It Started With No Strings

Available in stores

Mills & Boon Medical Romance

Oct 2014

ISBN: 9780263907933

 

Harlequin Medical Romance

date: Oct 2014

ISBN: tbc

Blame it on the Champagne!

At a London salsa club, consultant Aaron Hughes catches sight of the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. Relationships are off the cards for Aaron, but one night with this perfect stranger can't hurt…

For registrar Joni Parker, dancing and champagne are a remedy to what-would-have-been-her-wedding-night blues. Until she discovers an even better cure—her first-ever fling! It started with no strings, but when Aaron walks into the hospital on Monday—as the new consultant!—things get a lot more complicated…

Also released as:

  • UK hardback (Oct 2014, ISBN 9780263243949)
  • UK large print hardback (date and ISBN to be confirmed)
  • Also released in Australian paperback (Oct 2014, ISBN: tbc).

 


Behind the Book

So what do you do on the night that should have been your wedding night? You go dancing with your best friend. And then you meet a tall, dark, handsome stranger… and then you discover that he's the new doctor in your department… That's the situation that Joni and Aaron find themselves in.

It started with 'no strings', but they soon discover how much they like each other. Only it means having to trust each other and healing old hurts.

The setting's a little bit different because it's tropical medicine and infectious diseases. I found the research fascinating! I'd wanted to write a book involving the plague for ages; my ed vetoed my original idea, but some of my friends and colleagues rather encouraged me. Which is why this book is dedicated to Penni Askew and Scarlet Wilson. Let's just say that this book's working title was 'Plague Squirrels'! :)

And look out for Joni's best friend, because she ends up with her own book…

Read a bit

'Welcome to London.' Aaron lifted his pint in a wry toast to himself.

It was his own fault that he was sitting here on his own at the bar in a salsa club. When Tim had suggested going out to celebrate Aaron's first weekend in London and catch up, of course he hadn't meant just going out for a quiet pint. Aaron should've remembered their student days: Tim had always been the life and soul of the party, and always ended up surrounded by a crowd of pretty girls. He was still the same in his thirties as he'd been in his late teens; right now, Aaron couldn't even see him in the crowded club.

So when he'd finished his pint, Aaron decided, he'd try and find Tim, say a quiet goodbye, and go back to the impersonal flat he'd rented near the hospital.

Or maybe he wouldn't even bother with the rest of the pint. He set the still half-full glass back on the bar and turned away, looking for Tim.

And that was when he saw her.

The woman with the most amazing hair: dark as midnight, flowing down almost to her waist, perfectly straight and shiny. She was wearing a short scarlet dress that set her hair off to perfection and showcased long, beautifully shaped legs. And somehow she was managing to salsa in a pair of seriously high heels.

Aaron blew out a breath. This wasn't why he was here. He wasn't looking for any kind of relationship right now, even a temporary one. Not when he was about to start a new job and all his time was going to be taken up with work.

Yet there was something about the woman that drew him.

As he watched her dance, she turned slightly and he could see her face properly for the first time. She was stunning, with a heart-shaped face, dark eyes and the most beautiful mouth he'd ever seen.

Her friend said something to her and she tipped her head back and laughed, revealing even white teeth.

Aaron forgot all about Tim. Forgot why he was here. Forgot about everything except the woman in the red dress. Instead of being the staid, sensible workaholic he'd always been, he found himself walking across the dance floor towards her. Moth to a flame.

And, right at that moment, he didn't care if he got burned.

***

'You are the best friend ever.' Joni hugged Bailey. 'And I love you.'

'I love you, too, sweetie.' Bailey hugged her right back.

'You were so right. Dancing and champagne. That's just what I need tonight.' It was pretty much what Joni had originally planned to be doing tonight – except it would've been a different sort of dancing. A slow, elegant waltz in a floaty, frothy bridal dress to a romantic song; whereas right now the dancing was hot, sweaty, endorphin-boosting salsa and the dress she was wearing had the shortest skirt she'd ever owned, thanks to Bailey's encouragement.

'Of course I'm right. I'm a doctor,' Bailey teased. 'And exercise is one of the best medicines ever.'

Joni laughed. 'Says the specialist in sports medicine who's just a teensy bit biased.'

'It's true. I can quote tons of studies.' Bailey spread her hands. 'There are links to reduction in the risk of cancer and dementia, it works as well as drugs in curing depression, and it boosts academic progress in teenagers. Wins all round.'

'So salsa's the cure for everything?' Even a broken heart? Though Joni didn't quite understand why her heart should still feel broken when she'd been the one to call off the wedding, six months before.

'Endorphins rock. Plus salsa's fun.' Bailey grinned. 'Now, shimmy!'

Joni couldn't help laughing. And trust her irrepressible best friend to stop her moping on the day she'd been dreading for months: the day of the wedding-that-wasn't. Bailey specialised in sports medicine rather than tropical and infectious diseases; but even though they didn't actually work together they'd been best friends ever since they'd met on their first day at university. They'd supported each other through the dark times and celebrated the bright ones.

'Don't look round,' Bailey said, 'but there's a hot guy who was sitting at the bar. Right now he's heading in our direction, and he's looking straight at you.'

'He's probably wondering what on earth someone as coordinated as you is doing dancing with someone who keeps doing the steps totally wrong,' Joni said with a smile.

'I don't think so. Try “wow, who's the hot babe?”. Especially as your hair's down.' Bailey wound the end of Joni's hair briefly round her fingertips. 'You know, every woman in this room would kill for your hair. Including me.'

Hair that Marty had wanted her to cut. Her ex was the latest in a string of men who'd made Joni feel that she wasn't quite good enough. And she'd vowed after Marty that she'd never make that mistake again – she wouldn't sacrifice her career or her self esteem just to please someone else. From now on, it was equal or nothing.

'Earth to Joni.' Bailey waved both hands in front of her face. 'We agreed. No brooding and absolutely no thinking about Marty the Maggot. And I think Hot Guy is about to ask you to dance.'

Joni shook her head. 'Even if he does –'

'Then you're going to say yes,' Bailey cut in. 'Doctor's orders. Dancing with a hot guy is good for you.'

'So if he asks you to dance,' Joni began.

'He's not going to ask me, sweetie.' Bailey winked at her. 'He's only got eyes for you.'

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