Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

October New Releases

Happy October! Here in Canada we’re gearing up for our Thanksgiving (it’s a month earlier than our American friends to the south) and Spooky Season is upon us. It’s my favourite time of the year.

We have six fabulous reads for you.

Congratulations to our milestone authors this month. Juliette Hyland with her 5th book Reawakened in the South Pole and Me (Amy Ruttan) with my 30th Falling for His Runaway Nurse.

Falling for His Runaway Nurse by Amy Ruttan

Could a runaway bride…
…be the one to tempt him?
Brooding Thatcher Bell enjoys the anonymity of life as a cruise ship doctor. But when beautiful Lacey Greenwood storms into his life—wearing a wedding dress!—to take up the vacant post as nurse, he’s shocked by their instant chemistry. Lacey is obviously escaping something, and Thatcher recognizes some of the pain she’s hiding behind her dazzling smile. But as they set sail, there’s no way of running from their real and ever-growing feelings!

Reawakened at the South Pole by Juliette Hyland

An antarctic adventure
and a reunion of a lifetime…
ER nurse Helena Mathews wants just one thing: to show her parents that she’s no longer the fragile, premature baby they cradled in the NICU. So her new South Pole–based job is the perfect way to break free! But Dr. Carter Simpson’s arrival proves that you can’t just erase the past. Her one-time best friend may have left without a trace after a life-altering discovery, but he never left Helena’s heart…

Reunited by Her Twin Revelation by Shelley Rivers

“I just want to talk.”
Is he ready to hear her secret?
Nurse Thurza had pictured this day thousands of times. The day that Dr. Logan would return. Still, nothing could have prepared her for the real thing… Why? Well, when a mix-up led a brokenhearted Thurza to falsely believe that he had abandoned her and their unborn babies, she said goodbye to Logan—forever. But, as their past and the truth begin to unravel, will Thurza let Logan back in?

Starting Over with the Single Dad by Tina Beckett

A past kiss…
…A happy-ever-after?
For former army surgeon Mysti, a return to Forgotten Point was not in the cards…until a tragic accident while on duty leads her home. Her physical wounds may have healed, but it’s the invisible scars that remain. So the last thing that Mysti needs is to bump into Dr. Jesse: her unexpected new colleague and the one that got away. Now Jesse’s a single dad with his own hidden pain. Can they heal—together?

The Doctor’s Reunion to Remember by Annie Claydon

A forgotten past…
An unforgettable future?
In this Reunited at St. Barnabas’s Hospital story, former workaholic Dr. Gil Alexander is happy with the slower-paced life he was forced to adopt following his traumatic brain injury. The only things missing are his memories of just before the accident. But when Dr. Clemmie Francis is temporarily assigned to his rehabilitation center, he can’t shake the feeling he’s met this captivating yet cautious doctor before…and that this isn’t the first time he’s experienced their explosive chemistry!
 
Reunited at St. Barnabas’s Hospital duet
Book 1 – Twins for the Neurosurgeon by Louisa Heaton
Book 2 – The Doctor’s Reunion to Remember by Annie Claydon
 

Twins for the Neurosurgeon by Louisa Heaton

Two tiny heartbeats…
…will change their lives forever!
In this Reunited at St. Barnabas’s Hospital story, top neurosurgeons Samantha Gordon and Yanis Baptiste spend one unforgettable night together in Paris. Their reunion in London proves even more explosive when they discover Sam is pregnant with twins! Neither Sam nor Yanis is prepared for parenthood, but those two tiny heartbeats could help them find the family neither of them believed they would ever have…
 
Reunited at St. Barnabas’s Hospital duet
Book 1 – Twins for the Neurosurgeon by Louisa Heaton
Book 2 – The Doctor’s Reunion to Remember by Annie Claydon

Happy Reading!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Great British Bank Holiday

Over the last year, I’ve been sometimes puzzled by the things I’ve missed during lockdown.  And August Bank Holiday Monday (on the 30th August) reminded me of one more thing.

Maybe it seems perverse to miss something that isn’t so very different from what we’ve all been experiencing of late.  One of the traditional options for a Bank Holiday is to spend the time at home doing some of those outstanding DIY jobs, which is a lot like what many of us have been doing during lockdown.  Taking the day off work?  Well, I work at home anyway and can dictate my own timetable, but that’s not such a novelty these days either.  True, the idea of jumping into the car and joining a traffic jam that leads most of the way to the nearest piece of busy coastline hasn’t been possible, but frankly it never was at the top of my list for Bank Holiday pleasures.  So of all the things I could have missed, why Bank Holidays?

Thinking about it, the thing I’ve missed the most is that Bank Holidays have always been different – even from other holidays.  Usually there are people back in the office when you take a holiday, so it’s tempting to wonder what’s happening while you’re away – but on a Bank Holiday most offices are closed so you can be pretty certain that nothing’s going on.  One day isn’t really enough to do anything that requires extensive planning, so it tends to be a day when we’re free of the normal routine, and can just decide on the spur of the moment what to do.  The thing about Bank Holidays is that they’re a change from the everyday – and that’s what I’ve really missed the most, because recently they’ve become just another day.

So today I’m writing in praise of the Bank Holiday, and in the hope that in future they’ll regain their ‘something special’ status.  When I turned to the internet to find out when the idea of a Bank Holiday started, I was surprised to find that they haven’t been a feature of the calendar since the year dot.  Sir John Lubbock drafted a Parliamentary bill to create Bank Holidays in 1871 – although the May Day Bank Holiday reflects May Day celebrations that go back to at least Roman Times in England, if not before.  Unlike many of our much loved institutions, the name does give you some clue as to the original intention – they were named Bank Holidays because the banks closed 🙂  As time went on, other industries gradually followed suit and took the day off.   

Since the Queen can add new Bank Holidays to the rota, I’m wondering what might be a good candidate.  A Midsummer Bank Holiday, maybe, so that we don’t get a rash of them around April and May, and then have to wait until August for the next one.  Maybe having too many Bank Holidays would destroy their charm – but I think that the current eight might be increased to ten, just for the sake of having a round number?  Perhaps we could have a poll every year, where different dates are suggested for the following year and everyone votes on it?  That way we can celebrate different Bank Holidays that are relevant to whatever’s going on in that particular year.  Do you have any suggestions?

And – since one of my favourite pursuits for a day off is reading, this leads me on to my latest release.  Which is sadly too late for the Bank Holiday 🙂  This book is one half of a duo with the lovely Louisa Heaton – both stories are set at St Barnabas’s Hospital in Richmond, Surrey.  So don’t forget to check out Louisa’s story Twins for the Neurosurgeon as well!

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The Doctor’s Reunion to Remember  by Annie Claydon

Second chance at forever!

In this Reunited at St Barnabas’s Hospital story, Dr Gil Alexander has adapted to a slower-paced life and his partial memory loss, following his traumatic brain injury. But when Dr Clemmie Francis arrives at his rehabilitation centre, he can’t shake the feeling he’s met this captivating yet cautious doctor before…

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

July New Releases

Happy July! I’m swimming in boxes, but it’s another month and that means a bunch more new releases!

And a congratulations to Tina Beckett on her 40th book!

The Paramedic’s Secret Son by Rachel Dove

He thought he had to leave…
…Now he has two reasons to stay!
Eight years ago, paramedic Harry walked away from Annabel, knowing that it would break both of their hearts but that staying would only hurt her more. Now Harry has returned to discover that Annabel wasn’t the only one he left behind—he has a seven-year-old son! Knowing he’s a father makes him even more determined to win Annabel—and little Aidan—back…

Stolen Nights with the Single Dad by Alison Roberts

Following your heart…
is worth the risk!
When GP Andrew Mitchell signed up for an emergency responders training course, he never expected to leave with a certificate and a night of memories with instructor Jenna Armstrong! Returning to reality, Andrew juggles work with being a single dad, but staying focused is impossible with Jenna invading his thoughts. Their worlds are poles apart, and on paper they should never work, but Andrew isn’t ready to let Jenna go…

How to Win the Surgeon’s Heart by Tina Beckett

Things are heating up…
…in their Caribbean paradise!
For Dr. Nate, work is everything. Without him, his renowned hospital wouldn’t exist! Now he’s ready to step up to the plate—again!—as nearby St. Victoria Hospital faces a staff shortage. Surgeon Sasha is beyond grateful for the help, but she’s not so sure about Nate… Her heart’s been broken by wealthy and far-too-attractive men before! Can Nate prove to Sasha he’s different?
A The Island Clinic novel
 
The Island Clinic quartet
Book 1 – How to Win the Surgeon’s Heart by Tina Beckett
Book 2 – Caribbean Paradise, Miracle Family by Julie Danvers
Book 3 – The Princess and the Pediatrician by Annie O’Neil
Book 4 – Reunited with His Long-Lost Nurse by Charlotte Hawkes

Fling with the Children’s Heart Doctor by Becky

Will she find a new home…
…In the surgeon’s arms?
For Dr. Freya Grey, spending six months working with Amsterdam’s leading children’s cardiac surgeon, Lucas Van de Berg, proves a delicious distraction from painful memories. But knowing that she can’t stay in the city that haunts her, Freya is torn between her head and her heart. Lucas has shown her Amsterdam in a new light…but is that enough to make her want to stay?

Falling for the Brooding Doc by Annie Claydon

Going for gold is nothing…
…compared to winning his heart
For injured doctor and championship rower Laurie Sullivan, pushing herself to the limit is all she’s ever known. But enigmatic Dr. Ross Summerby knows she’s not taking her injury seriously. His shock tactic threat of eviction from his exclusive rehabilitation clinic unless she focuses on her treatment and helps with some of his patients works wonders. But the unexpected connection between them soon makes Laurie dream of a very different future!

Caribbean Paradise, Miracle Family by Julie Danvers

His shocking revelation…
…for the single mom!
For nurse Willow Thompson, taking on parenthood alone certainly wasn’t easy, but her daughter, Maisie, is her world…and life on St. Victoria is near perfect. Only, everything changes when jaw-droppingly handsome Dr. Theo Moore strolls along the beach and into their lives—to tell Willow that he’s her daughter’s biological father! And now that he’s able, he’s determined to be there…for them both.
The Island Clinic novel
 
The Island Clinic quartet
Book 1 – How to Win the Surgeon’s Heart by Tina Beckett
Book 2 – Caribbean Paradise, Miracle Family by Julie Danvers
Book 3 – The Princess and the Pediatrician by Annie O’Neil
Book 4 – Reunited with His Long-Lost Nurse by Charlotte Hawkes

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Friends to Lovers!

Here at Love is the Best Medicine, we love tropes!  So we’ve been asking our Medical Romance authors to tell us their favourite tropes, and to choose one of their own books as an example.  We’re starting with Friends to Lovers, and Ann McIntosh and Annie Claydon have given us their thoughts…

Ann McIntosh

One of my favourite tropes has always been friends-to-lovers.  There’s just something so delicious about two people who, having known each other for a while – and knowing where a lot of the secrets lie – suddenly start seeing each other in a different light.  Whether it’s when one party has been in love with the other for years, or the pair have simply been buddies, that moment when things change does it for me every time.

Ann has chosen her book Best Friend to Royal Bride 

y404Sometimes the deepest desire…

…is the one you’ve hidden the longest.

Realizing her world is dramatically falling apart, surgeon Mina’s childhood friend Kiah offers her a fresh start on the beautiful Caribbean island he calls home. She’s beyond grateful for his help in regaining the spirit and purpose she feared she’d lost. But when a long-denied attraction spills into their friendship, they must decide whether to risk everything on the breath-taking passion that’s quickly unravelling between them!

 

Annie Claydon

Best Friends can say anything to each other, right?  Or maybe not quite anything…  I love the dynamic between friends who suddenly discover that there could be more to their relationship, and who don’t quite know what to do with that realisation.

Annie has chosen her book Best Friend to Royal Bride

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When two friends break the rules…

…the consequences are irresistible!

Best friends Marie and Alex have been inseparable since medical school. Until one impulsive kiss changes everything…and Alex reveals his long-kept secret: he’s king of an exiled royal family. Marie knows she doesn’t belong in Alex’s privileged world but now neither can deny their unexpected and intense connection. And Marie must decide if she can risk it all to stay in Alex’s arms…as his queen.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Long, Long wait for a Happy Ever After

A few months ago, I wrote a letter to my younger self, about the first time I tried my hand at writing romance.  If you happened to see that post, you’ll know that there was a great deal wrong with that book, as I suspect there probably is with most first tries at anything.  But, as I said then, because it was my first try, my hero and heroine have always occupied a special place in my heart.

Ross and Laurie did their best, they really did.  There was a lot of blushing, some misunderstandings and something that resembled an internal conflict.  But none of that was really enough to make their Happy Ever After special, something they’d worked hard for and really deserved.  It just suddenly started to happen somewhere around Page 199, because I knew that I’d be hitting my word-limit on Page 202.

So last year, I decided to put all of that right and give Ross and Laurie the HEA that I’d always wanted for them.  My new heroine Laurie isn’t a lot like her namesake – the original Laurie was a librarian, who had a real talent for blushing.  This Laurie is made of sterner stuff, she’s somehow managed to combine her career as a doctor with one as a championship rower, and she’s not going to let anyone tell her what to do with her life.  My hero Ross isn’t quite as irritatingly perfect as his original counterpart and even though he comes across as pretty laid back, he’s just as stubborn as Laurie is when it comes to doing the best he can for his patients.

This is one of the amazing privileges of being a writer.  I can include little nods to friends in my books, in the hope of making them smile.  I can also re-visit my previous heroes and heroines – in ‘Best Friend to Royal Bride’, when Marie and Alex needed an eye-catching mural for the reception area of their new clinic, who better to call on than Art Therapist and painter Cori Riley, the heroine of ‘Discovering Dr Riley.’  It was enormous fun to be able to check back on Cori and Tom Riley, and to find that Cori still gets to cover herself with paint at the weekends in support of a good cause, while Tom keeps an eye on their two children, Matthew and Chloe.

And now my secret’s out and it gives me a particular thrill to introduce you to Ross and Laurie.  They’ve waited a long, long time for their Happy Ever After, but next month their book will be hitting the shelves and what’s more the Harlequin Cover Artists have provided me with a great new image of Ross.  I think he’s become better looking over the years, too 🙂

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Going for gold is nothing…
…compared to winning his heart

For injured doctor and championship rower, Laurie Sullivan, pushing herself to the limit is all she’s ever known. But enigmatic Dr. Ross Summerby knows she’s not taking her injury seriously. His shock tactic threat of eviction from his exclusive rehabilitation clinic, unless she focuses on her treatment and helps with some of his patients, works wonders. But the unexpected connection between them, soon makes Laurie dream of a very different future!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt: Greek Island Fling to Forever, by Annie Claydon

Which one of us isn’t looking for a little bit of an escape, right now?  Perhaps you can tell what was on my mind when I wrote this book – some sunshine, a blue sea and the feel of a warm breeze 🙂

x500_2876ef82-0fa0-4786-a7d1-6538ff5e022c_360xThe day that had changed her life had been bright and clear, bathed in sunshine, and every detail was still sharp in Arianna’s dreams. She was six years old and had insisted on wearing her new white broderie anglaise dress for the journey to the Petrakis family’s holiday home on the tiny Greek island of Ilaria.

Her father had frowned when he heard the news that their own launch was out of action, and her mother had smiled as if it was of no consequence and said they’d take the ferry. It had been a new experience for Arianna and her older brother Xander, waiting with the jostling crowd of other passengers to board, and then finding a place on deck where her mother could sit.

Even her father had loosened up a bit, opening the collar of his shirt and gesturing to their bodyguard to take a family photograph. Then he’d acceded to Xander’s excited demands and agreed to take him on a tour of this large, exciting craft. Xander had turned, waving to her as they’d walked away.

Her mother had been wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a red and white fitted sundress, so different from the faded colours she wore now. She’d perched on a slatted wooden bench and started to talk to the other mothers, telling Arianna that she could go and play if she wanted, as long as she stayed close.

The ferry had slowly manoeuvred out of the busy dock, speeding up a little as it entered the blue waters of the Mediterranean. Arianna had wished they could take this route every time, and when Ilaria had begun to loom on the horizon she’d wanted the island to stay away for a while longer, so that they could spend a little more time on the ferry.

Then… Then a juddering, crashing sound. The world tipped suddenly and she fell, grazing her knees on the wooden deck. She heard her mother screaming her name, but she was sliding, falling. Somehow, the water seemed to rear up and grab her, pulling her down.

She couldn’t breathe… And then something…someone…was there. Grabbing her flailing arms and holding her tight. Their heads broke the surface, and muffled sounds turned into a chaos of shouting and screaming. She could breathe enough to choke and cry, and when she opened her eyes, blinking against the sting of the salt, she saw an older boy with a shock of blond hair, wet and plastered around his face.

He said something to her, but she didn’t understand the words. She understood safety, though, and when he wound her arms around his neck she hung on tight. They bobbed together in the water, and then the boy started to swim, labouring hard while Arianna clung onto his back.

She didn’t dare look behind her. Maybe if she had, she would have caught one last glimpse of Xander. But ahead there were small boats, leaving the tiny port of Ilaria and making their way towards them.

Arianna was sobbing now, and the boy stopped swimming. More words that she didn’t understand, but which made her feel safe again. The water was pulling them back, towards the sinking ferry, and he began to strike out again, towards the rescue boats. She closed her eyes, reciting the prayer that her mother always said with her before she lay down to sleep.

Then she felt strong hands around her and she was lifted out of the water. One of the boats had reached them, and the boy had pushed her up into the arms of its occupants. A man held her tight as she reached back for the boy, but a wave carried him away. She started to scream and cry as his blond head disappeared amongst the waves and the scattered mass of people in the sea.

And then… The memories lost their clarity. She remembered her mother crying and her father hugging her until she could hardly breathe, when they found her, wrapped in a blanket and sitting amongst a group of survivors in the taverna, which had opened its doors to provide shelter and warm drinks. And she remembered her father, kissing her mother and running back down to the boats that were ferrying people back to the shore.

He’d been gone a long time, but her mother had refused to move, holding Arianna tight as they both shivered in the warm breeze. When he finally had returned, he was alone. Her mother had taken one look at his face and screamed in anguish…

Arianna sat bolt upright in her bed, feeling the cold sweat beading her forehead. Returning to Ilaria, to establish a medical practice here, had left little time for anything other than work. Now that the pressure was off during the day her dreams at night had become more frequent and much more vivid. Breathing deeply to steady her racing heart, Arianna told herself it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing and that perhaps she needed to get the trauma of that day, twenty-five years ago, out of her system. And it was one more precious chance to see Xander again, along with the blond-haired boy who had carried her to safety and then disappeared amongst the waves.

The boy hadn’t drowned. Later, when she was older, she’d traced everyone who had died that day and there was no one matching his description on the list. He’d just disappeared in the melee of survivors. He was out there somewhere, grown up now, and Arianna wondered if he ever thought of her.

***

It was a bright, warm day. Ben Marsh stepped off the ferry, pulling the map of Ilaria’s harbour town from his pocket and looking around to get his bearings.

He’d wondered if he might remember this place when he saw it; he’d thought about it often enough over the years. But he didn’t. There was nothing familiar about the ferry terminus, but it was a new building, obviously constructed since he’d last been here, twenty-five years ago. Ben made a beeline for the tourist information booth and a smiling woman welcomed him to the island and marked the position of the health centre on his map for him.

He walked to the main harbour, stopping to scan the small boats moored there. None of them were familiar either, although in truth he’d been too intent on scanning the horizon to look for other survivors to remember much about the craft whose crew had finally pulled him out of the sea. And the people? The frightened little girl who had clung to his back as he’d swum away from the sinking ferry would be beyond recognition now. She could be any one of the young women who passed him in the street, and Ben told himself that searching their faces for any shred of recognition was a waste of time.

But he knew her name. Arianna Petrakis. It had been six months since he’d stumbled on an old newspaper account that had answered the questions he’d wondered about for so long, and since then the name had seemed to resound in his head.

Icy fingers skittered from his neck, down his spine, and he shivered in the sunshine. What if she didn’t want to see him? The answer to that was easy; he’d take the next ferry off the island and go. What if she did want to see him? How could he explain that the day the ferry had sunk had shaped his life? Could he even begin to say that now he had the strangest feeling that he needed Arianna to rescue him?

Ben shook off the questions, knowing he had no answer to them. Jumping into the water to save Arianna had been the first defining moment of change in his life. The second had been crushingly different, he’d made a solemn vow to love and cherish, and then not been there when his wife had needed him. Emma was gone now, and Ben couldn’t turn back the clock and save her.

But he hadn’t thought twice when he’d seen the little girl in the white dress sliding across the deck of the ferry and falling into the water. He’d jumped. And now he needed to do that again, to just follow his instincts and jump.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Visions of the future

Now that we’re shot of 2020, and 2021 is bringing us hope of a gradual return to normality, I’m thinking a lot about all the things I used to do and which I’m looking forward to doing again.  Little things, like taking a trip into the centre of London, which I can see on the horizon from my local park but which has seemed like a faraway friend during the last year.  Being part of a group of friends and family all in the same room.  People watching, instead of people-avoiding 🙂  Sitting in a coffee shop and letting the bustle of the city go on around me.

But maybe – just maybe – I’m setting my sights a little too low.  Maybe my yearning for normal isn’t enough and I can replace that with a yearning for better.  My parents, and the older members of my family taught me this – and like most children I didn’t really listen at the time.  They’d talk about the war, but they talked about ‘building the peace’ as a far more important venture.  Things didn’t always go as planned – even the best of intentions can’t guarantee that we get things right first time.  But looking back, perhaps part of the peace that they built was one where John Lennon could sing ‘Imagine’.

I’m starting with myself, because there’s always plenty to be done there 🙂  I could do with noticing the little things around me more – not taking them so much for granted.  Thinking about how lucky I am, because this last year has been less difficult for me than it has for many.  Oh – and taking more advantage of the back of my wardrobe/cupboards – shopping for non-essentials on the internet isn’t quite the same as going out and browsing the stores, and I’ve been re-discovering a few treasures I’d forgotten I even had!

One thing that the last year has highlighted is that we have to work together, and protect each other.  In London, there’s been a lot of talk about taking lockdown as an opportunity to make our environment better.  There have been a number of new schemes brought into effect, to regulate traffic flow and create healthier and safer residential neighbourhoods.  There’s a lot of controversy about the best way to do this, and how to balance the needs of pedestrians, residents, cyclists and drivers.  But the rewards of getting this right are great, in places London is a wonderful garden city and in others… there’s still some work left to be done.

Also close to home – l love the way that Harlequin/Mills and Boon have continued their work in welcoming diverse voices to our community.  The current #MedicalRomanceIncludesYou Facebook and Twitter event is taking place on the 26th March, and if you haven’t heard about this yet, there’s still time to enter.  Check out the details here.  We’ll be posting tomorrow with our own hints and tips for aspiring writers.

The NHS.  What can I say about the NHS that hasn’t already been said?  They’ve worked ceaselessly to protect us all in the last year, and at great personal cost.  There are lots of practical ways that we can support our NHS better in the future, and repay just a fraction of the debt that we owe them.

Covax.  The World Health Organisation is working for global access to Covid vaccines, reminding us that no-one is safe until everyone is safe.  My shot of the vaccine was free and when my turn came around I was able to access it locally.  I’m incredibly thankful for that, and as my horizons begin to open up, I’m wondering what I can do on a personal level to help bring that gift to others.

John Lennon invited us all to call him a dreamer 🙂  And there’s something about confinement within the walls of my home that’s made my dreams feel more important to me, as a way of sustaining myself and making me smile.  I know that dreams aren’t everything, and that they take a lot of hard work to make them real, but are you dreaming with me?  I’d love to hear about your visions for the future – the personal ones, those for your own community, or the global ones.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

March New Releases

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

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

A Wedding for the Single Dad by Meredith Webber

Will the GP and the vet…

…say “I do”?

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

Falling Again for the Animal Whisperer by Becky Wicks

Is unlocking past secrets…

The key to their future?

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

Greek Island Fling to Forever by Annie Claydon

Their journey started in Greece…

Will it end with forever?

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

Night Shifts with the Miami Doc by Ann McIntosh

From fast-paced hospital days…

To slow, sultry nights!

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

Rescuing the Paramedic’s Heart by Emily Forbes

Bondi Beach Medics (Book 1)

You can’t heal a heart…

…by keeping your distance

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

Reunited with Her Daredevil Doc by Susan Carlisle

An old flame…

…a new beginning?

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

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A letter to my younger self

A month or so ago I was chatting with a friend about the first manuscript I sent off to Mills and Boon.  I spent the summer after I returned from University bashing it out on a manual typewriter and then sent my pages off by snail mail.  In due course it was rejected but by that time I had a job and other things in life had begun to take over, so it was another lifetime before I tried again.  But that first try, and my first hero and heroine, still occupy a very special place in my heart.

The conversation inspired me to dig out the manuscript (yes, I still have the whole book, gathering dust at the back of a cupboard) and to re-read the first few chapters.  I could see exactly why the book was rejected, and if I’d known then what I know now…

But of course, I didn’t.  How could I?  Because when I think about it, writing is all about making your own mistakes, finding out what you can and can’t do, and no-one else can talk you through that.  I’m often asked ‘how do you write’ and never quite sure what to say.  But I don’t mind dropping the tact with my younger self and giving her a bit of a shake 🙂  Now I’m much older and slightly wiser, perhaps a letter to the Annie who wrote that first manuscript is the best answer I can give.

Dear Annie

When I read the first few chapters of your book, I liked it – I really did.  Your enthusiasm for your characters shines through, but… well I’m going to give it to you straight.  There’s an awful lot you need to learn before this is even remotely close to being good enough.

I could go into a bit of detail – that first chapter where you tell me what everyone else thinks of the heroine, and what brings her to the place where she first sets eyes on the hero is tolerably well written.  But I really don’t care about any of it, because as a reader the one thing I want to know is how the hero sees her!  Cross it all out, throw your hero and heroine in at the deep end, and let their past experiences filter out as and where they’re needed.  I understand how much you value order, but aim for a bit of chaos as well!

As to your dialogue…  Seriously, Annie, I know you don’t speak like this.  If you’d just read it aloud you’d have realised that all those ‘I will’ and ‘I have’ would sound a lot less stilted if you’d popped in a few ‘I’ll’ and ‘I’ve’ here and there.

Your hero is pretty darn perfect.  Actually a bit too perfect, he’s driving me nuts.  How about a few human flaws?  The things that I know you value in the people around you, just as much as their strengths.  The point of all of this is that although your hero and heroine will be asked to be super-human at times, that loses its impact if they’re not human the rest of the time.  Try writing what you see around you, rather than what you think you ought to see.

Since I like to think that I’m not so very different from you, all of this is annoying the life out of me.  But they’re things that can be rectified.  The one thing I want to get into your head in terms of your writing is that you’ve got to make lots of mistakes and learn from them. Cultivate the fine art of knowing when something isn’t working.  Grit your teeth, cross out whole passages or even chapters.  Try again, and make it work this time. 

In life, you’ll be making your share of mistakes and you’ll survive them (I can’t tell you how because… spoilers…).  And while I’d love to apply a quick nudge to the tiller in places, to steer you away from things I regret now, I wouldn’t want you to un-live a single one of the mistakes you make in your writing.  Because time’s never wasted on those, you have to learn and they’re all part of an ongoing process that hasn’t ended for me yet.

Finally – and you’re going to have to trust me on this one because the rules of time travel don’t permit me to tell you how it’s going to happen.  But hang on in there, because I know you’ll make it 🙂

Love Annie xx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Friday the Thirteenth

Today is that most uncomfortable of days, Friday 13th.  When every kind of calamity is supposed to happen, and after dark…  we just won’t talk about what happens after dark on Friday 13th…

But I’d like to take a different view.  Welcome to this Friday 13th!  I hope you have a great day!  Because Friday 13th is my lucky day.

It hasn’t always been. I adopted this rather unlikely tradition after a discussion with a friend at work – we saw eye to eye on most things but Friday 13th was the exception to the rule.  My friend was convinced that Friday 13th would bring her every bad thing that she could think of, along with a few that she couldn’t. To me, it was just another day.

So one Friday 13th, we decided on a little experiment. We’d start at 8.30 in the morning, when we arrived at work, and write lists. My list would contain all the good things that had happened that day, and my friend’s would contain all the bad things. We were each quietly confident that our own list would prove the longest and settle the question for good.

We stayed late after work, and compared notes (we couldn’t go to the pub or a coffee bar and do it in comfort, because my friend was sure that unnecessary travel would prompt all kinds of catastrophe). The lists were both long and detailed, and while I don’t remember exactly who had the most entries, it was more or less a tie. My friend continued in her dread of the date, and it became my lucky day.

x500_a49f5ff2-667d-40bf-998d-be86c1aa0c7a_360xSo, it’s without any trepidation at all, that I bring you the cover of my latest book, which is released this month. Cal and Andrea are hoping to make their friends’ wedding day perfect, but they meet with their share of bad luck, including a particularly distressing accident with the cake!  Somehow they manage to get through it all – and maybe that’s the whole point of my Friday the 13th story.  That having our friends and loved ones stand by us, through both good luck and bad, makes everything better.

Do you have a particular charm, or routine, to bring you luck?  I’d like to think that I’m not very superstitious, but then I do always cross my fingers when a new book makes its way out into the world…

EDIT – And I’ve just seen that Harlequin have a Friday 13th offer, to bring us some good fortune today!  If you buy 4 books or more then you save 40% on your order – the offer runs from 12.00am to 11.59pm ET on Friday 13th November.  Here’s the link!