Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

An Irrational Fear

I’m afraid of dogs.  I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been, but I’m told it all started when I was three years old.  An incident with a very large dog and an owner, who thought that trying to force a screaming terrified child to hug her dog was a good idea, left me physically unhurt but not without scars.  To this day, man’s best friend is still capable of filling my heart with terror.

Things have got better over the years.  When I was little, I went through phases of having to be dragged out of the house, I was so afraid I might meet a dog.  My mother would put pepper dust onto the soles of my shoes, telling me that it would keep dogs away from me.  (I’m not sure that this was a wholly practical proposition but I believed it because my Mum had told me in no uncertain terms that it was true, and it gave me the confidence to walk to school on my own.)  In my teens, I’d avoid streets where I knew ‘monsters’ lived, and cross the road if I saw someone approaching me with a dog on a lead.

In my twenties, I made a breakthrough.  On a long train journey I fell into conversation with a couple who were blind, each of whom had a guide dog.  These beautiful, placid creatures didn’t seem so very bad to me, and after a while I gathered up the courage to ask if I might touch one of them.  They agreed, giving their dogs a command to sit still, so that I could reach out and stroke them.  I’ll always remember this couple, who so generously helped me face my fears and shared in my achievement.

And… it’s better now.  I walk wherever I please, and if I give dogs a wide berth, and sometimes jump when one takes notice of me, then so be it.  But here’s the thing.  It’s an irrational fear.  Annie O’Neil’s gorgeous, gentle Bernese Mountain Dog failed to scare me even slightly, even though I’m sure he was bigger than me!  Another friend has a Red Setter, whose main aim in life seems to be to knock visitors over and lick them to death, and I can deal with that.  I adore Kate Hardy’s and Lynne Marshall’s Facebook posts about their dogs, and have been known to reach out and stroke them on my computer screen.  But at times, even the tiniest dog can have me racing for cover, and I can’t be persuaded to approach it.

The only answer I have for loving owners who push their dogs towards me, telling me that I can’t possibly be afraid of their dog, is that yes actually, I can.  I have no idea why some dogs scare me and some don’t, but I’m always immeasurably grateful to those owners who allow me to keep my distance if I need to and approach their dog in my own time.

If I’ve learned one thing, it’s to respect other people’s fears.  To accept that it takes courage to face them, and and that everyone needs to be able to dictate what they can and can’t do.  In every other area of my life, I can assess risk and use logic to decide what I should and shouldn’t be afraid of.  I’ll pick up the biggest spider from the bathtub and carry it carefully out of the house, I know that flying is statistically a very safe form of transport… and so on.  But this is a fear I can’t explain, and if it doesn’t make much sense to anyone else I guess that’s the thing about irrational fear…

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that after all this I’d tell you that I don’t like dogs.  But strangely enough I love dogs.  I’ve always wanted one, even though I know it’s impossible.  Imagine me at a puppy training class 🙂  Or in the park, when another dog wanders innocently up to make friends with mine 🙂  But if anyone’s ever wondered why so many of my heroes and heroines have dogs of their own…  well they’re my dogs.  The ones I can’t have in real life, but can love and look after on the page.  Bruno, the retired rescue dog, who has the courage to save his master.  Trader, who’s at his mistresses side when she’s alone and frightened.  Jeff the faithful friend who’s been with his master through thick and thin, Maisie the mountain rescue dog, and Arthur the beagle puppy.  They all mean a great deal more to me than just four-legged characters in a story.

I have to admit that it’s taken a bit just to write about my irrational fear, and I’m not sure that I understand it any better.  Do you have an irrational fear?  I guess that everyone has something…  And can you explain it?  I’d love to hear what you think!

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

June Releases

Welcome to Summer in the northen hemisphere and winter in the southern! Either season is perfect to curl up with a good book and we have 6 of the best for you!

Baby Miracle In The E.R. by Sue Mackay.

med1Will love pass them by again?

Or can a baby give them a second chance?

When paramedic Steph’s ex, sexy doc Michael Laing, revealed he doesn’t do commitment, it broke her heart. Two years later, she’s back in town having thought she’d moved on, until she meets Michael in the ER—and their chemistry is as hot as ever! Both are wary of getting burned again, but a little miracle is about to bind them together forever…

 

 

 

One Night With Dr. Nikolaides by Annie O’Neilmed3

 

One night…

In this Hot Greek Docs story, when an earthquake hits the Greek island of Mythelios, nurse Cailey Tomaras rushes to help—only to encounter childhood crush Dr. Theo Nikolaides!

As the trauma fades, they find comfort between the sheets… But when Cailey realizes the consequences of that night, she must prove to lone wolf Theo that he’d make the perfect dad.

 

Saving The Single Dad Doc by Louisa Heaton

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Dare she dream of a future…

With Cameron and his little girl?

Returning to her Scottish hometown, GP Bethan Monroe has no idea the handsome single father she’s replacing, Dr. Cameron Brodie, hides a serious illness. Bethan’s healing from her own heartache, but the gorgeous doc and his young daughter bring light back into her life. Does she have the courage to give them her heart and grasp the happiness life still has in store?

 

 

Tempted By Dr. Patera by Tina Beckettmed6

He’s gotten right under her skin…

But will she end up getting burned?

In this Hot Greek Docs story, since losing her fiancé, Dr. Lea Risi doesn’t do complicated. But helping after an earthquake, Lea’s thrown together with Dr. Deakin Patera in all his sexy, rugged glory! Scarred inside and out, Deakin’s everything Lea’s tried to avoid—but she’s still tempted. As their chemistry becomes something deeper, can Lea help him leave the past behind?

 

 

The Midwife’s One Night Fling by Carol Marinelli

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Is one night with Dr. Off-Limits…

The best mistake of her life?

Escaping her rural Scottish hometown, midwife Freya has a new job in busy London…and a new crush on sexy consultant Richard Lewis! Charismatic yet commitment-phobic bachelor Richard comes with warning signs, but Freya knows one night would be worth the risk. And when she ends up in Richard’s bed, it feels like a red-hot dream—one Freya doesn’t want to wake up from…

 

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Unlocking The Italian Doc’s Heart by Kate Hardy

His heart was broken…

 

Will she be the one to heal it?

Dr. Lorenzo Conti is devastated by his ex’s revelation that his beloved daughter isn’t his, and the pain of losing her from his life. Yet his new colleague, bubbly, generous pediatrician Jenna, incredibly connects with his brooding

heart. Could she help him move on to a new life and a new family? Maybe—if he can learn to trust again…

 

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

The joy of research by Kate Hardy

Kate HardyI think my favourite part of writing a book is the research. The book I’m finishing writing right now is a cardiac book, and learning about the cutting edge treatment has been so interesting; my mum was a specialist cardiac nurse, so this one kind of feels special (and I brainstormed it in the British Library with lovely Annie O’Neil, so that was an extra bonus).

My next book is going to be set partly in Florence – so you can guess where we ended up 🙂 There were certain iconic places I wanted to visit (and I have to confess to becoming addicted to ‘Medici: Masters of Florence’ on Netflix since coming home – we’re dying for the next season to come out). And one of them was a certain art gallery. My research team balked at the idea of going to a modern art gallery; but this is Florence, so ‘modern’ actually means ‘1750 onwards’, which is his favourite sort of art. (I’ve tried to appreciate modern art, but…) So we enjoyed the Pitti Palace, the Uffizi and the Accademia; we also enjoyed visiting a number of palaces and churches, but my two big highlights of the trip were climbing inside the Duomo and visiting the library at San Lorenzo. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

And we had a bonus at the end – we were flying from Pisa airport. We were pretty sure that tickets to climb the leaning tower would be like the Duomo, i.e. you need to book days in advance, but I was in the queue to buy a ticket for the cathedral when I discovered we could visit the tower in 20 minutes’ time. That has to be one of the weirdest experiences of my life – you can really feel the ‘lean’ of the tower, and as you climb the spiral staircase you straighten up and then lean in the opposite direction. The steps are worn in a spiral rather than in a straight line! And I was very glad of the safety railing at the top 🙂

What’s been your strangest experience when visiting somewhere?

imageKate’s latest is Unlocking the Italian Doc’s Heart (set partly in Verona and written there last year!), out in UK/Aus shops now and online at the usual places 🙂 For more information, see her website.

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

A year of culture…

kate hardy sept 2015 400pxTwo years ago, I turned 50 and designated it a Year of Having Fun. I had lots of little birthday celebrations with people, I ate way too much cake, and I burned the candle at both ends.

Last year, I thought that it should be the Year of Carpe Diem – so between those two years I managed to see all three of my favourite musicians (Robert Plant, Radiohead and David Gilmour), and it was our 25th wedding anniversary so we ended up in Verona, which was lovely.

This year is going to be the Year of Culture.

Let’s start with the medical authors’ special giveaway, because you’re reading this blog because you love medical romance 🙂  You can find the entry form here!

So, my Year of Culture. I’m overdoing things just a tad for my birthday fortnight. So I have Twelfth Night at Stratford-upon-Avon this weekend (and a visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace), Hamilton in London next week, and Jeremy Irons in ‘A Long Day’s Journey into Night’ the weekend after. Add in a visit to a stately home (that’s research), afternoon tea in Norwich’s Assembly House (aka super-historic) twice, and an evening at Phill Jupitus’ show (where he does his own support act and reads poetry) – yep, it’s going to be good.

Did I mention tickets for three different Shakespeare productions at the Globe? (Othello, Shrew (that’s my daughter’s A level text, which is why I’m squeezing it in the day before we go to Florence and I’ll have to drive both ways), and the Two Noble Kinsmen). Oh, and another Stratford trip to see Macbeth. And a lot more stand-up – Jon Richardson (twice, because he’s my daughter’s favourite comedian), Tim Vine, Bill Bailey and Danny Baker. Musically, I have tickets booked for Scott Matthew, Sheridan Smith, Joe Bonamassa and Def Leppard. And I’m waiting for the Tate Gallery to announce booking details for their Burne-Jones exhibition (my favourite artist – I’ve been waiting rather impatiently since last October, but it opens this October so surely they can’t keep us waiting much longer?). Plus of course Florence, where I finally get to see the Uffizi, the Duomo and the Accademia 🙂

It’s going to be a good year. Do you enjoy theatre and art exhibitions? What have you seen recently, or can’t wait to see?

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Quirky Stories

Moon madness by Kate Hardy

kate hardy sept 2015 1200pxSome of you may have noticed that I’m a bit obsessed with the moon. There’s usually a moonlight scene in my books (my favourite is one of my Modern Heats, taking place on a volcano – because, well, that’s two obsessions at once). Apparently my parents used to have to shine a torch outside my window when I was tiny so I could say goodnight to the moon, otherwise I wouldn’t go to sleep!

Last night was the supermoon. It was too cloudy to see it last night, but this morning it was just glorious. I had to take my daughter into college really early for a sixth form trip to London, and the first thing I noticed when I walked into the kitchen was the bright light streaming in…

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It lit our way into the city, and this beautiful enormous moon was in front of me all the way home. I usually take the dog out before sunrise anyway, but this time I took my proper camera rather than just the phone and hopped over a ditch or two (poor dog thought I’d gone barmy). And I got the shot I was hoping for, reflected in the trout lake.

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As the sun started to rise, the moon turned pink. Now, I’ve always wanted to do one of those massive moon shots but have never quite managed it before. Today I ended up with two shots I’m so, so pleased with. (That streak across the moon is a cloud, by the way.)

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The book I’m writing now is set in the summer, so I’m not quite going to be able to get away with using these in a scene. But watch out for future books 😉

Did you see the supermoon? Do you have a pic to share? I’d love to see it!

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, New Releases

November Releases!

Well….it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas….!

Six Christmassy tales to read in front of the fire. Or on a beach if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere! An absolutely gorgeous baby cover, some more Christmas in Manhattan books and some Muswell Hill Hospital from Kate Hardy are just some of the goodies!

Their Mistletoe Baby by Karin Baine

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A Christmas dream come true….

When handsome pediatrician Lucas Brodie walked out on his wife, Freya, at Christmas, he left her heart and hopes for a family shattered. This year, nurse Freya is determined to put the pain behind her by volunteering on a trip to take sick children to Lapland. But then she discovers Lucas is coming, too!

As they begin to fall in love again, Lucas wonders—could he give her a family after all? Can he put his past behind him? Perhaps an unexpected pregnancy could be the Christmas miracle to make Freya’s dreams come true…

 

 

 

The Rescue Doc’s Christmas Miracle by Amalie Berlin (Christmas in Manhattan)                                                                                                                                                                               From partnersmed3 to parents! 

Dr. Gabriel Jackson and paramedic Penny Davenport make a great team—despite driving each other crazy! She’s Manhattan Mercy’s daredevil helicopter pilot, who thrives on adventure after a childhood spent wrapped in cotton wool, while he’s the cautious flight doctor who, after a disastrous marriage, will never take risks again.

But after the elation of surviving a storm explodes into passion, Penny discovers she’s pregnant! This could be an unforgettable Christmas—if they listen to their hearts and take the greatest risk of all!

 

 

The Spanish Duke’s Holiday Proposal by Robin Gianna (Christmas in Manhattan)med4

Temporary Christmas fiancée—to future duchess! 

When paramedic Mateo Alves unexpectedly becomes heir to his family’s dukedom, he’s asked to return home. But Mateo loves his New York career. So when sparks fly between him and beautiful ER doc Miranda Davenport, he sees a way to appease his family over the holidays…

Miranda can’t believe she’s agreed to be Mateo’s temporary fiancée, but as love child to the head of the wealthy Davenports, she knows all about troubled families. Can a magical Spanish Christmas together bring them both the happiness and belonging they deserve?

 

A Family Made At Christmas by Scarlet Wilson

A famed1mily to heal her heart… 

For physiotherapist April Henderson, gorgeous army doc Riley Callaghan is off-limits. With her life-altering surgery looming, she can’t afford to consider anyone else right now. But when Riley is given the biggest news of his life—a son he knew nothing about—April can’t help but offer him support.

Spending time with Riley and his adorable son, Finn, at Christmas gives April a glimpse of the life she’s always wanted. But can she risk her heart when her future is so uncertain?

 

 

 

Christmas With Her Daredevil Doc by Kate Hardy (Miracles at Muswell Hill Hospital)

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Can he convince her to be his Christmas bride? 

When Dr. Hayley Clark met Sam Price in Iceland, their holiday romance was unforgettable—and unrepeatable! Sam was the first man to reawaken Hayley after losing her firefighter partner, but she wasn’t ready to risk her heart again, especially with a guy who loves danger!

But when Sam arrives at Hayley’s hospital as the new registrar they’re both shocked and delighted—could their fling become more after all? Only if Hayley can come to trust that her daredevil doc can both heal and protect her heart—forever!

 

Their Pregnancy Gift by Kate Hardy (Miracles at Muswell Hill Hospital)

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One night before Christmas… 

Dr. Danielle Owens can’t help but be intrigued by hot, brooding IVF consultant Alex Morgan. Then Dani offers him a chance to unload, leading to one very intimate night and a life-changing consequence!

Alex wants to do the right thing, but is clearly troubled. And after her divorce, Dani won’t commit to a man who doesn’t love her—even if she is pregnant! Alex wants Dani and their baby very much, but to win her he must confront the demon that has been holding him back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

A heartfelt thanks by Kate Hardy

The highlight of my calendar is the annual M&B authors’ lunch and party. It means I get to see my author friends in person – including, if I’m lucky, some of those visiting from other countries – and the editorial team. And at the party the editors present milestone awards to the authors – this year it was to Michelle Styles (Historical) for her 25th, me for my 75th, and Carol Marinelli for her amazing 100th!

I think the easiest way to show what it’s like is by photographs. So here I am with Sheila Hodgson, senior Medicals ed (she edits my Medicals)

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And in the M&B offices where Sheila said some very nice things indeed about my books and almost made me cry.

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Carol Marinelli making her speech

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Oh, and did I mention the amazing view from the top floor of the News International building?

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The party in full swing:

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Me with Carol (and it’s not going to be another 10 years before we meet up again!)

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With my other editor, Megan Haslam (who edits my Cherish/Romance books)

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And my milestone award for my 75th book – this gorgeous Tiffany keyring 🙂

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But one thing I said in my speech I’d like to share here: authors don’t write their books in a vacuum. I’m incredibly blessed to have the most wonderful friends (officially colleagues and editors, but definitely friends) – people you can talk to when you’ve painted yourself into a corner and they’ll brainstorm ideas of how to get you out again; people who understand what it’s like when you get ‘tiny tweaks’ revisions (which are nothing of the kind!!); people who celebrate the good times with you and are there for you in the tough times (and it definitely goes both ways). And I’m also privileged to have wonderful readers – without you, I wouldn’t be able to do the job I love. So I want to say a very big thank you to you all, from the bottom of my heart xxx