to give up something she loved? How would he feel if she started to tell him how to live his life or run his career?

He knew he wouldn’t be happy.

He blew her a kiss just as a bright light burst in his peripheral vision.

The chopper lurched as Gemma’s head whipped around and even through the headphones Cam could hear the sound of tearing metal.

The chopper shuddered and he could see Gemma and her co-pilot fighting to keep control as the bird started to spin.

It took him a few seconds to work out what had happened. It felt like an eternity.

They’d been hit.

There was a second explosion, the burst of light so intense that Cam closed his eyes against the glare.

He could feel the chopper spinning wildly. He opened his eyes and saw the ground rushing towards them as the machine fell from the sky.

Black smoke filled the cabin, making Cam’s eyes water. He couldn’t see Gemma. He couldn’t see anything. He lost all sense of space and time.

He threw himself over his patient as the helicopter plummeted. He knew it was a ridiculous gesture. He wasn’t going to be able to protect him. He wasn’t going to be able to save him. The situation was completely out of his control.

There was nothing he could do.

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

Present day

Campbell’s leg ached and he fought hard against the urge to stand up. The meeting had been long and he was beginning to get restless. He’d never been good at sitting still and these days it was almost impossible. He needed to stand and stretch; prolonged periods of sitting disagreed with him. Irritated his mind and his body. If he sat still his leg complained and his mind wandered. He needed to be moving, he needed to be busy. He wanted to keep his mind occupied. He didn’t want time to dwell. Too much time to think had proven to be difficult.

He stretched his right leg out under the boardroom table as he tried to ease the cramp in his hip. He needed to get in the pool. Swim a few laps. He would prefer to swim a few laps in the ocean, but he knew from experience that he’d fare better in a warm pool. The heated water would ease his aching muscles. It had been two years since the chopper crash and he didn’t need ice baths any more.

It had been twenty-four months since the incident, but he was still adjusting to his new life.

A life as a solitary man.

He brought his attention back to the meeting as Douglas began to wrap it up.

Thank goodness it was almost over. Cam hoped no one had any additional items for discussion. He looked around the table at the ten other men and women, trying to gauge if any of them looked like they had something on their mind. He’d had enough experience with meetings, ward rounds as well as military discussion groups, to know that there was always one person who seemed to delight in dragging meetings on for far too long but today, for once, it appeared as though everyone was just as eager to escape as he was.

He stood up the minute Douglas officially closed the meeting. He stretched, knowing that if he didn’t take a moment to ease the stiffness in his back and leg his limp would be far more pronounced, and he preferred not to draw attention to himself.

He was used to being noticed but he didn’t want to be noticed for the wrong reasons. He knew that was ironic and he’d never say it out loud, not when he was surrounded by so many others with far more severe disabilities and injuries than he had, but he knew that perception was a very personal thing.

‘You okay?’ Doug was beside him.

Cam knew Doug would have noticed his attempt at surreptitious stretching. Doug was one of his closest friends in the service and had been a good support to him during his rehabilitation and recovery phase. His family and friends had helped get him through the past year. He felt he owed it to them to pull through, although there had been times when it had seemed like too much effort, but he was having better days now.

‘I didn’t think it was possible to have this many meetings.’ Cam had made no secret of the fact that he liked to be busy and when he’d agreed to be on this committee he’d imagined that he’d be doing something practical like overseeing the medical facilities and programme for the games, not sitting around talking.

‘We’re almost done,’ Doug said, making an effort to appease him. He knew full well Cam’s opinion about meetings. ‘The Games start next week.’

The countdown was on until the Legion’s Games began, when hundreds of injured veterans from twenty countries around the world would descend on Sydney to compete in a dozen different events across ten days. The Games were the brainchild of Prince Alfred, an army captain himself, and the Games Committee was responsible for the event but, as the host nation, the Australian defence force was heavily involved. It was a massive exercise and the logistics of the Games fell to the Australians, which was how Cam found himself involved.

‘Not much longer and your suffering will all be over,’ Doug added with a smile.

Cam doubted that. Sure, he’d have fewer meetings to attend but his current life was still so far removed from what he’d thought it was going to be; he wasn’t sure that his suffering was ever going to be over.

He’d hoped the Games would be a good distraction, a way to mark the passing of time. He’d expected to be consulted over the details of the medical facilities, but somehow, he’d found himself dragged along to every damn meeting in existence. He tried to be positive. He’d put his hand up for this project after all, but he’d put his hand up for any work that had been offered to him over the past year. Exhaustion was the only way he could get even a half-decent night’s sleep. A few hours when he could shut out the horrors of everything he’d experienced during his tour of duty in the Middle East.

‘Before you go, can I have a word with you about tomorrow’s schedule?’ Doug asked.

‘Don’t tell me there are more meetings—I’m consulting tomorrow and I know my list is pretty full.’

‘I know you’re out at the rehab centre tomorrow; that’s why I need to speak to you. I have a favour to ask. The Prince’s social media manager has arrived in Sydney ahead of the Prince and has asked for a tour of the facilities.’

‘Which facilities?’

‘All of them. But I thought we could start with the old barracks first.’

One of the old inner-city army bases had been repurposed as a rehabilitation facility when the site had needed updating. The active units had been reassigned to a new purpose-built base in the outer suburbs of Sydney and the old base had been upgraded and was now home to the medical facilities, including doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists, exercise physiologists, a purpose-built gym and pool for the injured and returned soldiers, along with outdoor sporting facilities. The repurposed base was going to serve as the venue for the majority of the events in the Legion’s Games.

‘You’re out there tomorrow,’ Doug continued. ‘Can they go out there with you?’

‘You want me to babysit the Prince’s—what did you call them—social media manager?’

Doug nodded and sweetened the deal. ‘If you can do me this small favour, I promise I won’t drag you into any meetings for the rest of the week.’

Cam sighed and ran his hand through his thick, dark hair. A day out of the boardroom was preferable to another day of meetings. Even playing tour guide to a stranger would have to be better than that. ‘All right,’ he agreed.

‘Okay, I’ll send you the details,’ Doug said as he took out his phone and tapped away. ‘Can you collect her from her hotel at o-nine hundred hours?’

‘Her?’ he asked as his phone pinged with the incoming email. Prince Alfred had a military background and Cam had, incorrectly it seemed, assumed his social media manager would be a man.

Cam had met the Prince once while he’d been deployed in the Middle East. Once, in the days before the incident. In the days before his life went down the toilet.

‘Yes—’ Doug grinned ‘—see if you can dredge up some of your old charm. Be nice.’

Cam looked at the email on his screen and noted her name, along with the hotel address, with a raised eyebrow. Apparently, Viktoria von Grasburg was staying in one of Sydney’s five-star hotels on the Harbour. He wondered who was paying for that.

‘Sure,’ he said as he sighed and stuck his phone back in his pocket, before massaging his hip subconsciously.

 

*

Viktoria had woken up well before sunrise, unsure whether to blame her excitement or her body clock which still hadn’t adjusted to the Australian time zone. She was on the other side of the world and about to start her first day ‘on the job’. A job that had nothing to do with her being a royal, a princess. Nothing to do with cutting ribbons, shaking hands or making speeches.

She was working for her cousin, the Prince, but no one in Australia actually knew who she was. No one here knew she was a princess. As far as the organisers of the Legion’s Games were concerned she was just running the Prince’s social media campaign.

Freddie had told her no one would be bothered anyway but she hadn’t believed him. She was about to find out.

‘There’s a Dr Campbell Hamilton here to escort you,’ her assistant informed her as she handed over a small bag. ‘I’ve put your phone, a credit card, a make-up purse and your sunglasses in there. Your schedule is on your phone.’

Viktoria took a deep breath to calm her nerves, suddenly realising this was it. She was doing this. Going off to work like a regular person, out into the world.

She took the lift down to Reception. She stepped out, wondering how she would know who to look for, before realising the reception staff would advise her. She looked to the front desk and her attention was caught by a man in army uniform standing near the concierge.

‘Miss von Grasburg?’ he addressed her, and she was momentarily flummoxed. She wasn’t used to being addressed so casually. There was no Your Highness or even ma’am.

No, this was what she wanted, she reminded herself. He knew all he needed to know. She smiled to herself and swallowed her surprise.

She was Miss von Grasburg.

‘Please, call me Viktoria,’ she said as she nodded and held out her hand to shake his.

‘Campbell Hamilton.’

He was tall, over six feet, with thick dark hair which was a little longer than she thought would meet standard army regulations. He looked lean and muscular, fit without being too bulky. He had wide blue-grey eyes and a dimpled chin. He was clean-shaven with a full mouth and she could see a small scar running through his bottom lip. He was handsome. Very handsome.

She wasn’t sure who she had been expecting but she had never imagined this.

His handshake was firm, his skin cool, but she wasn’t prepared for the heat that spread from his fingertips into her hand and up her arm. She managed to maintain her composure even while her skin tingled and flared under his touch.

She waited for him to say it was a pleasure to meet her, but he didn’t. Was that something people only said to be polite?

‘I understand you want to see the Games facilities?’ he said as he released her hand.

She nodded. The power of speech had deserted her momentarily. Dr Campbell Hamilton was tall, dark and handsome and made her feel strangely nervous.

She had an odd sensation that this man was the reason she was here. That he was what she’d come for. She had an overpowering sense that he was going to play an important role in her days here. Or was she just getting caught up in the excitement of the day ahead?

*

‘My car is out the front,’ he said as he turned and began walking towards the exit. He was quite abrupt, and Viktoria was a little thrown. While she had the sense that he was important, that there was some sort of connection between them, he didn’t appear to share her thoughts. She got the impression she had annoyed him. He seemed to wish he was somewhere else. Doing something else. Her bubble of enthusiasm deflated slightly but, refusing to be completely crushed, she followed him outside.

He was standing beside a white SUV, holding the door open for her.

She hesitated.

‘Is there a problem?’ he asked when she made no move to climb in.

Viktoria looked down the driveway and saw Hendrik pulling to a stop.

‘I arranged for Hendrik to drive us,’ she said.

‘Who?’

She gestured towards the black luxury SUV that was now stationary behind Campbell’s car. ‘Hendrik. My driver.’

‘You have a driver?’

‘Oui.’

‘No one said anything about a driver. This is my car. I will be driving.’

Viktoria made a split decision. She didn’t want to irritate him further and she wanted to live like a normal person. She’d let him drive. That would be safe enough, surely? After all, he was a government employee. ‘Do you have some identification?’ she asked.

‘Identification?’ He was frowning.

‘Oui. If you can show Hendrik some identification to verify yourself, I will give him the day off and let you drive me.’ She knew Hendrik wouldn’t be happy, but she’d deal with him later.

‘You’ll let me drive you?’

His tone was frosty, but Viktoria nodded even as she wished they could begin this conversation again. They were not getting off to a great start.

 

*

Cam bit back a sigh and resisted the urge to run his hand through his hair in frustration. He should have taken the meetings. This was going to be a nightmare. They already seemed to be at cross purposes, working off different briefs. He couldn’t care less if she came with him or not, but he had gone out of his way to collect her this morning and he didn’t appreciate finding out that it hadn’t been necessary. He could have easily met her at the barracks and sorted out her credentials and visitor’s clearance then. But he knew he had to be polite. This woman worked for the Prince. It wouldn’t do to get her offside. He suspected she was going to be demanding. She probably had every right to be, but he wished he wasn’t going to be the one who had to meet her demands.

And then she smiled at him.

The photo provided for her clearance documents hadn’t done her justice. It had been a flattering photo—she’d looked attractive—but he’d been mistaken. She wasn’t just pretty; she was absolutely stunning.

Her smile was like the sun coming out and it burnt through the fog that had surrounded his psyche for the past two years. As the fog lifted, he felt as if he could see clearly for the first time in months…and what he saw made him catch his breath.

 

***

 

The Army Doc's Secret Princess, USA Aug 2020 Emily Forbes

The Army Doc’s Secret Princess is available here

and also

Mills&Boon Aus,

Mills&Boon UK

Harlequin USA