Amy and I are at it again with another duo set in Sydney.
Reunited with Her Brooding Surgeon is Grace’s story:
Grace Gibson loves her job as a transplant coordinator at a Sydney hospital but she’s blindsided when a ghost from her past reappears. Devastatingly handsome surgeon, Marcus Washington, was her childhood neighbour – but he’s all man now and hiding a wealth of pain. Will Grace be the woman to break down his walls and claim his heart?
and Tempted by Mr Off-Limits introduces Grace’s brother, Hamish:
Lola Fraser knows better than to fall for her best friend’s brother, paramedic Hamish Gibson. Living together whilst he’s training could get awkward—fast! But as they work together on a heartrending case they can’t resist the temptation to take their minds off work. Surely one night will be enough…until they discover it isn’t!
Read on for an excerpt of Reunited with Her Brooding Surgeon
Grace followed Marcus out of the room. His strides were long and Grace found her gaze drawn to his hips. He’d removed his suit jacket leaving the shape of his buttocks under his pants clearly defined as his legs ate up the length of the corridor. Grace forced herself to keep her eyes lifted, she didn’t want to be caught ogling him or running into something because her attention was elsewhere.
She got the feeling he was trying to put as much distance between them as possible. But she had no idea why. Her curiosity got the better of her and she hurried after him. She wanted to know what his issue was. Why he was so abrupt with her. She didn’t think she’d done anything to put him off-side yet his aloofness was definitely directed at her. She had to admit he was an empathetic doctor with a good bedside manner and maybe she’d just have to be satisfied with that. But she still wanted some answers.
He stopped and turned towards her.
‘Have I done something to upset you?’ She asked as she caught up to him.
Grace waited for him to elaborate but he was silent. Man, he could be the poster boy for the strong, silent type.
Oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, she thought as she said. ‘Do you remember me?’
Marcus looked down at the petite redhead standing in front of him. She had her hands on her hips and looked as if she’d like to tear him to shreds. ‘What do you mean? Of course I do,’ he replied, attempting to use his most reasonable tone in an attempt to calm her down. ‘We were just in Connie’s room and I only met you a few hours ago.’
‘I meant from before.’
He watched her with his steady gaze but said nothing. He wasn’t going to admit to anything. Not until he knew what she wanted. She reminded him of a firecracker about to explode.
‘You grew up in Toowoomba,’ she said. It was apparent she wasn’t going to be intimidated and she wasn’t asking him a question. She looked small and easy to handle but, just like a firecracker, he got the impression that once something set her off, you’d know all about it and there’d be nowhere to hide. ‘I lived around the corner from you. You were at school with my brother, Lachlan.’
It was obvious she knew who he was. He’d suspected as much. He had recognised her too. Well, not her as such, but her hair matched with her name was a giveaway. Her golden copper locks were distinctive. He hadn’t wanted to think she was the same person even though it was blatantly clear, just as it was clear she remembered him.
He cursed his luck. ‘Was I?’
He knew he was being bullish but he couldn’t help it. He’d spent twenty years trying to get away from his past. Twenty years spent reinventing himself and wiping away all traces of his childhood. He hadn’t been back to Toowoomba in all that time and he’d even debated the wisdom of returning to the east coast for this three-month stint but the opportunity of this experience at the Kirribilli General Hospital had been too good to refuse. Guilt and opportunity had brought him back. And now it seemed it was about to make him pay.
He hadn’t expected to run into any one from his past and he certainly wouldn’t have expected to be remembered. He didn’t want to remember who he had been and the life he’d lived then. He didn’t want to think about it and he definitely didn’t want to talk about it. So, he stayed silent, refusing to incriminate himself by admitting any recollection. He couldn’t admit to Grace that he had lied. That he had recognised her.
‘I guess I look a bit different,’ Grace admitted when he stayed mute. ‘I must have been about seven the last time I would have seen you.’
Was there are a question in there? Was she wondering why he’d never come back? Had she even noticed?
He wasn’t going to respond to vague insinuations but she was right. She looked nothing like he remembered. He remembered her brother and he remembered Grace as Lachlan’s little sister with skinned knees and missing teeth. The only thing that remained of the seven-year-old she’d once been was her hair. Her fiery copper locks hung in loose waves over her shoulders, its rich colour bright and vibrant against the contrast of her navy uniform. He’d hadn’t seen a colour like it since leaving Toowoomba.
But everything else about her was different. She no longer looked like anyone’s kid sister. She had filled out in all the right places. She was tiny, a good foot shorter than his six feet two inches, but her proportions were perfect. Her shirt was tucked into navy trousers, pants which would have been unflattering on most figures, yet his eye was drawn to her small waist, the swell of her breasts and the curve of her hips. He felt an unexpected surge of lust. Bloody hell, that was inappropriate. He lifted his head and met her amber eyes. They blazed at him. She appeared to have the fiery temper to match her hair but what was getting her so riled up? Had she noticed his inappropriate once-over? He needed to douse the flames of her temper, he needed to make sure he didn’t set her off completely. Something told him there would be no stopping her if he did that.
Or maybe he should take up the challenge he could see in her eyes. She gave off an air of not being one to back down. Of having the courage of her convictions. That didn’t appear to have changed. He remembered more about her than he cared to admit. She’d been loud and boisterous, full of energy, he’d always known when she was around and he suspected that hadn’t changed in twenty years. He wondered what had.
The idea of putting a flame to her wick just to see what would happen was strangely exciting but he resisted the temptation. He didn’t want to bring unnecessary attention to the two of them. He didn’t want anyone asking awkward questions. Going under the radar was always best. He’d learnt that from experience.
But what did she want? What was she after? What did she remember of him? What secrets could she spill?
He hoped not many.
As a child he’d been quiet, shy and nervous. The complete anti-thesis to Grace. He’d been nervous around the kids at school and nervous around his father. His life had been unpredictable and devoid of routine but it hadn’t been until he was at boarding school as a teenager that he’d realised that not everyone’s lives were like that. He’d never experienced anything different. Most of the time he just tried to get from morning to evening without being noticed. It seemed his presence irritated people – his classmates and his father – and he was never sure about what was going to happen, how people were going to react, although more often than not it was unfavourably. He’d learnt to keep his head down, to try to be inconspicuous, but that was never easy when he looked so different.
Thanks to his Caribbean mother he wasn’t white but he wasn’t indigenous either. He was part black but not the black that was common in Toowoomba. There wasn’t another person in the town who had the same genetic mix as him. Everywhere else in the world he would have been called African -American, even though he wasn’t American or African, but in rural Australia that wasn’t a common term and he was called any number of other things and none of them had been complimentary. And if that wasn’t enough to make him stand out then his family history and his unorthodox father certainly made sure that everyone singled him out.
His mother had disappeared when he was six leaving him behind with a father who had chosen to develop a relationship with alcohol instead of with his son. His young life had been full of disappointments and he’d learnt early on not to ask for or expect much. He’d learnt early on that the only person he could count on not to let him down was himself.
He’d worked hard to escape a miserable childhood and to avoid all memories of his past. He’d worked hard over many years to forget who he was and where he came from. He didn’t want to be remembered as that boy. That wasn’t him anymore.
And he didn’t want anyone to remind him.
Which made Grace the last person he wanted to see.
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Emily and Amy