The gates have been opened and I’ve been released on the world. After months of staying at home I’m loving being out among the people. The one thing I’ve had hammered home in the last few months is that people need people. My going has picked up to being in the fast lane in the last few months.
First, I was off to Nashville, Tennessee to give a program about my father’s family with the last name Myhr. My great grandfather was from Norway. The picture is of some of my family in front of the ancestral house. It was great to see everyone.
My next stop was a week cruising around Iceland. The trip was amazing. Waterfalls were everywhere.
Not going to conferences for a writer is very difficult. They are where we learn new things about the industry and see people who understand us. Finally I had a chance to attended NINC in person in Tampa, Florida in late September. The cherry on top was getting to go to a Maroon 5 concert. The group put on a great show. Tampa was a very nice place to spend a week in the fall. Getting a tan while gaining knowledge is the best of both worlds. I came home eager to write my next book. A refreshing concept after the last few months I have had.
Three days after getting back from Florida I attend my local writers conference. I was renewed. It was wonderful to see friends and make new ones. Nancy Harkness and I bonded. Even though she beat me out for a Maggie Award. Her book was better than mine and I told her that. If you haven’t read one of Nancy’s books you should.
A week later I was off to the Georgia State Fair in Perry, Georgia. My sister-in-law and I spent time seeing a skiing show, a seal show and Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. If you don’t know Gary Puckett’s music, I encourage you to go out and find it. You’ll be glad you did.
My going isn’t over, thank goodness, but more about that later.
Have you been anywhere fun lately?
Oh, yeah. I have a new book out in January. I thought I’d share the cover.
As the world slowly comes out of the dreadful fog that was 2020 there is the hope that, with vaccinations, we will be able to go about our lives more normally very soon. In Australia we have been relatively lucky and domestic travel is opening up even while our international borders stay closed. As the northern hemisphere sees summer approaching a literary trip to Bondi Beach in Sydney might be something to enjoy.
My latest book is the first in my four-book Bondi Medics series about the Carlson siblings – Lily, Jet, Poppy and Daisy. This is Poppy’s story.
‘Easy? Keep an eye on Backpacker’s Express, I reckon we might have trouble.’
Jet Carlson’s voice came through the radio, catching Ryder’s attention as he stood beside the lifeguard buggy. Jet was up in the circular lifeguard tower that overlooked Bondi Beach, keeping watch over the one-kilometre curve of white sand, issuing updates to the lifeguards on patrol. Ryder reached into the buggy and picked up his binoculars and scanned the beach, looking towards the troublesome rip to the south. He picked out a dark-haired man swimming alone where the first waves were breaking as the Pacific Ocean rolled into the shore.
He picked up the walkie talkie, certain he was looking at the same man Jet had spotted. ‘Copy that, Central, I see him,’ he responded.
He stood by the buggy as he kept his eyes on the swimmer. The water to the man’s left was deceptively calm between two sets of rolling waves. Ryder knew the tide was turning and the calm water indicated a passage of water flowing out to sea. If the man got any closer, he’d be pulled out to sea with the tide.
It was the danger period, after lunch on a hot Sunday. It wasn’t peak season yet; it was only the middle of spring and school hadn’t finished for the year but the beach was still busy. Holiday makers, shift workers and backpackers all flocked to Bondi at any time of the year. The tide was going out and the notorious rip was going to cause grief. Most likely to an unsuspecting tourist. No matter how hard the lifeguards tried it was impossible to get all the beachgoers to swim between the flags. Ryder knew it was sometimes because they didn’t understand English or the dangers or where to swim, at other times they just chose to ignore the lifeguards and the risks, thinking their swimming ability was better than it was or that the warnings were some kind of joke or scaremongering tactics and the treacherous conditions wouldn’t affect them. It didn’t help matters that the main access point to the beach was closest to the dangerous southern end. But no matter what the reason was for swimmers ending up in the wrong place, the lifeguards’ job was to look after them all. The drunk, the ignorant, the stubborn, the unlucky.
Life was precious and Ryder felt a strong sense of responsibility and, at the end of the day, a strong sense of satisfaction in a job well done whether that had been saving a life or just preventing a disaster. Not every day brought an emergency although there was always some excitement but a quiet day on the beach was preferable to one filled with drama. Either way he enjoyed the work. It was interesting and varied and he met people from all over the world and from all walks of life and he reckoned that would hold him in good stead for his future career as a psychologist. If he could cope with the Bondi beachgoers, he could cope with anything.
He hadn’t worked at Bondi for long. It had only been a couple of months since he’d been offered a position and had become one of several lifeguards employed by the local council to patrol the popular beach three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. It was a highly coveted job and usually went to qualified Sydneysiders who had grown up surfing the waves at the local beaches and had years of experience of the conditions. He’d had years of experience as a surfer and as a lifeguard at Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia but that was on the opposite side of the country, on the shores of the Indian Ocean. But the Pacific Ocean was familiar to him – he’d spent his childhood surfing the breaks at Byron Bay on the coast north of Bondi. The ocean on Australia’s east coast had been home to him until one fateful day, just before his eighteenth birthday, when he’d been uprooted from everything that was special to him and moved thousands of kilometres away to the other side of the continent.
Eventually he’d settled in his new home and when he’d arrived in Bondi, part way through his transcontinental road trip, he hadn’t planned on staying but he’d been offered a temporary position and it had been too good to refuse.
He was happy with temporary, he knew he couldn’t stay forever, he was needed back west, but for the moment this was good. Casual work would allow him to extend his break and make sure he was refreshed and energised when he went home.
It was a perfect situation, he thought as he had a quick glance along the beach, trying to figure out if there was anyone else keeping an eye on the man he had under watch. Was anyone else aware of his position? In situations like this it could be helpful to speak to someone who knew the swimmer. It could help determine how competent they were in the water. But he didn’t really need confirmation, he’d bet his next pay check on the fact that this guy wasn’t a strong swimmer. He could see him pushing off the bottom, not wanting to get out of his depth, but the outgoing tide was already taking him further from the beach and the minute he got washed off the sandbar he’d be in deep water.
As Ryder watched a wave broke over the man’s head, submerging him. That second or two when he went under was long enough to make him lose his footing. As he surfaced, he was swept into the channel and away from the beach.
He was in trouble.
‘Easy?’ Jet’s voice came through the radio, using Ryder’s nick name.
‘I’m on it.’ Ryder leapt out of the buggy, whipped off his distinctive blue lifeguard shirt, grabbed the rescue board from the rack on the side of the all-terrain vehicle and sprinted into the surf. He threw his board in front of him and dived onto it. He paddled strongly out past the small waves that were crashing onto the shore, past the swimmers who were oblivious to the drama unfolding a few metres off the beach, past the break.
He scanned the sea as pulled his board through the water and caught a brief glimpse of the man’s head as it appeared behind a wave before he lost sight of him again. He dug deep, paddling harder, knowing time was of the essence. His shoulder muscles bunched and already he could feel the burn but he was used to that. He was breathing deeply, his lungs straining and he could feel his heart racing but he wouldn’t stop. He was getting close now.
He crested a small wave just in time to see the man go under again.
Two more strokes.
He reached over the side of the board, plunging his arm into the water up to his elbow. He scooped his arm through the water but came up empty. He could see the man’s dark hair. He leaned over further, plunging his whole arm into the ocean, the sea reaching to his armpit, and this time his fingers grabbed hold of the man’s head. He pulled him to the surface by a fistful of hair. He knew it would hurt but having your hair pulled was a small price to pay in exchange for your life.
He dragged the man from the water, holding him by one arm. He wasn’t breathing. Ryder needed to get him securely onto the rescue board and back to shore. The man was of slight build and probably weighed no more than seventy kilograms. Ryder was six foot three inches tall, fit and strong, a muscular ninety kilograms with no excess weight but even so, he strained with the effort of pulling a dead weight out of the water. He grabbed his patient under his armpits and hauled him up, draping him across the board. He pulled his legs out of the ocean and waited to see if he would start breathing on his own.
The man coughed twice, expelling sea water, and began breathing. Now Ryder just had to get him back to the beach.
He got the man balanced, getting him to lie on his stomach in front of him. It was a long paddle back to shore and he didn’t want the board tipping. He didn’t want to lose his patient and have to go through the process of getting him out of the water a second time.
Poppy changed into her swimming costume, shorts and a t-shirt as Lily left for work. She’d go to the beach for a quick swim she decided, say hi to her brother and then come back and make a start on dinner.
She checked her phone for what felt like the hundredth time as she slid her feet into her flip flops. Still nothing. She tossed it back on the bed. She wouldn’t take it to the beach, she wasn’t planning to be gone for long, if Craig called while she was out she’d call him back later.
She left her car parked on the road in front of the house and walked down Edward Street towards the beach. After consecutive six-hour days in the car driving from Brisbane to Sydney she needed to stretch her legs and the fifteen-minute walk to Campbell Parade would help to clear the cobwebs.
She turned onto the pedestrian path and walked along the Promenade past the skate park and the mural wall towards the Lifeguard Tower.
She stopped before she reached the tower and lent on the railing and looked out over the beach. The sun was behind her and the sea shone in the afternoon light. The sand was crisp and white and, despite the fact that it was not yet the summer holidays the beach was busy. She took a deep breath, filling her lungs with the sea air and stood for a moment enjoying the feeling of warm sun on her skin as she watched the water.
The waves were small but she could spot the rips, the deceptive smooth waters between breaking waves. She had years of experience as a surfer, growing up in Byron Bay she and her siblings had learned to surf almost before they could walk, but she could see why the tourists and the locals who weren’t familiar with the ocean could be fooled into thinking the rips were safe spots to swim.
She turned to the south to see if she could pick out Lily’s house perched on the cliff before she spun on her heels and headed for the circular lifeguard tower. She knocked on the blue door and waited, if Jet wasn’t in there someone would be able to tell her where he was.
‘Poppy! You’re here.’ Jet grinned as he swung the door open. His welcoming smile was wide, his perfect teeth white and even in his tanned face. His blonde hair was pulled back into a messy man bun but that was all Poppy had time to absorb before he stepped out of the tower and wrapped her up in a tight hug. He stood well over six feet tall, and even with his slim but muscular athlete’s build he managed to make her feel small. She was five feet seven inches, not short for a girl, but Jet made her feel petite.
He released her and dragged her into the tower where he introduced her to the other lifeguards.
‘Guys, this is my little sister, Poppy. Poppy met the guys – Gibbo, Bluey and Dutchy.’
Poppy smiled at Jet’s use of the guys’ nicknames.
‘Are you going to hang around here for a while?’ he asked as Poppy finished saying hello.
‘No, I just wanted to say hi. I’m going to have a swim and then head home. I hear you’re coming for dinner.’
Jet nodded and looked as if he was about to say something else when the radio on the desk crackled into life.
‘Central, this is Easy, we’ve got a problem down here, south of the flags.’
He held up one hand in Poppy’s direction, asking her to wait as he grabbed the radio. ‘Go ahead, Ryder.’
‘The tourist I pulled from Backpacker’s, he’s not looking great. I’m bringing him back to the tower for an assessment.’
Poppy’s ears pricked up as she listened to the exchange. Ryder was an unusual name. She’d only ever known one and he had been Jet’s best friend when they were at high school. He’d also been her first crush. But the Ryder she knew had moved away when he was seventeen, breaking her young, impressionable heart in the process – although she’d kept that to herself – and she hadn’t seen him since.
It couldn’t be him though, could it? Surely Jet would have said something.
‘Ryder?’ she said as Jet put the radio down.
‘Yeah, Ryder Evans, you remember him?’
Of course, she remembered him.
She could feel herself colouring as she thought about the last time she’d seen him. She hoped Jet didn’t notice the blush she could feel creeping up her neck.
She nodded. ‘You never told me he was in Sydney.’
‘Didn’t I?’ Jet shrugged. ‘Probably figured you wouldn’t care, you haven’t seen him for the best part of twelve years,’ he said over his shoulder as he went to open the door to the tower.
He had a point. He wouldn’t think it was important. It wasn’t important really, although that didn’t stop a frisson of nervousness from shooting through her at the thought of seeing him again. She hadn’t thought about him for years, had finally let the idea of him go, yet at the mere mention of his name all the old feelings rose to the surface along with all the memories of how much he’d meant to her teenage self. She could instantly recall all her teenage fantasies and the memories made her blush.
The lifeguard buggy pulled to a stop at the bottom of the metal stairs that led from the sand to the tower and Poppy’s jaw dropped as a lifeguard jumped out. Tall and muscular, tanned and fit.
Was that Ryder?
She managed to close her mouth as she watched him help his patient out of the buggy and up the stairs.
She hung back, out of the way, as Ryder got the man into the tower and onto the treatment plinth. Jet went to assist, instructing Bluey to keep an eye on the beach. Poppy stayed near the desk by the windows, the lifeguards had a job to do and she didn’t want to be a nuisance but staying out of the way also gave her a chance to check Ryder out unobserved. She knew he hadn’t noticed her; he was too focussed on his patient.
The last time she’d seen him there had been a hint of the man he would become, of the man waiting to emerge, but he’d still been a gangly teenager. He’d been tall but he’d yet to have a fast growth spurt or develop the muscle definition that would come with young adulthood. But all traces of adolescence had disappeared now. Now there was no hiding the man. And no ignoring the feeling of warmth that was spreading through her belly and into her groin. Poppy leant on the desk, taking the weight off her suddenly shaky legs.
Fortunately Ryder had his back to her and wouldn’t be aware of her reaction but she was very aware of him.
He’d grown even taller and he’d definitely filled out. He’d developed muscles where he hadn’t had them before. He wore only a pair of black boardshorts with “Lifeguard” emblazoned across his hips and she had plenty of opportunity to admire the view of sculpted muscles and smooth tanned skin. His shoulders were broad, his biceps bulging, his waist narrow. He looked fit. He looked healthy. He looked magnificent.
She ran her gaze up the length of his spine and up his neck. She could see where the knobs of his vertebrae disappeared into his hair. He’d always had amazing hair, dark blond and thick, and at almost twenty-nine years of age it seemed he’d lost none of it.
Her gaze traced the line of his jaw. It was strong and square. He looked good, even better than she remembered, and she felt another rush of blood to her cheeks as her heart skittered in her chest.
Her hands gripped the edge of the desk as she observed him, keeping her fixed in place and she wondered at the involuntary response. Was she stopping herself from crossing the room? While her rational mind might tell her that Ryder’s unexpected appearance was of no consequence it seemed her body had other ideas. Her palms were clammy and her mouth was dry and she suddenly felt like the sixteen-year-old schoolgirl she’d been when she’d last seen him.
When she had kissed him.
And he had kissed her back.
She knew from talking to her girlfriends that first kisses often weren’t anywhere near as fabulous as they’d dreamed about but the kiss she and Ryder had shared had been everything she’d hoped for and more. It had been the biggest moment of her young life. It had changed her life.
She’d fallen in love.
She had only been a teenager but that didn’t make it any less real, any less all encompassing, any less all consuming.
And it hadn’t made it any less painful when he’d walked out of her life.
In Australia this book has been released as a print duo with Meredith Webber’s 103rd (and final) book – amazing!!
The first date my husband and I went on was to see the movie Rent. Neither of us knew it was a hit musical. But the song 525,600 minutes rolled around my head for weeks. If you don’t know, this is the number of minutes in a year.
I started reading romance because I needed a happily ever after. I began writing romance because it made me happy when my job, at the time, did not. Romance has been my escape for years.
And Book Four will always have a tender place in my heart – no matter how well it sells. I set this story in Dallas, Texas. I grew up in one of Dallas’ many suburbs. The movie theater the characters worked at in high school is where I spent hours behind the concession stand. The high school football rivalry is a single line reference, but for my friends still in the area, the payoff will be so sweet.
It was simply a fun retreat home when I first started it. But two weeks after I put the initial words to the page, we learned my mother-in-law had cancer. She left this world before I finished. In the haze of doctor visits and hospice talks, Dot and I talked romance books.
She had stacks of them!
And when I sat with Dot while she rested, I retreated “home” to work on my character happily ever after.
When I tell people that I am an author, I get all sorts of happy questions. But when I mention my genre, a light dims in some of those excited faces. A week after I sold my first book, a man sitting next to me on a plane told me he thought romance was the easy genre. Formulaic!
It is such a grating misconception about the bestselling genre. But it is one that over that last year, I have mostly learned to ignore. Romance offers what so many don’t. An escape with a guaranteed smile at the end. The promise of hope and love for everyone.
This is the first romance that I’ve written where Dot didn’t know the end. I wouldn’t put the final flourishes in until a few weeks after she’d left. But in so many ways, Dot knew when we talked about Tessa and Gabe, and all the struggles I was putting them through, how it would end. That Tessa and Gabe would ride off together.
And writing their forever love in the days after helped pull me forward too. Getting to focus on love healed part of me. I believe that love is so much more enduring than the other emotions.
Love’s feeling—even its memory—outlasts all the emotions.
So, a year later, a year that looks so much different, in so many ways, I am grateful to shout from the rooftops—I write happily ever afters!
Here’s to finding our way through the next 525,600 minutes. May they be filled with more love and laughter than tears.
Hey everyone! I’d like to introduce you to our newest medical author Shelley Rivers. I’ve asked her to share a little bit about herself so we can get to know her better. Please give her a warm welcome.
I discovered medical romance when:
I’ve been reading Mills and Boon novels since I was eleven years old. I was sick and bored so my mum handed over the Mills and Boon she had just finished. This was before they were too sexually explicit. And so my obsession with romance began.
I wrote my first story when:
I’m a reader first. Being a writer didn’t enter my head for years. But sometime during my twenties, I attempted to write something loosely resembling a love story. It involved an Italian millionaire, a gorgeous blonde model and hundreds of clichés. It was brilliantly awful, had no plot line, far too short and still holds a fond place in my heart.
Where do you live?
In a house in Dorset, England.
My best trait is:
I asked my family this question and they insist I’m caring and funny.
My worst trait is: I’m sorry but I really don’t suffer any bad traits. 😊 I just have unique personality quirks that may occasionally annoy people.
Five things on your bucket list:
This was hard because I don’t really do the bucket list concept where you make a note of things you want to do at some point in the future. I think it’s important to do the dreams in your heart and not put them off for years. If this year has taught us one thing, I hope it’s that.
Anyway, here are my five things.
1) Travel to Ireland and wander around castles and medieval ruins while dreaming up wonderful historical stories that I will one day write.
2) Adopt more greyhounds. Though this may upset the princess hound I already spoil. My aim is to slip into old age with more animals around me than people.
3) Name an Irish race horse. My dad loved horse racing so it would be lovely to do this in his memory.
4) Tango badly on a deserted beach on a cloudy day.
5) Laugh with a loved one beneath the Northern Lights.
Alex Morsi: Heartbreaker…or heart-healer? The lush Dorset countryside is just what veterinary nurse Kiki Brown needs to regroup after her broken engagement. What she doesn’t need is grumpy-but-gorgeous new boss local vet Alex Morsi and the temptation of his sweet kisses! Yet the shadows in Alex’s eyes are all too compelling for soft-hearted Kiki. She’s been let down badly before, but can Alex prove that he’s the man who will always be by her side? Release date July 2020
If you like the idea of Christmas in Scotland, love dogs, castles, and damaged characters who find their happily-ever-after this new continuity is for you.
It all takes place at Heatherglen Castle that has been turned into a physical therapy clinic that specializes in pet therapy as part of the recovery. In conjunction with the clinic is a veterinary clinic on the estate that cares for the dogs and a staff that trains them.
Annie Claydon, Annie O’Neil and Karin Baine and I make up the authors of the continuity. I had the honor of writing the first book. (No pressure there!) Below you will find an excerpt from my book Highland Doc’s Christmas Rescue. It will be out on November 1.
Look for more excerpts from the other books in the near future.
Warning: In these books there is snow on the ground, Christmas in the air and love to be found at Heatherglen Castle Clinic.
AS THE TAXI rolled up the rise Cass Bellow looked out the window at the snow-blanketed Heatherglen Castle Clinic in northern Scotland. Why had she been sent here?
MORE THAN ONCE she’d questioned her doctor’s wisdom in transferring her to this private clinic for physical therapy. Weren’t there plenty of other places in warmer climates? Particularly in her native US. Or, better yet, couldn’t she have just gone home and handled what needed doing on her own? But, no, her doctor insisted she should be at Heatherglen. Had stated that he sent all his patients with extensive orthopedic injuries there. He declared the place was her best hope for a full recovery. Finally, at her argument, he’d bluntly told her that if she wanted him to sign off on her release she must complete her physical therapy at Heatherglen.
As the car came to a stop at the front door she studied the Norman architecture of the building with its smooth stone walls and slate roof. The place was huge, and breathtaking. There were more chimneys than Cass had a chance to count. This place was nothing like what she’d expected. Though it was early November, festive Christmas wreaths made of greenery and red bows already hung on the outside of the lower floor windows. They further darkened her mood.
When she had been given the search and rescue assignment assisting the military after an explosion in Eastern Europe, she had never dreamed she’d end up in traction in an army hospital on a base in Germany. Her shattered arm and leg had finally mended, but she needed physical therapy to regain complete use of them. Now she’d been sent to this far-flung, snowy place to do just that. All she really wanted was to be left alone.
She opened the cab door and wind blasted her. Despite the heat coming from the still running car, she shuddered. As Cass stepped out, one of the large wooden castle doors, decked with a huge Christmas wreath full of red berries, opened. A tall man, perhaps in his mid-thirties, with the wide shoulders of an athlete stepped out. With rust-colored hair and wearing a heavy tan cable sweater and dark brown pants, he looked like the epitome of what she thought a Scottish man should be. As he came down the few steps toward her, he smiled.
“Hello, you must be Ms. Cassandra Bellow. I’m Dr. Lyle Sinclair, the medical director here at Heatherglen. You may call me Lyle.”
His thick Scottish brogue confirmed her earlier thoughts. Yet she was surprised by the way the sunny cheerfulness of his voice curled around her name, nudging at her icy emotions. Irritated, she pushed that odd notion away. This doctor was far too happy and personable for her taste. Her goal was to do what must be done with as little interaction with others as possible. She planned on nursing her wounds in private.
“Yes, that’s me.” To her satisfaction her flat, dry tone dropped the brightness of his smile a notch. If she could just get to her room and collapse she’d be happy. Her right side was burning from the ache in her arm and the agony of putting her full weight on her right leg.
“Flora McNeith, the physiotherapist whose care you’ll be under, couldn’t be here to greet you and asked that I get you settled in.” Concern filled his face. “Do you need a wheelchair? Crutches?”
“No, I can walk on my own. Run, that’s another thing.” She pulled at her jacket to stop the biting flow of air down her neck.
A light chuckle rolled out of his throat and over her nerve endings. “I understand. Then let’s get inside out of this weather.” He looked up at the sky. A snowflake landed on the dark red five o’clock shadow covering his cheek.
Cass averted her eyes and gave the cobblestone drive, cleared of snow, a searching look. It was farther than she wanted to walk, yet she wouldn’t let on. The three steps up to the door looked even more daunting.
All she needed was fortitude to make the walk and climb those steps. She had plenty of that. Soft snowflakes continued to drift down as she took a deep breath and steeled herself to put one foot in front of the other. With another silent inhalation, she started toward the entrance. Dr. Sinclair walked beside her.
She managed the first two steps with no mishap but the toe of her short boot caught the edge of the last one. Grabbing at air, Cass finally found the fabric covering Dr. Sinclair’s arm. She yelped with the effort to hold on. Being right-handed, she’d instinctively flailed out that arm and immediately regretted it. Pain shot through it, but not as sharp as it had been weeks earlier. She gritted her teeth, thrusting out her other arm to ease the fall.
Instead of tumbling onto the steps, her body was brought against a hard wall of human torso. The doctor’s arm circled her waist and held her steady. Her face smashed into thick yarn. A hint of pine and smoke filled her nose. For some reason it was reassuring.
“Steady on, I’ve got you.” His deep burr was near her ear.
Cass quickly straightened, getting her feet under her even though pain rocked her. She refused to show it, having already embarrassed herself enough. Her lips tightened. “I’m fine. Thank you.”
Glancing at him, she got the weirdest impression that the concern in his eyes had nothing to do with her physical injuries, as if he was able to see her true pain. That was a crazy idea. She shook that odd thought off and focused on where she was.
Taking a third fortifying breath, Cass stepped into the massive foyer.
No way was she going to let him see the effort it took to keep walking. She’d lived through much worse.
Hello everyone. I have the pleasure and honor of introducing Deanne Anders today. She is our latest member of the Medical line. Her first book is due out in June. Readers you don’t want to miss it. I asked Deanne to share a little about herself. So here goes.
I discovered Medical Romance when: I was looking at the guidelines for submitting to Harlequin when I found out that they published medicals. Being in the medical field I was immediately intrigued and after reading them I knew I wanted to write for the line.
I wrote my first story when: probably around twelve when me and my best friend discovered boys. I’ve always been a romance kinda girl.
Where do you live? The Northwest Florida/ Southern Alabama state line runs through my back yard which means my house is in Florida and our barn is in Alabama. It can be very confusing with taxes and utilities.
My best trait is:I’m very much a by the book kind of person which is great as a nurse when you are dealing with policies and procedures, but not so great when it becomes an OCD problem in life.
Five things on your bucket list: writing for Harlequin was my number one for years so I’m thrilled to have crossed that one off of my list. Here’s my new top five.
1. Meet Nora. (do I even need to add a last name for this one). Hopefully someday I can take a trip to Boonsboro.
2. Finish my Amazon Warrior series (hard bodied navy seals, greek gods behaving badly and kickass amazon warriors)
3. Finish Disney’s Princess Run
4.Visit all 50 of the United States (I’m working on this a little every year)
5. Visit the historical sites of Europe.
The family she’s always wanted…
With the man she doesn’t expect!
Midwife Lana Sanders is about to adopt little Maggie, and gain the family she never thought she’d have, when pediatrician Trent Montgomery arrives claiming to be Maggie’s uncle! Lana won’t give up without a fight, but resisting the tempting Texan is her greatest battle. They work well together in the delivery room and sparks fly in the bedroom, but can Lana trust Trent with her heart?
Dr. Laurel Martin placed the test tube into the rack with great care, her pulse racing in anticipation. This could be it. The breakthrough she’d devoted her career to finding. The process to stop the mutation in the factor IX gene in the X chromosome. If it could be tested for during pregnancy and corrected then thousands of lives could be changed, in some cases even saved. The key was finding that link.
To find the answer she had to have funding. That money was difficult to come by. She’d already been put on notice that hers was running out. Still she held out hope that would change. She’d submitted another grant application and should hear from it any day.
The study of hemophilia had become her life’s calling. In medical school it hadn’t taken her long to realize her comfort zone didn’t include interacting with patients and their loved ones. She didn’t like to tell them bad news. Being an introvert further hindered her ability to do so. Research had become her safe spot.
A tap on her lab window drew her attention. She pushed her glasses up on her nose. Stewart, the director of the lab, stood on the other side of the glass. His medium height was dwarfed by the tall, lean man standing beside him.
Oh, my. Laurel’s heart jumped then adjusted. She stared. The stranger was gorgeous. She hadn’t had that type of reaction to a man in years. Not since college when she’d first seen her ex-boyfriend, Larry. A college football player, he’d been shockingly good-looking as well. She’d learned the hard way that good looks didn’t make a kind person.
The man beside Stewart had an exotic appearance that implied he might be of Middle Eastern decent. His skin had a warm pecan tint as if he spent a great amount of time in the sun. His proud baring gave him an aura of authority, as if he knew his place in the world and had no trouble holding it. The black tailored suit jacket covering his broad shoulders that matched his hair and equally dark, meticulously-groomed beard screamed wealth and power. His gaze locked with hers.
To her surprise his eyes weren’t like ink. Instead they were chestnut, reminding her of a racing stallion she’d seen once as a girl. One of his well-shaped brows rose slightly as if he suspected the effect he had on women and wasn’t surprised by her reaction.
His look bore into hers making her feel like one of her petri dish specimens under a microscope. The devil of it was, he was the kind of man she’d always been attracted to. The brand of male who had always looked passed her mousy, too serious and impossibly intelligent personality in favor of a tall blonde, with perky breasts, long legs and an engaging giggle that stood just behind her. She was wallpaper and his type were interested in the chandeliers.
Men like him didn’t seriously consider her worth noticing. The one time someone had, she’d been traumatized. Larry had damaged her that much. So much so she’d sworn off men and had stuck to that vow for ten years. Long enough to become so absorbed in her work she had little life outside of it. None of that had anything to do with the man before her.
The wave of hand Stewart’s hand drew her look away from the arresting stranger. Stewart indicated he wanted her to come out of her lab. Laurel checked her test tubes again and pushed the rack further away from the edge of the table before rolling her chair back. She exited the room door with a swish of the airlock seal behind her. In the outer room, she removed her goggles and adjusted her glasses. She pulled her mask, gloves and gown off leaving her in a simple round neck t-shirt and jeans.
Shrugging into her starched lab coat, she touched the bun at the back of her head making sure it was in place. She glanced over her shoulder. The stranger intense gaze remained on her. A ripple of heat went through her, disconcerting her even more.
Shaking off the response, she moved with cool proficiency into the main lab. It wasn’t until she’d almost joined the men that she noticed the two larger ones standing a few paces behind the man. How had she missed those intimidating figures? Because she’d been so absorbed by her reaction to the man standing front and center. These males were larger with bulkier shoulders and had even grimmer faces, if that was possible. They stood with hands clasped in front of them and legs wide as if ready to move into action. Who were these people and what did they want with her?
Laurel’s hands trembled. She shoved them in the pockets of her lab coat. Had she done something wrong? Her eyes narrowed and she gave Stewart a questioning look, relieved to have an excuse to break off eye contact with the other men.
Stewart’s voice shook slightly as he said, “Laurel, this is Prince Tariq bin Al Maktum, and he would like to speak to you.” Stewart enunciated the man’s unusual name carefully as if he’d been practicing in order not to trip over it.
Prince? Why would a prince want with her? A “lab rat” according to her siblings. Astonishment made her blurt, “About what?”
“I’ll be glad to share that in private,” Prince bin Al Maktum answered in a deep smooth voice like refined velvet with a thread of steel running through it. His accent made Laurel want to hear him say more.
She twinkled her nose as alarm washed through her. “Stewart, what’s this about?”
“I’ll let the prince tell you. Why don’t we go to my office?” Stewart turned and started toward the swinging doors separating the main lab from the offices. The prince stepped aside, allowing her to proceed him. Acutely aware of him and his security men, she walked stiffly. At the doors, he quickly stepped ahead of her and held one open. Laurel gave him a quick glance as she passed. His inscrutable look revealed nothing. She wouldn’t want to deal with him on a daily basis. How could she ever discern what he was thinking? Feeling?
As they walked down the tiled hall her low sensible clogs made a tap-tap but there was no sound behind her. How did such great men move with such agility? That thought didn’t comfort her.
Stewart swiped his card and pushed the office door open. She entered, expecting him to follow but instead Prince bin Al Maktum joined her and closed the door behind him. The already small space shrunk in proportion to his large presence. She faced him and shoved her hands into her lab coat pocket, bracing herself.
“Please Dr. Martin, have a seat.” He indicated the chairs in front of Stewart’s desk.
“No thank you. I need get back to my lab as soon as possible.” She wanted to return to her safe place. “How can I help you?” Laurel couldn’t imagine how but it seemed like the right thing to say to hurry this along.
“Sit.” The prince’s tone implied she had no choice.
She hesitated but eased into a chair, noting too late it put her in closer proximity to him. To her surprise he took the other chair. At this point she fully expected he might try to lord over her. After all, he acted as if he owned the place. Stewart didn’t allow just anyone to take over his office. She clasped her hands in her lap and waited for bin Al Maktum to speak.
“Dr. Martin, I would like you to come to Zentar with me.”
“What?” she yelped, leaping to her feet. Had this man lost his mind? Why had Stewart allowed this crazy person in their lab?
The prince raised his hand. “Just hear me out for a moment. Please.”
Laurel eased back into her chair more from shock than trying to please him. She glanced at the door.
“I assure you, you are safe. What I meant to say is that I would like to offer you a position. And chance to further your research.”
Laurel shook her head in confusion. That sounded completely different than his earlier statement. She already had a place to do research, one in which she was so close to a breakthrough. Her family lived near. She already had a settled and secure life. She cared nothing about going somewhere else. Where was Zentar anyway? Even if she know she had no intention of marrying a stranger. “Thank you, but I already have a position here.”
“I understand you are the top researcher in the field of hemophilia. I am the Minister of Health for Zentar. I have overseen the building of a state of the art laboratory. I intend for my country to be a leader in finding a cure for hemophilia.”
Really. That was interesting. Her interest pricked.
“I have vetted you and you come with the highest of recommendations.”
“Thank you but I have no idea who you are.” Why was some prince of some tiny nation she’d never heard of focusing on hemophilia? “I appreciate your confidence in me but I’m happy here.” She wasn’t the adventurous type and she had that fact driven home in no uncertain terms. The idea of living in another state much less some far flung country terrified her. “I don’t even know where Zentar is.”
Finally, there was a spark of emotion in those dark penetrating eyes. Was it pride? “It’s an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Tunisia. We have beautiful white beaches and stark mountains that are amazing in their own right. We are a small independently wealthy country and progressive in many aspects. My brother, the king, has worked hard to make it so. Still we remain very traditional in others.”
What would it be like to have a man talk about her with that same admiration? She shook that shocking idea away. “It sounds nice but I have my work here.”
He leaned forward. “I can offer you anything you desire. The best of equipment, assistants and endless funding.”
“But why me? Why hemophilia?”
He paused, looked away from her so long she became uncomfortable. “I have my reasons.” That sounded like a dismissal more than a confession.
Laurel started to rise.
His expression turned shadowy and looked away. “Hemophilia is a problem in my country and growing.”
Laurel now knew what drove him. “I see.”
He pierced her with a look. “I am not sure you do. In my country the number of children born with the disease is increasing. As the Minister of Health I must find out why. You can help me.”
Apparently he believed she would accept without question but it wasn’t going to happen. Just the idea of getting on a plane made her shudder. She could not and would not pick up her entire life and move to a strange country. “I can go.”
“Is there a husband or boyfriend keeping you here?”
“Then why not?” He watched her too closely.
“I don’t fly.”
His silent steady examination lasted a heartbeat too long. “Ever?”
“More like never.”
“You would be taking my private plane. Every luxury would be afforded you. All I ask is that you come and have a look at our facility. Then you could decide.”
Laurel appreciated him thinking so highly of her but she had no interest in going to Zentar. She wasn’t a daring person. Her work, her life, was here. She stood and he did as well. “Thank you for the offer but I cannot accept. So I really shouldn’t waste anymore of your time. If you will excuse me, I need to get back to my lab now.”
The prince’s lips thinned and his eyes were emotionless again, more telling than if they had held some. She’d just refused a man who was used to getting his way. It took a great deal of willpower, but she stepped between the chairs into his personal space. A whiff of his citrus aftershave tickled her nose. A shiver ran along her spine as she hurried to the door. She was unsure if her body’s reaction was in response to his close proximity or from the anger gusting off him.
In a low, even voice he informed her, “Just so you know, I make a point of getting what I want.”
That evening in his hotel suite Tariq poured himself a finger of whiskey. Perplexed, he pondered where his interview with Dr. Martin had gone awry. The nondescript slip of a woman had refused him! He was both irritated and impressed. In his world, few if any people told him no, yet a wallflower doctor who lived most of her life closed up in a glass room laboratory had done so. He was confounded. What had gone wrong in the meeting he’d so carefully planned?
Leaning back in his chair, he stretched his legs out and crossed them at the ankles, swirling the transparent copper-colored liquid in his glass. He’d done his homework. In fact, he’d even called a couple of research facilities to verify she was the person he should focus his efforts on. It never occurred to him she would turn down his offer. What research scientist wouldn’t want to head their own lab and have access to all the research money they wanted? Apparently he had overlooked some pertinent fact about Dr. Martin. He didn’t have a Plan B formulated but by evening’s end he would. He wanted Dr. Martin in Zentar and he would have her.
After his brother’s death from a car accident, Tariq had taken over the responsibility of his sister-in-law’s and Roji’s welfare. Tariq would give anything to have Roji grow up with his father there. That wouldn’t happen now, but if Tariq had anything to do with it no more of his family would have to endure what Roji would. The future members of the royal family would be free of hemophilia. The cure was out there and he’d built a lab to find it in. Now he needed the right person to lead it, and that was Dr. Martin.
He would never put a wife and child in the same position as Zara and Roji. Despite being the only male in his family that did not have hemophilia he refused to take the chance on having a family. He didn’t deserve one when the others had to deal with the disease. As a doctor he understood that the ailment was thought to be passed by the female. What if he picked the wrong woman? He already lived with enough guilt.
Celebrations are all around at the moment! I was at a 10th wedding anniversary party last night and I know a couple celebrating 23 years on the 5th, another couple clocking up 28 years on the 13th. November seems to be a month of anniversaries for me and my friends, which is a little surprising given that when I got married (19th November) in England it was winter and cold and not necessarily a month you’d choose to celebrate your special day. But, intrepid people that we are (LOL), we decided to brave the cold and dark afternoons and 25 years ago we signed on the dotted line. Then we went to Scotland for our honeymoon. SNOW! We married on a budget so I don’t have any glossy photos, just a few snapshots from friends, but I look at them now and can’t believe how young we look!
It honestly doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, it seems like only yesterday when we were standing in that register office promising a lifetime of love
Because we had such an amazing trip to Europe earlier this year, and currently have no family with us, we won’t be having a huge celebration, so we’ve booked a couple of nights on Waiheke island (a short ferry ride from where we live), and a long lunch at our favourite vineyard. Quite fitting as, judging by this picture, I have loved not only him, but wine for many years!
Anyway… call me materialistic but I’m pretty happy we’ve finally got down to the interesting gifts part of marriage. Silver sounds a lot more me than leather or steel. Iron, I have to confess, sounds too domestic and I’m really not happy about ivory. And fruit????? To celebrate 4 years? Who thought up these things?
Silver on the other hand… I really hope that after 25 years he knows me well enough that silver with a diamond always works! I’ll let you know!
Any celebrations or milestones coming up for you? Do share so we can all celebrate with you.
Talking of milestones, I never told you about Book 4 in my (not medical romance) Something Borrowed series which came out in September. It’s a standalone story, which means you don’t need to have read the other books in the series to understand the storyline. It has a divine cover, don’t you think?
Here’s the blurb:
After being scammed by her own boyfriend Katriona Croft is big on honesty and loyalty. No way will she ever fall again for some two-bit scammer with a pretty face. But when Gabe Cassidy arrives in Portobello with a story about secrets and lies, and touting the sexiest smile she’s ever seen, all her resolve is blown apart and her loyalty to her best friend is sorely tested.
All his life Gabe’s mantra has been that being alone is better than being broken. But when he overhears a conversation in a pub his life is tipped upside down and instead of being alone he finds himself very much in the middle of a big family feud. Kat Croft seems to be the key to fixing it all, but any alone time with her makes things even more complicated… But can Gabe convince the woman who has lost all trust to take a chance on sharing a whole lot more than secrets?
Available from all good e-book stores!
Louisa George is an award winning author of books with humour and heart.
RITA finalist. Allergic to housework. Zumba addict. Visit her website for a complete list of her novels, which includes women’s fiction, contemporary romance and medical romances.
I like order. I keep files – in order. I make lists. I have to have things in their correct places and one job finished before I move on to the next one. Right now my life is completely disorder.
My husband and I recently bought some land and plan to build a house. Now we are in the process of selling the home we live in. It is filled with thirty years’ worth of stuff and memories. I won’t even allow myself to think about the memories because I will cry. I am focusing on the stuff. I am busy de-cluttering, which means throwing away, giving away and packing away the things that are more keepsakes than useful items. In other words, I am staging the house so it will show in the best light.
I am being tough on myself. I have given items away I would have never dreamed I would part with. Our new house will not have as much space and will be an open-living plan so there is less wall space. I have hesitated more than once about giving something away but have remain strong as a general rule. I did slip once. My grandmother always served jelly in a certain jar when I was a child and I just couldn’t give it up even though I don’t use it often.
So what does all of this have to do with my need for order? Almost everything is out of order in my house. There are boxes and things everywhere. The house is a general mess. That means I can hardly work on my current book because my world is in such a tumble. The one place that is neat and put together is my bedroom. It is the only sanctuary in the middle of the chaos.
My friends are talking about it in relation to their teenage kids. I’m not sure that it applies to my boys – they seem to march to the beat of their own drum – and I know that I’m more than happy at home in my PJs but at this time of the year I must admit to a little bit of FOMO.
Everyone in the romance writing world is heading off to conferences. First is the RWAmerica conference which starts this week in Orlando and the annual Harlequin Pajama party is tonight – BTW I’m perfectly dressed for this with nowhere to go! – then the RWAustralia conference is on in Brisbane and this is followed by New Zealand. Exhausting but loads of fun and I won’t be at any of them this year.
If anyone else out there fears they are missing out too I hope I can cheer you up. I have a few new releases which might help you pass the time and help you to forget what you’re missing.
Love Me Again and Love Me Forever are ebook exclusives available in the USA and Canada (am I contributing to FOMO?).
There is a Giveaway running for readers in the USA to win a copy of Love Me Again