A Date with the Ice Princess

Available in stores

Mills & Boon Medical Romance

July 2013

ISBN: 9780263899030

 

Harlequin Medical Romance

date: July 2013

ISBN: 9780373069057

Shy registrar Abigail tries to stay out of the spotlight, But, determined to shake off her reputation as the hospital's 'ice princess, she's on stage for charity, being sold to the highest bidder! Soon she's bought by bad boy bachelor Dr Lewis Gallagher! And he's made it his mission to rid Abby of all her inhibitions!

Also released as:

  • UK hardback (July 2013, ISBN tbc)
  • UK large print hardback (date and ISBN tbc)
  • Also released in Australian paperback (July 2013, ISBN: tbc).

 


Behind the Book

I love stories where characters really aren't quite what they seem. And so we have Lewis Gallagher, the department's daredevil, falling in love with Abigail Smith, the department's ice princess.

Except Lewis had a tragic childhood and shouldered way too much responsibility - so he's not the irresponsible playboy he'd like Abby to think he is. He's Mr three-dates-and-you're-out because someone let him down and he lost his ability to trust - not that he'd ever admit any of that to anyone. And Abigail - well, if she told Lewis her full name it would give away that she's the daughter of a wild man rock star, and she's tired of people only wanting to know her because of her dad. She's hopeless at making friends. So her Ice Princess act is just as much to protect herself as Lewis's Party Boy act.

Cue some zip lining, some ballroom dancing (and yes, Abby borrowed my dance shoes), and a parachute jump, and Lewis and Abby finally get to learn who each other is and what they both really want from life.

I've dedicated it Caroline Anderson, because frankly she deserves it - she's a great friend as well as a fabulous writer.

The book's soundtrack

My playlist for this book included:

  • Beethoven's Pathetique sonata, 2nd movement
  • Joe Bonamassa, Sloe Gin
  • McFly, It's All About You
  • Fleetwood Mac, Go Your Own Way

Read a bit

'Abigail, as you've only been with the team for a few weeks, I know it's a bit of an ask,' Max Fenton, the duty consultant, said, 'but Marina's put a lot into setting up the promise auction, next weekend. So I was wondering if you might be able to donate something?'

Abigail knew that the quickest thing would be to ask her dad and his band to sign a photo and some CDs. Or offer tickets and a backstage pass to Brydon's next tour. Except she'd learned the hard way not to mention that her father was the rock guitarist and singer Keith Brydon, founder of the group that bore his surname. Or that her flat had been bought with the royalties from 'Cinnamon Baby', the song he'd written for her the day she was born. It might be a quick win, but it'd make her life way too complicated.

She could simply say no; but that would be mean. The promise auction was raising funds to buy equipment that the department badly needed. And she did want to help.

'I, um… OK,' she said. 'What did you have in mind?'

'Max, are you pestering our poor new special reg?' Marina asked, coming to stand with them and sliding her arms round her husband's waist.

'On your behalf, yes.' He twisted round to kiss her.

The perfect couple, Abigail thought, clearly so much in love. And even though she knew she was better off on her own, she couldn't help feeling slightly wistful at the love in their expressions. What would it be like to be with someone who loved her that much?

Marina rolled her eyes. 'Ignore him, Abigail. You honestly don't have to do anything.'

Which left her on the outside, Abigail thought. Where she'd always been. Would it be so hard to be part of the team, for once? 'No, I'd really like to help,' she said. 'What sort of thing do you suggest?'

'Really?' Marina looked faintly surprised, then delighted. 'Well, other people have offered things like dinner out, or cleaning for a day, or a basket of stuff.' She paused. 'Maybe you could offer some cinema tickets with popcorn and a drink thrown in, or something like that.'

'Or a date. That'd be a good one,' Max chipped in.

'Shut up, Max. You're not meant to be pressuring her. A date's not a good idea. You know what –' Marina stopped abruptly and put a hand to her mouth, looking horrified.

Abigail could guess why. And what Marina been going to say. 'It's OK. I know people call me the Ice Princess,' she said dryly. 'It was the same at my last hospital.'

'People don't mean to be unkind.' Marina looked awkward. 'It's just that… Well, you keep yourself to yourself. It's quite hard to get to know you.'

'Yes.' There wasn't much else Abigail could say. It was true. She did keep herself to herself. For a very good reason. Once people worked out who she was, they tried to get close to her so they could get to meet to her father – not because they wanted to get to know her better. Been there, done that, worn the T-shirt to shreds. She blew out a breath. 'OK, then. I'll offer a date.'

'Please don't feel that we've pushed you into this,' Marina said. 'If you'd rather offer a basket of girly stuff or some cinema tickets, that'd be just as good.'

It was a let-out. But Abigail was convinced, whatever Marina said, that her colleagues would think even less of her if she took it. 'The date's fine,' she said.

Relief flooded Marina's expression. 'Thank you, Abigail. That's fabulous. I really appreciate it.'

And maybe, Abigail thought, this would be a new start for her. A way of making friends. Real friends, for once. Something she'd always found so difficult in the past.

The alternative – that she'd just made a huge, huge mistake – was something she didn't want to think about.

***

Friday the following week was the night of the auction. The room was absolutely packed; all the emergency department staff who weren't on duty were there, along with faces Abigail half-recognised from other departments that she'd met briefly while discussing the handover of a patient.

Max Fenton and Marco Ranieri, two of the department's consultants, had a double act going on as the auctioneers. And they hadn't spared themselves from the promise auction; they'd both put themselves up as household slaves for a day, and drove each other's price up accordingly.

Abigail bid successfully on a pair of tickets to a classical concert; and then it was her own promise up for auction.

A date.

Adrenalin prickled at the back of her neck. Why on earth hadn't she thought to ask someone to bid for her at the auction? She would've funded the cost herself, and it would've got her out of an awkward situation.

Still. She was the Ice Princess. Hardly anyone would be interested in a date with her, would they?

Except Marco and Max seemed to be on a roll, really talking her up.

Abigail could barely breathe when the bidding reached three figures.

And then a male voice drawled, 'Five hundred pounds.'

Oh, for goodness' sake. That was a ridiculous sum. And the only reason she could think of that the man would pay that sort of money for a date with her was because he'd found out who she was.

Please, please let her be wrong.

She held her breath, not quite daring to turn round and look at whoever was bidding. Not wanting to make eye contact.

Everyone else in the room seemed to be holding their breath, too.

And then Max said easily, 'Do we have an increase on five hundred pounds?'

Silence.

'OK, then, that's a wrap. Thank you. One date with Dr Abigail Smith, sold to Dr Lewis Gallagher.'

Lewis Gallagher?

Abigail's brain couldn't quite process it. Lewis Gallagher, special registrar in the emergency department, was the one man in the hospital who really didn't have to buy a date. Women queued up to date him, because he was a challenge. Every single one of them seemed to believe that she'd be the one to make him review his 'three dates and you're out' policy. And, from what Abigail had heard, every single one of them failed.

Except her. Because when Lewis had asked her out, last week, she'd said no.

And now he'd bought a date with her.

Oh, help. She needed some air. Time to think about how she was going to get out of this.

Except it was too late, because Lewis was standing beside her.

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