Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Maple Island (Excerpt)

I’m posting an excerpt today from my latest release, Resisting her English Doc.  As this is the second book, of a four book series, I’ve chosen two short passages from the middle of the book, which mentions the heroes and heroines from the three other books in the Maple Island quartet.

So – just to set the scene – everyone on Maple Island has gathered together for the Fright Night, in the Library, which has been organised by Pamela Vandenberg, the librarian, and Fleur Miller, the heroine of my book.  She’s taken Dr Rick Fleming and his daughter Ellie along, and they get a chance to rub shoulders with Alex and Maggie (Annie O’Neil’s hero and heroine, from Book 1), Rafael and Summer (Karin Baine’s hero and heroine, from Book 3) and Cody (Susan Carlisle’s hero from Book 4).  Annie, Karin and Susan all chose their characters’ costumes for the event.

We also meet Salty Harrington – who was the hero of the hour when he helped save two children from a stranded ferry.  He’s the Clinic’s most awkward patient, and his story runs through all four of the books.

Next week we’ll be blogging again about Maple Island, so please drop in again, to have a chance to win one or more of the books in this four book series!  But in the meantime, please meet the Maple Island cast and crew.

 

Salty Harrington was parked in one corner in his wheelchair, in charge of storytelling, and Ellie had run off to join the circle of children around him. A cocked hat, an eye patch and a wicked-looking cutlass were all that Salty needed to look exactly like a pirate. Fleur had left Rick’s side, to speak with a mummy who he guessed was Pamela, although it was difficult to tell under all those bandages. A taller mummy, who arrived with drinks for them both, and pressed his bandaged mouth against Pamela’s bandaged cheek, must be her husband.

The clinic staff were out in force, along with a few of the patients. Summer Ryan, the daycare assistant, was dressed as a white witch, complete with a basket of fragrant herbs. And the new spinal surgeon, Dr. Rafael Valdez, wore an immaculate dark suit and top hat, his face painted to resemble a skull, with intricate traceries of black and red on his cheeks and forehead. His little daughter Gracie was clinging to his hand, dressed as a fairy princess. Rick smiled. If Ellie was anything to go by, three-year-old girls rarely wanted to dress as anything else.

Wondering what Salty was filling the children’s heads with, he wandered over. Ellie was sitting cross-legged on the floor with a dozen others, drinking in the story.

“Are there trolls on the ship, Uncle Salty?” One of two identically dressed trolls, with pointed hats and patchwork jerkins over colored leggings and boots, piped up.

“Every ship has trolls, little ’un.Two trolls together is especially lucky.” The two little girls squealed with delight, and Rick saw Cody’s head turn at the sound of his daughters’ voices. It seemed that Cody’s imagination had been exhausted by finding costumes for his girls, and he’d come in a surgical mask and gown, looking exactly the same as he did most days at the clinic.

“No doctors in fancy weskits, though…” Rick jumped as Salty singled him out for comment and grinned, moving away. Clearly Salty had had his fill of doctors today.

Fleur was still talking to Pamela and Rick made his way over to the drinks table, accepting a fizzing purple concoction from a red-haired Bigfoot in a leather jacket. Tonight was going to be an interesting night.

*****

“Where’s Pamela?” Rick looked around.

“She was dreadfully nervous about this evening and ended up downing one too many of those purple cocktails. Her husband’s taken her off for a lie-down in the family pyramid.”

“She needn’t have worried. Tonight was amazing.” The library looked even spookier now that it was empty. Long, dark shadows, one of which seemed to be moving…

“Hey, you two. Take it home…” Fleur called out laughingly, and when Rick focused more carefully, he could make out two figures. Zombie superheroes, the tallest of whom had his cloak wrapped around the smaller one’s shoulders, were busy smudging each other’s face paint.

“Fabulous party, Fleur. Goodnight.” Maggie’s voice emanated from the smaller zombie, as she led Alex from the shadows. Rick and Alex exchanged a gruff “See you at work” and Fleur closed the library doors behind them.

“I’ll just check there’s no one else here and lock up.” Fleur flipped on the overhead lights, and suddenly the artistry of the decorations became apparent. Floating cobwebs, a few torn and painted sheets and cleverly placed lighting were all that she’d needed to turn the library into a place of shadows.

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Four Writers and an Island

51EtM4S1QZL.jpgAnnie O’Neil and I have swapped blog dates, so I’m here today instead of Annie.  So what better time to tell you about a project that we’ve both been involved with, along with Susan Carlisle and Karin Baine.

First though, I’d like to show you my new cover.  Firefighter’s Christmas Baby will be released in November, and it’s a festive fling with consequences!  (As you can see from the cover 🙂 )

But on with the blog.  A little more than a year ago, Susan Carlisle, Annie O’Neil, Karin Baine and I began to plan out a four-book series.  Set on an island, off the coast of Boston, The Maple Island Clinic was to be home to dedicated doctors, nurses and therapists who would be the heroes and heroines of our stories.

But first, we created the island.  It had a name and we gave it a history, too.  The autumn reds of the maple trees which cover the island are visible from the mainland, and early settlers in the area made their way across the water to tap the trees for their syrup.  A small town was founded on the island and one of the wealthier town fathers left his house and collection of books to the people of Maple Island.  Today, the town library is still housed in the building that Ezra Van Den Berg donated, along with his books and papers.

We probably went into far more detail than we really needed to – but we were having such fun!  Ideas came thick and fast from both sides of the Atlantic and we wondered whether we were going to have to make the island a little bigger to accommodate everything.

We wanted a New England style covered bridge for the island.  Orchards and a harbour with fishing boats.  An old town on the East side of the island, facing out to sea, and opulent holiday homes for summer visitors on the West side, facing Boston.  A ferry.  A LIGHTHOUSE!  Why hadn’t we thought of a lighthouse before…?  We took walks along our imaginary High Street, planning out the shops, the Town Hall and the Sheriff’s office.

And then came the people.  There’s a cake war going on in the High Street between the Brady family, whose five red-haired children all help out at Brady’s Bistro and Bakery, and Phoenix Flame Jones and his wife Sage Blossom, who are vegan bakers and the proprietors of Sunbeam Victuals and Delectables.  Theodore Harrington – known to everyone as ‘Old Salty’ is a cantankerous old fisherman who becomes the hero of the hour in the first book of the series – and his story is carried through all four books.  Each of us added new characters and their stories, along with events that are held on the island to brighten up the long, cold winter evenings.

It’s been the most enormous fun and an absolute honour to work on this project, with three of the nicest and most talented women I could ever hope to meet.  Annie, Susan and Karin have a special place in my heart, along with the island that we created together.

Of course, it’s just a backdrop to the serious business of romance!  But sometimes the location of a book catches my imagination in a special way.  Do you have any favourite locations in books you’ve read?