Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

November New Releases!

Six shiny new Medical Romances, for November, including the first two stories from Hope Children’s Hospital!

lgcover.9781488080098.jpg A Daddy Sent by Santa, by Susan Carlisle

When a small-town mom…

Falls for a big-city doc…

Nurse Lauren Wilson is used to doctors coming and going in her Oklahoma town — and doesn’t expect prestigious Boston doc Paxton Samuels to be any different. Until they’re snowed in together and their sensual tension reaches boiling point! But knowing Paxton is due to leave after the festive season, can Lauren risk giving him her heart and her little boy a daddy for Christmas?

 

 

Midwife Under the Mistletoe, by Karin Bainelgcover.9781488080104.jpg

A kiss under the mistletoe…

A family for Christmas?

GP Fraser McColl longs to be part of a loving family, but past experience has taught him he’s better off alone. Only, thrown together with gorgeous yet guarded midwife Iona Munro, to care for two children at Christmas, he’s tempted to believe in miracles… After one passionate night together, can he persuade Iona that they deserve a lifetime of happiness—together?

 

 

 

lgcover.9781488080081.jpgFirefighter’s Christmas Baby, by Annie Claydon

A festive fling…

With consequences!

Firefighter Ben Matthews is committed to his job above all else since his last relationship ended badly. Until he meets alluring and fiercely independent paramedic Callie Walsh! Their fiery exchanges over the project she’s working on at his fire station, leave Ben unable to deny their chemistry… Then Callie turns up on his doorstep — pregnant! Can some Christmas magic turn their holiday fling into a forever family?

 

 

lgcover.9781488080074.jpgNew Year Wedding for the Crown Prince, by Meredith Webber

Can the charming prince

Claim his gorgeous bride?

When Crown Prince Charles of Livaroche turns up on Dr. Jo Wainright’s Australian doorstep, their two worlds collide. Only while Charles is seeking clues to his past, Jo is determined to forget the heartbreak of hers. Stranded together this Christmas their magical connection becomes hard to ignore… But when Charles proposes, dare Jo reveal the reason that’s standing in her way of becoming his New Year bride?

 

 

lgcover.9781488080067.jpgOne Night, One Unexpected Miracle, by Caroline Anderson

Can one illicit night…

Lead to the love of a lifetime?

In this Hope Children’s Hospital story, senior pediatric surgeon Alice Baxter believes she’ll never conceive. So is stunned to find she’s pregnant after one spontaneous night with colleague Marco Ricci! She might be his buttoned-up boss but their chemistry is off the charts. And when Marco whisks Alice to his family’s Italian castello she discovers he’s determined to claim both his baby…and her heart too!

 

 

lgcover.9781488080050.jpgTheir Newborn Baby Gift, by Alison Roberts

Could an abandoned baby…

…melt the surgeon’s frozen heart?

In this Hope Children’s Hospital story, pediatric heart surgeon Ryan Walker knows that shy receptionist and neonatal “baby cuddler” Evie Cooper is off-limits to a jaded playboy like him! But when they discover an abandoned newborn, they must work together to care for her. Ryan will do everything he can to mend baby Grace’s heart—will he lose his own to Evie in the process?

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Remembering Margaret Barker

We’re taking some time today to remember a wonderful author and friend.  Margaret Barker, author of over 60 titles for Harlequin/Mills and Boon Medical Romance, passed away earlier this year.  Writers Kate Hardy and Caroline Anderson, and Senior Editor Sheila Hodgson share their memories of Margaret, and Kate has also shared three photographs (Kate is the lady behind the lens in the first two).

Caroline Anderson

caroline and margaret
Margaret and Caroline

I first met Margaret in the early 1990s as my first book hit the shelves, after I’d been asked to do an interview on local radio with Mary Lyons, who had been writing romances for Mills & Boon for some time.  It was a hilarious interview, and afterwards Mary invited me to lunch in Colchester with another author, Margaret Barker, who also wrote Medicals.  It was a fabulous lunch, and Margaret then invited me to her house for an author ‘do’.  What a great introduction to life as a real author!  We had a marvellous lunch cooked for us by Margaret’s charming husband John, and it was a great day.  I saw Margaret frequently after that, at theirs, or at Mills & Boon functions, and it was always a joy to see her and John who often accompanied her.  On one occasion Margaret and I did a library talk somewhere near St Albans.  We dragged our husbands along, too, which of course involved lunch as well, which I began to realise seems to be a feature of author get-togethers!

Margaret came to London every year for our annual Author lunch, usually accompanied by John until his untimely death in 2006, and then she continued to come alone, still every bit as vibrant and elegant and funny as ever.  Then bit by bit she herself became more frail, until her osteoporosis was so bad she was unable to make the journey alone.

She had countless fractures but brushed them aside and carried on, and it never dimmed her spirit, she never lost her sense of humour, her charm, her wicked twinkle, her elegance or glamour.  She’ll be sorely missed, not least by her large and very close family of whom she was always so proud.

Rest in peace, my friend, and give my love to John.  I’m glad you’re together again at last.

Sheila Hodgson

margaret, sheila, caroline
Margaret, Sheila and Caroline

I was Margaret Barker’s editor for many years, and she was always a lady of style and glamour, the soul of any party, spirited, a little naughty (loved bubbles) but always so wonderfully genuine and charming with it.  But it was just part of the wonderful exuberance and joy of life that was essentially Margaret.  She approached every turn with positivity and grace.  She was never afraid of doing something different, she loved travel, lived in France, and did everything from nursing, teaching, writing and was also a mother of three, her family, including her many grandchildren were at the heart of everything for Margaret.

I remember she used to love to meet me for lunch at the Royal Overseas League, where she would relish chatting about her next storyline, she would jump on every idea we discussed and make it into something wonderful. And I’ll never forget the first time I met her after the death of her husband, she talked about him with such love, and such joy but she also was looking forward to what came next, her next book, her next venture, she particularly touched me that day.  And she never allowed any health issue of her own to stop her from doing anything.  Margaret always found a way.

She was such a wonderful lady, you couldn’t help but smile and laugh in her presence, and her belief that everything would turn out fine and that there was always more of life to be enjoyed was an inspiration, both to me, and of course it was the essence of her romance writing.  I will miss her hugely, and I know that her readers will too.

Kate Hardy

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Kate, Sheila Danton, Jennifer Taylor, Caroline, Roger Sanderson and Margaret.

I first met Margaret Barker in the late 1990s at an East Anglia RNA lunch. She was the first M&B author I’d ever met and she was INCREDIBLY glamorous! Very charming, very funny, and great company. She used to head the RNA chapter back then, and persuaded me to organise a couple of lunches. I do remember her trying to persuade me to take over the RNA chapter – but I had to decline as I’d discovered earlier that week I was expecting my youngest.

She was always a delight to be with at M&B and RNA lunches, full of wonderful tales of her travels in India, and she was always very kind. She always greeted me with a hug (a gentle one in later years when her osteoporosis took hold) – and to be honest the M&B author lunch this year is going to put a lump in my throat because it won’t feel the same without her and Sara Craven.

When I think of diamonds and champagne, I’ll always think of Margaret Barker, with a very big smile.

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Their Own Little Miracle, by Caroline Anderson

9781474075251

A surrogate mum—
And then she fell in love…

When Dr Iona Murray agrees to be her sister’s surrogate she never imagines it will lead her into Dr Joe Baker’s arms. Joe has no intention of ever being a sperm donor again, or of becoming emotionally attached after his painful divorce. But when he meets Iona his boundaries become truly blurred. Will they be able to give up their baby…or each other?

 

 

 

He still had her stethoscope.

The graduation present from her sister, the one he’d been told in no uncertain terms not to lose or damage. He could see why, it was a really expensive one, although it had to be a few years old now. No wonder she’d been precious about it. His own was only slightly better, and he’d bought it last year because he’d mislaid the one identical to this.

That was getting to be a habit.

He changed out of his scrubs, pulled on his clothes, clipped his watch on his wrist and checked the time. Seven-thirty. She’d be long gone, unless she was on a late shift, but it was worth a try. He might even invite her out for dinner—assuming she’d speak to him. He’d been a bit tough on her, but he felt a grudging admiration for a junior registrar who’d had the guts to stand up to him in defence of her patient.

He headed down to the ED, found the nurse who’d been with them in Resus and asked her where Iona was.

She folded her arms and looked him straight in the eye, and he had the distinct feeling he was in trouble. ‘She’s gone.’

‘Do you know where I can find her? I borrowed her stethoscope and forgot to give it back.’

‘Yes, she mentioned that. She wasn’t happy about it.’

He laughed softly. ‘No, I’m sure she wasn’t.’

‘You can leave it with me.’

‘I can’t do that. She told me I’d be dead meat if anything happened to it and I don’t think it was an empty threat. I’ll hang onto it and give it to her tomorrow.’

‘She’s away this weekend. She’s not back in till Monday.’

‘And I’m on a course next week. Great.’ He hesitated. ‘I don’t suppose you know her address or mobile number?’

Jenny raised an eyebrow. ‘Now, you don’t seriously expect me to give it to you? I do know where you can find her, though. She’s at the Queens Hotel just round the corner. There’s a charity speed-dating event raising money for the new IR angio-surgical suite. I’m surprised you aren’t going anyway as it’s in aid of your department, but here’s your chance to support it. Out of the drive, turn left, five hundred yards on the right. You can’t miss it.’

Speed-dating? Seriously? She was gorgeous! Why would she need to go speed-dating, of all things? And then he realised she’d be helping with the organisation. Idiot.

‘OK. Thanks.’ He headed for his car, followed the directions and parked on the road opposite the hotel. The speed-dating event was signposted from Reception, and he headed towards the door. It shouldn’t be hard to find her—

‘Oh, excellent, we’re short of men, especially good-looking young doctors. That’ll be ten pounds, please. Can I take your name?’

He frowned. ‘How do you know I’m a doctor?’

‘The stethoscope?’

‘Ah. Yes. Actually—’ He was about to tell the woman why he was there, and then spotted Iona at one of the tables that were arranged in a circle, a man sitting opposite her. OK, she wasn’t just helping, she was actually doing it as well, and if he wanted to see her, he’d have to pay up and queue for his slot. That was fine. It meant she’d have to listen to him for three minutes or whatever it was, which meant he’d have time to apologise for pushing her so far out of her comfort zone in Resus. And having three minutes to look at her was no hardship. He might even persuade her to go out for dinner—

‘Name, please?’

‘Sorry. Joe Baker. I’ve only got a twenty-pound note,’ he said, but the woman just smiled, said, ‘That’ll do perfectly,’ plucked it out of his fingers, stuck a label with ‘JOE’ written on it on his chest and handed him a printed card and a pencil.

So he could score the ladies? Good grief. He wrote her name and ten out of ten, and waited.

There was a gap before Iona, maybe because of the lack of men, so he hovered and then pounced when the bell rang and the man at her table got up and moved on.

He sat down in front of her, and she looked up from her score card and did a mild double take, her eyes widening.

‘What are you doing here?’

He took the stethoscope from round his neck and handed it to her with a rueful smile. ‘I forgot to return this, and when I refused to give it to the nurse who was in Resus because you’d told me in no uncertain terms what you’d do to me, she told me where to find you.’

Her mouth flickered in a smile. ‘Ah. Jenny.’

‘Yeah, that’s right. She wouldn’t give me your address.’

Her eyes widened. ‘I should hope not!’

He gave a little huff of laughter at the outrage in her voice. ‘I might have been insulted if I hadn’t been glad she was so protective of your privacy, but I also wanted to apologise for pushing you out of your comfort zone in Resus.’

‘You don’t need to apologise,’ she said, her clear and really rather lovely green eyes clouding, ‘even though you were rude and patronising—’

‘Rude and patronising?’ he asked, pretending to be outraged, but she held his eyes and a little smile tugged at her mouth, drawing his attention to it. Soft, full, and very expressive. Like her eyes. He wondered what it would be like to kiss her—

‘You were a teeny bit. I was way out of my comfort zone, because I thought you’d need more from me than I could give you. I’ve never led before on a case that critical and I should have appreciated you’d only do what you knew you could, but I was afraid Jim was going to die and I was freaking out a bit. I’m sorry you took it wrong, it really wasn’t meant like that.’

‘Don’t apologise,’ he said wryly. ‘Standing up to me took guts, and you were quite right about the risks. Without image guidance there were no guarantees I could get the guide wire in without causing more damage, but I’d had a good look at the X-rays and I was pretty sure I could do it, and anyway, as I think I pointed out fairly succinctly, Jim had run out of options. He’s OK, by the way. I sorted the bleeds, repaired the entry site and shipped him off to the orthos with a nice healthy reperfusion and well within the time limit. They’ve put an ex-fix on in Theatre and he’s doing OK.’

He saw her shoulders sag slightly with relief. ‘Oh, good. Thanks for the update. I’ve been worrying about him.’

‘No need to worry, he’s sore, he’s broken but he’ll make it. Good stethoscope, by the way. Very good. Your sister must think a lot of you.’

She smiled, her eyes softening. ‘She does. That’s why I was worried about you walking off with it, knowing you’d already lost yours. It didn’t bode well.’

He laughed at that little dig. ‘I hadn’t lost it, it was in my locker, I just failed to pick it up—but I did lose the last one, so you weren’t wide of the mark. You did well, by the way,’ he added, sliding his score sheet across the table to her. ‘It was a tricky case to manage and you’d done everything right. You should be proud of yourself.’

She glanced down at the paper and her eyes widened. ‘Ten out of ten? That’s very generous. You must be feeling guilty.’

‘No, I just give credit where it’s due, even if I amrude and patronising. And I did return your stethoscope, so hopefully that’ll earn me a few Brownie points.’

‘Maybe the odd one.’

Her lips twitched, and he sat back with a smile, folded his arms and held her eyes, trying not to think about kissing her. Or peeling off that clingy little top and—

‘So, anyway, that’s why I’m here. What about you?’

‘Me?’ She looked slightly flustered. ‘Because it’s a good cause?’

He raised an eyebrow at her, deeply unconvinced, and she smiled and shrugged and took him completely by surprise. ‘OK. You asked. I’m looking for a sperm donor.’

Joe felt his jaw drop, and he stifled the laugh in the nick of time. Of all the unlikely things for her to say, and to him, of all people…

‘You’re kidding.’

‘No. No, I’m not kidding. I’m looking for a tall Nordic type with white-blond hair, blue eyes and good bone structure, so you can relax, you don’t qualify.’

‘I might feel a bit insulted by that,’ he said, still trying to work out if she was joking.

She smiled, her eyes mocking. ‘Oh, don’t be, it’s not personal. I have very specific criteria and you don’t fit them.’

He frowned at her, but she was so deadpan he didn’t know whether she was completely off her trolley or winding him up. He turned and scanned the men in the room and this time he didn’t stifle the laugh.

‘OK,’ he murmured in a low undertone. ‘Nor does anyone else in this room. So far you’ve written zero out of ten against everyone, and the nearest candidate is white-blond because he’s twice your age. He’s also about three inches shorter than you and twice as heavy. And the lady on the next table looks utterly terrifying, so frankly I reckon we’re done here. I’m starving, I haven’t eaten since breakfast and I don’t suppose you have, either, so why don’t we get the hell out of here, go and find a nice pub and have something to eat? And that way I can apologise properly for being rude and patronising.

‘Won’t your wife mind?’ she asked, clearly fishing, and he raised an eyebrow and gave her the short answer.

‘I don’t have one. So—dinner?’

She hesitated for so long he thought she was going to say no, but then the bell rang, the lady at the next table was eyeing him hungrily, and she looked at the man heading to take his place, grabbed her bag and stethoscope and got to her feet.

‘Sorry. We have to go,’ she said, squeezing round from behind the table, and they headed for the door amid a chorus of protests. From both sexes. He stifled a smile.

‘Right, where to?’ he asked, and she shrugged.

‘What do you fancy? Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Asian fusion, pub grub, Italian, modern British—’

‘Good grief. All of those in Yoxburgh?’

She chuckled. ‘Oh, yes. They might be busy, though, it’s Friday night.’

He had a much better idea. ‘How about a nice, cosy gastro-pub? There’s one right round the corner from my house that comes highly recommended, and we’ll definitely get a table there.’

‘Is it far? Can I walk back? My car’s at home.’

‘No, it’s a bit out of town, but that’s fine, I’ll drive you home. Look on it as a hire charge for the use of your stethoscope.’

Again she hesitated, a wary look in her eyes, but then she nodded as if she’d finally decided she could trust him. ‘OK. That sounds good.’

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

August Releases

Six fabulous new books for August!  Enjoy!

Bachelor Doc, Unexpected Dad, by Dianne Drake

9781474075282.jpgFrom confirmed bachelor…
To committed dad!

Army doc Matt McClain and career woman Ellie Landers share one unforgettable night, never expecting to meet again. And then Ellie arrives on Matt’s doorstep—pregnant! Matt has just become guardian to his orphaned nephew, and this nomadic medic isn’t ready to be a father of two! But, faced with losing Ellie and their baby, Matt might just realise that he has what it takes to make them a family.

 

 

 

 

Finding his Wife, Finding a Son, by Marion Lennox

9781474075244.jpg

Reunited with his ex-wife…
…and her secret son!

In this Bondi Bay Heroes story, when Dr Luc Braxton is called to a collapsed shopping mall the last person he expects to rescue from the rubble is his fiercely independent ex-wife Dr Beth Carmichael—and Toby, the little boy he never knew she had. But to keep them in his life Luc must learn to love Beth the way she needs him to…

 

 

 

 

 

One Night with the Army Doc, by Traci Douglass

9781474075275.jpg

Is one night enough…
To convince her to stay?

Travelling to Alaska to film the latest episode of her TV show is just what brilliant diagnostician Dr Molly Flynn needs. It’s the perfect escape from her family’s expectations—until she clashes with privacy-loving ex-army doc Jacob Ryder over her patient’s care! But as friction turns into flirtation can Molly trust that Jake sees the real her and loves her…just the way she is?

 

 

 

 

Surprise Twins for the Surgeon, by Sue MacKay

9781474075268.jpg

From holiday fling…
To parents of twins!

Suddenly single, broken-hearted nurse Alesha Milligan didn’t plan to holiday alone. Or to be rescued on her first night by a sexy stranger! Maybe a holiday fling with surgeon Kristof Montfort is just what she needs… But then Alesha discovers she’s pregnant—with twins! She knows Kristof isn’t ready for a relationship, but can she convince him that the magic between them can bind them as a family for ever?

 

 

 

 

The Shy Nurse’s Rebel Doc, by Alison Roberts

9781474075237.jpg

From playing it safe…
To falling for her rebel boss!

In this Bondi Bay Heroes story, ER nurse Samantha Braithwaite has learnt never to put limits on herself. But working with Dr Blake Cooper is her biggest challenge yet. He thinks she’s shy, but that makes her determined to prove she can make the Special Disaster Response team. And as days spill into nights the chemistry they’ve tried to hide is about to explode!

 

 

 

 

Their Own Little Miracle, by Caroline Anderson

9781474075251.jpg

A surrogate mum—
And then she fell in love…

When Dr Iona Murray agrees to be her sister’s surrogate she never imagines it will lead her into Dr Joe Baker’s arms. Joe has no intention of ever being a sperm donor again, or of becoming emotionally attached after his painful divorce. But when he meets Iona his boundaries become truly blurred. Will they be able to give up their baby…or each other?

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

April New Releases!

Hello to all our fabulous medical romance readers! Can you believe its already April??

6 news books for you this month including two from Lucy Clark and a very special one from our much loved and missed Jennifer Taylor who passed away last year. This was Jennifer’s last book and we will all miss her wonderfully warm and heartfelt medical romances. You can read more about Jennifer’s amazing contribution to our medical family over the years here !

Reunited By Their Baby by Jennifer Taylor (The Larches Practice)

medical1

He’s back to claim his family…

But can Beth trust him with her heart?

GP Beth Andrews has a wonderful job at The Larches Practice and a baby girl she adores. The only thing missing is her husband! Now Callum O’Neill is back and he’s stunned and delighted to discover he has a much-wanted child. He’s determined to renew his marriage with Beth, but can she trust that this time he’ll stay forever?

 

 

 

 

One Week To Win His Heart by Lucy Clark (Sydney Surgeons)med2

Can one week of passion…..

lead to happily-ever-after?

Love has been the last thing on surgeon George Wilmont’s mind since his wife passed away. Until he meets stunning head of orthopedics Melody Janeway on the last week of his lecture tour. Their instant connection explodes into passion, but with only a week before George leaves, can a passionate fling really become a forever love?

 

 

 

Falling for the Pregnant GP by Lucy Clark (Sydney Surgeons)

MED3

Could this doctor and her baby bump…

be the family he’s longed for?

Surgeon Ethan Janeway locked his heart away when he lost his wife and baby daughter. But then he meets gorgeous GP CJ Nicholls, his new—and very pregnant!—boss. After her late husband’s infidelity, CJ has no reason to trust men, but kind, caring Ethan is different. They could be the perfect family—but first they’ll have to leave the past behind…

 

 

Healed By The Midwife’s Kiss by Fiona McArthur (The Midwivmed4es of Lighthouse Bay)

Finn can’t imagine loving anyone again…

But could one woman change that forever?

After Dr. Finn Foley’s wife abandoned him and their adorable baby daughter, he threw himself into being a father. But when he meets a kindred spirit in widowed midwife Catrina Thomas, he can’t resist getting to know her better. One sizzling kiss later, the happiness Finn has been searching for finally seems within his grasp…if only he’s willing to claim it!

 

 

 

Bound By Their Babies by Caroline Anderson (Yoxburgh Park Hospital)

med5

Best friends, single parents…

Now they need each other like never before!

Obstetricians Jake and Emily have supported each other through tough times. But when they both become single parents, there’s only one solution—move in together and share the job and the childcare! Only, the secret desires they’ve held for each other become very tough to hide. But would revealing their love risk their friendship—or answer their dreams?

 

 

 

A Mommy For His Daughter by Amy Ruttan

med6

 

She’s never had a chance at a family…

But could happiness be found where she least expected?

Dr. Evelyn Saunders left her orphan past behind, along with the cold Alaskan climes of Wolf’s Harbor. But an unexpected posting back home brings her up close and personal with single dad GP Derek Taylor. Neither are looking for love, but could this doting dad and his little girl bring Evelyn the happy family she’s longed for?

 

 

 

 

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – The Midwife’s Longed-For Baby, by Caroline Anderson

As I promised you earlier in the year, The Midwife’s Longed-For Baby is out now.  It’s the story of a love broken by failure and despair, and the rebuilding of that love into a strong and solid marriage that can survive anything life throws at it, but Nick and Liv had a mountain to climb to do that, and they dragged me up the hill with them every step of the way!  So here you go, a little taster to whet your appetite.  I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Caroline x

 

Chapter 1

‘LIV, HAVE YOU got a minute?’

She hesitated, about to say no, but Ben wasn’t one to waste time and if he wanted to talk to her…

‘If it really is only that? I need to check on a mum soon.’

‘That’s fine, it won’t take long. I just want to run something by you. Can we go in my office?’

His office?

‘Is this about Jen?’ she asked as Ben closed the door.

The fleeting smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. ‘In a way. Did you know she’s got cancer?’

‘Yes, Simon told me yesterday. I was gutted. She’s such a lovely person and it seems so unfair. He said they’re moving home so their families can help with the children while she’s having treatment. So what is it you want me to do?’ she asked, thinking flowers, a gift voucher, something for the kids—

‘Nothing, but what I do could affect you, because yesterday was Simon’s last day and his compassionate leave’s pretty open-ended so we need a locum, and I’d like to talk to Nick about it.’

‘Nick?’

Of all the things he’d been going to say, her ex husband’s name was so far down the list it wasn’t even on it, and just the sound of his name made her heart beat faster. And he wasn’t officially ex, because she’d never quite been able to follow through on that—

‘Are you still in touch?’

Ben nodded. ‘Yes, we’re in touch. I speak to him quite often. He always asks about you,’ he added gently.

Her heart lurched. ‘Does he? How is he?’ she asked, trying not to sound too needy and failing hopelessly.

‘He’s OK. He’s well, keeps himself busy.’ He frowned, hesitating, then went on, ‘I know it’s none of my business, Liv, and I’m not asking any questions, but I was really sorry when you two split up.’

She felt her eyes fill and blinked as she looked away. ‘Me, too, but it wasn’t working.’ Any more than this was, this awful aching emptiness where her love for Nick had been…

‘I know. I could see there was something wrong, so I wasn’t surprised, just saddened for you both. Look, don’t worry about it. I’ll try and get someone else. I only thought of him because he’d be perfect for the job, but I don’t want to make things difficult for you—for either of you, really.’

The shock had worn off now, swamped by a tidal wave of mixed emotions that she couldn’t quite work out. Longing? Dread?

She didn’t have a clue. Both, maybe, but confusion was fighting its way to the top of the pile.

‘I don’t understand how he could do it anyway. Doesn’t he have a job?’

He must have. He was paying the mortgage on their house—

‘Not any more, as far as I know. His existing locum post’s about to come to an end and I haven’t heard that he’s got anything else lined up so I wanted to get in soon if we were to stand a chance, but it’s probably too late anyway.’

He was locuming? He’d been made a consultant at Yoxburgh Park Hospital a few months before they’d split up. How had he ended up working as a locum? Although it was only a year ago since he’d left. Maybe nothing had come up, nothing as good anyway. Nothing that would do him justice…

‘Can I think about it? Before you ask him, or get anyone else. It’s just—it’s the last thing I expected you to say and I can’t quite get my head round it.’

‘I know, I can see that. And I realise you might need to talk to him first.’

No way. She hadn’t spoken to him since that horrible day that she’d regretted ever since, but this wasn’t the time or the way to do it. She shook her head. ‘No, I don’t need to do that. How long can I have?’

Ben shrugged. ‘The rest of the morning? I’m sorry, I know it isn’t long, but if you think you can deal with it I really don’t want to hang about in case we lose him. It’s right up his street—mostly obstetrics, but there’s some of the fertility clinic work as well, which is why I thought of him.’

That stopped her mind in its tracks, and she felt her jaw drop. She just couldn’t picture him in a fertility clinic, of all the ironic places, but of course Simon’s job partly involved it.

‘I didn’t realise he knew anything at all about infertility.’

Apart from their own, but she wasn’t saying that to Ben.

‘Yes, that’s one of the reasons why we want him, because of Simon’s role here. Plus he’s a damn good obstetrician, of course, but he’s a perfect fit. He’s been running the fertility clinic in his hospital since last May, and it shuts any day now.’

Her heart was beating so fast she could feel it thudding against her ribs. Of all the things for him to do, running a fertility clinic was so out of left field she’d never have seen it coming. Why would he choose to punish himself in that way? Unless he’d had no choice. Had he been driven to it just to earn a living? Her guilt over the mortgage ramped up a notch.

‘I had no idea,’ she said numbly. She took another moment, letting it all sink in a little, and then took a deep breath and made a decision she just hoped she didn’t regret.

‘Talk to him, Ben. Ask him if he’s interested. If he is—well, I’m sure we can be civilised about it.’

‘Are you sure? I realise it’s a big decision for you.’

‘But it isn’t really mine to make. It’s yours, and his, and if he’s the right man for the job, who am I to stand in the way? And anyway, it’s not permanent. Ask him, Ben. Just keep me in the loop, OK? I don’t want any surprises.’

‘Of course I will.’ He opened the door and stared down thoughtfully into her eyes. ‘Thank you, Liv. I do appreciate it and I know it can’t be easy for you.’

Did he? She wondered how much he knew about their break-up, about the why and the how. Had Nick spoken to him about it? Surely not. If there was one thing her marriage had taught her, it was that Nick didn’t talk about his feelings. Not to her, and certainly not to his boss.

She found a smile from somewhere. ‘You’re welcome. Just let me know his reaction.’

‘I will.’

* * *

‘Nick? It’s Ben Walker. Are you OK to talk? I want to ask you something.’

‘Yeah, sure. What d’you want to know?’ he asked.

‘Nothing. I’m headhunting you. I know your clinic’s shutting any time now, and we need a full-time locum consultant to cover Obs and Gynae and some of the fertility clinic workload and I thought it sounded right up your street, unless you’ve got your next job lined up already?’

Ben was asking him to go back? With Liv still there? At least, he assumed she was. He hadn’t heard otherwise and Ben would have told him, he was sure. Would he be working with her?

His heart rate rocketed, and he hauled in a deep breath and let it go, consciously engaging his brain instead of his adrenal glands.

‘Whose job is it? It sounds like Simon’s.’

‘It is. His wife’s got cancer and he’s gone off on compassionate leave with immediate effect. They’re moving back to their home town so their parents can help with childcare.’

‘Oh, no, that’s horrendous. Poor Jen. Poor all of them. And poor you, because it’s obviously left you in the lurch, but I’m not sure I’m the man for the job. Does Liv know you’re asking me?’

‘Yes. I asked her first. She said she thought you could be civilised about it.’

Civilised?

He’d be right under her nose, working with couples to solve the very thing that had left their marriage in tatters. Civilised wasn’t the word he would have applied to that situation.

A minefield, more likely.

Or an opportunity to build bridges? He knew so much more now than he had then, but the pain was still raw and no amount of knowledge was going to make that go away.

Could he do it? It wasn’t as if they’d be working together, and it was only temporary in any case. They could keep out of each other’s way if necessary, but it might give them a chance—

‘So, are you still free?’

‘Yes, technically. I haven’t got anything lined up yet, at least, and I’m seeing the last patients today, but I had thought I’d take a break. When would you want me to start?’

Ben made a sound that could have been laughter. ‘Tomorrow? And by the way, that was a joke, but—ASAP, really. We can cover it for a few days but after that it’ll get really tricky. Every woman in Suffolk seems to be pregnant or trying to be at the moment.’

His chest tightened. Not quite every woman. Not his Liv…

‘Why don’t you come and talk to me about it?’ Ben went on. ‘See how you feel?’

He had no idea how he’d feel. Confused? Desperate to see Liv? Afraid to see her, to find that she was happily settled without him when he was still miserable and lonely and struggling to make sense of it all? But maybe she was happy, which would mean he’d done the right thing by leaving without a fight. Maybe he needed to know that so he could move on?

There was no real reason why he couldn’t go. When the clinic closed its doors at five that evening, he’d be jobless. He’d planned a holiday, something reckless and adrenaline-soaked, but he hadn’t booked anything and now Ben was dangling this opportunity to go back to Yoxburgh right in front of his nose.

Yoxburgh, and Liv.

They’d been so happy there at first in the pretty Victorian seaside town, but it had all gone horribly wrong for them and now the only memories he had of it were sad ones. Did he really want to go back?

He’d made changes in his life, tried to get it back on track, but although his diet and lifestyle had undergone a radical overhaul, his heart hadn’t moved on. He’d just shut it away, buried it under a massive pile of work and endless runs around an inner-city park, and going back was bound to open a whole new can of worms. Did he really want to do that? The sensible answer was no—or was that just the coward’s answer?

And Ben needed him. He had no commitments or ties, no reason why he couldn’t go, except that Liv would be there, and maybe that wasn’t a good enough reason to stay away.

Even though it was a minefield, even though they hadn’t spoken in over a year, even though he knew it was rash and stupid and ill-considered, he realised there was a massive part of him that wanted to see her again.

Needed to see her again.

It was high time they had the conversation he’d been putting off since they’d split up. The conversation he owed her—and the one she owed him, like why after more than a year she still hadn’t started divorce proceedings…

‘Let’s just go for it,’ he said, suddenly decisive. ‘I can’t do tomorrow, but why don’t I come up on Friday? That gives me a day to tidy up here and pack, and if I can sort everything out with your HR first thing on Friday morning I can start work right away. My paperwork’s all in order, so once HR have seen it I’ll be good to go. Then you’ll only have to deal with tomorrow, and I can spend the weekend finding somewhere to live.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes, absolutely,’ he said without giving himself time to back out of it. ‘Let’s do it. I’ll drive down early so I’m with you for eight and I can be in HR as soon as they open.’

‘Nick, thank you. I can’t tell you how grateful I am,’ Ben said, and the relief in his voice made Nick realise just how much pressure his old clinical lead was under. ‘And don’t worry about finding anywhere to live,’ Ben added, ‘you can stay with us as long as you need to, Daisy’d love to have you. Come here, to the hospital. You know where to find me. They’ll page me when you get here.’

‘Sure. Thanks. I’ll see you then.’

He hung up, slid the phone into his pocket and stared blankly across the room.

He was going back.

He wasn’t sure he was ready to see Liv again, because he’d never managed to get any emotional distance and his heart was still as raw as it had been the day she threw him out, so it was going to be tough. Very tough. But maybe he could use the opportunity to find out if she was happy without him, because he sure as hell wasn’t happy without her…

There was a knock on the door and a nurse popped her head into the room. ‘Mr Jarvis? Mr and Mrs Lyons are waiting to see you.’

He nodded, gave himself a mental shake and got to his feet. ‘Show them in, please.’

* * *

He was coming back today.

Taking Simon’s job, at least in the short term. She still couldn’t work out how she felt about that. Confused, more than anything. Confused and nervous and tingling with apprehension. Lots of that.

She found a slot in the staff car park, got out and headed for the maternity unit on autopilot, her mind whirling.

Would she see him today? Did she want to? Did he want to see her? Their last exchange had hardly been amicable. Well, her side of it anyway. He’d hardly said a word but then he hadn’t needed to, the evidence had spoken for itself.

She reached the kerb and glanced up, checking that the road was clear, and saw a car approaching.

Nick’s car.

She recognised it instantly, and her heart started to thud as he drew closer, their eyes meeting as he slowed down.

To speak to her?

For a moment she thought he was going to stop, and then he raised his hand in acknowledgement and drove on, and she hauled in a breath and crossed the road on legs like jelly.

Her heart was tumbling in her chest, her lips dry, and she was breathing so fast she could have been running. Ridiculous. He was just a doctor, here to do his job, and she was just a midwife doing hers. The fact that they were still married was neither here nor there. They could do this.

She just had to work out how.

* * *

Nick parked the car and sat there for a moment, waiting for his heart to slow down.

He’d known it would be odd to see her again, but he hadn’t expected the thunderbolt that had struck him when he’d met her eyes. It was like being punched in the gut, and it had taken his breath away.

Jaws clenched, he took the key out of the ignition, picked up the briefcase containing his stethoscope and the file with all the documentation for HR and got out of the car, following her towards the maternity unit.

Why the hell had he said yes? He could have turned Ben down, walked away, gone and had the holiday he’d been promising himself. Then he wouldn’t have been here, he wouldn’t have seen her and ripped open the wound left by the abrupt end to their marriage.

Not that it had taken much ripping. It had barely skinned over in the last year and a bit, but he was here now, the damage was done and he might as well just get on with it. And anyway, she needed the truth. They both did, and maybe then they could both move on.

The door slid open and he strode through it, went up to the maternity reception desk and asked them to page Ben.

* * *

‘Morning, all.’

‘Oh, Liv, I’m so glad I’ve caught you. Can you do us a huge favour? Would you mind covering an antenatal clinic this morning? Jan’s called in sick and you’re the only person who’s not already involved in a delivery.’

She felt a little shaft of relief and smiled at her line manager. ‘No, that’s fine, I’ll head straight down.’ And she’d be nicely tucked out of the way so she wouldn’t run the risk of bumping into Nick.

Which was stupid, really, because it was going to happen sometime, but she’d had less than forty-eight hours to get used to the idea of him coming back and judging by her reaction to him in the car park, it had been nothing like long enough.

She’d spend the morning giving herself a thorough talking-to, and then by the time he actually started work she’d have herself firmly under control.

Good plan.

Except it wasn’t.

The clinic receptionist welcomed her with a smile of relief and then comprehensively trashed her peace of mind.

‘Thank heavens it’s you, Liv, we need someone who knows the ropes. There’s a bit of a delay because the locum who’s covering for Mr Bailey is still in HR, but he’ll be down soon, apparently, so if you could make a start that would be amazing.’

Simon’s clinic? That meant she’d be working with Nick all morning, before she had a chance to shore up the walls and get all her defences in place. Great. Fabulous.

Her heart had started to pound, and she hauled in a breath, picked up the first set of notes with shaking hands and pasted on a smile.

‘No problem. I can do that,’ she said, as much to herself as the receptionist. She walked out to the waiting area, glanced at the file and scanned the room.

‘Judy Richards?’

* * *

‘Nick! Welcome back!’

He recognised Jane, the motherly but ruthlessly efficient woman who acted as Ben’s secretary as well as Simon’s, and greeted her warmly.

‘Hello, Jane, it’s good to see you again. How are you?’

‘I’m fine. I’ve been expecting you. HR said you’d be up here shortly. They said you were very well organised, ironically.’

He laughed. ‘It just so happens I had a file ready with the relevant paperwork in it because I knew I’d need it soon, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. I hate admin.’

She smiled knowingly. ‘I haven’t forgotten that. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you do everything you have to do.’

‘Can you read my mind?’ he asked, and she just laughed.

‘If necessary. That’s what I’m here for.’

‘Good. I don’t suppose you’ve got Simon’s schedule handy, have you? I really need to hit the ground running. Ben said something about a clinic and I’ve got a list this afternoon.’

‘Yes, I’ve printed it all out for you here. First on your list is the antenatal clinic, as you know. It’s still in the same place and they’re expecting you. And your elective list starts at two, so you should just about have time after the clinic to meet your patients before you start in Theatre. The notes are on the ward.’

‘Jane, you’re a legend.’ He hung his stethoscope round his neck, left his briefcase in her care and went.

At least in the clinic he was less likely to run into Liv, because she’d be safely tucked away on the midwife-led unit. And even though in a way he’d wanted to see her, their brief encounter this morning had shaken him more than he’d expected and he could do without any more surprises.

Yes, a nice, busy clinic was exactly what he needed. Just until he got his head round the idea of working in the same building as her…

* * *

‘Liv…’

She was standing in the empty corridor with an armful of notes when she heard him say her name, and she turned slowly and met his eyes.

Anguish, love, regret—and then nothing, as he got control of himself again and slammed the shutters down. He’d had plenty of practice at that, he’d got it down to a fine art in the last year of their marriage, but he’d been too slow this time and his reaction exactly mirrored her own.

‘Hello, Nick,’ she said, her voice sounding scratchy and unused. The words how are you hovered on her tongue, but she couldn’t speak because it had glued itself to the roof of her mouth so she just stared at him.

His face was leaner, she realised, the crows’ feet more pronounced, the frown lines shallower. Because he was happier? He hadn’t looked happy, but he looked more like the old Nick, the man she’d fallen in love with, fit and well and healthy but with a touch of grey at his temples now. Stress, or just age? He was thirty-nine now, nearly forty, and he wore it well apart from that.

Not that the silver threaded through his dark hair did anything to dim his subtle but potent sex appeal—

Her heart was beating so fast it was deafening her, her breath was lodged in her throat, and she had to clamp her lips together to stifle a sudden little sob.

She blinked fiercely and adjusted the folders in her arms before looking back at him, and as she met those beautiful, smoky grey eyes again her heart thudded, but his gaze held her eyes and she was powerless to look away.

‘I wasn’t expecting to see you down here,’ he said after a second of silence that seemed to scream on for eternity, and his gruff voice set her free and she breathed again.

‘Ditto, but it’s just as well you’re here now, we’ve got a lot of work to do.’ She pretended to look at the notes in her arms. Anything to get away from those searching eyes when her own were bound to be too revealing. ‘I take it you managed to tick all HR’s boxes?’

‘Yes. I have a file I keep up to date. It comes in handy when you’re a locum.’

That again. Why hasn’t he got a full-time job?

He hesitated, as if there was something else he wanted to say, but after a moment he looked down at the armful of folders she was holding. ‘So, what’s that lot?’

‘The ladies who’ve had their BP and fundal height measured and their urine tested, so they’re all ready for you.’ Her voice was almost normal again, and she nearly laughed. If he had any idea what was going on in her chest—

She led him into the consulting room and handed him the folders, and as he took them his hand brushed lightly against hers and the heat from his skin sent a wave of longing through her. She almost dropped the files but he had them, and he turned swiftly away and dumped them on the desk.

‘Anyone I should be particularly aware of?’ he asked, his voice a little taut and very businesslike, so she followed his lead. Anything to help get herself back under control before her heart gave out.

‘Yes, Judy Richards,’ she said briskly. ‘She has a history of early miscarriage. This is her fourth pregnancy, she’s thirty-two weeks which is the longest she’s ever gone, but her fundal height hasn’t changed since her last appointment a week ago and that wasn’t as much as it should have been, so it might be that the baby’s found a new position, or it could be that it’s stopped growing for some reason. She’s on the top of the pile.’

He frowned thoughtfully, all business now. ‘Right. Good. Has she been tested for APS?’

‘Yes, after her last miscarriage. The test came back negative.’

‘Hmm. OK, well, she’d better have another scan before I see her, if we can do it without worrying her too much.’

‘It’s done. I knew you’d ask for it so I told her it was because it was a new consultant, and she didn’t question it. The results are on here,’ she said, handing him the department tablet.

‘Great. Thanks.’ He scrolled through and studied the results, then handed it back, frowning thoughtfully.

‘OK. I think I’m going to admit her. Can you call her in, please, and I’ll check her over and break the news?’

‘Sure.’

And oddly it was fine, because Judy Richards and her baby needed them, they had a job to do and so they just got on with it, slipping seamlessly back into the familiar routine as if it had been yesterday. Not that she was relaxed in any way, but it was a joy watching him with Judy, and a stark reminder of how good he was at his job.

She’d forgotten how intuitive a doctor he was, and how caring. Kind, gentle, thorough—and from his first greeting onwards, Liv could see Judy had utter faith in him.

‘Mrs Richards—I’m Nick Jarvis, I’ve taken over from Simon Bailey. I’ve had a look at your notes, and also the scan you had done today. It doesn’t really shed any light—which is good news in a way, I suppose, but it still leaves some unanswered questions and I don’t like that, so I think I’d like to admit you and do a few more tests, get a closer look at your baby and the placenta and retest you for APS—antiphospholipid syndrome. Has anybody discussed that with you yet?’

‘Yes, Mr Bailey did, but he didn’t think I’d got it.’

‘He may well be right, but I’m erring on the side of caution, so if that’s all right with you, I’ll ring the ward and make the arrangements for you to be admitted now, and then maybe someone could bring some things in for you later.’

‘I can’t go home and get them myself?’

‘You can, of course, but I’d like to get the tests under way as soon as possible and I’m in Theatre this afternoon, so I’d very much rather you didn’t because I’d like to look after you myself rather than hand you over to someone else in my team.’

By the time he’d convinced Judy to come in immediately for closer monitoring, she was still calm and relatively relaxed, which considering her obstetric history was nothing short of a miracle.

If only they were as calm and relaxed things would be fine, but they weren’t. Liv felt like a cat on hot bricks, and she wasn’t sure he was faring any better.

They got through the morning by keeping out of each other’s way as much as possible, avoiding eye contact, restricting conversation to a minimum and all work-related, but fun it wasn’t and her nerves were in bits, so the second the clinic was finished she made her escape.

* * *

He closed the door as Liv went out with the last patient, leant back against the wall and closed his eyes, letting his breath out in a long, slow huff.

Well, they’d survived, if you could call it that.

Not that it had been easy, but they’d got through it by sticking to business and getting on with the job, and they’d done that well, working together as a smooth, well-oiled team just as they had in the old days. Except in the old days they’d enjoyed it, and he was pretty certain neither of them had enjoyed it today, and the tension between them could have been cut with a knife.

It couldn’t go on like this, though, and he knew he had to do something to break through the icy politeness and careful distance between them or it wasn’t going to work. At all.

He shrugged away from the wall, picked up the last set of notes and left the room, scanning the clinic for Liv, but there was no sign of her.

‘Seen Liv?’ he asked at Reception as he handed over the file, and was told she’d gone for lunch.

Which meant, unless she’d changed her habits, she’d be in the café that opened onto the park.

Good. He could do with a nice, strong coffee, with caffeine in it for a change. It might help him get through what was sure to be a deeply awkward conversation.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

September New Releases

We’ve a bunch of brilliant new releases this month!  So, for your reading pleasure…

From Passion to Pregnancy, by Tina Beckett

lgcover.9781488020711After just one night… 

The last thing Dr. Sebastian Texeira wants is to settle down, but when one sizzling night with sexy nurse Sara Moreira results in pregnancy, he feels he must do the right thing!

Sara refuses to marry for anything less than love. Though she does agree to work at Sebastian’s hospital—where the temperature between them grows hotter than ever! All Sebastian needs to secure their happiness is to admit how much he really loves Sara, but sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to do…

 

The Doctor’s Forbidden Temptation, by Tina Beckett

lgcover.9781488020704“Nata…we can’t do this.” 

To Dr. Adam Cordeiro, Natália Texeira has always been off-limits. As his best friend’s sister, and a cancer survivor, he’s felt a duty to protect her. But the doctor he meets on her first day at Santa Coração Hospital is all grown-up and far too tempting…

Natália has always had a crush on Adam, but he has a playboy’s reputation! Nevertheless, when their forbidden passion becomes irresistible, Natália is compelled to discover what’s really holding Adam back from giving his heart…

 

 

One Night that Changed her Life, by Emily Forbes

lgcover.9781488020735The midwife’s pregnancy shock! 

From the moment she sees Dr. Xavier O’Donnell, midwife Brighde Campbell knows how the night will end. In the gorgeous obstetrician’s arms, she can forget the closely kept reason she avoids commitment—but then she discovers she’s pregnant…

Finding out he’s going to be a father both shocks and delights Xavier, but Brighde seems intent on shutting him out. Her painful secret will test both their hearts, but can he convince Brighde that no matter what the future holds, they can face it together?

 

The Midwife’s Longed for Baby, by Caroline Anderson

lgcover.9781488020728A marriage worth fighting for 

Obstetrician Nick Jarvis and midwife Liv had the perfect marriage—until not conceiving the baby they ached for tore them apart.

But separation has only compounded how much they need each other, and now they’re working together again, delivering babies every day! It could be their chance to rekindle their relationship, but only if they can rediscover the sheer joy of loving—the one thing that will make their marriage whole and give them the courage to try for a baby again.

 

 

Bride for the Single Dad, by Jennifer Taylor

lgcover.9781488020759New beginnings? 

Moving to the Dales is all about a fresh start for Dr. Elliot Grey, until he meets feisty—and beautiful—midwife Polly Davies. Not since his ex-wife abandoned him and their son has Elliot had such a strong reaction to a woman!

A relationship is the last thing he needs, yet there’s something special about Polly. Maybe it’s the way she’s bonded with his son, or that the pain of his past fades in her presence, but one thing is certain—he’s struggling to find reasons to stay away!

 

 

The Prince’s Cinderella Bride, by Amalie Berlin

lgcover.9781488020742Operation Marriage… 

Prince Quinton Corlow’s life was turned upside down the day his divorce was filed and his military papers were executed. Seven years later, the embittered soldier returns, only to walk straight back into his ex-wife’s life!

But when Quinn discovers he’s still married to the one woman who could claim his heart, he realizes he must tackle the past for the future he wants…the future Anais wants, too. But can he convince his Cinderella bride to fight for their love?