Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

April New Releases

I love April! Spring (for the Northern Hemisphere) is in the air and it happens to be my birthday month too. So I’m a bit biased.

And not only does April bring showers to promise the May flowers, but we have some brand spanking new releases for you all, including TWO Duets. Very exciting!

We have JC Harroway making their debut with Medicals this month. Congrats, JC!

Also a huge congrats to Scarlet Wilson on her 45th book!

Their Second Chance in ER by Sue MacKay

Will the doctor and the nurse take the second chance that fate has granted them? Find out in Sue MacKay’s emotional marriage reunited story!
Is their ER reunion……just the beginning? When the eyes of exes Dr. Devlin and nurse Chloe meet across a crowded ER, they’re both stunned to find that they’ll be colleagues again—and that the electrifying sparks from seven years ago are still there. A misunderstanding led to their painful split and the belief that they would never see each other again. Now there’s no chance to run away from each other! But will they take this opportunity to put right what went wrong in their almost happily-ever-after?

Reunited with Her Surgeon Boss by Amy Ruttan

Amy Ruttan offers the perfect tropical escape with this reunion romance, the first in her new duet, Caribbean Island Hospital!

A one-way ticket to the Caribbean……and a second chance in paradise?

When surgeon Victoria has the chance to take a much-needed sabbatical in the US Virgin Islands, she doesn’t have to think twice! It’s the perfect chance to escape the scandal that’s wrongly surrounding her in New York. Still, Victoria knows that her escape to paradise is anything but a holiday. Especially when Dr. Matthew—once the love of her life!—is introduced as her new boss…

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

Caribbean Island Hospital

Book 1: Reunited with Her Surgeon Boss
Book 2: A Ring for His Pregnant Midwife


Neonatal Doc on Her Doorstep by Scarlet Wilson

From working together to living together! In award-winning author Scarlet Wilson’s latest Harlequin Medical Romance, the second in the Neonatal Nurses duet, a doctor and a nurse find themselves in too close proximity!

Will her accidental housemate……stay for good?

Nurse Alice needs a housemate—stat! So she reluctantly agrees to give the hospital’s new doctor, Douglas, a place to stay. It’s clear that while Dougie might have started a new life in Washington, he hasn’t left the ghosts of his past behind in London…just as Alice can’t hide from hers, either. Still, he’s as irresistible as he is infuriating! Is she falling for the doctor in the room next door?

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

Neonatal Nurses

Book 1: A Nurse to Claim His Heart by Juliette Hyland
Book 2: Neonatal Doc on Her Doorstep by Scarlet Wilson

Forbidden Fling with Dr. Right by JC Harroway

In JC Harroway’s electrifying debut for Harlequin Medical Romance, the new doctor in town is tempted into a forbidden fling!

She shouldn’t have kissed her boss!
She shouldn’t want a repeat! Straight-talking Dr. Darcy Wright is almost at the pinnacle of the career she’s neglected everything else in her life for. She just has to meet the impossibly high standards of her new boss, Joe Austin, and find a way to work with the tempting surgeon, who uses his grief as an emotional shield. Which means forgetting that they once succumbed to the mounting friction between them…with one earth-shatteringly off-limits kiss!

A Ring for His Pregnant Midwife by Amy Ruttan

Step onto the Caribbean sands with Harlequin Medical Romance author Amy Ruttan’s marriage of convenience story, the second story in her Caribbean Island Hospital duet!

From faking it at the altar……to a fairy-tale forever?

The last thing Dr. Marcus wants is to be tied down. His ex-girlfriend’s betrayal led him to vow that he would never give his heart to somebody again… But when Alexis, his heavily pregnant friend, needs help, commitmentphobe Marcus drops everything to become her convenient husband! They’re determined to make it work for Alexis’s baby. They just didn’t count on wanting to make their marriage a dream come true!

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

Caribbean Island Hospital

Book 1: Reunited with Her Surgeon Boss
Book 2: A Ring for His Pregnant Midwife

A Nurse to Claim His Heart by Juliette Hyland

Will a fake relationship turn into a forever romance? Find out in Juliette Hyland’s latest Harlequin Medical Romance, the first story in the Neonatal Nurses duet!

A picture is worth a thousand words…What about a viral video?

When Dr. Benedict saves an infant on the Washington Metro, the treatment he performs with nurse Penny becomes the talk of the town—and social media! Not least because the world thinks they’re a couple… While a real relationship is a no-go zone for divorced Benedict, prolonging their “faux-mance” is the perfect way to raise vital hospital funds. But the longer their ruse goes on, the more real it feels!

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

Neonatal Nurses

Book 1: A Nurse to Claim His Heart by Juliette Hyland
Book 2: Neonatal Doc on Her Doorstep by Scarlet Wilson

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Spanish Inspiration: the life of a writer

Let’s go to Spain he said, looking up over his morning coffee and the telling orange EasyJet page on his laptop. I was looking for an excuse for some sun in the name of research for my next book, so off we went!

And oh my, readers, what a magical week it was in Gran Canaria. We managed to steer clear of the tourist spots along the coast and booked a multi level house built into a canyon.

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It was just the right level of romantic to inspire my new hero and heroine and bring them to life in my head. Especially the kitchen. As I made my morning coffee in a kitchen overlooking a red Rocky canyon, and sipped it on a balcony that felt a thousand miles high, i imagined them canoodling with a view and set to work. I wrote and wrote and wrote and my boyfriend, stuck in the real world, might have wondered where his holiday partner had gone.

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He managed to coerce me out, eventually. My own manly protagonist and I climbed rocks and sniffed orange blossom, and dipped our toes in the sea. We dined on fresh prawns and got sticky lemon on our fingers, and met a local guy who acts as host, chef, waiter and restaurant manager in one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. A real one man show.

Of course, in my head I was marrying him off too, creating his happy ending with one of my characters, maybe in the next book, because this one isn’t about a restaurant entrepreneur. Hmmm.

 

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That’s the thing about travelling. You always get so many ideas.

I mean sure, you can sit at home and go places on Google but nothing beats some human interaction and banter. Nothing conjures storylines more than stimulating all five senses at once, from sight to taste, to ruining your sunglasses with a sticky lemon finger touch. There’s inspiration for magic and mishaps everywhere.

So writers and readers, what’s inspiring you lately? Is it sunny days spent away from home? is it relaxing in the garden with a good book, walking the dog, or cooking up a storm with friends?

Tell me how you’re springing into Spring, or maybe it’s autumn where you are. Wherever you are, I hope you remember to breathe in the magic that is everywhere, as long as you remember to look.

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Falling in Love (with a Secondary Character)

There are times when I just can’t help falling in love with a secondary character.  My first love may be my hero and heroine, but there are those secondary characters that just seem to sneak up on me and capture a little bit of my heart.

I know that Ann McIntosh will forgive me for mentioning Cerise at this point.  When we were planning our recent duo together, Cerise was intended as a little bit of background – Ann’s hero David Kennedy is the father of my hero Josh, and Cerise is David’s mother and Josh’s grandmother.  For me, the love affair started when Ann suggested a name, because who wouldn’t be bowled over by a glamorous grandmother called Cerise?  Particularly when she’s a songstress who started her career in 1960’s and whose first hit record was called ‘Love in Pink’.  When Ann wrote some wonderful lyrics for the song (look out for them in her book!) I became well and truly smitten.  A little bit of fictional scandal from the 1960’s surfaced in my book, my hero and heroine dance to an impromptu performance of ‘Love in Pink’ and…  What can I say?  Both Ann and I have some love to spare for Cerise 🙂

And there’s another secondary character, in my current release, that had my heart from the very start.  But this time it’s not a person…  ‘From the Night Shift to Forever’ features a building that I’ve become rather fond of.

Let me explain.  When I was plotting this book, I decided to include a theme of ‘Hidden London’ – those parts of a city that you never knew were there and just stumble across every now and then.  So my heroine’s charity, which delivers after-hours medical supplies, has found a home in a self sufficient Thames-side community of riverboat dwellers and operates from a little-known architectural gem on the river bank.  A Tin Tabernacle.

I first discovered Tin Tabernacles many years ago.  I’d lost my way – which is a pretty common thing for me – and I came across a building so unusual that I had to stop and take a photograph.

TinTabernacle

Afterwards I discovered that I hadn’t just stumbled across a one-off oddity, but that Tin Tabernacles exist all over the country.  Originally intended as churches and community centres for isolated or moving communities, they date back to Victorian times and were the first mass-produced examples of a prefabricated building, which could be dismantled and move with the communities they served.  They’re usually painted in bright colours – shades of blue, pink or yellow – and the corrugated iron walls and sturdy wooden doors and windows are a standard feature.  Many of them look like the one that I came across because they were made to a standard pattern, although some are a lot more elaborate, and they’re often tucked away at the side of rivers and railway lines.  And although I imagine that they were probably very noisy when it rained heavily, hot in the summer and chilly in winter, I was captivated by their charm.

marmed3So… I should mention my hero and heroine, Robbie and Joel, because the book’s really all about them!  But if along the way I stop to admire my fictional Tin Tabernacle, I hope you’ll understand 🙂

A relationship was the last thing on her mind. So why is the new doctor all she can think about? Find out in Annie Claydon’s latest Harlequin Medical Romance!  Night-shift encounter—tempted by the brooding doc!

Children’s doctor Robbie Hall has learned it’s best to keep people at a distance. It’s why working the night shift and running a charity that delivers after-hours medical supplies suits her so perfectly. So Robbie is not prepared to catch the eye of brooding new ER doc Joel Mason. Because experiencing the powerful connection she’s always dreamed of will make resisting it all the more difficult…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Settings and Series

Right now I’m lying on a beach in the Florida Keyes by the pool of Dr. Alex Leonelli.

Okay, maybe I’m not there, but my heroine, Summer is and I like to think that is the next best thing.

Last year I visited the Keyes for my anniversary and found that it was the perfect place to set my series about a helicopter crew that not only work hard together, but also play hard together. With a population of less than 25,000, Key West seemed to be the perfect setting for this close-knit group of friends.

And being at the southern most tip of the continental US, it seemed to be the perfect place for someone who needed to make a new start. A flight nurse trying to escape the trauma of being gunned down, Dylan and Katie’s story; a prince trying to fly under the paparazzi radar, Alex and Summer’s story; a flight nurse hoping to start a new life after a bad marriage, Jo and Casey’s story; Key West seemed the perfect setting. I hope you think so too.

My first book set in Key West, Florida Fling with the Single Dad, is a March release.

New Releases

March New Releases!

Happy March! February seemed to fly by.

Here’s a bunch of new releases to read. Like a March Madness of Medical Romance if you will. 😉

Alison Robert’s 100th book is releasing this month! Be sure to check it out and huge congratulations!

And congrats to Luana DaRosa on her debut Medical Romance!

The Vet’s Unexpected Family by Alison Roberts

In Alison Roberts’s unmissable 100th book for Harlequin, the arrival of an unexpected baby will help a vet find the family he didn’t know he was missing!

A baby… …to change the vet’s life!

When a baby is left in celebrity vet Finn’s waiting room, he can’t believe that it’s his granddaughter, and that he has a secret daughter! With his emotions running riot and feeling utterly out of his depth with a newborn, Finn needs help…and kindhearted colleague Hazel is the perfect candidate! Hazel has always been just a friend. Now she might be becoming someone that he can’t live without…

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

Two Tails Animal Refuge

Book 1: The Vet’s Unexpected Family by Alison Roberts
Book 2: A Rescue Dog to Heal Them by Marion Lennox

One Night with the Sicilian Surgeon by Tina Beckett

Escape to Sicily with this page-turning surprise-pregnancy story from three-times Golden Heart® Award finalist Tina Beckett!


A Sicilian night to rememberA consequence that changes everything! The first day at a new job is never easy. But the realization that the heart surgeon you will be working in close proximity with is also the man that you spent an unforgettable night of passion with…well, that’s a complication too many for perfusionist Bree Frost! Yet Bree is about to discover a second complication of her night with Diego that could bring their worlds crashing together—for good!

From the Night Shift to Forever by Annie Claydon

A relationship was the last thing on her mind. So why is the new doctor all she can think about? Find out in Annie Claydon’s latest Harlequin Medical Romance!
Night-shift encounter—tempted by the brooding doc?

Children’s doctor Robbie Hall has learned it’s best to keep people at a distance. It’s why working the night shift and running a charity that delivers after-hours medical supplies suits her so perfectly. So Robbie is not prepared to catch the eye of brooding new ER doc Joel Mason. Because experiencing the powerful connection she’s always dreamed of will make resisting it all the more difficult…

Florida Fling with the Single Dad by Deanne Anders

n this dramatic story from Harlequin Medical Romance author Deanne Anders, a fresh start in Key West is just what the flight nurse needs—but is a fling with a single dad?

Is she the missing piece……they’ve been looking for? As flight nurse Katie lands in sun-soaked Florida, she wants just one thing: to leave the painful memories of New York behind. So hardworking Katie is ready to throw herself into her new job. What she isn’t ready for? Her new—and gorgeous—colleague, Dylan…and his adorable daughter! Katie was prepared to make a fresh start alone. But what if this single dad wants to help her?

Falling for Her Off-Limits Boss by Luana DaRosa

In Luana DaRosa’s debut Harlequin Medical Romance, a doctor faces her greatest challenge yet: resisting her surgeon boss!

The flaw in her plan:
The surgeon she must resist! Walking into her new Chicago hospital, locum anesthesiologist Emma Santos is ready to take her career by storm. She’s spent too long neglecting her own goals for someone else. She’s not ready for widowed surgeon Mark Henderson. Her new boss is hard to please…and heart-stoppingly handsome! And that makes him a threat to both Emma’s medical ambitions—and her determination not to be ruled by attraction!

A Rescue Dog to Heal Them by Marion Lennox

Meet the rescue dog that will steal your heart in Marion Lennox’s emotional tale of three people and one dog trying to find their feet again.

Can one special dog……help them become one happy family?

Kiara has dedicated her whole life to caring for animals in need. So when the vet is tasked with finding the perfect pet for neurosurgeon Bryn and his orphaned niece, Kiara has just the rescue dog in mind… Adorable Bunji has a story as powerful as little Alice’s, yet he brings hope back into this little family’s life. But what if Kiara does, too?

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

Two Tails Animal Refuge

Book 1: The Vet’s Unexpected Family by Alison Roberts
Book 2: A Rescue Dog to Heal Them by Marion Lennox

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Welcome J.C. Harroway!

Some of you will know J.C. Harroway from her books for the Dare series, and it’s my pleasure to welcome her here today and ask her a little more about herself and her debut medical romance!

headshotI discovered Medical Romance when:

For as long as I can remember I have read romance, often broken up with short runs of other genres. But I always return to my happy place. My grandmother was a huge Mills and Boon fan, reading across several lines, and I would borrow and devour her books. My reading tastes, even within the romance genre, vary dependent on my mood, and for a while, I probably avoided reading medical romances because I was literally living the dream-working in the NHS as a junior doctor and also married to a doctor! I am very happy to have re-discovered medical romance, and thrilled to share my debut, Forbidden Fling with Dr Right with readers.

I wrote my first story when:

I was rather late to the story-writing bug, although I have been an avid lifelong reader and romance lover. I dallied with writing stories when my children were small but, not unsurprisingly, never actually finished a manuscript and never showed those early stories to another soul! My late bloom for writing though supports my core belief in the importance of both lifelong learning and doing whatever you want to do, irrespective of age or stage. My first book was published in 2016 and next month sees the publication of my 17th book.

Where do you live?

I was born in the UK and lived there until my thirties. Then I made the life-altering decision to move my family, including two small children under five, to New Zealand where I have lived ever since. Home is Christchurch, the South Island’s largest city, also know as Ōtautahi or the garden city.

My best trait is:

Ha! I think this depends which of my family members you ask. I think I’d have to say my persistence, because it has definitely helped me to achieve the things I want to achieve in life. It also makes me tenacious, a fault at times (see worse trait below).

My worst trait is:

My husband sometimes calls me the Welsh Terrier, because I often pursue things to the exclusion of all else. This can be a positive (see above), but I have also had to learn that I cannot fix every problem, no matter how long I stay at it. This has been useful in my writing career, especially in dealing with the inevitable rejections. Fortunately I can be adaptable and switch direction, as with my move from Dare to medical romance.

Five things on your bucket list: 

In post pandemic life this has definitely changed. Pre 2019 my bucket list might have comprised five countries I’d like to travel to. Like most people, I hope one day to be able to travel again, but my current bucket list is a little closer to home.

  • Hug my extended family in the UK.
  • See Taylor Swift live in concert in New Zealand again.
  • Cross the ditch to Australia for another romance writers conference.
  • Self-publish a book (I still have not done this!)
  • Invent zero calorie, healthy chocolate!

Be sure to look out for JC Harroway’s debut medical romance!

FFDR cover

She shouldn’t have kissed her boss!

She shouldn’t want a repeat!

Straight-talking Dr Darcy Wright is almost at the pinnacle of the career she’s neglected everything else in her life for. She just has to meet her new boss, Joe Austin’s impossibly high standards. And find a way to work with the tempting surgeon who uses his grief as an emotional shield. Which means forgetting that they succumbed to the mounting friction between them…with one earth-shatteringly off-limits kiss!

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Their Marriage Meant To Be

PROLOGUE

Five years ago

A wisp of her son’s golden hair fell across his forehead as the fan at the side of his hospital bed blew air around the small room. Bex reached out to smooth it back, her touch light, delicate. Tender.

It was easy to pretend he was just sleeping, after a hard day playing outside in the garden. His little face was so relaxed in repose. The lovely, long eyelashes that he’d inherited from his father rested still and inert upon his soft pink cheeks.

If only he was sleeping.

If only he didn’t have half his face obscured by the tube that was breathing for him.

If only he’d not had a stroke.

The nurses had turned him onto his left side, and he had one hand gently curled into a relaxed fist. He still had dimples where his knuckles should be. How she loved his little hands. They were so expressive. The way he’d clap them when he was happy. The way he’d raise them above his head, begging to be picked up. There was nothing Charlie loved more than to be held by her, so he could play with her hair as he rested his head against her chest.

The doctors said that he wouldn’t be doing that any more.

He wouldn’t be doing anything any more.

Was it her fault? Could she have prevented this? If she’d only got him to hospital sooner…

The burn of tears scorched her eyes, filling them with salty tears that ran freely down her face as she leaned over him, adjusting his blanket and trying to sing him his favourite lullaby.

Although the words got stuck in her throat halfway through, she eventually succeeded in getting to the end.

This wasn’t how the fairy tale was meant to end.

If she ignored the machines in the room she could pretend that he was breathing on his own. She could pretend that she’d just put him to bed for an afternoon nap having read him a story.

At the side of the bed was his favourite book. His favourite grey teddy. She picked up the bear and tucked it in beside her son, stroking his hair once again, unwilling to stop touching him, because it meant that he was here, still vital, still alive.

She was unwilling to acknowledge that in reality Charlie was already gone.

The nurses had told her to take as long as she liked, before they’d slipped quietly from the room.

She had to wait for Ethan. He needed to be here for this. He should be here already. She didn’t know why he wasn’t. She needed his support. Needed to feel his arms around her when they came in and switched off the machines.

She bent low and gently dropped a kiss to her son’s forehead. His skin was warm and soft, as it always was.

‘I love you. I love you so much! You are my everything.’

The lump in her throat almost stopped the words and she had to wipe her eyes, unable to see for tears. Sniffing, she continued to stroke his face, his hair. Trying to imprint upon her memory how he felt. The shape of him. The scent of him. The curves of his face, his soft cheeks, his perfect, perfect sweetheart lips.

Never again would she hear his wonderful laugh.

Never again would she hear Charlie say ‘Mummy!’ and see his beaming smile as he raised his arms, wanting to be picked up.

What she wouldn’t give to feel his little body clamped onto hers, the weight of him on her hip, his little sticky face and hands…

Life was much too cruel. To do something like this to an innocent little boy.

‘Sleep tight, Charlie. Sleep tight. Mummy will love you always.’

And she allowed her grief to consume her as the sound of her desperate cries filled the room.


The only thing that can heal them?

Each other!

The day they lost their son, veterinary nurse Bex and vet Ethan’s world was left shattered. Struggling to cope, their marriage fell apart. Now, five years later, Ethan is back in Bex’s life…to treat a critically ill horse in her care. Being in each other’s company again reminds Bex of every single thing that she loved about Ethan. But will it prove they are meant to be together – forever?

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (US)

Amazon (Australia)

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Twenty-five and Counting

by Susan Carlisle

No, the above isn’t my age. That would be a long time ago! But it is the number of books I’ve written and a few more.

Harlequin Publishing makes a big deal when their authors reach a milestone of books written. The first is 25 books, 50 and so on. I have worked for years to reach the 25 books published mark. I never believed it be possible but I did it. I was looking forward to being introduce at Harlequin’s annual party and receiving my pin.

Then along came the stuff I refuse to name. The party was canceled and due to the same stuff my pin couldn’t be made. I know in the scheme of things my issues during the last two years has been small. Still the disappointment was large to me since I had been looking forward to that evening for so long.

My work was acknowledged during a very nice zoom party. A year and a half later my pin arrived in the mail. I have to admit I was tickled to get it. It’s a tangible sign of my achievement. I’m currently working on book 33 so it won’t be long before I’m due of another pin. I hope by that time I can prance across a stage and open that tiny box once again. For now I’m enjoying the one I got.

Have you ever looked forward to something then been disappointed?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Love is in the Air! ❤️ (along with a silly video & an exclusive excerpt 😉)

“What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year!”
(gif courtesy of Giphy)

Happy Valentine’s Day (or Galentine’s Day for all my single friends out there)! 💕💕

The one holiday devoted exclusively to love in all its forms. People, places, pets, books… And speaking of books, I’ve got an exclusive excerpt to share with y’all today from my next Medicals book, Island Reunion with the Single Dad, hitting shelves and ereaders everywhere on April 26th!

But first, I wanted to share a TikTok video of me I made for Valentine’s Day talking about a recent read I loved, The Hate Project by Kris Ripper. It takes the whole cinnamon roll/sexy grump trope to new heights with our two aromantic heroes Oscar and Jack forced to work together to clean out a hoarder house Jack has inherited so he can sell it and put it back on the market. This is book two in zir’s Love Study trilogy, but can be read as a standalone (though all three books are so amazing, why wouldn’t you want to read them all?) Anyway, if you want to check out my goofy self gushing about it in this short little video, feel free:

And now, on to an exclusive excerpt from Island Reunion with the Single Dad. As the title implies, it’s a second-chance romance set on Whidbey Island, Washington. The hero is a single father raising his son on his own and the heroine is a GP filling in temporarily at his practice. The book is chock full of other trope-y goodness as well, including a secret billionaire twist and a Halloween Ball grand gesture complete with mermaid and pirate costumes. It’s a sweet, funny, tender story about two people getting another chance with the one who got away. I do hope you’ll check it out and enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it. 🤓📚❤️

Now, here’s your Exclusive Excerpt:

Welcome to Whidbey Island…

Dr. Morgan Salas stared at the large wooden sign near the pebbled beach, with its carved twin eagles and painted seascape, an image of the car ferry she’d just departed across the bottom. She took a deep breath of fresh Pacific Northwest air drifting through the window of the sedan, the late-September air crisp with the scents of fallen leaves and recent rainfall. For the first time in recent memory, she felt…happy. Lighter. More hopeful. Maybe she could find some measure of the peace and contentment she’d lost when Ben died. She had a month here. Perhaps it would be enough.

She’d enjoyed the trip from Mukilteo, Washington, on the mainland to the tiny, quaint coastal town of Clinton on the island. She’d had twenty minutes on the ferry to just enjoy the scenery and leave her cares behind. Hopefully. Maybe. Okay, probably not, but she was working on it.

From what she’d researched online, Whidbey Island was known for its “reserved individuality” and “effortless ease.” She prayed some of that ease would rub off on her while she was here. First, though, now that she was on dry land again, she had to get to her appointment on the other side of the island near Freeland.

Morgan checked out the open window of her rented sedan for oncoming traffic on the two-lane asphalt ahead, then managed to get around a few slower-moving cars until she was on the open roadway again. Cool wind in her hair, she passed several signs as she headed out of Clinton for the Scenic Isle Way, part of the Cascade Loop and the only section entirely contained within an island. She’d read about that, too, being something of a fact geek. The views here were gorgeous, no doubt. The knot between her shoulder blades and a bit more of her old anger and grief drifted away. And sure, maybe the roads here were bit narrow and…whoa! Those hairpin turns seemed to come out of nowhere, but it was all good. She’d take it slow and steady. That always won the race, right?

Well, usually. Unless someone cheated. Like Ben did.

Her pulse kicked a notch higher as she glanced at the clock in the dashboard. Twenty minutes.

She could still make it on time, barring any more holdups. She hated being late.

Except just ahead, traffic had slowed again. Dammit. Morgan slowed, then leaned out the window, craning her neck to see the problem. It was the middle of nowhere, farm fields bordered by forest on either side. But a slight incline ahead kept her from seeing beyond it. Huh. In the distance, animals grazed, and she spotted a few tourists gawking and taking pictures.

What could possibly be out here to cause such a ruckus?

Ugh. Morgan did not have time for this. Not today, anyway. So, after checking again for oncoming traffic, she nosed out of line into the opposite lane then hurried up the incline, thinking she’d bypass the crowd. Except when she got to the top of the hill, all she saw was sheep. Sheep everywhere. Including a big one square in her lane.

Alarmed, Morgan slammed on the brakes, only to have her back tires fishtail off the still-wet asphalt. Crap. Silence thudded loud in her ears as the sheep in front of her watched impassively, chewing its cud. Cursing, Morgan tapped her accelerator, hoping to nudge all four tires back onto the roadway. Except that, coupled with the slick and muddy berm, only made her slide farther into the ditch. Hands shaking, she closed her eyes as she careened backward, heart pounding, praying she wouldn’t end up as a warning story on the news. Woman illegally passes traffic, ends up trapped and dead beneath a ton of flipped steel. Kids, don’t try this at home.

In the end, though, the sedan’s back end came to rest gently against the trunk of a huge pine tree while the front half of the car climbed crookedly up toward the road like a drunken college coed after a bender.

Lord, help her. She hadn’t even been here an hour and things were already going downhill. Literally.

After a quick full-body shake to disperse some excess adrenaline and make sure she wasn’t injured, Morgan set about figuring out how to get unstuck from her current situation. Her train of thought was quickly derailed, however, by the passenger door flying open. Stunned, she stared wide-eyed at the last person she’d ever expected to see again.

Ely.

No last name. They’d never exchanged them. The one-night stand she’d never forgotten.

Not even after ten years.

“Are you okay?” he asked, cutting through her befuddled thoughts.

“Uh…” Morgan frowned.

Am I okay? Maybe I hit my head after all, and this is all a hallucination.

She took a deep breath and gave a small prayer of thanks that at least he didn’t seem to recognize her. “Uh…yes. I think I’m—”

“Hang on a minute and let me check you over.” Before she could finish, he’d reached over from the passenger side to run his hands over her arms and legs, checking for injury, but that only made her scalp tingle more.

“Stop. Please!” Out of sorts and far too aware of his hands on her body, she pulled away, heat prickling her cheeks. “I’m fine. Just a little shaken. Thank you.”

Her voice trembled, to her eternal mortification. This was ridiculous. Ely was just a man. A man she’d had sex with, once upon a time. Also, a man who obviously didn’t even remember her anyway. She was making a huge deal out of nothing. He shouldn’t affect her like this. She obviously didn’t affect him at all. Ely didn’t seem to care in the least.

Well, other than the fact he was trying to get her out of her predicament. Okay. Fine. That part was helpful. She peered past his broad shoulder toward the crest of the ditch, where the same tourists who’d been photographing the sheep were now snapping pictures of her. Perfect. Exactly how she wanted to start her monthlong stint on the island. As a photo op. Morgan cleared her throat and fiddled with her horribly wrinkled shirt to avoid looking at him. “Did anyone else slide off the road?”

“Nope,” Ely said, his tone a bit curt now, his expression clearly irritated. He leaned back, muscled arms braced on the door frame, filling the space like he had a right to, sucking up all her oxygen. He shrugged, then narrowed his gaze on her. “Probably because no one else was driving like a maniac. These roads get very slick after a rain. You could’ve killed yourself or someone else pulling a stunt like that.”

Her hackles rose, her chest tight. “First of all, I’m not a maniac. I have an important meeting to get to. And second, doesn’t it rain all the time in the Pacific Northwest? That’s kind of what you’re known for it, isn’t it?”

She forced herself to inhale. Arguing with him wouldn’t get her out of this any sooner, and she couldn’t risk missing her appointment. Time to end this here and now. And if that meant swallowing her pride, fine. “Sorry. You’re right.” She bit her tongue and forced a smile. “I wasn’t thinking. Can you help me get out of here, please?”

“Of course.” His voice and expression softened, and her heart did a weird little flip.

Damn. He looked so much like she remembered. Dark and handsome and windswept, his smile revealing dimples in his cheeks. Lord, she’d forgotten the devastating effect those dimples had on her common sense. Ely hiked his chin toward the door behind her and said, “Hop out and I’ll see if I can’t get you steered back onto the road.”

Still dazed and shaky, Morgan undid her seat belt and opened the driver’s side door. Stepped out on wobbly knees, only to find her new shoes stuck in mud almost up to her ankles. Before she could despair too much, Ely was beside her, his tawny gaze twinkling as he tried, and failed, to keep his smile from growing into a full-blown grin.

“Go on and help her out, Ely!” someone shouted from up top.

“Put those capable hands of yours to good use, Doc!” another guy yelled.

Blood whooshed in her ears, and Morgan wondered if it was possible to die from embarrassment. Because it certainly felt like she could, especially when Ely grabbed her around the waist and lifted her into his arms. A sucking sound echoed as her feet popped free of the muck, but all she could focus on was the feel of his hard chest against her, the heat of him through her clothes, his clean scent of soap and sandalwood. She’d forgotten how tall he was, a good foot above her own five-four. Strong, too. An unwanted shock of desire curled her toes inside her ruined pumps, and Morgan pushed hard against him. “Put me down, please.”

He walked a few feet over to a grassy area and did as she asked. Their gazes locked and time slowed as the years drifted away. Suddenly they were back on a beach on this very island. Two young, stupid college kids living like there was no tomorrow.

Except life had taught her too well that there was always a day after.

“Sorry.” She looked away, not sure why she was apologizing. Her stomach clenched, even though she’d done nothing wrong. Neither had he. Ely blinked down at her a beat or two, then took her hand to silently lead her up the side of the ditch to the berm. People clapped as they emerged at the summit, and she tried to look less discombobulated than she felt.

Morgan hated unwanted attention. The glare of the spotlight. The constant searing scald of gossip. She’d gotten more than enough of that after Ben’s funeral. The whispers behind her back from the staff at the hospital. Conversations ending abruptly whenever she appeared.

Even though rationally she knew this was different, it felt all too similar. Moving stiffly, she sidled off to the side as Ely went back down into the ditch to gun the sedan’s engine, sending a spray of mud flying as he zoomed the car back up onto the roadway. The crowd finally dispersed.

He left the engine running and walked back to Morgan, stopping a foot or so away from her.

“You’ve got…” he said, frowning.

“What?” Scowling, Morgan self-consciously wiped her cheek.

“No. The other side. Here.” Ely tipped her chin up with a finger, then swiped his thumb across her jaw. Her lungs tightened and she thought she might pass out, completing her humiliation. Her skin still tingled even after he let her go. “There. Gone. Just a speck of mud.”

“Oh…” she mumbled, touching the spot, nearly drowning in his eyes before pulling herself to safety. Flustered, she smoothed her hands down the front of her pantsuit to make sure nothing else was stained or missing. Yep. She must’ve hit her head and knocked something loose. Like her common sense.

Doing her best to regain her composure, Morgan stepped away and gave him her most polite smile, the one that appeased even her most irascible patients. “Thank you so much for your help. Now I need to go. Please excuse me.”

Gah!

Unfortunately, Morgan had no idea how to greet an old one-night stand. Probably because she’d thought she’d never see him again. He’d never called afterward, even though she’d given him her number, so obviously he hadn’t been interested.

Things had changed so much. She had changed so much.

“No problem,” Ely called after her as she walked back to her sedan. “Take it easy on these roads. Next time you might not be so lucky, and I won’t be there to help.”

Feeling like a five-year-old who’d gotten caught eating paste, she climbed into the car and resisted thunking her forehead on the steering wheel. Good Lord. The last thing she needed right now was driving advice from the guy she’d banged on the beach a decade prior.

As calmly as possible, Morgan refastened her seat belt, checked her mirrors, then started down the road again with her hands at ten and two. She needed to focus on her meeting and not on the gorgeous man from her past, who was growing smaller by the second in her rearview mirror.

Home is…
…where the doctor is?
Widowed Dr. Morgan needs a fresh start! But the first man that Morgan meets on Whidbey Island in Washington State plunges her back ten years…to a passionate encounter she’s never forgotten. Dr Ely is now a single dad—and her new, if temporary, colleague! Yet as their connection bursts back into life, Morgan’s resolve to protect her broken heart is sorely challenged. Dare she let herself dream of forever again?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

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

Excerpt: A Nurse to Claim His Heart

I have a new book coming in April and it’s a duet with the lovely Scarlet Wilson! My heroine, Penny, is a trivia-loving NICU nurse who Dr. Benedict has never managed to forget. When a viral video sparks dating rumors, they use it to raise fund for a cause close to Benedict’s heart. But what happens when the fake romance starts feeling all too real?

I hope you enjoy this short sneak peak into A Nurse to Claim His Heart. You can read the full first chapter here: https://bit.ly/ClaimhisheartCh1. Available for pre-order from your favorite book store now!

“CHAPTER ONE

CROSSING HIS ARMS, Dr. Benedict Denbar played the “can I get comfortable in the small metro seat?” game. He considered standing, but it was early in the morning, and he was going to be on his feet all day while working at Wald Children’s Hospital. At least the uncomfortable plastic let him avoid the crush of people pressed into the metro car. It wasn’t much in the way of quiet time before his shift started, but it let him clear his head before starting the day as the attending physician in the level four neonatal intensive care unit.
The NICU was quiet. In fact the doctors and nurses did their best to keep the noise level below forty-five decibels as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to protect the tiny babies in the unit. But the quiet wasn’t restorative and the stress of the environment, where patients shifted from stable to critical in hours, sometimes minutes, wore on many of his colleagues. He’d seen dozens of doctors and nurses seek different specialties.
And he didn’t blame them. But the NICU was his calling. His place to make a difference. His place to make amends.

“He closed his eyes as his thoughts wandered to Olivia. They’d traveled there so often lately, as his dream of a high-risk maternity unit in the children’s hospital was finally becoming a reality. Assuming Wald’s Children’s Hospital could fund the multimillion-dollar investment.
He’d been on the committee suggesting fundraising ideas, and there were several high-profile fundraisers planned. But was it enough?
He blew out a breath. This was his dream. Benedict needed the unit funded. Needed to find a way to support the mothers of the babies in his unit.
Medical care for NICU patients had come a long way since he’d stood over Olivia’s incubator, not knowing that the heated crib was actually called an isolette. But too many mothers were separated from their children while they received care and their children were treated in the high-risk nursery.
If only she’d been born a few weeks later…a few days even. If the world were fair, he’d be helping plan her eighteenth birthday now. But life wasn’t fair.
And if she’d lived, he wouldn’t be sitting on an uncomfortable chair in DC. Hell, he probably wouldn’t have become a physician…at least not a pediatrician specializing in neonatal care. His life would look completely different.
All sacrifices he’d have gladly made to raise Isiah’s daughter. His brother had been gone for nineteen years this month. Nineteen years… A lifetime.
He’d now lived more of his life without his baby brother than with him, but Benedict still found himself searching for him. Still longed to call him at the end of the day. It was a funny feeling to miss part of yourself.
Benedict shook himself and straightened in his seat. He’d thought of Isiah a lot over the last few months. And Olivia, and her mother, Amber—his wife.
At least his wife according to legal documents. A connection bonded by a vow he’d made to Isiah, but never even sealed with a kiss. A vow that shouldn’t have been necessary, if Isiah had only listened to Benedict’s arguments about his shift from certified drag racing to illegal street racing for cash.
Amber had arrived at his door less than two weeks after Isiah’s funeral. Tears streaking across her face as she protectively cradled her belly. He’d known her predicament and that her mother would disown her for getting pregnant at eighteen. An unwed mother would not be welcome in her home. It might have been the twenty-first century, but that didn’t matter.
Isiah had planned to use the winnings of his last illegal street race to run away with her. If only he’d told Benedict, they’d have found a different way.
There was almost always a different way. Something else you could try. But that was a lesson that came with age and experience. And blinded by love, his brother hadn’t been able to think clearly.

His phone dinged, and he pulled it from his pocket. His mother’s face with a new ring held in front of her face and giant smile with a guy he did not recognize flashed on his screen. He couldn’t stop his eyes from rolling to the ceiling. If she made it to the altar, this would be her sixth husband, and he’d lost count of the number of fiancé’s she’d dumped or been dumped by. Yet, with each new relationship, she sent him a text…that he never answered.
Love.
Benedict scoffed and ignored the stare from the elderly woman sitting next to him. He hadn’t meant to let noise out, but love or the feeling that people claimed was love really was too fallible to be trusted. It either turned to hate or destroyed.
Responsibility, friendship, even honor, last longer than love. Which was why he’d stepped in where his brother could not. Accepting a platonic union as they’d helped each other mourn the loss of his brother and then the loss of Olivia when she was born too early.
So tiny.
And with that, his connection to Amber should have ended, and in many ways it had. They’d married when he was nineteen, and separated three days before he’d turned twenty-one, just after he’d enrolled at Oregon State University, determined to help babies like Olivia.
But Amber hadn’t wanted the shame of a divorce. Her family, difficult though they were, were all she had left now that Isiah and Olivia were gone. She’d asked him to stay married, at least on paper. And he’d agreed, after all he’d promised till death, and Benedict hadn’t wanted to follow down his parents’ path of broken vows. He’d meant the words when he said them—vows were not to be made lightly no matter what his mother and father thought of their promises.
So they’d stayed married. Amber got to keep the illusion that she was married for her mother and Benedict got to do right by the woman his brother had loved. It wasn’t as though he’d ever planned to marry for love anyway. He’d seen how dangerous that was, so what did it matter if he remained married to Amber for duty’s sake?”

A young couple entered the metro with a newborn. The young man wrapped his arms around the mother. They looked exhausted, but most parents at that stage wore exhaustion well, almost basked in it as they loved on their baby. The woman laid her head against her partner’s shoulder while cradling the infant wrapped against her chest. It was picture perfect, but one never knew what went on in other people’s homes.
He deleted the text from his mother, then looked at the message he’d sent Amber yesterday about starting their divorce procedures. She’d left it on Read. He shook his head as he added following up with her to his mental to-do list. A few weeks ago, she’d asked to wait a bit longer while she dealt with her mother’s illness.
But how long?
The metro slowed, and Benedict leaned forward as the door to the Foggy Bottom Station opened. Penelope Greene, Penny, stepped onto the train. She met his gaze, nodded and quickly shuffled to the other side of the car.
He tried not to let that hurt.
He and Penny were colleagues. Nothing more. Though seven years ago, they’d been as close as work colleagues could be. Coffee breaks, laughter and support as she found her way as a junior nurse, and he navigated the last days of his residency. He’d been attracted to her, desperately so. Their friendship nested on the edge of so much more. He’d dreamed of kissing her more often than he cared to remember.
But Penny had made no secret of the fact that she wanted a family. A re-creation of the happy home that she and her little sister, Alice, had grown up in.
For a brief second all those years ago, Benedict had wished he could give her those things. Wished that he believed a happily-ever-after was possible. Wished he were free to promise things that no one could really promise. Life shifted too unpredictably for anyone to truly promise for better or worse and forever.