Cinderella of Harley Street [NOOK Book]

Overview


Finding her prince…all over again!

Pediatrician Cassie Ross has never forgotten her whirlwind affair with Dr. Leith Ballantyne. But that was a lifetime ago. Now she needs a temporary job with the chance to start over. Only this time she has to ask Leith for help….

The last time Leith saw Cassie, she left in the night with just a note as her goodbye. The Cassie right here in his Harley Street practice is not ...

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Cinderella of Harley Street

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Overview


Finding her prince…all over again!

Pediatrician Cassie Ross has never forgotten her whirlwind affair with Dr. Leith Ballantyne. But that was a lifetime ago. Now she needs a temporary job with the chance to start over. Only this time she has to ask Leith for help….

The last time Leith saw Cassie, she left in the night with just a note as her goodbye. The Cassie right here in his Harley Street practice is not the vivacious woman he once knew, but he's determined to give her the fairy tale she deserves….

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460310915
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 568,426
  • File size: 198 KB

Meet the Author


Anne Fraser always loved reading and never imagined that one day she would be writing for a living. She started life as a nurse and helpfully, for a writer of medical romances, is married to a hospital doctor! Anne and husband have lived and worked all over the world, including South Africa, Canada and Australia and many of their experiences as well as the settings find their way into her books. Anne lives in Glasgow with her husband and two children.

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Read an Excerpt

Cassie heaved her bag along the quayside, feeling unbearably hot in the midday African sun.

She stopped to rest her aching arms and glanced upwards. The boat was enormous—far bigger than she could ever have imagined. That was good. It would mean that there would be plenty of corners for her to hide in. Naturally she'd socialise whenever it was necessary, but she needed to know that there were places, apart from her cabin, where she could be alone. It wasn't that she didn't like people, she simply preferred her own company.

Her attention was caught by a man standing next to the rail, talking on his phone. Just as Cassie looked up at him he turned his head and for a moment their eyes locked. Her head spun as the strangest sensations twirled around her lower abdomen.

It wasn't as if he was particularly good-looking—God knew, she had been out with men better looking in her life—but it was the way he carried himself, the tilt of his head, the slight smile on his lips, the way his eyes creased at the corners. If she didn't know differently, she would have sworn she was experiencing simple, pure lust.

When he tipped his head to the side and raised one eyebrow, she flushed, knowing she had been staring. Now a deeper shade of red would be added to the beetroot colour she must already be from heat and exertion. Great. In those few seconds they had held each other's gazes, all sorts of warning bells had gone off in her head. She decided instantly that whoever he was she'd do her best to ignore him in the coming weeks.

She was halfway up the gangway when disaster struck. Her over-filled, slightly battered and definitely seen-better-days suitcase decided it had had enough of being stuffed to the gills, and it exploded, showering her path with T-shirts, dresses and, most embarrassingly, her underwear. She watched with horror as a pair of her lace and silk panties, which had cost her more money than she cared to remember, flew over the handrail, snagged on a piece of metal and fluttered there like some sort of lacy flag of surrender.

Mortified, Cassie lunged for them and almost toppled into the sea. And that was exactly what would have happened had she not found herself caught and held fast against a broad, hard chest.

For the briefest of moments she stayed there. There was something achingly secure about being held in these particular arms.

Which was ridiculous. She didn't need a man—anyone—to make her feel safe.

Somehow she wasn't surprised when she reluctantly extricated herself from the stranger's arms to find that the man who had saved her from falling overboard was the same one who only moments earlier had caught her staring. So much for her promise to herself to avoid him.

'I know it's hot, but I wouldn't recommend the side of the ship for a dip.'

His accent was Scottish, warm and rich with a musical cadence of laughter.

When she looked up at him—he was a good few inches taller than she was—she was horrified to discover that he had rescued her panties and was now holding the flimsy piece of silk and lace in his hands.

'Yours, I believe?' he said with a cheeky grin.

Could her introduction to the ship and the staff get any worse than this? Cassie thought despairingly, noticing that several people were now lining the rails of the ship taking an unabashed interest in what was going on below them. To make matters worse, a group of locals had also stopped and were chattering away to one another in loud, cheerful voices while pointing to Cassie and giggling.

'Thank you,' she said stiffly, grabbing her panties. Really, was there any need for him to hold them up for all to see?

She crouched down and quickly scooped up her scattered belongings, shoving them into the suitcase. Normally, when she packed, everything was perfectly arranged, each item in its place, each T-shirt, skirt, dress and pair of trousers laid on top of each other in graduating colours. Although she knew it was a little obsessional, Cassie liked order—more than liked it, needed it. But unless she wanted to have every item of her wardrobe examined in minute detail there was nothing for it but to get the damn things back in the suitcase and out of sight as quickly as possible. She would have to wait until she reached her cabin before she could sort it all.

Her helper—she refused to think of him as rescuer; it wasn't really an appropriate term for a man who'd mostly retrieved her underwear—crouched down in the confined space of the gangway, so close she could feel the heat radiating from him. The sensation was so intense it robbed her of her breath. However, any attempt to move away would result in her going for the swim he'd joked about. Even if, right now, it was almost tempting.

'I can manage, thank you,' she said. 'I'm sure there are other places you need to be.'

'There are, but I'm pretty sure none of them are quite as entertaining.'

She glanced up at him and again there was that odd frisson running down her spine. She shoved the remaining clothes into her suitcase and almost immediately realised if she tried to close it, first, she would have to sit on it on the steep gangway and, second, even if she did get it closed there was every chance it would burst open again before she could reach her cabin.

It appeared as if the same thought had struck him. He picked up her suitcase, snapped it shut with a single easy movement and tucked it under his arm. 'Deck and cabin number?' he asked. 'At least, I'm assuming you are joining the ship as staff?'

Cassie studied him for a moment. He was tall, almost six-four, she guessed, with sun-lightened brown hair and a wide, full mouth that turned up more at one side than the other. But it was his eyes, an unusual shade of green that drew her. She had the uncanny feeling he could see right into her, see all her secrets, and the sensation wasn't a welcome one.

She became aware that he was waiting for her response with a quizzical smile on his face. 'Dr Ross. Cassie Ross,' she said, holding out her hand.

His smile widened. 'Dr Leith Ballantyne. Welcome to the African Mercy Ship.'

Damn—he was one of the doctors. That would make him difficult to avoid. But, with a bit of luck, he himself would be leaving soon. Cassie had been told that although the nurses tended to stay for a minimum of three months, most of the doctors held permanent jobs elsewhere and, like her, only usually managed to give a few weeks of their time in any one year.

At the top of the gangway she reached for her suitcase. 'I'll take it now, if you don't mind.'

'No. I insist. You must be tired from travelling.' He raised an eyebrow in question. 'London?'

'Yes,' she responded tersely. Then, realising she was being rude, she added, 'Seems days since I left England. I must have experienced every form of transport Africa has to offer over the last forty-eight hours. It's great to finally be here.'

'It's an excellent ship with an excellent team.'

'And I'm looking forward to getting stuck in this afternoon.'

'There'll be no work for you until tomorrow.' Without waiting for her reply, he headed off down a narrow corridor, still holding her suitcase, and she was forced to follow him.

'I'll be fine once I have a shower,' she said to his back.

He turned round. 'Believe me, you'll have enough to do while you're here. How long are you staying anyway?'

'Just over two weeks.'

'Then take the rest while you can. You're going to need it.' When he gave her a lopsided smile she had the crazy sensation of not being able to breathe. She dragged her eyes away from his, hoping he would put the heat in her cheeks down to the sun.

'Perhaps we could have dinner later and I could explain how it works around here?' he continued.

She hadn't been here five minutes and already he was hitting on her. Normally that wouldn't bother her—she'd dealt with men like him plenty of times before, usually brushing them off with a light-hearted quip—but there was something about Leith that disturbed her usual composure.

'I'd like to get to work straight away,' she replied stiffly.

Immediately the laconic manner was gone. 'It's not going to happen. A tired doctor is a dangerous doctor. You are forbidden from working until you've had a good night's sleep.' Then he smiled again. 'So, dinner? It's not haute cuisine, I'm afraid, but it serves its purpose.'

Just who did he think he was, telling her what she could and could not do? She was about to open her mouth to say as much when he swung round and carried on walking. He opened the door to her tiny cabin and dropped her bag on the narrow bunk. There was barely room to swing a cat and she was acutely aware of him standing just a few feet from her.

'I can take it from here,' she said quickly. 'If I can't work, I think I'll skip dinner and have an early night. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I should find the showers.'

'They're at the end of the corridor.' As he stepped towards her she backed away. She didn't want to be any closer to him than she was already. Annoyingly her pulse was still beating a tattoo in her temples. It had to be the heat.

He grinned again, amusement glinting in his deep green eyes as if he'd noticed her instant reaction to him and it hadn't surprised him. 'If you change your mind about dinner, I'll be in the canteen about seven.'

When he left, Cassie closed the door of her cabin and sank down on the bed. If at all possible, she was going to avoid Dr Leith Ballantyne.

Leith was whistling as he made his way to his cabin. From the moment he'd first clapped eyes on her, he'd known that life was going to get way more interesting. He normally preferred women with long hair but Cassie's short silky black bob suited her heart-shaped, delicate features, making her eyes appear almost too large for her face.

Up until her suitcase had spewed her belongings over the gangway she'd looked impossibly cool and sexy in her white blouse and light cotton trousers that clung to her curvy figure. And as for those eyes! The icy look she'd given him when he'd caught her staring could have destroyed a lesser man, so the way she'd blushed when he'd retrieved her underwear had been a surprise—a good one.

She intrigued the hell out of him. Cool, almost shy one minute—and in Leith's experience women who looked like Cassie weren't in the least bit shy—sparky and determined the next.

Pity she was only here for a couple of weeks. He would have liked to take his time getting to know Dr Cassie Ross and, if she was only here for a couple of weeks, time was one thing he didn't have.

Cassie wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her arm and looked down at her line of patients, stretching along the dusty road and way into the distance. There wasn't room on the Mercy Ship to see outpatients, all the space being needed for the wards and theatres.

She'd seen more kids already than she could count and there were more still to be seen—most waiting patiently with their mothers, some playing in the dust and others tucked up in shawls on their mothers' backs.

It was the quiet ones you had to worry about most. Children who cried or played had to be fit enough to react to their environment. Those who lay limply in their mothers' arms were almost always the most in need of urgent attention.

On her first morning, she'd been allocated her duties by the medical officer in charge and she'd had her nose to the grindstone ever since. As the only paediatrician, Cassie was responsible for all the children the nurses referred to her at the daily morning outpatient clinic. She also had charge of the small but well-equipped children's ward and special-care facility on board and, in addition, she would assist with paedi-atric cases in Theatre whenever her help was required.

None of it fazed her in the slightest. She'd done a year as a surgical resident as part of her paediatric training and although didn't want to specialise in surgery had enjoyed her time in Theatre. In fact, the more challenges, the harder the work, the better.

She stopped for a moment to drink some water. In this heat it was important to keep hy-drated. Suddenly, she heard a commotion in one of the other lines. Although the patients had to wait for hours in the burning sun they rarely complained so any disturbance had to mean something was wrong. With a quick word to the nurse who was assisting her, she went to see what it was about.

When she reached the point in the line where the cries had been coming from, the patients stood back. A young woman, perhaps no more than seventeen, was lying on the ground, clutching her swollen stomach and moaning with pain. Cassie dropped to her knees. Judging by the size of her abdomen, the woman was close to giving birth. Then Cassie saw something that instantly put her on red alert. There was a pool of blood soaking the woman's dress.

'Get help!' she shouted to the chattering bystanders. She instructed some of the women to form a shield and lifted the woman's dress. Her thighs were covered in blood. This was a possible placental abruption—an obstetric emergency—and not Cassie's area of expertise. Unless the woman had a Caesarean in the next few minutes and was transfused, she would die.

As Cassie lifted her head to shout for a stretcher, someone crouched down next to her. It was the man from the gangway—Dr Ballantyne. Apart from that first day, four days ago, she hadn't spoken to him. She'd seen him about, of course, he wasn't exactly the kind of man that blended into his surroundings, but, as she'd promised herself, she'd gone out of her way to avoid him. Why that was she wasn't quite sure. Only that he unsettled her—and she didn't like being unsettled.

'Hello again,' he said quietly. Without Cassie having to say anything, he took in the situation at a glance. 'Looks like a possible placenta abruption,' he said grimly. 'There's no time to take her to Theatre on board. We'll have to get her inside and operate here.'

Cassie looked around. They could do with some help—a nurse and an anaesthetist for a start. But most of the doctors and nurses had stopped for lunch and retreated to the shady, cool dining room on the ship.

'We need a stretcher over here,' Leith called out. Cassie breathed a sigh of relief when two nurses emerged from the interior of one of the huts. One of the local volunteers brought a stretcher and working together they loaded the stricken woman onto it.

'I need an anaesthetist,' Leith said. 'Like now.'

'They're all on board,' the nurse said. 'Do you want me to send for one of them?'

'Yes. Go!' As soon as the nurse had taken off, Leith looked at Cassie. 'Even if she finds someone straight away, by the time they get here it will be too late. Have you ever given a spinal?'

Cassie nodded. She brought up a mental image of a medical textbook. Luckily she had an almost encyclopaedic memory, one of the few benefits of a childhood spent mostly with books.

Although she'd been warned that working on the Mercy Ship might mean stepping out of her own area of expertise, she hadn't expected to be assisting with a case of placental abruption quite so soon after her arrival. She was glad that Leith was there and appeared to be taking it all in his stride.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    ARCADE

    Pac m and fix it felix jr or wjtever

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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