Published August 20th 2019
Cover Art: Kanaxa
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Hi, and thanks for having me here today. I’m going to share a little information about my latest release, The Doctor’s Orders, available August 20 from Dreamspinner Press and wherever books are sold.
The Doctor’s Orders is book three in the Copper Point: Medical series, the final book in that trilogy. In this installment, we get to know Jared, an openly gay pediatrician, and Nick, the very closeted CEO of the hospital. Though Nick and Jared secretly dated in high school, it was clear nothing was ever going to happen between them again…until Jared and Nick are trapped in an elevator together, where sparks fly.
Here’s a little snippet from the book, a few sparks flying between Jared and Nick at a welcome reception for a new doctor. I hope you enjoy this excerpt, and I hope you give The Doctor’s Orders a try!
There weren’t many people on the balcony. The temperature had settled into something far more tolerable, but the fish flies were starting to come out. Not enough that the outside lights had to be turned off, but enough to make most people think the bay would be better viewed through a window.
Jared had never cared about the fish flies. When they’d been boys, they’d run off together to watch them swarm, laughing at how gross the insects were. They lived for the weeks when the eggs hatched and the bugs were so thick the city had to shut off streetlights or risk traffic accidents because so many bugs were drawn to the glow.
When they’d been a little older, they’d learned fish fly nights were good cover for other activities they didn’t want discovered.
Nick studied Jared’s profile in the early sunset, bay breeze whipping his blond hair until its baby-fine strands glinted like gossamer spider threads. He had a whisper of a goatee, common for him during the winter. It was nearly summer now, though. Nick wondered why Jared hadn’t shaved it off yet. It looked soft, though Nick suspected it wasn’t.
He wanted to find out.
He didn’t want Matt Engleton to.
Jared leaned on the railing and stared out at the water. “So are you going to date one of those women?”
Nick blinked. What brought this on? He glanced around, ensuring they were alone.
This apparently annoyed Jared. “The only other people out here are Mr. and Mrs. Larson, and they’re both so hard of hearing you’d have to shout into their ears for them to eavesdrop. Are you dating one of them or not?”
“Am I dating Mr. and Mrs. Larson?”
“Oh, don’t get cute.”
“Well, I don’t know who else you’re talking about. Who am I supposed to be dating?”
You. I’ve been thinking about dating you.
There was no way he could say that out loud, though. If he hinted he was thinking about such a thing, Jared would….
Well, he didn’t know what Jared would do anymore. That was the problem.
“I’m talking about your damn harem.” Jared gestured vaguely at the building behind them.
Jared turned around, patience lost. “The women who’ve been hanging on you all night long.”
The women…? What women? Nick frowned at Jared. “You’ve been drinking too much.”
Jared laughed. “You’re kidding me. You’re so gay you can’t tell when a horde of women are hitting on you? All they’ve done all night is try to climb you like you’re a tree, or unwrap you like a Big Mac.”
Oh. He meant the group of people who had gathered around him inside, complimenting him on his accomplishments, who had clearly been attempting to make contact with him to further the interests of their families’ businesses. He supposed several of them had been women.
And of course Cynthia Ryan was a woman. She certainly wasn’t unwrapping him, though. Had anyone done that? What did that mean?
While it pleased him to hear Jared had kept such tabs on him, he didn’t appreciate being outed, even if there didn’t seem to be anyone around. “Keep your voice down.”
With a hmpf, Jared faced the bay.
Nick leaned against the rail beside him, daring to stand close enough to let their elbows and upper arms touch as he spoke softly. “None of them wanted me. They only wanted connections. St. Ann’s has the most growth in Copper Point right now. For decades the hospital has been hanging on by threads, held together by shady backroom deals. Now it might truly move forward. I’m trying to make sure that’s what actually happens.”
“So what you’re saying is you weren’t looking at these women at all, you were fixated on work, and it was me who was acting a fool, sitting alone in a corner getting jealous.”
Nick’s heart quickened at that confession, and he closed his eyes, taking in a deep, slow breath. A fish fly hit the top of his head, tangling briefly in his curls, and another smashed into his chin, but he didn’t care. It only further served to take him back to his youth, to the times they’d stood together like this, daring to touch each other more and more, until one day… one day….
Maybe this time I can get it right….
Maybe, somehow, this time it’ll all work out….
But the moment broke as Jared moved away, and when Nick opened his eyes, he saw Jared frowning at the bay, heard the iron in his voice when he spoke. “I should just date Matt and get over you. Date anyone and get over you.”
Nick’s breath caught.
Get… over me?
He gripped the rail as his thoughts tangled into each other. Jared wasn’t over him? After all this time? But they’d just been a fling. Youthful indiscretion. Nick’s mistake. His greatest lapse of judgment.
I’m the one who can’t get over you. But if you’ve been thinking of me all this time too….
Nick shut his eyes on a long blink, head spinning.
Jared kept talking. “It’d be a lot easier if I didn’t have to see you every damn day. And if you didn’t look like Idris Elba.”
“I look like Idris Elba?”
Jared waved impatiently at him. “You know you’re hot as hell. Don’t fish for more compliments.”
Nick wanted to whip out a net and collect them all. He wanted to scoop up Jared too.
All this time… have you really thought about me, all this time?
He lifted his hand, tried to speak.
No words came.
The door opened, and Kathryn appeared with a smile and two bottles of water. Jared pushed off the railing, weary and sad. “I’m going inside with Kathryn. Please leave me alone for the rest of the night.”
Nick didn’t want to let Jared go. He wanted to take him into his arms and confess everything, to tell him how he felt, how he’d always felt. Except he didn’t know what came after that confession.
I can’t change everything. Not now.
He watched Jared walking away and felt his heart tug.
I can’t change, but I want to.
The elevator at St. Ann’s is out of order…but the chemistry between the doctor and CEO is working just fine.
Once upon a time Nicholas Beckert was the boy who stole kisses from Jared Kumpel beneath the bleachers, but now Jared’s a pediatrician and Nick is the hospital CEO who won’t glance his way. Everything changes, however, when they’re stranded alone in a hospital elevator. Ten years of cold shoulders melt away in five hours of close contact, and old passions rekindle into hot flames.
Once out of the elevator, Jared has no intention of letting Nick get away. It’s clear he’s desperate for someone to give him space to let go of the reins, and Jared is happy to oblige. But Jared wants Nick as a lover in a full, open relationship, which is a step further than Nick is willing to go. They’ve traded kisses under the bleachers for liaisons in the boardroom… and it looks like the same arguments that drove them apart in high school might do the same thing now.
Jared’s determined not to let that happen this time around. He won’t order Nick from his shell—he’ll listento what his friend says he needs to feel safe. Maybe this time he can prescribe his lover a happy ever after.
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.
Copper Point: Medical Series
The Doctor’s Secret
The Doctor’s Date
The Doctor’s Orders