In July of last year, one of the favorite of all the books I’ve written was published. Being a tropical girl, I’d wanted to set a book on an island in the Caribbean, yet couldn’t decide on a specific one. After going over it in my head again and again, I decided to create a fictional island nation, called St. Eustace, (not to be confused with the Dutch island of Sint Eustatius) and set Best Friend to Dr. Right there.
Then, as is the way of authors, I moved on.
But that world, those characters, the setting kept calling me back.
The fact is, the Caribbean is a rich, multicultural area, which attracts so many people for so many different reasons. Centuries ago it was an area people ran to, to hide, to escape, to reflect, to prosper, and it’s really little different now. That aspect of the Caribbean is one that fascinates me and that fascination led me to a new storyline, and back to St. Eustace.
So, Island Fling with the Surgeon was born, and will be released in August 2021. In it two flawed but delicious characters navigate their way through a faux love affair, that becomes oh, so real! There are also glimpses of familiar characters from Best Friend to Doctor Right. I hope you enjoy the excerpt below!
Or more than she bargained for?
When Dr. Genevieve Broussard convinces nurse Zach Lewin to enter a fake relationship to help keep her meddling mom off her back, she’s confident there’s no danger of it turning into anything more. Her first priority has to be her surgical career, and both Gen and Zach are still reeling from recent betrayals. But as the summer heat in the Caribbean loosens inhibitions, their fake “affair” is at risk of becoming all too real…
The drive over to Coconut Beach took only about fifteen minutes, but Zach found his thoughts repeatedly going back to Genevieve, no matter how he tried to keep them on other matters. So much so that, on turning into the car park next to the beach, he thought perhaps his eyes, following the lead of his brain, were playing tricks on him.
That couldn’t be Dr. Broussard sitting on the bonnet of her car waving to him, as he pulled into a nearby space, could it?
It most certainly was, and as she hopped down from her perch and made her way toward his car, bemusement had the muscles in his neck tightening.
What the heck was going on?
He had hardly closed the car door behind him before she started speaking.
“Hey, I’m sorry to stalk you like this, but I really needed to talk to you, and the hospital wasn’t the best place to do it…”
Although she stopped to take a breath, Zach didn’t have a chance to utter even one word before she asked, “Would you be my boyfriend?”
Gen hadn’t meant to blurt it out like that, but she was so nervous her palms were sweating, her knees were weak and the words just tumbled out of her mouth. The look of shock on Zach’s face just made it all worse. Heat climbed the back of her neck, and she rubbed at it, trying to dispel the prickling sensation.
“I’m sorry?” he said, his voice clipped and terribly precise, sharp enough to cut. “I beg your pardon?”
“Oof,” she replied, then wished she could pull the inarticulate sound back into her mouth, especially when his eyebrows contracted into a fierce scowl. Who would have thought she’d won prizes for elocution in the past, if that was the best she could come up with? “No, I’m sorry. I know it sounds crazy, but will you give me a chance to explain?”
He was still wearing that scowl, and the searching nature of his gaze made her wonder if he thought she was nuts.
She was wondering the same thing herself and couldn’t blame him if he were!
“I’m waiting with bated breath for you to do just that,” he said, with a hint of sarcasm overlaying the words.
She rubbed at her nape again and tried to regain some hint of composure.
“I’m not propositioning you, although I know it sounds like it.” The urge to start babbling again had her stopping and taking a deep breath. After blowing it out, she continued. “The truth is, I lied to my mother and told her you and I were involved in a relationship.”
He said it softly, but he couldn’t have sounded any more dangerous if he’d shouted.
Gen held up her hands. “I know. I know. It was stupid, but Mom is always on at me about not having a social life, and one night I just couldn’t take it anymore. So, I made up a story to get her off my back.”
Not the entire truth, but close enough under the circumstances.
Now she could hear curiosity warring with his outrage, and it made her embarrassment deepen, if that were at all possible.
“I don’t know for sure,” she replied, trying to be honest. “I think it was because you’d just arrived, and I’d worked with you in the OR for the first time, so your name just popped into my head.”
Zach shook his head slowly, still giving her a suspicious glare.
“Now Mom’s coming to visit, and I can’t let her know I lied.”
His nostrils flared slightly, as he drew in a harsh breath. “Just tell her it didn’t work out, and we’re not friendly anymore. Wouldn’t that solve the problem?”
“No!” Yikes, now she was barking at him. She had to get a grip. “It would make it worse—for me anyway—because then the whole cycle would start again.”
His gaze made her feel like a recalcitrant child, and now her entire body flushed hot. Looking around, she spied a small gazebo farther along the beach and gestured toward it.
“Can we sit down and talk about it?” Yeah, she was pleading, but although it felt weird, she was willing to do whatever it took to get Zach on board with her plan, no matter how crazy it was.
He didn’t reply for such a long interval she was absolutely sure he was going to tell her to get lost, but finally he nodded and waved his hand in the direction of the hut.
“Thank you,” she said, as they started walking that way. “I really appreciate it.”
“Don’t thank me yet,” he said in that cool, cutting tone. “I haven’t agreed to anything.”
“You agreed to at least hear me out,” she pointed out, perhaps more sharply than she should, all things considered.
That earned her a stern, sidelong glance, but he was gracious enough to say, “That’s fair.”
By the time they sat across from each other at the shaded table, she was struggling with what she was going to say. It had sounded, if not sensible, at least reasonable when she’d rehearsed it all in her head, but now all that she’d planned to say fled in the face of that interrogatory gaze.
“Well?” he said, not breaking eye contact. “What do you have to say for yourself?”
She was suddenly catapulted back in time to the principal’s office, where she was supposed to explain how one of her many escapades had gone awry—and the sensations were still the same.
But also, the unmistakable high of an adventure unfolding.
The last made her smile, and Zach’s scowl grew even more ferocious.