Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Her One-Night Secret

Hi All!

Hope your April is going well. For us in the Northern Hemisphere it’s Spring, my favorite time of the year. Everything’s fresh and new. The plants are blooming and growing. Flowers. New baby animals everywhere. Vaccines for COVID finally going in arms. So invigorating!

Plum blossoms from the Japanese Plum trees in my backyard!

Anyway, let’s talk Medicals. My next stories with the line release June 1, 2021 and are my first duet–First Response in Florida! Take two adopted brothers who both work in the medical field (Jackson is a top paramedic and Luis is an ER doc), a Key West setting, throw in tons of sexy, romantic conflict, and one nasty hurricane and you have the basis for the First Response in Florida duet!

The last time I was on the blog, I gave you a sneak peek into Book 1 in the duet, The Vet’s Unexpected Hero–Jackson and Lucy’s story. So, today, I thought I’d share and exclusive excerpt from Book 2 in the duet, Her One-Night Secret. This is Luis and Stacy’s story and it’s full of past regrets, second-chances, and one very special surprise.

I hope you enjoy this snippet from the story, where Stacy and Luis have their first conversation since their one night together four years before. And I also hope you’ll check out the First Response in Florida duet when it releases on June 1st! If you like action, suspense, heat, and happily ever afters, these are the books for you!

Until next time, stay safe and healthy and Happy Reading!

Traci 🙂

Excerpt:

HER FIRST IMPULSE was to feign ignorance, but from the way he’d been watching her this whole time, it was clear he’d recognized her, so what was the point? Besides, the last thing Stacy wanted to do was draw more attention to her past indiscretions, so she hiked her chin toward the other members of her fire crew to go on out into the hall, then waited until they were gone before turning back to face Luis.


“It is.” She forced a smile she didn’t feel and looked him over. Man, he was still gorgeous as ever. At first, when she’d looked back on that night, she’d figured she’d been imagining that thick, curly dark hair, those velvety caramel-colored eyes, the impossibly long eyelashes that most women would kill for. Of course, then, as luck would have it, her own son was born with those same features nine months later, so…


Stacy swallowed hard and did her best to cover her nervousness with chatter. “Didn’t think I’d see you again. How are you? You look well.”


Luis blinked at her a moment, a slight frown lining the smooth skin between his dark brows. “I wondered what happened to you after that night, if you were okay.”


That slight accent of his sent a sudden shiver of unwanted awareness through her, taking her right back to that night on the beach, the stars twinkling above, his strong arms around her, sweet endearments on his lips as he’d moved over her, in her, so careful, so tender, so…


“I’m fine. Great, actually.” She needed air, and space. The walls of the room seemed to be closing in on her with him that close, his warmth and scent surrounding her—soap and sandalwood. Stacy turned fast and pushed out into the hallway, grateful for the bright lights and noise of the other meeting members to distract her. She pointed at her badge and headed down the corridor toward the entrance to the ER. “Captain now.”


“I see that,” Luis said, keeping pace beside her, adjusting his long-legged stride to accommodate her shorter one. Funny how that worked. She was a good six inches shorter than him, but that night they’d fit perfectly together.


Stop thinking about that night. Stop it.


“Are you living in Key West now?” he asked as they passed her fire crew, who were giving her curious looks.


“I am,” she said, leaving it at that. She and Miguel had moved into a nice apartment at a local complex the previous year when she’d taken the captain’s job here after leaving her department in Miami. “And you? Are you still traveling the world on your mission trips?”


“No. Not anymore,” he said, tapping the square metal handicapped button on the wall with his elbow so the automatic doors swung open ahead of them. “I’ve taken the position as head of the emergency department here at Key West General, so I’m staying put now.”


“Good to know.” Actually, it wasn’t good. Not at all. Because if they were both staying here in Key West, that meant she needed to tell him about Miguel. Honestly, Stacy had never meant to keep it a secret from Luis for this long. It was just that once she’d found out she was pregnant, he was long gone, and she’d had no way to get a hold of him. Then she’d had the baby and had to fend for herself, and she’d been too busy working and surviving to consider another trip back down to Key West to search for Luis. Being accepted into the fire academy training program had been a godsend—good pay, good benefits, good exercise and a new, extended family she’d always wanted but never dreamed she’d have. The guys in the Miami-Dade County Fire and Rescue Department had embraced Stacy and Miguel as their own, giving her son all the attention and positive male role models he could ever want or need.


Still, having a father—his father—in his life was important for her son, at least to Stacy. So, no matter how awkward, she would tell Luis. Just maybe when the time and place were more appropriate.


“You work with Reed?” Luis asked as they stopped near the nurses’ station in the bustling ER. “The injured firefighter?”


“I do. He’s on a different crew than mine, but we’re all in the same battalion.” She swallowed hard against the lingering constriction in her throat. “It’s like a big family.”


“That’s nice,” Luis said, turning his attention to a chart the nurse behind the desk handed him. “Your colleague is in for a tough battle.”


“Is there any word on how the surgery went?” she asked, glad for a topic of discussion.


“I can’t discuss the specifics because of privacy laws, but suffice it to say that when I left the OR upstairs, he was holding his own. With luck they got the bleeding under control and we can move on to evaluating his leg injury.”


“Will he walk again?”


“I can’t give you a prognosis on that at the moment, I’m afraid.” Luis continued jotting notes in the chart he was working on. “It will be a long recovery either way. Given the extent of the initial injury, there will be nerve and tissue damage that will take time to heal. Physical therapy and bed rest are definitely in his future whether he keeps that leg or not. It will just depend on what the focus is—restoring strength and mobility or retraining him to use a prosthetic.”

“Will he be able to return to active duty as a firefighter?” Stacy asked, her heart aching for his family and what they were going through. “He’ll have his pension, but I know Reed, and he’d hate sitting behind a desk all day.”


“We won’t know until after the surgery and the ortho consult.” He glanced over at her. “But if everything works out well, I don’t see why not. They’ve made huge strides in technology and many people with prosthetics can do just as well, and in some cases better, than their counterparts without disabilities. That would be up to your department, however, and what the physical therapists have to say once they work with and evaluate him. We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here, though.”


Now that Stacy had a chance to really study him as he worked, she could see tiny lines near the corners of his eyes that hadn’t been there before, and a hint of dark stubble just beneath the surface of his strong jaw. She wondered how long his shift had been, if he had someone waiting at home for him once he was done…

Not that it was any of her business. Nope. She was not looking for a relationship. She had plenty enough on her plate as it was with work and Miguel and now the hurricane heading in their general direction. It was just that if he was involved with someone else, that would add another dimension to him finding out he had a son from a previous liaison. She needed to tread carefully, since the last thing Miguel needed right now was more upset to his schedule. With his mild Asperger’s, routine was the glue that held their little world together. And most of all, she didn’t want her son hurt.


As someone who knew the struggle of being an only child, raised by a single mother, Stacy knew all too well the pain of letting someone in, only to have them walk away or disappoint you. She remembered when her own father had walked out on them. At first, she’d cried and cried, running to the window each time a car drove by their house, thinking it might be him. Then, after a while, she’d turned the pain and hurt inward, thinking it was her fault he was gone. That it must’ve been something she’d done, or if she’d only been better, somehow, her father wouldn’t have left them. Eventually she’d internalized that feeling of never being enough and translated it into constantly pushing herself to do more, be more, hoping someday it might be enough to keep those she loved from leaving.


Stacy refused to have her son experience that same trauma by exposing Miguel to a man who might just as likely disappear from their lives as quickly as he’d arrived. She’d never really explained to Miguel about where his father was, and luckily he hadn’t asked. It had always just been the two of them. Now, though, as he was getting older, she feared the questions would come and, with them, the knowledge that he’d been a surprise baby. But in the best possible way. Stacy couldn’t image her life without her son. He was her reason for being, her reason for getting up every day, her reason for everything.


There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for Miguel, including telling Luis the truth.


Soon. Just not yet.

They stood there a moment, neither knowing what to say, until finally Stacy spotted Reed’s wife and daughter in the hall and seized on her opportunity to escape. “Uh, I should get back to my crew and Reed’s family. Excuse me. It was nice seeing you again.”


“I’d like to have dinner,” Luis said as she was walking away, halting her in her tracks. “To discuss coordination of our protocols for the hurricane.”


Her heart thudded harder against her rib cage. The hurricane. Right. “Uh, I…”


“Stacy,” he said, handing the chart back to the nurse then stepping toward her, a hint of his tanned chest visible through the vee of his light green scrub shirt. She concentrated there and not on his eyes, those too-perceptive eyes that sent tingles of heat through her like fireworks and always saw way more than she wanted to reveal. Like how nervous she was around him. Like how he still affected her, even after all these years. Like how almost five years later and a lifetime of changes apart, her attraction to him burned bright as the sun. “Just dinner. That’s all. How about tonight? Say, 8:00 p.m., after my shift? Unless you have other plans already.”

There it was. Her out. She seized on it with both hands, even as she cursed herself a coward. “Actually, I do have other plans tonight. Sorry.” Namely, mac and cheese and homework with Miguel. “Maybe another time.”


She took off before he could ask any more questions, the weight of his stare prickling the back of her neck all the way down the corridor.

First Response in Florida Duet

BOOK 1:

In the midst of the hurricane…

…will she find safety in his arms?


Vet Lucy Miller is happy with her quiet, ordered life. But when a tropical storm bears down on her Florida Keys animal sanctuary, the arrival of devastatingly gorgeous, yet equally guarded, emergency medic Jackson Durand brings disorder—and desire! He’s there to rescue her, but Lucy suspects her red-hot reaction to Jackson will be much more dangerous than the storm raging overhead…

PRE-ORDER HERE!

BOOK 2:

A return, a reunion…


…A shocking revelation!


Firefighter Stacy Williams knows two things about her return to Key West. Her promotion gives her the security she needs to raise her son, and it will be almost impossible to suppress the memories of her passionate night with Dr. Luis Durand. Almost…until working on the hurricane response team brings an encounter with the tall, dark and nomadic doc! And the chance to make her life-changing confession…

PRE-ORDER HERE!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

How I Got My Idea for ‘Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc’

Can two love-weary doctors…

…heal each other?

Dr. Jess Young plans to use her time on the small Scottish island of Thorney to figure out how she can rebuild her shattered life, after a recent blow that has stolen the future she dreamed of. Only Dr. Adam Campbell is a complication she didn’t expect! Handsome but hurting too, Jess sees a kindred spirit in Adam. Will he heal her already fragile heart…

I often get asked how I come up with ideas for my stories, so I thought I’d go through the thought processes of how I created my January release, Risking Her Heart on the Trauma Doc.

I love to write stories that take place on an island (because I live on an island and I like the community feel you get, where everyone knows one another.) Next to Hayling is an island called Thorney, but most of it is taken up by an army base. You’re allowed to walk the coastal walk, but that’s about it. Well, I liked the name, Thorney and decided that Thorney would be the great name for an island up in Scotland where I wanted to have a setting.

So, initially, that was all I had – a place, so then I had to think about what kind of medical establishments would be on this island. Would the island be big enough to sustain an entire hospital and the people to staff it? Or would there only be a GP surgery? With people going to the mainland for surgeries/emergencies, etc?

I preferred the intimacy of a small GP practice, with doctors that took on many different responsibilities and I knew there would have to be a resident doctor to be either my hero or heroine, with a new doctor arriving to play the other part.

Originally, I had my heroine, Dr Jess Young having arrived on the island to take over the hero’s job. She had already established herself there and was great friends with the hero’s family. His parents loved her and she had fallen in love with the stories they constantly told about him, the way he looked in photos and basically had developed a crush on a man she had never actually met (the reason for this crush on a man out of reach will be revealed later) The hero would then return from Afghanistan with PTSD and wouldn’t function well, however, my editor suggested that the hero could still have PTSD, but that he needed to very much be a fully functioning member of the medical team and that my heroine be the one arriving as a newbie and that we be there to watch her fall in love as they worked together.

So I went with that. But then I had to research PTSD and all the ways it could affect someone and how those issues might play into my story. Would there be night terrors, would he be affected by sights, or sounds? I decided that sound and night terrors would play into the story better, as I wanted my hero and heroine to be living in the same block of flats and that proximity would help for more scenes that would establish their burgeoning relationship.

So I knew what problems my hero had, but what about my heroine?

I wanted Jess to be as equally damaged as the hero, but how and why? Where Adam’s problems were mostly mental, I wanted hers to be physical and so I gave her a life-limiting disease. One that had killed her father, leaving her with slight Daddy issues and going after men that were never available to her emotionally.

Well, the Daddy issues were deleted! Mills and Boon like there to be strong heroines and Jess needed to be strong, to cope with her condition and also, to help Adam with his. I knew then, that Jess would be this incredibly caring individual, who put other people first, before herself and that this need to care, to deflect her concern onto other people, rather than herself, would be the key issue towards her and Adam falling in love and being vulnerable with each other.

Once I had all of that information, I began to write. A revised synopsis to send to my editor, and then a detailed chapter plan, exploring what would happen in each scene, before I wrote it. The chapter plan was six pages of single spaced work and as I wrote the book, became six pages of incredibly messy work, as I scribbled all over it and changed things as I went, as new things always occur to me, as I write.

I had this grand idea for a Black Moment at the end of the book, that took place in the pouring rain. You know that screen shot from The Notebook of the hero and heroine kissing in the rain, absolutely drenched? I wanted something like that, my characters arguing with each other, but only because they’re so frustrated and then they end up kissing and realising they can’t bare to be apart, but that idea was nixed by my editor (who suggested a different moment and I sadly placed my rain-drenched characters into a separate folder to be used in another story, at some point.)

So, there you have it. The thought process to starting a book.

It’s not actually as simple as it reads. It comes across that these Aha! moments come to you quickly and easily, but I promise you there were many days of head-scratching, hair pulling and biting of nails as I worked out various bits and pieces. There may even be lots of scrawled up bits of paper lying in rubbish tips with my notes still on them. Or maybe seagulls have used them to help line their nests? Who knows?

If you’ve got any writing questions, then please don’t hesitate to ask them below. I’m always happy to answer them.

Louisa xxx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

The Icelandic Doc’s Baby Surprise

Their passionate fling…
Has given them a gift to last a lifetime!

When pediatrician Merry Bell turns up at his hospital in Iceland, Dr. Kristjan Gunnarrson’s quiet Christmas is shaken up. After a hot fling together in Hawaii, they both agreed to walk away. But now Merry has brought him life-changing news – she’s pregnant! Commitment phobic Kristjan will not waver from his responsibility, but is his bruised heart ready for a family?

I’d always wanted to set a book in Iceland, after we had an unexpected visit there many moons ago.

In the January after the 9/11 disasters, my husband and I had a flight booked with our eldest son (then 14 months) to go to Clearwater in Florida. We boarded the plane (my first ever flight!) and set off. Six hours into the journey, we discover, we’re turning around and being rerouted to Keflavik airport in Iceland, as there was a bomb threat on our plane. Out of the windows we saw two fighter jets escorting us out of American airspace.

We landed at Keflavik and were told to deplane and we came down the stairs we noticed guards armed with sub-machine guns. We were freezing, only wearing tee shirts and jeans, having expected warm weather at Florida, rather than the freezing January cold of almost midnight in Iceland!

They fed us, made each of us do a handwriting sample (the bomb threat had been left on a toilet airplane mirror that Osama Bin Laden was a hero and we all deserved to die, so it was someone on the plane that had written it.) At 3am, we were finally allowed to hotels, with a new flight set for the morning at 9am.

We arrived at the airport, only to be told that we were going to be put on the same plane and that no-one had been arrested yet. Well, neither my husband nor I wanted to get back onto a flight with a suspected bomber, no matter how unlikely a threat there was of a bomb, or not, so whilst everyone else chose to fly on to Florida, me, my husband and our fourteen month old son, stayed an extra two days in Iceland, whilst we waited for a London flight.

Iceland was constantly in the dark, except for maybe two hours of semi-daylight between two and four pm, but we explored when we could and tried to enjoy ourselves. It was expensive, the food was lovely and the showers smelt of sulphur as the water came up through volcanic rock.

All the Icelandic people were kind and generous and spoilt us rotten, knowing how we’d ended up there and I knew that one day, I wanted to set a story in such a beautiful country where at least one of my characters gets stranded on Iceland for different reasons, of course!

I waited a long time for the right story to come along and when it did, Dr Kristjan Gunnarsson appeared in my head, looking exactly like Lasse Matberg. You can see a picture of him here on Pinterest. I hoped my cover hero would look as close to Lasse as they could get!

The Icelandic Doc’s Baby Surpise is due out this September. I hope you enjoy his story as much as I enjoyed writing it! Buy/Pre-order links are below.

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (US)

Barnes & Noble

Love Louisa xxx

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Healed By His Secret Baby

Hello everyone. Today I thought I’d share an excerpt of my new release, Healed By His Secret Baby. This was the first book I wrote after having a year off, due to various reasons and this story came to me almost fully formed.

I hope you enjoy the excerpt!

Chapter One

Hey, you.
So, this is it. My final wish. And I’m sorry I’m asking you to do this, but I truly have no one else. You’re the only one I trust, and you’ve always been there for me, and now I’m asking you to be there again. But this time it’s for Tori and that way you can’t say no!
I never told her father. You know why, and it was the right thing to do at the time, but as I get closer to going, I can’t help but think of my darling little girl having no one in the world she’s related to. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And it’s a lonely place. She’ll have you, her godmother, but…she has a father out there and he could be amazing!
So, I’m tasking you with this. Find him. His name is Cole Branagh and he’s a doctor. A GP. And if he’s a doctor then surely he cares about people? I’m hoping he has a good heart. I’m hoping he can be everything she needs.
I want you to find him, and if you think he’s a good man then let him know about Tori.
I need you to find her daddy.
I know you’ll make the right decisions.
Much love to you, always and for ever,
Skye xxx

LANE PUT DOWN the note and exclaimed, ‘Why are you making me do this?’
She went to scrunch it up in frustration but then stopped, thought better of it, and instead stared with defeat at the Liberty Point Surgery, a small general practice nestled in the village of Bourton-on-the-Water. As if just staring at the building long enough would make this whole sorry mess disappear.
He was in there. Cole Branagh.
Dr Cole Branagh.
The man who’d slept with her best friend when he really ought to have known better than to take advantage of a woman whose inhibitions were in question because of her alcohol intake.
Lane knew exactly what type of man he’d be. A charmer. A user of women. The type to hang around in bars looking for lonely easy pickings. This Cole Branagh bloke had got exactly what he wanted from Skye and nothing more.
Just like Simon.
And here she was, sitting in her car, feeling trepidation about going in there because a man like that wouldn’t want to know about his dead one-night stands, or babies they didn’t know they’d fathered. Men like that didn’t care.
Lane had uprooted her own life just to find this slime ball and have her theories proved right! Surely this was going to be a waste of time? Skye had told Lane all she needed to know about this Cole Branagh!
It had been quite easy to find him on the internet. Liberty Point Surgery’s website helpfully had a staff page with a smiling photo of each member of staff and a short paragraph explaining a bit about who they were. Probably to make them seem human.
Who would want to have a go at medical receptionist Mary when they knew she knitted hats for the preemie babies up at St Luke’s?
Cole was the only one who had no photo and his paragraph was missing. There was just his name and a list of his qualifications.

Dr Cole Branagh, BM, MRCGP, DGM, DFFP, DRCOG

Such an impressive array of letters. She’d had to look them up to see what they meant. Bachelor of Medicine. Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Diploma in Geriatric Medicine. Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning. Diploma of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists…
She’d laughed cynically at those last two. This man who knew so much about the best way to have a baby, was a man who had no idea he had an eight-month-old daughter. Wasn’t that ironic?
Sighing with irritation, she folded Skye’s letter and slipped it back into her bag as she stared once more at the surgery building, delaying for just a few more moments. It looked quite nice, as surgeries went. Modern. Redbrick. It even had hanging baskets filled with flowers in glorious pinks and greens.
She’d been lucky they’d needed a temporary healthcare assistant. Lane had registered with an agency in order to get the post there and her mum had stepped in to babysit Tori whilst she discovered if this Dr Branagh could be trusted to know that he had a child.
She flipped down the visor to see the photo she’d tucked there. It was of her and Skye. Tori’s mother was blowing out the candles on a birthday cake, with one arm around Lane, wearing a silly paper party hat. It had been taken just one year away from a diagnosis that would change everything.
‘I can’t believe you’re making me do this, Skye,’ she said out loud. ‘Who am I to be judge and jury?’
You’re Tori’s legal guardian, that’s who. It was as if Skye’s voice came to her. You made me a promise. On my deathbed. You can’t break it! She could almost hear the devilish chuckle in her friend’s voice.
No. She wouldn’t break it. She’d sworn it, holding Skye’s hands, squeezing them tight as her best friend in the whole wide world had taken her final breaths.
She’d almost lost herself afterwards. The intense grief had pulled her towards an unimaginable darkness.
She and Skye had been friends for ever. Since infants’ school. Skye had seemed strange to Lane at first. Someone without a mum? Or a dad? But they had bonded instantly and stuck by each other’s side through everything.
Until the very end.
Only baby Tori had kept Lane going. Going through the courts to get official guardianship. The little girl laughed and smiled just like her mummy! Tori was all she had left of Skye. And now she had to decide if some man—whom she didn’t even know!—could be a father to that precious little girl. That some sleazeball from a bar would have to be in their lives.
It wasn’t fair.
She hated him already. But Skye, bless her heart, had thought that he deserved a chance to know his daughter. That he deserved a chance to show that he could be a good man and a good father.
‘He’d better be some kind of unbelievable saint,’ she said out loud to the photo. ‘That’s all I’m saying.’
Five minutes later, she was walking inside the surgery, headache brewing, with her backpack over her shoulder, trying to look as if she wasn’t an undercover spy on a secret mission, but just an ordinary agency healthcare assistant, ready to start her new posting.
But when she got inside, she saw a crowd of people huddled around a person lying on the floor, and her instincts immediately kicked in.
She dropped her bag. ‘Let me through! I can help!’ she said as she barged her way through, pushing and shoving, desperate to give assistance.
Only she burst through to the front of them to see a woman lying on the floor, looking up at her with curiosity, whilst kneeling beside her was a very handsome man who had clearly been in the middle of some kind of demonstration.
‘Hi,’ he said, one eyebrow raised in question.
Lane glanced again at the ‘patient’. A woman who seemed to be totally unhurt, with a big smile on her face. A woman who was conscious. Breathing. Absolutely fine.
She could only blush as around her one or two people chuckled. ‘What—what’s going on?’ she stammered.
The man smiled. ‘First aid demo. I’m showing our patients how to put someone into the recovery position.’ He pointed at one of the walls. ‘There are posters.’
She followed his finger and noticed that every wall, and even the door through which she’d walked, had a large poster on it, stating that all were welcome to attend an emergency first aid demo to be held at the surgery today. A demo that would be run by Dr Cole Branagh.
How had she not noticed? Had she been so absorbed in trying to look normal?
Lane swallowed hard and turned back to face the man who had now taken the hand of the ‘patient’ and was helping her gently to her feet.
Tori has his eyes.
He didn’t look anything like the charming Lothario weasel she’d pictured in her head. Annoyingly, he had the audacity to be extremely handsome, and she could understand how Skye might have fallen for his charms. The females all around him seemed to be gazing at him with appreciative eyes and he clearly thrived on their attention. Their adulation.
He was probably used to having women throw themselves at his feet.
Well, not me, Dr Branagh.
‘Right. Okay. Sorry I interrupted.’ She grimaced and turned away, trying to control the heat flaming in her cheeks, and pushed back through the assembled throng to get to the reception desk, where she introduced herself in a low, embarrassed voice. ‘Lane Carter…agency HCA.’
The woman on Reception was Mary, knitter of preemie hats—she recognised her from her research—and she smiled at her. ‘Oh, yes, we’ve been expecting you. You’re in Treatment Room Two. This is your card for the computer.’ She passed over a temporary locum ID card that hung from an NHS lanyard. ‘Let me show you where everything is.’

***

An unexpected baby made him a father…

But she’ll make them a family

GP Cole Branagh’s cozy Cotswolds surgery is all he wants and needs. Which is why he’s determined to help beautiful new nursing assistant Lane Carter get settled quickly! Until she rocks his world by introducing him to her baby goddaughter, who she’s caring for…and reveals he’s the father. Cole knows he’ll need Lane’s help navigating unexpected parenthood—he’d just never planned on needing her, too…

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (US)

Mills and Boon

Barnes & Noble

You can catch up with me at my website or on Twitter!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Healed By His Secret Baby

Can I first say just how lucky I am with this cover? The cover fairies were more than kind. How CUTE is this baby???

This book was written after a year’s hiatus and though I told my editor I needed a year off, my writer’s brain carried on working, even though technically I was supposed to be taking a break. But along came Lane Carter, my heroine, whispering insistently in my ears that she needed to find the baby’s father! Pronto!

I kept telling her to be quiet, but what can you do? And when I probed to find out who the father actually was, I discovered Cotswolds GP, Dr Cole Branagh and he had no idea he was a father! I mean, how are you supposed to break news like that?

My mind mused on the problem for a few weeks and I thought to myself, I’ll just write a few notes. No biggie, right? I’m not actually writing. I’m taking notes. Scribbling ideas. Scenes. Plot points. I mean, I was only trying to help them out, right?

And before I knew it, I was emailing my editor with a book proposal and boy am I so glad that these characters began talking to me, because I had so much fun writing them! These characters made me fall in love with them and I hated having to say goodbye. They were the sort of characters that I felt I could have continued writing about even after their Happy Ever After, just so I could keep an eye on them.

Only I couldn’t. I had to say my sad goodbyes. But I am cheered by the fact that all of you will get to spend some time with them! And I hope you love them as much as I do and always will.

An unexpected baby made him a father…

But she’ll make them a family

GP Cole Branagh’s cozy Cotswolds surgery is all he wants and needs. Which is why he’s determined to help beautiful new nursing assistant Lane Carter get settled quickly! Until she rocks his world by introducing him to her baby goddaughter, who she’s caring for…and reveals he’s the father. Cole knows he’ll need Lane’s help navigating unexpected parenthood—he’d just never planned on needing her, too…

Available June 2020!

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Podcasts…yes or no?

Do you listen to podcasts?

I’ve always been a big fan of listening to the radio when I’m driving around town etc, but lately I’ve gotten into podcasts.

What I love about them is that, unlike an audio book, you can dip in and out of subject matter depending on what you feel like, you can listen to something fun/educational/serious/intelligent/frivolous…

My go to ones are usually related to the writing business (Self Publishing Formula, SPA girls, Joanna Penn) and I find them absolutely fascinating and essential listening and learning, but I’ve also used one to help me get to sleep (although it didn’t work very well so I won’t give details here!!!).

The Food Programme (BBC Radio 4) is fascinating- all about the development and history of food and then there’s a selection of meditations, hiking stories, parenting, book clubs, short stories, poems, reviews and my husband was listening to one yesterday about murder (should I be worried?). So many to choose from!! I love that there’s something for every taste and every mood.

There are too many to choose from, so I’d love to hear any recommendations….do you listen to podcasts? Which ones?

[My most recent medical romance doesn’t feature any podcasts, but is Reunited By Their Secret Son  Mills and Boon  Amazon US Amazon UK]
Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Hot Docs!

Excerpt from Forbidden to the Playboy Surgeon by Fiona Lowe

London

Being invited to be part of the Paddington Children’s Hospital series was an honour and it was great to work closely with a group of medical romance authors. Forbidden to the Playboy Surgeon is the second book in the series and there’s a nice twist. I have an uptight Australian female surgeon matched against a laid-back British neurosurgeon. Claire and Alistair are chalk and cheese but they have valid reasons for their different approaches to life, but that doesn’t stop them from rubbing each other up the wrong way.  I hope you enjoy getting to know the two of them. Here is an excerpt from Chapter Three.

MEDICAL3

 

Alistair high-fived Tristan Lewis-Smith. ‘Way to go, Tris,’ he said with a grin.

The kid had just whooped him at virtual tennis— twice— but he didn’t care. He was too busy rejoicing in the fact that the ten-year-old had been seizure free for a week. That hadn’t happened in two years and it was moments like these that reminded him that what he did each day mattered. Hell, it reinforced his mantra that each day mattered and life should be lived to the full.

He’d almost lost the opportunity to do that and when he’d woken up in the coronary care unit, he’d vowed never to forget how life could change in a heartbeat— or the lack of one as the case may be— and how close he’d come to death. He’d been blessed with a second chance and he never took it for granted. He was thrilled to be able to give Tristan a second chance at a normal life.

‘Right-oh, mate.’ He pulled down the sheet and patted the centre of the bed. ‘Time to tuck in and pretend to read or the night sister will have my guts for garters.’

Full of beans and far from quiet, Tristan bounced onto the bed. ‘You’re just saying that because you’re scared if you play another game I’ll beat you. Again.’

‘There is that,’ Alistair said with a grin. ‘Hurry up, I’ve got somewhere I need to be.’

Tristan scrambled under the covers. ‘Nurse Saunders said you couldn’t stay long because you’ve got a hot date.’

‘Did she now?’ Funny that Lindsay appeared to know more about this hot date than he did. He found himself automatically tucking the sheet around the little boy only this time an odd feeling of something akin to emptiness accompanied it.

He immediately shook off the feeling. He had no reason what so ever to feel empty or lonely. Life was good. He had a job he loved and a spacious and light-filled apartment just off the Portobello Road that he’d filled with curios from his world travels. Three years ago, he’d added to his property portfolio and bought a pretty stone cottage surrounded by fields of lavender in Provence. When he was there, he revelled in the sensory delights of sunshine, hearty Mediterranean food and great wine. He visited at least once a month either alone or with companionship depending on whether or not the woman he was dating was still focussed on having fun. The moment a woman started dropping hints about “taking things to the next level” she was no longer welcome in France. Or in Notting Hill for that matter.

He loved women but he didn’t do next levels. It was better to break a heart in the early days, well before things got serious, than to risk shattering a life, or worse, lives. His childhood was a case in point and on top of that devastation no one ever knew precisely the duration of a second chance.

Surprised by the unexpected direction his musings had taken him— he didn’t do dark thoughts and he certainly wasn’t known for them— he left Tristan’s room and contemplated the hour. It wasn’t quite eight. As it was a Thursday night there’d be a sizeable hospital crowd at the Frog and Peach and he’d be welcomed with open arms for his dart skills. Oddly, the thought didn’t entice. He had an overwhelming urge to do something completely different. Something wild that would make him feel alive.

Parkouring in the dark?

    Alive not dead, thank you very much.

    Still, parkouring in daylight this coming weekend was worth investigating. He pulled out his phone and had just brought up a browser when he heard, ‘G’day, Alistair.’

Astonished, he spun around at the sound of the broad Australian accent. Although he’d heard Claire Mitchell use the informal Aussie greeting with other people, she’d always been far more circumspect with him. Well, with the exception of one or two lapses. In general, he knew she tried to be polite with him and that she found it a struggle. Did it make him a bad person that he enjoyed watching her keep herself in check? The woman was always buttoned up so tightly it wasn’t surprising she cracked every now and then.

Now she stood in front of him with her hands pressed deep into the pockets of her once starched, but now very end-of-day limp, doctor’s coat. Her hair was pulled back into its functional ponytail and a hot pink stethoscope was slung around her neck. A tiny koala clung to her security lanyard along with a small pen on retractable elastic. Her utilitarian white blouse and medium length black skirt were unremarkable except that the skirt revealed those long shapely legs that taunted him.

Her feet were tucked into bright red shoes with a wide strap that crossed her instep just below her ankle and culminated in a large red button that drew the eye. He suddenly understood completely why Victorian Gentlemen had waxed lyrical over a fleeting glimpse of a fine ankle.

He scanned her face, looking for clues as to why she was suddenly attempting a colloquial greeting with him. ‘G’day, yourself,’ he intoned back with a fair crack at an Aussie accent.

Behind her sexy-librarian style glasses, her eyes did that milk and dark chocolate swirly thing he always enjoyed and— Good Lord. Was she blushing?

‘Do you have a minute?’ she asked, quickly pushing her glasses up her nose as they continued walking toward the lifts.

‘Always. Problem?’

‘Um,’ she surreptitiously glanced along the corridor taking in the nurses’ station that was teaming with staff. She suddenly veered left into the treatment room.

Utterly intrigued by this uncharacteristic behaviour, he followed. ‘Shall I close the door?’

She tugged hard at some stray strands of her hair before pushing them behind her ears. ‘Thanks.’

He closed the door and flicked the blinds to the closed position before leaning back against the wide bench. Claire stood a metre or more away, her plump lips deliciously red. He shifted his gaze and— Damn it! His eyes caught on a fluttering pulse beating at the base of her throat. She really had the most gloriously long, smooth neck that just begged to be explored.

That as may be, but remember most of the time she’s a pain in the ass. Not to mention, she’s your trainee.

‘Alistair,’ she started purposefully and then stopped.

‘Claire.’ He couldn’t help teasing back. He’d never seen her at a loss before and it was deliciously refreshing.

She took in such a deep breath that her breasts rose, stressing the button he was pretty certain sat just above her bra line. Was it delicate sheer lace or plainly utilitarian? It was his experience plain women often wore the sexiest underwear.

With that mouth, she’s hardly plain.

As if on cue, the tip of her tongue peeked out, flicking the bow of her top lip.

His blood leapt.

She cleared her throat. ‘I hope you won’t take this the wrong way but…’

Trying to look utterly unaffected by her, he cocked one brow and reminded himself of the times she’d been critical of him. ‘My sensibilities haven’t stopped you from giving me your opinion before.’

This time she definitely blushed but somehow she managed to wrestle her embarrassment under control with dignity. ‘True, but that was work. This doesn’t exactly fall into that category. Although I suppose it does technically if you—’

‘You’re babbling,’ he said hoping it would force her to focus. At the same time, he had an absurd and unexpected need to rescue her from herself.

Her head jerked up so fast he was worried her neck might snap but then she hit him with a gimlet stare. He forced himself not to squirm as an unsettling feeling trickled through him. Did she see straight through the man he liked to show the world? Had she glimpsed the corner edge of the bubbling mess he kept securely sealed away?

‘As the head of the department of neurosurgery,’ she said tightly, ‘I think it’s important you lead by example and attend the Spring Fling.’

The Spring Fling? Surely he’d misheard. ‘You mean the neurosurgery spring symposium?’

She shook her head and once again the blush bloomed on her cheeks. She swallowed and that damn tongue of hers darted out to moisten her lips. This time as the zip of heat hit him, he pushed off the bench to try and shake it off.

‘I mean the fundraising ball,’ she said slowly as if the words were being reluctantly pulled out of her.

He couldn’t resist. ‘Are you inviting me to the ball?’

Her eyes widened in consternation. ‘No!’ For a moment, indignation spun around her before fading with a sigh and a fall of her shoulders. ‘I mean perhaps. Yes. In a manner of speaking.’

His mouth twitched. ‘It’s good to know you’re so decisive.’

Her chin shot up jabbing the air. ‘You can tease me all you like, Mr— Alistair, but you know as well as I do that at the bare minimum there should a neurosurgery staff table at the ball.’

Damn it to hell. She was absolutely right but how had she found out he wasn’t going? He’d been keeping that bit of information on the down low more out of embarrassment than anything else. A couple of months ago, just before Claire had arrived, he’d had a particularly tough day. He’d lost a patient— a two year-old boy with a brainstem glioma— and for some reason he’d avoided the sympathetic eyes of his staff at the Frog and Peach. He’d hit a trendy bar in Soho instead and in retrospect, he’d consumed one whiskey too many.

It had been enough to scramble his usually accurate crazy-woman detector. As a result, he’d allowed himself to be tempted by the Amazonian features of Lela. The thirty year-old was a fitness instructor as well as being a part-time security guard. They’d had a lot of fun together until he’d realised her possessive streak wasn’t limited to bedroom games.

He knew the ball committee had flagged the idea of auctioning off the chairs next to eligible bachelors. Usually he’d have been fine with the concept and embraced it, but he’d been worried Lela might turn up and cause a nasty public spectacle. Or worse, buy the ticket. To save himself and the hospital embarrassment he’d decided not to attend the ball but to make a sizeable donation to the cause instead. The only person he’d mentioned this plan to was Dominic.

Stupid! Stupid, Stupid. The paediatric trauma surgeon had obviously broken the bro-code and told Victoria. What was it about a man in love that made him prepared to throw his mate under the bus just to stay in sweet with his lady? Now the i-dotting and t-crossing Claire Mitchell was calling him out on a perceived lack of social etiquette.

He ploughed his hand through his hair. God, he’d been raised on etiquette and the irony that an Australian with their supposedly class-less society was reminding him of his social responsibilities almost made him laugh. Perhaps he could turn this whole Lela-and-the-ball mess around and use it to his advantage.

‘Let me get this straight,’ he said with a lazy smile. ‘You’re prepared to spend an evening with me just to make sure I do the right thing?’

This time she was the one to raise an eyebrow. ‘As your 2IC, I can’t expect you to attend the ball if I’m not prepared to attend.’

‘Ah, yes, that sucker duty gets you every time.’

She stiffened. ‘But it seems you’re often immune.’

Ouch. Her words tried to scratch him like the sharp tip of a knife but he didn’t need to justify himself to her. He was very well aware of his duty. Ironically, duty had arrived in a rush just after he’d vowed to make the most of every new day that had been gifted to him. It was the juxtaposition of his life.

‘None of us are immune, Claire. It’s just I try to have a bit of fun with duty and not take it too seriously.’

She narrowed her eyes, ‘And you’re inferring that I don’t have fun?’

Not that I’ve seen. ‘Have you had any fun since arriving in London?’

She looked momentarily nonplussed. ‘I…um…yes. Of course.’

Liar. But he was planning on having some fun with her right now and killing two birds with one stone. ‘Excellent. I can certainly promise you fun at the ball. Especially considering how you’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty and bought the seat next to me.’

‘What?’ She paled, her expression momentarily aghast and then she rallied. ‘I don’t get paid enough for that.’

‘Brutal.’ He exaggeratedly slapped his chest in the general area of his heart, his long fingers grazing the lower edge of his pacemaker. ‘And here I was thinking I was your date. I tell you what. I’ll pay for both of our tickets.’

‘That won’t be necess—’

‘It’s the least I can do,’ he interrupted, waving away her protest. ‘I imagine it was Victoria who dropped you right in it.’

She grimaced. ‘You’re not wrong there.’

He made a huffing sound more at the absent Dominic than her. ‘The good thing is you’ll be saving me from having to play nice all evening.’

Effrontery streaked across her face. ‘Well, when you put it like that, I can hardly wait,’ she said drily.

Her sarcasm was unexpected and delightfully refreshing and he heard himself laugh. He wasn’t used to a woman viewing an evening with him as a trial. The women he dated erred on the appreciative side and often went to great lengths to make him happy. Not Claire Mitchell.

A streak of anticipation shot threw him. Without realizing, she’d just thrown down a challenge. He wasn’t totally convinced she was capable of having fun and he had a sudden urge to know what she looked like when she was in the midst of a good time.

She’d smile like she did when you let her operate solo. Remember how you felt then?

    He disregarded the warning that it was probably unwise to be looking forward to the ball quite this much.

‘So will you be picking me—’ His phone rang with the ICU ringtone and as he pulled it from his pocket, Claire’s pager beeped.

‘North,’ he said answering the call just as Claire mouthed to him ‘ICU?’

Listening to the nurse on the other end of the line, he nodded at Claire and opened the treatment room door. As she walked quickly past him, her crisp scent of the sea drifted back to him and he was suddenly back on Bondi Beach when his life had been simpler and with few restraints placed upon it.

‘We’re on our way,’ he told the worried nurse. Stepping out into the corridor, he followed Claire down the fire escape, taking the fastest way to ICU.

****

You can buy Forbidden to the Playboy Surgeon and all the other books in the series at Mills & Boon UK, Harelquin USA and Mills & Boon Australia

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Seven Nights With Her Ex!

Hello and welcome! Can you believe it’s nearly the end of August? I’ve already started planning Christmas! It’s shocking.

Well, my next book is about to be out, depending on where you live and whether you want to purchase a Kindle version or the paperback – Seven Nights With Her Ex.

It’s set in Yellowstone Park and I had great fun writing this story (*read moments of sheer terror that I no longer had the ability to write a book/should never have set it outdoors/must have been having an out of body experience/occasional moments of joy)

516YRfywusL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_But by the time I had my first draft done, I was beginning to feel calmer. Beau and Gray, the hero and heroine of my story were beginning to cooperate and by the time I’d redrafted once or twice (maybe even three or four times) with the help of my editor, Nic, I finally had a story that I was really happy with. When I read it now, I cannot find the chapters that haunted me, the chapters that I struggled with or the chapters that made me want to run screaming into the streets.

So I thought today, I’d share with you a little snippet from Chapter One. Hopefully to whet your appetite! Beau has just arrived at the ranger station in Yellowstone Park and has discovered that the man who left her at the altar twelve years ago, is also going to be sharing the next seven days with her! But here we start with Gray’s POV.

But here there was peace. And quiet. And–

The door swung open with a loud creak and suddenly she was there. Alone. Before him. Those ice-blue eyes of hers were staring him down. Cold. Unfeeling.

He got to his feet, his mouth suddenly dry.

‘I think it’s time I made some rules about the next week.’ she crossed her arms, waiting for his response.

‘Beau, I–‘

‘First of all,’ she interrupted, holding up her hand for silence, ‘I think we should agree not to speak to each other. I appreciate that circumstances may not always allow for that, so if you do speak to me, then I’d prefer it was only about the course. Nothing else. Nothing personal.’

‘But I need to–‘

‘Second of all, you are to tell no-one here what happened between us. I will not become the subject of idle gossip. And thirdly, when this is over, you will not contact me, you will not call. You will maintain the silence that you have been so expert at keeping for the last eleven years. Do you understand?’

He did understand. All too keenly. She wanted nothing to do with him. Which was fair enough. Except that he felt that now she was here, right in front of him, this week might be his chance to explain everything. Forget a pathetic phone call or a scrappy little email. That had never been his style anyway. He had seven days in which to lower her walls, get her to accept his white flag of truce and ask her to listen to him.

So! Hope you guys enjoyed that. Seven Nights With her Ex is available from the Mills and Boon website, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, plus Barnes and Noble and Kobo. (Click on any of the blue highlighted text to take you straight through to a buy link)

Enjoy what’s left of August! (School starts soon. Eek!)

Louisa xxx

http://www.louisaheaton.com

Twitter – @louisaheaton

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

THREE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT SUMMER BRIDES DUET

young wedding couple - freshly wed groom and bride posing outdoo
Summer Brides

 

Last year I was fortunate to be teamed up with Susan Carlisle, a true Southern Belle, for the Summer Brides duet.

Two unexpected journeys to “I do” – Two perfect summer weddings…

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I thought I’d share three things that I especially loved about writing my story, WEDDING DATE WITH THE ARMY DOC.

#1

I’ve waited a decade to finally write a pathologist protagonist. I loved having my heroine on the job in a big hospital, carrying her load, doing frozen sections, reading slides, making diagnoses, all while falling in love. This was the first time ever I was told by my editor to cut back on medical detail. That’s because I was so excited to have my character do an autopsy, I may have gone a bit overboard. 😉 It was easy to dial back the details in two areas in this book, but I sure loved writing that autopsy scene!female surgeon with her surgical team on background

#2

Setting a part of my book in Savannah! Fountain in Park

I love Savannah, Georgia, and when Susan Carlisle and I teamed up to write this Summer Brides duet, she mentioned she was having her book’s wedding at the Tybee Island Lighthouse. Bingo! Tybee Island Beach Lighthouse With Thunder And Lightning

 

I’d just visited that lighthouse, and also spent a few days touring around Savannah – one of the most romantic cities I’ve ever been to.

The city is blessed with a Historic District covered in cobblestone streets, gorgeous Colorful Historic Colonial Home Entrance With Flowers, Ivy And Pgardens, and oak-shaded parks in over twenty city squares. Mansions. Monuments. Fountains. Spanish moss dripping from oak trees. Atmosphere!

Old House With American FlagIn other words, picture book perfect. So my hero turned into a true southern gentleman who’d moved to L.A., and I fell in love. So did my heroine!

 

#3

ZOMBIES! Yes, I put zombies in the book, and if you’d like to read more about how I got away with that, go here: http://www.lynnemarshall.com/blog-2

 

So there you have three of many reasons why I loved writing WEDDING DATE WITH THE ARMY DOC. I haven’t even mentioned the gut wrenching love story between Charlotte and Jackson, two imperfect people who were perfect for each other and meant to meet and fall in love. Sigh. That was the best reason of all.

If you’ve ever visited the South (US) share with us. What was your favorite part? The food? The scenery? The humidity? (kidding)

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

Bucket Lists

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Just recently on Facebook, there have been a whole sheaf of bucket lists appearing where you either tick or place a heart next to the things that you have done. To me, these mass bucket lists are bit weird. Some of them have things like, see a dead body; watch someone die; fired a gun.

???

Odd, really. None of those should be on a bucket list! These lists are about aspirational things, surely?

I have a few things on my bucket list.

  1. Visit Canada.
  2. Visit New Zealand.
  3. Visit Australia.
  4. Go on safari in Africa.
  5. Swim with wild dolphins.
  6. Write a bestseller! (of course! lol)
  7. Be a passenger in an off road rally car.

But there’s one place I really want to go. A place I want to wander around for weeks, just absorbing the atmosphere and soaking up the nature and that place, is Yellowstone Park.

If ever there is a documentary about this place, then I watch it. If I come across someone else’s account of being there, I read it. Avidly. I stare at pictures on Pinterest, I dream, I wish, I wonder…

And so I decided to set a book there. Seven Nights With Her Ex. I figured that if I was going to write a book there, then I ought to go there (at least) and research it properly. I told my husband, who was thrilled at the idea and then we mentioned it to the kids.

Big mistake! My eldest son suffers from really bad anxiety, panic attacks and OCD and part of his OCD and anxiety are the thoughts that something really bad will happen to us. So when we mentioned we were thinking of planning a research trip to a majestical spot that just so happens to have a giant super volcano underneath it (that’s apparently due to go off at any moment, but its late, like a woman with a dodgy menstrual cycle) he told us, in no uncertain terms that we were not allowed to go!

So, I had to make do with my trusty, well-thumbed, Lonely Planet guide to Yellowstone and Teton parks. Oh, and my Pinterest board!

Sigh.

Seven Nights With Her Ex will be out September 1st, here are the pre-order/book buy links below. And do tell me what’s on your Bucket List!

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (US)

Barnes & Noble

Kobo