Harlequin Medical Romance December 2015, Box Set 1 of 2

BOOK: Harlequin Medical Romance December 2015, Box Set 1 of 2
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Harlequin Medical Romance December 2015 - Box Set 1 of 2

Playboy Doc's Mistletoe Kiss

From Christmas to Forever?

Miracle Under the Mistletoe

Tina Beckett

Marion Lennox

Jennifer Taylor

Table of Contents

Playboy Doc's Mistletoe Kiss
By Tina Beckett

From Christmas to Forever?
By Marion Lennox

Miracle Under the Mistletoe
By Jennifer Taylor

Flirting with festive temptation

After her twin sister steals her fiancé, midwife Jessica Black vows to stay single. But with her family's Christmas visit looming, Jess needs a way to convince them she's
so over
her ex. She'll need a “boyfriend” for the holidays!

Hospital heartthrob Dr. Dean Edwards never gets close enough to break any hearts—especially his own… So stepping in as Jess's fake date should be simple, no-strings fun. Until they're caught under the mistletoe! Suddenly “no strings” is the last thing on his mind…

Midwives On-Call at Christmas

Mothers, midwives and mistletoe—lives changing forever at Christmas!

Welcome to Cambridge Royal Hospital—and to the exceptional midwives who make up its special maternity unit!

They deliver tiny bundles of joy on a daily basis, but Christmas really is a time for miracles—as midwives Bonnie, Hope, Jessica and Isabel are about to find out.

Amid the drama and emotion of babies arriving at all hours of the day and night, these midwives still find time for some sizzling romance under the mistletoe!

This holiday season, don't miss the festive, heartwarming spin-off to the dazzling
Midwives On-Call
continuity from Harlequin Medical Romance:

A Touch of Christmas Magic
by Scarlet Wilson

Her Christmas Baby Bump
by Robin Gianna

Playboy Doc's Mistletoe Kiss
by Tina Beckett

Her Doctor's Christmas Proposal
by Louisa George

All available now!

Dear Reader,

I love Christmas. I love the decorated trees and the colored lights and all the yummy scents that go along with the holiday. So when I was asked to take part in Midwives On-Call at Christmas, I jumped at the chance. And I'm glad I did. I had so much fun with this story. My characters were all I could have hoped for, and I even sneaked a sprig of mistletoe into one of the scenes. Absolutely romantic!

Thank you for joining Jess and Dean as they make their way through this festive season and tackle some serious issues (all the while treating the tiniest and most adorable patients). Maybe they'll even share a kiss or two under that mistletoe...

I hope you enjoy their story as much as I loved writing it.

Love,

Tina Beckett

PLAYBOY DOC'S MISTLETOE KISS

Tina Beckett

Books by Tina Beckett

Harlequin Medical Romance

Hot Brazilian Docs!

To Play with Fire
The Dangers of Dating Dr. Carvalho

One Night That Changed Everything
NYC Angels: Flirting with Danger
The Lone Wolf's Craving
Doctor's Guide to Dating in the Jungle
Her Hard to Resist Husband
His Girl From Nowhere
How to Find a Man in Five Dates
The Soldier She Could Never Forget
Her Playboy's Secret
Hot Doc from Her Past

Visit the Author Profile page at
Harlequin.com
for more titles.

To my husband, who is willing to drop whatever he's doing to sip hot cocoa and stare at the Christmas lights with me. I love you, honey!

Praise for Tina Beckett

“A tension-filled emotional story with just the right amount of drama. The author's vivid description of the Brazilian jungle and its people make this story something special.”

—RT Book Reviews
on
Doctor's Guide to Dating in the Jungle

“Harlequin Medical Romance lovers will definitely like
NYC Angels: Flirting with Danger
by Tina Beckett—for who
doesn't
like a good forbidden romance?”

—HarlequinJunkie

CHAPTER ONE

J
ESSICA
A
NN
B
LACK
was used to chaos. As she arrived at her fifth case of the day—a home birth—that was exactly what she found. Chaos.

Daphne's birthing coach—who was also her husband—was on the ground beside the bed, out of commission. The woman's mum was doing her best to calm her daughter, but the shaky voice and panicked expression said she was in over her head.

Taking a deep breath, Jess waded into the fray, her training kicking in. A senior midwife at Cambridge Royal Hospital, she wasn't called out to many home births, but she'd followed Daphne through two successful deliveries in as many years. When she'd begged Jess to see to this one as well, she hadn't had the heart to refuse. All had gone well with the other two, so she'd expected the same with the third.

Except it wasn't.

Daphne gripped the bed, panting in quick breaths. Hurrying over to her, Jess gave her mum's shoulder a gentle squeeze and asked her to see to Daphne's husband. Then she focused all her attention on her patient.

“I'm going to check you, love. Give me just a moment.” Snapping on her gloves to measure her patient's dilation, she found instead the baby had crowned—head pressed tight against her fingertips.

Alarm bells flashed through her system, but she suppressed them. Jess had learned to school her features into bland indifference—no matter what she was faced with. So much so that the hospital often asked her to step in when there was a particularly tense or emotional situation. She somehow had the ability to defuse them.

Maybe because she had plenty of practice doing just that in her own family. Especially with her sister. Only it didn't always work, as she'd learned the hard way.

“How long have you been like this?” Jess grabbed several towels from the stack of clean ones Daphne had readied at her bedside and laid them just below the woman's bum.

“Hours.” The word was accompanied by another moan.

Since Jess had only gotten the call fifteen minutes ago, she knew that wasn't true, but it probably did seem like hours to someone who was scared and alone. Well, she wasn't alone, but she might as well be.

This baby was coming much faster than the others had. Jess had left the hospital as soon as Daphne's husband rang her, but somewhere between then and now things had taken a turn, and Rick had fainted dead away. No wonder he'd panicked. Jess had always been here for this part of the delivery. He'd probably locked his knees and sent his blood pressure plummeting until he passed out.

She prayed the baby was still okay.

“You know how to do this by heart, Daphne. Your baby is almost here, so I need you to grab your legs and bear down on your bottom.”

More panting. “I don't know if I can. Hurts so much more than the others.”

Jess didn't stop to ask where the other two children were; hopefully they were with someone and not wandering around the house alone. She'd tackle that problem after she handled this one.

If she was good at one thing, it was taking things as they came at her—dealing with one task at a time in the order of urgency. And right now, they needed to get this baby out.

“You can do it, love, absolutely you can.” She helped Daphne get into position and told her to wait for the next contraction and then push. Jess's phone was on the table next to her, the hospital's number already on the screen ready to be dialed at the touch of a button.

“It's here.” Daphne groaned...or maybe the sound came from her husband, Jess wasn't sure, but her patient began bearing down as Jess counted in slow measured tones.

“Perfect. Take a breath and push again.”

The baby's head slowly emerged, the characteristic shape from compression very much evident in this little one, which made her again wonder how long he or she had been stuck in the birth canal.

As soon as she delivered the baby's head, she instructed her patient to stop, while she continued to support the neck and prepared for the hardest part of the delivery: the shoulders.

Daphne had buckled down to work, her earlier panic gone as she concentrated on the job at hand.

“Okay, let's go at it again.”

The first shoulder appeared, and Jess maneuvered it, easing it out. Then came the second. A little rotation to the left. There! Both were out. “One more good push, Daphne, and we should have it.”

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the woman's mother guiding Daphne's husband to a nearby chair. She called over, “Rick, put your head between your knees. Daphne is doing fine.”

Her patient pushed again and, as she'd suspected, the baby—a girl—slipped right out and into her waiting hands. The newborn cried without any stimulation, making Jess go slack with relief.

“You've got a baby girl. Congratulations.” Still holding the newborn, she used the tips of her fingers to pick another towel and draped it over Daphne's chest. She then placed the baby on it. “Love on her for a minute, while I cut the cord.”

With no one to hand her any instruments, she reached into her bag and found clamps and scissors in sterile packages and ripped them open. She then clamped and cut the cord and delivered the afterbirth.

As soon as everyone was stable, and Rick was back on his feet and standing beside his wife looking rather sheepish, she pressed the dial button on her mobile. Daphne and the baby would need to be checked.

Expecting one of the nurses to answer, she tensed for a second when a low masculine drawl brushed across her ear. “Cambridge Royal Hospital, Dean Edwards here.”

Dean Edwards. Special Care Baby Unit doctor and one of the hospital's most eligible bachelors. Definitely its most notorious from all of the whispered love-'em-and-leave-'em tales that floated through the hospital's corridors.

Forcing her voice to remain absolutely level and calm even though her pulse had rocketed through the roof, she informed him of the situation and that she was arranging for transport to take the family to hospital. She asked that someone be there to meet them when they arrived.

“Will you be arriving with them?”

She hesitated, tempted for some strange reason to say yes. Shaking herself free of the urge, she said, “I have somewhere else to be, but I'll make sure they get off without any problems.”

“I'll be waiting.” The words sent a strange shiver through her. Almost as if he'd be waiting for her.

Ridiculous. Back to reality, Jess.

She still had her mum and dad's anniversary party to get through as soon as she left here. The last thing she needed was to be mooning over Dean Edwards. Besides, she needed all her wits about her, because the party meant she would be facing her twin sister, who she'd only seen a handful of times since Abbie's wedding day.

The day Abbie had married Jess's fiancé.

* * *

“You're still after him aren't you? You'd love it if something happened and we broke up.”

Jess stood there in shock as her sister's furious words poured over her.

After him? The familiar accusation ripped open old wounds and laid them bare.

Hadn't it been the other way around six years ago? Martin had been Jess's fiancé, until Abbie—just like with everything else—had decided she wanted what her sister had.

“Just stop it, Abbie. I'm not up to it tonight.” The pounding in her temples attested to that fact.

“Well, that's too bad. Because I have a few things I want to get off my chest, and since we're both here...”

Jess took a breath and reminded herself that they were at their parents' thirtieth anniversary party and that her sister was seven months pregnant with her fourth child. Throwing another brick on the restraining wall that held back her own bitter feelings, she tried again.

“Let's not fight, Abbie.” She made her voice as calm as possible, trying to ward off the inevitable. “This isn't the time or place.”

“Who's fighting? Certainly not me.”

“No? It sure sounds like it. Those text messages weren't from me. Did you ever think about ringing the number, or asking Martin directly?”

Her sister had basically accused her of sexting her husband while he was away on business trips. It was ludicrous to have to defend herself against such a ridiculous accusation. Besides, she couldn't imagine Martin being stupid enough to leave incriminating texts on his phone for Abbie to find. There had to be another explanation. Unfortunately, Martin was away on yet another trip.

“I'm asking
you
, instead.” Her sister's thunderous expression made her take a step back.

“You can well and truly have him, Abbie. I don't want him back.”

It was on the tip of her tongue to say that she'd found someone else—that she was madly in love. But she didn't. Because there was no one even on the horizon. Madly or otherwise.

She hadn't gone out on a date in ages.

“Oh, really?” Her sister put a hand to her belly, disbelief written all over her face. “Well, you'd better make sure it stays that way.”

Jess's teeth ground together, her anger rising. “That's enough.”

“I still have a few things to make perfectly clear.”

This was why she avoided being in the same room as her twin, going so far as to move from London to Cambridge. Those five minutes in the birthing suite—when her sister had arrived first—had set a pattern that continued to this day. Abbie had to be first in everything. Or at least look like it. She'd excelled at everything she touched, outdoing Jess whenever she got the chance. Her sister had even followed her to uni and studied midwifery, going one step further and making it look as if she'd had the idea first.

Abbie had the home and the family her mum had always wanted both her girls to have. Another source of contention, since her parents felt Jess poured too much of herself into her career.

But she loved her job. She wasn't substituting one thing for another. Nor was she worried about her biological clock running out.

She lowered her voice, aware that her mum was now looking at them from across the room with a frown. Time to put a stop to this. “This isn't a competition. It never was.”

“You think I'm competing? With
you
?” Her sister took a step closer, crowding Jess against the buffet table, ignoring the guest who tiptoed around them, plate in hand. “Believe me, you'd know it if I were.”

The problem was, Jess did know it. It was the reason she'd had little to do with her sister since agreeing to be her maid of honor—the day Martin had stood at the front of the congregation and watched the bridesmaids glide down the aisle of the church. He'd spared her hardly a glance—eyes only for Abbie. That had been one of the worst nights of her life. Her sister had gloated openly, even as she'd claimed to be glad to leave behind her aspirations of becoming a midwife. Martin and Abbie's first child was born seven months later. She'd been “blissfully happy” ever since.

“Listen, Abbie, if I were going to send sexy texts to someone, it certainly wouldn't be to Martin.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

More anger flared inside of her. She couldn't believe her sister was doing this at their parents' party. They'd come all the way to Cambridge from their home in London just so Jess could attend—her crazy hours leaving her little time for holidays or anything else. Leave it to Abbie to try to ruin their efforts by thinking of no one but herself. Well, this time, Jess was going to call her on it.

The restraining wall she had so carefully erected burst at the seams, allowing words she'd vowed never to say to spew out in a rush.

“What I mean is Martin's gone a little soft around the middle, hasn't he? Besides, have you ever heard the expression
once a cheater always a cheater
?”

Her sister flushed bright red. “I can't believe you just said that. Martin loved me. What were we supposed to do?”

Jess could think of a few things, but the pain behind her eyes was growing, warning her that things were about to get much worse. The last thing she wanted to do was burst into tears in front of her sister.

She slid to the side to get away from Abbie and from her own growing frustration. “Okay, I'm done. This is
not
the place to be sniping at each other.”

“Sniping? Why, you...” Abbie clutched her stomach with both hands.

Jess rolled her eyes. Whenever challenged by anyone—her parents, her friends, her sister—Abbie always felt dizzy, or sick...or too exhausted to “have this conversation”.

“Let's just call a truce and go back to our own sides of the room, okay?”

“I think—” Her sister moaned. “I think something's wrong with the baby.”

She suddenly realized all the color had leached from Abbie's face. Her sister had also reached out to grip the table, knocking over a tiered set of plates that held expensive hors d'oeuvres.

Crash!

The china exploded on the ground spraying tiny crab cakes and stuffed mushrooms in every direction.

The whole room went silent, all eyes coming to rest on the twins. Jess's anger transformed to horror.

Because Abbie wasn't acting or trying to garner sympathy. Jess recognized the signs enough to know her sister was in labor.

And the baby was two months early.

BOOK: Harlequin Medical Romance December 2015, Box Set 1 of 2
11.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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