The Spanish Doctor's Love-Child

Available in stores

Mills & Boon Medical Romance

August 2008

ISBN: 9780263863406

 

Harlequin Medical Romance

October 2008

ISBN: 9780373823741

From playboy doctor to father-to-be!

Dangerously handsome Leandro Herrera never becomes emotionally involved with women. He's a brilliant doctor and his career is what's important to him. It wouldn't be fair to have a family - his own father's absence taught him that. When he starts a new job and discovers he's the boss of nurse Becky Marston - the woman he just shared the most amazing night of his life with - neither can resist an affair: no strings, no commitments!

But Leandro finds it difficult to keep his emotions separate - especially when Becky announces she's pregnant! He's the last man on earth to let a woman have his child alone, and suddenly the hot-blooded Spanish doctor wants the mother of his child as his wife!

Also released in the UK as a hardback (June 2008, ISBN: 9780263203165) and a large print hardback (date and ISBN tbc). Also released in Australia in paperback (September 2008, ISBN: tbc).

 


Behind the Book

I love A&E books. It's the adrenaline charge, I think, the sheer drama of the setting. And I'd had this Catalan consultant walking into my head (partly from watching Antonio Banderas in 'Take The Lead' - I know, I know, he's not a medic or anything even slightly near it, but...) so Leandro got to tell his story. He'd grown up in a single-parent family, and now he has the chance to find out the truth about his past.

Becky, the heroine, tried to please her parents and her husband - but she wasn't prepared to do what they wanted and give up her job as a nurse practitioner. Since her marriage foundered, she's concentrated on her career, aiming to be nurse consultant, and no way is she ever getting involved again.

When they meet at a party, attraction sparks between them and they have a mad affair. But neither of them expects to encounter the other at work, a couple of days later. And with both of them hiding secrets... will they learn to trust?

It's set in Manchester - and I got to do a mini re-telling of a favourite legend in the middle of the book. (Anyone who's visited Alderley Edge might guess which one!)

It's dedicated to my cousins, Terri and Lee.

And the book's recipe - Catalonian spinach - is seriously scrummy. (Did you know that the first cookbook published in Spain was Catalonian? Libre del Coc, published around 500 years ago.)

Read a Bit

CHAPTER ONE

'Rod Hawes, fifty-four, just got a strike at ten-pin bowling when he started having chest pains,' Ed, the paramedic, told Becky and David as he wheeled the trolley into Resus. 'His wife and kids are on their way.'

Becky glanced at their patient, not liking his colour or the sheen of sweat on his skin.

'He described the pain as like an elephant sitting on his chest,' Ed continued.

Classic symptoms. So she was expecting the paramedic's next comment: 'The pain wasn't relieved by GTN and from the trace we think he's had an MI. We've cannulated and given him oxygen, but no aspirin because he's got a stomach ulcer.'

A complication they could really do without.

Almost before David asked, she had a syringe in her hand and bottles. 'Usual bloods?' she asked.

He nodded. 'Has he had an anti-emetic?' David asked the paramedic.

'Not yet.' 'I'm on it,' Becky said, swiftly sorting out the bloods. She'd administered an anti-emetic through the cannula and set up the electrocardiograph leads to take a trace of the heart's activity by the time David had finished taking the patient's history.

Strange how everything slowed right down in the middle of an emergency. Their patient's life was at stake, but the team had worked together for so long that they all knew exactly what to do. Everything slotted together in the right place and at the right time.

And it was a shame that today was going to be the last time they'd work together. David was flying out to Africa almost straight after his shift to do a six-month stint with Doctors Without Borders.

Becky only hoped that the new consultant would be as thorough and as genuinely nice as David, treating the patients and staff alike with respect and kindness. Human Resources hadn't exactly been generous with their information, and even the hospital grapevine had drawn a blank. All they knew about the new consultant was that he was male.

They were about to administer thrombolytic drugs when she saw the pattern on the ECG change. 'He's gone into VT.'

Hardly surprising; Becky knew that most patients who'd had a heart attack developed an abnormal heart rhythm afterwards. VT or ventricular tachycardia was where a ventricle, one of the lower chambers of the heart, beat too fast; it could lead to ventricular fibrillation, where the heart contracted but didn't pump blood round the body, and it was life-threatening.

'OK. We know the drill,' David said wryly. 'Crash team. Mina, can you remove the clothing from Rod's upper body, so we can position the paddles more easily?' he asked the first-year foundation doctor.

Mina did so while David checked Rod's intubation and Becky checked his pulse. 'He's in pulseless VT,' she reported.

David sighed and put one paddle on the apex position and the other on the right of Rod's breastbone, just below the clavicle. 'Charging to two hundred,' he said. 'Stand clear.'

Everyone took their hands off the patient.

'Shocking now.'

Becky glanced at the ECG. 'No response. He's still in VT.'

They waited ten seconds to see if the ECG trace changed; the protocol was that you didn't check the pulse after a shock unless the heart rhythm changed.

'Charging to two hundred again,' David said, keeping the paddles on the gel pads. 'And clear. Shocking now.'

Still no response.

'Charging to three-sixty.' David said, 'and clear. Shocking now.'

To everyone's relief, the ECG showed a clear sinus rhythm - the normal beat of the heart. Becky checked Rod's pulse and her stomach plummeted. 'No pulse. He's gone into PEA.' PEA or pulseless electrical activity, was where the heart rhythm seemed normal on the ECG screen, showing that there was electrical activity within the heart, but the heart wasn't actually pumping blood round the patient's body.

He was intubated, on oxygen, and there was no sign of a bleed; they also knew from the history that the patient had given them that he wasn't on any medication and hadn't taken any drugs. So that narrowed down the likely causes of the problem.

David grimaced. 'My money's on thrombosis - a huge MI.' ,p>Which meant the chances of a good result were slim. Becky knew that when a patient had gone into PEA, if they couldn't find the underlying cause fast enough, they treated the patient as if they're in asystole. The odds weren't on their side, but she drew up a milligram of epinephrine and handed it to David. 'Want me to bag while you do the compressions?'

He nodded. 'Sure I can't persuade you to come with me? We could do with a really good nurse on the team. Especially one who's a nurse practitioner.'

'Thanks, but I'm happy here in Manchester,' she said. Maybe a year or eighteen months ago, she would've jumped at the chance to get away from the mess of her failed marriage - and the even messier bit she'd never told anyone about, even her closest friends - but she'd stuck it out and her life was back on an even keel now.

'Hmm.' David looked at the ECG monitor. 'As the underlying rhythm's bradycardia, let's try atropine as well.'

She drew up a milligram and checked it, then David administered the drug.

Just respond, she begged their patient silently. You've got a family on its way to you, needing you to wake up. Rod Hawes was a family man who'd been out with his wife and kids, having fun. Why the hell did this sort of thing have to happen? Why couldn't it happen instead to someone who made his family's life miserable and wouldn't be missed?

She pushed the thought away. Not here. Not now. Despite the two rotten days she'd just spent in London, this wasn't the time or place to think about that. She needed to stay detached, do her job.

Ten sequences of basic life support over three minutes, checking for a pulse after each one.

'Still no pulse,' she reported.

'No change on the ECG,' Mina said.

Another milligram of epinephrine. She counted the rhythm: fifteen chest compressions to two breaths.

Still nothing.

Come on, come on, she thought. Go into VF so we can go back to shocking you. Get your heart started again.

Irene, one of the staff nurses, came in. 'His family's here,' she said.

David nodded, his face grim. 'Now's not a good time for them to see him. Can you take them to the relatives' room and look after them? I'll be with them as soon as I can. As soon as we get him to respond.'

'Will do.'

But after they'd been working for twenty minutes, David stopped. 'It's not going to happen,' he said softly. 'His brain's been without oxygen for twenty minutes. He's gone. Everyone agreed that we call it?'

One by one, very quietly, the rest of the team agreed.

'Right. Time of death . . .' he looked at the clock '. . . four forty-seven. Thanks for your help, team. Sorry we didn't make it.' He raked a hand through his hair. 'This sucks. Big time.' He sighed. 'Better go see his family.'

'Do you want me to do it?' Becky asked.

He patted her shoulder. 'You're a sweetheart for offering - but it's my responsibility. I'll do it.'

'I'll call his GP, then, and inform the coroner,' she said. 'And fill out the forms for you to sign.'

'Let's hope I'm a bit better than this when I get out to Africa,' he said, shaking his head in apparent disgust with himself.

'Hey. Don't beat yourself up. You know as well as I do that PEA doesn't have a good prognosis - and one in three patients with an MI don't even make it to the emergency department in the first place. You did your best. We all did.'

Neither of them said it, but she knew they were both thinking it: their best just hadn't been good enough.

And although Becky was based in the minor injuries section for the rest of her shift and concentrated on treating each patient, there was still that underlying misery she felt whenever they lost a patient. A dull, heavy feeling that wouldn't shift, even by the time she got home.

'Bad day?' Tanya, her housemate, asked as she walked in.

'Does it show?'

Tanya nodded. 'From the look on your face, I'd say you lost a patient.'

'Yes.'

Tanya gave her a sympathetic hug. 'That's exactly why I could never work in emergency medicine. At least in paediatrics most of our patients make it.'

'We don't lose that many,' Becky protested.

'You know what I mean.' Tanya switched the kettle on. 'You need tea. Actually, I've got a better idea than that. You know the newbie doctors on our ward?'

'The first-year foundation doctors have been in for two months, now. They're not exactly newbies any more,' Becky said.

Tanya grinned. 'If you ask me, they're still a bit wet behind the ears! But Joe's pretty cute. And he's having a party tonight. Why don't you come with me?'

'I wasn't invited,' Becky pointed out.

'He said I could bring a friend.' Tanya brushed her objection aside. 'What you need is a good night out. Lots of loud music, maybe a bit too much red wine, and let your hair down.'

'Down.' Becky flicked the ends of her short hair. 'And that would be how, exactly, Tan?'

Tanya laughed. 'Oh, you. Seriously, come with me. It'll be a laugh.'

After the week she'd had including two days spent being the dutiful granddaughter and resenting every second of it Becky could really do with a laugh. 'OK. Thanks. I will.'

Lord, he needed a breather from this party, Leandro thought.

Given the choice between spending his first Saturday in Manchester completely on his own in a rented flat, wondering why the hell he'd left Barcelona, and coming to a party where he was likely meet some of his new colleagues, Leandro had accepted the invitation with a smile. Enthusiasm, even.

But he'd forgotten what kind of parties junior doctors threw.

Ones with plenty of cheap wine, barely edible snacks that left you hungry, and terrible music played at the kind of volume where conversations had to be conducted at a shouting pitch. Where there was barely any room to move, because so many people were packed into the place.

Thirty-five years old, and he'd hit middle age, he thought ruefully. Because he was beginning to wish he'd stayed in after all.

Leandro took a swig from the bottle of beer and wandered into the garden, thinking at least he'd find a quiet corner there. Although it was April, it was warm enough for him not to need a coat.

And then he saw her.

Sitting on a bench tucked away in a quiet corner of the garden, with her shoes off and her knees drawn up to her chin, looking as though she wanted to be a hundred miles away, too. A kindred spirit, perhaps?

He walked over to the bench. 'Do you mind if I join you?'

She looked up at him and frowned. 'Sorry. I didn't catch what you said.'

Hardly surprising. She'd probably been deafened by the music blasting from inside the house.

'I said, do you mind if I join you?' he repeated, this time a little louder.

She shrugged and uncurled, making room for him to sit beside her. 'Help yourself.'

Even though the sun had set an hour or so ago, the light shining into the garden from the kitchen was bright enough for him to see her properly. She had short brown hair, the sort that would go into spiral curls if she let it grow, and dark blue eyes that looked haunted. And a perfect rosebud of a mouth that sent a frisson of desire down his spine.

From the book The Spanish Doctor's Love-Child by Kate Hardy.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance
Publication Date: August 2008
ISBN: 9780263863406
Copyright © 2008 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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Reviews

from Cataromance:

A wonderfully poignant tale rich in feeling, emotion and romance by a wonderful romantic novelist who never fails to captivate, enthral and move her audience. Featuring a gorgeous hero, a lovely heroine and lots of tender romance, pathos, drama and passion, The Spanish Doctor's Love Child is a spellbinding tale about moving forward, new beginnings and the redeeming power of love by an extraordinary writer whose books I just cannot get enough of!

from Amazon - 5 Stars

Their journey is a sweet and lovely story. Not just the passion but their respect and caring for each other and how throughout the months getting to know each changes everything. Leandro is determined that Becky will become his wife and she has other ideas. It's a beautiful story about second chances, not just for Becky and Leandro but for their families as well.

What they're saying on e-Harlequin:

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this story. They are both wary about commitment so neither do relationships exactly. The hospital scenes are great; it shows how an emergency team works together and especially highlights how well Leandro and Becky work together.
  • Kate Hardy tackles some very sensitive issues about parenting in THE SPANISH DOCTOR'S LOVE-CHILD. Both Leandro and Becky have experienced pain in their pasts, pain that makes them both question their relationship. Kate Hardy concludes the book with one of the most believable discussions about trust that I think I've ever read in a romance novel. Easily recommended!
  • This story opens with an intense, fast-paced scene and never really lets up. I loved the fact that this hero was clearly a dominant, alpha male, but he was kind and respectful. I was pleasantly surprised by the h/H and their relationship.
  • A good story about a doctor who goes to England in search of his father and finds love.

Stories by Kate Hardy with emergency department settings

 

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