A Christmas Night

Available in stores

Mills & Boon Medical Romance

Dec 2010

ISBN: 9780263879339

 

Harlequin Medical Romance

Dec 2010

ISBN: 97803730677557

A Christmas Knight

Brooding emergency doctor Dominic Hurst doesn't do relationships - not any more. But he's drawn to courageous Nurse Louisa and her little son Tyler. Can Dom put his heartache behind him and get down on one knee in time to bring a CHristmas miracle to this nurse-in-a-million and Tyler, who's in need of a father?

Also released as:

  • UK hardback (Dec 2010, ISBN: 9780263215618)
  • UK large print hardback (June 2011, ISBN 9780263217421)
  • Also released in Australian paperback (Jan 2011, ISBN: 97817425590188).

 


Behind the Book

I've always had a thing about castles (as you might notice if you look at my nonfiction books). Our family holidays always involve at least one trip to a castle. When we went to Arundel Castle in July 2009, we were lucky enough to go on a re-enactment day, where they had jousting... and a lightbulb went off in my head!

The book is set in Sussex, but Amberhurst Castle is completely fictional.

So where's the medical, you're asking? Well... my jousting knight is also an emergency doctor. When his brother is seriously injured, Dominic gives up jousting - but gets his passion back (and loses his heart) when he meets nurse practitioner Louisa and her son Tyler.

Louisa's son has Asperger's. Children with the syndrome can be challenging, but can also be absolutely wonderful (yes, am speaking from personal experience - though Tyler isn't quite like my son, and I'm the one in the house with the passion for castles/medieval history).

I also discovered Muse's version of "Can't take my eyes off you", and that was definitely the song of the book!

Oh, yes. Dogs. There might be a spaniel in there... but watch out for the really unusual, cough, animal. And the reindeer. Two medical authors were Very Bad Influences and told me stories that set off lightbulbs (Maggie Kingsley and Margaret McDonagh, take a bow). I couldn't resist, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Read a Bit

CHAPTER ONE

'Let me get you a coffee, and then I'll take you round and introduce you to the team,' Essie, the charge nurse, said with a smile.

'Thanks. I, um, brought some biscuits for the staff room,' Louisa said, handing her a large tin.

'Thanks very much.' Essie beamed as she peered at the lid. 'Chocolate ones, too. Excellent. You'll fit right in.' She gave Louisa a sympathetic look. 'The first day's always the worst, isn't it? Like being back at school.'

Louisa smiled back. 'I've been doing agency work for the last three months, so you'd think I'd be used to change. But yes, you're right. It feels like the first day at school, when you don't know anyone and you don't know the routine - well, as much of a routine as you get in the emergency department,' she finished. No two days were ever quite the same.

'You'll be fine,' Essie told her warmly. 'I've rostered you on to Minors - but if anything big comes in, I might need to borrow you for Resus.'

'That's fine,' Louisa said. As a nurse practitioner, she was able to see patients through from start to finish for the less serious problems - from taking the medical history through to doing the clinical examination, ordering and interpreting tests, diagnosing the ailment and organising a treatment plan for the patient. She loved the responsibility and the feeling that she was in charge of her own day; but she also enjoyed the busy, hands-on role in Resus, working as part of a team.

'Dominic's the senior registrar in Resus today. He's our resident heart-throb,' Essie said with a grin. 'He looks like Prince Charming.'

Heart-throb. Jack had been a heart-throb, too. But he'd been very far from being Prince Charming. He'd walked out on Louisa just when she'd needed him most. So much for promising to love, honour and cherish her. Jack had left her - and Tyler - because he couldn't handle the idea of having a son with Asperger's. As soon as Jack had heard the paediatrician say the words 'autistic spectrum disorder', he'd closed off, and Louisa had seen it in his eyes. She'd known that her marriage was cracking beyond repair, and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Less than two months later, he'd moved out and asked her for a divorce.

She could cope with Jack's rejection of her; but she'd never, ever forgive him for rejecting their bright, quirky, gorgeous son. And she'd taken notice of the old saying, ever since: handsome is as handsome does.

Essie didn't seem to notice Louisa's silence. 'He's been here for eight years, now. He joined us as a wet-behind-the-ears house officer, and worked his way up.' She sighed.

'Though he's not one for settling down, our Dominic. Women used to fall at his feet in droves, but nowadays he doesn't even date - he's completely wrapped up in his work. Pity, because he'd make a fantastic husband and father.'

Louisa had already spotted the photograph on Essie's desk; the charge nurse was smiling for the camera, looking blissfully happy with her husband and two children. It seemed that Essie was the type who wanted everyone to be as happy and settled as she was. Well, she was happy and settled. She just wasn't in a two-parent family. 'Marriage isn't for everyone,' she said quietly.

'You're not married, then?'

'Not any more.' Not that she wanted to talk about it. Though, given the photograph on Essie's desk, she could offer the perfect distraction. 'But I do have a gorgeous son. Tyler.' She took the photograph from her purse to show the charge nurse.

'Oh, he looks a sweetie. And he's so like you.'

'He is,' she agreed with a smile. 'I'm really lucky.' And she meant it. Tyler was the light of her life, and she loved him with a fierceness that she knew probably made her protect him too much.

'So how old is he?' Essie asked.

'Eight. He started middle school last week - so this summer was the least disruptive time to move here from London.' Louisa took a deep breath. 'Actually, that's why I started today, not last week - I wanted to give him a few days to settle in to his new school, first.'

'It's always hard, changing schools, whether you're from the local first school or not,' Essie agreed. 'Though I'm sure he'll soon make friends.'

Louisa would be very, very surprised if he did. Tyler was self-contained in the extreme. Having Asperger's meant he saw the world in terms of black and white, with no shades of grey. Other children quickly noticed that - especially as Ty was a walking encyclopaedia on his favourite subjects, and wouldn't hesitate to correct anyone instead of just letting it go for the sake of social harmony. She'd tried to help him, inviting children home for tea after school - but Tyler had never been invited back. Probably because most of the time, when someone came over, he'd lose interest in whatever game they were playing, disappear up to his room and start drawing. 'Maybe,' she said.

'Give it a week and he'll be playing football with the rest of them,' Essie said cheerfully.

Louisa wrinkled her nose. 'He's not really into football.'

'Computer games, then?' Essie asked. 'Tell me about it. My eldest is glued to his console.'

'What Ty really likes is horses. I'm going to ring round the local riding stables to see if there are any places for lessons.' Louisa had read an article about how good riding could be for children with Asperger's; it was just a matter of finding the right stables, one that could accommodate Tyler without making a big deal out of things. And maybe he'd find it easier to make friends with children who shared his passion.

'Horses?' Essie looked thoughtful. 'Then you definitely need to talk to Dominic. He's got a horse. He's bound to know a good riding school locally.'

Louisa smiled politely, but she had no intention of asking a heart-throb for help. She'd already learned the hard way that heart-throbs weren't reliable - and she'd never, ever take any risks with her son.

Like what you read?

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More recent titles are also available from Mills & Boon UK, eHarlequin.com, and Harlequin Australia.

Reviews

From Cataromance: 5 stars

Readers who like their romances believable, dramatic, emotional and with plenty of heart will strike gold with Kate Hardy's latest Medical Romance, A Christmas Knight! A tender, passionate, beguiling and highly moving tale about fresh starts, triumphing over adversity, past skeletons, hope and the power of love, A Christmas Knight is another first-class contemporary romance from favourite author Kate Hardy!

When you pick up a romance novel by Kate Hardy, you know that you're going to be reading a spellbinding novel which you will want to devour in a single sitting and A Christmas Knight is certainly no exception. With its wonderful heroine, sexy hero, beautifully rendered descriptions, breathless medical scenarios, highly charged conflict and charming romance, A Christmas Knight is another outstanding novel from this champion writer of romantic fiction!

What they're saying on e-Harlequin

  • The most beautiful story I've come across in a long time. . . I couldn't help but get emotional towards the ending and needed tissues!
  • Kate Hardy's Medicals often feature a secondary character with some kind of a disability - this story is no exception. Like the other stories that came before this one, she handles that aspect so well. Her character with the disability is not some pitiful caricature of a "disabled person", but is a person (young or old) with strengths and abilities despite their diagnosis. In other words, her character with a disability seems so real.
  • An enjoyable story about second chances, knights in shining armour and forgiveness.

Stories by Kate Hardy with GP (family doctor) settings

 

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