Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book Tour Grand Finale for Sophie's Path Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Sophie's Path
By Catherine Lanigan

We hope you enjoyed coming along with us and Frenchie, as we got to know more about Sophie's and Jack's stories! If you missed any of the tour stops, go back and check them out now...

Launch - From Frenchie's Point of View

Bark! Sorry. Hi! My name is Frenchie. I’m a six and a half pound Yorkie Poo and I’m here to welcome you to “The Shores of Indian Lake” series by Catherine Lanigan. If you are returning to our small town, I’m glad to meet you, too. This is a new role for me, being a star, I mean. I’ve been a rescue dog, which wasn’t fun. I like to have a family. In fact, I have to have humans to love. Humans can be fun but they can also be pretty clueless about the essentials in life. Take Sophie Mattuchi and Jack Carter, for instance. I thought I’d never get these two together.

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Review

"I adored Frenchie, the dog, who really helped thread the story line together. The characters are multifaceted and have depth. I love the process they each developed in. This is a town that I would love to read more about.

I recommend this to readers who enjoy a clean romance with good characters and depth."

Rockin' Book Reviews - Excerpt

Still, the guy moved with the grace of a panther. He was the kind she couldn’t help being attracted to. Her nerve endings sizzled as if touched with electrodes. She couldn’t stop the pounding of blood through her veins that didn’t come from exercise. It was automatic. She was being Sophie.

Brooke Blogs - Sophie Mattuchi

Jeremy was a heroin addict. Sometimes he would pass out and forget to feed me or give me water. He loved me very much and I loved him. That’s when he decided he had to give me up. The day we met Sophie, I knew she had a heart as big as outdoors.

Hardcover Feedback - Review

"I really liked Sophie. I loved her desire to help others, how she volunteered and helped her friends, but I didn't like how she stretched herself so thinly...but thought it was nice she had people in her life that cared and tried to keep her in check."

Wishful Endings - This or That

Are you guys ready to get to know a little more about Catherine? Here we go:

Chocolate or fruity candy?
Chocolate… Always

I'm with you there 100%. :) Read a book or watch TV?
Read and read more. I seldom watch television anymore, but I do watch movies on DVD.

Nicole's Book Musings - Jack Carter

Meeting Jack for a little dog like me was pretty intimidating at first. He’s a big guy. Strong. And handsome—for a human. He looks like that movie star, Hugh Jackman. Jack’s been running for years. The first thought in my head was that if I came to live with him, he might want me to run with him. He has long legs. Mine are short and I knew this wasn’t going to work.

EskieMama Reads - Excerpt

Sophie continued drying his pants’ legs, pretending she hadn’t heard what he’d just said. She was thankful she was on the floor because being this close to Jack, in this intimate setting, had turned her bones to jelly.

deal sharing aunt - Interview

What would you like my readers to know?

I especially love to hear from readers. It is from your comments and desires that I steer my course of the next book. God willing, I hope to write 26 Shores of Indian Lake stories in all. In each of the up-coming books, I introduce new characters who will have their own stories in the future. Mrs. Beabots will always be the anchor that holds everyone together, the matchmaker who wants to see every one happy.

Colorimetry - Humans Can be So Silly

As a dog, I hear a lot of gossip and advice-giving. I heard every word of Sophie’s concern for me when she and Mrs. Beabots were making tarts for the Recovery Alliance.

Jack’s office is a hot-bed of confidential material. Of course, this is due to his clients who are buying insurance to protect their children and families. But sometimes, they don’t want insurance for errant children or grandchildren. Sometimes they have lost their jobs and have to stop their premiums. Or some have medical issues. It’s really sad what humans have to deal with sometimes. No wonder they need us dogs so desperately to love them.

Getting Your Read On - Review

". . . but the story is a good one and worth sticking with. If you love a gentle romance with slow build, you will love this book."

underneath the covers - Nurses Make Great Girlfriends

I’ve decided that if I were a human and since I’m female, I’d be a nurse like Sophie. For starters, even though she was on her “self-improvement” regime and she was eating healthy, her nursing career also taught her that we all only live once.

Falling Leaves - Review

"I definitely recommend this book to everyone, whether you're in the middle of struggle or you're just content with your life.

A story of trust, forgiveness, hope, pain, death and love that you will cherish."

Sophie's PathSophie's Path
(Shores of Indian Lake #6)
Catherine Lanigan
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
July 1st 2016 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Her choice. His consequences.

Nurse Sophie Mattuchi has seen a lot of angry patients in the ER, but no one's ever rattled her like Jack Carter. He has no right to blame her for his friend's death. Sophie did everything she could. Didn't she? Yet his accusations sting, and that sets off all kinds of internal alarms. She's never cared this much about any man's opinion of her. But Jack is different. He stirs up feelings. Strong feelings. Guilt. Anger. Attraction. Curiosity. Sympathy. Sophie's definitely not interested in Jack, but even if she was, he'd never forgive her for the decision she made that night in the hospital. Would he?

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Other Books in the Series


Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of forty published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, as well as over half a dozen anthologies, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living your Dream”, “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul”, and more. Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into dozens of languages including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. Ms. Lanigan’s novels are also available in E-books on and Barnes and, Apple Store, Mobi and Kobo. Several of her titles have been chosen for The Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs. Her Vietnam war-based novel, The Christmas Star, won the Gold Medal Award Top Pick from Romantic Times Magazine and has also won Book of the Year Romance Gold Award from ForeWord Magazine as well as Book of the Year Romance from Reader’s Preference.

Lanigan is the author of a trilogy of non- fiction books regarding angelic intervention in human life: Angel Watch, Divine Nudges and Angel Tales published by HCI and Cedar Fort.

Skyhorse published Lanigan’s “how-to” book on writing: Writing the Great American Romance Novel.

Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid Foundation to write a non-fiction book addressing teen addictions. Ms. Lanigan’s first Young Adult adventure novel, The Adventures of Lillie and Zane: The Golden Flute, was published by Cedar Fort.

Currently, she has published six novels in the Shores of Indian Lake series for Harlequin Heartwarming: Love Shadows, Heart’s Desire, A Fine Year for Love, Katia’s Promise and Fear of Falling. Sophie’s Path pubs July, 2016. She has recently contracted for three more in the series: Danger Zone, Wedding for Isabelle and A Bride for Mica.

As a cancer survivor, Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books. She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. (THE EVOLVING WOMAN). She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs.

Tour Giveaway

$50 Amazon eGift Card
Open internationally
Ends August 5th

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Masterpiece Trilogy Release Blitz! Giveaway!

Title: The Masterpiece Trilogy Boxed Set
Author: Nikki Lynn Barrett
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Release Date: July 28, 2016


Twenty years ago, they survived a plane crash.
One boy, one girl. He was twelve; she was eight.

A bond forms when all they have is each other and a fight for survival on their hands.

Their story is one of friendship, danger, secrets and terrifying truths. For the first time ever, the Masterpiece Trilogy is bundled up in one boxed set. A Masterpiece Of Our Love, A Masterpiece Unraveled, and A Forever Masterpiece are full of twists, turns, suspense, and a love like no other.

Also included in this set is a new, never before published prequel.

Purchase Links


Author Bio

I'm an avid lover of books. I've been writing as far back as I can remember, completing my first "book" by fifth grade in one of those one subject spiral notebooks. I have a passion for music, photography, jewelry and all things creative. I live in Arizona with my husband and son, but dream of being somewhere much colder and stormier. For now, I'll have to live that life through my characters and stick it out with the summer heat.

Author Links



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Excerpt Reveal - Broken Lion by Devon Hartford

Broken Lion Excerpt Reveal.jpg

Coming August 1st

Add to your Goodreads shelf now.


Or pre-order exclusively via iBooks HERE

Or buy the paperback now

AP new - synopsis.jpg

Bestselling author Devon Hartford brings you another scorching hot and scandalous standalone romance.


The night the EMTs rolled Lion Maxwell into my ER turned my life upside down.
Although he was bloody and battered from defending his title as the WMAA’s reigning cruiserweight champion, his cocky grin lit up the room.
And every cell in my body.
Our fiery chemistry was off the charts.
The ER staff sensed it.
Lion’s entourage and his drooling groupies sensed it too.
If the two of us had been alone, I might have done something entirely unprofessional and completely unethical right there in the exam room. But I was his attending physician. A sexual or romantic relationship with him was grounds for my termination or worse, revoking my medical license. I wouldn’t risk my career on a moment of passion. It didn’t stop that arrogant caveman from doing everything he could to get me into his hospital bed.
After denying his advances for weeks, the last thing I expected were the wild nights he would be spending in my bed.
It was supposed to be nothing more than a secret fling.
I knew it couldn’t last.
He was still my patient.
What we were doing was wrong.
If anyone found out, it could ruin my life.
But we couldn’t let go.
We were bound to each other on some primal level that consumed us.
Sometimes love is tragic.
Sometimes two people aren’t meant to be together.
But sometimes, two people overcome all adversity and build a love that lasts forever.
I knew deep in my heart that Lion Maxwell could be my happily ever after.
As long as we kept our love a secret.
I wish I’d known that some secrets are too hard to keep…

Broken Lion.png

AP new - excerpt.jpg

Chapter 1
I didn’t have time for men.
As an attending physician at the busy Los Angeles Central Hospital, I had too many responsibilities. Caring for my patients was always my top priority. For me, dating was an afterthought.
But I wasn’t a robot.
I noticed men all the time.
For example, several of the EMTs who wheeled patients into the Emergency Care Unit every night were to die for. The boys in blue were just as yummy, ember-eyed Officer Noah Murdock being the yummiest.
The firemen from the LAFD were even more gorgeous. My favorites were Troy and Rick from Station 10. Both were regulars here in the ECU. Both were also smoking hot and known not only for saving lives and putting out fires, but for starting fires—in women’s panties, and not just mine. Ask any of the women on the ECU team (and some of the men). Troy and Rick were also known for appearing topless in the LAFD Firefighter’s calendar hanging in our team break room. In it, both men sported oiled-up abs and bulging shoulders while looking rugged and sweaty and deadly sexy in their suspiciously low hanging firemen’s pants. Troy was Mother’s Day May and Rick was I wish me a Merry Christmas December. Yes, I skipped ahead to check. Several times a week.
Like I said, I noticed men all the time.
But I was too busy doing my job to date any.
When I wasn’t here at the hospital, I was the on call physician and had to come in at the most unexpected times. Not ideal for dating. Most weeks it seemed like I lived here.
After setting a broken arm in exam room 102, I walked out to fill out the relevant paperwork before taking my next patient.
Latisha Brown, the charge nurse, fell into step beside me and said, “Girl, you gonna wet yourself when you get a look at the fine man in 109. Mmm, mmm, mmm.” She muttered it in a low voice as we walked toward the nurses station. Latisha and I gossiped about hot men all the time. It helped keep things light when they got too serious. “Man brought a whole entourage with him.”
I glanced over at the door to 109. A dozen people crowded the entrance. More were packed inside the room. “Is he somebody famous?”
“Not that I know. But he oughta be a model, the way he looks. Or an actor. Or my next hookup. Mmm, mmm, I’m telling you, girl.” Her eyes glimmered with desire. “I had to change my drawers after helping Allison check his vitals.”
“Why?” I snickered.
“On account of my lady parts was perspiring.” She winked.
“He can’t be that hot.”
“You ain’t seen him yet. The way he looks, that boy must live in a gym. Allison’s hands were shaking so bad when she tried to slide the blood pressure cuff up his arm, I had to do it for her.”
“I’m sure you hated every second of it.”
“Every last one.” She chuckled.
“Do you have his medical record?” Now I was curious.
She reached over the counter of the nurses station and grabbed a chart off the rack. “Here you go. Before you go in, I should warn you about the python in his pants.”
“Python? An actual python?” From time to time, patients came into the ECU with the strangest things attached to or inserted inside themselves. The obvious: nipple clamps, cock rings, dildos, vibrators, anal beads, condoms, tampons. The not so obvious: fruits, vegetables, latex gloves, flashlights, a toy car, a glass light bulb. Yes, an actual light bulb. When I extracted it, Latisha was on hand. I held it up and said, “This gives me an idea.” Latisha struggled not to laugh. The patient was half passed out on muscle relaxants (we were worried about shattering the lightbulb) and he lay face down on the bed. The light bulb was a first for everyone on staff that night. But top of the list for Latisha and me went a step weirder. Two summers ago, we performed a Rectal Foreign Body Removal of a smallish garden gnome, complete with red pointy hat, from a male patient. The man had said he “fell on it” while gardening. By “fell” he meant “sat down.” On purpose. Multiple times. After discharging him and sending the man home with his gnome, I warned him to be more careful while “gardening” in the future. In private, I’d asked Latisha if she thought the man did his “gardening” in the nude. She said no, he probably wore assless chaps at the very least, so as to protect him from thorns and thistles. I had said, but not from gnomes? We had both broken into laughter at that point.
“You remembering that nasty ass gnome, ain’t you?”
“Sadly.” I chuckled.
“Don’t worry, the python in 109 is warm blooded. But I’ll get you the anti-venom kit, just in case.”
“Tisha, pythons aren’t warm blooded and they don’t have venom.”
“This one does.” Her eyes flared for a moment before she swallowed a ticking snicker, doing her best to maintain a professional demeanor. It wasn’t working. “And it spits like a cobra if you get it all riled up.” We both giggled naughtily.
“When was the last time you got any? You sound completely desperate.”
“More recently than you. And that ain’t saying much.”
“Don’t remind me.” I groaned while flipping through the man’s chart. I read his name out loud. “Lion Maxwell? That can’t be his real name.”
“I think it is.”
“Who names their child Lion?”
“Shoulda named him Snake,” she said seriously.
I glared at her and struggled not to laugh as I walked toward the crowd outside 109. It consisted of several men wearing matching gold on black T-shirts emblazoned with a roaring lion and the slogan #TeamLion - FEEL THE BEAST.
Why did that sound vaguely sexual?
The other men standing outside wore suits or blazers and slacks. There were also a few women best described as trashy strippers: tight micro skirts, flashy bedazzled tops with too much cleavage, fake boobs, spray tans, garish makeup, etc. I’m sure a significant portion of the male population found women like these highly desirable, but to me they looked like sparkly clowns.
One of the strippers had a strategically messy pile of dark hair on her head that was the largest I’d seen since the late 1980s. On her, somehow it worked. Her eyes raked over me with obvious judgement and a hint of a challenge, like she saw me as competition. Competition for what, I wasn’t sure. She sneered, “Who are you?”
I wanted to say, Was the stethoscope and white lab coat not enough of a giveaway? But I was a professional and kept it to myself. “I’m the doctor.”
“Mind if I see my patient?”
“Whatever,” she huffed and turned her back to me.
I squeezed past her into the exam room. More burly men in #TeamLion T-shirts filled the room.
Latisha was right.
One look at the nearly naked man reclining on the hospital bed said it all. He made my favorite firefighters Troy and Rick look like regular Joes. Lion Maxwell was in another league. He was dangerously gorgeous. Emphasis on danger. Thick dark hair and equally dark eyes added a brooding quality. A number of contusions and cuts were scattered over his face and torso, but on him it looked good, like they belonged there. This man was a warrior and he’d obviously been in a fight. Even lying down, he exuded a masculine energy that said Do not mess with me or I will destroy you. Add to that his perfect body that was hard and scarred and chiseled in the extreme. Exactly what you would expect from the king of the beasts.
A wave of desire rained down from my head to my toes. I pushed it away. I was here to work, not languish in his good looks.
My eyes focused on his splinted knee. The EMS team had already stabilized the knee joint with orange board splints and stretch bandages. Lion’s chart had said dislocation of the joint with possible torn ligaments and/or tibial avulsion fracture, which meant the kneecap tendon contracted so hard it tore off a chunk of bone from the lower leg. The swelling was bad enough it could be any or all of those things. Only an MRI would reveal the full extent of the injury.
“Who ordered the foxy doctor?” Lion said from the bed, relaxed and amused. His voice was deep and slightly gravelly. It shook me out of my diagnostic train of thought and did things to me that were entirely inappropriate.
The men surrounding him all turned to face me like a pack of jackals. All had hungry eyes.
Welcome to the lion’s den.
I’d never felt so much testosterone in one room. Most of it came from Lion and made me feel like a piece of meat, the kind that gets hunted down by ravenous carnivores on the plains of the Serengeti.
Lion’s dark and dangerous eyes roamed all over me. “Please tell me you’re my doctor.”
His men chuckled approval. Obviously, Lion was the king of these beasts. But I needed to get this situation under control. Not a problem. I was in my element.
“I’m Dr. Flanagan. What happened to you, Mr. Maxwell?”
“Call me Lion. Everybody does.” That voice. It oozed confidence and resonated in my chest like he was invading me.
If he kept talking in that sexy voice of his, I was going to be the one doing the oozing. I needed to stay focused. I was a doctor, not a giddy teenager. So I took a moment to collect myself in case I started babbling like one.
Lion smirked at me. A hungry sexy smirk.
I offered a curt smile and swallowed hard. The giddy teenager in me wanted desperately to bat my eyelashes at this gorgeous man.
More chuckles rumbled from Lion’s men as they watched me trying to hold it together. One said, “Go easy on her, Lion.”
Another: “She looks fragile. You don’t wanna spook her.”
Spook me? What, like I was some kind of dainty deer wandering through the forest, scared of the big bad mountain Lion? Not even close. I was the opposite of fragile.
Lion said, “What’s the matter, Doc? Cat got your tongue?”
I smirked. “Very funny, Mr. Maxwell. I was just taking a moment to ignore your arrogance in hopes that it would go away. But we all know wishful thinking never works.”
“Don’t worry. I’ve got more where that came from.”
More what, I didn’t want to know. Mainly because I was afraid I would like it, whatever it was.
One of the other men said, “Don’t mind him. He’s always like this with the ladies.”
Lion laughed easily. “You trying to make me look bad, Cahill?”
Cahill chortled. “When it comes to looking like a tool, you don’t need any help from me.”
“But if I did, you’d be the first man I’d ask for lessons.”
The men laughed again. Cahill laughed too. Clearly, this group was the best of friends. Or frat brothers. All they needed was a keg and a stack of plastic cups to get this party started.
“So, Mr. Maxwell. About your knee.” I said it loud enough to get everyone’s attention. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“Busted it up in the cage tonight.”
“Championship fight,” Cahill added. The nice thing about having an entourage of your own was that they could parade your ego around for you, so you didn’t look arrogant. I wasn’t fooled. They were on his payroll.
Being polite, I said, “Did you win?”
“Do you have to ask?” Lion cocked his bad boy grin.
Had there been any women in the room, the sound of panties dropping would’ve been overwhelming. Obviously I was wrong about him needing his men to parade his ego around. He was more than happy to do it himself.
I was over it. “I take it you won. But your knee looks like the biggest loser tonight, Mr. Maxwell.”
“You afraid to say my name, Doc?”
“I just did.”
Hoots from the men. One said, “She bad, Lion. Watch out she don’t bite you.”
Lion stared at me, eyes locked on mine. “She can bite me all she wants.” He shifted on the bed and let his uninjured knee fall to the side, opening his legs. He wore only skin tight gold lycra shorts. Otherwise, he was entirely naked.
I kept my eyes locked on his. I didn’t have to look directly to see he was packing. His huge bulge practically filled the room. Latisha hadn’t been exaggerating about him having a python.
“Like what you see, Doc?”
I wasn’t taking the bait and I wasn’t going to look. But I was going to stare him down.
More muttering from the men as they watched our staring contest.
I was aware that nothing was going to get accomplished if I didn’t put my foot down and stop this frat party. In a strong voice I said, “Gentlemen! Do I have to clear the room?!”
They looked shocked.
Lion was as cool as a cat. “You trying to get me alone, Doc?”
“No. I’m just trying to do my job, Mr. Maxwell.”
“You don’t have to deny it, Doc. I could tell you wanted me the second you laid eyes on me,”
Not anymore, I don’t. And, could you be any more cocky? I mean, aside from the python in your pants? And did he really think using sexually suggestive words like “laid” was going to work on me? Was that his idea of hypnotism? Did he really think it would make me imagine having sex with him? Hardly.
A few of the men started tittering like this was middle school and I was their pushover substitute teacher, the one who didn’t know how to herd the class clowns into their pens when they misbehaved.
I clapped my hands together and barked, “That’s it! All of you, out! Now! This isn’t a locker room. This is my house and we play by my rules! The exit is that way, gentlemen.” Like a football referee, I swung both arms around and pointed out the door. Too bad I didn’t have a referee whistle to blow in their faces. I hid a smile. Game, set, and match.
“Want me to leave too, Doc?” The innocent look on Lion’s face was completely fake.
I glared at him. “Are you always this defiant?”
“Always.” And proud of it, no doubt.
“If you weren’t my patient, I would throw you out with the rest of them. Unfortunately, I devoted my life to helping the sick and injured, no matter how annoying they may be.”
His men laughed and hooted.
I wheeled on them. “Zip it! All of you! Were you not able to find the door?” Considering the room was twelve by twelve feet, even an earthworm could find its way out. Then again, the average earthworm probably had a higher IQ than all these men combined.
Lion smiled at me, the wheels behind his eyes turning, no doubt wondering what other thing he could do to harass me.
I arched my eyebrows, daring him to speak.
Finally, he chuckled. “Better do what the doctor says, fellas.”
Cowed, the men shuffled out of the room, grumbling as they went.
It infuriated me that they obeyed him and not me. Not that it mattered. Mission accomplished. Divide and conquer. Never fight the enemy all at once if you can take them down one at a time.
At least they left.
Order restored, I closed the door, but left it open a crack. Now it was just me trapped in this cage with Lion. Somebody get me a chair and a whip. Scratch that. Make it a tranquilizer rifle. I swear I’ll put this animal down if he tries anything. And someone call the taxidermist. Lion’s head is going up on my office wall on a plaque. Which reminds me, I’ll need to get a photo of me standing with my shoe on his head to commemorate the kill. The picture can go right next to the taxidermy head.
I repressed another smile.
“What’re you smiling about, Doc?”
“Oh, nothing.”
“Anybody ever tell you you got an iron fist?”
I wanted to say, Yes, and I’ll use it on you if you don’t behave. But it was time for me to get to work, so I kept my mouth shut.
“I like that in a woman.”
“Is that so?” I was trying to be polite. His taste in women was not my concern, but I was slightly flattered he didn’t consider me a bitch. Slightly. I had never been afraid to stand up for myself even if it meant being labelled a bitch.
“Yeah. I can take control all day long. I do every time I step in the cage. I think that’s why I like a woman who doesn’t take shit from anyone.”
“That’s me. But I make an exception when asking my patients for stool samples. Then I will take their shit with a straight face.” It was a dumb joke. But it just slipped out.
He snorted. “You’re clever, Doc.”
I was surprised he found that funny.
“You got a man?”
I saw where this was going and I didn’t want to encourage him. His injured knee was my focus. I wanted to get the paperwork started for an MRI so I could move on to other patients. So I ignored his question. “Let’s get these bandages off so I can get a better idea of what’s going on.” I started to carefully unwrap the splint.
“You didn’t answer my question.”
I didn’t respond. I wasn’t going to get sucked back into flirtation. Since we’d already established that he found my iron fist a turn on, I needed another approach to keep him in line. The next best strategy was re-direction, a tactic that worked well with toddlers. That meant it would probably work well with Lion. “Can you tell me what happened when you injured your knee? What I mean is, did it twist more than normal? Were there any popping noises? Anything you can tell me will help.”
“I’ll make you a deal, Doc. For every question of yours I answer, you gotta answer one of mine.”
I smiled. “No deal.”
“Then I’m not talking.”
Ahhh, toddlers. They can be so stubborn.
He folded his muscular arms across his equally muscular chest. Everything bulged magnificently, even his bulge, which I was still ignoring. But I couldn’t miss his charming grin. It had gone from ferocious to adorably playful.
Sometimes, the best way to let a man down was with a compliment.
“Mr. Maxwell. I’m flattered that you’re interested. I mean it. You’re a handsome man with a sense of humor. If we’d met under different circumstances, who knows. But we didn’t, and I need you to understand one thing.”
“What’s that?”
“It’s against the rules for a doctor to date a patient.”
“What rules?”
“The rules set down by the Medical Board of California and this hospital. Dating patients is considered unethical and therefore strictly verboten.”
“Who needs rules?”
“Let me ask you something, Mr. Maxwell.”
“You’re what, a boxer?”
“Mixed martial arts. Cage fighter.”
I ignored the fact that the term cage fighter conjured up all kinds of sexy images of him, me, a gloomy torch-lit cage that vaguely resembled some kind of sexual torture chamber (in a good way), and both of us sweating. A lot. While naked. Him grunting. Me moaning. Excessive amounts of bodily fluids would be exchanged as sexual organs shamelessly filled all relevant orifices with said bodily fluids. The orgasm count would be in the triple digits.
“You okay, Doc?”
“Yes.” I cleared my throat, trying to block out the onslaught of images. I needed to re-direct my own giddy teenaged train of thought. What had he just said? Something about rules? Oh yes, rules. “Are you allowed to hit your opponent in the eye or the groin during a cage fight?”
“No. Eye gouges and groin strikes are off limits. If you do it on purpose, you’ll get disqualified, automatically lose the fight, and get fined by the judicial board.”
I arched an eyebrow. “Imagine that. And, have you ever hit anyone in the groin during a fight? I mean, on purpose?” Why did I say groin? Groin groin groin. I pushed the thought away.
“No way. That would be against the—” He stopped short.
“The what?”
He refused to answer, but his adorable grin returned.
“Sounds like you follow the rules, Mr. Maxwell. When it suits you.”
The slightest hint of a blush reddened beneath his tan skin. He chuckled. “You got me, Doc.”
“Rules, Mr. Maxwell. We all follow them, often when we don’t want to.”
“So you’re saying you would date me if it wasn’t against the rules?”
“I said maybe. And we all know maybe means no. Ask any kid, they’ll tell you.”
He chuckled. “Right.”
Why did I feel like I was flirting again? I swear, that wasn’t my plan. The truth was, I really was flattered he was interested in me. Men of his caliber rarely spoke to me let alone threw themselves at me. But technically it was too late. I would be remiss if I didn’t follow my own rules. The ECU wasn’t my own personal singles bar. It was my place of work. As far as I was concerned, every patient who walked through the front doors was off limits, no matter how attracted I was to them or vice versa. “I’m very sorry, Mr. Maxwell. You’re my patient. That’s not going to change.”
“Okay. Then I won’t be your patient. You haven’t done anything yet so get me another doctor. Please.”
I almost bristled at his order. Nobody told me what to do. But the please he added at the end stopped me short. As did his adorable smile. “I did unwrap your bandage. See? It’s too late.”
“Shit, I coulda unwrapped it. You gonna tell me if you put a Band-Aid on a guy, he’s your patient?”
“Yes. If it happens here in the ECU, definitely.”
“That’s ridiculous.”
“That’s a rule. And we all know rules are sometimes ridiculous. But most aren’t.”
“Just get me another doc, Doc.”
“I wish I could, Mr. Maxwell. Unfortunately, we’re busy tonight and we’re short staffed. You would be doing everyone a favor if you just let me treat you.”
“I don’t know, Doc. Any doctor can fix my knee. But something tells me you’re the only doctor in the world who can fix a broken heart.” What should have been corny came off charming because he delivered it with such sincerity.
“I wish I could help you, but I’m not a cardio thoracic surgeon.”
“Sorry. Doctor humor. A heart surgeon. I’m orthopedics. I don’t do hearts. But I am eminently qualified to fix your knee. So let’s focus on that, okay?”
“What’s your first name?”
I sighed. “If I tell you my first name, I’ll still be your doctor.”
“You’re too damn smart for you own good, you know that? That’s what I like about you, Doc. I mean, Ms. Flanagan.” He was looking at my name tag. “Since you’re not my doctor anymore, I’ll have to call you Ms. Flanagan until I know your first name.”
“How do you know I’m not a Mrs.?”
“I don’t see a ring.”
“Maybe I left it at home.”
“Don’t see a tan line.”
“That’s because I’m always here working and don’t have time to get one.” I had to admit, his persistence was endearing. And he complimented me for being smart, which was the way to my heart. But it wasn’t going to work. “Try as you might, Mr. Maxwell, I will not be dating you. I’m sure one of the nice women waiting outside for you would be happy to take on that responsibility.” If they haven’t already. Everything about his demeanor suggested that he was an accomplished manwhore, which likely meant his telling me I was smart was just a trick to get me into bed. I didn’t do tricks. I’m sure the strippers outside would be happy to turn all the tricks he could ever want.
“Them? Nah. They’re just fight groupies. But you? You’re my kind of woman. You’re a boss and a badass and smart as hell.” Tricks, more tricks! “Not to mention your red hair and those mint green eyes make me rock fucking hard.”
Tricks, tricks, tricks!!! My eyes aren’t even mint green! They were just plain green. Mint. Pfft. He’s not fooling anybody. Except… me.
I finally broke down and stole a glance at his cock. He wasn’t exaggerating. His python was wide awake and straining against his tight lycra shorts. I could see the shape of the head and the shaft through the fabric. When it pulsed, I almost lost my cool. Almost. There was a reason they called me Dr. Freeze in the ECU. I could deal with rude patients, gunshot wounds, and the chaos of trauma all day long. But this was different and that was one long python…
“You’re blushing, Ms. Flanagan.”
I was also staring. It was a fact that some snakes hypnotized their prey before going in for the kill. I tore my gaze away before his snake ate me. Or I ate it. If I hadn’t been hypnotized, I would’ve been embarrassed by my utter lack of professionalism. But it was the snake’s fault.
“You sure you can’t find me another doctor, Irish?”
“How did you know I was Irish?”
“Flanagan is Irish, isn’t it?”
“Yes. But don’t call me Irish.”
“Why not? Is it racist or something?”
“No, just don’t call me that.” Nicknaming me makes me sort of like you, so stop.
“Then tell me your name.” His dark eyes smoldered with the promise of forbidden pleasure, the kind of pleasure that took place in his torchlit caveman’s cage where I could scream out every orgasm he gave me without worrying about waking the neighbors.
I hadn’t had an orgasm with a man in ages. And never with a man this magnificent. Like I said earlier, I wasn’t a robot. I had my limits. Apparently, Lion was it. So I caved. I let down my guard and muttered:
“You don’t even know me, Mr. Maxwell.”
“But I will.” Again with that commanding voice. Low and dangerous and oh so delicious.
Latisha had been right about the anti-venom kit. I needed one to break the spell that Lion Maxwell had cast over me. If something didn’t break it soon, I was going to make a terrible mistake.

BL 1

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Devon Hartford is a dude who writes romantic comedies because he likes to laugh as much as he likes to love.

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