My mother is. Sadly, I did not inherit her genes in that regard. My ideal morning, any day of the week, involves sleeping until around 8:45ish, perhaps a shower and some personal grooming if we’re feeling especially ambitions, and then popping down to one of my favorite cafes for a 4-hour writing sesh. This happens maybe three times a month if I am very lucky, and yes, I do indeed feel blessed on those occasions.
But this January, I didn’t do a great job in the boundary-setting department, and I ended up with more writing projects on my plate than I could handle. The healthy thing to do would have been to drop or delay one project. So, of course, I looked at my calendar, looked at all the things I had to do, and decided that if I could wake up at 6am every day for the month of January, I could get it all done and keep my sanity.
I told my writing group, in order to keep accountability. Then I told my partner, who responded, “Why would you lie to your writing group? You’ve never woken up at 6am in your life.”
That is not true. I can bounce out of bed pretty quickly if I know we’re about to go on vacation.
In fact, for many years I had a job that required me to wake up at 6am, because I had to commute for over an hour to get to the Chicago suburbs. But that was a long time ago. Since then, I’ve lost my early-morning mojo.
Dear reader, the first day I tried to meet my goal, I rolled over and hit the snooze button. The second day, I got serious. I got set up with an accountability partner, and we sent each other pictures of ourselves hard at work every morning. I dreaded having to send the Text of Shame in the event that I stayed in bed.
It worked. I got up at 6am every single day in January, I finished everything I needed to do, and I became mildly stressed, but not overwhelmed or exhausted.
And I learned to appreciate the beauty of those quiet mornings. I love how quiet the street is outside my window. I love watching the snow fall, whisper-soft, before dawn. I love how snuggly the cat is, first thing in the morning. I love knowing that I’ve done something creative before work starts.
I never did become a morning person. I never quite got used to it; my body protested every day. But I did get to see another facet of the day, a slice of life that’s only available to morning people. I got a small taste of that powerful stillness, that feeling of knowing that even if the day’s bustle and noise hasn’t started yet, I have begun.
I’m trying 7am for February. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe 7:30.
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Hope your February is going well. Since it’s currently -3 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -19 in my little corner of the world, I thought I’d share an exclusive excerpt from my upcoming duet for the Medicals line, First Response in Florida.
These books take place, as you can guess from the title, in sunny, warm Key West and feature two adopted brothers–EMT Jackson Durand and ER doc Luis Durand–on their journeys to find happily ever afters, all while battling a fierce hurricane to save their community.
In this excerpt from book one of the duet, The Vet’s Unexpected Hero, we meet Jackson Durand as he’s finishing up a busy shift as a paramedic at Key West General Hospital and rushing to finish his paperwork before a big meeting of the emergency response team ahead of Hurricane Mathilda’s arrival. He’s not looking for love. In fact, he’s a bit of a playboy. At least until a certain neuro-divergent veterinarian asks him for directions…
Disasters usually had most people running away from danger. EMT Jackson Durand wasn’t most people.
His rig stopped outside the ambulance bay doors at Key West General ER and Jackson hopped out the back, followed closely by his EMT partner, Ned. Jackson’s adopted brother, Dr. Luis Durand, met them at the entrance ready to take on the case.
“Forty-one-year-old firefighter with Key West FD,” Jackson said as he and Ned lowered the gurney from the back of the rig down to the ground. “Riding his motorcycle and thrown from the bike, no loss of consciousness on scene. Obvious open left femur fracture.”
The patient on the gurney moaned loud and tried to get up, but Jackson held him in place with a hand on his chest as they wheeled him into the ER and down a brightly lit hall to an available trauma bay, picking up nurses and techs as they went.
“Sir,” Luis said, stepping in beside Jackson. “Can you tell me your name?”
The patient bucked as they transferred him from the gurney to the hospital bed and one of the nurses lifted the sheet covering his lower body to look at the wound. “Reed,” the man on the gurney said. “What’s wrong with my leg? It hurts so bad.”
“Your leg is broken, sir,” Luis placed his stethoscope on the man’s chest and listened before continuing. “Pretty badly, I’m afraid. But we’re going to take good care of you.” He nodded to Jackson then took over his brother’s position at the patient’s bedside. “Okay, we’ve got a good airway here. Good breath sounds bilaterally. Sir, can you open your eyes again for me? Looks like you’re getting drowsy. Reed, can you wiggle your left toes for me?”
The patient screamed then, writhing on the bed. “Arrgh! It hurts, it hurts. I can’t. I can’t. My leg hurts so bad.”
“Blood pressure?” Luis asked the nurse across the table.
Jackson hid his wince, barely. He felt for the guy. With an open compound fracture of the femur like that, it had to be sheer agony, but they couldn’t risk giving him any pain meds for fear of his blood pressure dropping even lower, which would cause even more problems, including death if he stopped breathing.
“Right,” Luis said. “Let’s give him six units of blood stat.”
Jackson and Ned cleared the area to allow the staff more room to work. While Ned took the gurney back to the rig, Jackson headed down the hall to stock up on supplies before his shift ended. Along the way, he greeted staff as the passed. He knew just about everyone here and had a well-earned reputation as the go-to guy when it came to EMT services in the Keys. He liked being the man with the plan and the popularity that went with it. Mainly though, he liked the control. Hopefully his rep would earn him a coveted promotion soon; he just needed a chance to prove himself.
He entered the supply room and began to fill his kit with fresh gauze packs, elastic bandages, syringes, gloves, and Steri-strips. The neatly ordered shelves were a perfect reflection on his brother Luis, who was the head of this department. Thoughtful, quiet, efficient. Everything in its place and a place for everything. All equal. Yep. That was Luis Durand to a T. The complete opposite of Jackson, who thrived on chaos, quick decisions, and excitement. Always better to keep moving, keep going, because those who fell behind got left behind.
He’d learned that lesson the hard way.
“Hey,” a nurse said, coming around the corner of the aisle where he stood. She was dressed in pink scrubs with a jacket covered in cartoon babies. OB floor. Jackson’s gaze flicked to her face then back to the supplies he was sorting through. She was cute, maybe late-twenties, Asian. He didn’t remember her name, but from the expectant smile on her face, she obviously remembered his. Probably because they’d gone out, had a good time, maybe more. He had a reputation outside of the medical field too.
“Hey,” he said, not meeting her gaze. He wasn’t embarrassed about his flings. He only slept with women who knew the score. No strings, no complications. If they’d been together, then she’d gone into it with her eyes open too. He grabbed a handful of alcohol wipes and shoved them into the outer pocket of his pack, ignoring the hot prickle of her stare on the side of his face.
When he didn’t say anything more, she stepped closer and smiled, shaking her head. “You don’t remember me, do you?”
“Of course, I do,” he said, concentrating on the zipper of his pack, and thinking maybe it was time to get out of the game. Not settle down, because he didn’t do relationships—get in too deep and all you ended up with was heartbreak and disappointment—but his thirtieth birthday was coming up soon and frankly he was getting too old for this crap. Maybe he’d get a dog or something to live on the houseboat with him. He hazarded a side glance at the nametag on her jacket. “How could I forget you, Susie?”
Her snort rang loud in the quiet supply room. “And that proves my point. I’m Amy. Borrowed this jacket earlier because I was cold.” Heat crept up his neck as he straightened, hiding his wince. “But don’t worry. I’m not offended,” she said, jovially. “We hooked up at the St. Patrick’s Day party at Durand’s earlier this year. The night’s pretty blurry for me too, since we’d both had way too much to drink. It’s all good.”
His adopted parents owned one of the most popular bars in the touristy section of Key West, Durand’s Duck Bill Pub. He’d had a lot of good times at that bar, a lot of forgotten nights too. He flashed her a slow smile, hoping his charm might get him out of another sticky situation. “Ah. Yes, right. I do remember you now, Amy. You won the green beer contest and hung a T-shirt from the rafters.”
She shook he head and laughed. “I lost the whiskey duel and ended up having to kiss that gross leprechaun statue near the entrance. Nice try though.”
“Thanks.” He winked and sidled past her. “Gotta go.”
“Of course, you do,” she called as he walked out of the supply room fast. “Thanks for the memories.”
“Bye, Amy,” he called back, glad to be out of the firing line. By the time he returned to the bustle of the ER, his brother was at the nurses’ station barking orders into the phone to what Jackson assumed was the OR.
“Yes. Fireman thrown from his motorcycle with a known bad femur fracture. Suspected pelvic fracture. I’m also worried he may have an as yet undiagnosed solid organ injury, perhaps liver or spleen that’s adding to the loss of blood. We’ll need ortho to assist for the leg, but my primary concern right now is saving his life. Okay. Yes. I’ll be up ASAP. Thank you.”
“Another busy day in the neighborhood, huh?” Jackson moved in beside him at the counter and placed his refilled equipment pack at his feet. “You think he’s going to make it?”
“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he does,” Luis said, heading toward the stairwell up to the third floor only to be cut off by the man’s family and fire crew. Jackson concentrated on filling out the requisition forms for his supplies while his brother did his best to put the new arrivals at ease. “Yes. Reed has got a bad leg fracture from the accident and we’re taking him to surgery now to repair it and also to make sure there’s not more bleeding internally. If you have a seat in the waiting room, I’ll be down as soon as I can with an update. I…”
His brother’s voice trailed off and Jackson glanced up to see what had cause the rare occurrence. Luis was always well-spoken, always prepared, always on top of things. He had a mild case of Asperger’s, so that kept him constantly thinking, constantly working through problems in his head that usually spilled out of his mouth as well. So, him going speechless was quite an event. But all Jackson saw were the same people as before. A middle-aged woman sobbing on the shoulder of a teenaged boy and girl, who he assumed were the patient’s wife and kids. Behind them was Reed’s fire crew in their uniforms, their fire truck parked outside the doors beside the ambulance, lights still blazing. Jackson recognized the firefighters as they often went on the same runs as EMS, since many of them were trained as first responders as well. Bud Landry, John Cheeves, and Stacy Williams. Luis definitely wasn’t gay, so the guys were out as the source of Luis’ sudden silence. Which left Stacy.
Blonde, twenty-seven or twenty-eight maybe. Pretty, in a natural, wholesome, beach bunny sort of way. Curvy and cute, and more than capable in the field and courageous as hell. Looks could definitely be deceiving in her case. Luis was staring at her like he’d seen a ghost.
Huh. Interesting. Maybe he’d been bitten by the love bug at last.
An overachiever in nearly every facet of his life except the personal, Luis pushed himself hard. Always working, always helping, always growing. He’d told Jackson once it was because his parents had died bring him to the US from Cuba, sacrificing everything to give their son a better life. Luis felt obligated to live up to the legacy they’d given him, one of bravery and selflessness, even if doing so was to his own detriment. It was the one area he and Jackson had in common, but for very different reasons.
Luis’s past was rooted in affirmation and acceptance. Jackson’s in abandonment.
His mother had left him behind at four years old with no explanation and no word since.
He had no idea why she’d given him, just that she’d left him and deep down he knew he probably deserved it.
The nearby elevators dinged and broke Jackson out of his thoughts. Seemed to break Luis out of whatever spell he’d fallen under too. He excused himself and shoved into the stairwell like his butt was on fire. Jackson went back to finishing up his blasted paperwork, pushing the painful past away.
Of all the aspects of his job, the bureaucracy was his least favorite. He much preferred being out on runs, saving lives, helping others, protecting those who needed it. In fact, protection was his calling, his reason for being. Plus, being an EMT meant he got in, got out, got on with the next patient, never getting too attached to any one person or case. Attachment—that’s where you really got in trouble.
Because everyone left, sooner or later, once they saw the real, unworthy, you.
“Dude, I’m going to take off,” Ned said, clapping him on the shoulder as he walked by, jarring Jackson out of his thoughts. “You need anything from the rig before I go?”
“Nah, man. Thanks.” Jackson planned to use the staff locker room downstairs to shower and change after his shift before heading to the latest meeting of the local Emergency Response Team in the hospital conference room. He was Incident Commander for this one and if things went well it could lead to him landing the recently vacated regional director spot for the local ambulance authority.
“Oh, wait,” Jackson said, initialing and signing on the dotted lines. “You can take this full pack back with you if want.”
“Will do. I’m going to run down to the cafeteria and get a soda real quick first, then I’ll be back to get it. Sure you don’t want anything?” Ned asked as he walked over the elevators.
“No. Thanks, man. Have a good rest of your shift.” Jackson smiled over at his partner. If he got in and out of the showers fast enough, he’d grab a bite himself before the meeting. Coming off a twelve-hour rotation, he needed time to wind down though before thinking about a meal. “Take your time.”
Jackson flipped to yet another sheet on his clipboard and started on the next form, only half-listening to the drone of the TV in the waiting room behind him.
“…Tropical Storm Mathilda is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane by the time it reaches the gulf early next week. As of right now, projections are still vague as to exactly where the eyewall will make landfall, but we do expect it to at least brush the Keys on its way toward mainland USA.”
Jackson sighed. Another early August day in southern Florida. They’d been having meetings off and on since the start of the hurricane season in May. Each week a few new faces appeared in the conference room, and the team was rounded out as conditions changed. The Incident Commander’s job was to coordinate all the different team members into a cohesive whole and direct their resources to the areas that needed them most during the crisis. Considering he’d worked as an EMT in Key West since leaving the Coast Guard six years ago, and had pretty much seen and heard it all, it was a task he was well prepared for. Plus, he loved what he did. But he also had more to contribute and being named regional director would give him that opportunity.
Jackson dotted the last I and crossed the last T on his paperwork then handed it back to the nurse behind the desk, just as a female voice behind him asked, “Excuse me. Can you tell me where the conference room is please? I’m here for the ERT meeting.”
He turned to see a petite, dark-haired woman with a huge, panting golden retriever at her side. The dog was almost as big as she was, with a goofy doggo grin on its face, tongue lolling, and a red therapy vest on its back. Jackson couldn’t resist crouching to scratch the pup behind the ears. “Who’s a good boy, huh?”
“His name is Sam and he’s working,” the woman said, her tone edged with annoyance this time. “Directions, please? I don’t want to be late.”
Jackson glanced back up into her anxious dark eyes. He straightened and gave her a polite smile. “Sorry. I should’ve asked to pet him first. Come on. I’ll show you the way.” He stowed the pack for Ned with the nurse behind the desk then gestured for the woman to follow him. “You’re way too early though. Meeting doesn’t start until three. It’s only two now.”
“I know.” She moved around him and the dog trotted obediently at her side. “I’d rather be early. I always like to be prepared.”
They walked out of the ER and into a quiet corridor leading to the administrative wing. He gave her a side glance, their shoes squeaking on the shiny linoleum and the dog’s leash jangling in time to the clatter of its nails on the floor. Trying to ease the awkward with humor, he joked, “Isn’t that the boy scout motto? Always be prepared.”
“Could be. I really wouldn’t know.” She stared straight ahead, her steps evenly measured to avoid all the cracks between tiles. Hmm. Her cheeks were pink too, and he couldn’t tell if it was because it was hot outside—almost ninety today—or if she was still mad he’d pet her dog. Either way, it was clear she wanted nothing to do with him.
At the end of the hall they reached a doorway marked with a gold plaque that read ‘Conference Room A’. She gave a curt nod and finally faced him, though she kept her gaze fixed on the dog. “Thank you.”
“Uh, sure.” He slowly backed away, more intrigued than he cared to admit. People liked him. Women liked him a lot. Except for this one. She posed a puzzling challenge, and he did love a challenge. The list of new team members ran through his head as he tried to pinpoint her identity. “I’ll see you later then.”
Confusion flickered across her pretty features and she frowned. “Why?”
“I’ll be in the ERT meeting too. Jackson Durand, by the way. That’s my name.”
He waited for her to tell him hers, but she didn’t. Just led her big old dog into the conference room then closed the door behind her.
Want to read more? My First Response in Florida Duet will be out June 2021. However, you can pre-order now, so they’ll show up as soon as they’re available! Links are below and until next time, Happy Reading! ❤️
~ Traci 😊
First Response in Florida Duet:
The Vet’s Unexpected Hero
In the midst of the hurricane… …will she find safety in his arms?
Vet Lucy Miller is happy with her quiet, ordered life. But when a tropical storm bears down on her Florida Keys animal sanctuary, the arrival of devastatingly gorgeous, yet equally guarded, emergency medic Jackson Durand brings disorder—and desire! He’s there to rescue her, but Lucy suspects her red-hot reaction to Jackson will be much more dangerous than the storm raging overhead…
Her One-Night Secret
A return, a reunion… …A shocking revelation!
Firefighter Stacy Williams knows two things about her return to Key West. Her promotion gives her the security she needs to raise her son, and it will be almost impossible to suppress the memories of her passionate night with Dr. Luis Durand. Almost…until working on the hurricane response team brings an encounter with the tall, dark and nomadic doc! And the chance to make her life-changing confession…
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.
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!
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…
…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?
…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.
…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?
…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?
At this time of year, certainly in the northern hemisphere, it’s dull and cold and a bit miserable. Add lockdown to that, and family members (and those of people v close to me) not coming out the other side of Covid… and I think we need to seize the bright moments and hold on to them.
For me, apart from my family (and how grateful I am that I can FaceTime my daughter 200 miles away in Manchester and brainstorm essay stuff with her), that’s flowers and dogs. Here are the daffodils on my kitchen windowsill from this morning. And my beloved spaniels Archie and Dexter, whose waggy-tailed welcome in the morning is the perfect start to the day.
And today is particularly bright. Not just because I’m picking up my birthday pressie from DH this afternoon, 10 days early (let’s just say it’s cross-stitch related), but because the shortlist for the RNA Awards 2021 is out – and I’m on it with my 90th book, ‘A Will, A Wish and a Wedding’!
I’m delighted to say that our Scarlet is also there with me, with ‘Cinderella and the Surgeon’ (Yay! – congrats to one of my besties) – and congratulations to everyone on the lists. Romance definitely makes the world go round.
Usually, the ceremony means we meet up for lunch with the editors, and we sit having a catch-up with tea (oh, all right, pink bubbles) before the awards do itself, this year it’s all virtual. We’ll be toasting each other with bubbles on the night. And there are plans for an author meet-up post-lockdown so we can celebrate it properly. Even if it’s next year, we’re doing it because it’s important to celebrate the joy. Life is for living, and – as the title of our blog says – love is the best medicine.
What are the bright moments you like to hold on to?
Hello dear “Love Is The Best Medicine” Readers. Waving again from Australia. Wishing you light at the end of challenging times with hope for a new-normal returning to make us all smile. Very soon!
I’m Fi McArthur dropping in with the news of my last Lyrebird Lake series book – EMMA. So, if you’d like to join me for a medical romance set in a small, semi-outback town in Queensland, in Australia, then this is for you.
That’s four Lyrebird Lake books in four months so if you like series, too, they are all out about from today. More coming later in the year. What fun.
But first…a photo towards the mountains from my loungeroom window at the farm. The water from the recent flood rains is still in and it looks so golden in the afternoons. Thought I’d share.
I am here to talk about EMMA. It’s so lovely to revisit favourite characters again, expand their stories, and bring the technology and sensitivity up to date when you republish a book many years later. Emma and Gianni are two of my faves, first published in 2010. The background? Well, when I was still a practising midwife, I used to share antenatal classes with young mums. We had wonderful mornings together. One of the young mums went on to study her degree in welfare and psychology and later joined me as a presenter at the classes. Michelle’s mum had been diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and like Emma in my story she waited until she was thirty before she found out if she had the gene and since then, has lectured around the world on the impact of HD. So, this story resonated with my absolute admiration of families who deal with debilitating diseases and the heartbreak of HD. I do hope you enjoy Emma and Gianni’s story.
And again, a reminder my latest Medical Romance from Mills and Boon, is out and available, offering you a chance to travel to beautiful Barcelona with me. Or with Cleo and Felipe, really. I’d love a Second Chance In Barcelona. Have you been to Spain?
And that’s me for a while, my love and blessings to you and yours and huge thanks to all the fab authors on the LITBM blog xx Fi
Let’s talk tropes! My sister and I love reading romance books and we’ve had more than one discussion on the tropes we love and hate. In fact, I still wish I had the discussion we had while I dished on my enjoyment of paranormal fated mate stories and her utter horror of the trope on tape! It was hilarious as I tried (in vain) to convince her of their wonderfulness. I still claim that if she could only find the right fated mate story…but I digress!
When I started A Stolen Kiss with the Midwife, I knew I was going to play with my sister and mine’s favorite tropes. She loves midwife stories and I will read anything with a best friends turned lovers tropes. What was born was Quinn and Milo’s happily ever after.
I have never had a book that was so easy to write. I think if I spent all my time writing best friends I’d be my happiest self. Though my editor might have something to say about it.
Quinn and Milo’s story is a February release, I hope you enjoy this short excerpt. You can find it from your favorite online seller here: https://bit.ly/StolenKissMidwife
Excerpt from A Stolen Kiss with the Midwife:
A hot cup of coffee pressed against her fingers and Quinn lifted it to her lips without opening her eyes. The black coffee was bitter, and a bit burned, but the caffeine kick was what she needed. And she was grateful for any distraction.
“Seriously, Quinn. What’s going on?”
A knee connected with hers as Milo slid into the chair across from her, and Quinn ignored the tingles that slid along her leg. She was tired, worried, and her emotions were tangled. That was the only reason she was reacting to Dr. Milo Russell this morning, she told herself, ignoring the fact that she’d felt those same tingles yesterday morning…and every other day since she’d walked into his arms at the airport eight months ago. Such a simple welcome that had shifted everything in Quinn’s soul.
Almost a year later and she still couldn’t explain the feelings.
Or why those emotions hadn’t made her pack her bags and flee.
Luckily, Quinn’s brain was too full of other worries to let that one take residency in the front of her mind today. Not that it ever wandered away for long, though…
Opening her eyes, Quinn tipped her cup at Milo as he took a seat beside her on the lounge chair. His jade eyes bore through her and she barely kept herself from leaning into him. Milo was her friend. Her best friend. He was the reason she’d leaped at the opportunity to work at St. Brigit’s.
Sure, he was gorgeous. Stunning. His deep dimples were the stuff of legend. She’d heard more than one single lady talk about what it might take to get those dimples to appear outside the birthing center. But Quinn never swooned over anyone. Not over her cheating ex-fiancé and certainly not over Milo. At least, that had been true until she’d moved back to California. Now she yearned for any contact with him.
Quinn and Milo had always just been Quinn and Milo. They’d been best friends since grade school when Quinn had refused to name the person who had started the epic food fight. She’d stood in the principal’s office, refusing to out the new kid, when Milo had marched in and declared that he’d thrown the first nugget. In truth, neither had thought tossing a few hard chicken nuggets would result in pandemonium and pudding on the walls—but they’d cleaned it together. And they’d had each other’s backs ever since.
Even when wanderlust had taken her to the other side of the country or the other side of the world, she and Milo always kept in touch. Video calls, emails and social media had meant they were only ever a GIF away. He was the one constant in her rambling life. Always there to make her laugh, to bounce ideas off about her next move, to make her happy.
He’d always just been her friend Milo and working together at St. Brigit’s was a first for them. She’d enjoyed every minute of it, even if she was in a constant battle to get her body to stop substituting friendly feelings with romantic ones.
I’m on a major deadline right now. Writing my 30th book, juggling virtual school for my special needs son, juggling my late mother in law’s place, renovations and eye strain.
Fun times. Bleh.
And almost a year of this pandemic.
It can be hard to keep writing, to keep up with EVERYTHING. I tend to bury myself in a little hole. Or a nutshell and I’m always reminded of that bit from Austin Powers:
Also, my apologies for any spelling errors…I’ve got pretty bad eye strain. I’ve ordered some blue light glasses to help with my issue of eye strain. And tea bags. Cold, brewed tea bags on the eyes help me too.
Lots of tea drinking here this month! 😉
Funnily enough, that trick also works with styies.
Anyways, enough eye stuff!
So I’m chugging away at book 30 which is due very soon. It’s set on an Alaskan Cruise and features a doctor, who really is the heir to a Duke and he’s in hiding. The heroine is a runaway bride.
And since we can’t travel I can live vicariously through an Alaskan Cruise. 🙂
Maybe when this pandemic is all over I can FINALLY take an Alaskan Cruise, it’s been on my bucket list for years.
So I better get off. I’ve been on this computer far too long today.
Just one night… …double the consequences! Dr. Adeline Turner is horrified when Dr. Elias Garcia arrives as the chief rival for her dream fellowship. She could really do without their instant—and inconvenient—mutual attraction! Burned before, Adeline never mixes business with pleasure. Until Elias has Adeline breaking all her rules. But when she finds out that she’s pregnant with twins, they’re suddenly forced to rethink their dreams—together!
It’s summer down here and although I am thankful for the sunshine, our winter, along with a tough lockdown, is still a very strong memory. I live in the cold bit of Australia so I know all about how that virus loves the cold. My heart goes out to all our northern hemisphere friends who are doing it hard ATM along with the added difficulties of snow and sub zero temperatures. So I thought you all might like a hug in the way of a FREE book.
My novel, Birthright, about a family behaving badly over money, is FREE* for a very short time in the USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany and India.
So what’s it about?
Where there’s a will, there’s a relative,” said Roger Karshner. Very true! Birthright is my novel about a family who, among other things, are behaving badly over money. Three very different adult siblings, all with children of their own, have an aging mother and after years of living away the eldest son and youngest daughter return to small town Mingunyah.
Sarah is the eldest by nine months, but has always been overshadowed by her brother, Cameron, who is their mother, Margaret’s, favorite. Ellie was a difficult teenager and no one can see the adult she has become. Cameron believes his father’s early death denied him the family business and feels owed. Everyone has their own set of relationship issues of their own and then there is Margaret – a matricarch in the true sense of the word.When Margaret’s health deteriorates will long-held secrets and childhood rivalries smash this family into pieces?
Birthright is availabe for free download in the USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany and India until midnight January 27th USA PST. I hope it brings you some reading pleasure and a few hours respite from lockdown.
What makes an idea suddenly jump into your mind and spur you into creating? Where do you search for that illusive imaginative titbit that you hope will grow into a full artistic treat?
I have a confession to make. I love to paint, but I’m really bad at it. For me, the whole act of painting isn’t about ending up with a pretty and recognizable picture. My pleasure comes from the actual act of slapping paint all over a blank canvas. Swirling vibrant colours this way and that in a wild fun frolic.
I’m not scared to use bright shades and tones. The more colour the better. I also never worry about making mistakes, because if something goes wrong, well, I’ll just wait for the mess to dry and then paint over it and start again.
You know writing can be like that, too. I sometimes think we tend to forget that.
For my latest book, Awakening His Shy Vet, I found creative stimulation on social media.
I was deep in the unexplored layers of writing the book, and it wasn’t going well. The first lock down had just kicked in and it seemed to be permanently raining. Life was feeling more than a tad grey. Well, the story had stalled and the whole thing just felt like a huge ugly mess.
There I was wasting time on social media when I should have been researching. In desperation, I typed ‘horses’ into the search box and after passing over a couple of tweets, my eyes fell upon a photograph that just melted my heart.
It also fired up my imagination and kicked my muse off her sulky butt and into work mode. I had found the visual nudge that I needed to get the words flowing and the ideas gushing again.
So when your inspiration is waning and your muse doesn’t know where to head, try searching in the most unexpected of places. You may just find that one spark that shoots your imagination to a new and exciting level. That special place where your characters truly need to be.
Happy inspiration hunting dear readers and writers. Let’s hope that this year is the one where our dreams fly high and our stories make our hearts happy.
Here’s a small extract from Awakening His Shy Vet.
(Ruby and Kern find themselves roped into cleaning out an old barn.)
Attraction wasn’t for her. In the past she’d purposely avoided such emotion, preferring to keep acquaintances – male and female – in the friend zone. At first because she’d feared her past would become known, but eventually because it was easier just to place everyone in the same group and leave them there. Anyway, between studying and working, what little spare time she’d had left had tended to go on sleeping and eating.
Besides, she wasn’t even sure she liked Kern MacKinley very much. The way he sneered every time he opened a box or unearthed a piece of furniture was a clear indication that he saw this afternoon’s work as nothing but a chore.
For a moment, though, when he’d studied that old newspaper cutting, she could have sworn she saw something like regret in his expression. She’d probably imagined it. Thought she’d seen something in him just because she wanted to believe that, despite his odd behaviour at times, he was a decent person.
“You okay, Ruby?” Kern asked.
Startled from her musings, Ruby glanced up to find him regarding her.
“You appear to be off in a private dream world.”
No, not dreaming – just reinstating some common sense. Attraction to anyone was a weakness which led to mistakes. She didn’t want to repeat the hurt of misplacing her trust. She’d survived it once – better not to test her resolve a second time.
He reached out and touched her chin. His long fingers were warm against her skin. “Hey, where’s your smile gone?”
She tilted her head thoughtfully. “Smile?”
“That pretty one you showed me last night,” he said softly. His thumb slid along the curve of her jaw before he let it fall away.
She returned her gaze to the box and frowned down at the contents. “I did not smile at you.”
“Yes, you did. Almost stopped my heart, it was so unexpected.”
My latest shiny book babies have arrived! And they’re not just any copies of Falling Again for the Animal Whisperer. They’re LARGER PRINT. So you can stand reeeeeeally far away and keep your book at a proper social distance from your face while you read it. Good, huh? You can never be too careful these days.
This one was my favourite to write so far. Not just because I love Dorset, where it’s set, but because my hero, sexy horse whisperer and talented vet Cole Crawford helped me through lockdown in the later part of last year. The world went on, masked up and moving in slow mo around me while I holed up with him, bringing him to life in my head, hearing his words and imagining his sexy ass in the saddle of a horse. Aaaah, the fantasy man, every woman has to have one right?
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
I’m glad you asked. After inheriting half of her late uncle’s veterinary practice in the Dorset countryside, single mom Jodie is horrified to learn her ex Cole Crawford has inherited the other half. What the heck was her uncle thinking? He knew their intense love affair exploded into flames 12 years ago and the pair haven’t spoken since! Cole wants to prove he’s changed, but Jodie must protect her heart, and her daughter Emmie. The thing is… you know when you know, right? Cole’s the one and he always has been. But he’s hiding something about their break up….
‘Paracetamol… Asprin… I need something.’ Her nerves were shot. ‘Cole, where do you keep your medicine?’ She knew he couldn’t hear her, he was in the shower.
She pulled open the middle drawer, the top drawer, the bottom drawer… Nothing but cutlery, pens, cables, dog treats. He hadn’t told her where it was. He’d insisted he was fine, but she knew he’d be in pain soon enough, if he wasn’t already.
They’d ridden the horses back slowly, with Blaze beside them. Cole was bleeding under his jacket, she’d seen it when she’d peeled it off him as soon as they’d reached the cabin, but he’d brushed off his injury. ‘Go shower, get warm,’ he’d told her.
So she had, and now she was back. How could she leave him?
You could have lost him. He could have drowned.
The thought was a knife wound to her heaving chest as the tears threatened to consume her.
Her eyes caught on something under the bench covered in jackets, by the door.
Dropping to her knees in her track pants she pulled out the bright red medicine kit and flipped the latch under the huge white cross. Paracetamol. That would have to do.
She slid the box back, but it was stuck now, jammed halfway out. Reaching behind it her hands landed on something smooth, made of glass. She pulled out a photo frame covered in dust and swept a hand across it.
Her and Cole, sitting on Mustang, bareback.
She fell to her bottom, holding it.
There was another box, she noticed now – the box his stetson had arrived in. She slid it out from under the bench and sifted through photos from their summers together. He’d kept all these?
One fell out.
There was Cole, looking up at her from the floor, leaning with his arms crossed and his leg kicked back against a red tractor. She was behind him in the photo, grinning from the driver’s seat. It must have been taken the first summer they’d met.
Another photo. Her and Cole at twelve or thirteen. She recognised Chesil Beach; this must have been the day they’d gone on a fossil hunt. She held it closer, studying his tanned hand wrapped tight around hers on their bucket of treasures. That was around the time that parts of her had started tingling in anticipation of his touch. Just his hand, hauling her up to a rock for a photo, had felt like another moment in heaven.
Another photo. Her and Cole at fourteen. Cole was even more tanned in this one, holding a pitchfork like a guitar out in the stables. He’d been skinny before but now he was filling out. He had muscles from labouring with hay bales and farming equipment, and a wild mop of curls. This was right before he’d taught her to ride bareback, solo, she remembered with a smile.
This was the summer she’d thought Cole was finally going to kiss her… but he didn’t. The kiss came at fifteen. There was no photo from that year, but she could see it clear as day. They’d been wild-swimming in the river, looking for kingfishers. Cole had swum right up to her beneath the wrought-iron bridge.
She thought he’d been about to dunk her; she’d been laughing and splashing him in his new blue board shorts. She’d been self-conscious of her new womanly body, and awed by his new broad chest and the thick, dark hair in places he hadn’t had hair before. But his hands had found her waist under the water. Without a word, he had pulled her into the shadows under the bridge and kissed her. Her first kiss. Cole had been her first everything.
Jodie pressed her bare feet to the cold tile floor, clutching the photos to her heart. They’d had their disagreements and spent the last twelve years apart but if anything happened to him she knew she would die herself, even after all this time.
By the time Cole stepped from the bathroom, running a towel over his hair in nothing but clean jeans, she was stoking the fire, trying to dry her eyes, as well as her wet hair and damp tank top.
‘How are you feeling?’,’ he asked her, dropping to the leather couch, then wincing at the pain to his shoulder.
‘Better than you, I think,’ she said, still fighting to gain control of her shaky voice and limbs. He was here, he was OK, but he wasn’t hers anymore, and she had to pull herself together…
Super excited for this story to be out on Kindle from February 18. It’s already up for pre-order on Amazon!
Till next time folks, thanks for reading, stay safe out there!