The Honourable Maverick [NOOK Book]

Overview

Max isn't interested in an instant family. But how can he turn away scared, pregnant nurse Ellie from his doorstep?

And then, as he holds her tiny baby in his arms, Max's protective instinct kicks in—an instinct that makes him claim he's her husband. And saying the word husband feels more natural than he ever would have expected!

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The Honourable Maverick

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Overview

Max isn't interested in an instant family. But how can he turn away scared, pregnant nurse Ellie from his doorstep?

And then, as he holds her tiny baby in his arms, Max's protective instinct kicks in—an instinct that makes him claim he's her husband. And saying the word husband feels more natural than he ever would have expected!

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459202443
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 5/1/2011
  • Series: Harlequin Medical Romance Series, #488
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 191,888
  • File size: 201 KB

Meet the Author

When Alison Roberts spent two years in Scotland, her time there provided the perfect opportunity to write her first book, and she has written over thirty Mills & Boon titles since then! Alison is involved with the ambulance service. She has her writing to thank for this addition to her life, having fallen in love with the job while researching a book. It is the perfect antidote to the solitary hours of writing and she is now avidly continuing her training as an ambulance officer.
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Read an Excerpt


The three men stood in close proximity. Tall. Dark. Silent.

Clad in uniform black leather, motorbike helmets dangled from one hand. They each held an icy, uncapped bottle of lager in the other hand.

Moving as one, they raised the bottles and touched them together, the dull clink of glass a sombre note.

Speaking as one, their voices were equally sombre.

'To Matt,' was all they said.

They drank. A long swallow of amber liquid. Long and slow enough for each of them to reflect on the member of their group no longer with them. Cherished memories strengthened by this annual ritual but there was an added poignancy this year.

A whole decade had passed.

Two decades since the small band of gifted but under-challenged boys boarding at Greystones Grammar school had been labelled as 'bad'.

The label had stuck even as the four of them had blitzed their way to achieving the top four places in the graduation year of their medical schooling.

But now there were only three 'bad boys' and the link between them had been tempered by the fires of hell.

Minimally depleted bottles were lowered but the silence continued. A tribute as reverent as could be offered to anything that earned the respect of these men.

The sharp knock at the door was inexcusably intrusive and more than one of the men muttered a low oath. They ignored the interruption but it came again, more urgently this time, and it was accompanied by a voice.

A female voice. A frightened one.

'Sarah? Are you home? Oh, God…you have to be home. Open the door…Please…'

The men looked at each other. One shook his head in disbelief. One gave a resigned nod. The third—Max—moved to open the door.

Please, please…please…

Ellie squeezed her eyes tightly closed to hold back tears as she prayed silently, raising her hand to knock for the third time. What in God's name was she going to do if Sarah wasn't home?

It was enough to make her want to hammer on the door with both fists. Her arm moved with the weight of desperation only to find an empty space. Too late, Ellie realised the door was moving. Swinging open. It was all too easy to lose her balance these days and she found herself stumbling forward.

Staring at a black T-shirt under an unzipped, black leather biker's jacket. An image flashed into her head. She'd passed a row of huge, powerful motorbikes parked outside this apartment block and she hadn't thought anything of it.

Oh…God! She'd come to the wrong door and here she was, falling into a bikers' den. A gang headquarters, maybe. A methamphetamine lab, even. Huge, powerful male hands were gripping her upper arms right now. Pulling her upright. Pulling her deeper into this dangerous den. Her heart skipped a beat and then gave a painful thump.

'Let me go,' she growled. 'Get your hands off me.'

'No worries.' The sexy rumble from somewhere well above her head sounded…what…tired? Amused? 'I'd just prefer you didn't land flat on your face on my floor.'

It was a surprisingly polite thing for a gang member to say. Ellie could do polite, too.

'I've made a mistake.' She had to step forward again to get her balance. It helped to drop the small bag she'd been carrying to plant both her hands on the chest in front of her and push. Good grief, it felt like a brick wall. Ellie risked an upward glance, to find the owner of the chest looking down at her. Dark hair. Dark eyes that held a somewhat surprised expression. No tattoos, though. No obvious piercings. And didn't he look a bit too clean to be part of a bikie gang?

She swung her head sideways and emitted a small squeak of dismay. There were two more of them. Staring at her. No, one was glaring. They were clad from head to toe in black leather. Jackets that were padded at the shoulders and elbows and tight pants that also had protective padding. Heavy boots. The gleam of zips and buckles might as well have been chains and knuckledusters. They were holding beer bottles. She had interrupted something and they weren't happy. There didn't seem to be quite enough air in this small room because there were three very large and potentially very dangerous men using it all up.

Ellie straightened to her full height, which was unfortunately only five feet three inches.

'I'm so sorry,' she said, as briskly as she could manage. 'I've come to the wrong door. I'm looking for Sarah Prescott. I'll…I'll be going now.'

She turned back to the door only to find the first man blocking her escape route simply by standing there and filling the space. Ellie swallowed. Hard.

'Look, I'm really sorry to have disturbed you.' She inched sideways. Maybe she could squeeze past and get to the door. She might have to leave her bag behind but that didn't matter.

The man didn't appear to move but somehow the door was swinging shut behind him.

'I…have to go,' Ellie informed him. Dammit, she could hear the fear in the way her voice wobbled.

'To find Sarah?'

'Yes.'

'Is it urgent?'

'Oh…yes.' Ellie had no trouble making this assertion. She even nodded her head vigorously for emphasis.

'Why?'

Ellie's jaw dropped. As if she'd start telling a complete stranger about any of this. If she had the time, which she didn't, why did he want to know anyway?

Lost for words, she stared up at this man.

'It's OK,' he said quietly. 'You're safe here.'

How did he know that those were the words she needed to hear more than anything? How did she know with such conviction that she could believe him?

For another heartbeat Ellie simply kept staring. And then she burst into tears.

The heavy, straight fringe of deep chestnut hair made her face seem fragile as Max stared down at it. He saw this woman's fear and he saw the effect his words of reassurance had. She let go.

She didn't even know him but she trusted that she was safe. Now he could feel the weight of responsibility pressing down on him. What had he been thinking?

And then those huge, hazel eyes filled with tears and he groaned inwardly. This was the last straw.

No. As he put his arms around this small, unwanted visitor and felt the firm bulge of her abdomen, which had been disguised by her baggy sweater, his heart sank even further.

Somehow, in the space of just a heartbeat or two, he'd offered protection to a woman who looked as though she was running from something. Or someone.

A very pregnant woman.

'Max…' The word was a warning. 'What are you doing, man? She's come to the wrong apartment, that's all.'

'No.' Max held onto the body shaking with silent sobs and did his best to guide her towards the sofa. 'Sarah Prescott was the previous tenant here. She took off to the States last week.'

'What?' Max felt a determined push against his chest that felt familiar. 'No.'

Tears were scrubbed from her face and she gave a rather unladylike sniff. 'She's going on Friday. Tomorrow. That's why I'm here. I'm going to go with her.'

'She did go on Friday. Last Friday.' Max sighed and let his gaze drop to the oversized sweater. 'You really think they would have let you on an international flight? When are you due?'

Her mouth dropped open and he could see the wheels turning in her head. She realised he'd felt the shape of her body when he'd taken hold of her. A flush of colour stained pale cheeks but she said nothing.

Resentment at the intrusion into a private moment was long gone. Max could sense the spark of curiosity from the others now, albeit reluctantly, particularly on Jet's part. But this was a damsel in distress. She needed help.

'Come and sit down,' Max suggested. 'What's your name?'

'Ellie,' she said, but didn't move any closer to the sofa. 'Ellie Peters.'

'I'm Max. That's Rick, who's putting his helmet on the table over there, and this is Jet.'

That surprised her.

'His real name is James,' Max added. 'But he's always had a thing for flying and his hair's really black, see?'

Ellie gave a slow nod as she flicked a cautious gaze towards the other men.

Rick was near the window now. 'His hair's only that colour 'cause he dyes it,' he said casually.

Jet's snort told Rick he would pay for that comment later but Ellie's lips twitched. Good. She was starting to relax. Maybe they could find out why it was she needed to find her absent friend so urgently, offer some advice to solve the problem and send her on her way. The others had to head away themselves very soon and they didn't get together often enough to make sharing the last of this time a welcome prospect. No wonder Jet was looking so impatient.

'Can I get you a drink?' Max offered Ellie. His gaze dropped automatically to the bulge of her sweater. So obvious now he'd felt it. Curiously, he could still feel it. As part of that body shaking with sobs she'd tried so hard to stifle. A shape that seemed to be imprinted on his own body. She was eyeing the beer bottles on the table. 'I mean…water or something?'

'Hate to break up the party,' Rick drawled, 'but there's a guy on the street out here who seems rather interested in this apartment.'

Ellie's indrawn breath was a gasp. She slid sideways, making sure she wasn't in view. Closer to the wall now, she kept moving and peeped around the edge of the window frame.

'Oh…no…' The word was a groan. 'It's Marcus. I thought I'd lost him at the airport.'

'And who is Marcus?' Max stepped swiftly to look out of the window but the street below was deserted apart from a taxi and its driver.

'He's…urn…He was my…' Ellie seemed to be finding it difficult to find the description she wanted. 'I was in a relationship with him. Briefly. It's been…hard to get away.'

The underlying message was unmistakable. Max tried to curb the slash of anger. 'He's stalking you?' 'Ah…kind of, I guess.' 'Where have you come from?'

'Today? Wellington. I think he must have hired a private investigator who picked up on my air-ticket purchase. He must have flown down from Auckland to be at the airport by the time I arrived.'

'Auckland…of course…' Rick snapped his fingers. 'Thought the little weasel looked vaguely familiar.'

Everybody's head swung in Rick's direction. Max and Ellie spoke together.

'You know him?'

'Marcus Jones. Orthopaedic surgeon, yes?'

'Y-yes,' Ellie stammered, looking bewildered.

Rick addressed the others. 'Had a little run-in with him when I was working in Auckland Central a few years back.' The huff of expelled breath was not complimentary. 'Guy with a nasty spinal tumour. I was keen to try a new approach. Risky but perfectly doable. Would have left him neurologically intact.'

The nod from Max and Jet accepted that Rick's judgement would have been correct.

'The weasel is persuasive. He talked the patient and his family into going with the standard protocol. Poor guy ended up quadriplegic and on a home ventilator. Probably dead by now.'

Max caught Jet's raised eyebrow and nodded. 'He follows the rules.'

'Hell, he thinks he can make the rules,' Rick said.

'Does he, now?' Max injected enough of an ominous tone into his query to earn approving glances from the other men. A glance at Ellie's wide eyes revealed that she had no clue what the unspoken conversation going on here was about but it certainly wasn't making her feel any more secure.

Should he take the time to tell her that one of the things that welded the three of them together was the shared conviction that sometimes some of the rules had to be broken? That they were all people who had no hesitation in doing exactly that if they considered it to be necessary?

He didn't have the time. The rap on his door was far more demanding than Ellie's knock had been.

'Open the door.' The owner of the voice was used to being in control. 'I know you're in there, Eleanor.'

Jet went to open the door.

'No,' Ellie breathed. 'Please.'

Max and Rick moved to stand on either side of Ellie.

Max tilted his head. 'He doesn't sound like he's going to go away without a little encouragement. You're safe here, remember?'

'Mmm.' The sound was hesitant but hopeful. It tugged at something deep inside Max.

'You'd like him to go away, wouldn't you?'

'Yes.'

'For good? ' 'Oh. yes.'

Jet flung the door open.

'About time.' The small man in a pinstriped suit stepped into the apartment. 'Come on, Eleanor. I've got a taxi waiting for us.'

Ellie said nothing. Max could see the way her lips trembled even though she had them pressed tightly together.

The newcomer took another step further inside and it was then that he seemed to notice Ellie's companions.

He looked over his shoulder at Jet, who had closed the door and was leaning against it, his arms folded and a menacing look on his face. Max almost grinned. No one could do menacing quite as well as Jet.

Rick earned a look then. And finally Max. Good thing they were all still in their leathers, having only just finished their annual road trip, which was part of their tribute to Matt. Even better that they were all at least six inches taller, considerably heavier and quite a lot younger than the dapper surgeon.

Marcus Jones cleared his throat. 'Who are these people, Eleanor?'

Ellie remained silent. She looked remarkably like a small, wild animal caught in the glare of oncoming headlights, Max decided before flicking his gaze back to the most recent arrival.

He watched the way Marcus swallowed, revealing his discomfort. This man was a bully, he realised. The thought that he'd had the opportunity to bully the woman standing beside him was more than enough to fuel his simmering anger.

The surgeon spread his hands in a contrived gesture of appeal and directed his words to the men in the room. 'Look, I don't know what she's told you but this is nothing more than a minor misunderstanding. Eleanor's my fiancee. She's pregnant with my child and I've come to take her home.'

Max felt Ellie sway slightly beside him. He put his arm around her shoulders and she leaned into him. He glanced down and met her eyes. He saw a silent plea for protection that no red-blooded man could have resisted. Especially an angry one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2012

    Awesome

    I love all 3 of these books! Just awesome!

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