"A fantastic book of finding beauty in a desolate environment. Ms. Andrews is one of my favorite authors; I always enjoy reading her books and this one is no different. A fantastic book about finding beauty in a desolate environment."
Locum doctor James Remington never stays in one place for long…but there are things about this welcoming Outback community that are starting to make it feel like home: the warmth of the people – and nurse Helen Franklin. James has found it easy to win over the locals in Skye, but Helen proves much more of a challenge…
Helen has protected her heart for so long it’s hard for her to open it up to this charming but temporary doctor. Yet she makes James want something he’s never wanted before…a home – and maybe even a family.
They sipped at their coffees for a while. James was acutely aware of her thigh a mere arm’s length from him.
“I get the feeling,” he said after a few minutes, “they’re all just circling, though. Waiting for you to change your mind.”
Helen nodded. So did she. She gently swirled the contents of her mug. “I probably will. Sooner or later.”
James almost choked on his mouthful. “What? Why?” he demanded.
Helen was instantly annoyed at his tone. Alright for Mr wind-in-your-face, Easy-rider. Mr Sex-on-wheels, girl-in-every-town. “It’s just practical,” she said defensively.
She had to be insane. Right? “Practical? How?”
“I do want to marry, you know. Have children. If the right guy doesn’t come along then I guess I’ll have to take what I can get.”
James couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Don’t you want more? A grand love? I thought that’s what every woman wanted.”
Helen snorted. “I’d settle for someone who preferred me over the highway.”
“What about passion?” he pushed.
“Passion is overrated.” Her parents’ union had apparently been highly passionate but it hadn’t equipped them to cope with the day-to-day realities of life. With the sickness part of their wedding vows.
He gaped at her. “Are you kidding? Passion is vital. Only someone who’s never experienced true passion would say something so naive.”
“Hey,” she said, putting down her mug, “just because I live in the sticks, it doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced passion. I did go to university you know.”
James snorted and put down his mug. “If it was anything like my uni years, it was more clumsy fumblings and sloppy kisses.”
“Yeah, well, don’t judge me by your ineptitude.” Helen could feel her breath getting shallower, her voice getting huskier. She could see his chest rising and falling more quickly, hear the rough edge to his breathing. Suddenly, the small kitchen felt positively claustrophobic.
How dared he imply she didn’t know about passion? She’d had a six-month relationship with an ancient history student in her second year that had blown her socks off. They’d been nineteen and insatiable.
“Just because you’re a lousy kisser.” She knew she was goading him but who the hell died and made him master of all things passionate?
James had been called a lot of things in his life but a lousy kisser wasn’t one of them. He noted the agitated rise and fall of her chest, the catch in her breath as she spoke. This conversation was totally ridiculous and he’d never been more turned on in his life. Lousy kisser indeed. We’ll just see about that.
He put his hand on her thigh. “Care to put that to the test?”
His touch was burning a hole in her jeans and Helen realised she had moved them into dangerous territory. His turquoise eyes were blazing with something she’d never seen before. But on some base level she knew what it was. Lust. Pure and simple. At nineteen there had been desire. This was more. This was grown-up. This was virile male animal ready to pounce.
She swallowed. Her heart tripped. “James, I...”
He applied pressure through his hand and slid her petite body across the bench, easily obliterating the small space separating them. He put his hands on the bench on either side of her thighs, capturing her in one easy movement.
Their faces were close. He could feel her breath on his cheek, smell the coffee. “You think I’m a lousy kisser?” he asked softly, staring at her mouth.
Helen swallowed again, her throat suddenly dry as day-old toast. His mouth was so close, well and truly invading her personal space. She flicked her tongue out to moisten her lips and saw his pupils flare. “I -”
His mouth descended on hers swiftly, cutting off her words. Her lips were soft and pliant and he plundered them in a brief, hard kiss.
“You were saying?” he asked, breaking away with the little will power he had left.
Helen was breathing heavily, dazed and reeling from the onslaught. His lips were moist and she wanted them back on hers again. She wanted them everywhere.
A woman to come home to.
From "THE OUTBACK DOCTOR'S SURPRISE BRIDE" by Amy Andrews