Heidi Cullinan with a Special Excerpt from her Trilogy finale ‘The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3)’ (author guest blog and excerpt)

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The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3) by Heidi Cullinan

Dreamspinner Press
Published August 20th 2019
Cover Art: Kanaxa

Buy 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

 

 

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!

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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.

“My harem?”

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.

Blurb

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.

Awards

Copper Point: Medical Series

The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Orders

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Nearly twenty-four hours after finishing this story, the last in the series, I feel bereft, as if I’ve lost good friends. Not only do I miss Jared and Nick, I miss Erin and Owen, and Jack and Simon. How will I go on without the cast from Copper Point in my life? That may sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is that I’ve stopped what I’m doing a number of times today to think fondly of Jared and Nick and wonder how everything is going at St. Ann’s. 

This book is not at all like the first two, but this couple has known each other a long time, were once high school lovers, and still love each other deeply though they take great pains to keep their feelings hidden. That’s especially true of Nick, the hospital CEO. A handsome black man in his late thirties, he lives with his mother, grandmother, and sister in his childhood home, supporting them financially and emotionally and trying his best to live up to the ideal man they and his late father planned for him to be. Those plans did not include being gay, falling in love with a doctor, or being open about it. In a word, Nick is torn. 

His matriarchal household provided his firm foundation in his religious and family beliefs and it’s not something he can shed easily, even when an accident literally throws him back into Jared’s arms, twenty years after the last time they were together, and the flames glow again from the embers they’ve kept banked. There’s no escaping their attraction now and Jared is willing to give Nick time this time, unlike the ultimatum he gave Nick in their teens. But giving him time takes its toll on Jared and the smiling doctor begins to crack on the inside. The key point, per Jared, is community. Nick belongs to his family and his church in a way Jared had never known and likely never would.

I love the way the author weaves in the characters from books one and two, including secondary characters—board members and friends. There’s a whole community here, not just the two principal stars in this drama, and in a way, the ending when the whole community is present for what happens at the Founders Day parade is fitting for this couple. I have a note to myself at the 25% mark that although I already knew the characters from the early books, the author sealed my reading enjoyment with the elevator accident. And another note: the author’s style is so polished that even when a character does something I don’t like, I’m still interested because the writing has pulled me in.

All in all, this is a book—and a series—that is so worth reading. There’s no cookie-cutter prose here. Each book has a different couple, a different style, a different feel—but all have a happy ending. I highly recommend this series to all who love MM romance.

The attractive cover by Kanaxa is similar to others in the series in that it features a single character against a white background. In this case, it’s the very handsome Nick Beckert, hospital CEO and Jared’s lifelong love. 

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: August 20th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Orders
ASIN B07QVKSLPN
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #3

Copper Point: Medical Series

The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Orders

Love Contemporary Romance? Then Check Out the Release Tour for The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3) by Heidi Cullinan

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The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3) by Heidi Cullinan
Publication: August 20th 2019

Cover Art: Kanaxa

Buy 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 happy to host Heidi Cullinan’s tour for The Doctor’s Orders, the third story in her Copper Point Medical Trilogy. Enjoy the excerpt below.

Blurb

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.

 

Excerpt

The Doctor’s Orders

Once upon a time, Nicolas Beckert went to weddings without a heavy pang in his heart.

He’d attended plenty in his day, between his Copper Point cousins, relatives in Milwaukee, and friends of the family. For several years it felt like every weekend there was yet another gift his grandmother or mother picked out, waiting for Nick to amplify it with a little extra cash and a handwritten note wishing the couple a bright future. Nick had always happily gone to these weddings. As the one who had understood without being told it was his job to live up to the legacy of service and grace his father had left behind, Nick knew his duty, and he took pride in fulfilling it, never once begrudging even a penny of those cash packets tucked into the card or a second of those busy Saturday afternoons.

Lately, though, the weddings themselves underscored the fact that while he was present at these events, he was separate from them in a way he couldn’t ever let anyone know.

The wedding of his third cousin at the New Birth Baptist Church in Copper Point was particularly uncomfortable, and it wasn’t just because the first Saturday in June had dawned uncharacteristically muggy and hot. People were gossiping as they always did, but the topic du jour made him distinctly uncomfortable.

“Did you hear, the surgeon and nurse finally picked a date for their wedding? Coming up fast too. First weekend in October.” The speaker, one of Nick’s distant relations, raised her eyebrows knowingly, fanning herself with a paper plate as she stood in line for the buffet. “Going to be a big to-do, since Dr. Wu has his family coming from Taiwan.”

Nick’s great-aunt clucked her tongue. “The things we see sometimes.”

The group around them made ever-so-slightly disapproving noises.

This was spoken a bit loudly, for the benefit of Dr. Kathryn Lambert-Diaz, whose first cousin was the bride. Kathryn was attending with her wife, Rebecca, whom she’d married years ago in a ceremony among friends and accepting family members while Kathryn was doing her residency at the University of Iowa. Nick watched them both, worried Rebecca in particular would say something, but they only continued to chat politely with Kathryn’s parents. They didn’t have plates of food in their hands and looked as if they were about to leave.

“The other couple hasn’t set their date yet, but they’re next.” By other couple, his great-aunt meant Dr. Owen Gagnon and Erin Andreas. “Should have never thought to see the day.”

“All of them working at the hospital too.” Uncle Billy leaned around his wife to addressNick, who stood close enough to easily be drawn into conversation. “You best keep your people in line there, son.”

His wife swatted Billy with her fan. “You leave the boy alone. He’s had enough work, with the embezzlement scandal. He don’t need your sass too.”

Pastor Robert came up behind Nick and rested a hand on his shoulder. “I have faith in our Nick. He’s done a wonderful job with the hospital. I daresay we’ve never had better leadership in place there, thanks to him. We certainly haven’t had a better CEO.” He winked at Nick. “If all it comes with is a bit of unusual community color, I suppose we can count that as a blessing.”

Everyone at the table chuckled, and Nick inclined his head. He wanted out of this conversation. “I should go check on my grandmother and mother, to make sure they don’t need anything. If you folks’ll excuse me?”

They shooed him away gleefully, but Nick could hear them talking about him as he disappeared, and a perverse instinct kept him nearby but hidden so he could eavesdrop.

“He’s the next one we need to see married off.”

“Get him a wife and a couple of kids, and we’ll have ourselves the Copper Point Obamas!”

“What’s taking him so long, though? He never dates anybody.”

“Well, he’s been busy with all those scandals.”

“Scandal’s been done and dusted. Besides, a man’s got needs. It’s not right, him never dating.”

“You don’t think our Nick….”

Nick’s stomach turned over. Wiping his mouth to cover the grimness of his countenance, he moved out of earshot before he heard the rest of that sentence.

He didn’t get three feet, though, before he ran into the choir director, James Grant.

James greeted him with his usual wide smile. “Nick, looking good, brother.” His grin faded as Nick failed to mask his unsettled emotions fast enough. “You all right? Something happen?”

Nick fished up a smile. “Nah. No worries. Too much to do, is all, too much on my mind.”

James raised an eyebrow. “Things haven’t calmed down at the hospital?”

“Oh, you know how it goes.” Nick couldn’t quite catch his groove. That last remark kept echoing in his head. You don’t think our Nick….

James put a hand on Nick’s shoulder. “Hey. You want to go sit somewhere for a minute and talk? You don’t look so good.”

Talking was the last thing Nick wanted to do. And much as he loved James, sitting with himand having an intimate heart-to-heart would only fuel the flames of what people were apparently thinking about their Nick. He held up his hands. “Thanks, but honestly, I’m just doing a little too much these days.” He took a step sideways and kept walking as he spoke. “I gotta go check in for a second. But we’ll talk soon. The choir is killing it, by the way.”

“All right.” James waved him away, looking sad. “We’ll talk later.”

Nick gave himself a moment behind a bush to gather his composure before hunting down his family. His mother, grandmother, and sister were together at the table where the groom’s closest relatives had gathered, Grandma Emerson holding court. She was in the middle of telling some story as Nick approached, but his sister broke away to greet him.

“Hey, you.” She nudged him with her hip. “You going to get down with me later?”

“Can’t. Got the reception for Dr. Amin.”

She sighed. “Oh right, I forgot you had to leave early.”

“Erin’s covering for me, letting me show up late.” He tugged at his tie and reached into his pocket for his handkerchief to dab at his neck, which dripped in the heat. “Need to go home and freshen up before I head out to the country club.”

“Country club crowd.” Emmanuella wrinkled her nose. “How bad will thatbe?”

“Standard hospital donor schmoozefest. Pretty dry and crusty, but they made the cardiac unit possible. I wish you would’ve agreed to be my date so you could meet Dr. Amin. She’s amazing. You’ll love her.”

“I’ll meet her sometime when she’s notat one of those dog and pony shows, thanks. The dedication ceremony was more than enough for me.” She punched him lightly in the arm. “Besides. It’s time you get a proper date for yourself instead of hauling me around to these things.”

“She wants to meet the family, though, since she wasn’t in town for the ceremony.”

“You should invite her family over for dinner. Mom and Grandma would love it.” She leaned in closer and spoke quietly. “Did I hear right, the Ryans will be there?”

The Ryans were Jeremiah Ryan, their father’s longtime friend and sometimes business partner back in the day, and his daughter Cynthia. Since then, Ryan had made quite a name for himself in the hospital industry, to the point that now he was the CEO of a corporation managing several medical centers in the Midwest. Nick nodded, stealing a careful glance at their mother. “Was she the one who mentioned it?”

Emmanuella snorted. “I can’t believe she hasn’t bothered you about it yet. You know she’s always dreamed about Cynthia Ryan as a daughter-in-law.”

Yes, Nick was painfully aware. He didn’t comment, choosing to wipe his mouth with his hand and send his gaze out across the crowd. It landed on the bride and groom, who stood hand in hand as they greeted their guests two tables over. They looked so happy.

Nick fought another pang in the center of his chest.

His mother spied him then, smiling wide and waving him to her side. “Baby, come sit and eat. I made you a plate, and it’s getting cold.”

Though Nick wasn’t remotely hungry, he held up his hands in apology, dredged up his most charismatic grin, and settled into the space beside her. “Sorry, was making my rounds.” He reached across the table to shake hands with the groom’s family. “Wonderful ceremony. Thanks so much for having us.”

Mrs. Hill beamed and pressed her hand to her chest. “We’re so glad y’all could come. Especially since your mother tells me you have another event yet today?”

“Reception for the new cardiologist, yes.”

Mr. Hill’s chest puffed up at being prioritized over the fancy country club shindig. “I’m telling you, Nick, your daddy would be so proud to see the work you’ve done with that hospital. Not just becoming the CEO, but cleaning up all the mess those fools made for so many years. You’re a credit to his name.”

Nick inclined his head. “Thank you, sir.”

Mrs. Hill elbowed her husband with a sly wink. “Now we have to help find hima lovely wife too.”

Nick pushed the potato salad and baked beans around his plate, doing his best to ignore the leaden feeling in his stomach.

As the table conversation resumed, allowing him to drift into his own thoughts again, Nick focused on the sea of guests. People were happy and laughing, caught up in the festivities. It was a humble gathering, with homemade decorations and family and church members helping cook and serve the dishes in lieu of a catered lunch. It was practically more picnic than wedding, except everyone was dressed in their finest outfits, and in the case of many of the ladies, hats. Nick loved the children the best, in their frilly dresses and suits and ties, chasing each other and giggling as they ran about the lawn, mothers and aunties occasionally hollering at them to mind their clothes or sit and finish their food.

Everything was warm and wonderful and perfect.

The bride and groom glowed as they reveled in their special day. They were good people, and Nick looked forward to watching them make their family together. Except though he celebrated their union and their happiness, it pained him too. With every tinkle of laughter the couple inspired, each beaming smile they shared, the yearning inside Nick grew, until eventually he excused himself from the table and flitted around the reception once more.

When the time came for him to bid people goodbye and get ready for the country club party, he was almost relieved. As he stopped by his family to let them know he was leaving, his grandmother put her hand on his arm. “There’s a bag on the table in the kitchen, a small gift for the Ryans. Give it to them, will you, when you see them this afternoon? And be sure to say hello to Cynthia. Tell her to stop by the house the next time she’s through.”

“Of course.” With a squeeze of her shoulder, Nick went on his way.

He found the gift—locally roasted coffee and a loaf of Grandma Emerson’s famous banana bread tastefully tucked inside tissue paper in an elegant bright blue gift bag—where she’d said it would be. It smelled wonderful, and he lingered to savor the mingling scents. Then, setting his keys beside the package so he wouldn’t forget it, he hurried upstairs to shower.

Shutting his eyes under the spray, Nick saw the smiling faces of the bride and groom once again in his mind’s eye. So happy. So celebrated. So protected. Everything laid out before them, the community ensuring their path stayed clear.

What would that be like, he wondered?

Adjusting the plain silk bow tie over the tips of his shirt collar, he stared at his reflection. He felt much stiffer in his tuxedo than he had in the tan suit and gray-striped tie he’d worn to the wedding. He tried out a few expressions in the mirror, searching for one that allowed him to remain guarded but still seem dignified.

He grabbed the gift bag along with his keys, and to boost himself on the way to the country club, he blasted The Weeknd on his stereo. He sang along, winding down the long, scenic road leading to the country club on the top of the hill overlooking the most beautiful and expansive part of the bay.

Pulling up to the gates, he clicked off the radio, put his work face on, and presented his member card to the guard.

The party was in full swing as he handed his keys to the valet and entered the crush. The women were in elegant dresses, the men all in tuxedos or suits—excepting Rebecca Lambert-Diaz. She and Kathryn had already arrived, no longer dressed in airy outdoor wedding clothes, but while Kathryn wore a simple black evening gown, Rebecca had donned a smart black pantsuit with glittering rhinestones on the collar and cuffs. They seemed a bit more at ease at this party than the one they had left, laughing and mingling with the guests.

Nick took his place in the crowd as well, moving from group to group, smiling and shaking hands, ensuring people felt welcomed. His reception here was markedly different than it had been at church. Here they were wary of him, the young upstart who had changed so much about the tidy lives of Copper Point.

As far as they were concerned, he’d broken all their rules. Nick had been hired to be a pawn. Oh, no one had ever come out and said as much, but he’d understood things with one glance. A hospital CEO, at his age? He didn’t have the experience. His suspicions had been confirmed as soon as he’d come through the door. No real power, no backing. Even so, experience was experience, and it was nice to stay close to home. He’d told himself he could put up with it for a while, until it was time to upgrade.

Except part of him hadn’t been able to shake the idea that he could dig under the rotten surface of the institution and dismantle the system that had broken his father’s spirit and nearly ruined their family. A few years on the hospital board had been enough to catch the attention of the power players at the hospital in a way that dogged him even after he’d been voted out. They worked behind the scenes to ruin his business and nearly cost him his home—and ultimately, through his failing health, had cost him his life.

Nick hadn’t really thought he’d be able to avenge his father, had only dreamed of it. But with the help of Erin and the others, he’d done just that. Now there was a new board, a new balance of power, and a new day at St. Ann’s. For many of the people in this room, though? Oh, Nick was still that man. It didn’t matter that the board members who’d embezzled a scandalous amount of money were all in jail and that Nick had helped put them there. These people still didn’t like him. They didn’t like how he’d gone out of his way to make the new hospital board reflect the diverse population of Copper Point. There was a lot of rumbling from this set about “the way things used to be,” their gazes turned toward the past with longing.

Well, Nick thought as he sipped a glass of champagne he’d collected from a passing tray, if they’d rather have the crooks than progress, then screw ’em.

Jeremiah Ryan beamed when he saw Nick, waving him over. Cynthia waved too, her expression welcoming and warm, reminiscent of the faces he’d left at the wedding reception. It also carried the whiff of something more, something hopeful.

Nick smiled back, ready to make his way to this important donor, this friend of the family, this man who understood his difficult position better than anyone, this woman he admired and considered an important friend. But before he reached them, he bumped into another guest, and as soon as he saw who it was, his carefully constructed image fell apart.

“Sorry.” The man, fair-haired and tall, but not as tall as Nick, held up his hands and stepped aside. As their gazes met, the man’s smile fell away. “Oh. It’s you.”

Yes. It’s me.

It’s you.

They both had their masks down as they regarded one another. Nick was conscious of the heavy beating of his heart, of the ache and longing he always felt when he stood this close to Dr. Jared Kumpel. He looked devastating in his tuxedo, crisp and neat, dark-blond hair gleaming in contrast to the dark fabric, his light skin glowing in the dim light.

He was beautiful in a way that stole Nick’s breath and short-circuited his brain. This man had stirred him ever since he could remember, since the moment Nick had been, at last, able to understand why he felt so different than everyone else around him.

Jared spoke first, his voice thin and forced. “How was the wedding?”

It took Nick a second to register what Jared had said, to remember he shouldn’t simply stare at the seductive curve of the man’s upper lip. “G-good. It was good.” He cleared his throat. “Hot.”

“Yes, it’s a muggy day out, isn’t it?” The conversation, such as it was, broke off and dangled.

Nick tugged at the cuffs of his shirt and glanced away. “I should….”

“Of course.” Jared’s voice was flat, dead, as if he couldn’t wait to get away. “I’m sorry to keep you.”

And just like that, they parted, Jared wafting over to the bar, Nick resuming his trajectory toward the Ryans, plastering on the expression he’d practiced in the mirror as the leaden weight settled all the more deeply onto his heart.

Dr. Jared Kumpel wanted to find a dark broom closet, put a bucket over his head, and scream.

It was supposed to be an evening of celebration. The physicians, board members, and local donor class were gathered at the Copper Point Country Club to toast the arrival of Dr. Uma Amin, who would start work next week. After years of embezzlement scandals and a complete overhaul of the hospital board of directors, at last things were peaceful. Perfect, even.

Except for the part where Nick Beckert had a smile for everyone in the room but Jared. The memory of Nick’s bright expression melting away at the sight of Jared, the way he’d hurried off as if escaping the plague, drove Jared directly to the bar, where he sipped his drink and tortured himself by watching Nick pull out the charm for everyone else.

Goddamn it.

Jared had absolutely no right to feel so proprietary, which only made him crankier. Nick wasn’t his boyfriend, was barely his friend, despite the fact that once upon a time they’d been so intimate he could have identified the man by the sound of his breath. For the past four years, Nick had been Jared’s employer, in a sense, though the contractual relationship between clinic physicians and St. Ann’s Medical Center was complicated. For years the two of them had silently agreed to pretend the past never existed, and this strategy, while frustrating, had mostly worked out for the best.

It was just lately they’d gotten along, talking casually, playing racquetball, hanging out in the safety of large groups. Jared realized he’d allowed these interactions to engender false hope and perhaps a bit of expectation. He wasn’t ready for Nick to start freezing him out.

Before the embezzlement crisis, Nick had focused entirely on work, and Copper Point had seemed willing to leave him to his monkhood. But then Nick had taken out the embezzlement ring in the old board and overseen funding for the long-overdue cardiac center, dedicated in his father’s name. He was the shiniest man in town, and everyone wanted him on their arm.

So many damn womenwanted him in their bed.

Watching yet another woman brush a manicured hand along the sleeve of Nick’s tuxedo jacket, Jared told himself it didn’t matter. He’s never going to admit who he is, even to himself, so who cares who flirts with him?

I care, damn it.Turning away with a glower, Jared finished off his drink and wandered into the crowd. Except he didn’t feel like mingling, so he found a table as far from Nick as possible and sat, ready to bury himself in his phone.

He hadn’t had so much as a chance to reach for his pocket before someone joined him. Dr. Owen Gagnon, the anesthesiologist at St. Ann’s Medical Center and one of Jared’s best friends, pushed a glass in front of Jared and plunked down at the table beside him. “Doing all right? You seem off your game.”

After taking a sip of his drink, Jared waved a breezy hand. “Fine. Not feeling the hospital function vibe, is all.”

With a grunt of agreement, Owen peeled back the panels of his tuxedo jacket and settled in. “Jack has to be jealous we didn’t throw him a party when he arrived.”

Jack was Dr. Hong-Wei Wu, St. Ann’s resident general surgeon. “Knowing Jack, he’s indifferent. I’d think he wouldn’t want the fuss but would have endured it if we’d arranged it for him. Though maybe you’re right. Maybe he was quietly offended we didn’t treat him better. He holds a lot of cards close to his vest.”

Owen snorted. “He’s all about doing things up properly. I bet he was mad we didn’t give him more of a welcome. He sure as hell deserved it.”

Jared felt better not thinking about Nick. He tried to keep the conversation going. “By the way, the quintet sounded great, but of course it always does. Your solo was particularly good.”

As usual, Owen ignored the compliment and wrinkled his nose. “I don’t love how every time we have one of these gigs I have to play Pied Piper. Sometimes I want to sit and grouse about having to show up in my monkey suit with the rest of the doctors.”

“If your fiancé hears you, you’ll be sleeping in the garage tonight.”

“Yes, well, the good news is the garage in the mansion is climate controlled.” Owen glanced around. “Still, there’s no reason for Erin to have to hear.”

This time Jared didn’t have to fake his grin. “Have you seen Jack or Simon?”

“Jack’s talking with Dr. Amin. Simon, I’m not sure.”

“Probably with Jack, since he’s not with us. He feels out of place at these things. Until he was Jack’s plus-one, he never had to come.”

“As the nursing rep on the hospital board, he’d be here anyway. He needs to get comfortable.” Owen leaned in closer, eyes sparkling with mischief. “So, Mr. I-Know-All-the-Gossip. How’s Copper Point’s elite handling yet another physician who isn’t a white male evangelical Christian?”

“Oh my God. Where do I start?” Jared rolled his eyes and picked up his drink, sipping it as he moved closer to Owen so they wouldn’t be overheard. “The retired college president’s wife was in a private chat group pitching a fit because the new cardiologist isn’t only from India, she’s Muslim. Someone pointed out there was nothing wrong with that, and the end result was the country club scrambling to find someone they could send into the women’s locker room to break up a fight when the online spat went abruptly offline. Then on Copper Point People someone else—no one of note, some random MAGA—complained about how it was obvious St. Ann’s had an antiwhite hiring policy.”

Owen buried his face in his hands. “That Facebook group is trash.”

“Wait until you hear how it got resolved. People argued back and forth for two days, but when everyone was starting to cool off, someone came in as the ‘mediating’ voice and pointed out at least she was straight this time.”

Owen sat up slowly, drawing his fingers down his face and staring sightlessly at the table decorations in front of them. “Tell me again why we live here?”

“Because Simon couldn’t bear to leave his family when we were looking for somewhere for us to get jobs together after med school. Plus now you’re marrying one of the founding sons. Just because we’re stuck in this crazy town doesn’t mean we can’t get our quiet revenge by living well, though. I think you and Erin should adopt a horde of children and raise them Wiccan. It’s the only way to heal this place.”

Owen rubbed his jaw. “I dunno if I’m organized enough to be Wiccan. Aren’t there a lot of meetings and rituals? I could do casual pagan.”

“I think it depends on the type of Wiccan.” Jared lifted an eyebrow. “Are you ignoring the hordes-of-children part, or is this your way of telling me you’ve changed your opinion on fatherhood?”

“Well. I mean, I don’t know about hordes. But yeah, we’ve talked about it some, and it doesn’t seem such a terrible idea, when I think about it with Erin. Oh.” He straightened, his face transforming into a youthful, slightly ridiculous grin as he waved to someone across the room. “Speak of the devil. I need to go. You sure you’re okay here?”

You fine being alone?That was the translation.

Jared got out the fake smile, wrestling it into something genuine. “Nowhere else I’d rather be. Go see your man.”

After Owen left, Jared sipped his drink and people watched for a few minutes, telling himself everything was fine, but his gaze kept drifting to Nick. The DJ switched to a slow song, and one of the women surrounding Nick took his hands to lure him onto the dance floor. He didn’t fight her.

It was the daughter of the investor from Milwaukee. Cynthia Ryan. The two of them looked stunning together, her dark hair swept up in a breathtaking style no white woman in the room could emulate, her brown skin glowing against her goldenrod evening dress.

If Nick took Cynthia home to Grandma Emerson, she’d give her blessing in the span of a sigh.

Setting his teeth, Jared finished his drink, then rose and went to get a refill.

Matthew Engleton was at the bar, collecting change for a vodka sour, and he grinned at Jared as he approached. “Dr. Kumpel. Good to see you.”

It wasn’t a dismissive greeting, which Jared found interesting. He knew Matt, vaguely, because you couldn’t live in Copper Point and not know the Engletons, especially if you ever had to buy a suit from their family store. Matt was on the hospital board now too, so they’d gotten a bit closer.

Jared smiled back politely. “Good to see you as well. Enjoying yourself?”

“Oh, as much as I can at these sorts of things.” Matt leaned an elbow on the bar and gestured at the crowd of Copper Point elite and St. Ann’s higher echelon. “What about you? You aren’t with your usual crew.”

“We’re all busy networking bees. They want the doctors talking to the potential donors, so if we stay in the corner and drink, it defeats the purpose.”

Matt laughed. “Difficult to hide, I suspect, when one of you is engaged to the vice president.” He motioned to the bartender. “Let me buy you a drink, and you can network with me.”

“But you’re a board member.”

“I’m also one of the potential donors. Dad always gives liberally to the hospital, but he never comes to these functions anymore. He says he needs me to be the representative now. So I have double duty.” He raised his eyebrows. “You’ll have to charm the money out of me, Doctor.”

Oh my. Was Matt… hitting on him? A closer inspection of the man’s focused gaze told Jared yes, he was.

Well. He hadn’t seen this coming. Jared had assumed Matt hid his orientation in deference to the family business. Apparently he was wrong, or there was an exception clause for local pediatricians.

Did he wantMatt to hit on him? He hadn’t thought of Matt as anyone but the polite man who sold clothing well before, and now was also the man who sat in boring meetings beside him. He supposed he was cute enough….

“What’ll you have?” the bartender asked.

“Old Fashioned,” Jared replied.

A familiar feminine laugh behind him made his shoulders relax. “Someone’s ordering an Old Fashioned? Dr. Kumpel must be at the bar.”

He turned around in time for Rebecca Lambert-Diaz to catch his cheek in her hand and give it a gentle tweak. He playfully swatted it away. “Hello, Rebecca. Where’s your wife?”

“Hiding in a corner. She hates these things, and we already had to endure a family wedding this afternoon.” Rebecca smiled at Matt. “Hello again, Matthew. How’s the store?”

Was it Jared’s imagination, or did Matt’s expression dim a little? “Everything’s going well, but we’d do better if our favorite lawyer came by and checked out our new summer line.”

“Always a salesman. But now that you mention it, you’re right, I haven’t been by in a while.” She withdrew a twenty and waved it at the bartender. “Let me get my glass of wine, we’ll find a seat, and you can tell me what you have in stock. I do need a new suit.”

The three of them ended up back at the table Jared had vacated, Rebecca in the middle as she and Matt spoke intensely about women’s clothing. Jared sipped his drink and scanned the room, more concerned about where people were. Jack was with Dr. Amin, poor Simon appearing as lost as Owen had said. Owen was with Erin, talking with the leader of the Copper Point string quintet.

Where was Nick, though?

Jared’s lip nearly curled when he found him. He was with Cynthia Ryan, and didn’t they lookcozy.Grumbling under his breath, Jared took a fortifying drink of alcohol, the burn fueling his ire.

“Don’t you think, Jared?”

He snapped out of his funk at Rebecca’s question. “Sorry, what?”

She gestured to herself, miming dress parts as she spoke. “I enjoy a double-breasted suit, but I think what’s best on me are those single-breasted smooth pieces that don’t have a crease. You know what I’m talking about?”

Jared frowned at her, his attention officially drawn away from Nick. “Well, yes, it’s the most flattering option for you, but it isn’t as if you can wear the same thing all the time.”

Matt held out his hands. “Thank you.I’ve been trying to convince her of this for months.”

Rebecca waved airily. “Whatever, I’ll let the two of you dress me.”

Jared snorted into his Old Fashioned. “You won’t ever give up control so easily, but nice try.”

“Who I’d really like to get into the store is Jared.” Matt bumped Jared’s arm, lingering a little longer than necessary. “It’s been a while since you’ve treated yourself to some new clothes. Unless you’ve been cheating on me with other clothing stores?”

Rebecca laughed. “Jared, leave town to shop? Good luck with that.”

No question about it, Matt was trying to flirt with Jared and was getting lesbian cock-blocked at every turn. Well, Jared supposed he could do worse.

He cut a glance to the other side of the room. Matt was as nice as any number of men, but Jared’s attention was firmly fixed elsewhere.

Jared’s gaze landed on the woman’s hand sliding down Nick’s arm, and his teeth set.

“Did you want another drink?” Matt shook Jared’s glass, which he was shocked to discover was empty. “Or maybe you want to get up and walk around?”

Jared couldn’t look away from Nick, though he knew he needed to. He felt a hand on his arm as he stood—Rebecca gave him a questioning look.

“You’ve seemed off all evening. And honestly, you haven’t been yourself lately, period. Is there something going on?”

How could he tell her or any of them the truth? He bent and kissed her on the cheek. “I’m fine, but thank you.”

She caught his shoulder and kept him down long enough to whisper. “You’re not. You might have fooled the others, but you haven’t fooled me. Who’s giving you a ride home?”

Oh, Lord, now he had Rebecca mothering him. Sighing, he patted her shoulder. “Seriously. It’s not a problem. Okay?”

Matt frowned at him.

Jared squared his shoulders. He wasfine. He was absolutely perfect, and he didn’t need a babysitter. Maybe he’d start an affair with Matt Engleton, what the hell. Maybe sweet little Matt would surprise him and he’d be the next one of their group to find a happy ever after.

Sweet, boring Matt.

“You okay?” Matt asked.

God, they needed to stop asking him. Jared’s face was going to break, he was stretching it so far for these damn smiles. “Absolutely.”

Except as they rounded the corner of a group of chuckling old men, he got another glimpse of Nick as the music shifted. It was Prince of all the damn things, and not only Prince but “Kiss.”

Like magnets, Nick and Jared’s gazes met and locked.

You’re not boring, baby. Not boring at all.

And I haven’t forgotten a thing.

When two new women appeared beside Nick, giggling and tugging him forward, Nick turned away, and Jared couldn’t stand it anymore.

Jared threaded his fingers through his hair in an attempt to hide his shaking hands. “Actually,” he said to Matt, “I think I wouldn’t mind stepping outside.”

Matt beamed. “Great.”

Yes, let’s get out of here.

Except Jared knew from experience it didn’t matter how far he ran. He couldn’t get away from Nick.

 

 

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

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Before I started this book, if I had taken a bet on how good I thought Owen’s story could possibly be, I would have lost soundly. Because this book was not just good—it was fantastic!

Owen is the anesthesiologist at Copper Point Medical Center. He’s also the former roommate of Simon and current roommate of his other bestie, Jared. Together, the three shared a house when they came to Copper Point to work at the hospital. Now, Simon lives with Hung-Wu, aka Jack (The Doctor’s Secret), and Owen gets his fun by picking arguments with Erin Andreas, head of HR and son of the hated board president, Jean Jacques Andreas.

Though Owen doesn’t know it, Erin is strongly attracted to the gruff doctor but his inexperience in all things sexual (yes, he’s a virgin!) and his natural shyness, coupled with the emotional abuse heaped on him by his father as he grew up, all keep him from acting on the attraction. Until the bachelor auction held to raise funds for the new cardiac unit. Erin bids on Owen. In fact, Erin makes an outrageous bid for Owen—in the amount of $25,000! And things change between them. Each realizes the other is not the persona they show the world. And Erin learns that fighting with him is one of Owen’s life’s pleasures and he has to admit Owen’s attention is not unwanted.

I love how the author took the time to develop a relationship between these guys as their outer layers were slowly peeled away, one at a time, to reveal their true self, their inner child, so to speak. Because both have undergone emotional turmoil in their teens that strongly affected their lives and relationships with family, friends, and each other. And concurrent to their budding relationship, there’s more going on at the hospital as the administrator, their friend Nick Bennett, discovers that the hospital funds have been siphoned off for years. The dirty, underhanded board politics goes deep, and Erin fears his father may be at the center of the web. But, for as much as he hates him, he’s not sure he’ll survive the shame. There’s just so much to this story that it would take three times the size of a normal review to delve into what makes it so wonderful. 

And guess what? No on-page penetrative sex. Wow. It wasn’t necessary to the story so the author didn’t offer what would have amounted to a gratuitous sex scene. There’s kissing. Lots of kissing. And cuddling. And there’s some frottage, and more kissing, and more cuddling. And there’s love. Much love. In fact, I adored this couple and I believe other readers will too. I very highly recommend this book and series, beginning with The Doctor’s Secret for the full experience.

The cover by Kanaxa not only ties in to the cover of book one, it also spotlights Dr. Owen Gagnon in all his gruff glory. It’s perfect for this book.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Date
ASINB 07PNPP1GD
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #2

Copper Point Medical Series

The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Orders

A MelanieM Review:The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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.

When I was reading the first story in this series, The Doctor’s Secret, I was loving the world that Heidi Cullinan was building and the characters she was introducing us too.  It’s never just a couple, but a foundation of friends, family, a network of co workers and townspeople that form a tapestry that make a place and people come alive for us.   I did get wrapped up in the courtship and romance of Jack and Simon but…and so remarkable and Heidi Cullinan like…there were two characters I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

Like lightning bugs in the darkness, flashes of brightness flickering away,  the characters of Owen Gagnon and Erin Andreas kept pulling my attention towards them when it should have been solely situated on Simon and Jack.  There was something about these two argumentative and yes, oddly broken men that I could never look away from. And I wanted their story…badly.

So here came The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) and honestly?  It’s my new favorite story.  I’m hugging this thing so hard because it’s everything I look for in a romance and more. It’s love, and healing, and self discovery, and finding the perfect someone and a home, and even redemption.  The author picked up the pot of narrative contemporary romance perfection, gave it a toss or two, and out came Owen and Erin’s story.

There were scenes from The Doctor’s Secret where your heart just broke for Erin, especially as he prepared to stand  alone against his father. That fight continues here.  Both Owen and Erin have to face huge issues in this story dealing with their fathers, abuse, and their upbringing.  Cullinan writes so realistically about the impact childhood abuse has on adult men that your heart shatters for them over and over. Just as realistically, it’s been dealt with, at least by one of them with years of therapy and in some cases medication.  This is a element I’ve seen lacking in far too many stories.  They include the abuse but not how the characters have dealt with the impact authentically.  Here we believe it and in them.

There are so many moments here from the auction to the important elements with the violin which swing from comedy to deep angst to tissue laden scenes that will leave you weeping for joy.. I read and read until this story was finished and then started it over again.

From the serious issues with the board (suspense and white knuckle action) to the hilarious competitive bromance between Owner and Jack to the novelty socks that carry such meaning, The Doctor’s Date is one book that is a treasure chest of story threads to keep exploring read after read.

And the next one is already coming out.  I think Copper Point Medical series just might be my new favorite Heidi Cullinan series.  This story definitely is.  I highly recommend it.  It’s now on ;my comfort reads list.  Pick it up, the first story too.  I bet they will make yours as well.

Cover art: Kanaxa.  As cute as that model is and as perfect as it brands the series, there is one glaring omission that almost ruins the cover.  No socks!  Socks, novelty socks, for both men, is a huge element here, and the model is sockless!!!!!  I would have photoshopped something onto his feet at least.  Utter fail. See Heidi’s guest post on socks here.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Date
ASINB 07PNPP1GD
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #2

Copper Point Medical Series

The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Orders

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.

[

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.

 

 

A MelanieM Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The brilliant but brooding new doctor encounters Copper Point’s sunny nurse-next-door… and nothing can stand in the way of this romance.

Dr. Hong-Wei Wu has come to Copper Point, Wisconsin, after the pressures of a high-powered residency burned him out of his career before he started. Ashamed of letting his family down after all they’ve done for him, he plans to live a quiet life as a simple surgeon in this tiny northern town. His plans, however, don’t include his outgoing, kind, and attractive surgical nurse, Simon Lane.

Simon wasn’t ready for the new surgeon to be a handsome charmer who keeps asking him for help getting settled and who woos him with amazing Taiwanese dishes. There’s no question—Dr. Wu is flirting with him, and Simon is flirting back. The problem is, St. Ann’s has a strict no-dating policy between staff, which means their romance is off the table… unless they bend the rules.

But a romance that keeps them—literally—in the closet can’t lead to happy ever after. Simon doesn’t want to stay a secret, and Hong-Wei doesn’t want to keep himself removed from life, not anymore. To secure their happiness, they’ll have to change the administration’s mind. But what other secrets will they uncover along the way, about Copper Point… and about each other?

 

I found The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan a very sweet, heartwarming new contemporary romance and a wonderful start to a new series. As a long time fan of Cullinan’s stories and characters, I have enjoyed the many nuanced and layered portraits she’s delivered over the years.   With the start of this series and The Doctor’s Secret, I found in Hong-Wei another such fascinating and indelible character. Hong-Wei or  “Jack” has so many facets to him.  Driven perfectionist, competitor, humble and guilt ridden son and man in search of himself and a new future.  Also someone proud of his past and his culture as well as his talents as an exceptional doctor.  All of which comes through beautifully in Hong Wei the man and and the story.

The story is at its strongest when dealing with the medical aspects through Hong-Wei and the hospital.  Whether it’s through his dealings with the staff, his setting up his surgical team, his expectations, and finally all the events that occur that showcase exactly how brilliant Hong Wei truly is….these scenes and sections are a highlight and revelation into part of the hospital drama most people never see.  It felt real, unbelievably stressful, and heart pounding.

Also fascinating, Hong-Wei’s attachment to a local Chinese Restaurant, its owners (even though Hong Wei is from Taiwan) and the information about how the workers are shuffled from restaurant to restaurant, their isolation, etc.  Sometime else I was unfamiliar with.

As strong a character as Hong-Wei Wu was, the other half ot the main couple, Simon Lane, came across, imo, as the weak link here.  Yes, he was sweet, He loves his Asian romances, and is a great nurse.  But, he says he loves his town.  That’s the reason he never left yet you never get why he loves it.  Sure his parents and friends are there.  But I never got a real passion for the place out of Simon.  Funnily enough, that came from Hong-Wei.  He grows to feel grounded there, and the feeling of true love for St. Ann’s, what it could be, all the new friends he’s made, the very town itself?  All that passion and love for a location comes from Hong-Wei and not Simon, the very person glued to this town.  He also seems to lack the ability to stand up for himself for most of the story, being agreeable when Hong-Wei declares that he will make sure Simon is ‘safe”.  I never found his total passivity attractive.  Especially next to the character with so much depth and nuance that is Hong-Wei.

It’s even worse when Simon’s friends Owen and Jared have better chemistry with Hong-Wei as well.  I suspect those two (separately) wil each have their own romances in the series.  I   am looking forward to Owen’s especially.

It wrapped up perhaps a little too neatly and quickly for me with the hospital drama although the romance side was a nice touch.  I anticipate seeing more of the board drama play out in the future novels in this series.  I can’t wait to see which romance comes next in the series.  And perhaps more of this couple as well.  If you love Heidi Cullinan and contemporary romance, this is a story you will want to have on your list to read.

The cover by Kanaxa is eye catching. The model absolutely works for the character of Hong Wei and the design is simple yet elegant.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | AmazonBarnes & Noble |

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: April 23rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Secret
ISBN 139781640808546
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #1
setting Wisconsin (United States)

Heidi Cullinan on Writing Medical Romances and her new novel “The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) (guest post and excerpt)

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The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Dreamspinner Press
Published April 23rd 2019
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

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

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Heidi Cullinan here today talking about writing medical romances, and her latest novel, The Doctor’s Secret! Welcome, Heidi!

 

 

Writing Medical Romances

Thanks so much for having me today! I’m here to talk about my latest novel and first installment in the Copper Point: Medical series, The Doctor’s Secret, available now from Dreamspinner Press.

I’ve always wanted to write a medical romance series. My husband has been a clinical pharmacist for years, and I know simply from dinner table conversation that hospital workplaces are full of enough conflict and drama to fill a publishing house. But my husband also started out at a small community hospital, a critical access hospital in fact, which meant there were some quirky things from his experience I was dying to include, at least in spirit.

It’s an interesting thing to be married to a hospital pharmacist. The most notable is that every time I’ve had medical care—childbirth, gallbladder surgery, emergency care, hysterectomy—I’ve done so at my husband’s place of work, meaning he knew everyone and exactly how to navigate the system to ensure I had the best care. Whenever I’ve needed a specialist, I simply turned to him and asked who was the one he trusted the most. When our daughter was born at the aforementioned critical access hospital, I was one of four mothers delivering—meaning they were full up—and because Anna’s labor was so long, everyone was curious about “Dan’s baby” and her birth was announced over the PA. But that also meant they gossiped when Anna was off the chart for height and not on it for weight as a nine-month-old, and our doctor got a lot of nosey people asking if “that Cullinan baby is okay.”

My daughter has no fear of hospitals—it’s the place where she went until her teen years meeting her father for dinner when he worked evenings or where we had to go to drop off something he needed or give him a ride home. The hospital also takes Dan away for many holidays—sick people need care every day of the year—and which frequently asks him to work overnights.

The greatest problem with writing medical romances was getting the medical details right, and for that I had the best beta reader in the world. Especially in this book I needed to ask him so many questions I started to feel like he needed a byline. The drawback of a pharmacist husband is knowing I wouldn’t be allowed to fudge anything. Watching medical shows with him can be aggravating: “That drug is only available IV, where are they getting a pill.” “That’s something they would have picked up right away.” “Completely implausible.” You get used to it. But I didn’t want to hear that about my own work, which meant we had a lot of conversations about illnesses and how to make them severe enough to be dramatic but not so much that the scene would be impacted. Gruelling stuff!

I always knew the first book would be doctor-nurse. But I also knew I wanted to include a doctor not born in the United States, because even in remote areas of the country, many doctors are not white and are naturalized citizens, especially from Asia. In my husband’s first place of employment, a GP and one of the surgeons were both originally from mainland China.  In fact, the ER doctor the night my one-year-old daughter got scratched by a cat near her eye and on her forehead was Dr. Lin, and that was when I learned he’d previously been a plastic surgeon. She barely has a scar, thanks to him.

I made Hong-Wei Taiwanese, though, because I wanted someone local to interview, and a woman my husband works with is a first-generation Taiwanese-American. Tracy decidedly affected this book and the depiction of Hong-Wei in a huge way, and I will be forever grateful to her. I learned so much more from talking with her than I did from any book, website, or even interviews with people online. There’s just nothing like listening to someone’s story face-to-face.

I hope you enjoy The Doctor’s Secret and the rest of the Copper Point books! Enjoy your stay at St. Ann’s Medical Center. The doctors will be sure to treat you right.

Blurb

The brilliant but brooding new doctor encounters Copper Point’s sunny nurse-next-door… and nothing can stand in the way of this romance.

Dr. Hong-Wei Wu has come to Copper Point, Wisconsin, after the pressures of a high-powered residency burned him out of his career before he started. Ashamed of letting his family down after all they’ve done for him, he plans to live a quiet life as a simple surgeon in this tiny northern town. His plans, however, don’t include his outgoing, kind, and attractive surgical nurse, Simon Lane.

Simon wasn’t ready for the new surgeon to be a handsome charmer who keeps asking him for help getting settled and who woos him with amazing Taiwanese dishes. There’s no question—Dr. Wu is flirting with him, and Simon is flirting back. The problem is, St. Ann’s has a strict no-dating policy between staff, which means their romance is off the table… unless they bend the rules.

But a romance that keeps them—literally—in the closet can’t lead to happy ever after. Simon doesn’t want to stay a secret, and Hong-Wei doesn’t want to keep himself removed from life, not anymore. To secure their happiness, they’ll have to change the administration’s mind. But what other secrets will they uncover along the way, about Copper Point… and about each other?

The Doctor’s Secret Excerpt :

WuHong-Wei.

The surgeon’s name rang in Simon’s head as he drove home after dropping Hong-Wei off at his condo. Wu Hong-Wei.All night Hong-Wei had spoken perfect English, but when he said his Taiwanese name, his accent came through, and Simon got a ridiculous thrill.

Which Simon reminded himself he shouldn’t have. Setting aside the fact that Dr. Wu—Hong-Wei—the new surgeon—was practically his boss, there was the new policy to bear in mind. Even so, Simon still floated as he parked the car and drifted up the path into the house. He shouldn’t think about the man that way, but for tonight at least, he would allow himself to dream.

Of course, he needed to be careful how he fantasized. Simon had two roommates, Owen Gagnon and Jared Kumpel, his friends from childhood who were also doctors at the hospital. They were also two of the biggest gossips in Copper Point.

Owen and Jared were home, Jared in the kitchen washing dishes, Owen sprawled in the overstuffed chair with one foot on the ottoman and one on the floor as he surfed his laptop. Owen glanced up over the top of his glasses as Simon came in.

“The prodigal returns.” Owen removed his glasses and shut his computer. “So, what’s the verdict on the new surgeon?”

Jared wiped his hands on a towel and waved Simon over. “Come get your dinner first. I held it in the oven for you.”

“Oh, sorry, I already ate.” Simon toed off his shoes and hung up his jacket, determined not to show any signs of embarrassment. If they saw weakness, they would have no mercy. “I took Dr. Wu somewhere because he was hungry.”

Owen rubbed his hands together. “Excellent. This means you got moredish on him. Come on. Spill. Is he an arrogant asshole? I mean, to a degree it’s a given. He’s a surgeon.”

Jared pulled Simon’s plate out of the oven and put the food into a storage container. “I’ve met decent surgeons.”

“Your definition of decent doesn’t count. Youare an arrogant asshole.” Owen gestured impatiently at Simon. “Out with it. What’s he like?”

Simon sat in the corner of the couch and drew his favorite afghan over his legs. How could he describe Hong-Wei without sounding ridiculous? “He’s a little reserved, though he warmed up after I talked to him for a bit.” Though he was slightly aloof in a way Simon hadn’t expected to be so tantalizing. “He didn’t want to go to a fancy restaurant. He wanted to go to a pub-style place.” Simon searched his brain for more information. “He has a sister. He just finished his residency.”

He told me his real name.

Jared glanced at Simon, glass and towel in his hand. “I still don’t know why someone would come to Copper Point from Baylor St. Luke’s. Either he’s terrible, or he’s crazy.”

“Not a chance he’s terrible.” Owen rested his elbow on the armrest and leaned on his hand. “Beckert has been running around bragging about his catch ever since the hire was official.”

Jared snorted. “He might have seen Bayloron the app and lost his common sense.”

Simon thought of Hong-Wei, of the cool, confident way he’d handled himself at the airport, how graceful his hands were when doing something as simple as navigating a fork. “I don’t think Dr. Wu is incompetent.”

“He’s crazy, then.” Jared turned back to the sink. “I guess I don’t care, as long as he gets his work done.”

“You haven’t told us much about what you thought of him, Simon.” Owen pushed his glasses higher and raised his eyebrows at Simon. “You’re being quite cagey, in fact.”

Simon deliberately didn’t meet Owen’s gaze. “I think he’s nice. I mean, obviously I don’t know him well. All I did was have dinner with him and drive him home. He was quiet in the car. He was on his phone for a while, and he slept a little.”

He’d seemed to flirt a few times, but Simon had probably imagined things. At any rate, he wasn’t sharing that.

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.

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When I saw that Heidi Cullinan was writing a new series I had high hopes and jumped on the chance to read the first book. And I was not disappointed at all. This story had engaging characters, substance, depth, an appreciation for K-pop music and Asian drama. In fact, I was so intrigued by the description of actor Aaron Yan I had to spend some time cruising Google. There was also a wonderfully complex cast of hospital-based characters and all the medical terms and info one would expect when one MC is a surgeon and the other a surgical nurse with two besties who are also doctors.

I have a Korean friend IRL whose personality is remarkably like that of Hong-Wei, the Taiwanese doctor who takes a position in a small hospital on Wisconsin’s northern peninsula. My friend comes across as somewhat aloof due to his upbringing—expected to overachieve from the time he was a child so he looks around in wonder when he sees others aren’t behaving the same way. Hong-Wei could have been my friend’s twin. Self-confident in his medical decisions, smart, honorable, respectful of elders, he has all the behaviors I have seen in my Asian friends.

Hong-Wei, also known as Jack, had his choice of hospitals after residency as he’s a highly sought after surgeon, however, he wanted to find peace and quiet so he could lick his wounds and recover from a traumatic hospital experience. It’s a total bonus that here at Copper Point he finds Simon, a handsome surgical nurse who’s smart and fun and totally into Asian drama and K-pop music.

It’s a match made in heaven—or at the keyboard of a highly creative author—and it worked well for me. Hong-Wei is brilliant and somewhat socially inept. Simon is intelligent and most definitely social as he’s known throughout the hospital and the town as a reliable, friendly guy. Their attraction is immediate—maybe a bit too instant, but considering I was engaged within a month, it’s certainly possible.

There’s plenty of action to keep readers interested with an underlying menace from the hospital board of directors who seem to have hogtied the hospital director and the HR director, who want to bring innovative change (and are likely future MCs). The most obvious issue that causes problems from the beginning is the rule prohibiting two staff members from dating. But there’s more and much of it involves the daily hospital operation and the reveals about Hong-Wei’s surgery specialty and reason for leaving Houston.

I totally enjoyed this story from Heidi Cullinan and I’m looking forward to more in this series. There’s a rich sense of culture and family and definitely an appreciation of Asian culture. I’m hoping secondary characters Owen and Erin take their hostility behind closed doors and that Jared and Nick quit their cold war. Tasty little teasing nuggets were dropped throughout the second half of this story. Now let’s hope we get the gourmet meal in future installments. This series promises to be yummy.

The cover by Kanaxa features a handsome Taiwanese man who bears a striking resemblance to the description of Hong-Wei in this story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | AmazonBarnes & Noble |

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: April 23rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Secret
ISBN 139781640808546
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #1
setting Wisconsin (United States)