Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Reunited By Their Secret Son

Hello! Bonjour! Hola! Ciao! Sdrazvouchez!

This blog is coming to you from my big trip that has visited Canada, UK, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy…where I am now. I have another few days here then a two week tour in Russia and a stopover in Shanghai. I am so very, very lucky…although it will be nice to sleep in my own bed! My husband had a well-earned sabbatical, so we took advantage, but it does mean I have sporadic access to the internet so, forgive me, I have uploaded this early and may not get to answer all your comments immediately.

I wanted to share with you my new medical romance REUNITED BY THEIR SECRET SON which is now available on wide release. The eagle-eyed ones amongst you will recognise Finn as Callum Baird’s brother in THE NURSE’S SPECIAL DELIVERY (released December 2017). So, if you remember reading about Finn’s accident that claimed his leg and almost his life and you got to wondering how he was doing, well…here’s your chance to find out.

Reunited By Their Secret Son

It started with one night…

Will it end with them becoming a family?

Sophie can never forget her sizzling encounter with gorgeous stranger Finn. How can she, when her beloved little boy’s a daily reminder? And she can’t forgive Finn for disappearing without a trace afterwards. But she’s shocked to come face-to-face with him at her son’s physio appointment, and sees how much he’s changed… Could this be their chance to finally become a family?

EXCERPT BEGINS:

CHAPTER ONE

He was late.

Finn Baird was never late—not any more. These days he always gave himself extra time to navigate the traffic, negotiate the car park and be in his clinic with plenty of minutes to spare. Mainly so he could both impress the boss and be mentally prepared for the day. But also so he could make readjustments to his leg before he started work.

He just hadn’t anticipated the readjustments would take so long today. Or hurt so damned much.

Which was more than a little irritating because now he was rushing, and the more he rushed the slower he seemed to get, not to mention the more frustrated.

Two months into his new job as paediatric physiotherapist at St Margaret’s Children’s Hospital—Maggie’s to the locals—and he’d made sure he had a reputation for having all the time in the world for his patients. Hell, they deserved it. A lot of them had challenges worse than his and most of them grinned their way through treatment. Through all the pulling and pushing and straightening and bending he made them do, through all the pain, through all the mind-numbingly repetitive exercises, he tried to make them laugh. Tried to make them believe they could achieve anything if they tried.

He definitely needed to take a leaf out of their books.

Trying to smile and hurry along the corridor while gritting his teeth against the pain, he reached the reception area at the same time his boss did. Neither of them looked at their watches. Neither of them acknowledged Finn was late.

And hell, if that was preferential treatment he didn’t want it. ‘Sorry I’m late, Ross. Won’t happen again.’

‘Good morning, Finn. Don’t worry; I know you’ll make it up.’ Ross Andrews, Head of Physiotherapy, threw a pile of paper folders onto the reception desk and looked up. ‘You always stay later than everyone else anyway.’

Because he needed to stay on top of everything. Needed this job to work out, and everything took longer these days. ‘Just want to get the job done properly.’

‘And you do. So you’re forgiven for being a few minutes behind. Great run yesterday. Feeling it a bit today? I certainly am. I think I twinged my back.’ Ross put his palms on the small of his back and stretched backwards. ‘I’ve got to fix that overpronation.’

‘You want me to take a look?’

‘Later, if we get a chance. One of the perks of being a physio, eh? Treatment on tap. I’m so impressed with your race time, Finn—you did great. Really great.’

The minutes were ticking by but Finn could hardly snap at the boss and head off to his first patient, so he took a deep breath and promised himself he’d be doubly efficient today without hurrying the littlies.

‘Let’s be honest—I ran a woeful time. I’m just glad I made it to the finish line.’ There had been a time when he’d completed the ten-mile Great Edinburgh Run in under an hour; this time he’d been lucky—and utterly exhausted and hurting on both his good leg and his gone one—to finish half the distance in the same time. He rubbed his left thigh, still sore and tight, but nowhere near as painful as just below his knee where the stitches had been and where the friction was always most intense. ‘Still, I stayed upright—that was a bonus. I’m aiming for a faster time next year.’

‘Don’t push yourself too hard—you’ll get there. You just need a little incentive…if you know what I mean. Someone to run towards.’ Ross’s eyes grew wider as he nodded.

Finn grinned, remembering seeing Ross overtake him on the home straight, having run twice the distance, right into the arms of his new wife. She’d been so proud of him even Finn hadn’t been able to stop smiling as she cheered and screamed her husband’s name as he went over the finishing line. And then there’d been the kisses; the poor man had barely been able to catch breath.

‘A special someone to cheer me on at the end, right? I’m going to be running a long, long way before that ever happens.’

His boss laughed. ‘Well, you’ll never have it if you don’t even ask a lassie out. Greta’s sister said to drop a huge hint about a double date. She’s single too—?’

Ugh. Not another date set-up. He was starting to regret getting to know his boss a little better out of work. Seemed Finn was surrounded by loved-up couples these days who wanted him to have a piece of the happiness they had. If it wasn’t Ross and Greta it was his brother Callum and his new family down in New Zealand dropping hints at every available opportunity about seeing him paired up. The thing none of them understood—or downright ignored—was the issue of his leg. Or lack of it. If he’d struggled to come to terms with it, then what chance did any woman have? How could he give them what they wanted? ‘Thanks, but no. Really, no.’

Ross shook his head, undeterred as a matchmaker. ‘I never understood why you turned down lovely Julia, the Pilates instructor. Or Molly-Rae from the café…she was definitely dropping big hints to go for a drink. Even I could see that.’

Finn dug deep to keep polite. He dredged up a smile. ‘I mean it, boss. No.’

‘Or there’s the speed dating night every Thursday at the Tavern?’ Ross shrugged. ‘A bit lame, I know. But it’s always a laugh. I went there a few times before I met Greta. As you know, we met at salsa night—oh. Well…Yes…’ He glanced at Finn’s leg and shrugged again. ‘If you can run, you can dance.’

Dancing was a whole lot more than just moving forward in a straight line. ‘Really. I’m fine. Thanks. I’m not looking for anyone. Please tell the lovely Greta I’m fine on my own.’

Even as he said it he knew it sounded hollow. But there it was. Before the accident, Finn had taken his looks and raw physicality for granted and enjoyed them, celebrated them with the best and the most beautiful women he could find. He’d paraded around like a prize chump, all cocky and sure of himself, a peacock on show. He’d had a host of women who’d wanted what he’d wanted: a night of fun and drink and mindless sex. Then his charmed life had started to unravel and the last thing he’d wanted was to attempt dating again. Couldn’t do it, but it didn’t stop them asking. Or his friends trying to set him up.

Most of those women were a blur to him now. All except one…the one who’d not got away, not exactly. The one he’d purposefully let go after he’d fallen from grace, fallen from a great bloody height and broken both his dreams and his body.

Now? He didn’t need anyone. Didn’t want anyone. Didn’t want anyone to see him like this, not after who he’d been before. Not after he’d changed so damned much he was barely recognisable inside or out. ‘If I change my mind, Ross, you’ll be the first to know.’

‘Aye, well, I was like you once—thought I was better off being a lad—but there comes a time in every man’s life when he has to settle down. Get serious.’

‘I’ve a long way before I go to those extremes.’ Finn laughed. ‘I’m pretty serious about myself these days and that’s about all I can manage for now.’ He’d had to relearn how to do pretty much everything and was still learning. He changed the subject, jumping into work as always. Because work made him focus on the possible, not the impossible, like having a woman who even liked the look of him, let alone could fall for him and see a future. ‘I’m going to be running very late, so I need to get on. Who’ve we got today?’

‘Some regular follow-ups from your predecessor and a couple of new referrals. Nothing too taxing. You’re doing just fine. Don’t rush. They’ll understand.’ Ross looked meaningfully again at Finn’s left leg.

‘I prefer it if the leg doesn’t come up in conversation.’ Finn whipped round to peer at the computer for details of his first client, twisting his leg in the prosthetic. A searing pain ran up his knee. He inhaled sharply, clenched his teeth and waited for the pain to subside. ‘Okay. Okay. Let’s go.’

‘You all right? You need a seat?’ Reaching out to steady Finn, Ross peered at him, all concern and questions.

Damn. The last thing he needed was a father figure…scratch that, a brother figure. He already had one of those and even twelve thousand miles away he still managed to be overbearing and overly concerned about Finn’s welfare. All. The. Time.

The whole point of taking this job and being this new person in a new city, putting the past well and truly behind him, was to live a normal life. He didn’t want people to keep asking if he was all right. And yes, he knew they cared and were just being nice. But he didn’t want to be treated any differently to everyone else.

He counted to ten under his breath as the pain faded. ‘Yep. I’m fine. But even after more than two years I keep forgetting.’ And it wasn’t just the physical pain that assailed him, sometimes out of nowhere. ‘Still, I’m good to go. And now I’m really late.’

 

Four hours later and his leg was no better, neither was his mood, although the kids always made him smile. A missed appointment meant he could catch up. All he had to do now was finish these notes and then he could lock his door, slip off his prosthesis and the silicone liner and relax for a few minutes.

As he sat in his office—the closest to Reception so he wouldn’t have to walk far, apparently—he heard a kerfuffle in the waiting area.

A woman’s voice, soft and apologetic. Breathless. ‘I’m so, so late. I’m sorry. Really sorry. Lachie had a meltdown at home which delayed things a bit…you know what it’s like…he’s hit the terrible twos six months early. Then I couldn’t get a parking space and then there was something wrong with the pushchair—I think it might be one of the front wheels; it’s wanting to go in the opposite direction to all the others.’

The talking stopped. Finn assumed it was for the woman to draw breath. He heard the receptionist sigh. Then that soft voice again. ‘I know you’re all busy. I’m so sorry. Please, if anyone could see us I’m happy to wait as long as it takes.’

Their receptionist was renowned for running a tight ship. ‘I’m sorry but we have a full list today and there’s no wriggle room to fit you in. I can make another appointment for Lachie?’

‘He really needs to be seen today. I know it’s not relevant, or shouldn’t be, but I’ve taken the day off work as holiday just so we could get here. I’m fast running out of holiday days…’ Desperation laced her words. ‘It’s his boots, you see—they’re rubbing and he hates wearing them. That was the trouble this morning—when I took them off after he’d worn them all night he threw them across the room.’ A pause. ‘Please.’

Finn stretched his left knee. Yeah, he knew all about rubbing. About the tension before you put the damned thing on because you just knew it was going to be sore. He knew how hard that was for a grown man to get his head round, never mind a…what did she say?…eighteen-month-old. He sent an urgent message to the receptionist’s screen.

I’ll see them. Just give me a few minutes to finish these notes.

A message flicked back: Thanks. The good karma fairy is looking down on you.

‘Okay. One of the physiotherapists will miss his lunch for you. Please take a seat.’

The softly spoken woman’s voice wavered. ‘Oh. That’s very kind. Thank you. Thank you. Lachie? The nice man will see you soon.’

Finn walked through to the waiting room and was just about to call out the boy’s name when he was struck completely dumb. His heart thudded against his ribcage as he watched the woman reading a story to her child. Her voice quiet and sing-song, dark hair tumbling over one shoulder, ivory skin. A gentle manner. Soft.

His brain rewound, flickering like an old film reel: dark curls on the pillow. Warm caramel eyes. A mouth that tasted so sweet. Laughter in the face of grief. One night.

That night…

A lifetime ago.

He snapped back to reality. He wasn’t that man any more; he’d do well to remember that. He cleared his throat and glanced down at the notes file in his hand to remind himself of the name. ‘Lachlan Harding?’

‘Yes. Yes—oh?’ She froze, completely taken aback. For a second he saw fear flicker across her eyes then she stood up. Fear? Why? Because he’d never called as he’d promised? ‘Finn? Is it you? It’s Finn, yes?’

There was little warmth there; her mouth was taut in a straight line. No laughter. Not at all. She was still startlingly pretty. Not a trace of make-up, but she didn’t need anything to make her any more beautiful. His gut clenched as he remembered more of that night and how good she’d made him feel.

Too bad, matey.

The fear gone, she smiled hesitantly and tugged the boy closer to her leg, her voice a little wobbly and a little less soft. ‘Wow. Finn, this is a surprise—’

‘Sophie. Hello. Yes, I’m Finn. Long time, no see.’ Glib, he knew, when there was so much he should say to explain what had happened, why he hadn’t called, but telling her his excuses during a professional consultation wasn’t the right time. Besides, she had a child now; she’d moved on from their one night together, clearly. He glanced at her left hand, the one that held her boy so close—no wedding ring. But that didn’t mean a thing these days; she could be happily unmarried and in a relationship.

And why her marital status pinged into his head he just didn’t know. He had no right to wonder after the silence he’d held for well over two years.

They were just two people who’d shared one night a long time ago. There was no professional line to cross here. He was doing her a favour by seeing her son. If things felt awkward he could always assign her to a different physiotherapist for the next appointment.

‘Yes. Wow. It’s a small world.’ He infused his manner with professionalism, choosing not to go down Memory Lane. He was a different man now. Although he couldn’t help but notice as he turned that his left leg was shaking a little more than usual. In fact, all of him was. It was surprise, that was all. His past life clashing with his present. He concentrated hard on being steady and not limping in front of her, because for some reason it mattered that she saw him as whole. ‘Right, then, so this is Lachie? Come on through.’

Good karma? No chance. Judging by the way Sophie was looking at him, the good karma fairy had gone on her lunch break.

EXCERPT ENDS

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Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt – Falling for his Best Friend

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by Emily Forbes

They’ve been friends forever…

When nurse Kitty Nelson becomes a surrogate for her sister, her best friend, paramedic Joe Harkness, is right there for her. But as Kitty’s pregnancy blossoms, Joe begins to see her in a very different light! Finally admitting a connection he’s never felt with anyone else, is it too late to convince Kitty they’re meant to be?

This is my current release and it is also one of the books on our  VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY! Don’t miss out, it is running until the 13th February 2018. If you haven’t entered yet here is the link ….

Valentines day giveaway 2018

Good luck and Happy Reading!

If you do miss out here are the buy links for my book:

Mills & Boon UK

Mills & Boon Australia

Harlequin

Other bookstores

And you can keep up to date at my website https://www.emily-forbesauthor.com/

 

 Falling for His Best Friend

Kitty was starting to feel more like her normal self. Her morning sickness was abating and, at twenty-two weeks, she was now feeling like she thought she was supposed to – a glowing, pregnant woman. She hadn’t gained much weight yet except for in her breasts but she felt voluptuous for the first time in her life and it was making her feel very feminine. She knew it was hormonal but she was constantly thinking about sex. She hadn’t had sex in six months, nearly seven, and she was beginning to think she might go crazy unless she did something about it.

And it seemed she wasn’t the only one as she sat with Lisa and a couple of other nurses at the Manly Pier Hotel and the talk turned, inevitably, to men and the lack of good ones.

Kitty was enjoying the evening. It was good to be out and nice to have the focus off the pregnancy for a little while. At home it had become the number one topic of conversation and she was looking forward to talking about the things she used to discuss with her girlfriends. The pub was busy, the line at the bar a couple of people deep. It was her turn to buy the drinks but she didn’t feel like fighting her way through the crowd. Like a knight in shining armour Joe appeared and offered to place their order.

‘You and Joe aren’t an item?’ one of the nurses asked, continuing the conversation as she watched Joe walk to the bar.

‘No. Just friends,’ Kitty replied.

‘With benefits?’ Victoria asked.

‘No.’ She shook her head.

‘He’s hot.’

He did look good tonight she thought although she had to pretend she hadn’t noticed. He wore his favourite jeans, they were her favourites on him too, they hugged his arse and highlighted what she considered to be one of his best features. A white t-shirt hugged his chest. It was a simple outfit but it showcased his body to perfection. He was fit and muscular with just the right amount of confident swagger she thought as she watched him leaning on the bar. His dark hair was casually perfect, he looked like he hadn’t made a huge amount of effort, as if he got out of bed looking like this – relaxed and gorgeous with a cheeky grin for whichever female he was talking to.

She had to agree with Victoria. Joe was hot but she’d long ago taught herself to ignore it. They were friends, first and foremost, and she was too afraid of ruining the status quo to ever test the boundaries of that friendship. She needed him as a friend and she wasn’t going to risk their relationship by blurring the lines.

‘Is he single?’ Victoria asked as they watched Joe return to their table.

‘He’s single,’ she admitted.

He delivered their drinks with a smile, making the dimple in his chin flash and Kitty noticed that Victoria couldn’t take her eyes of him. He didn’t stay, choosing instead to go out to the deck where some of his mates were drinking, and Victoria’s gaze followed his path through the crowd.

All the talk about men and, more specifically, Joe, had Kitty flustered. She couldn’t think about him and sex in the same conversation. She’d trained herself not to and besides, he’d never even hinted that he’d be willing to cross that line in the sand.

But what if he did? What would she do?

She shook her head.

She’d be crazy to even consider it. She wasn’t prepared to risk the friendship of a lifetime for a brief encounter between the sheets. Even if her hormones were going crazy there were others ways to scratch that itch. Kitty drained her water glass and stood up as the DJ played his first track. The pub was full of good-looking young men, Joe was not the only eligible bachelor here, she thought as she dragged Lisa onto the dance floor.

 

 

 

Joe could see Kitty on the dance floor from his vantage point on the deck. She looked particularly beautiful tonight. He knew she was suffering a little from morning sickness but she had a pregnancy glow and by the evening she was obviously feeling, and looking, better. Her hair was thick and glossy and her skin was luminous. She moved well, she was the epitome of someone who danced as if no one was watching and he took advantage of that fact to watch her.

She was normally slight but the pregnancy had added some curves to her bust and her hips he thought as he watched her hips move to the music. She let herself go to the rhythm of the song and Joe let his eyes follow her movements. There was something hypnotic, almost sensual, about her dancing.

He shook his head and turned away. He felt awkward and exposed now, he wasn’t used to thinking about Kitty in that sense. Of course he’d noticed little things about her before, the depth of her brown eyes, the curve of her lips, the twin dimples in her cheeks, but he’d never let himself entertain an image of her as a sexual being before. He’d always kept her firmly in the friend zone.

He turned his gaze to Lisa instead as he tried to get the image of Kitty’s hips out of his head and watched as the girls were joined by a couple of guys – strangers – or at least they were strangers to him. Not that who Kitty danced with was any of his business but Joe felt his hackles rise anyway as his protective, or should that be territorial, instincts came to the fore.

Kitty danced for a few more minutes but when Lisa’s boyfriend arrived she excused herself and headed to the bar, followed by one of the guys. Joe’s protective instincts kicked up another notch.  If this guy wanted a chance with Kitty he’d have to go through him first.

He pushed his way through the crowd and arrived at Kitty’s side just as the guy asked. ‘What can I get you?’

‘She’ll have a water,’ Joe answered.

The guy looked from Kitty to Joe. ‘I wasn’t asking you.’

‘And yet, I’m answering.’ His protective instincts were on high alert now, Kitty didn’t need a stranger buying her drinks, and as the guy half-turned away from Joe to face Kitty, obviously not about to listen to Joe, he couldn’t resist adding, ‘She’s pregnant, she’ll have a water.’

He saw the guy glance down at Kitty’s stomach. There were no visible signs of her pregnancy yet, not unless you knew her. Joe knew that her breasts were bigger and she was a little softer, a little more rounded, more voluptuous, but she was wearing a loose sleeveless top and jeans. All anyone else would notice was the size of her breasts. And Joe didn’t want other guys noticing that.

Her skin glowed. She looked beautiful. And cross.

She was glaring at Joe but he pretended not to notice.

The guy looked back at Joe. He looked irritated too but Joe didn’t care. ‘Are you the father?’ he asked.

‘No.’

‘Then what business is it of yours?’

‘It’s her brother-in-law’s baby,’ Joe stated flatly.

The look on the stranger’s face was priceless. If Kitty wasn’t still glaring at him Joe would have laughed. The guy looked completely horrified and he disappeared fast. Just as Joe had hoped.

‘What are you doing?’ Kitty turned on him.

‘What are you doing?’ he countered.

‘I was talking. He was cute.’ She was watching him walk away. ‘And now he thinks I’m a complete crazy.’

‘He wasn’t cute,’ Joe said. ‘And he looked about eighteen. No wonder he ran.’ He couldn’t help the smile that broke out on his face but Kitty was still cross.

‘Shit, Joe, I haven’t had sex in almost seven months, my hormones are going wild and I’m about to burst with frustration. I wasn’t going to marry the guy. It’s just sex.’

Just sex.

Joe saw red. He’d never understood that expression until now. Blackness encroached onto the edges of his vision as a red haze washed over the centre. His scientific background told him that the visual disturbance was due to a rush of blood through his body, and he would swear he could feel his blood pressure building, but he had a burning desire to punch something.

He didn’t want to think about Kitty having sex and certainly not with strangers. The very idea horrified him.

He was aware of other men looking at her with interest and listening to their conversation. He took a deep breath and tried to clear his vision as he gripped her elbow and steered her out to the relative quiet of the deck before any other strangers offered to help her out.

‘I was only talking to him,’ she argued, not prepared to let the discussion drop. ‘What’s the matter with you?’

‘You were talking to him but thinking about sex,’ he replied. ‘You don’t know anything about him.’ He knew he sounded like an irrational fool, Kitty was an adult and could make her own decisions, but he really didn’t want her thinking about having sex with strangers.

Kitty rolled her eyes. ‘If you hadn’t scared him off I might have found out more about him. That’s how meeting people works, Joe. You meet, you talk, you decide if you like each other.’

‘And then you have sex.’

‘That was my plan.’

‘But you’re pregnant.’

‘So? You think people don’t have sex when they’re pregnant?’

He didn’t want to think about her having sex, pregnant or otherwise, and not with strangers, that was for damn sure.

She was grinning at him now, the little dimples in her cheeks twinkling. He didn’t want her to think he was being funny, he was deadly serious. And he wanted her to take him seriously.

He was sorely tempted to offer his services but bit his tongue just in time. There was no way in hell that was a good idea.

She was waiting for his answer. Looking up at him with her big brown eyes, making it difficult to remember just why taking her in his arms and taking her to bed would be so terrible.

‘I don’t want to talk about you having pregnant sex,’ he said as he tried futilely not to imagine what her lips would taste like. Tried not to imagine how her breasts would feel under his fingers.

‘Why not?’

They were standing very close now and the noise from the bar receded into the distance as Kitty continued to look up at him, a challenge in her dark eyes.

Why not what? He couldn’t remember what he’d said. He couldn’t think straight when she looked at him like that. She was all lips and eyes and breasts and he was a mess.

Their conversation was forgotten as he stared at her lips. He thought about kissing her soundly, showing her what it was like to be kissed by someone who knew her well. Who cared about her. Showing her how much better that was than kissing a complete stranger. Why had he never kissed her before. He couldn’t remember.

Everything receded, the noise, the crowd, until there was just the two of them.

He searched for a good reason not to kiss her now and couldn’t think of one. The urge to kiss her was overpowering and he didn’t know if he could resist.

He bent his head.

She lifted her chin and tilted her head up to him.

***

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Hot Docs!

I wish you a Merry Christmas…

All I Want for Christmas, emilyforbes-72dpi-1500x2000

I love Christmas and I love summer and, in Australia, two of my favourite things combine but I would love to experience a white Christmas. We watch it in the movies and sing about it in our Christmas carols -which is hilarious as Christmas Day Down Under can often be 100°F/ 39°C – while we are drinking chilled Champagne and eating seafood, fresh berries and pavlova (basically a big meringue but better  🙂 )followed by a swim in the pool.

What I would love to know is if anyone in the northern hemisphere dreams of a hot Christmas or is it a southern hemisphere thing?

Wherever you are and however you are celebrating I wish you a very Merry Christmas with love, laughter, friends and family. And if you haven’t finished (or started!) your shopping here are some suggestions gathered from around the globe.

From left to right, top to bottom:

UK, USA, Canada ; Germany; USA & Canada; Sweden

Australia; Italy; France

Italy; Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland; France; South Africa.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and happy and healthy 2018,

Emily xx

 

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Navy Doc on Her Christmas List

 

I can’t believe it’s December 1st. Today’s the day my 16th Harlequin Medical Navy Doc on Her Christmas List (Christmas in Manhattan) drops today. It’s the last book in the Christmas in Manhattan series which features, Alison Roberts, Janice Lynn, Robin Gianna, Amalie Berlin, Susan Carlisle and myself.

It’s a romance between Dr. Ella Lockwood and one of the youngest Davenports, Zac.

A snowbound reunion!

Tension between Dr. Ella Lockwood and former navy doc Zac Davenport is sky-high! All she can think about is how he once broke her vulnerable heart.

But now she’s a confident ER surgeon who’ll never let him hurt her again. And being snowed in together on Christmas Eve at Manhattan Mercy reveals his last tour of duty has changed Zac, too. But that compelling spark is still there—and one more irresistible kiss is all it takes to start healing the wounds that have held them back…

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I’m still in a bit of shock that it’s December. This year has flown by. My Christmas tree is up and the lights are on. My shopping is done. Yes, I am one of those people who shop early. I worked retail WAY to many years to attempt shopping when people in the malls seem the most surliest.

Beyond all the grumpiness of retail, I do love this time of year. I love seeing my kids get excited about the Elf on the shelf moving around (yeah we do that). I love buying presents for them. I really don’t care about what I get, I just like buying for them.

I love snuggling down and watching Christmas specials with them. I love it all.

It’s too bad at the start of my book, my heroine doesn’t like any of these things. Not that I blame her in the least, but by the end she doesn’t mind Christmas.

Sort of like the Grinch her heart grows to accept love. Unlike the Grinch she’s not green and hairy.

And in January my 17th Harlequin Medical releases and it’s a New Years book. I told you, I do love this time of year. 🙂

9781335663238
Available January 2018

I’m getting my newsletter ready for a chance to win a complete paperback set of the Christmas in Manhattan series. If you’re already subscribed to my newsletter, you’re already entered. You can subscribe here.

Have a Happy Holiday. Whatever you celebrate, I hope that you are surrounded by love, health and happiness. On to 2018!

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Excerpt and Giveaway from Emily Forbes

The Doctor Next Door, emilyforbes-72dpi-1500x2000I’m celebrating the end of winter in Oz with a free book for Kindle readers in the USA and Canada. The Doctor Next Door  ebook will be available to download for free from August 31 to September 4.

One Night that Changed her Life, USAA Sept 2017 I’m also really pleased to share an excerpt from my current Harlequin release,  One Night That Changed Her Life  Click the link for availability. It is also available through Mills&Boon , Harlequin and  Mills&Boon UK

 

CHAPTER ONE

Brighde hid behind a conference banner as she stabbed her finger at the screen of her phone. Her hand was shaking as she tried to end the call and it took her two attempts to press the right spot. She took a deep breath, fighting to remember her yoga breathing as she fought back the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes.

She was happy for Nick, really she was, but her brother’s phone call had confirmed her worst fears.

Good news for him could only mean bad news for her.

She struggled with the clasp of her bag, eventually managing to open it and shoved her phone inside before snapping the clasp shut. She needed a drink. A strong one.

There were plenty of free drinks on offer in the hotel ballroom where one of the major pharmaceutical drug companies was hosting the end of conference party but Brighde didn’t feel like going back into the crowd. She needed space almost as much as she needed a drink.

The ballroom was on the hotel’s mezzanine floor but on the floor below she knew there was a bar adjoining the lobby. She looked at the staircase, the expanse of carpet between her and the stairs looked immense and she wasn’t sure if she’d make it. Her knees wobbled as she took the first step and she focussed on putting one foot in front of the other until she could reach for the banister. She clutched it tightly, steadying herself for the descent. The simple task of negotiating a staircase suddenly seemed to require enormous effort. Was that a sign? She knew difficulty with motor skills was often one of the first obvious symptoms of the disease, impaired voluntary movements like gait and balance were hard to ignore, but surely that would be too much of a coincidence.

Get a hold of yourself, Brighde, she admonished herself, you’re only twenty-eight, you’re not about to fall apart yet.

She hoped she was right but it was hard to discount the feeling of mounting panic. Her chest was tight and she was finding it hard to breathe. She was surprised by her reaction to Nick’s phone call. She’d always suspected that she would be dealt the bad hand and she hadn’t expected to be so shocked.

This was what she’d always dreaded. It wasn’t exactly a surprise but, at the end of the day, it obviously didn’t matter how prepared she thought she was, the truth of it was no one wanted to know they were going to an early grave.

Somehow she managed to get down the stairs and into the bar on her wobbly legs without taking a tumble. She perched on a stool and ordered a vodka martini. She had no idea if she liked martinis, she drank vodka but she felt she needed something more potent. Something that would numb the pain and a martini sounded like it might do the trick. She didn’t want to ask the bartender for suggestions, she just wanted to anaesthetise herself.

She plucked the olive from the toothpick as she drained her glass.

Martinis weren’t too bad she decided as she ordered another.

‘Brighde! What are you doing down here?’

Brighde turned at the sound of her name and found Sarah, her best friend, colleague and room-mate all rolled into one, making a bee line for her across the room.

‘Just collecting my thoughts.’

‘Looks like you’re collecting more than thoughts,’ Sarah said as the bartender put a fresh cocktail on the bar.

Sarah was watching her closely as she pulled out another bar stool and sat down.

‘Who was on the phone?’ she asked. She’d been standing next to Brighde when she’d taken the call.

‘Nick.’

‘Is everything ok?’

‘He got his test results back.’

‘At nine o’clock at night?’

Brighde shook her head. ‘No. But it took him a while to figure out how to tell me.’

‘Was it bad news?’

‘Not for him.’ Sarah and Brighde had been friends for ten years since meeting at university where they both studied nursing. Brighde had no secrets from Sarah.  ‘He had ten repeats.’

‘He tested negative?’

Brighde nodded.

‘That’s great news.’

‘Yes. It is,’ she said, fighting to speak past the lump in her throat. She still felt like crying even though nothing she’d heard in the phone call should make any difference. Nothing had really changed. She had her reasons for not getting tested and those reasons hadn’t altered. She could go on just as before. Nick’s results didn’t affect her future plans but she knew they solidified her fears. His results didn’t confirm her suspicions but they definitely strengthened them.

‘You don’t seem happy,’ Sarah said.

‘We each had a fifty-fifty chance of inheriting a faulty gene. There’s only two of us,’ Brighde explained. ‘What do you think the chances are of both of us dodging a bullet?’

‘You know the answer to that. It’s still fifty-fifty. Just because Nick is clear doesn’t mean you won’t be. The chance of you inheriting the gene or not hasn’t changed. Nick’s results have no bearing on you.’

Brighde knew Sarah’s facts were correct. The reality was her chances of inheriting the mutated gene hadn’t changed but she still felt the odds were not in her favour. She’d always felt that. Which was why she never intended to get tested. Who wanted to know that you were going to an early grave? Who wanted that fear confirmed?

Not her.

‘I know you’re right. In theory. But I’ve always felt that I was going to draw the short straw and knowing Nick is ok just reinforces all those feelings. Huntington’s Disease is dominantly inherited and I can’t believe we’d both dodge the bullet. I don’t think we could both be that lucky.’

‘And I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it tonight,’ Sarah said as she shook her head at the bartender who was clearing Brighde’s glass and asking if she wanted another. ‘Come and dance, have some fun. You know Nick’s results have no bearing on you. The band’s playing some good music, dancing will take your mind off it.’

Brighde let Sarah convince her to vacate the bar in favour of the dance floor. She didn’t really feel like dancing but she felt less like going back to the hotel room and staring at the walls. She was feeling miserable enough already.

*

Xavier nursed his beer as he watched the dance floor. It was taking him a little while to get back into beer drinking. He hadn’t realised he’d acquired such a taste for whisky in his years of living in Scotland but when in Rome…. Or Edinburgh.

What he was getting accustomed to far more quickly was the plethora of attractive young women at the conference. The band had been playing for some time and the dance floor was full. His eyes were drawn to a petite blonde in a sapphire dress. He’d been watching her for a while now, she’d been late onto the dance floor but even among the crowd she’d stood out. He’d tried to look elsewhere but his gaze continued to return to her. He believed you could tell exactly what a woman was like in bed by the way she moved on the dance floor. The blonde had rhythm and energy. Her dress shimmered under the lights and her hair shone, contrasting brightly against all the black outfits in the room.  She was striking to look at. She wasn’t smiling, she looked focussed, but she danced like she enjoyed it and he’d put money on her enjoying sex too. She looked fit and flexible and carefree, all admirable traits in his opinion, and he was hooked.

He waited until she left the dance floor. He wasn’t going anywhere until he’d spoken to her. He could dance but he wasn’t about to dance in front of hundreds of his fellow medicos. He’d rather dance a deux and so he waited.

*

The band were playing a love song that was impossible to dance too without a partner. She needed pop music. Something she could lose herself in. She gestured to Sarah – she was going to grab a drink – and made her way to the bar at the side of the ballroom.

She had intended to get a water, dancing had taken her mind off the earlier phone call, but once she stopped dancing and reached the bar all her doubts returned. She’d have a water later.  She needed another drink to numb the pain.

‘Can I buy you a drink?’

Brighde’s skin tingled as she felt, rather than saw, someone behind her. His voice was deep and quiet and although she couldn’t see him she knew he was addressing her. She closed her eyes, imagining a face to go with the voice, before she turned around, hoping she wasn’t going to be disappointed.

She wasn’t.

She turned to find the most gorgeous man she’d seen in a long time at her side. How had she not noticed him in the room? Okay there were hundreds of people at the conference but seriously, he was magnificent. She must have been more distracted than she’d realised.

He watched her as he waited for her answer. His dark eyes studied her, captivating her in his gaze.

‘The drinks are free, you know,’ she replied.

‘In that case, I’ll get you two.’ He grinned at her, lightening the seriousness of his dark stare and Brighde lost the last remnants of her composure.

He looked like European royalty. No, He wasn’t clean cut enough for royalty. His dark hair was slightly too long, exploding around his oval face into soft curls that just begged her to reach out and touch them. His jaw was covered in designer stubble, his eyes were dark and his forehead was strong. He was dark and swarthy and sexy as hell. Confidence oozed from him. He was impeccably dressed, his dark navy suit hung from his shoulders and fitted his frame, the pants were slim, encasing powerful thighs. He looked like a European polo player. Something out of a Jilly Cooper novel. He looked rich and successful, although of course she had no idea if that was the case, and he wanted to buy her a drink. If there was a downside to his offer she couldn’t think of one.

‘What are you having?’ he asked. He didn’t wait for her to accept his offer. He just assumed she wouldn’t refuse. Was that confidence or was it simply an assumption based on the fact it was an open bar? She didn’t know but she also didn’t care. She wasn’t going anywhere. Not now.

She shouldn’t mix her drinks but the bar wasn’t offering martinis and she knew she needed more than water if she was going to be brave enough to keep up her side of the conversation with this gorgeous man. ‘I’ll have a white wine,’ she said as she perched on a bar stool. She didn’t need to sit down but she needed to take a step back. He was standing close to her, that wasn’t a problem but she wanted to get a good, second look at him and she needed a bit of distance to do that.

He ordered and handed her a glass. His fingers brushed hers and a spark arced between them, setting her already nervous heart racing. It had been several months since she’d shared a drink with a man but she knew it wasn’t the length of time making her react this way.

Was the touch accidental? She wondered as he tapped his beer glass against her wine and made a toast. ‘To new experiences.’

He held her gaze a fraction longer than was polite and her stomach flipped and she knew his touch had been deliberate. Her body was responding to him in a way it never had before. She’d never felt such immediate attraction or, if she was honest, such blatant lust before. He made her think of naked bodies and tangled sheets and raw, amazing sex and and she knew exactly how this night would end. ‘Indeed,’ she replied as a sense of delicious anticipation flooded through her. She smiled and added, ‘I’m Brighde.’

‘Xavier.’

She didn’t need to know any more than that.

‘Have you enjoyed the conference?’ he asked her.

So he was part of the conference and hadn’t just snuck in for the free drinks.

‘It’s been really good,’ she said as she put her glass on the bar and crossed her legs, pleased that she’d had a little bit of free time to lie by the hotel pool and work on her tan. ‘But I could do with a few days off to recover before I go back to work. I’m heading home tomorrow, back to work on Monday.’

‘That’s a pity. I’ll be here for a few more days.’

‘Work or pleasure?’ she asked.

‘Purely pleasure.’ He kept his dark eyes fixed on her as he reached past her shoulder, picking up a napkin from the bar. His arm brushed against her skin and she could feel his words on her cheek, soft little puffs of air. She knew he didn’t need the napkin, she knew it had just been an excuse to lean in but she wasn’t complaining. She could feel the electricity surging between them. They could power the room with the heat that was being generated between them. She wasn’t aware of the music, the dancing, of anything that was going on around them. She was lost in the sensation he was evoking in her. She could feel his charisma wrapping itself around her as his pheromones enveloped her. Her nipples hardened and she squirmed in her seat. She pressed her thighs together as heat pooled low in her belly.

‘I’ve been working in Scotland,’ he told her, ‘but the conference seemed like a good way to keep the tax man happy and visit my family.’

‘Family?’

‘My parents live here.’

‘You’re travelling alone? No partner? No wife?’ She played with the ends of her hair, feigning casualness. She had to know the answer. She had rules and standards. She knew she would have sex with this gorgeous stranger, having sex would be a far healthier, and much more entertaining, distraction than drowning her worries with alcohol, but first she needed to establish some ground rules. She didn’t want to make any mistakes.

‘No wife. No girlfriend. No significant other.’

Now it was her turn to smile. ‘Good to know.’ She kept her gaze fixed on him now, wanting him to know where she stood. What she wanted. She didn’t need to know anything else about him. She knew she wouldn’t see him again. He was only visiting; she was leaving tomorrow. She hadn’t had sex for ages and a one-night stand with this gorgeous man was a good option all round. No commitment, just a bit of fun and a good way to keep her mind busy. She didn’t want time to think about her brother’s phone call. She wanted something to take her mind off her situation. This was perfect.

She wanted Xavier.

And she wanted him to know that.

But Xavier was looking to his right.

Sarah had joined them.

Brighde watched her friend looking from her to Xavier and she knew she was taking in the distance, or lack of, between them. She watched as Sarah, quite blatantly, checked him out.

‘I’m off,’ Sarah said when she’d finished her inspection. ‘Are you coming?’

Brighde thought about it for a second, okay to be honest, a millisecond, she didn’t need any longer than that when Xavier was looking at her with his come to bed eyes. ‘No, I think I’m going to stay here for a bit.’

She knew Sarah’s question had been rhetorical. She knew her plans for the rest of the evening were written all over her face but she didn’t care. She wasn’t even looking at Sarah as she answered, she couldn’t make herself tear her eyes away from Xavier. He oozed sex appeal and she knew it was only a matter of time before she would be in his bed. She could feel it. She knew he wanted it too. She could feel the desire coming off him in waves and he was just what she needed to take her mind off the phone call she’d had earlier. Taking gorgeous men to bed ticked all the right boxes and it was a habit she had no intention of breaking. Okay, so she didn’t do it all that often, she could barely remember the last time she’d even had sex, but a one-night stand was the perfect way to scratch an itch.

She needed sex but she didn’t need a relationship. One night was enough. There was no need to go into details, no need to reveal anything personal about herself. She didn’t consider sex to be personal, sex with a stranger couldn’t hurt her, not as much as revealing her fears. She could happily share her body but not her mind. Her body was going to let her down one day, she owed it nothing.

Sarah nodded and smiled. She lent forwards and kissed Brighde’s cheek. ‘Have fun,’ she whispered into Brighde’s ear.

Brighde watched her go and when she turned back to Xavier she found he’d moved closer to her. His thigh pressed against her knee. She shifted forward on the bar stool, sliding her knee against the inside of his thigh. Their intentions were perfectly clear.

She looked up at him to find his dark eyes watching her. Her reaction was immediate and primal and she could feel her nipples jutting against the cool silk of her dress. She saw his gaze drop lower, saw him take in the peak of her nipples against the fabric of her dress. When he looked back at her his gaze was so intense and full of heat she thought she might melt into a pool of desire at his feet.

‘Can I offer you a night cap upstairs?’ he asked as he lifted her empty glass from her hand. He reached across her to put her half-finished drink on the bar and the back of his hand brushed across her chest, grazing her nipple. Brighde felt like she might climax on the spot.

She swallowed and nodded as she licked her lips. Despite everything she’d had to drink her throat was suddenly dry and she was having difficulty breathing, let alone speaking. She was experienced in the art of seduction but not in relationships. She didn’t communicate with words. She sought the comfort of sex when she needed it, emotionally or physically. Tonight she needed it to distract herself. It had worked in the past and, looking at Xavier, she was sure it would work again today.

He took her hand and helped her off the stool. Once again her legs had turned to jelly but she barely noticed this time. She was too aware of the tingling in her belly and the intense weight of expectation and excitement in her groin.

Xavier held the door for her as she stepped into the lift.

He reached out one hand and his fingers rested on her waist. She could feel his heat through the thin silk fabric of her dress. He pulled her closer until she was pressed against him. She could feel his desire now, a thick, hard bulge pressing into her. She tipped her head back and looked up at him as the lift stopped and the doors slid open.

***

 

One Night That Changed Her Life  is also available through Mills&Boon , Harlequin and  Mills&Boon UK

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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

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Happy April!

I was going to say something witty about the fact April showers bring May flowers, but it’s April 7th and there’s snow on the ground where I live. Boo!

I love April, even though it’s usually a rainy month. April is my birthday month. It means, ice cream cake! WOOT!

Although, since starting Weight Watchers in January I might opt for some frozen yogurt. *little woot*

April is also a very busy month for me. Ever since I sold to Harlequin, I always seem to have a deadline around or right before my birthday. I’m not complaining, because I love the work. And honestly, I never really noticed before until my husband started building my office in the basement.

See, I had this great office in the spare bedroom in the basement, but then my daughter became a teenager and wanted her own space (and bathroom), so I gave up that room so she could get away from her brothers. The boys each had their own room upstairs and I worked in the living room, with stuff scattered in boxes in the unfinished part of the basement.

Then, my boys missed being together. So they took their bunk beds and moved back into a room together. I took the other upstairs room. I loved it. I loved having that office again where I could close a door and work. I wrote One Night in New York and my Sealed with a Valentine’s Kiss duet in that room.

Ahh. It was heaven. That lasted about a year. Then, the fighting and bickering started as they got older.

I went back to my boxes in the basement and have been working in the living room. I escape to hotel rooms near my deadline to work, because it’s hard once the kids come home to write in the living room. Since I dropped Diet Coke for good, I can’t pull all nighters and with working out …I don’t want too. I’m tired.

My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said a small room where I can shut you all out. I love my family, but for my sanity and career, I need a door between us.

So, he went to work. Everything is done (as of writing this blog post) but the door.

The first thing up was my new wardrobe. It’s massive and I was finally able to take all the copious author copies from 14 books (currently out) and store them somewhere safe. This picture isn’t even the foreign translations. I keep one copy of foreign translation books and I’m shipping out a bunch to different libraries.

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14 books released so far, 3 books per shelves. All the hard covers are on the bottom. It’s a lot of books!

Then after the walls were up I got bookshelves! They’re pretty bare, but it’s a work in progress. Nice to have all my books together. Something to look at.

The table I work at is one my Mom made when she was moving into her first apartment, or rather she was going to move into her first apartment alone and then met my Dad. LOL

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Yep, that’s a Mountie Bear and the painting is one I did.

I can’t wait to finish unpacking, but I’m headed to Toronto this weekend for an all day workshop with the Toronto Romance Writers. Since it starts bright and early Saturday, I’m spending the night in my old hometown by myself in a hotel room to write.

And I’m taking the train. I love taking the train, especially business class because I can work on the train. It’s a 3 hr train ride (roughly) to downtown T.O.

It’s only one night away, since I’m catching the late night train back to London, Ontario Saturday night, but I’m planning on enjoying the silence and cranking up the word count.

Maybe, just maybe there will be door to my office on my return.

Oh and in March, I had 2 releases! Check them out.

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His Pregnant Royal Bride (Royal Spring Babies Book 1)

Pregnant with the prince’s baby

Nurse Shay Labadie’s one exquisite night of passion with Dr. Dante Affini was meant to be a beautiful memory. But now Shay’s expecting…and Dante is expecting her to take his hand in marriage!

Dante’s proposal is shocking enough, but then he drops an even bigger bombshell—he’s not just a doctor, he’s a prince! Now to win his child and the woman he loves, Dante will have to prove he can master his most important role yet—as the husband Shay deserves…

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The Omega Team: Biochemical Reaction

An attraction like no other…

Former Navy Seal Jack Crane walked away after a chemical attack wiped out his platoon and scarred him, forcing him out of the military–the hardest thing he ever had to do…Until Omega Team contacted him to protect an undercover agent at a secret lab.

Lisa Morgan had nothing to lose when she took on the assignment to uncover Bio-Tek’s dark secrets concerning the deadly chemical agent that killed her brother and cost her the only man she ever loved a decade ago when he walked away.

When the man hired to protect her turns out to be Jack, she’s forced to trust with her life the man she couldn’t trust with her heart, and make sure the antidote for that terrible chemical gets into the right hands before it’s too late.

 

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