Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Exclusive Excerpt – Costa Rican Fling with the Doc

Costa Rican Fling with the Doc by Traci Douglass
Dude sprawling in autumn leaves wearing a Witch Way to the Wine T-shirt.
In other words, all of us.

Hello again and Happy Autumn! 😊🍁🍂

Spring and Fall are my favorite times of the year. Not too hot, not to cold, beautiful colors everywhere. Though I will say for me, since about mid-September and through to Oct. 22nd has been and will be a blur. Lots of stuff has happened–good and bad.

On the good side, I turned in my 11th book for the Medicals line, Island Reunion for the Single Dad, on August 27th. I also hit an author milestone this month with the release of my 10th book with the Medicals line, Costa Rican Fling with the Doc, on Oct. 26th, and I’m getting new author photos taken on 10/22—like hair, makeup, the whole “top model” treatment—and I’m both excited and nervous. LOL. 😂 And I celebrated another birthday.

On the bad side, after turning in the Aug book, I received two-weeks worth of edits on it in mid-September. Around the same time, my beloved 15 y.o. dog, Clara, passed away, on 9/22. And I was also busy writing book #12 with the line, which is due 10/15. So yeah. A LOT. But I’ve learned over the years to keep persevering, to keep my head down and focus on just that moment, just that hour, just that day, and keep moving forward. Eventually things get done, plates get cleared. And the sun shines again and we write on. ❤️

But, needless to say, I haven’t gotten to do nearly the amount of cheerleading for my upcoming release later this month that I usually do, so I thought I’d share an exclusive snippet with y’all today to hopefully pique your interest.

In this scene below, my hero Gabe and heroine Sara have finished up a difficult birth for a patient in the village nearly, and are strolling back to the field hospital together that night, still too buzzed to sleep and too aware of each other to want to part ways just yet. Enjoy…🤓📚❤️

Exclusive Excerpt:

As they walked back to the clinic, Sara marveled at the lush foliage. Everything seemed bigger now, brighter now, since the birth. She still couldn’t quite believe she’d done that. Working in the PICU, she cared for tiny infants all the time. But bringing them into the world? Now that was something.

The late-afternoon sun filtered through the trees, its rays still prickling Sara’s sunburned skin as they passed a bar, a crowded convenience store and a school painted in primary colors in the village. Gabe pointed toward a tiny house to their left. He looked rumpled but perfect, a tiny, infant-size handprint staining the front of his scrub shirt. “That’s where to go for the best tortillas in Costa Rica.”

“Really?” Sara smiled. “I’ll have to remember that. Thanks for letting me help out today.”

“Thank you for being there,” he said, the solemnity in his green eyes making her think they were talking about more than the breech birth.

Before Sara could ask more, however, they reached to compound and walked back to the clinic tent to drop off their supplies. At the entrance, an older woman waited, her gray bun perched precariously atop her head and her blue cotton dress neat but faded a bit around the edges.

“Hola,” Gabe said, waving. “What can I do for you?”

The woman smiled, then spoke in rapid Spanish.

“Anything I can help with?” Sara asked him, setting her supply bag on the table inside the tent.

“Sí.” Gabe grinned, walking past her to his exam area to drop off his stuff. “She’s inviting our team to dinner tomorrow.”

“Oh.” Sara straightened. “That’s very nice.”

“It is.” He chuckled. “She’s an old friend and a patient here at the clinic. She feels it’s her duty to feed us while we’re here.”

The woman, still waiting at the entrance, nodded. She spoke to Gabe once more, too fast for Sara to keep up. Maybe something about a horse? Or hair? She could never keep those two words straight. Gabe moved in beside Sara then, and maybe it was the adrenaline from earlier still sizzling through her veins, or the joy of bringing new life into the world. Whatever it was, she suddenly couldn’t help being aware of how close he was standing behind her and how if she leaned back just slightly, his chest would rest against her back, all warm and solid and…

Oh, boy.

Gabe promised the woman they’d all be there for dinner the next evening, and the woman walked away, leaving the two of them alone again. Inside the tent, long shadows increased the intimate feel of the moment.

“Thanks again for your help with Angela,” he said, leaning in to rest his free hand on the desk behind her back. Her body buzzed, hyperaware of his every move even though there was still a good foot of space between them. He lowered his head and stared at the ground. “There were moments during the delivery when I thought…” His dark brows drew together.

Cicadas sang their nightly song outside the tent, but inside it was just the two of them. Sara hesitated, then asked the question that had been on her mind since she’d arrived and first met Gabe. “What happened to them? Your family?”

He swallowed hard and straightened, and for an awful second, she thought he might shut her out again, but then he took a deep breath and said quietly, “They died. When our apartment in Croatia was bombed during the war. I lost my family, everything I cared about within a matter of hours.”

“Oh, God.” Sara’s own heart broke at the eviscerating agony in his voice. “I’m so sorry, Gabe.”

She tried to put her hand on his arm, but he took a step back, reaching into the back pocket of his scrub pants for his wallet. “I have a picture of them. Would you like to see?”

Sara nodded, trusting herself not to cry.

The photo he pulled out was a bit crinkled and bent at the edges, as if handled a lot. He moved closer to Sara again, handing her the picture, then pointing at the pretty woman smiling in it. “Her name was Marija. We were married almost two years when this was taken. She’s holding our son, Karlo.”

Blinking back tears, Sara smiled. “She’s lovely. And Karlo is precious.”

“Thank you.” He took the photo from her, staring down at it reverently. “He was our everything. We couldn’t wait to move from Vukovar to Prague and start a new life there, but I had to finish medical school first. Marija and I used to fight about it, but she let me win.” He gave a sad little snort. “I was so young and stupid back then. I thought we’d have all the time in the world.”

“You couldn’t have known this would happen,” Sara said, touching him now to emphasize her point. “No one knows what the future holds.”

“I should have.” His expression darkened to a scowl, and he put the photo away, those damned walls of his crashing down hard again. “Anyway, I apologize if I seemed distracted during the delivery earlier.”

It took a moment for his words to penetrate the emotional fog in Sara’s brain. “You weren’t distracted. I thought you were brilliant today. You saved them both, Angela and her baby.”

“No, you did.” Gabe smiled again, and it felt like a million stars shining to Sara, that dimple of his making her slightly dizzy with yearning. “Without your small hands, all would have been lost.”

Sara held her hands up as she shrugged. “Genetics, I guess.”

“Hmm.”

The low whirr of the generators kicking on outside reinforced the fact that she and Gabe were still alone out here in the tent, standing in the shadows, so close that the heat radiating from his skin penetrated the thin cotton of her scrubs, sending her pulse skyrocketing.

“We should probably go into the dorms,” she murmured past her taut vocal cords.

“We probably should,” he agreed.

Neither of them moved.

Finally, Gabe reached into one of the drawers of the nearest table and handed her something.

“What’s this?” she asked, staring down at the chunk of cellophane-wrapped white in her palm.

“Sweets for the sweet. Dulce de coco,” he said, his teeth even and white as he smiled in the darkness. “Coconut candy. I get tired of eating beans and rice.”

She sniffed the stuff. “Wow. Smells amazing.”

“It’s very good.” Gabe stood there a moment, staring down at her, then sighed and turned away. “Well…uh… I guess this is good night, then.” He started to leave, but Sara placed a hand on his forearm, her fingertips tingling from the touch. Gabe froze, looking back at her, his green eyes flicking from her eyes to her mouth, then back again. Her name emerged low and rough, and she felt it like a physical caress. “Sara?”

“Yes?”

Silence stretched for eons. Finally, he stepped closer once more, his fingers trailing down her arm, firm but tentative. Gentle but wanting. “I want to kiss you, but I know I shouldn’t.”

He was probably right—she knew that. With his past and her future waiting back in Chicago, getting involved, even temporarily, made no sense. And yet, at that moment, Sara wanted to kiss him more than she wanted her next breath. Taking the initiative, she closed the small distance between them and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him down until their lips met. She put all of her whirling emotions into it—the sweetness of the birth, the sadness of his picture, the need and want she’d felt for him since the first day she’d met him. Gabe seemed taken aback at first, holding back, but then her tongue traced his lips, and he gave in with a grunt, pulling her tight against him as he deepened the kiss. His mouth was perfect against hers, mirroring the soft eagerness of his touch. She couldn’t help giving a desperate whimper.

More. I need more.

The sound of footsteps outside the tent finally jarred them back to reality.

Sara inched away, breathless and light-headed.

Gabe’s warm breath fanned her face, stirring the tiny hairs near her temple. He gave a short sigh full of frustrated need, then kissed her forehead. “Tomorrow we talk, yes?”

“Yes,” she whispered, savoring the feel of him against her while she could.

“Good.” Then he brushed his lips across her forehead and started for the exit again. “Sleep well.”

She waited a moment, catching her breath and calming her racing heart, then headed for the dorms herself. Sara wasn’t sure about a lot of things but having a restful night after a kiss like that would be impossible—of that she was certain.

Until next time, Happy Reading! 😊

The road to happily-ever-after starts in Costa Rica in this passionate romance by USA TODAY bestselling author Traci Douglass.

Sometimes the future…
is just a fling away!

For single mom Sara, life has been all about raising her now adult son. But volunteering for a medical charity in Costa Rica is finally the nurse’s chance to focus on her passions. Only, her guarded new boss, Gabe, stirs something deep in her that she’d thought long forgotten… And as the devastatingly handsome doctor sends all her senses into overdrive, for once sensible Sara can’t help wondering—what if they didn’t resist temptation?

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

October New Releases

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

We have six fabulous reads for you.

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

Falling for His Runaway Nurse by Amy Ruttan

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

Reawakened at the South Pole by Juliette Hyland

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

Reunited by Her Twin Revelation by Shelley Rivers

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

Starting Over with the Single Dad by Tina Beckett

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

The Doctor’s Reunion to Remember by Annie Claydon

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

Twins for the Neurosurgeon by Louisa Heaton

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

Happy Reading!

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

September New Releases

Happy September! I love the return to routine for me. As much as I love summer, the routine of the fall is great.

We have some brand new releases for you!

And huge congratulations to Kate Hardy on her 95th book!

Unlocking the Doctor’s Secrets by Carol Marinelli

A secret to break them…

… or make them?

Paramedic Lina Edwards feels instant sparks with deliciously brooding consultant Garth Hughes–only, she’s learned not to trust her instincts. Yet Garth makes her feel seen in a way she’s never been before. The sadness in his eyes shows he has secrets, but when Lina discovers that, shockingly, she’s bound up in his past, she must decide: Is their passionate connection too good to be true, or too good to let go?

Tempted by Her Convient Husband by Charlotte Hawkes

Can this emergency marriage…

…last a lifetime?

Dr. Octavia Hendlington–aka Lady Octavia–only agreed to marry handsome, iron-willed billionaire Lukas Woods to help her brother. The inconvenient attraction sizzles between them is disconcerting…And then Lukas discovers his wife is not the “it” girl he thought, but a doctor who volunteers in the Sudan. As he accompanies her to Africa, Octavia also discovers the “real” Lukas Woods–and suddenly her “convenient” husband is just too hard to resist!

Second Chance with Her Guarded GP by Kate Hardy

A fresh chance at happiness…

with the new doctor in town?

Nurse practitioner Gemma Baxter’s sunny disposition hides a heart broken by the cracks left in her family after the loss of her sister. She escapes by focusing on charity fundraising and plans on hustling new, sexy GP Ollie Langley for a donation! The reserved doc is the opposite to daredevil Gemma, who soon realizes Ollie’s hiding a heartbreak of his own…Perhaps the only way to heal themselves is together?

A Twin Docs’ Perfect Match novels

Book 1–Second Chance with Her Guarded GP

Book 2–Baby Miracle for the ER Doc

Healing Her Brooding Island Hero by Marion Lennox

Has this wounded doc…

met his match?

Doctor Hugh Duncan might be determined to hide behind his scars on Sandpiper Island, but his new neighbour, nurse practitioner Gina, is having none of it. He’s a doctor, and she needs his help to take care of the islanders. But Gina, also understands how life-changing tragedy can be, and she wants to help mend this gorgeous hero’s heart–even if that means losing her own to him in the process!

Hawaiian Medic to Rescue His Heart by Annie O’Neil

Can she tempt this single dad…

To take a risk in paradise?

Divorced New York firefighter and paramedic Zach Murphy is looking forward to the more relaxed pace of Hawaiian life and building a brighter future for himself and his son. But his stunning new search and rescue colleague Lulu Kahale has the potential to derail his dreams of a quiet existence! Falling in love was never part of the plan, but Lulu tempts Zach to break all his own rules…

Baby Miracle for the ER Doc by Kate Hardy

One passionate night…

One surprising consequence.

Dr. Florence Jacobs can’t believe she was unable to resist her explosive chemistry with temporary doc Robert Langley even for one night! Rob’s charm is a salve to Florence’s damaged heart, but they’re looking for different lives: she wants a family…he craves adventure. The shocking revelation that she’s pregnant hands Florence the future she’s dreamed of. Dare she hope that Rob will want to stay and share it with her and their baby?

A Twin Docs’ Perfect Match novel

Book 1–Second Chance with Her Guarded GP

Book 2–Baby Miracle for the ER Doc

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt: Island Fling with the Surgeon

I have a dear friend who has been super-supportive of my writing career, buying my books whenever they come out and even recently asking me to sign my latest, which she swears is her favorite. While I definitely have more than one friend who buys my books, her love of Island Fling with the Surgeon means a lot to me, because she’s one of those people who doesn’t hesitate to give her honest opinion. Well, maybe she just wouldn’t *say* anything if she hated it, but she wouldn’t say she liked it if she didn’t!

As I keep saying, this was a fun book to write. My impulsive, mischievous heroine and steady, loving hero are the kinds of people I’d love to hang out with, and I want to party with their extended families. While we can’t make it back to the Caribbean just yet, or have the opportunity to visit far-flung family and friends, I hope this book will remind us all of what awaits once we can again!

Excerpt: Island Fling with the Surgeon

Zach leaned back as the deepening shadows cast Gen’s face into a mysterious, gorgeous study in gray scale. They were sharing companionable silence, while she watched the final colors of the setting sun fade from the sky, and he found himself equally enthralled by her profile. The more time he spent with her, the more fascinated he found himself becoming.

It was all well and good to say they were play-acting in an effort to fool the people around them, but he knew, for him, the acting was starting to feel far too real.

Leaning over her earlier, he’d realized he was tempted to kiss the top of her head or her cheek.

It had been a long time since he’d felt drawn to another person the way he was to Gen. He could spend hours with her and never feel bored or uncomfortable—except when his body reacted to hers in untoward ways, like when they’d danced together.

Whew.

That had been far too real for comfort.

She’d moved like silk in his arms, her lush body swaying in perfect time with his. It had been easy to imagine they really were a couple, and all he had to do was dip his head and she’d lift hers for a kiss.

Which was something he’d been thinking about way too often.

Kissing Gen.

It had crossed his mind repeatedly that kissing her on her cheek when her mother was around would seem highly unusual. After all, they were supposedly in the midst of a months-long relationship. Wouldn’t it be more natural for them to greet each other with a kiss on the lips?

But that was a direction he was chary of going in, since he wasn’t sure he was ready to take such a step.

It seemed far too dangerous to go down that path, especially with his heightened awareness of the attraction building toward the beautiful woman across from him.

What he was beginning to feel for her was way too close to desire to be entirely comfortable, despite the fact it would make his performance all the more realistic.

Shaking the thoughts away, he got up to turn on the lights in the house and catch his breath.

“Would you like some pudding?” he asked, as a way to distract himself. “I have some stewed local plums and ice cream.”

The sound of her little chuckle made him smile too.

“That’s not pudding. That’s fruit and ice cream. But no, thank you.” Her chair creaked as he watched her get up. “I’m going to head home. I’m operating early tomorrow morning.”

As she spoke, she came into the kitchen, blinking at the brightness of the light. When she rubbed her left eyelid, he realized she was probably more tired than she was letting on.

“Okay,” he said, his brain unerringly going back to his previous thoughts about kissing. “Drive carefully, and let me know when you get home.”

“Will do,” she replied, taking up her handbag. “And why don’t you come by my place tomorrow evening for a change. I’m so in love with your house, I keep coming here, making you cook for me. It’s time I returned the favor.”

He chuckled. “I don’t mind. I like cooking.”

And he liked having her there. She brought new life to the house, blowing away the cobwebs of his previous funk.

“And I very much like eating your cooking,” she agreed serenely, as they walked to the stairs. “But come by anyway. I have a hankering for steak, done on the grill.”

“I’d like that,” he admitted, and it was no lie. He’d only glimpsed the inside of her town house when he’d gone to pick her up for one of their excursions. It would be nice to get a more intimate look. “You need me to bring anything?”

“Nope.”

They were at the foot of the steps when she paused, looking up at him, and something in her expression froze him in place.

“Zach,” she said softly, coming a little closer. “I’m going to kiss you. If you have any objections, now’s the time to voice them.”

His throat was suddenly so tight it rendered him unable to voice anything at all. So instead, he opened his arms to her, reminding himself it was all just play-acting, even as his body hardened and his heart rate went into overdrive.

She smiled slightly, but it had an uncertain edge to it, and he saw the color staining her cheeks just before she stepped into his arms.

And even though he tried to hold back, he couldn’t resist moving his mouth against hers, deepening the kiss in minute increments until he felt the tip of her tongue touch his lower lip.

Then all bets were off.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

If Music Be The Food of Love …

I love music. Of all kinds. I don’t have a great singing voice – except for maybe when I’m in the shower (where everyone sounds great and the acoustics work in our favour) but I love singing to my favourite songs.

I have different playlists for different moods and different occasions.

When I’m writing, I tend to listen to film scores, or orchestral music, as long as there are no lyrics. I very quickly discovered that trying to write, whilst singing along, only resulted in me typing the lyrics, or not typing at all, as I sang along.

This is my favourite playlist for this. Romantic Film Scores. What else!

But if I’m not writing, then I love to listen to Pentatonix, an acapella band. They do an amazing version of Hallelujah.

I also like a little bit of Home Free, who do this amazing version of Ring of Fire, one of my Dad’s favourite songs.

So what sort of music do you like listening to?

Can you belt out a tune?

Tell me your favourites. I’m always on the lookout to add great music to my playlists.

Love,

Louisa xxx

Two tiny heartbeats…

…will change their lives forever!

Top neurosurgeons Samantha Gordon and Yanis Baptiste spend one unforgettable night together in Paris. Their reunion in London proves even more explosive when they discover Sam is pregnant with twins! Neither Sam nor Yanis is prepared for parenthood, but those two tiny heartbeats could help them find the family neither of them believed they would ever have…

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Reading

Here’s to Five! An Excerpt from Reawakened at the South Pole

Cover of Reawakened at the South Pole By Juliette Hyland

Five medical romances, five books with my name on them! When Reawakened at the South Pole comes out on September 28th it will be my fifth medical romance, almost exactly two years to the date from when I signed my first contract. A dream come true to say the least. I loved writing Helena and Carter’s happily ever after. I know I say that about all my characters (mostly because it’s true, writing happily ever afters is the best job ever!).

It’s available for pre-order now and until September, you can enjoy this short excerpt.

“I am angry that anyone could think that you were anything less than one of the strongest people they’d ever met.”

His finger traced a line along her chin, burning her as his gaze gripped hers. “You are gorgeous, Helena.”

She let her gaze linger on his face. Drinking in the soft look of his eyes, the roughness of the stubble on his cheeks and the fullness of lips that she yearned would caress her.

“Kiss me.” Her demand poured from the depths of her soul. These were the words she wanted to say all those years ago, the words she wished she’d stated last night.

Carter’s fingers slipped to the base of her neck as he pulled her close. The little distance between them evaporated as his lips met hers. The kiss was firm, not demanding as one hand pulled her hips tighter to his.

Wrapping her arms around Carter’s neck, Helena deepened the kiss. She’d waited far too long to know how Carter Simpson kissed, and she would not waste this moment. The world tumbled as his tongue dipped along her bottom lip.”

“Carter.” Her head fell back as he traced lines of kisses first along her jaw and then down her neck. But as his fingers slipped along the edge of her shirt, Helena froze.


He pulled back immediately and smiled as he dropped a light kiss on the tip of her nose. “I want you, Helena. I’ve wanted you for weeks. Years, if I’m being honest. But this goes only as far as you want it to.” He swallowed and held her close.


Blood pounded in her ears as Carter gripped her. His fingers skimming across her back in soothing motions. She wanted him. He’d seen her scar—at least part of it—and hadn’t recoiled. Swallowing the last bit of fear, Helena looked up and kissed him.


“I want you, too…”

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Much ado, by Kate Hardy

Kate’s spaniels

I was going to write something else today (ha ha, sewing related…), but events on UK media (social and otherwise) this weekend have made me so cross that I’m going to write a rant. (A measured one, but still a rant.) Even a cuddle with my lovely pooches (above) couldn’t restore my equilibrium.

“The worst kind of wimmins fiction” – that’s what I (and my fellow M&B authors) write, according to Jeanette Winterson, who burned her own books this weekend to show her displeasure at being compared to it.

Now. Firstly, she would’ve been consulted by her publisher and signed off the blurb and cover. Surely that was the time to say ‘no, I’m not happy’, not when they were printed? (This is what makes me think it was a badly thought-out publicity stunt, rather than the tantrum she later claimed it was. That, and the fact she sent a photograph to the media. If you have a tantrum about something, do you really send evidence to a newspaper?)

Secondly, there’s the burning of books. That always makes me think of Bebelplatz and also Fahrenheit 451. It’s really not OK. 

Thirdly, there’s that dismissive swipe at a whole genre (one mainly written by women) AND by extension to its readers. And that is what really, really made my blood boil. Nobody has the right to sneer at other people’s choice of reading.

And just what is so wrong with romantic fiction with a happy ending?

I’ve had letters from readers who’ve told me that whenever they’ve had a really bad day, they reach for one of my books because they know it’s going to make them feel that the world is a better place. I’m very proud to have helped someone through a rough time. And, as a reader, I’ve done the same. When my dad had dementia (and visits were very, very hard emotionally) the thing that got me through it were books. Whenever life has been tough, I’ve lost myself in a book (often romance, precisely because of the happy ending) for long enough to let me cope again. 

Making the world feel a better place: I happen to think that’s something to be celebrated, not sneered at.  

So I want to do a shout-out to my M&B author friends. We include issues that women deal with on a daily basis – from divorce to infertility to miscarriage to bereavement to abuse, to being part of the sandwich generation caring for teenagers and elderly parents, and more. Our characters show that it’s possible to move on from the tough stuff to a happier place. That you can learn to trust again, to try again, to overcome the past and become who you want to be. That love will get you through. And if that message helps just ONE person… then it’s done something worthwhile. 

I’m proud to write books like this, and to write them with other authors who do the same thing. And it’s inclusive. It doesn’t matter how old we are, what our skin colour is, what our nationality is, whether we’re gay or straight or somewhere else on that continuum. We’re all about love.

And that definitely deserves to be celebrated.

Kate’s latest duet – about two doctor brothers and a kidney transplant – is available in August, and can be preordered now.

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