A MOTHER FOR MATILDA
Once again Amy Andrews has delivered a truly punchy story, taking us into the hub of Brisbane General Hospital and right into the lives of two endearing characters who seem determined to deny their feelings for one another. Andrews creates perfect tension between Maggie and Nash as we watch their relationship move from one level to the next. Readers will not be able to put this book down. It is guaranteed not to disappoint.

Janet
Independent Reviewer
Eight years ago, paramedic Lawson Dunlop had a maverick reputation. Suddenly a single dad, a little pink bundle captured Lawson’s heart and since that day his daughter Matilda has been everything to him.

Victoria Dunleavy fell hopelessly in love with her gorgeous colleague from the moment she saw the unruly sparkle in Lawson’s eyes. But he only sees her as his paramedic partner... Until Vic decides to leave, and sends Lawson’s emotions into free-fall!

Suddenly Lawson realises that not only is Vic incredible with his little girl — but she’s breathtakingly beautiful to boot! It’s time to promote his partner from paramedic to mother… and wife!

   They went inside and sat around the kitchen table while Dorothy made hot chocolates and Lawson tried to get to the bottom of his daughter's heartbreak. Matilda was being unusually close-mouthed.
   "Is it your teacher?"
   Matilda sniffled. She loved her teacher. "Nope."
   "Did you do badly on a test?"
   "Nope."
   "Is someone calling you names?"
   "Nope." 
   "Did you...get kicked off the netball team?"
   This time Matilda just shook her head, looking progressively miserable.
   Vic had an inkling what might be wrong. "Is it a boy?" she asked gently.
   Lawson's head shot up in alarm. "Don't be ridiculous," he dismissed. "She's eight years old." 
   But when Matilda wailed, "Yes," and dissolved into another puddle of tears he was forced to reassess.
   "Okay." Vic stood. "I know exactly what we need." She went to the freezer and pulled out the tub of ice-cream Lawson always had on hand. The perfect salve for man problems. God knew, she'd eaten gallons of the stuff in the last fortnight.
   She retrieved two spoons from the drawer and sat down next to Matilda. "What's his name?" she asked as she peeled the lid off and pushed a spoon towards Matilda.
   "Hamish Jones."
    Lawson, his head spinning from the unexpected turn of events, subconsciously cracked his knuckles. He didn't know this Hamish kid, but he disliked him - immensely.
   Vic loaded her spoon with ice cream. "Does he like you?"
   Matilda nodded, her mouth full.
   "Well, that's good, isn't it?"
   "No," Lawson interrupted, looking at Victoria as if she'd grown another head. "No. That's not good. She's way too young for boys."
   Vic glared at him and then looked back at Matilda. "Don't worry about your Dad. He thinks all girls are too young for boys. Even me."
   Matilda giggled. And Lawson ignored her. "She's eight. It's ridiculous to be crying over some silly boy."
    Vic noticed Matilda's smile die and tears filled her eyes again. How typical of him to dismiss his daughter's feelings because he was running scared. She gave Matilda an encouraging smile and kept it plastered to her face as she shot him a withering look.    "Not. Helping."
   He looked at Matilda as she sniffed back more tears. To say he felt out of his depth was an understatement. He sent Victoria a fix this look.
   Vic dipped in for more ice cream. "So is he your boyfriend, then?"
   Matilda's bottom lip wobbled. "No."
   "Ah," Vic said around a mouthful. "But you want him to be your boyfriend?"
   Matilda nodded. "But he wants me to kiss him and I said I wouldn't 'cos Daddy always says that you should only kiss a boy when you're married to him and now he doesn't want to be my boyfriend."
   Lawson felt sick. Kiss him?  They were kissing at eight? He was going to school tomorrow to kick little Hamish's butt. How dare he...put the hard word on an eight-year-old girl.
   Vic raised an eyebrow at Lawson. "Married?" she enquired sweetly. "You're kidding, right?
   He shook his head. "Deadly. Serious."
   Vic rolled her eyes. "I think we better leave the sex education to me."
   Lawson clenched his jaw at the thought of her in their lives, being able to discuss girl things with his daughter. Like she was doing now.  As if she was born to be the mother of an eight-year-old girl. "You're going overseas, remember."
   Vic smiled at him. "No. I'm not." She turned back to Matilda. "Do you think it's okay for a boy, for anyone really, to make you do something that you don't feel right about?"
   Matilda thought for a while. "I guess not."
   "So do you really want a boyfriend who's going to be that selfish?"
   Matilda shook her head. "I guess not."
   Vic grinned. It was obvious Matilda wasn't one hundred percent convinced. "There are two types of boys in this world, sweetie. Boys who would never ask a girl to do something they didn't want to do and boys who think only about themselves and what they want." She looked at Lawson. "Isn't that right, Lawson?"
   He nodded vigorously. "Absolutely."
Lawson watched as Victoria dug her spoon in again and her and Matilda sat and savoured the ice cream together for a few minutes. She was handling this beautifully and Matilda was hanging on every word. Unlike his first reaction, which was to lock    Matilda in her room and not let her out until she was thirty.
   It was at times like these he really felt that Tilly had missed out. He knew he'd been a good parent and he knew he could tackle the inevitable girl questions as his daughter went through puberty, but he doubted he could manage them as well as a woman. As well as a mother.
   How much easier would his life be, would Matilda's life be if she had a mother? A rush of something he didn't want to analyse blossomed in his chest as he watched Victoria with his daughter.
   I think we'd better leave the sex education to me.
   That's what she'd just said. As if she was going to be around for it whether he liked it or not. As if she didn't doubt for a moment that she was going to be part of their lives.
She'd handled this perfectly and had always been great with Matilda. But Victoria had sworn off ever being a mother. How fair would it be to expect that of her? Even if that's what she thought she wanted. Had she thought about it from that angle? Instant motherhood? Again?
   Vic could feel him watching them. "What type of boy do you think your Dad is?" She noticed Lawson frowning in her peripheral vision and ignored it.
   Matilda swallowed a mouthful of ice cream. "The first kind."
   Vic smiled at her. "And wouldn't you prefer to have a boyfriend who was like your dad? Someone who knew how to treat a girl properly." Even though he didn't have a clue how to treat her properly. The way she wanted to be treated.
   Matilda looked at her father. "I want to marry someone just like Daddy."
   Vic felt her heart squeeze painfully in her chest. She knew exactly how Matilda felt. Lawson smiled at his daughter and the pain intensified. They were such a duo, a team. And she wanted in. "Probably best to stay clear of boys like Hamish, then. Don't you think?"
   Matilda smiled at Vic. "Definitely." She spooned another mouthful of ice cream in and swallowed. "So I shouldn't let a boy kiss me until we're married?"
Lawson who was in the process of taking a sip of his hot chocolate, coughed and nearly choked on it. "That's right," he managed to gasp.
   Vic glared at him. "No it's not. Your dad's just being a dad. He's supposed to say that. Kissing is fun. But it is part of being grown up. At your age it's okay to have boys who are friends. But it's probably better to leave the kissing for high school. Okay?"  
Matilda thought for a moment. "Okay."


From "A MOTHER FOR MATILDA" by Amy Andrews
Mills and Boon® Medical Romance™ Mar 2010
ISBN: 978-1-742-55146-3 Copyright: © 2010 Amy Andrews
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.  For more romance information surf to: http://www.eHarlequin.com
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