A Baby to Heal Their Hearts

Available in stores

Mills & Boon Medical Romance

Feb 2015

ISBN: 9780263246919

 

Harlequin Medical Romance

date: Feb 2015

ISBN: tbc

blurb to follow

Also released as:

  • UK hardback (Feb 2015, ISBN 978-0263257458)
  • UK large print hardback (Aug 2015, ISBN 978-0263254969)
  • Also released in Australian paperback (Feb 2015, ISBN: tbc).

 


Behind the Book

When I'd finished IT STARTED WITH NO STRINGS, I couldn't resist writing Bailey's story - Joni's best friend.

Being pregnant was her greatest dream and turned into her biggest nightmare. So it's understandable that she's not keen to put herself back in that situation.

Add a dour Scot - also a sports medicine expert, but he doesn't believe in her research project, and Jared also has deep hurts in his past.

Bit Bailey sparkles most when she needs a defence mechanism. And Jared isn't as dour as he likes to make out. And when they're fixing the lives of everyone round them, will they be able to help each other fix their hearts, too?

Read a bit

'She's a bonny lass, our Bailey,' Archie said.

Jared's heart sank at the expression on the coach's face. Clearly Archie had taken a fancy to the researcher. And Jared had a nasty feeling that this might be a case of the coach's libido taking over from his common sense.

Allegedly, this 'bonny lass' researcher had a system that could reduce soft tissue injuries among the players. So far, so good – but the figures being bandied about were crazy. In Jared's experience, when something sounded too good to be true, it usually was. And he could really do without some pretty, flaky girl distracting the players and getting in the way when he needed to treat them. Especially when he'd only just started his new job as the doctor to the youth team of a Premiership Division football club.

He'd been here before, when a manager's or player's head had been turned by a pretty girl, and the outcome was always messy. Worse still, it tended to have an impact on the rest of the team. With a bunch of teenage lads, this could get very messy indeed.

But he kept his thoughts to himself and gave the coach a polite smile. 'That's nice.'

Hopefully this Bailey woman would get bored quickly, or her system would be debunked, and they could go back to a more sensible way of preventing soft tissue injuries – like sport-specific training, after he'd assessed each of the players and taken a proper medical history.

In the meantime, he'd have to grit his teeth, and be as polite and as neutral as possible.

***

'Bailey – oh, good, you're here. Come and meet Jared Fraser, the new team doctor,' Archie McLennan called over from the side of the football pitch as Bailey walked through the players' tunnel.

Bailey smiled at the youth team's coach, but she made sure that she stood just far enough away so that Archie couldn't put his arm round her shoulders. She liked him very much as a colleague – he was at least prepared to listen to new ideas and he'd been more than fair with her on the research project so far – but she really wasn't in the market for a relationship.

Particularly with someone who was recently divorced and with a lifestyle that really didn't work for her; that was just setting things up to fail. And Bailey had failed quite enough in her relationships, thank you very much. She wanted life to be simple in the future – full of her family, her friends and her work, and that was enough for her. She didn't need anything more.

'Jared, this is Bailey Randall – the doctor whose research project I was telling you about,' Archie said.

For a moment, Jared looked as if he'd seen a ghost. Then he seemed to pull himself together and gave her a brief nod of acknowledgement. 'Dr Randall.'

But he didn't smile at her. Did he not approve of women being involved with a football team? Was he not good at social skills? Or – given that his accent was quite distinctive – was he just living up to the stereotype of the slightly dour, strong-and-silent Scotsman?

It was a shame, because he had the most gorgeous eyes. A deep, intense blue – the colour of a bluebell carpet. If he smiled, she'd just bet his eyes would have an irresistible twinkle.

Which was crazy. Since when did she think so fancifully? Bluebells, indeed.

'Pleased to meet you,' she said, giving him her brightest smile, and held her hand out for him to shake.

He gave another brief incline of his head and shook her hand. His grip was firm, brief and very business-like. He still didn't smile, though. Or say any kind of social pleasantry.

Oh, well. It wasn't as if she'd need to have that much to do with him, was it? Her project – to test a monitoring system to see if it could help to reduce the number of soft tissue injuries in the team – had been agreed by the football club's chair of directors. She'd been working with Archie, the youth team coach, at training sessions and on match days when they played at home, and so far the system's results were proving very interesting indeed.

'Hey, Bailey.' John, one of the players, came over to the side and high-fived her.

'Hey, John. How's the ankle?' she asked.

'It's holding up, thanks to you,' he said with a smile.

'And you're still wearing that support?'

He nodded. 'And I'm doing the wobble board exercises, like you showed me last time,' he said.

'Good.'

'Bailey helped out on a couple of sessions when she was here and your predecessor called in sick,' Archie told Jared. 'John sprained his ankle a few weeks back.'

'Sprained ankles are the most common injury in football,' Bailey said, just so Jared Fraser would know that she did actually understand the situation – maybe he was the dinosaur kind of man who thought that women knew next to nothing about sport. 'He was running when he hit a bump in the field, the sole of his foot rolled under, and the movement damaged the ligaments on the outside of his ankle.' She shrugged. 'The wobble board training we've been doing improves the risk of him damaging his ankle again.'

Jared gave her another of those brief nods, but otherwise he was completely impassive.

Oh, great. How on earth was he going to connect with the players? Or maybe he was better at communicating when he was in work mode, being a doctor. She certainly hoped so, because the boys were still young enough to need encouragement and support; they weren't likely to respond to dourness.

'I ought to give you each other's mobile phone numbers and email addresses and what have you – in case you need to discuss anything,' Archie said.

'I doubt we will,' Jared said, 'but fine.'

Oh, what was the guy's problem? She itched to shake him, but that wouldn't be professional. Particularly in front of the youth team. Doctors, coaches and managers were supposed to present a united front. OK, so strictly speaking she didn't work for the football club – she was here purely as a researcher – but she still needed to be professional. 'Give me your number,' she said, 'and I'll text you with my email address so you have all my details.'

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