Heidi Cullinan on Novelty Socks, Characters and her new release The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) (guest post)

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The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) by Heidi Cullinan
Published June 18th 2019
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Sales Links:Goodreads • Publisher • Audible • Ripped Bodice • Barnes & Noble • Google Play Ebook • Google Play Audio • Apple Books • Kobo (US) • Kobo (Canada) • Amazon (US) • Amazon(Canada) • Amazon (UK) • Powells

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have Heidi Cullinan here today talking about one of my new favorite stories, The Doctor’s Date.  Honestly, I want these socks! Welcome, Heidi!

 

Thanks for having me today. I’m here to talk about my new book The Doctor’s Date, available in ebook, trade paper, and mass market from Dreamspinner Press. It’s book two in the Copper Point: Medical series, and it’s the story of Erin Andreas, no-nonsense hospital administrator, and Dr. Owen Andreas, the cantankerous anesthesiologist.

I’m also here to talk about socks.

In The Doctor’s Date, Owen has a collection of novelty socks. When I say he has a collection, I mean he has more novelty socks than he can ever wear. It’s one of those things that started small and went out of control as friends gave him the wackiest socks they could find at every opportunity. Now he has literal baskets of them all over his room, many of them unworn.

I borrowed this sock collection concept directly from my family. Both my husband and daughter have a thing for novelty socks, and as preparation for this post I asked them both to produce their favorites for a photo shoot. They immediately came back with a pile each.

Anna has more, mind you, but these are the first-tier favorites. Mitch, our cat, is also modeling with them. The furthest left, the s’mores socks, are a heartbreak because they apparently have a hole in the toe. She can’t wear them anymore, but can’t bear to toss them either. Next favorite, and equally in peril, are the taco dinosaur socks.

These socks (middle in the photo) are actually mentioned in the book. Anna got hers in a small mountain shop in Colorado last year, but they’re starting to wear through. She clearly needs new novelty socks, at the rate these are going. Next to them are the hedgehog socks, which were part of a Christmas present, if I recall correctly.

The last three of her faves are still intact, to my knowledge: the pizza socks, her favorite, the unicorn socks, and the sushi socks.

Now we’re on to Dan, who has a different setup.

Dan has a different theme running, excepting the orange taco socks (they share a mutual love.) He has shark and octopus socks, and then Scream socks.

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The Scream socks are one of my favorites. I can’t remember if I included them in the book? Next up are Christmas lights, the aforementioned tacos, and at last, the asshole socks.

I’ve picked up a lot of these socks for them, though some were gifts, and some they selected themselves. Much like Owen. In the story, socks are definitely a running theme of individuality. For my husband, who wore black socks only for most of his life, I think they’re a rebellion, a way to have more of “him” show up at work. For my daughter, it’s just fun to have something unique on her feet.

I hate to tell you, I have no socks to share. I don’t like to think too much about them and just want to put things on my feet. I also can’t stand one slightly out of place thread in my socks or I lose my mind. A lot of novelty socks have different stitching on the inside, which is a no-no for me. Briefly, I had a few novelty socks, but when we did our Konmari clean, I got rid of most if not all of them. My socks are white, black, or navy blue.

Let me know what YOU are rocking for socks!

I hope you enjoy Owen and his socks in The Doctor’s Date, and all the books in the Copper Point series!

Blurb

Sequel to The Doctor’s Secret
Copper Point Medical: Book Two

The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?

Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him.

Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.

With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.

This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work together—they’ll have to trust they can heal each other’s hearts.

 

The Doctor’s Date Excerpt 2

The last set dragged on much longer than Owen cared for, but he got through it one note at a time. He distracted himself from the dull horror of playing by being irritated over Erin’s touch of his shoulder. Erin hadn’t touched him before.

Whatever. He didn’t care if Erin never looked at him again, so long as he could get the hell off this stage.

Soon enough, he managed it part of the way, stiffly half bowing with the quartet before abandoning his instrument and disappearing behind the curtain to join the rest of the bachelors, including Jared.

Jared waved at him and patted a space beside him on the wall. “Good job, Crankypants. You made it through. I warned people not to compliment you, but feel free to snarl at anyone who doesn’t listen.”

Owen shut his eyes. “Can I go first and get this over with? I want a drink.”

“Unfortunately they’ve assigned us numbers. I’m number eight. You’re number seventeen.”

Hell.” Owen shrank into a crouch.

Jared reached into his jacket, lowering himself to Owen’s side. “Here.” He handed Owen a bottle. “I thought it was overkill, but after interrogating Simon and me to figure out why you were behaving the way you were, Jack wrote this script for you and had the hospital pharmacy fill it, making me bring it just in case. It’s a handful of Xanax. Don’t take enough that you’re too stoned to stand, but maybe enough so you can remain upright without sweating.”

Owen checked the dosage, popped the lid, and dry swallowed a tablet. He hadn’t taken a short-term anxiety med in years. He was pissed that he needed to, annoyed Jack had noticed he was so off his game he required medication, but he was also grateful.

Jared grimaced. “Jack regrets making you play.”

Owen rubbed his thumb over the top of the prescription bottle. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Trust me, the message has come through loud and clear. All I’m saying is, don’t worry, we’ve got you, okay? You’re not going to have to do anything more tonight except stand on the stage long enough for Jack to pay up. I’m chipping in too if it comes to it, but I can’t imagine it will.”

“Just pay for the booze.” Owen willed the Xanax to work faster. “Why didn’t Jack give me this before we played, anyway?”

“He was afraid you’d fuck up.”

Owen snorted. No, idiot. I’d have played ten times better.

Whatever. It was over now, and he was never touching a violin again. For tonight, the damage had been done. He’d put the instrument down, but he still felt it in his hands, heard it in his head. Stirring up things he’d buried for good reason.

He could see her. Hearher. He hadn’t spared his mother a thought in years, and now she reverberated, starring in the memory that made him want to curl in a ball and vomit. It didn’t end there, though. Older ones began, tinged with the darkness of that day. All the times he trudged across the snow with the violin case clutched in his hand, his house in the distance, wondering if he’d hear her at the piano or hear his father shuffling across the kitchen, searching for another beer. He saw her profile at the piano bench as he played beside her. He saw himself crouching underneath it as he watched their arguments from between the legs.

Broken glass. The broken legs of the piano bench. The jarring discord of her back as it hit the keys, the crunch of his first violin when it slammed against the wall.

The day he’d come home from high school and she’d been sitting at the piano, waiting for him, her back in profile at the bench as she played, then stopped. Come here, Owen. I have something to tell you.

Owen reached for a second Xanax. He could push most of the memories away, but his mother sitting at the piano with her back to him lingered like something out of a horror film. If she turned around and gave him that haunted smile, he was a dead man.

Jared held out his hand. “Give me the bottle.”

Owen tucked it deep inside his interior vest pocket. “Go to hell. And never let anyone ask me to play again. Not if it’s the only way we keep the world from ending.”

By the time the auction kicked off, so had Owen’s drugs. He didn’t have any more memories playing on repeat, and he didn’t feel haunted any longer. He still felt raw and peeled back, but he was more objective about it, as if observing himself on a hospital gurney. Adult male, age thirty-four, acute anxiety attack brought on by unwanted remembrance of bullshit past. Vitals are stabilized, but recommend patient be placed in front of a bottle of Scotch and more Xanax and left alone until he forgets he ever knew how to play violin in the first place.

When Owen chuckled, Jared poked his arm and held out his hand insistently. “Seriously, give me the fucking bottle.”

Owen did, mostly because at that point he had no need for it. She wasn’t drifting through his mind anymore, but if she did, it wouldn’t matter. God bless alprazolam.

Jared made him stand to prove he wasn’t going to act drunk on stage—it was going to be a near thing, but he could fake it. “You’re a mess,” Jared said as he went off to be auctioned, and then it was Owen alone, glaring at the other bachelors for fun except when he wanted to laugh at them instead. He was freaking them out, so he stared at the wall, which thanks to the drug had become suddenly interesting.

At last they called his name, and honestly Owen thought someone should give him a medal, because instead of stomping out like a cloud of doom, he sauntered onstage with a cheeky salute. Jared, seated by a beaming elderly woman in the front row, gave him dirty looks, but Owen didn’t care. He rocked on his heels and waited for them to finish his introduction so the bidding could get over with and he could get out of here.

“Bachelor number seventeen.” The middle-aged woman Owen recognized as Mimi Roberts, the wife of one of the clinic doctors, gave an annoyingly knowing and theatrical wink to the audience. It would have bothered Owen normally, but he was too spent and high to care. She lifted her card and read, “Dr. Owen Gagnon, local boy through and through, who left Copper Point to get his degree, then returned to be our first and only anesthesiologist. He may be short on charm at times, but he’s long on loyalty, and he’s always ready to help a good cause.”

Cripes, who wrote these intros? He cast an eyebrow at Simon, but his friend was too busy staring at the emcee, paddle primed. Owen relaxed.

Oh, and there was old asshat John Jean Andreas, sitting with the other stuffed shirts from the board. Owen was surprised the jerk wasn’t tormenting his son, or at least keeping him on a short leash. Must be in the middle of greasing the old-white-man society wheels—

Owen’s blood chilled, curdling when Christian West leaned over to speak to John Jean, smile glinting in the dim light. After shutting his eyes on a long blink, Owen dove deep into the sheltering embrace of the Xanax and averted his gaze.

Mimi beamed at the audience. “As with all our bachelors, we’ll start the bidding at one hundred dollars, but I’m sure we can get—”

“Two hundred,” someone called out, and it wasn’t Simon or Jack. Oh hell, it was a clutch of drunk nurses with their pooled money on the table. Shit, this was exactly what he’d been afraid of—

Simon’s paddle whipped into the air. “Four hundred.”

The crowd erupted in murmurs, and Mimi clucked her tongue. “My, my. What an exciting beginning. It’s so good to see bidders enthusiastic, but as a reminder, we don’t need to jump up with quite so much drama this quickly—”

“Ten thousand dollars.”

Now the room was a wall of sound and a sea of chaos, people standing and trying to figure out where the bidder had come from. Owen recognized the voice, but he was sure he had to be wrong. He hadn’t heard someone bid ten thousand dollarsfor him.

Except someone had, and once again, it wasn’t Jack or Simon, who were pale and conferring with one another desperately as Jared extricated himself from his date and rushed to their table.

“Well.” Mimi laughed nervously into the microphone. “Someone certainly wants a date with you, Dr. Gagnon. I can’t see who it is, but I can’t imagine anyone else is going to top—”

“Um, eleven!” Jared’s voice broke as he held up Simon’s paddle and arm at once. Visible sweat was running down his face, but Simon and Jack nodded at him, their jaws set in determination.

“Twenty-five thousand dollars. I bid twenty-five thousand dollars for a date with Dr. Owen Gagnon, and I’m prepared to go muchhigher if need be.”

This time there was no mistaking the voice. Owen had known it before, but his brain had issued flat denials. He couldn’t get out of reality, though, when Erin Andreas walked down the aisle, holding his paddle high as the room whispered and gasped around him. Jack and Simon argued, panicking, and Jared shook his head. They were out of the running.

Owen collapsed on the edge of the stage, staring at Erin as he calmly closed the distance between them.

Well. Owen didn’t know what the hell was going on, but he did know he was going to need the bottle of Xanax back.

About the Author

Author of over thirty novels, Midwest-native Heidi Cullinan writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. Heidi is a two-time RITA® finalist and her books have been recommended by Library Journal, USA Today, RT Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading novels and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more at heidicullinan.com.

 

 

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