The Heart Consultant's Lover

Available in stores

Mills & Boon Medical Romance

April 2004

ISBN: 0263838943

 

Harlequin Medical Romance

June 2004

ISBN: 0373064659

Life can change... in a heartbeat

Miranda Turner gave up on love a long time ago. She's wedded to her career - and her prestigious new job as a consultant in cardiology.

Senior registrar Jack Sawyer is furious at Miranda's appointment - after all, his new boss is the daughter of the hospital's chief executive. He wants to hate her - and her privileged background - instead he can't help but respect her. Fuelled by the fast-moving, high-tension atmosphere for the cardiac unit, Jack and Miranda's powerful attraction soon explodes into a steamy affair. . .

Also released in Australia in paperback (May 2004, ISBN: 0733552269).

 


Behind the Book

This one took me by surprise. I had my characters and my synopsis all mapped out. The day I was planning to start writing it, I woke up with a shock. The characters had the same names... but they were completely different. And so was their story!

As usual, I got the opening scene first. It was something that happened to me - I had a hire car and no way could I park it in this tiny gap at the hotel. So I asked this nice man to park it for me. (No, he wasn't tall, dark and handsome. I made that bit up for the book.) Problem was, when I walked into the presentation I was giving, guess who was sitting in the front row? I made a joke out of it and tucked it away as something to use in a book. Which is exactly what I did, ten years later!

It's set in the North-East of England, in the fictional city of Calderford. It's in a cardiology unit, which is a nod to my mum's specialisation.

It's dedicated to Fi, my best friend since my first week at university and godmother to Chris and Chloë.

Jack cooks Miranda a gorgeous meal - and I love lemony puddings so lemon lust tart. The recipe comes from my fellow M&B author Michelle Styles (who gets a name-check in the book as Jack's aunty).

No soundtrack for this book. But I sneaked in my mother's favourite poem - one of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portugese.

Read a Bit

PROLOGUE

No way was she going to get the car into that tiny space next to the massive concrete pillar. And Seb would kill her if there was a single speck of dirt on his precious car, let alone a scratch. As for a dent... He'd still murder her. Just slowly.

Maybe she should have stayed away. This was Fate's way of telling her that it was the wrong thing to do. If she'd been meant to get the job, her car wouldn't have had a flat battery, she'd have been at Calderford General in plenty of time to park, and she wouldn't have got a speeding ticket just outside Edinburgh either.

'Serves you right, Miranda Turner, for thinking you could come home on your own terms,' she muttered.

The knock on her window almost gave her heart failure. And it took her ages to wind down the steamed-up window.

'Are you OK, or are you lost?' a voice enquired.

Oh, no. She knew that look. What's she doing in a car like that if she can't drive it? Every time she'd driven Seb's car, she'd had the same reaction - men either scoffed or made sure they overtook her.

On the other hand... maybe this might be the lucky break she needed. She smiled sweetly and put on her best fluffy-and-feminine voice. 'I know it's terribly feeble of me, but it's not actually my car. And I've always been so hopeless at parking.' She fiddled with her hair. 'And that space is so tiny!'

He looked at her in seeming disbelief, then at the space. 'It is a bit tight,' he allowed.

She batted her eyelashes at him. 'I know it's a terrible imposition, but would you be kind enough to...?' Hopefully the chance to get behind the wheel of a vintage MG Roadster would be enough to make him say yes.

It was. 'Sure.'

Gratefully, she grabbed her handbag and hopped out of the car. And watched him park the damned thing in one fluid movement. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. Why couldn't she do it? But she never had been able to park cars. Not since the day she'd passed her driving test, borrowed her mother's car, and scraped it in the car park. Her father had gone bananas. Ever since then, Miranda would rather have abseiled blindfold down the Angel of the North, the huge sculpture just outside Newcastle, than park a car.

'Thank you,' she said as he handed her the car keys. 'I really do appreciate it.'

'No problem. Are you here to visit someone?'

You could say that, Miranda thought. She smiled at him. 'Mmm.'

'The hospital entrance is over there - if you ask at Reception, they'll direct you to the ward you need,' he told her kindly, pointing to the large domed building across the other side of the car park. 'And you'll need a ticket - they're pretty hot on fines.'

Now she felt horrible. He wasn't a chauvinist pig at all. He was a nice bloke who'd helped her out of a mess. A nice bloke with a gorgeous smile and . . .

Stop right there, she told herself crossly. She'd probably never see him again. The way her day was going, she wouldn't be in the North East again for a very long time, let alone Calderford. And she wasn't in the market for a man in any case. Since Rupert, she didn't do serious relationships. 'Thanks for the warning,' she said lightly.

She didn't really have time to get a ticket. But then again, she wasn't going to get the job so it didn't really matter if she was late for her interview. She was lucky she'd even got this far. Because no way would Ralph Turner, clinical director and head of paediatrics, let his only child get a consultant's post in the cardiology department. Not in his hospital.

With a rueful smile, she headed for the ticket machine.

CHAPTER ONE

'I really don't know why we all have to sit here, waiting for her,' Jack said, his mouth compressed into a tight line. 'I've got a ward round to do. And I want to check on Imogen Parker.'

'It's Miss Turner's first day and she's called a meeting of all the coronary care unit staff,' Leila Ward, the senior sister, reminded him. 'Obviously she wants to introduce herself and meet the team.'

'Yeah. If she turns up on time.'

Leila patted his hand. 'Don't be such a grouch. I know you're disappointed you didn't get the job, but give her a chance.'

'Right.' Jack rolled his eyes. 'But remember who we're talking about. Her dad's the clinical director of Calderford General.'

'She might be nice. She might be extremely competent. She might be better than you,' Leila pointed out. 'Which might be why she got the consultant's job.'

'"Might" being the operative word.' Jack sighed at the look on his colleague's face. 'OK, OK, I'll give her a chance. But if she's late or incompetent, or it turns out to be a case of a job for the boss's daughter, don't expect me to keep my mouth shut.'

'It might help if you start with it closed,' Leila whispered as the new consultant walked in and Jack's jaw dropped.

It was her. The girl with the sports car. The girl who couldn't park.

Ms Fluffy.

Except... she didn't look in the slightest bit fluffy, this time. She was wearing a business suit, albeit with a short skirt; that glorious dark hair was pulled back severely at the nape of her neck; and she was wearing oval glasses with narrow metal frames. If she was wearing any make up at all, it was so understated that it was barely there. She looked serious and studious - and competent.

Or maybe she was Ms Fluffy's sister. No way could someone change their image just like that! When she glanced quickly round the room, she didn't give the slightest indication that she recognised anyone - and surely she would have remembered him as the person who'd got her out of a fix in the car park, the other week?

His mouth compressed further. Or maybe she was just so used to people doing what she wanted that she hadn't given him a second's further thought. Not that it should bother him. He wasn't interested in Miranda Turner anyway.

***

Of all the people, in all the hospital, Miranda thought, her knight in shining armour would have to work on her ward! Which meant that she was going to have to play this very, very carefully.

No. She was just going to be honest. She'd leave the games to her father.

She took a deep breath, psyching herself up for the speech she knew she had to make. 'Good morning, everyone. Thanks for making it - and I promise not to keep you long. I just wanted to introduce myself properly. I'm Miranda Turner, and I'm delighted to be joining you here at Calderford General.' She smiled. This was the nasty bit. 'You've probably guessed by now that Ralph Turner is my father. Believe me, being interviewed by someone who knows all the most embarrassing things about you is a nightmare! Luckily, he couldn't vote on my appointment because of the family connection.' Hopefully that would squash any rumours that she'd only got the job because of who she was, not what she could do.

She smiled again. 'I've already met one of you, though I didn't know it at the time.' She gestured to her champion. 'He rescued me in the car park when I realised I'd left my shoehorn at home and couldn't get the car into the smallest space in the world.'

To her relief, one or two of them actually laughed.

'I can assure you, I'm a much better doctor than I am a driver. I'm really looking forward to working with you - and I'd like to invite everyone on the ward for a drink on Friday night in the Calderford Arms at seven, so I can start getting to know you better. In the meantime, I've restocked the biscuit and coffee supplies in the kitchen.' She glanced round again. No overt hostility - except from her rescuer. His face was expressionless but his eyes definitely weren't friendly.

'Some of you might be worried that I'm going to do the new broom thing, and make changes just so it looks as if I'm actually doing something. That's not the way I work,' she said. 'I've spent the last seven years in Cardiology at Glasgow, so I might be able to bring some new ideas in - but you might be able to teach me new things, too. I believe in teamwork, and I hope you'll see me as just another team member.'

She couldn't help looking at her rescuer again. And 'no chance' was written all over his face. She sighed inwardly. Time. She just had to give it time. 'Thanks, everyone. I'll catch up with you all individually during the day.'

***

She was good. He had to give her that. She'd told the car park story against herself before anyone else could - attack being the best form of defence. And she was clearly going out of her way to be friendly, asking the whole ward to a welcome drink at the pub near to the hospital. But he still couldn't quite forgive her for lying to him, saying that she was visiting someone. Why couldn't she just have said that she was going for an interview?

An interview for the same job he'd gone for. The job he hadn't got. And how long would it be before he had another chance to show his family that all those sacrifices had been worth it? Maybe a few months, until she got bored and moved on. Or maybe longer if she decided she liked it, or her father wanted her to stay... He sighed inwardly. He knew he had to be flexible if he wanted his career to take the fast track - he had to be prepared to move to where the opportunities were - but how could he possibly leave Calderford?

'Hello.'

She sounded a little unsure of herself. Jack hardened his heart and gave her a professional nod. 'Ms Turner.'

'It's Miranda,' she said, holding out her hand. 'And I wanted to apologise. About the car thing.' She made a face. 'Interview nerves.'

'Yeah.' Unwillingly, he took her hand to shake it. Then wished he hadn't when a spark of awareness jolted his whole body.

Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no. Nothing could possibly happen between them. He wasn't even going to start thinking about his boss in those sorts of terms. And even if she hadn't been his boss, nothing could happen between them. They lived in completely different worlds, and he really wasn't into the lifestyle of the rich and pampered. He'd been there, done that, and learned the hard way that it wasn't for him. No way was he ever going to get involved with a posh girl again. Jessica's words had burned into his soul, the giggled conversation he'd overheard with her friends: Jack? Yeah, he's drop-dead gorgeous. But Mummy's right. He's from the wrong side of town - fun for now, but he's not the kind of man you'd marry.

From the book The Heart Consultant's Lover by Kate Hardy.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance
Publication Date: April 2004
ISBN: 0263838943
Copyright © 2004 by Pamela Brooks
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
For more romance information surf to http://www.eHarlequin.com

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